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I swallowed, letting her words sink in.
She was right again. Olivia loved me. I saw it in her eyes last night. I saw the way they filled with tears when I mentioned my fears. No matter what she was going through, I knew she’d never meant to hurt me—to make me doubt her love.
“So, what now? What do I do?”
“Ha. I can’t tell you what to do,” she laughed. “Just think about Olivia. Think about what she likes—what she needs to feel good. To relax.”
“Maybe I could take her to a special night at Voyeur,” I thought out loud, trying to come up with something different than flowers and sex.
“You could…”
“Yeah, but it’s been tense between her and Daniel,” I continued mostly to myself. “And after last night, I think a break between them would be good.”
“Dammit,” I groaned, wiping a hand over my face.
“You’ll figure something out. You have this whole hotel that is mostly finished but not open and two erotic clubs. You have the resources. Just use your imagination and make it happen.”
I flipped through ideas in my head like a Rolodex. Until landing on the most obvious resource I had…sitting right in front of me. I eyed the brunette with my most charming smile.
“Don’t look at me like that,” she sneered.
“I need your help.”
“Of course, you do,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Listen, I’ll bring you your favorite ice cream and get that wine you love the next time I’m in New York. A case,” I added on when she pressed her lips together. One brow slowly rose, unimpressed with my offer. “And I’ll watch the kids for a night.”
“Okay,” I agreed with a little reluctance. It’d be worth it.
“For the entire night. And you have to feed them breakfast the next morning before we come get them.”
I clenched my jaw around the immediate denial, remembering the screams from the twins over the phone. Besides, maybe it would be good practice for when Olivia and I had our own baby. Because we would have a child. She was too good of a woman to not pass all that love and strength onto a child.
Carina smiled victoriously. “What can I do for you?”
Chapter Nine
“Would you like me to top off your champagne before we land?”
I pulled my gaze away from the dying sun and nodded to the steward. He expertly poured the champagne before vanishing. Turning my attention back to the flat landscape below, I sipped from the glass. I tried to focus on savoring the bubbles bursting on my tongue rather than the disappointment simmering in my chest.
Kent should be here.
But he wasn’t.
When I’d shown up to work this morning, Carina had been waiting for me in my office, informing me that I was needed for assistance in Chicago. Something about Mark and sick kids. I barely heard past the excited buzz. Not only was it a huge opportunity at the company, but Kent was still in Chicago.
We’d barely talked since he left after our night three days ago. The weight of everything we needed to talk about filled the space between us, and we’d both silently agreed that it wasn’t a conversation for over the phone. So, the thought of seeing him—seeing the hotel that had consumed so much of his time—left me vibrating with anticipation.
Except, when I called to tell him the good news, he’d solemnly informed me that he was on his way to the airport to fly out to New York to meet with his staff there. His casual delivery landed like a needle to an over-inflated balloon. I’d collapsed back into my chair, all excitement gone. The void left behind quickly filled with wild, jagged thoughts.
Maybe he planned the trip to New York because he found out you were coming to Chicago.
Because he doesn’t want to see you.
Because he’s decided your crazy isn’t worth it, and he doesn’t want to tell you at the brand-new hotel in case you go full batshit insane and burn it down.
I squeezed my eyes shut and sucked in a deep breath through my nose.
“Breathe through the emotions. Recognize them. Feel them. Let them float away.” I repeated the words softly until my heart slowed.
Opening my eyes, I sent a silent thank you to Hanna for the app she mentioned at dinner. It had taken me a few glasses of wine to break through my skeptical barrier. Once I had, I was pleasantly surprised. After listening to the introduction, I’d dubbed it meditation light—something for even the biggest cynic.
I’d selected a random series of meditations, thinking I’d probably fall asleep before it even finished. Except it hit on my current situation like it was chosen for me, talking about feeling your emotions rather than shoving them away. I’d ended up listening to the entire series and finishing another two glasses of wine. I wasn’t sure that was the correct way to meditate to a better you, but whatever. It was a start.