“I’m changing things around. We’re going to turn the guest bedroom into a home office with a Murphy bed. That way, we still have room for guests and I have a place to work.”
Gideon smoothed his tie, then started buttoning his vest, stepping out into the bedroom. “We didn’t discuss that.”
“True.” I deliberately moved my leg so that the sheet slid off it. “I didn’t want you to argue about it.”
We’d originally agreed to turn the guest room into my room and connect it to the master bath to form a his-and-hers master suite. The layout would address Gideon’s parasomnia but also meant we’d have to sleep in separate rooms.
“We shouldn’t be sharing a bed,” he said quietly.
“I disagree.” Before he could press the point, I went on. “I tried to make the best of it, Gideon, but I’m not happy with the idea of being apart like that.”
He stood there silently, shoving his hands into the pockets of his slacks. “It’s not fair to make me choose between your happiness and your safety.”
“I know. But I’m not making you choose, I already decided. I’m aware that’s not fair, either, but the call had to be made and I made it.” I sat up and shoved the pillow behind me, scooting back so I could lean against the headboard.
“We made the call together. Then you apparently changed your mind without discussing it further. And flashing your tits at me—as stunning as they are—isn’t going to distract me.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “If I wanted to distract you, I wouldn’t have brought the subject up in the first place.”
“Cancel the consult, Eva,” he said tightly. “We need to talk about this first.”
“The consult already happened. We had to cut it short because the cops came over, but Blaire’s already working on new designs. He’s bringing me some ideas today.”
Gideon’s hands came out of his pockets and his arms crossed. “So your happiness comes first and to hell with mine?”
“You’re not happy sharing a bed with me?”
A muscle in his jaw ticced. “Don’t jerk me around. You’re not taking into consideration what it would do to me if I hurt you.”
Abruptly my frustration turned to shame. “Gideon—”
“And you’re not thinking about what it would do to us,” he bit out. “I’ll let you experiment with a lot of things, Eva, but nothing that’s going to damage our relationship. If you want to fall asleep next to me, I’ll be there. If you want to wake up with me beside you, I can do that, too. But the hours in between when we’re both unconscious are too dangerous to gamble with on a fucking whim.”
I swallowed past a lump in my throat. I wanted to explain further, to tell him that I worried about the distance separate bedrooms would create. Not just physically but emotionally.
It hurt me to have him make love to me, then leave my bed. It took something beautiful and magical and turned it into something else. And if he stayed until I slept, then woke before me to return, he would suffer from lack of sleep. As tireless as he so often seemed, he was still human. He worked hard, worked out harder, and had to deal with tons of stress day after day. Being short on sleep couldn’t become routine.
But his fears for my safety weren’t going to be dismissed in a single conversation. We would have to go step-by-step.
“Okay,” I conceded. “Let’s agree to this: Blaire will drop off his concepts and we’ll look them over together later. In the meantime, we’ll agree not to knock down any walls in the guest room. I think that’s going too far, Gideon.”
“You didn’t think so before.”
“It’s a stopgap that may become permanent and we don’t want that. I mean, you don’t want that, do you? You want to work on sleeping together, right?”
He unfolded his arms and rounded the bed, taking a seat on the edge. Taking my hand in his, he lifted it to his lips. “Yes, I want that. It kills me that I can’t give you something so basic in our marriage. And knowing you’re unhappy about it … I’m sorry, angel. I can’t tell you how much.”
Leaning forward, I cupped his cheek. “We’ll work on it. I should’ve started by talking it out. Guess I pulled a Gideon on you—act first, explain later.”
His mouth twisted ruefully. “Touché.” He gave me a quick, hard kiss. “Watch out for Blaire. He wants you.”
I sat back. “He finds me attractive,” I corrected. “And he’s a natural-born flirt.”
Gideon’s eyes took on a dangerous gleam. “Has he been hitting on you?”
“Nothing unprofessional. If he crossed a line I’d fire him myself, but I think he probably finesses all his female clients. I bet it’s good for business.” I smiled. “He cooled his jets when I told him I was getting used to your stamina and didn’t feel like I needed a separate bed for sleep anymore.”
His brows shot up. “You didn’t.”
“I totally did. I can sleep when I’m dead, I told him. In the meantime, if my husband wants to hit it with me a half-dozen times every night and he’s as skilled as he is at doing it, who am I to complain?”
The first time we’d consulted with Blaire, I hadn’t considered what the designer would think about Gideon marrying a woman he didn’t intend to sleep with. When Blaire’s subtle flirtation registered, I realized why he might think I’d be receptive—and understood how awkward the whole situation was for my husband. Yet Gideon had never complained about how it might look to an outsider. His concern was for me, not his reputation as a world-class player.
I’d enjoyed setting Blaire straight.
I fluffed my messy hair. “I’m a blonde with big tits. Throw a giggle in there and I can usually get away with saying anything.”
“Christ.” Gideon feigned a long-suffering sigh but was clearly amused. “Is it a compulsion of yours to share the details of our sex life with everyone?”
“No.” I winked. “But it’s certainly fun.”
I didn’t go to sleep after Gideon left for work. Instead, I picked up the phone and called my trainer, Parker Smith. Since it was early, he wasn’t working yet and picked up.
“Hey, Parker. It’s Eva Tramell. How are you?”
“I’m good. You coming in today? You’re slacking lately.”
I wrinkled my nose. “I know. And yes, I’m coming in. That’s why I’m calling. I want to work on something with you.”
“Yeah? What’s on your mind?”
“We’ve gone over situational awareness and what to do if you’re cornered, how to get away. But what if I’m completely taken off guard, like when I’m sleeping?”
He absorbed that. “A hard knee shot in the balls will lay any man out. Gives you the opening you need.”
I’d done that before to Gideon, to snap him out of a vicious nightmare. I would do it again, if it came to that, but I’d prefer to break his hold and get away without hurting him. He was already hurting so much in his dreams. I didn’t want him to wake up to pain, too.
“But what if … How would you knee someone when they’re lying on top of you?”
“We can work it out. Choreograph some different scenarios.” He paused. “Everything all right?”
“Everything’s great,” I assured him, and then I lied. “It just came up on a TV show I was watching last night and I realized that no matter how prepared you are, you can’t be situationally aware when you’re sleeping.”
“No problem. I’ll be at the warehouse in a couple hours and stay until closing.”
I ended the call, then headed into the shower. When I came back out, there were two missed calls from Cary. I dialed him back.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“I’ve been thinking. You said something about a classic dress, right?”
I sighed. It made me cringe every time I thought about it. Because no matter how much I wanted to believe the perfect dress would fall out of the sky before the big day, it was more realistic to accept that I was going to have to settle.
Still, I had to love Cary for staying on me about it. He knew me as well as I knew myself.
“What about one of Monica’s bridal gowns?” he suggested. “Something old and all that. You two have the same build. It wouldn’t take much alteration.”
“Ugh. Really? No, Cary. If she’d married my dad in it, maybe. But I can’t wear something she wore to marry a stepdad. That’s just weird.”
He laughed. “Yeah, you’re right. She has great taste, though.”
I ran my fingers through my damp hair. “I don’t think she keeps her wedding dresses, anyway. Not a great souvenir to have hanging around your new husband’s house.”
“Okay, so it’s a stupid idea. We can hunt for something vintage. A pal of mine knows every couture and designer consignment shop in Manhattan.”