“Don’t be like that. We’ll sit down together to work out the logistics of when and where. We’ll need Raúl to get a handle on her routine. By definition, an ambush is unexpected, but it should happen somewhere she feels safe and comfortable, too. Give her a nice jolt.” I shrugged. “She’s laid down the ground rules. We’re just taking her cue.”
Gideon took a long, deep breath. I could practically see him thinking, his agile mind trying to find a way to get the result he wanted.
So I distracted him from that. “Remember this morning, when I said I’d explain why I decided to tell my parents about our marriage?”
His focus instantly shifted, his gaze watchful and alert. “Of course.”
“I know it took a lot of courage for you to tell Dr. Petersen about Hugh. Especially considering how you feel about psychologists.” And who could blame him for that distrust? Hugh had come into Gideon’s life under the guise of therapeutic help and had become an abuser instead. “You inspired me to be equally brave.”
His gorgeous face softened with tenderness. “I heard that song today,” he murmured, reminding me of the time I’d sung the Sara Bareilles anthem to him.
“You needed me to tell him,” he said quietly. The words were phrased as a statement but were really posed as a question.
“Yeah, I did.” More than that, Gideon had needed it. Sexual abuse was private and personal, but in some way, we had to put it out there. It wasn’t a dirty, shameful secret to shove into a box. It was an ugly truth, and truths—by nature—needed to be aired.
“And you need to confront Anne.”
My brows rose. “I actually wasn’t swinging the conversation back to that, but yeah … I do.”
This time, Gideon nodded. “All right. We’ll figure it out.”
I indulged in a mental fist pump. Score one for Gideva.
“You also said there was something you wanted more than having sex with me,” he reminded me dryly, the look in his eyes calling my bluff.
“Well, I wouldn’t put it quite like that.” I ran my fingers through his hair. “Banging you is literally my favorite activity. Ever.”
He smirked. “But?”
“You’re going to think I’m silly.”
“I’ll still think you’re hot.”
I kissed him for that. “In high school, most of the girls I knew had boyfriends. You know how it is, raging hormones and epic love stories.”
“So I heard,” he said wryly.
My words caught in my throat. So stupid of me to forget how it must have been for Gideon. He’d had no one until Corinne in college, too damaged by Hugh’s exploitation to have the normal teenage-love-affair angst I was thinking of.
I cursed silently. “Forget it. It’s lame.”
“You know that’s not going to work.”
“Just this once?”
He shook his head. “Spit it out.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Fine. Teenagers talk on the phone at night for hours because they have school and parents and can’t be together. They spend all night chatting with their boyfriends about … whatever. I never had that. I never …” I bit back my embarrassment. “I never had a guy like that.”
I didn’t have to explain. Gideon knew how I’d been. How sex had once been my twisted way to feel loved. The guys I’d fucked hadn’t called me. Not before or after.
“Anyway,” I finished, my voice rough, “I had this idea that we could have that for now … while we’re waiting. Late-night calls where we talk just to hear each other’s voice.”
He stared at me.
“It sounded better in my head,” I muttered.
Gideon was quiet for a long minute. Then he kissed me. Hard.
I was still reeling from that when he pulled away and spoke in a voice that was more than a little hoarse.
“I’m that guy for you, Eva.”
My throat tightened up.
“Every milestone, angel. Every rite of passage … Everything.” He swiped at the tear that leaked out of the corner of my eye. “And you’re that girl for me.”
“God.” I gave a watery laugh. “I love you so much.”
Gideon smiled. “I’m heading home now, because that’s what you want. And you’re going to call me and tell me that again, because that’s what I want.”
I woke before my alarm the next day. Lying in bed for a few minutes, I let my brain wake up as much as it was going to without coffee. I forced myself to focus on the fact that it was the start of my final day at work.