Found in You

Found in You: Page 5

Hudson reached his hand out to help me down from my perch. Reaching around me, he grabbed the ends of my sash and tied it at my waist. "It's more than okay. I want you to stay. I planned that you would stay." Which meant I would likely find women's shampoo and conditioner in the shower, too.

Hudson's phone buzzed and he pulled it out of his suit pocket to read his text message. "My driver's here. Seems I used up the time I meant to spend giving you the penthouse tour."

I shrugged. "Whoops."

"You'll have to explore on your own." He walked to the kitchen sink and washed his hands.

"Are you giving me permission to snoop? Because it sounds like you are and you don't understand-I'm a snooper."

He chuckled. "I don't doubt it. I have nothing to hide. Snoop away. Use the gym. Take a nap. There's food in the fridge. Do and take whatever you like. You work at eight tonight?"

"Yes." I'd stopped being surprised by Hudson's omniscient way of knowing my schedule. It was the sort of thing I'd usually do-memorize a guy's schedule, find out all the details of his life. It was kind of nice to be on the other side of that for once.

"Good. I'll make sure I'm home by six." Home. He said it like it was our place, not his. Another ping of anxiety stabbed at my chest. "We'll have dinner together before you leave."

"I hope you aren't expecting me to cook." Or to not latch on.

"Don't be silly. I'll arrange for the cook to come."

I nodded, my insides turned into knots by Hudson's easiness about our relationship.

"Oh, and the books for the library should be here today. There's an intercom there." He pointed to the wall by the light switch. "And one in the hallway by the elevators and a third one in the bedroom. When security buzzes up, you can approve the delivery and the guard will let them up."

"Sure thing." Trusting me with intercoms and security...this was getting bigger by the minute. "Wait, books?"

"Yes, I ordered a few books. Since you said it was your favorite part of the library."

"Right." It had been part of our charade for his mother. She didn't believe I had ever been to Hudson's penthouse and, of course, I hadn't. Meaning to trick me, she'd asked me what my favorite room was. I had said the library. An avid reader, the library was a natural room for me to choose, and I mentioned my love of books to Sophia. Apparently, though, Hudson's library didn't have any books.

Not at the time, anyway. "I still feel somehow tricked about that whole thing, by the way. But when did you have a chance to order them?"

The conversation had only taken place on Sunday when we'd been at his parent's place in the Hamptons. The day I voiced for the first time that I was falling in love. The day before he'd left me alone with his family while he went to try to save one of his companies, Plexis, from being sold.

"I ordered them Monday night from my hotel. After the deal with Plexis." His voice held the slightest hint of disappointment when he said the name of his company. His disappointment mirrored how I was suddenly feeling. "What is it?"

I considered saying nothing, but the talk it out mantra replayed in my head. "It's silly, but I'd convinced myself you hadn't called me or anything because you didn't have time. But it seems you did." Hudson had left me without anything but a brief text. He didn't call or contact me until more than a day later. I had believed we were over then. I'd been devastated and heartbroken. Now I found he was ordering books when he could have been calling me? "Like I said, it's silly."

Hudson tugged me into his arms. "I was trying to not be with you at the time, Alayna. But I couldn't sleep that night. Because I couldn't stop thinking about you." He kissed me on the forehead as I furrowed my brow. "Tell me-what's going on in there?"

"It's just..." How could I express the myriad of emotions that I'd been through that morning? Especially this growing fear tugging at my gut-this fear that anything that seemed too good to be true usually was.

I took a shaky breath. "You've made a complete one-eighty, Hudson. About you and me. You were so intent to be only sex only half a day ago. And now...who are you?" It scared me. It made me doubt what he felt. It made me wonder if he was playing games with me.

Hudson cupped my face in his hands and pierced me with his deep gray eyes. "Don't do that. I mean it."

He widened his eyes, making sure I was with him.

I was.

"I'm the same man, Alayna. A man who commits to whichever plan he's chosen. I had told myself I couldn't have you. So I didn't let myself even try."

"And now you've let yourself." I said it like a statement, but it was really a question. A question that I absolutely needed answered.

"Yes. And I will commit to this new plan as fiercely as the other. Even more fiercely. Because that plan was a compromise." He pressed his forehead against mine. "This plan is the one I should have pursued to begin with. It's the better plan."

My throat tightened. "The plan with the greater potential of profit."

"Unfathomable potential." He parted his lips and bent in for a kiss, sucking gently as he moved his mouth over mine. It was a sweet and tender kiss and it ended too quickly. "I have to go. Save more of that for later."


I walked with him to the foyer. He retrieved his briefcase from the closet then kissed my forehead once more before stepping into the elevator. We stood, eyes latched until the doors closed.

As soon as he was gone, I fell against the foyer wall. Oh my god, was this really happening? Was I really making myself at home in the penthouse of my billionaire boyfriend? I felt like Cinderella. Or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Did Hudson really want me in his life like this or was I completely insane?

I was insane. Insanely happy.

With a squeal, I ran to the living room and threw myself on the sofa. I closed my eyes and replayed the morning in my mind-waking up in Hudson's bed, the hot sex on the kitchen table. But what I focused on the most were his words.

I'd like to f**k you good morning every morning.

I'll be home by six.

I couldn't stop thinking about you.

Unfathomable potential.

After several minutes of grinning so widely my cheeks hurt, the doubts started to creep in again, as they always did. Was it truly possible for Hudson to change so completely, seemingly overnight? Or was I merely a game he was playing? Maybe he wasn't even conscious of what he was doing and he was manipulating me and my emotions out of habit.

Or maybe, like I, he didn't know how to do this relationship thing and he was simply acting the way he thought he should, even if that meant rushing.

Possibly it was all completely genuine. I felt those things for him after all. I wanted to be with him every day, all the time. I was ready for that commitment level, even though I wouldn't have said so two days before.

But I jumped into things, clung too quickly. That was my way.

Maybe it was Hudson's way too.

I sat up and glanced around the room. I had been serious when I'd said I was a snooper and usually I'd jump right on that. But I didn't feel the need to at the moment. I did feel the need to get in the shower and clean up. I was still sticky from the evening before, not to mention our morning activities.

I went back to the master bedroom, noting on the way a closed door that most likely led to the library as well as another bedroom. In the master, I stepped into the closet Hudson had retrieved my robe from. It was a walk-in and was mostly empty except for one rack of clothes. There were a few dresses most likely meant for the club, several pairs of shorts, jeans and sweat pants, and a rack of tops. One dresser drawer was partially opened so I pulled it out the rest of the way and found panties and bras. There was also a negligee. I guess I knew what Hudson wanted me to wear to bed that night.

I let out a happy sigh and headed to the bathroom, this time noticing a closed door on my way. I peeked in and discovered it was a second walk-in closet, this one full of Hudson's clothing. I walked through, running my hands along the rows of suits. Was it ridiculous how much I adored seeing his clothes like this? It felt so personal, so intimate. As if by being in the center of his closet, I was in the center of his life. I twirled around slowly, basking in the metaphor. It felt warm and completely right.

My shower was long and hot. If I'd been in my studio apartment, I'd have run out of hot water long before the time I finally stepped out from the luxuriating pulse of Hudson's deluxe showerhead. I wrapped a towel around my body and put my hair in a turban, then left the bathroom to pick out some clothes from my closet.

My closet.

But once I was in the bedroom, I heard voices coming from the main part of the apartment and a click of heels on the marble floor in the foyer.

It couldn't be the housekeeper-not only was she not due in that day, but she would have been alone.

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