“I know we were always together, but I you were right when you suggested I try a new position,” she said. “You said it yourself, no wife could work as her husband’s assistant.”
“That’s true,” he said. “There’s no way I could have accepted you staying on as an assistant. But working yourself this hard can’t be healthy for you. You’re stressed out. I can tell.”
“I have been stressed out lately,” she admitted slowly. “But I love my job. I get to do so many important things every day. I get to change lives. Get women and girls involved in sports and their community. Do you know how many young girls tell me they finally feel included in sports now? You should see how confident some of these girls are because there’s a company that cares about them and their dreams.”
“If you say so.” He stared at her for a moment, like he was trying to work something out in his head. She thought he might push her to slow down, but instead he said, “I’m going to turn in for the night.”
It had been a long day. No matter how luxurious their private jet was, travel was always grueling. “I’ll probably stay up and watch TV. I can go to the living room if you don’t want to be disturbed—”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m half-asleep already.” He leaned forward to kiss her forehead. The brush of his lips on her skin warmed her. And then her body tensed as the sense of guilt overwhelmed her.
Dane was blaming himself for her mood. She knew that he was such an honorable man that he would try to find a way to take the blame whenever things went wrong. He was the CEO of a major corporation. Her husband had always believed that because he was in charge, everything was his responsibility. Even things that were beyond his control. Not that a man like Dane would ever admit that things were beyond his control.
She watched as he undressed and got into bed. The minute he lay his head down, he was out like a light.
Allyson stared at him, wishing she could sleep that soundly. Nights like that were so rare now. She went to bed anxious, and sometimes the anxiety made her toss and turn. Wake up at odd hours and stare out into the darkness, willing herself to sleep. It was almost always futile.
Except for last night, when she had slept so soundly at the hotel in Colorado. That night had been one of the best night’s sleep she had ever had. Probably because she had thought they’d be able to get to New York in time.
Grabbing the remote, she turned on the flat screen TV and settled on one of the weather channels. It was probably torture so sit here and listen to the weatherman say there was virtually no hope of getting to New York before Christmas Day, but hope was all she had.
She tried to tell herself that even though they would miss Christmas in New York, there would still be other days. Other holidays that she and Dane could celebrate with family. Other days that would be special. Just not as special as the Christmas she had been planning for this year.
Watching the weather report didn’t change the fact that this secret she carried was always in danger of slipping out. Because she wanted nothing more than to tell her husband.
As she stared at the TV screen, she didn’t know how she would handle the truth being revealed. All she knew was that her marriage was about to change forever.
SHE WOKE UP TO THE sound of Christmas carols blaring in her ears. The sheets beside her were rumpled. Running her hand down Dane’s side of the bed, she realized that the spot was cold. Which meant her husband had been out of bed for some time.
Stretching, she rolled out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. Even with the bathroom door shut and the shower on at full blast, she could still hear the Christmas carols. After taking a quick shower, she brushed her teeth and put on a loose-fitting sundress that had been taken out of storage. It was a little big for her, but most of her own clothes were inappropriate for the climate, so the slightly oversized dress would have to do.
After making the bed Allyson headed downstairs, following the sound of the Christmas carols until she stopped in the kitchen. Dane was sitting at the island, a cup of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other.
“How’s the weather?” she asked loudly.