He took the cork off a bottle he’d pulled from his wine cooler, poured me half a glass, and slid it across the counter. “Live a little,” he said with a grin. “This is a really nice vintage.”
I took a cautious sip of the white wine, and was rewarded by an explosion of different tastes as the liquid flowed over my taste buds. “You’re right,” I said as soon as I swallowed. “It’s really good.”
Jett usually opted for something a little stronger, so I was surprised when he poured himself a glass and left the kitchen to chill out on the couch.
I watched as he put his legs up. “Are you okay?” I asked, concerned that maybe he’d done way too much walking earlier, before dinner and after.
I sat in the recliner directly across from him.
“Yeah. I’m good. Why?”
“We did a lot of walking, and you’re still supposed to be resting your knee as much as possible.”
He raised a dark brow as he answered. “I’m not exactly ancient and decrepit, Ruby. Even though thirty-one might seem old to you. I just have a bum knee.”
I rolled my eyes at him. “I know you’re not old. But I did cause you to injure yourself. And I know what you should be doing.”
Jett appeared to be doing better, but I was still worried.
“I’m being good now,” he joked. “And you’re not allowed to nag since you refused to marry me. But that’s probably a good thing since you can’t stand me touching you.”
We were both quiet. I hadn’t expected him to go there because he never had. But maybe it was a good thing that he did. I’d been wanting to clear the air with him since the incident had happened, but I hadn’t been able to summon the courage. But now that I knew he thought I had completely rejected him, I was done hiding from anything painful or humiliating with Jett.
If I’d hurt him even a little, I wanted to clear things up. I knew that I was ready.
Our relationship had become way more important to me than my secrets.
“It wasn’t you that night, Jett,” I said as I set my empty wine glass on the side table.
“There wasn’t anybody else in the room,” he scoffed. “But it’s not your fault that there’s nothing there for you, Ruby. I sure wished that I could say the same, but my dick is still hard every moment that you’re with me.”
His words caused a flutter in my stomach, but I couldn’t get distracted, no matter how much I wanted to explore the tantalizing revelation he’d just made.
“There was somebody else in the room. I was there,” I said as I pushed my hair back from my face nervously.
He turned his head toward me sharply. “What does that mean? Ruby, I heard you say that you could see the scars. You were desperate to get away from me. Let’s not bullshit each other anymore. Do I wish that you were as attracted to me as I am to you? Hell, yes. But I’m still going to be your friend.”
I stood up, angry at myself because I hadn’t immediately told him the truth after the incident occurred.
Jett was attracted to me. Although his words blew me away, I knew it was true. And I had hurt him over the whole incident.
“And what happened before that? Was I pushing you away? Or was I kissing you back?” I challenged.
He shrugged. “I guess you finally came to your senses.”
“This. Is. Not. About. You.” I emphasized every word. “When you grabbed my ass, I got lost in bad memories. I had flashbacks, and not about your body. It was about mine.”
“Your body is perfect, Ruby,” Jett rumbled.
“Oh, do you think so?” My voice was getting louder, and my anxiety higher, but it was way too late to hold anything back. I needed Jett to understand why I reacted the way I did. “I have a few scars of my own. Most of them are psychological, but a few are still visible.”
I walked over to where he was sitting and slowly lifted my dress to my waist, turned, and lowered the black cotton bikinis I had on so he’d finally get what I was trying to tell him. I hadn’t been able to find the words, and I thought a visual would make things clearer.
Jett suck in a loud breath, and then he was silent.
I knew he was seeing the remnants of the whippings I’d taken throughout my childhood and adolescence.