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The Dirty Series 2(5)

By:Amelia Wilde



I can’t wipe the smile off my face. “I do,” I joke, echoing hypothetical wedding vows. I’m only half kidding, but I’ll never admit it.

Christian bursts out laughing, the sound deep and musical. “I remember what we said the other night. It’s still true for me. Is it true for you?”

“Yes,” I say, my expression turning serious. “It doesn’t make sense, but it’s still true.” Truth or not, I can’t bring myself to say the words again. I’m too consumed by the jitters. The tattoo on his bare chest catches my eye, and I spend a few seconds tracings its curves and lines with my gaze. It’s an intricate coat of arms, the thick lines dark on his skin, and the design is divided into different sections, each with an image inside. Something pricks at the back of my mind. Something is off about it, but I can’t put my finger on what it is.

“We can’t be public, though. My job—”

“I know. We’ll work it out.”

“Good.” I let out a breath. I’m still not willing to give up my job over this. Maybe if we were married…nah, I’d still want to work. I’m not the stay-at-home type.

“You don’t think it makes sense?”

“No,” I say, rolling over onto my back. Christian slides across the bed, and then traces a finger over my jawline. “We just met, and I’m barely out of my last long-term relationship, and you’re a playboy who—”

“Prove it.”

“Oh, stop. You’re at the Swan almost every night with a different woman!”

“I haven’t been.”

“Since when?”

“Since you.”

His deep blue eyes are locked on mine. Maybe it doesn’t matter that all this happened fast. What we feel when we’re together is the most important thing, and right now I feel complete. Goddamn perfect.

Except…

I glance around Christian’s bedroom, at the expensive, heavy furnishings, spotless and neatly arranged. Then I look back into his eyes. “I’m not like you, though.”

A muscle twitches in his cheek, and again I feel that strange energy, that sensation that tells me I might have hit a nerve. I don’t see how I could…

“How so?” His question comes a bit too late.

“I’m not rich!” I push myself up to sitting against the pillows piled against the headboard. “I’m pretty sure this cottage is actually a castle.” I give the word “cottage” air quotes, and Christian’s face is instantly relaxed again.

“That doesn’t matter to me.”

“What does matter to you?”

He presses his lips together thoughtfully. “There’s something about you that I can’t ignore. When you’re in the room, my attention is just drawn to you. You’re so…you’re so goddamn confident, so sure of yourself, so hot…” Christian plants several kisses down the side of my neck, then pulls back. “I can trust you.”

“I’m pretty sure I can trust you, too.”

His reaction is instant, and it’s only a flash, but I see it—fear. It’s not something that often appears on Christian’s face.

“What was that?”

“What?” he says, his half-smile already back in place.

“You looked…” I don’t want to embarrass him. I don’t want to be the kind of woman who comes on a romantic getaway with a man and then hounds him for every single questionable expression that crosses his face. “You just looked a little freaked out for a second.” I try to lighten the moment. “Maybe I’m seeing things. That kind of vigorous sex we had can play tricks on your mind.”

“I’m not afraid,” he says, his voice even and calm. “I’m—I want you to be sure you can trust me.” He raises his hands, indicating the room. “That’s why we’re here. I want you to see how I really live.”

“Are you telling me you don’t always live in your apartment?”

“I almost never live there.”

I shoot him a look. That apartment was pretty damn nice.

“That’s…more of a crash pad. I spend most of my nights at my penthouse in Midtown.”

Understanding dawns slowly in my mind. “Wait. You have a separate apartment just to bring women to?”

He doesn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

I consider Christian’s face carefully. He doesn’t look ashamed to tell me this, and he shouldn’t be. He’s rich enough to have several places to stay. The crucial element here is that he’s being honest with me about it.

My heart warms, glows. He’s telling me everything, even the things that come off as a little bit unsavory.

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