Peyton grabs my arm and gives it a squeeze, but I barely register
the touch as Cason takes the microphone.
“Let’s give it up for the designer of these beautiful garments,” Cason says, and my gaze slides to Luis. But he’s staring at me. In fact, both men are looking my way. Cason holds his hand out, and my entire body tightens. What is going on?
“Can we please bring Londyn Harding to the stage,” he says.
Peyton stands and hauls me to my feet. She guides me onto the stage and my knees wobble.
“Cason,” I whisper. “What is going on?”
Luis takes the microphone. “This lovely and talented woman is responsible for these new spring fashions. She designed them, while my team created the final versions as a surprise to her. Can we give it up for Londyn?” Everyone starts clapping and Cason puts his hand around me to hold me upright. “I would like to invite her onto my team,” Luis says, and I begin to shake. Luis winks at me. “I’ll give you some time to think about that.”
He hands the microphone back to Cason. Cason clears his throat and his eyes are on me when he speaks into the microphone and says, “I am so happy to share your beautiful designs with the world.” He glances at the crowd. “You’re going to be seeing a lot from this talented woman. But right now, I’m taking her backstage, because I don’t feel like sharing her with anyone right now.” Laughter erupts around us as he grins at me. “I want her all to myself tonight.”
Tears fall down my face. I can’t believe Cason did this for me. The crowd claps, and he takes my hand and leads me to the back where the models are rushing about. Without a word, he ushers me into a private room, and closes the door.
“You’re a superstar,” he says. “You’re going to have a ton of orders.”
“I can’t believe you did this. How? When?”
“I wanted to tell you how much I believe in you, but after what I said, I wasn’t sure words were enough.”
“This...this is unbelievable. I never expected... I can’t even...”
“Londyn, I would have come to you earlier, but I took your advice.”
“Yeah, you told me I needed to work on myself, so I did. I did a lot of thinking.” He steps up to me, and his eyes are dark, full of warmth as he takes my hands in his. “Want to know what I concluded?”
“Yes?” I say, my voice as shaky as my hands. He dips his head, his lips close to mine, and everything inside me fills with the love I have for him. My throat tightens, and my heart squeezes as I stare up at him.
“I think I’m an ogre, and an oaf. You and Peyton were right,” he says in a teasing voice.
His face falls, and he goes completely sober as he pulls me in and I rest my face on his chest, his heart pounding hard against my cheek. “Seriously, Londyn, I need to you listen to me. I have to tell you what I think. What I’ve been thinking all along.”
“Okay,” I say, my knees so wobbly that if he wasn’t holding me, I’m sure I’d collapse.
“You are kind, generous and caring. You have untapped talent beyond belief and it’s time the world knows who you are. I believe in you, and everything you do.”
“Of course I do. Contrary to what you think, I have never hated you, and deep down, a part of me wanted our time in Cannes to be about revenge, but I’m just not that guy. I’d never want to do anything to hurt you, Londyn. I was an ass for the things I said, and for not giving you a chance to explain, and I hope you can forgive me.”
“You never hated me?”
“No, in fact, I never stopped loving you. I struck out without listening to you, even though you believed in me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Londyn. I made a mistake.”
“I made mistakes, too.”
“We both did. But how about we leave them in the past, and start fresh.”
A bone-deep want seeps into my soul. I step back, and his eyes go wide. He swallows, and runs his hand over his face like he always does when he’s worried about something.
I sniff. “You had your say, now it’s time I had mine.” He takes a deep breath, like he’s preparing himself for the worst. “You remember I said by the end of our two weeks I’d come up with the perfect description of you, and you were a little worried about that?” He nods, his dark eyes brimming with unease.