No. She couldn’t. At least we agreed on one thing. She couldn’t keep staying in the guest room. I needed her in my room…my bed.
The beast inside me that I couldn’t seem to control didn’t recognize the fact that she was safe.
I’d never see her as secure unless she belonged to me.
“Don’t worry about that right now, Ruby. Let’s just try to concentrate on getting your life the way it should have been.”
“I don’t think I can live here,” she mused. “Seattle is too expensive.”
Shit! The last thing I wanted was her planning a future without me.
The feral animal inside me sat up and growled.
“You can live with me,” I said insistently. Maybe too insistently. “I want you to stay with me.”
Sure, she was going to have her own money, but I didn’t care.
“I think you’re a masochist,” she said with a laugh.
Hell, I’m starting to think the same thing.
To have Ruby around and not want to nail her was impossible, but I was screwed because I didn’t want her to go away, either.
No wonder I felt so damn ornery.
“But I’m going to have to think about the future soon,” she said. “I’ll eventually get my inheritance, and you’ve done so much for me already.”
The money had changed everything, but I didn’t regret giving Ruby her freedom by searching out the truth. Even though I wanted her to stay, I also wanted her to be happy.
“We’ll work it out,” I told her, knowing that I’d do whatever she really wanted in the end.
“I’ll need your help,” she ventured. “I’ll have to figure out what a reasonable future looks like for me. Counseling has helped a lot, but I have so much to figure out.”
I looked at her anxious expression, and every damn carnal thought I’d been having didn’t mean a thing.
Ultimately, I’d be there for her because I cared too much about Ruby not to want her happiness. “I’ll help you,” I answered. “Everything will be okay.”
I felt like a damn god when she smiled at me.
Maybe she needed a father figure.
Maybe she needed a friend.
Maybe she just needed somebody around who cared.
Whatever she needed, I’d turn myself inside out to give it to her. She’d been through too damn much already.
“I think that was the most incredible meal I’ve ever had,” I said to Jett as we were on our way home from the restaurant.
I was feeling blissfully full, and completely relaxed from the wine I’d had with my seafood.
Jett had been acting a little off tonight, but maybe he was just tired. He’d been spending a lot of time in his office.
“I have a hard time believing that,” Jett answered with amusement. “I’ve had better meals that you’ve cooked.”
“But I don’t generally cook seafood since I didn’t grow up near water. Beef and chicken were a lot more common. It was a big treat for me to get fresh seafood. Thank you for taking me there,” I told him.
I was getting better at accepting the things that Jett did for me, and just letting him know I appreciated it instead of constantly arguing about the money he spent on me.
Annette had done a good job of reminding me that Jett could well afford whatever he gave, and he gave it because he cared.
I was tired of taking all the joy out of anything Jett and I did by feeling guilty about the money, and being poor was just something I had to deal with right now. I wasn’t going to get my money overnight, and I’d eventually find a job or a career so I could return the favor.
“You’re welcome,” Jett finally said in a husky voice as the car pulled up to his building.
He got out and reached for my hand to help me out of the car while he traded a few insults with Pete. This time it was a lot more obvious that the two of them loved to antagonize each other.
We rode the elevator in a comfortable silence, and Jett didn’t speak until we got back into the condo. “Do you want another glass of wine?” he asked as he took his suit jacket off and tossed it over one of the kitchen chairs.
I took off the borrowed coat I was wearing and hung it in the closet by the door. “I’m not sure I should,” I confessed as I moved toward the kitchen. “I haven’t had much alcohol in my life, and I’m already feeling the glasses I had with dinner.”