Chapter 48 - Callan

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I lived in an apartment on Park Avenue. I'd bought it as soon as I decided where I wanted my club to be, and this place was pretty close to it. Even though this building was some fancy, impressive shit, it was never meant to be my home, only a place to sleep—practicality over comfort.

My personal garage was under the building, and trust me, I'd paid a shit ton for the other tenants to park somewhere else. I liked having my cars in one spot.

Emma had fallen asleep during the short car ride but woke up again when I turned off the engine.

"Are we there?" She asked as she rubbed her eye and looked around the basement garage.

"Yeah, we're here." I walked to her side and opened the door for her. Grandma had raised me to be a gentleman, after all. Without thinking twice, I had her in my arms again.

Laughing, she slapped my chest gently. "I can walk." When I narrowed my eyes at her, she amended, "I think."

"And I think you secretly love this," I teased. I wasn't much of a joker—that was more Mateo's lane—but something about Emma let me shake loose and be a little less serious and more carefree. I didn't know if I liked that or not.

Scanning my keycard, the elevator opened for us. I had to scan it once more when we got inside before I pushed the button that would take us to my penthouse.

When I saw Emma smile at the floor number glowing yellow, I had to ask why. "What's that smile for?"

She leaned her head against my shoulder, looking up at me. "Nothing...It just, it didn't surprise me, that's all."

"What? You expected me to live in a penthouse?"

"Yeah, I figured at least one of you had to have the famous penthouse apartment," she teased, making me chuckle.

"I guess I'll have to work harder to surprise you then." Stepping out of the elevator, I once again let Emma go so I could bend down and help her take off her shoes.

"I guess so," she smiled. On unsteady feet, she walked to the floor to ceiling windows and looked out at the city. "Do you ever just stand here and watch the people walking below us and marvel at how tiny they are? It's crazy, really. This is what...five hundred feet in the air? And they look like miniature stick-figures moving. Five hundred feet, compared to the universe, is nothing, literally nothing. We're not even dots compared to the universe."

Walking up behind her, I wrapped my arms around her and gazed down at the people beneath us. "It's six hundred feet, but no, I haven't really taken the time to appreciate the view. I definitely haven't thought about how insignificant we really are." Her musings were ones I hadn't heard before, but I liked that about her. People weren't created to be the same as one another; that would be too boring—too meaningless.

"I wouldn't say we were insignificant, just maybe not huge in the great scheme of it all." She leaned against me heavily, like she struggled to keep herself up.

"Okay, philosopher, let's get you to bed." I guided her through the living room and down the hall to my bedroom.

The room was completely dark; I had blackout curtains blocking out the city lights. I felt I slept the best like this.

Turning on the light so Emma wouldn't bump into anything, I showed her the way to the bathroom.

"I've already gotten you a new toothbrush. I didn't know if you had any night routine, so I bought some toiletries just in case. It's all on the counter by the sink."

Emma looked at me. "You didn't have to do that. I would've been fine with only a toothbrush."

"Well, you'll be spending at least one night here once a week. I wanted you to be comfortable." As soon as she'd accepted our proposition, I'd gotten my assistant to buy whatever a woman might need. I'd also filled my closet with clothes for her, though I had a sneaking suspicion she wouldn't like that very much.

Too bad, she would just have to get used to us taking care of her. I also didn't want to waste time with her having to pack each time she would stay at my place.

While she finished up in the bathroom, I went to grab us both two bottles of water. She would need to hydrate after the workout we'd put her through. I also sent a quick text to the guys to let them know she was doing good, and other than exhaustion, she had no other side effects from our first session.

I found Emma in bed when I got back, her eyes struggling to stay open.

"Here, you should drink some more before you go to sleep." I uncapped the bottle and offered it to her.

"Thanks," she smiled and took a few sips.

"I'll be right back," I said as I went to the bathroom and finished up quickly, eager to get back to our girl. While I knew Mateo probably offered her something to sleep in, I didn't. I was a selfish bastard, wanting her naked flesh against mine.

She was still awake when I got back, just barely, though. Her eyes did pop open when I started undressing, especially when I stepped out of my boxers. I slept naked, always. It didn't seem like she would complain as she devoured me with her eyes.

"Get some sleep," I whispered when I crawled into bed, and she didn't make a move to close her eyes again.

"I will," she promised with a last lingering look before I covered myself up with the blanket. "Good night."

"Good night, Bella."

Sharing a bed with someone wasn't something I was used to, but I didn't think I would have so much difficulty falling asleep because of it. It was her—Emma—that made my mind restless.

Now that she was ours...fuck, I hadn't come clean about what I knew about her; that she worked for Gideon and Mateo was a professor at her school. In the beginning, I was trying to justify not saying anything because I was selfish, so fucking selfish.

Growing up, I went through some shit that made me the man I was today; one who took what he wanted and fucked the consequences. It was different now, though, because these weren't consequences that affected only me; other people were involved in this.

BDSM was about trust, first and foremost, and I'd already fucked it up. I've been trying to ignore it, that little voice in my head that told me everything I've done wrong. And what I was doing now, keeping it a secret, was fucking wrong. The worst part was, the longer it took for me to come clean, the harder it was to do so.

Mateo was happy with Emma; I'd seen that. Hell, Gideon was as close to happy as he could get. And Emma...I didn't know her all too well, but after tonight, I'd seen this change in her as if she'd needed this more than any of us could've guessed.

Me? I was swimming in guilt, and my mind was conflicted about it all. I didn't know how I could tell them about it now, knowing how much we all wanted this arrangement.

A part of me was afraid, more than anything else, of what would happen if they found out what I'd kept from them.

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