If I could just get her to wind down and get in bed, she might drift off. It would buy me some time to figure out what had happened, what risk remained, talk to Dr. Petersen …
Fuck. And Victor. I had to call Eva’s dad. Get him on a flight to New York as soon as possible. Cary. He should be here, too. Once I had more facts and a support system for my wife, then I could tell her. Just a few hours. That was all I needed.
I struggled to ignore the sick fear that Eva wouldn’t forgive me for the delay.
She was letting Lucky out when I stepped back into the bedroom. A laugh escaped her at the puppy’s enthusiasm. The joyous sound, one I loved so much, pierced me like a knife in the chest.
Kissing Lucky’s head, she looked at me with bright eyes. “You should put him on his puppy pad. He’s been locked up awhile.”
“I’ll take him.”
She rubbed Lucky’s head before passing him over. “I hear a bath running.”
“A soak might do you good.”
“Limber me up?” she teased. The look in her eyes … It killed me. I almost told her, but I couldn’t get the words past the lump in my throat.
Instead, I turned away and headed down the hallway to the half bath off the living room, where Lucky’s patch of fake grass was. I set him down on it, ran my hands through my hair.
Think, damn it. God, I needed a drink.
Yes. A drink. Hard liquor.
I went to the kitchen, tried to think of something strong that Eva would actually drink. A digestif, maybe? The house phone. Shit. I went to turn off the ringer and saw that someone had already thought of it. Turning back around, I spotted the coffeemaker.
Something hot. Relaxing. No caffeine.
Tea. I went the pantry and searched, shoving around the items on the shelves looking for a box of tea Angus kept at the penthouse. Some herbal crap he said smoothed the rough edges. I found it and focused, filling a mug from the instant hot water tap. I dropped two tea bags into it, a liberal pour of rum, then a scoop of honey. I stirred, spilled onto the counter. More rum.
Tossing the tea bags into the sink, I headed back to my wife.
For an instant, when I didn’t find her in the bedroom, I panicked. Then I heard her in the closet and my breath left me in a rush. I set the mug down by the bath, turned the water off, and went to her. I found her sitting on the bench, taking off her shoes.
“The dress is ruined, I think,” she said, as she stood in her bare feet, showing me the tear along the left side.
“I’ll buy you another.”
She flashed me a big smile. “You’re spoiling me.”
It was fucking torture. Every second. Every lie I told. Every truth I left unsaid.
I was flayed by the love in her eyes. The utter trust. Sweat slid down my back. I yanked my jacket off and tossed it aside, clawing at my bow tie and collar until they both came apart and let me breathe.
“Help me out of this.” She turned her back to me.
I unfastened the gown and pushed it off her shoulders, letting it fall to a puddle on the floor. Then I unhooked her bra, hearing her sigh with pleasure as its constriction eased.
Looking her over, I cursed silently at the bruise already shadowing her hip and the abrasions on her arm from the red carpet.
She yawned. “Wow. I’m tired.”
Thank God. “You should sleep, then.”
She shot me a heated look over her shoulder. “I’m not that tired.”
Jesus. Being gutted couldn’t hurt worse. I couldn’t touch her, make love to her … not with my deceit between us.
I swallowed hard. “All right, then. I’ve got to see to some business first. And get your purse. I made a hot toddy for you. It’s by the bathtub. Just relax and I’ll join you as soon as I can.”
“Is everything all right?”
Unable to lie any more than I already had, I told her an irrelevant truth. “I’ve missed a lot of work this week. Some pressing things need to be dealt with.”
“Sorry. I know that’s my fault.” She kissed my jaw. “Love you, ace.”
Grabbing a robe off the hooks, she slid into it and walked out. I stood there, surrounded by the smell of her, my hands still tingling from the feel of her, my heart pounding with fear and self-loathing.
Lucky raced in so fast, he ricocheted off the door before barreling into my feet. I picked him up, rubbing the top of his head.
This was one nightmare he couldn’t wake me from.
Raúl waited in my home office, talking briskly on his phone. I joined him, closing the door behind me.
He ended the call and stood. “The police are on scene. The gunman’s in custody.”