It's been two days since we have been living out in one of Mason's secret flat. It's been quiet. Mason was not willing to talk about Ginny. It was like he was waiting for something to happen. Every time I tried to bring up our situation, he would dodge the questions or excused himself. When I pointed out what he was doing, he would just kiss me to shut me up.
So, I stopped asking. Mainly, because I liked it when he kissed me. And kissed me he did, a lot of times. We would cuddle in bed and kiss. Watch tv and kiss. Eat and kiss. It was like we were both so high on each other we didn't want to come back from it. When we were not joined at the hip, his eyes would follow me everywhere I went, and I loved to steal glances of the sexiest man alive, who knew my body more than I knew it. All I wanted to do was drown myself in Mason's intoxicating scent. Wrap my legs around his waist and let him bring stars into my eyes.
He was under my skin, burrowed so deep, I didn't think I would ever get him out.
I loved living here with him. It was peaceful and quiet. I was myself again, and Mason was a lot more playful than I had ever seen him. I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to remember what was going on out there. I didn't want to think about what Ginny did, and I didn't want to think about what our friends were going through right now. We were not allowed to contact them. And Gale, I wanted him safe and back.
Only, I didn't know what to do.
The news channel became my favorite channel. I thought everyone would wonder where Mason was, why his company was being handled by someone else. I thought they would cover everything, but there was nothing. Not even a mention of his name in any news channel. It was confusing. A big influential man like Mason Campbell transferring all his properties to someone else deserved to be in the headlines for two weeks. His disappearance was another thing else completely.
I just don't understand.
The next time Mason found me in front of the tv, changing channel after channel, he crossed over and snatched the remote from my hand, switching it off. He stood in front of me, all tall, beautiful and intimidating.
"What are you doing?"
I leaned back against the sofa and crossed my arms, as he watched me with hooded eyes. "Why are you asking me if you already know?"
"What do you think you would see?"
"I don't know, people to talk about Ginny suddenly owning your properties and how fishy it is. Maybe that would get them to investigate." I had hoped.
His dark brows drew together, suddenly wary. "And if they do, they're going to find nothing." His smooth voice licked a cold trail up my spine.
"Every criminal mess up somehow."
His lips formed a flat line as he turned toward the tv that was only a black screen now as if he was seeing something he didn't like on it before he looked back at me.
"Why are you so worried?"
"Why are you not?" I challenged.
His smile was all sharp edges.
"Maybe because I don't care?"
I blinked, and my jaw almost dropped. "Y...you don't care?"
"You're awfully sounding like you care about me losing billions." His eyes held mine, and the corner of his mouth hitched up into the arrogant twist I loved so much. "I thought you don't care about my money."
I fought to keep my smile. "Maybe I want the billions to myself. If you suddenly die right now, I won't get anything because you gave everything away."
He pulled me up on my feet. One hand wrapped around my waist, warm and strong and solid, while his other hand found the back of my neck. His grin turned devilish as he pulled me closer. "It's good to know that you love me a lot."
My breath went short. I would never not get breathless every time he was near. "Never said I wasn't in it for the money. But seriously, what are you planning?"
"If I tell you now, it won't be a surprise." His thumb stroked the sensitive column of my neck. The look in his eyes was deep and all-consuming. His steady gaze held mine completely as if he had no intention of ever looking away. "Come on, we're going somewhere."
"I don't really have that."
He patted my cheek like I was some dog.
The place Mason was taking me was a twenty minutes drive. I could tell from his demeanor that he was excited and nervous. When the taxi dropped us off in front of a medium-sized house with a white picket fence, he grabbed my hand before we walked up to the doorstep. He knocked on the door, and while we waited for someone to open it, I glanced around the garden.
This house reminded me so much of the house I grew up in. It wasn't just the house as well. It was the neighborhood, the houses across the street that looked alike. I used to ride my bike on a street like this with my friends. We would race each other, and I would always end up winning because I had longer legs than them. Memories of my childhood had recently kept flashing through my mind, but I didn't know which ones were real. Which ones were from my days with my sperm donor, Anthony. I didn't dwell on it. Most of the good ones were with dad, so I held on to them and nothing else.
