Now is my time. Slowly I push away from the wall and murmur her name.
Her head comes up on a gasp, her gaze snagging on mine in the mirror. I stand a few feet behind her, our gazes locked. Her eyes are wide, her chest heaving, her mouth dropping open in shock, and then she’s whirling on me, headed straight toward me like a tornado, her hands clenched into fists as she bombards me with an endless string of curse words and hits, her knuckles sharp against my chest.
“Calm down.” I manage to grab one of her wrists, but she wiggles out of my hold. “Lily, please.”
She steps back and stretches out her arms, hands wide as she shoves at my chest. I let her make contact, a grunt leaving me. Damn, the girl is stronger than she appears. “Please? You have the nerve to ask please? Fuck you!”
I grab her, holding her wrists, my fingers loose, my thumbs sweeping across her skin at first contact like they can’t help themselves. Christ, she’s soft. So soft and warm, her entire body vibrating with righteous anger, hatred blazing in her eyes as she glares up at me. Like that old saying goes, if looks could kill.
I would be a dead man, slashed to ribbons by the hate in Lily’s gaze.
“Get your hands off of me,” she says through gritted teeth, her arms stiff as she tries to break free from my hold.
“I need you to listen to me. It’s about Pilar,” I tell her, not letting her go. If I do, she’s gone. She’ll run out of this apartment without looking back, and no doubt call the cops.
“Listen to what? More lies?” Disgust laces her voice, making me feel like shit. But I still won’t let go of her. “Fine, you want to talk? Let me ask you one thing.”
“Anything,” I agree, hopeful that she’ll be reasonable and listen to my explanations. Once she does that, we can put a plan into motion and figure out how we’re going to expose Pilar for the vengeful person that she is. I’ve already got Levi on board. His technological expertise will come in handy.
“Were you working for Pilar the entire time we were in Maui? Is that why you stole my laptop? Was it for her?” She stops fighting me, her arms slack in my grip, and I keep hold of her, my entire body going still at her words, the air stalling in my lungs.
Fuck. I shouldn’t be surprised. She’s damn smart. Smarter than just about anyone gives her credit for, including me.
I have to be truthful with her. No more lies. If I want to get her back, I need to be honest. It’s all or nothing now.
“Yes,” I say, my voice so low I almost can’t hear myself.
She starts to struggle once more, even harder this time, and she dislodges one of my hands from her wrist. “I knew it! Asshole! Let me go! Fuck you, let me go!”
I yank her in my arms and wrap her close, my mouth at her ear. “Stop trying to fight me, damn it. I need to talk to you. There are things you need to know, princess.”
“What else do I need to know? You work for the enemy. I can’t believe you tricked me! God, I’m so stupid. So incredibly … dumb.” Her voice cracks and she slumps against me for the tiniest second. Just enough for me to remember exactly what she feels like in my arms, the scent of her hair filling my nostrils, making me weak. Making me want her.
“I didn’t give her the laptop,” I whisper, drifting my hand down her back, wanting to offer her comfort. Knowing she’ll refuse any sort of help I want to give her because she’s stubborn like that. “I still have it.”
Lily lifts her head—ah, fuck me, her eyes shimmering with unshed tears. I can’t stand the sight, the thought that I’m the one responsible for making her cry. “You here to bribe me then? Break into my apartment and demand money for the laptop or whatever? Well, fuck you, I don’t want it. Go ahead and give it to Pilar. Let her try and ruin me. Hurt my family.”
“Jesus, I don’t want your money, Lily. I want …” I blow out a harsh breath, pulling her even closer to me. She doesn’t try and fight it, doesn’t do anything but stare at me with disappointment and sadness filling her damp eyes. Leaving one arm clamped tight around her waist, I reach up and touch her face, let my fingers drift across her cheek. She visibly flinches, as if my touch disgusts her, and I let my hand drop, fighting the disappointment that wants to engulf me.
I have no right to be disappointed. I brought this on myself. I ruined this.
“What do you want?” she asks warily.
“I want your trust.”
She laughs, an ugly, mocking sound. “You lost that. And you’re never going to get it back.”
I will. Eventually. I have to. “Can I tell you what I discovered on your laptop?”
“Not here. I don’t want to talk about anything with you here.” She shakes her head, as if she can’t stand the thought of me being anywhere near her private sanctuary.
“Let’s go to a restaurant, then. Somewhere quiet, where we won’t be interrupted much. I have—there’s a lot I need to tell you.” My fingers ache to touch her again but I don’t. God, she feels good in my arms. Her body molds to mine perfectly. Does she see it? Feel it?
Or did I fuck that up completely?
“I don’t want to talk to you. You need to leave,” she says. “There’s nothing left to say.”
“There’s plenty to say. I need to tell you why.” Her glare shuts me up for a second and I push past my worry. I need to come clean. It’s the only way we’ll get another chance. “And I need to tell you what I found.”