The moment I heard Grace's urgent tone, I started running to my car right away while we were still talking on the phone. By the time she hung up, I was already driving—more like speeding. I just hoped there was no cop around because I couldn't afford to be pulled over and got delayed even more.
I made it within half an hour even though it was a 40 minute drive. Before I even entered the coffee shop, Grace ran out through the front door and crashed into me—almost knocking me over. She must have been watching for me through the windows.
She held on to my neck tightly as her shoulders shook while she sobbed into the crook of my neck. I embraced her just as tightly and tried to soothe her. "I'm here. Everything's going to be okay."
She nodded against me while I waited until she calmed down and her shaking body subsided. I leaned my cheek on her head and asked. "Did the police already take your statement?"
She nodded again and mumbled into my chest. "Yeah. But they didn't seem to take it seriously. They said that they got these kinds of claims often and nothing serious ever came out of it." She said disappointedly.
I grunted, so much for law enforcement—they were not always dependable. "Do you need anything back at the apartment?"
"Just my phone and my purse." Her voice muffled against my black hoodie.
"Okay. Let's go get them and then you're coming back home with me." I said with finality as I led her back to the apartment with my hand on her waist.
"Oh. I gotta call Pru and warn her not to come back to the apartment alone in case Theo is still lurking around. Maybe she can stay with Andy for the meantime." She said thoughtfully when we arrived at the apartment.
I was so happy seeing Artemis that I had forgotten that we were still on a break. Now, as we stood in front of the door to his penthouse, I was unsure about entering. His hand on the small of my back didn't help since its heat burned me as it lit the fire to my burning desires.
Artemis saw my hesitation and asked. "What's wrong? Did you forget something else at the apartment? Don't worry about it. You still have half of your clothes here and we can always buy more clothes and anything else you might need."
"I..." I turned to face him as I looked into his beautiful hazel eyes with green specks shining out at me. "I-I..." Words failed me as I tried to form a coherent sentence.
How do I tell him that I fear stepping back into this house—that if I entered, we would be back at square one and accepting our old situation; that he hadn't had enough time to think things through and me being here would make him complacent; that we have made zero improvements in our relationship since we took a break.
Instead of voicing my trepidation, what came out was, "I missed you."
His anxious face immediately broke into a smile as he pulled me in for a passionate and desperate kiss. "I missed you, too." He said huskily against my lips and continued to kiss me as I wrapped myself around him while melting into him.
"Let's go inside before we went too far." He whispered when the kiss got too heated. He chuckled and eventually broke away from me while I completely forgot that we were still in public.
He opened the door and my feet carried me in before I knew what I was doing. I landed on the sofa in the living room while Artemis sat down next me. "Can you tell me again what happened? I was too distracted earlier by your frightened voice that I didn't catch what you were saying.”
I grabbed a pillow nearby and hugged it as I leaned back against the sofa. I replayed the events of what happened to Artemis. His eyes narrowed as the story went on and got more intense at the end.
If looks could kill, Theo would be dead by now from the look on Artemis's face. He reached out and gently touched my neck. "I would've killed the ungrateful bastard. He is one stupid son of a bitch. He was willing to go to jail for Samantha and didn’t even realize he was just a pawn."
My hand came up to palm his hand that was still lingering on my neck. "I'm okay Artemis. I kicked him pretty hard before he could do any damage."
"He deserved more than just a kick." He growled. "From what you told me, I don't think the police will take this case seriously. They probably can't do anything to him since you weren't seriously injured and he had no priors. At most, they can only keep him in jail for a couple days." He said as he took out his phone and stood up.
"I'll have to take care of this personally and also get you a bodyguard until Theo is caught." He stated as he dialed a number.
"Nate, I need you and our team to find Theo ASAP. See if he's been visiting or contacting Samantha or his family recently. Let me know right away if you find out anything. This is urgent. Also, get Grace a bodyguard." He snapped into the phone and hung up once Nate got the message.
He came back and sat down next to me. Before I could get a word out, my stomach grumbled signaling for food.
Artemis's lips curved into a knowing a smile. "What do you want for dinner since it's already past supper time?"
"I'm craving for pizza." I answered eagerly. Being here with him made me feel safe like he would protect me from anything and anyone. Even my appetite knew that and was screaming for attention and food—not affected by the ordeal in the slightest.
While we were waiting for our pizzas to arrive, Artemis turned to me and had his serious face on. "Grace, I have something to tell you."
That completely got my attention. I immediately sat up straight as I gave him my full focus. After a whole minute of silence, he seemed to lose his composure as his hand came up to brush through his silky brown strands.
I tried to make a joke to help lighten the situation. "Why are you so nervous? What? Did you find a mistress while I was gone?" I laughed and almost choked on it at the look he gave me. "Sorry, that wasn't funny."
What was funny was seeing him squirming under my gaze—the usual confident Artemis gone, replaced by an unsure, timid person. It was adorable seeing him so vulnerable that it warmed my heart.
After another minute passed and he still refused to talk, I ultimately snapped. "Artemis, just tell me already! You're killing me with the suspense."
He took a deep breath and exhaled. "I'm just not good at this." He said frustrated at himself.
"At what? Talking about feelings?" I teased. "No, you're not." I laughed. "You're the worst. Getting you to say anything is like pulling teeth—difficult and frustrating."
He gave a nervous laugh. "Okay. I get it."
He took my hands in his and stared at them as he spoke. "I've done a lot of thinking over the past month and I agree with what you said. I haven't been putting you first and had been too focused on my revenge. I thought I had things balanced out well but I didn't and it took the break to make me see that."
His thumbs ran over the top of my hands, tenderly stroking them, as he added. "I had my priorities organized in the wrong order and I ended up hurting you instead. I thought I was protecting you but I wasn't and it only caused more misunderstanding."
He fidgeted slightly as he continued. "I know I have a lot to work on communication wise and I can't promise I can improve over night, but I hope you can give me another chance. One thing I can promise is no more secrets." He said with conviction and finally looked up at me. "No more keeping you in the dark; everything will be out in the open and transparent."
His eyes bored consumingly into mine as he made another promise. “Work is important, but I will make sure that family will always comes first.” Family—that has a nice ring to it. My heart and stomach fluttered at the implication. Does that mean he wants kids? A question and topic for another day.
"What about your revenge?" I asked with apprehension.
"That part is over with." He said sincerely as he told me what happened with his great uncle. "Nate will take care of selling the shares. I won't get involved and he will only report to me once everything is done."
"Really?" I asked delightfully. I just couldn't believe it. He nodded with a big grin on his face.
I stood on my knees and threw myself at him—making him fall backward onto the sofa while I laughed happily. His chest rumbled with amusement as he asked, “So is that a ‘yes’ to giving me another chance?”
My arms retracted from his neck and crossed over each other on his chest while I lifted my head up. “Yes! Of course! A thousand times, yes!”
Did he even have to ask? Deep down, I knew I would have waited forever for him no matter how long it took.
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