Found in You: Page 42
"It's not only him, Hudson. I have other things I'm working on. And I don't even have a passport."
"I already have that arranged."
"I don't even want to know how you pulled that off." I pushed past him again and headed for the bed. I sat on the edge and put on my socks.
Hudson appeared from my closet carrying my running shoes.
"Thank you." He was always so considerate, but I knew his attentiveness this morning had motive. It occurred to me that I could just give in. But I could be stubborn too.
I picked up right where I'd left off with a new excuse. "Also, my brother's coming out from Boston sometime this week. I need to get him the key to my apartment and let him harass me for some reason."
Hudson bent to put on my left shoe while I worked on the other. "I can arrange for someone to meet him, you know. It doesn't have to be you."
Now that sounded like a good plan, even if I didn't go to Japan. Even if I didn't go to Japan? Dammit, he had me considering it.
I shook my head. "You seriously have a solution for any protest I make, don't you?"
"I guarantee that I do.
So why are you still protesting?"
"Because I have a life that involves more than you."
"I hate that."
I looked up from my tied shoe to see him giving me a pretty effective pout. "Don't be cute."
"I want you with me. I'll use any tactic I can to make that happen."
He held out his hand to help me up. I took it and was immediately pulled into his arms.
Yeah, that felt good. How had I gone all that time since waking without touching him? He'd become so necessary to my life, to my routine. Was it even possible to spend time away from him? And how much time were we talking about?
Always in tune with me, he spoke directly to my unvoiced thoughts, nuzzling his cheek against mine. "I may be gone for several days. I can't bear to be apart from you that long. It kills me that you think you can."
They were the kinds of words I'd always dreamed of being told. I was the clingy one. I was the get-too-fucking-attached chick. What was it about Hudson that kept my obsessiveness at bay? Did it mean I didn't feel as deeply about him as I thought I did? That I didn't truly love him?
No, I did love him. Truly. There was no doubt. It was because I felt secure about his feelings for me, god only knew why, that I was able to remain sensible.
But I also understood that look in his eyes, that yearning to be with someone who didn't necessarily reciprocate. I'd been passed up and thrown away so many times. It hurt.
Even though Hudson was only going for a short trip and not forever, I got his need and I couldn't stand the idea of making him feel that misery.
I also couldn't imagine putting everything on hold and flying off to Japan at the drop of a hat. "I don't want to be apart from you either, Hudson. I...can I think about it?" I bit my lower lip, waiting for his response, hoping he wasn't too disappointed with my maybe.
He pressed his forehead against mine. "I suppose."
Well, he took it better than I'd thought he would. "When do you need a decision?"
"Any time before the plane leaves the runway. Say, ten-ish."
"Okay. I'll think about it and let you know by this evening. Does that work?"
"It does." He stuck his hands down the back of my running shorts and pulled me closer. "You know, every time you say you need to think about something, you end up coming around to my way in the end. When are you going to learn to just say yes to begin with?"
I laughed. "Not today."
"It was worth a try."
We held each other in silence for several long seconds. He was out of sorts-in a good way-his mood playful and easy, his touch soft and tender. It seemed every emotional scene we shared was followed by a reunion that brought us closer than we had been before. Our evening before had been one of our worst. But this, like the lovemaking that followed the fighting, was oh, so close.
Thinking about it brought warmth to my chest. "Thank you for last night. It was beautiful."
"That it was." He circled my nose with his. "Very much so." It seemed he wanted to say more, but he didn't. Instead, he kissed me sweetly.
When he was finished, he pulled away reluctantly. "That's enough." He swatted my behind, as if I were the one who'd started the embrace. Then he eyed my outfit as if taking it in for the first time. "So I'm guessing you aren't going straight to the club."
I scooped my hair into a ponytail and threw a scrunchie from the nightstand around it. "I thought I'd get a run in first. A real run, outdoors. Before it gets too hot."
"Good idea." He looked in the mirror, straightening his tie. "I have an early meeting myself."
"I figured. You aren't usually dressed this early." He had yet to don his jacket and looked positively scrumptious in his fitted maroon dress shirt and skinny black tie. I may have even licked my lips.
"Trust me, precious, if I didn't have other plans, I would definitely not be dressed." He did that thing where he scanned my body with his eyes, lighting my skin on fire. "And you wouldn't need to get your exercise with a run."
"So sure you'd score, huh?"
He raised a brow. "Wouldn't I?"
"You would." He always would. He always did. Fortunately, when Hudson scored, I scored, so it was worth letting him be a winner.
Hudson grabbed his suit jacket, and we left the bedroom together. I snagged my key to the penthouse from my purse and slipped it into the cup of my bra.
His mouth curled into a half smile. "Do you hide everything there?"
I shrugged with one shoulder. "It's pretty handy if you ask me. They should build pockets into bras. I guarantee they'd sell."
"That can be our next business venture together."
I rolled my eyes. Hudson was way more ambitious than I was. Probably part of the reason he was a multi-billionaire and I was living paycheck to paycheck.
"I'm ready to go down. Are you?"
He raised an eyebrow.
"Go down to the lobby, you pervert."
"No, I need to answer a few emails first. Go on ahead." He turned toward the library then changed his mind, swiveling back to me. "Hold on."
He reached for my hand and pulled me in for another kiss, this one deeper yet still more tender than sexual. It was me who pulled away first and only because I knew if I didn't that I might drown in him. He insisted on one more peck after that.
"What?" he asked when he'd finally let me go.
"You're so...I don't know...sweet this morning. What's up with you?"
"I suppose I'm simply happy."
"I'm glad. Really glad." I pushed the button to the elevator then had a horrible thought. What if his unusual demeanor was meant to distract me from the David situation? "Hey, I meant it when I said we're not finished with the discussion about management at The Sky Launch."
"Persistent little vixen, aren't you? We'll have plenty of time to discuss it on our flight to Japan."
I scowled. "Now who's being persistent?" I stepped in the elevator. "We'll talk later. About all of it."
The door was closing when his hand stopped it. "Alayna."
I pushed the Door Open button and looked at him questioningly. He continued to lean against the elevator door, his brows knit. "Why did you...come to me last night?"
His wording was tentative, and I suspected he was tiptoeing around the words I had used. He seemed to avoid the L word with quiet precision, I noticed.
Regardless, he wanted to know what had spurred my need for him the night before. It made sense-it must have seemed odd when I'd been so mad and then so desperate for affection. "It's sort of hard to explain."
"Would you try?"
I pursed my lips, wondering if I could put into words the strange epiphany that I'd experienced. "I was unpacking. And I don't know why I hadn't noticed it before, but I realized the books you ordered-and the DVDs-that they were for me."
His brow furrowed even further. "I told you they were yours. You know I prefer to read on my Kindle."
"No, I mean, that they were the books I wanted to read. That you'd thought very specifically about what I wanted. It made me feel good. Made me feel loved. Made me feel loved by you."
"Oh." He cleared his throat, and I swear his cheeks seemed pink. "Well, yes. Good, then." He backed out of the doorway, stumbling and catching himself as he stepped.
"Wow. I had no idea I had the power to fluster you."
His smile returned though his face still appeared flushed. "Don't get used to it."
My grin remained all the way to the lobby.
My smile was long gone by the time I'd returned to the empty penthouse.
Instead of bringing me into a calm, meditative state, my run only jumbled up my thoughts. There was so much to sort out, so many conflicting emotions to wade through. Hudson had handled the Paul situation fairly well, and he was going to fix it for me. He deserved me to give something in return. What compromise could I make regarding David? I didn't want him gone, and I didn't want to run The Sky Launch.
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