“Of course.” Not until after he said those words did she take his hand and allow him to put her to bed. He crawled in beside her and pulled her close.
“Someday will you get a happy tattoo, for me?”
He’d do anything for her, but his someday was filled with endless nights without her. “What would you suggest?”
Grunting, he rolled his eyes. “No.”
“It can be an evil looking cupcake, with a skull and crossbones on it, if that would make you feel better. All the other world domination guys would want one, I bet, when you showed it off at y’all’s next plotting-to-take-the-world-over meeting. Is there food at those things? I could make you a really evil lunch to take.” She giggled at her own joke.
He clenched his jaw. Yet another reminder of what he’d be losing once he sent her away. Her view of him and his world. Her acceptance of his life and all that had been done to him and his brother, without treating him differently or with pity.
“Can you take me to Scotland tomorrow? Ivan said you have a few houses there that you let families stay in to keep them safe.”
“He told you this?”
She smiled up at him, all at once mysterious and playful. “You’re not the only one that has ways of making people talk.”
Dear God, she was truly frightening and completely perfect for him. Maybe he should be selfish and keep her with him after all.
Sebastian adjusted his tie and turned his attention to the woman he loved lying in his bed as she ate breakfast. Breakfast he’d served her this morning.
He’d waited as long as he could, as long as he would allow himself to be selfish, but in the end his love for her and his sense of duty to do right by her won out. “I’m sending you back to Holland Springs today?”
“What do you mean?” Daisy choked out.
He fiddled with his cufflinks, then shrugged into his suit jacket and buttoned it like it was his only defense against her look of disbelief and horror. “The Board voted last night. I’m back in as President. Your services are no longer needed as the requirements of the contract have been filled.”
She threw her napkin down. “I don’t believe you.”
Walking to his dresser, he grabbed the iPad and handed it to her, watching as she read the article. Watching as her face went pale, then red and then pale again.
It gutted him completely. He was empty inside and now he wouldn’t have her love to fill up the space.
The article confirmed everything he had said. The Board had voted, citing a major deal with a Hong Kong based company, as the major swaying point. Not once was his engagement to her mentioned. It was as if she didn’t exist. Oh, except for the last line about him being repeatedly seen in the company of an American girl, the cousin of his brother’s wife.
Cruel, harsh, to the point, and utter rubbish.
“You never really needed me at all,” she said finally.
“So it seems.” He took the iPad away and set it on the dresser again. “I’ve a meeting in Madrid this afternoon at five. You’ll need to be at Heathrow by one. I’ve arranged for Ivan to take you.”
“I could go with you. I said I could stay longer and—”
“No.” He sat down on the bed beside her, longing to touch her. “There were conditions placed on the vote. One: that I agreed to never attempt to dismantle the company again.”
“I’m to break things off with you and pursue Kate once more, for the connections her family has in Germany.” He rubbed the back of his neck just as she began to chew on the inside of her cheek. Dammit.
“What about tearing up the stupid contract? What about—” Her mouth snapped shut.
Getting married and having lots of babies, he finished saying in his mind. “I think with all of the heightened emotions surrounding the pregnancy, my mother’s appearance, and this entire fake fiancée idea, that perhaps we let our emotions get out of hand.
Her face flushed as her eyebrows raised, but she didn’t say anything.
“You get to keep the money we agreed to, since I’m the one in breach.” He tried to give her some cheeky smile, but he couldn’t, not when it felt like he was carving his heart into pieces. “Shouldn’t be too hard to manage, without me, eh? You’ll go back to your life, without the Earl of Obnoxiousness at your side, and I’ll go on with mine.”
Turning her head, she stared across the room, at the beautiful view from his window. The gorgeous estate lake glittered in the morning sun. In the middle sat a small island with a stone gazebo. There was a small dock to the right of it. He would have liked to have taken her there, had a picnic, and made love to her under the sun.
“Daisy, are you okay?” he asked and she turned her attention back to him.
“No, I am not okay. I am the exact opposite of okay.” She chewed harder on her cheek. “You’ve taken everything from me: my best friend and the man I love—just like Glen. Just like every man I’ve dared to love.”
He had. He was exactly like that ass, but he could justify his actions to himself because it was for her good, not his. There was nothing good in sending the woman he loved away. There was nothing good in sending the woman who made him smile and accepted him for who he was away.
It was madness. He was mad. He was dying inside.
“What about the baby?” she finally asked.
“I’ll have my lawyers draw up a contract for us that spells out visitation and child support. Of course, the child will live with you the majority of the time. It should live with its mother. Don’t you agree? “The child. Not our child. Not our baby. It. How heartless he sounded. Well, he had learned from the best.
“Yay for more contracts.” She smiled bitterly. “Although, I totally agree with this one.”
He drew back, golden brows bunching together. That was not the answer he expected, although he knew he deserved it. Perhaps he thought she would fight harder and call his bluff. “You do?”
“Yep. You, Kate, and Romanov Industries deserve each other. I bet that ménage thing y’all will have going on will make headlines.” She picked up her fork and speared an asparagus. “Since we’re all about confessions this morning, I have one of my own. I got an email from my lawyer this morning while you were downstairs. Turns out, I don’t need your money after all. The insurance company made a mistake. I’ll have the money reversed to your account.”