Home > Hush (Black Lotus #3)(7)

Hush (Black Lotus #3)(7)
E.K. Blair

“While you were sleeping, I spoke with him about your father. He’s working on getting information.”

I nod my head against his chest, unable to speak through my tightening throat. I’m sure Declan feels my body tensing up when he bands his arms a little more strongly around me. Closing my eyes, I inhale deeply as he kisses the top of my head.

“I know it’s upsetting, but I want to be transparent with you about all of this, okay?”

“You don’t think I’m crazy, do you?”

He combs my hair back with his fingers, and I look up at him when he says, “No, darling, I don’t. Lachlan was able to retrieve an old photo of your father, and it’s the same man from the news.”

Declan’s face blurs, and I quickly close my eyes before the tears fall. I can’t think about this. It’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt, so I focus on armoring myself against all that threatens to completely eviscerate me.

“You’re stronger than your emotions,” I hear Pike tell me, the timbre of his voice providing me with the strength I need to take control of my heart.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.”

“There’s something else I need to talk to you about.”

“What’s that?”

“When I was in London, I hired an architecture firm for the new property. Meetings start next week, so you’re coming with me.”

“London?” I question, pushing myself to sit up. “For how long?”

“For the duration of the build . . . a few years.”

“I . . . um . . .” I stammer, unsure of what to say. Then, the realization that I have nowhere else to go hits me, and it all becomes so terrifying. If somehow I lost Declan again, that would be it for me. He is the only person I have, and without him, I wouldn’t know where to go. Even though I’m now aware that my father is out there somewhere, it’s heartbreakingly clear that he doesn’t want me, or else he’d have come for me.

“You don’t want to go to London?” he questions.

“No, it isn’t that. It’s just . . . I don’t really know.”

My voice cracks slightly, and Declan promptly soothes, “You have nothing to be worried about. I’m here. I’m not leaving you. Wherever I go, you go with me.”

I don’t respond as he holds me close to him. I’m not sure what to say, because even though he says I shouldn’t be worried, I am.

“I really need you to talk to me,” he urges. “Don’t close yourself off again.”

There’s a desperation in his eyes, a neediness that reminds me of our time in Chicago. I played him well, deceiving him to believe I was locked in a violent marriage that I couldn’t escape. He held the same desperation then. He tried so hard to help me, to save me, but I was always careful to keep him at a measured distance. I wanted him to believe he had all of me but none of me at the same time.

The game is over though. No longer do I want to see that look in his eyes. It once gave me pleasure to know I had him fooled, but that absconded the moment he crept into my heart. But in order to keep my soul intact, I need to continue to move in calculated steps.

“I am worried,” I admit.

“About what?”

“About you. If there’s no you . . . there’s no me.”

“You’re scared of losing me?”

I nod.

“You’re not going to lose me, you hear? It’s not happening.”

“I lost you once though. It was my fault. Trust me, I know. But I still lost you. I still know that pain, and it scares me.”

“I know that pain too. It wasn’t just you who felt it.” His words drip with intensity. “I felt it in my marrow. That’s how deep you run through me.”

“So much has happened. I wanted you the second I lost you, and now that I have you, I feel so . . .”

“What do you feel?”

Reaching my hand up to his face, I run my fingers along his jawline and through his overgrown stubble, listening to it crackle against my palm. “Disconnected,” I reveal and then drop my hand along with my head.

“Look at me,” he demands, and I do. “It’s okay. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around everything that’s been thrown my way these past few weeks, so I understand. I’ll take it away, I promise, but it’s going to take time. One thing I need you to know is that I’m here. I’ll remind you of that every day if I have to. I’m here.”

I allow his words to attempt their quieting on my anxiety as I take my hand and cover the bullet wound on his pec, the one Pike inflicted on him with the intent of killing him. My thumb brushes over the raised flesh, and when I look up, his focus is on my hand. Guilt courses its way through my bloodstream. His eyes flick to meet mine, and I ask, “Did it hurt?”

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