The door swinging open and the scent of flowers made me turn my head to the elderly woman who greeted us at the doorstep, beaming at Mason and not hesitating to pull him into a bone-crushing hug. She was wearing a light blue jumper and pants with black shoes. A small smile tugged at the corners of my mouth when he sneaked a glance at me with heated cheeks.
When he pulled back, he touched her cheek affectionately. "Helena, it's good to see you, sweetheart."
The little woman with short, grey hair pulled him into another tight hug. "Oh, mi amore! I've missed you." Even though she was shorter than him, it didn't make her look less intimidating. And watching her turn Mason around as if she was looking for something almost made me laugh, but I couldn't hold my laughter when I heard her next words, "Have you been eating? You look so thin."
He was quick to remove her hands from his body, looking embarrassed. "I'm good." He turned to me, and I immediately straightened up. "This is my wife Lauren. Lauren, this is Helena."
She surprised me when she brought me in for a hug. She pushed me far enough away that she could study my face, but keeping her hands on my elbows. "Nice to finally meet you, Miha. Mason has told me all about you. I've been dying to meet the woman who stole my boy's heart."
I shot him a surprised look and I saw the glare he sent her way. "Helena..." There was an edge to his voice, but Helena rolled her eyes and pulled me inside her home, abandoning Mason on the front door.
I came face to face with a bunch of flowers in the house that completely smelled of different kinds of flowers. It was a nice earthy scent. The living room had a small bookshelf, a coffee table and on top of it were magazines, cookbooks, and a crayon?
"Every time I talk about his feelings, he gets embarrassed. He likes pretending he is a robot, but I know my boy." She tugged me to a chair. "Come, sit with me. It's a miracle he brought you here. I've been dying to meet you." Mason didn't sit next to me but chose to sit on the armrest of the chair I was sitting on.
Helena poured us both a drink from the glass pitcher on the table. "I hope you like Apple cider, Lauren. I know Mason likes it," she said, finishing her drink and pouring herself another.
I took a sip. The ice clinked against my front teeth. The drink was both sweet and bitter, but it tasted heavenly. I knew for a fact Helena must have added a secret ingredient because it tased different from the times I had drunk it.
"I tried so many times to get him to take me to you, or bring you here. I wasn't even invited to the wedding."
"You weren't feeling well, sweetheart. How could I have invited you?"
"Whatever, you're not going to fool me. At least you brought me Lauren. You two make a cute couple, and your babies will be even cuter," she exclaimed with bright eyes, looking back and forth between Mason and me with a suggestive stare.
I choked on my drink as I started to cough while he rubbed his hand on my back, trying to soothe me. When the coughing subsided, my eyes were red and teary.
"Stop making her feel uncomfortable. This is one of the reasons why I was against bringing her to you. You have the habit of saying things without thinking," I heard him complain, taking his hands off me.
I tried not to look at both of them. My cheeks were still flushing. I couldn't even think of her words again, because that was how scared they made me. Instead, I played with my fingers and tried not to listen to how fast my heart was racing.
She set her glass down and threw her head back in laughter. "I'm so glad you found someone who would be able to put up with you, sweet boy, and I had prayed every single day that you would find someone who made you as happy as Sergio made me. You've made this old woman very happy." She wiped a tear from under her eye, sniffling and clasping her hands together.
"There you go, always crying over little things," he told her, running his thumb against the side of my neck in an unexpected sign of affection. My skin came alive under his seemingly innocent touch.
"Oh, shut it. Are you staying for dinner?" There was a hopeful look on her face when she stared at him. "He'd be happy to see you. You haven't visited in a quite a while."
Mason sighed. "I'm sorry. I wanted to, but..."
"You don't have to explain, mi amore," she interjected with love for him in her eyes. "I understand. Why don't you go see him while I keep Lauren company?"
He nodded, and the place he occupied beside me was cold again as he walked further into the house and began to walk up the stairs, leaving me alone with Helena. I still wasn't entirely sure why we were there, but I liked Helena. She had a grandmotherly thing going on that set you at ease the moment she opened her mouth. And I had never met my grandparents from my dad and Ginny's sides. Beth's grandparents lived so far away, so they didn't visit.
