“I think you’re badass.” I swallow, wanting so badly to tell him that I love him, but instead I simply say, “I’m proud of you.”
“For what?” He’s surprised.
“You’re awesome at your job. This is definitely what you should be doing.” I shrug and turn my head to kiss his shoulder through his suit jacket. “I’m just proud of you.”
He opens the door to his building and waits for me to precede him inside. Cary is talking with Sylvia, but grins when he sees me.
“Just the person I was talking about.”
“Me?” I ask.
“Yeah, I was going to have Sylvia call you. Do you have a minute?”
“Come into my office with us, Cary.” Ty stops himself and glances down at me. “Unless you’d rather speak in private?”
“Come with us.” I smile and lead the guys into Ty’s office. “There’s no reason to have private meetings.” I turn to Cary as I lean back on Ty’s desk and cross my arms over my chest. “What’s up?”
“So, I was talking to Jack’s lawyer.”
Just like that, my good mood evaporates. I sigh and rub my fingertips vigorously over my forehead.
“And now he wants fifty million.”
I blink at Cary, clearly having misheard him. “Excuse me?” My voice is thin.
“What the fuck?” Ty asks loudly, coming around his desk to meet Cary square on.
“Why? The trust fund was only two million.” My entire body breaks out into a cold sweat as it occurs to me that Jack must have found out about the books. My eyes widen and a sob escapes through my lips as I stare at Cary. “He knows.”
“The lawyer didn’t say anything about the books,” Cary begins in a soothing voice.
Ty swears ripely and paces across the room. I watch Ty, and as I do, calm comes over me. Jack can’t hurt me any more than he already has. I have Ty, and he’s all I need.
“He can kiss my white ass,” I mutter. “He’s not getting a dime of anything. Anything.”
“I agree,” Cary responds, “but I don’t want to make that clear out of the gate here, Lo.”
“Go ahead and tell him,” I respond defiantly. “What’s he going to do?”
“Lauren, this is the man who threatened to rape you less than a month ago!”
“What?!” Ty roars, his face a mask of utter rage.
Cary blanches and shakes his head. “I’m sorry, Lo. I thought you told him.”
I take a deep breath, trying to gather my thoughts. Fuck.
“Tell me what, Lauren?” Ty’s voice is cold, and I recognize his stance. I saw it not thirty minutes ago in a courtroom.
“Cary, can you please leave us alone?” I ask, my gaze not leaving my angry man. Cary backs out the door, shutting it quietly behind him.
“What didn’t you fucking tell me?” Ty asks in a low voice.
“Jack threatened to rape me that day he showed up at the house,” I say matter-of-factly. I’m running on adrenaline now, almost defiantly. If Ty wants a fight, I’ll give him one.
“And you didn’t think it was important to tell me?”
“I was too embarrassed to tell you.”
“Let me get this straight.” Ty shoves his jacket angrily down his arms, throws it on top of his desk, and rolls up his sleeves. “Some asshole threatened to fucking rape my girlfriend, and she didn’t tell me because she’s embarrassed?”
“She wasn’t your girlfriend then,” I whisper.
“Have you lost your fucking mind?” he roars.
“Don’t you dare yell at me!” I roar back. “Jack doesn’t want me, Ty! He wanted to scare me, and it worked!”
Ty scrubs his scalp with both hands and paces away from me, then returns to me, standing two feet away, but doesn’t touch me.
“What, exactly, did he say?”
“I’m not telling,” I whisper.
“Oh, yes, sweetness, you are.”
“You’re not my husband and you’re not my lawyer, Tyler Sullivan.”
“I’m the one person in your life who cares about you above everything else, goddamnit!” His eyes are hurt as he watches me, and I feel like such a shit. Ty is the last person I ever want to hurt. I swallow hard and mentally pull up my big-girl panties.
“He said that if I didn’t give him what he wants, he’d come back and remind me what it feels like to have him fuck me.” The last five words are whispered so softly I don’t know if Ty can even hear me. Bile rises in the back of my throat, but I swallow hard again and meet his eyes. “It’s mortifying that I was ever connected to someone like that, Ty. Why would I tell you that?”
“Because I’ve been going through all of this shit with you.” His voice is still hard. “What else aren’t you telling me?”
I shake my head and laugh humorlessly. “You know what? I don’t have time for this.” I move away from him, hitching my purse over my shoulder. “I have a deadline to meet in”—I check my watch—“thirteen hours, and I still have two chapters to write.”
I turn to leave, but he halts me with a quiet “Stop.”
I turn to face him. He hasn’t moved. He’s watching me with his arms crossed over his chest. “We are too important for you to just walk away, Lauren.”
“I’m not walking away from you. I’m irritated with you and I need to go home. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“You don’t want me to come over tonight?”
I shake my head no. “Let’s just take a night off from each other, Ty. I’ll be working all night anyway.”
He nods, still angry, but his eyes have softened. In relief? I’m not sure.
I leave his office, ignoring Sylvia as she calls out to me, asking if I want to make an appointment with Cary.
I can’t deal with this right now.
I took the afternoon off because I missed Ty and I wanted to see him in action in the courtroom. Now I have a good eight hours of work ahead of me before I can e-mail the manuscript to my editor. She wants it by the time she gets to her office at 9:00 a.m. eastern time.
I can do this.
I push thoughts of Ty and his hurt eyes out of my head as I pull up to my house and let myself in and march straight back to the my pool house. The men finished up yesterday, thank God, and I can finally swim again. Seventy-five laps or so should get my head back in the game.