ENGAGING JAYDEN

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JAYDEN


I woke to Gage nudging me. “Baby, wake up.”

“Hmmm?” I didn’t open my eyes. Instead I cuddled closer and tucked my face into his neck. I love the way he feels against me.

“Baby, you gotta get up. You have a phone call.”

“What?” I peeled my eyes open. With the blackout curtains our room was in complete darkness making it difficult to determine the hour. Still it felt ridiculously early to be getting a phone call. “What time is it?”

“Four-thirty.” Gage’s voice sounded like gravel and it made my libido kick in.

“Who is it?” I asked, pushing myself up right.

A voice that sounded all too familiar shouted from the phone. “It’s me, darling.”

I took the phone from Gage. “Delise?”

“Who, may I ask, is that sexy specimen that answered your phone? He sounds delicious.”

How I managed a laugh this early was beyond me. “That would be my boyfriend. And yes— He is delicious.”

I heard Gage huff a smile and he rolled to his side wrapping his arm around my waist.

“Hmm.” I didn’t mean to moan like I did when he ran his tongue over my hip and laid his head in my bare lap.

“Are you having sex right now? If you are, you can call me back.”

I pressed my fingers over Gage’s shaved head as if he had a headful of hair that I was sinking my fingers into. “No, Delise, I’m not having sex right now.”

I lightly slapped Gage on the back as he chuckled. In response, he bit my hip. I opened my mouth but choked back my gasp. It wasn’t an easy task.

“I know by his voice that he’s not that Brodi— no Braden— No...That’s definitely not right either— Damn what was his name? Benja—”

“Brock.” I regrettably corrected it. I could do without hearing that man’s name ever again. I shook my head when Gage rose a brow at me? He didn’t like hearing Brock’s name in bed anymore than I did. This would be the one and only time his name was ever mentioned in any bed of ours.

“That’s it! Yes, that’s definitely not him. So, who’s this sexy man in your bed?”

“His name is Gage.”

“Intriguing. What’s his last name?”

“Buchanan.” I covered my face with my hand as I heard her typing away on her laptop. My cheeks flushed when Gage started chuckling. He had the deepest and rawest chuckle in the morning.

“Is he—”

“Yes...he’s a fighter.”

Gage started nibbling my thigh and I licked my lips trying to concentrate on Delise. He wasn’t making it easy for me; especially when he was trying to give me a hickey on my inner thigh.

“Oh— Oh, darling. Good for you. I’m not into tattoos but those markings make me want to eat him right up. Delicious doesn’t even begin to cover how sexy this man is. You two should be on the cover of a magazine together. Do you know how sexy that would be?”

“I like her already.” Gage whispered and I hit him with my pillow.

I needed to change the subject. “Why are you calling me so early?”

“I was having lunch and realized that you haven’t called me since I sent you that dress and shoes.”

“I’m sorry about that. I’ve had a lot on my plate lately.” I had told Delise about the attack shortly after it happened. I may have modeled for her but we had become great friends over the years. She didn’t however know that Him was back. And I wasn’t going to tell her.

“No worries, darling. However...I was hoping that you’d reconsider modeling for my show in the spring. It’s been far too long since you’ve strutted your beautiful ass down my catwalk.”

“She’s right about that.” Gage whispered to me. “You do have a beautiful ass.”

His words made me smile. I don’t think there is a body part of mine he didn’t claim was sexy.

“Are you there, darling?”

“Yes— Yes, I’m here.” I didn’t say more than that. I desperately wanted to do as she asked. I missed it more than I could explain. It’s just...I feared that I’d panic when I was on stage when all the camera’s were on me.

“I’ll tell you what...You think about it. You can even decide at the last minute and I’d make room for you. You will always be my shining piece, Jayden.”

“I’ll think about it.” I promised.

“Good.” She replied. “I’m going to New York next month, perhaps we can meet up?”

“I’d like that.” I had every intention of dragging Gage along with me. I still wasn’t sure how I’d do flying alone.

“I’ll call with the details as the day approaches and make sure you bring that sexy specimen with you. I have to meet him.” Delise blew several kisses on the phone. “Chow, darling.”

I hung up the phone and tossed it on the nightstand. Before I knew it, Gage was touring over me, lowering me to the bed.

“You need to go back to sleep.”

“Uh-uh.” He kissed my collarbone. “After.”

“Gage.” I moaned when he slipped two fingers inside me. I lifted my hips to try and get them in deeper but it was useless. He was already knuckle’s deep.

* * *

Three days had passed since my morning call from Delise. I had been doing nothing but contemplating as to whether I should model for her. Gage was back to his intense training schedule which only gave me more time to ponder and I didn’t really know how healthy that was.

I decided to talk to Knox. I needed his opinion. It was the first time in days since I had an actual conversation with him since he told me about Candy. My heart broke for him. She may have not wanted the child but I knew Knox would have. He may not have had a child in plan at the time but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t have embraced it or or given his everything to his child.

He would have made an incredible father.

“Do you want to?” he asked.

I nodded and crossed my arms in front of me. “I’m just scared to.”

“Why are you scared? Is it the camera’s flashing? You mentioned that before.”

“Some of it.” I admitted. “Part of me worries that I’ll freak out on stage and everyone’s eyes are going to be on me when I do. Delice’s shows are always televised— You know?”

