Thankfully the guy ahead of us moves away and it’s our turn to order.
We find a table in the corner. Tess crosses her legs looking satisfied with herself. Clearly winning her back might take some time. She’s given me her body, but her trust might need some work. Which is okay. I’ve got nothing but time to make her trust me again. After all, if the situation were switched, I don’t know how I would act.
“I’ll get our coffee.” I walk back up to the counter.
When I return and set down our coffee mugs, Tess is staring at my vibrating phone.
“It’s Dr. Miller.”
“I see that. You could have answered.”
“I can’t handle any bad news.” She reaches for the napkin holder; it’s funky and made of a tin can.
“You know I don’t have anything.”
A ding alerts us that there’s a message on my phone. The arrival of our omelets stops me from listening. I wait for the meal to be delivered before I pick up my phone, watching her eyes follow my hands. Her cheeks turn slightly pink.
I tap my fingers on the table. “So, when I get a clean bill of health, we’re done with all the past, right, Tess? We can start building our lives together?”
She caresses the handle on her mug. “I don’t want what we used to have. I want better. You’re mine and I’m yours. But I need you to trust me.”
She looks around the coffee shop then straight into my eyes.
“If you get a clean bill of health, I’m all yours.”I got a clean bill of health. And now I’m nervous about showing Tess the penthouse. Even though it spoke to me, that doesn’t mean she’ll love it. Fuck it, if she hates the place, we’ll find another. I hate second guessing myself. I’m like an actor needing people to tell me I’m good. But instead of a whole group of people, I only need Tess.
I glance at her. Her big cat eyes are wandering around the posh lobby. It’s the standard millionaire’s building. High ceilings with marbled floors. Chrome elevators with a large wall of water next to our private one. I nod at the doorman and concierge who are engrossed with their phones. Both straighten as we pass.
“Why the penthouse?” She turns to me.
“What do you mean?” I touch her hair for a moment, pushing it off her shoulder.
“I don’t know, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be a regular person.” Her sapphire eyes connect with mine. Our elevator opens silently to the apartment.
“What’s going on?” I ask, pulling her into my arms.
She shrugs. “I’m sick of being controlled by money. I spent three years without you because I was scared of my dad disinheriting me. Sometimes, I wonder if I might not be happier without it.”
I cup her cheeks. “You amaze me.” Rubbing my nose on hers, I ask, “Do you want me to donate all my millions to charity?” I lean over to kiss her puffy lips.
She sighs dramatically. “No, because you would just get more. It’s your curse to be rich, Reed Saddington. But, no doubt, you should donate to some to new charities.”
I swoop her up in my arms. “What are you doing?” she squeals.
“I’m carrying you over the threshold. What else would I be doing?” I plant kisses on her nose.
“I’m pretty sure you only do that if you’re married.” Her laughter makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery.
Setting her down, I say, “Not me. I do it when the woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with is seeing her first home.”
Tess twirls around. “You’re crazy, you know that, right?”
“Only for you.” I slap her ass and she shrieks, a big, stupid smile on my face.
She runs one finger across the white walls as she looks around.
The ceilings are tall. Windows stretch from one side of the apartment to the other. It’s what first attracted me to it. All the lights and city being seen yet not heard. Tess hates to be alone. Living in this penthouse, we’ll be surrounded with light and life.
“Come here”—I take her hand—“I need to show you something.”
Pulling her behind me, I approach the ornate staircase, taking the stairs two at a time.
“Why are we hurrying?” She puffs.
“I’m excited.” After I open our bedroom door, she steps inside and her eyes take in the giant suite.
“This isn’t what I wanted to show you. Although I like it too.”
Smirking, I pull her into the master bath. She gasps, covering her mouth as she looks around.
“Oh my God… This is spectacular.” She jumps into my arms. Chuckling, I hold her as she clings to me, planting small kisses all over my face.
“When the realtor brought me in here, I saw this tub overlooking Manhattan. All I could see was you in it. I bought the place that second. I don’t think I even saw the rest of the apartment.”