This was the first time I knew what it felt like to have a grandmum, even though I knew Helena wasn't Mason's grandmum. I was going to enjoy it while I could until I had to go back home.
"Can I ask you something?"
"I'm not his grandmum if that's what you're wondering." At my flushed cheeks, she chuckled. "Do you know why he brought you here?"
"Not really. He has the habit of not telling me anything."
"I'm not surprised. That one, he is a man of few words," she said warmly. "And mysterious. He likes to shoulder everyone's troubles, even if it might be harmful to him. I've known Mason after Tom's accident."
My eyes widened.
Helena nodded with a soft smile. "Yes, of course, Miha. I've been taking care of Tom for years."
"Tom is here?" I said in disbelief and half because I didn't know Mason brought me to where his brother lived. This was a step up I didn't see coming, and I didn't know what to do with it.
"I take it you didn't know?" She didn't pause when she continued, "I'm surprised he brought you here with him today. No one knows where Tom is. Mason has been keeping his whereabouts from his family, something I never questioned him about. Whatever my boy does, I know it's in his brother's best interest." I was rolling her words around in my brain when she added, "Mason is a good man, Lauren. I don't think anyone would be able to do what he does for Tom. Anyone would have gotten tired, but not him. That's how you know he's the best kind of man."
I could not agree more.
"And God help me, Miha, you break his heart and I'll come break your legs." She smiled like she hadn't just threatened my life.
"Can I..can I see Tom?"
"Of course. Follow me."
My legs were shaking when I followed Helena behind, and the minute we started to climb up the stairs, I felt really nervous. She took me straight to the room where Tom and Mason were, but she didn't let me go in yet, just made me stand by the door and watch the two brothers.
The room was designed for a kid, but looking at Tom, with the exact same features as Mason–except for the short hair– was like a knife that was being twisted in my heart. He was almost taller than Mason, wearing a white shirt and shorts. The whole room had so many toys, kid's study table, large tv, and an Xbox. The bed was medium-sized with an Ironman sheet, night light, and bookshelf with bedtime stories.
As I watched Tom showed Mason his toys with an excited look, two tears slipped down my eyes. Helena put a consoling hand on my shoulder and I quickly wiped the tears away. Ginny did this. She ruined Tom's life. If it hadn't been for her, we wouldn't be here. Tom would have led a successful life, I believed. Mason wouldn't be hurting right now.
I didn't want to interrupt this private moment, especially when I knew Mason would not want me to. They were both playing with Tom's toys and laughing, they deserved alone time. Flashing Helena a forced smile, I retreated away from the door and walked down the stairs.
We ate dinner at Helena's, although Tom didn't join us at the table. Helena did most of the talking, Mason grunted and glared, while I laughed and listened attentively at her stories. At one point, she got curious about me and asked a lot of questions. In between eating her spaghetti, I filled her in on my story and Mason's. Of course, some details had been left out.
An hour later, she disappeared with Mason down the hall. I had been waiting for almost twenty minutes before I decided I didn't want to wait anymore. I padded down the hall and paused outside a door when I heard voices speaking in hushed tones. The door wasn't latched, so I pushed it open a little, hoping it wouldn't creak. Peering through the crack, I caught a glimpse of Mason and Helena in the mirror. She was sitting down on the bed while Mason leaned against the bedside table.
"I feel like I don't say this enough, but thank you for all you're doing."
"You say this every time you're here, mi amore, and I keep telling you you don't have to thank me for taking care of Tom," she replied with a small smile. "He's like my son–you both are, so please, don't embarrass me by thanking me for doing my job."
He looked down at the floor. "You've always been more of a mother to me than my mother. Are you sure there isn't anything you need?" he asked.
"You did too much already, Mason." She reached out, took his hands in her own, and held them on her lap. "But promise me you will take good care of Lauren. She already knows who you are and what you did, no other girl would accept you if she knew that."
His face grew serious. "I know that. I just don't think that I deserve her."
It was on those words that I backed away and walked back to the living room. When they came out of the room, she brought me in for a hug.
"It was very nice to meet you, Miha. Do keep in touch."
"Thank you for dinner."
