Rose tilts her head, contemplating me. “When is he supposed to leave for New York?”
She’s not stupid; she knows why I’m talking to Mitchell. We’ve talked about me heading back, though I haven’t mentioned to her that I don’t really have a true home there. That I just stay at Cash’s apartment because he lets me. She doesn’t even know Cash exists. She doesn’t know much about my private life at all and for once, I’m ready to tell her everything.
But she’s also naked and my gaze is trying to stay firmly fixed on her face. It’s so damn hard. I’ve had her every which way. We’ve had so much sex I’m surprised my dick hasn’t given out on me yet, I’ve worked it so hard.
Yet I take one look at her, naked and still flushed from her warm shower, and I want to jump her. Push her onto the bed and slide inside of her. There is nowhere else I’d rather be than with Rose.
Everything inside of me goes cold. That is about the scariest revelation I’ve ever had. Because I don’t do commitment, I don’t do relationships, and I definitely don’t do love. I don’t even think I know how to love.
I could learn, though. For Rose.
Fuck no, you can’t. You’re a worthless piece of shit who doesn’t deserve a woman like Rose. When she finds out the truth, she’ll kick your ass to the curb.
That’s an even scarier revelation.
“I’m not sure when he’s leaving yet,” I lie. “It’ll be soon, though.” Damn it. If I want to actually love this girl I need to tell her the truth. It’s just so hard to come out and say, I’m leaving you in two days. Sorry to take off like this, but hey. It’s been real.
I don’t know how to end this. Or continue it, either. She should be going back to New York soon too, but I don’t think she wants to go. Late at night, when we’re both exhausted and drifting off to sleep, she talks of staying in London. Or maybe even Paris. Not that she wants to continue working at Fleur; it sounds more that she wants to explore Europe and be on her own for a while. I think she’s trying to find herself.
And I can’t help her do that. How can I when I don’t even know who I really am?
“You could go with me,” she suggested a few nights ago, and I was thankful for the dark. So she wouldn’t see the mixture of hope and horror that surely crossed my face.
I never did answer her. Like a wimp, I pretended I was asleep. But there’s no pretending now. Yet I still lie like the hustler I am.
“Oh. Okay.” Her face falls and seeing that … hell, it wrecks me. I start to say something reassuring, start to reach for her, but she turns away and I drop my arm, feeling like an ass.
Feeling like I somehow just ruined everything.
“I should go back too. Eventually,” she says as she slips on a pair of skimpy black lace panties. Her back is still to me and I watch in fascination as she goes about her preparations. She pulls a black lace bra from the drawer and hooks it on. I could spend a lifetime watching her get dressed and never get bored. “I have to face my father sometime.”
“Are you scared to face him?” Like I’m scared to face you? I don’t want you to find out my truth. I’m afraid you’ll hate me.
Rose goes still, her hands dropping to her sides, her head bent almost as if in prayer. Slowly she turns toward me once again, vulnerability and sadness etched across her face. “Yes. He’s going to give me the ‘I’m so disappointed in you’ speech. I’ve heard it before and he knows I hate it. But I have to do this. I can’t work there any longer. I’m spinning my wheels at Fleur.”
“Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” I ask. “Quit Fleur for good?”
She lifts her chin, defiant. “I’ve thought long and hard about this. I’m not making this decision lightly.”
“So you’re really going to do it.” The last few nights we’ve talked, tentatively revealing things. Personal details, though nothing ever too incredibly deep, especially coming from me. I’ve listened to her talk for hours about Fleur, her father, her father’s skanky girlfriend whom he just asked to marry him. Rose has mentioned off and on that she’s considering leaving Fleur but I thought it was just talk.
She nods, her eyes dimming. Hearing the word quit can’t be easy. “I don’t know what else I can do. I can’t go back there and continue on as if nothing’s wrong. I’ll be too miserable.”
“So you’ll just give up on the family business. On everything you’ve worked toward since you were a kid.” I can’t believe it. I would never call Rose a quitter. She’s so determined, so fiery when she sets her mind to something. Like I told her a couple of weeks ago, she’s got passion.
She’s also been handed an opportunity so many would kill for—hell, I would kill for it. My family has nothing. My family is nothing. Me and Mom. That’s it. Whereas Rose has her sisters, her father, her grandmother, and who knows how many more people who love and support her.
And I’ve got shit.
“There’s more to it than that.” Her lips thin and her gaze slides away from mine. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“No, I guess I don’t understand why you would trash your career and a job you love all over a woman you don’t like. All because you feel underappreciated.” I shake my head. Am I trying to goad her on purpose?