“Is it clothing?” He asked like an overprotective brother would.

“Yes.” I laughed.

“You’re not giving yourself enough credit, Jayden. You’ve come a long way in these last several weeks. As much as it boggles me to say— I think Gage had a lot to do with it. Him and I hit heads a few times because I thought he was pushing you too much but it turns out that he was right. You’ve hardly panicked in weeks. And every time you do he calms you down. The show’s not till spring, so— I say that if you want to do it, then do it. Bring Gage with you. He’ll help walk you through it.”

I chewed the inner part of my lower lip. “What if Him isn’t caught by then?”

“He will be.” Knox seemed sure of the fact. “And he’ll either be dead or locked behind bars.”

After our talk Knox and I went for a run. He went to the gym to workout and I went upstairs to shower. After I was ready and left my room I heard Abel talking to Gage. It was hard to miss because the door was cracked open and Abel’s voice carried. “The fucker mailed this to the house while you were on vacation with Jayden. I’ve sent the original photo and envelope to a guy I work with to run the prints. It was mailed from Spokane. I hacked into the post office camera’s and I have the video of Him mailing it. He knew exactly where the cameras were and hid his face.”

I didn’t hesitate to push through the door. “What did he send?”

Gage looked at it with sadness. “It’s nothing you need to worry about, baby.”

“Don’t keep things from me, Gage.” I crossed my arms in front of me and walked over to the photo he was holding.

Seeing that it was of Gage and I having sex made me nauseous. That was a private moment between us and us alone. This was an invasion of privacy on the next level.

“This is my bedroom.” I raised my voice and took the photo from Gage. “This is my house? How did he get this?”

I looked to Abel who turned to flick his attention to Gage. “Tell me— How did he get this?”

Gage took a deep breath. “He put cameras in your house.”

I felt faint.

I stumbled back and Gage scooped me up and set me on the bed. He squatted in front of me and gripped my thighs. “Baby, you need to breathe. Take a deep breath for me— That’s it. Take another one. Now, let it out slowly.”

I let Gage walk me through my panic attack. I followed his instructions to a tee. I glued my eyes to his and listened to his voice. It wasn’t long before my anxiety dwindled.

“Good— That’s good, baby. You did good.” Gage smiled. It was filled with compassion and he was damn proud of me that I hadn’t allowed it to get the better of me.

“It’s just— what happens between us is—” I licked my lips, “it’s private.” My voice quivered.

“Abel made a lot of progress while we were gone. He’s getting closer to catching Him, Jayden. It won’t be long I promise.” He took another deep breath and by his solemn features I knew what was going to come out of his mouth wasn’t something I wanted to hear; need to. “I don’t want to tell you this but you need to know...The reason why Abel checked your house for camera’s, Jayden, is because he found them here first.”

I couldn’t stop the tears running down my cheeks as I buried my face in my hands. Gage sat on the bed and pulled me into his lap. He kissed the top of my head and held me tight as I wrapped my arms around his neck. My chest hurt. My stomach clenched. “Abel’s going to catch him, baby.”

“For— how— long— was— he—” I choked out. I couldn’t talk anymore.

“He doesn’t know.” Gage replied. “But he thinks for a...for a while.”

I continued to cry.

Just then, Abel’s phone rang. He hopped on his computer and answered, “What’d you find?”

I didn’t loosen my grip as I listened.

“You’re kidding?”

Silence.

“That’s fucking great.” Abel blew out a breath of relief. “You’re running it now? Ok. Call me as soon as it comes in.”

“What?” Gage asked. He kept his firm hold of me and began to rub my back.

“He found a partial print.”

My heart leaped with hope at the news.

“He’s running it now. Just hope the guy’s in the system.”

“Thanks Abel.”

“Don’t need to thank me, bro. I’m going to leave you guy’s alone for a few.”

I heard the door shut and I didn’t make any attempt to move.

“You know...What do you think about us leaving and me finishing out my training back east somewhere? Kind of an idiot move on my part...I should have thought about that sooner.”

I pulled back. I shook my head. “No.” I managed to say.

“It’d be good for you. He won’t know where you are.”

Again I shook my head. “I’m not going to be the reason for you changing your plans, Gage. Like you said, ’Abel’s going to find Him— Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Gage said quietly. “I just hate seeing you cry.”

I cupped his face. “Soon there won’t be anymore.”

“I love you.” Gage searched my face intently. “You have no idea how amazing and strong you are.”

“I don’t feel strong.” I admitted. If anything, I felt vulnerable.

“Well, you are.”

I wiped the tears from my face and seeing the condition on his shirt I gave a wince. “I got mascara and snot all over your shirt.”

He didn’t bother looking down. Instead, he grinned. “Well...That’s a first.”

I laughed.

He slapped the side of my buttcheek. “I spoke to Paconi today. I need to be in Vegas a week from tomorrow. I have an interview in the afternoon.”

I nodded. I couldn’t believe it had been nearly five weeks already.

“And you’re coming with me.”

Again, I nodded.

I didn’t like the idea of being apart from him. This was a first for me. “You’re week is going to be busy with interview and photoshoot’s.”

“Yeah, I know.” I could tell he wasn’t all that excited about it. Like a light switch he raised his brows and the grin that crossed his face was devious. “But that means I’m that much closer to knocking his ass out.”

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