Craving Him Page 43

I found her room, the door left partially opened, so I took a deep breath and entered. Fiona was sitting on the bed in a turquoise-and-cream silk robe, slipper-covered feet folded underneath her, sipping a Pellegrino and flipping through Vogue magazine.

What the hell?

She didn’t look ill. In fact she looked phenomenal. She had a healthy glow to her skin and red lacquered nails, and her hair and makeup were styled perfectly.

“Fiona?” My voice cracked.

Her eyes lifted to mine and her mouth puckered in a frown. “Where’s Ben?”

“He’s not coming.” I wanted to feel excited, proud of that fact, but watching her face fall, I only felt empty. This woman was in love with my boyfriend and there would be no happy ending.

“Why not?” her confident voice shook ever so slightly.

“I told him I’d check on you myself, and he stayed home.” I didn’t mention that he’d asked me to call him with news.

She swallowed, as if summoning her courage. “I get it. You’re threatened. You made him stay behind and came yourself so he wouldn’t have to.”

I peered down at the shiny tile floor. She wasn’t far off from the truth. I didn’t want to feel threatened by her, yet I did.

“He sent me, Fiona. He didn’t want to come.”

She took a fortifying breath and met my eyes. “You’re nothing like the girls he has dated in the past. You know that, yes? I never thought I’d measure up to the models he attracted. London Burke . . . and many others. They were younger, thinner, prettier.” She looked down, picking at an imaginary piece of lint on the blanket beside her. “But then you came along. I don’t usually hire female assistants but I knew you’d pose no threat. From your dirty tennis shoes”—her eyes dropped to my feet—“to your ratty ponytail . . .” She clucked her tongue, her eyes pinning me in place.

She was doing her best to cut me open, but my tough outer shell remained intact. There was one key thing she didn’t understand about Ben that I did. It wasn’t what was on the outside that attracted him to me rather than her. She was a vindictive, manipulative witch. I was wholesome and loved him just for him. He got that. She clearly didn’t. And I wouldn’t be explaining that to her; I just stood my ground, keeping my face even and composed, doing my best to look bored by this whole exchange. She wasn’t a threat. The baby might come between us eventually, but I was confident Fiona never would.

“Don’t you worry about what will happen when we learn this baby is his?” Her hand went to her swollen bump, stroking it lovingly.

I didn’t answer—couldn’t. All the air was sucked from my lungs. I worried about that every waking moment. I had dreams of beautiful little babies that were a perfect mix of Fiona’s dark, shiny hair and Ben’s brilliant hazel eyes.

“I could get him back, you know. He’s been with me for five years. He hardly dated. We traveled the world together. Dined at five-star restaurants, made love in the finest hotels; I built him up to where he is today. Ben isn’t the type to forget that. He’s extremely loyal.”

I forced air to return to my lungs and found my voice. “There’s a good chance this baby isn’t his. Do you really think he’ll still be at your beck and call then?”

“That’s what your poor, simple mind doesn’t understand. I’m friends with his mother. I’m practically part of the family. I’ll always be around.”

At the mention of his mother and their ongoing relationship, something in me snapped. I was done being nice. I’d claw her eyes out if necessary and not think twice. “And if I called his mother and told her you seduced her son, took his virginity, how do you think she’d react?”

Fiona laughed maniacally. “I seduced him? If that’s what he told you, he lied.” A smug smile blossomed on her mouth. “Far from it, sweetheart. He wanted me. And trust me, I was all too happy to oblige. You two have been together, what eight months, nine?”

I nodded. She was keeping track.

“He and I have a history that spans five years. When you’ve made it that long, then you can talk to me about how well you know Ben. In the meantime, buzz off.” She flicked her wrist in my direction.

“Why do you think I’m here tonight and he’s not? He’s not interested in you, Fiona,” I enunciated each word slowly, letting them sink in. “Your attempts at winning him back . . .” I shook my head. “It’s getting awkward. He’s never been interested in more with you. You were convenient. A warm body while he was on the road. I’m the person he wants to build a life with.”

Her smooth exterior began to crack ever so slightly. Her jaw twitched and tightened. “No. You think that, but I know him. He doesn’t want to be tied down. Not with some nobody.”

“Fiona, Ben’s asked me to move in with him.” My tone was direct, harsh, but it had to be to get through to her.

Her bottom lip trembled, the only indication that I’d finally succeeded.

“I’m not the enemy here,” I continued, my tone softer this time. “You need to let him go. Even if the baby is his . . . he’ll never be yours.”

Striding from the room on shaky legs, I rounded the corner and stabbed the button for the elevator.

16

Ben

• • •

Emmy’s brow was crinkled in deep concentration, her laptop balanced on her knees as she sat next to me on the sofa. I loved her work ethic and dedication to my career but I wouldn’t have minded her taking a break now and again, either.

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