Found in You

Found in You: Page 34

When our breathing had calmed to normal, I broke the silence. "Where did you go? Earlier."

He nuzzled his nose into my hair. "Does it matter? I'm here now."

I'd told Mira I'd talk to Hudson. But what was I supposed to do when he closed himself off? Even now, in the midst of intimacy, he left part of himself closed.

And maybe that was for the best. Because the parts of him that he opened were bright and blinding, like a beacon in the darkness. So I let my questions roll away, evaporating into nothing as he turned me toward him, lining me up underneath his form. Maybe conversation wasn't needed now. We would speak as we spoke best, with physical touch, our bodies rocking in simultaneous waves. Together.

"Mon amour. Mon précieux," he said against my ear. "Mon chéri. Mon bien-aimé."

He was speaking French. He said he would later, with my legs wrapped around him. So I threw my lower limbs around his hips, tilting into him.

Though the words were unnecessary, he muttered them over and over as we made love again. Between the kisses he placed on my neck and on my mouth, as he rolled in and out of me in rhythm with the beautiful poetry on his tongue. "Je suis avec vous. Always. I'm with you, mon précieux."

Chapter Fourteen

The sun was still low and streaming through a gap in the curtains when Hudson released a hand from my breast to look at his watch. "I know it's Saturday," he said, kissing along my shoulder, "and it's early, but I have some business I have to take care of before it gets any later. Then I'll ravage you nonstop the rest of the weekend."

"All right. If you must." I was still recovering from two good-morning orgasms, barely able to form sentences, let alone do anything that required thought. But I did have an important task to attend to myself. One that I'd been avoiding. "I have a few things to do as well so it works out. Lucky for you."

"Lucky for me, indeed."

Hudson hit the shower first, while I got in a run on the treadmill. When I'd finished my workout, Hudson had withdrawn into the library. I took a shower of my own then sat on the edge of the bed, towel wrapped around me, phone in hand and contemplating the call I needed to make. It took four attempts of hitting Dial quickly followed by End Call before I got brave enough to let the call go through. Then I heard the ring on the other end of the line, and, knowing my number would be recognized, I couldn't hang up. He probably wouldn't answer anyway, so why was I being such a chicken shit?

It seemed like forever but finally my brother answered. "Oh my god, Laynie, are you okay?"

His concern irritated me. Either it wasn't genuine or it was too little too late. "Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?" I hadn't been answering his calls, but that shouldn't have been cause for alarm.

"Because you haven't been at the club all week."

"What are you talking about? I've been there every day."

He sounded exasperated. "I called and asked for you every night this week and you were never there. At first I thought you'd told the staff you weren't taking my calls but then I gave a different name and called from a different phone."

"Jesus, Brian, I didn't realize that stalking was genetic."

"Ha ha." His tone was not amused.
He'd never liked it when I joked about my disorder. Which was exactly why I did it.

"I wasn't at the club because I'm not working at night anymore, you moron." As if it was any of his business. Yet, something in me couldn't help but tell him. To brag, to seek for approval. "I got a promotion. I'm working marketing and promotional planning. Day hours. Just like you wanted."

"Oh. Wow. Congratulations, Laynie. I'm proud of you."

For half a second I felt warm and fuzzy. Then I remembered what a shit he'd been to me, how he'd cut me off financially, how he'd feared for my relationship with Hudson because of my obsessive history. Yeah, warm and fuzzy wasn't there to stay. "Whatever, Brian. I don't want to hear it."

"I mean it."

"Only because you're happy that I'm now following the plan you'd laid out for me." Brian had thought that night shifts and the club environment were not appropriate for someone with my condition, despite the fact that working at the club was what had helped me chill out in the first place. If he'd had his way, I'd be doing marketing for a Fortune 500 company during daylight hours, making a shit ton of money doing respectable work. But had I gone that route, I'd have been so bored and stifled I was sure I'd have shot myself within the first week of employment.

"That's not true." He almost sounded remorseful.

I almost felt bad.

"Wait, did you get this promotion because of Hudson Pierce?"

So much for feeling bad. "No. I did not. And f**k you very much for asking."

"What do you expect me to assume, Laynie? You want me to change my entire experience with you because you say things are different?"

"I don't know what I expect, Brian." As much as I wanted to, I couldn't really blame him for being spiteful. I'd been a burden, and, to his credit, he'd been there when I needed him most. Financially, if not emotionally. Truthfully, he was probably as broken as I was.

But understanding him didn't make it better. It simply meant I couldn't hate him.

I lay back on the bed and rubbed my hand over my eyes. "What was so important that you needed to reach me, anyway?" He'd said he was done with me. I figured that would have ended all communication.

He cleared his throat. "The lease on the apartment expires this month."

Of course. Tying up loose ends. "That's actually why I was calling you. I'm moving out. So whatever you need to do to end the lease, go ahead and do it."

"Where are you going to live?"

If I told him I was moving in with Hudson, he'd freak with a capital F. "That's none of your business." Besides, why did he even care?

"Fine, be a bitch. I'm sure you think I deserve it."

I ignored his blatant try to guilt me. "What do you want me to do with the keys?"

"You can give them to me personally when I come there. When are you planning to be out?"

"In the next week or so." Knowing Hudson, he'd have me completely moved out within a day of telling him. It would be an easy move anyway. The furniture belonged with the apartment.

But I didn't want to see Brian. There was no reason that I needed to. "Why do you need to come here?"

"To make sure the place is in good shape before I turn it over. I want to get my deposit back."

I sat back up. "You were there Monday, Brian. You saw what shape it was in. I didn't destroy the apartment after you left, if that's what you're suggesting. Do you think I'd do that just because I'm pissed at you?"

"I don't know what you would do." Brian's voice was raised. "I'm not surprised by anything anymore where you're concerned."

"This conversation is pointless. Text me when you're in town and I'll get you your f**king keys. Other than that, we're done." I clicked End Call and threw my phone on the bed.

What had happened to drive us so far apart? I would have thought that the tragic loss of our parents would make us more devoted to each other, more committed. We certainly loved each other. There was no question about that. But loving a person didn't necessarily make you right for them-didn't make them a good person to be in your world. That was definitely a common theme in therapy.

I ignored what that might mean about Hudson and me. That wasn't territory I was willing to broach. Besides, he'd been my salvation in ways that had nothing to do with money and everything to do with real support.

It was Brian who needed to be out of my life. It pained me to think about it in depth, so I didn't. So what if Brian was my only living relative? It didn't matter. I wouldn't let it.

I sat up, about to get dressed, when my phone bleeped that I had an email. I rarely received emails, but since my work email hadn't been set up yet, I'd had to resort to using my personal account when I sent my official proposal to Julia. Picking up my phone, I tried not to get my hopes up. I pressed the email icon and held my breath as I read. By the time I got through the first paragraph, I was nearly dancing. The email was from Party Planners Plus. And it was good news.

Hurriedly, I dressed into a pair of shorts and black and white sleeveless top, skipping the underwear entirely, then headed to the kitchen to grab something to eat before I ran to tell Hudson my good news. On the counter I found half a bagel and a banana waiting for me next to a mug of coffee. I smiled at Hudson's never-ending attentiveness. Yeah, moving in was a good decision.

Now I just had to tell him.

But, first, I'd share my news.

After eating three quick bites of the bagel, I peeled the banana, grabbed the coffee and headed for the library.

Hudson was on the phone when I entered the room, his back to me as he faced out over the city.

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