Found in You

Found in You: Page 37

I'd never been close to my father, but I could appreciate her wanting to be with her dad. I'd definitely done things equally as manipulative as a teen.

I thanked Bubbly Professional for the information, hung up the phone, and moved on to the other items on my day's agenda.

It was nearly three when the bell rang at the service entrance. I checked the camera feed since we weren't expecting any deliveries. It was Liesl.

"Be right there," I told her through the intercom then ran down to let her in.

I opened the door and opened my arms for Liesl to give me a bear hug. She was one of the only people I allowed to touch me so intimately and only on my terms.

"What are you doing here so early?" I asked into her hair. "Do you work tonight?"

"Nope. Off tonight." She let me go to give me a high five. "We could hang out later, if you want."

"I do want. I have group at five-thirty. Maybe after that?"

"Groovy. I just had coffee with some friends next door. They want me to go to a concert with them so I came by to check out next week's schedule. Is it up yet?"

"Yeah, I think I saw it. Come on up."

We climbed the back stairs to the office. I found the schedule on David's mess of a desk and turned around to hand it to her and jumped when I saw a figure in the doorway. Another half second and I realized it was Hudson. I'd almost forgotten he had his own set of keys.

"Hi! What are you doing here?" It was a nice surprise to see him unannounced in the middle of the day, though also odd.

His expression was even. "You need to come with me."

"Why? What's up?" I took a step toward him before I recognized the tension in his body, the firm set of his jaw, the light missing from his eyes. "Hey, are you mad at me?" He'd never truly been upset with me before. Not like this, where the anger rolled off him in waves so thick it was almost palpable.

"Get your things and come." He spit out the words, as if it was difficult to speak civilly.

"That bossy thing is so hot." Liesl didn't even bother whispering.

Admittedly there were times I thought the bossy thing was definitely so hot. This was not one of them. His tone and body language scared me. I didn't believe he'd ever hurt me-not physically, and not on purpose-but his agitated state suggested he didn't have control of himself.

I crossed my hands over my chest defiantly. "Hudson, I'm not leaving just because you say so. I need more information."

"Alayna, I'm not doing this here." He was shaking. I'd never seen him so upset. "You will get your things and come. Now." It wasn't a suggestion. It wasn't an invitation. It wasn't even an order. It was fact. It was what I would do, as expected as my next breath.

He had to know.

The certainty rushed through me at lightning speed, leaving me dizzy and weak.

I couldn't say how or which of my secrets he'd discovered, but there was no doubt in my mind that he had found something out, and I understood with irrefutable conviction that if I had any real interest in our relationship then I needed to do as he said. Hudson had reasons to be mad at me-very real, very valid reasons. And if I wanted to salvage what we had, I'd have to take his wrath. I deserved it. I owed it to him.

I started toward my purse, ready to leave at his side when I remembered Liesl. "I, I have an employee here and I'm the only other person here. David's not due in until five."

"It's fine, Laynie." Liesl flashed me the palm of her hand and I could see pen marks that I guessed were her schedule. "I got what I needed. I'll leave with you."

It was almost comical that Liesl didn't understand the gravity of Hudson's mood, that she took it for granted that his behavior was commonplace and that I welcomed it. But I was too mortified to laugh. Too deeply disgraced.

I swallowed down the thick ball in my throat and looked to Hudson, not meeting his eyes. "I need to close everything up. I unlocked the bar when I got a soft drink earlier and the computers are still up-"

Hudson's hands were balled into fists at his sides. His patience was wearing. "Text David and tell him I required you to leave on short notice. Alarm the main door. It'll be fine." Tersely, he added, "I doubt David will care."

Was it David, then? Was that what this was about? Or was I reading into things?

I was in a daze as we walked out, my feet moving automatically while Liesl chatted nonstop about the new bartender. I'm sure that I nodded and said, "Uh-huh," at the appropriate times because she didn't call me out on my lack of attention.

At the door, it took me three tries before my unsteady hands entered the alarm code correctly. We stepped outside into the daylight, the sun blinding after the dark of the club. Liesl squeezed my hand in goodbye. "I'll take a rain check on that girls' night out. Have fun with Mr. Dominant." She wiggled her eyebrows before she took off toward the subway station.

I looked to the curb and realized there were no familiar cars waiting for us. When I turned back to Hudson, he was walking toward the other shops, already several feet away. I jogged to catch up with him but slowed my speed before I got to his side. It was easier to avoid his gaze if I were a step behind him.

We walked in silence and my mind struggled to get a grip on the situation. We were headed to Central Parking. He must have driven himself, probably parked in one of the club's designated parking spots. He usually only drove himself for sport, and he didn't really seem in the "for sport" mood. He must be driverless for another reason. Like, he'd been so worked up he couldn't even wait for a ride to be arranged. He simply took off, in a rage. I tried to imagine it-him at his office, immersed in working when-what? What had happened to make him drop everything and drive himself to find me? But wasn't that the million dollar question? Well, we were talking about Hudson Pierce-100 million dollar question was more like it.

At the garage, Hudson clicked the security button on his key ring, and the Maybach announced its presence, parked, as I'd guessed, in one of the club's two VIP spots that were rarely taken.
Despite his chilly attitude, he opened the passenger door for me and reminded me to text David before walking around to the driver's side.

I punched a quick message into my phone that I prayed made sense without sounding like I was in trouble. But wasn't I? In big trouble?

No, why should I be? Just because I was in love with the man, because we had some unspoken commitment to each other that I had broken with my secrets-none of that meant that I had to sit by like a wayward child waiting for her punishment. I was a big girl. Sure, I had to take responsibility for my actions, but I didn't deserve to be in the dark, handled with hostility and rage.

We'd just pulled out of the garage when I decided to take a stand. "What's going on?" I was met with silence. "Hudson?"

"I'm not ready to talk about this yet." The vein in his neck twitched. I'd never seen him like that. Not even when he'd accused me of being involved with David.

David. If I had to make a guess, I was betting that was the source of his ire. Still, I played it cautiously, giving nothing away, even though a part of me wanted to spill everything, tell Hudson every little moment of betrayal. But I was too frightened that I'd lose him, so instead I delivered a generic plea. "Whatever it is I did, I'm sorry. I'm sorry and I'll do whatever I have to do to fix it."

A cabbie honked as Hudson switched lanes, pulling out in front of him. "Alayna, I can't talk about this while I'm driving."

He accelerated through a yellow light and I braced myself against the console. "Yeah, good idea. Focus on the road because you're scaring me."

The look he shot me was pure fury. "Good. Maybe you should be scared."

I didn't try to talk after that. His driving didn't improve, even in the silence, and I was grateful it was a short distance to The Bowery. I hadn't even been aware the underground parking existed until we'd entered the tunnel and parked next to his Mercedes. Huh, I'd wondered where he kept that when he wasn't using it.

Being with Hudson, I'd gotten used to doors being opened for me, but I hopped out the minute the car stopped. He might be mad, and I might deserve it, but I didn't have to take it like a pu**y.

We rode the elevator in sharp silence. In the penthouse, Hudson headed straight for the bar. I followed, my arms folded over my chest, and waited for him to decide that he was ready to talk.

He'd poured and drank half of his Scotch before facing me. "Tell me one thing. One thing and think carefully before you answer because I want to believe what you tell me." His voice was even, measured.

I leaned against the back of the couch, bracing myself.

"Are you still in love with him?"

So it was David. How Hudson had found out was beyond me. I couldn't imagine David sidling up to his boss and sharing the sexual adventures he'd had with me.

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