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The Dirty Series 2(9)

By:Amelia Wilde



Matthews laughs, his relief palpable, and the two men exchange numbers.

The instant Matthews has receded back into the crowd, Christian spins on his heel to face me, his face wretched with pain.

“That’s enough for now.”

“Yes,” I say gently. “Enough.”

“Let’s go back to my penthouse.”





Chapter Thirty-Four





Christian



I can’t fucking believe what just happened.

Who the hell would have expected to run into a guy like Greg Matthews at a fundraiser for New York City afterschool shit? Not me. I haven’t seen him since the beginning of high school, when his father moved their entire family overseas to start a multinational corporation. He was gone well before my brother died.

On top of that, I can’t believe how much this is affecting me.

Hearing those words come out of his mouth has put me into a tailspin, and the fancy food and cocktails served so generously at the beginning of the fundraiser churn in my stomach.

I turn back to face Quinn. She is standing stock-still, her facial expression and posture conveying sympathy.

“That’s enough for now.”

She can clearly sense how this is non-negotiable because she agrees with me in a soothing tone. “Yes. Enough.”

I haven’t planned anything for the evening. This week has been packed to the fucking gills, and it’s been easier just to meet her at her place where there’s not a minefield of my personal items to distract us. I told Quinn at the Cottage that I would take her to my penthouse whenever she wanted, but she hasn’t brought it up since we came back to the city.

And I’ve been lying awake at night, trying to figure out what I’m going to do.

I have to tell her.

Now it’s clearer than ever that I have to tell her.

But how?

How do I open my mouth and reveal this kind of secret to a woman who’s had enough lying, cheating behavior to last a lifetime?

Even when I stay at Carolyn’s, my arms wrapped snuggly around Quinn, feeling her chest rise and fall peacefully against my side as she breathes, it takes hours for me to fall asleep. As soon as my head hits the pillow, my heart rate skyrockets, beating so hard against my rib cage that I’m surprised it doesn’t wake her.

Her words ring in my ears.

I’m fucking over liars.

That’s me.

A liar.

If not actively, then at least by omission, which isn’t any better.

Now this thing with Matthews.

I feel like I’m being driven into a trap, the escape route narrowing and narrowing until it’s going to take some kind of bodily sacrifice to get through to the other side.

All of these thoughts rage in my mind as Louis makes the drive from SoHo to Midtown. Quinn sits silently by my side, holding my hand tightly in hers, and I can’t think of a single thing to say. If I open my mouth right now, I might blurt out the awful truth that I’ve been carrying around with me for ten years.

And now—now is not the right time.

Louis pulls up to the curb and hops out, coming around to open Quinn’s door. She shades her eyes with her hand and looks up at the building, a skyscraper owned by Pierce Industries.

Calm the fuck down, Pierce.

I give myself just long enough to take in a deep breath and then I climb out to stand beside her.

“You’re all the way up at the top?”

“You’ve got that right.”

I lead her into the building, giving the doorman a nod as we go by.

“Mr. Pierce,” he says, nodding back.

“Phillip.”

Across from the main bank of elevators is a single shaft that goes one place and one place only: my penthouse. I take the access card out of my breast pocket, where I put it every goddamn morning, and swipe it through the reader.

“Highly exclusive,” Quinn says as we step inside, and I rub the small of her back. She’s trying to lighten the mood. I have to let her.

“Only the best,” I say lightly, as the car whisks us up, up, up.

When I open the door to the penthouse, Quinn steps inside, her eyes wide and alert. I can tell she’s excited, even if she doesn’t want to admit it. I wouldn’t admit it either, given the scene she just witnessed, and the heavy silence that followed us all the way back to the building.

The entryway opens up into a massive living area with a wall of windows looking out over the city. As the evening turns to night, and the lights of the buildings start flickering on, it’s a breathtaking view.

“Wow,” Quinn whispers, walking across to the bank of windows.

“That’s not all there is.”

I show her the kitchen, the library, the exercise room, and the two guest suites.

“Do you have a chef here, too?”

“I’m thinking of hiring one. Up until recently, I just ate at the Swan when I was in the city. I do have a housekeeper, but this place is smaller than the Cottage—she’s only here three days a week.”

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