Mason kissed her on the cheek and I gave her a little wave as he ushered me from the house, closing the door behind us. When we got home, there was a black envelope waiting for us at the door. I was the only one who froze with dread. Did Ginny find us? But Mason only smirked when he picked it up and rubbed his thumb against the gold S stamp.
We walked inside, and I expected Ginny and her men to drop in on us with guns, but there was no one besides us. Mason pulled me with him to sit down on the sofa before he ripped open the black envelop, bringing out a black card. He turned it around. There were five words on it written in gold.
Enjoy the show, old friend.
"Who is that?"
He answered as he put the card back inside the envelope, "Someone I don't want you to ever meet." I raised a brow in question and he explained, "Let's just say I'm nothing compared to Rogue Slade. The skeletons in his closet are enough to scare you, love."
"Oh? So, there's someone better than you out there? I should meet him."
His tone was all amusement and confident. "I can give you an address if you'd like. But I give you an hour before you call and beg me to take you back."
"Is he really that bad?" I asked in fascination.
He leaned forward and whispered seductively against my cheek, "Hmm." He kissed me. An all-encompassing kiss. A possession. He wasn't kissing my mouth. He was claiming me as his, and his lips were soft and full, but hard and needy at the same time.
His lips left my mouth to trace down my neck to my collarbone while I sneaked my hands inside his shirt to feel his rock hard chest, and he groaned, fisting my hair and forcing my head back roughly. His lips came back to mine, and his tongue slid in and out of my mouth, moving in sync with my own. He rocked against me, and I no longer felt like my body was my own.
"You need to see something," he whispered against my lips.
"No," I whined, trying to get his lips back on mine.
He chuckled. "It's important." He withdrew back, and I groaned, running my fingers through my hair as I gave him a quick glare. "Watch this." He picked up the remote and turned on the tv.
If I hadn't been sitting, I would have slipped and fallen to the ground. Right on the screen, in big bold letters was: Widow of Millionaire, Ginny Huddleston Arrested. My eyes were not deceiving me. I was watching Ginny being escorted out of her house by two policemen in handcuffs. Reporters were trying to ask questions and taking pictures of her, and she was trying to shield her face from them.
"What the hell?" I blurted out when Mason switched off the tv.
"I'm sorry that I didn't tell you this was going to happen."
I glanced at him.
"You did this? When?"
"I knew she would want to try and get my properties, that was why I made a plan before she ever got to make hers. Remember when I went to the states?" I nodded. "I met with Rogue, and the two of us came up with a plan. Made a few changes and transferred everything to his name, so when I signed those papers, I didn't really give her anything. And I was the one who told Coop to pretend to have changed sides so he gets the chance to put cameras and microphones in her home, cars, and office, and everything would automatically send to Rogue's computer."
My mouth fell open.
"Everything she's ever done has been recorded and handed over to the police. Ginny is going to be in prison for the rest of her life."
I cocked my head to the side, my hazel eyes filled with wonder. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you would not have been able to pretend you didn't know anything, and I couldn't risk it. When I was in America, there were so many times I wanted to pick up the phone and call you. I almost did, Lauren, but I had to stop myself. I'm sorry."
"It's fine. You don't have to apologize to me about anything. You did what you had to do," I whispered. "Ginny is out of our lives now." For good.
He nodded. His hands span my shoulders entirely, and he began circling his thumbs into the base of my neck. "You ready to go back home?"
The feeling was out of this world. My body was relaxed and my mind serene. "Tomorrow, maybe? I'm not in any rush to go back to anything. It's really nice here."
Lowering his mouth to my neck, he brushed his lips over my skin before sucking on it gently. "You just love having me to yourself." He laughed softly, trailing feather soft kisses up and down my jaw. I looked up, meeting him square in the eye.
"Yep, that's it," I purred, and he soaked up my gaze for a few seconds, his expression contented, before planting a soft kiss on my lips and letting his hands work their way down to my hips. I clenched my eyes shut, trying my hardest not to jolt forward.
"I love you so much."
"Then, you're crazy," he murmured, as he kissed me, softly stroking my tongue with his. Releasing my lips, he stared at me, breathing hard with brazen hunger shining from his silver pools. I was certain my eyes were matching his.
"I was crazy when I stayed with you as your assistant." I closed my arms around his shoulders and kissed him on his lush, moist lips.