22.1 Aiden's Art Of Showing Her Off

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"I'm so sorry."

"You say that one more time and I'm hanging up."

Scarlett's light laughter doesn't make me feel any better, and even after apologizing two dozen times for being such a dick the other night, I don't know what to do to make up to her.

"I shouldn't have said everything I said," I repeat for the tenth time. "I'd had some drinks and I was tired and just --"

"Okay, good night, Aiden --"

"No, wait!"

She laughs again, her humor making me smile at last. No matter how down I am, Scarlett always knows exactly how to cheer me up. Even though I had displaced my anger onto her last night and let my helplessness get the best of me, I knew I was wrong. Hanging up on her and going back into the club to drink some more before returning home to lie in bed for hours before I finally decided to call her made me feel even worse when she didn't answer. It's only now that she told me she fell asleep and hadn't been upset with me at all.

Her consolations don't help ease my guilt, and I don't know how I pass the remaining two weeks before taking a flight back to New York. Corelle has already made arrangements for a celebration since the trip was a big hit and got the company contracts like it has never gotten before. My mind, though, is set on making up to Scarlett rather than making contacts and getting better deals for the future.

I find my car in the parking lot and relax, knowing Scarlett is home. I didn't tell her I'd be coming over tonight so she probably isn't expecting me. I'm excited to see how she'll react when I surprise her.

As soon as the door swings open, I hear a squeal and don't hesitate to drop my bags and throw my arms around her. Her breathless laughter echoes in my ears and my own joins in as I lift her into the air and spin her around. The door closes behind me on its own and I push into the apartment, my heart beating in sync with Scarlett's when she wraps her arms around my neck and holds me tightly against herself.

"God, I've missed you!"

I smile wide, kissing her neck before pulling back to look at her beautiful face. Her hair pulled back into a loose-hanging ponytail, her plain face before me is more beautiful than any model I have seen over the past month. I wouldn't give up on a slacks-clad Scarlett for the most elaborately dressed woman in the world.

"I'm taking you out," I tell her, cupping her face in my hand and kissing her on the lips.

"Where?" is her question. She's breathless and her cheeks are flushed, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she refuses to loosen her grip around me.

I hold her close. "To the afterparty," I tell her.

"Aren't you tired? Maybe you could rest instead," she suggests. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming, Aiden? I would have made dinner and we could have --"

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