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His Lover's Little Secret Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:54:45

“I know. This time I want to show you the other room.”

Gavin turned the knob and pushed open the door to what used to be his office. When he flipped on the light switch, he heard Sabine gasp beside him.

“Remember in the car when I said that I knew of an available property that you would love? This is it. I had the old office done up for you. An art studio just for you to work. You don’t have to share it with a toddler or storage boxes or cleaning supplies. It’s all yours for you to do whatever you like.”

Sabine stepped ahead of him into the large, open room. He’d had the hardwood floors refinished. The walls were painted a soft, matte green very close to the color of her eyes. “The consultant I worked with told me that this shade of green was a good choice for an art studio because it wouldn’t influence the color of your work and would provide enough light with the off-white ceilings.”

There was one large window that let in plenty of natural light and several nonfluorescent fixtures that he was told were good for art. A leather love seat sat along one wall. Several cabinets lined the other, each filled with every painting supply he could order. Several easels were already set up with blank canvases perched on them, and a few framed paintings were hanging on the walls.

“That shade of green also looked wonderful with the paintings I had of yours.”

“It’s beautiful. Perfect.” Sabine approached one of the three canvases hanging on the wall and let her finger run along the large wooden frame. “I didn’t know you had bought any of my work. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I bought the pieces after you left me. It was my way of keeping you in my life, I guess.”

She spun on her heel to face him, her brow knit together with excitement tampered by confusion. “When did you decide to do all this?”

“The room was nearly finished when you broke it off. I was planning on asking you to move in with me and giving you the room as a housewarming gift. I decided to go ahead and complete it, and then I didn’t have the heart to do anything else with it. I’ve just kept the door shut.”

“You wanted me to move in with you?” Sabine’s hands dropped helplessly at her sides. “I wish to God you would’ve said something. I didn’t think I mattered to you. I loved you, but I thought I was a fool.”

“I was the fool for letting you walk away. I wanted you here with me then, and I was too afraid to admit to myself that I still wanted you here with me now. I would’ve bought you any apartment you chose, but I knew you were meant to be here with me.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about it when you showed me Jared’s new room?”

Gavin took a deep breath. “I thought it was too soon to show it to you. We were slowly rebuilding our relationship. I didn’t know where we would end up. I thought that I might scare you away if you saw it. Too much, too soon.”

“Why would you think that?”

“You’d already laughed off my proposal and shot down any suggestion of moving in with me.”

“To be fair, it wasn’t much of a proposal.”

“True. Which is why I worried you would think the studio was my way of trying to bribe you into moving in with me after you told me no already. It’s not a bribe. It’s a homecoming gift. I started working on this place years ago because I wanted it to be a home for us. Now, a home for all of us. Not a part-time, alternate weekends and holidays home. For every day. All three of us together.”

He watched tears start welling in her eyes and didn’t know if it was a good or bad sign. He decided to go with it. The moment felt right even though he wasn’t as prepared as he would like to be.

“Sabine, I know I’m no good at talking about my feelings. I built this space for you because I...I love you. I loved you then and I love you now. This was the only way I could think of to show you how I felt.”

“You love me?” Sabine asked with a sly smile curling her lips.

“Then say it again,” she challenged.

“I love you,” he repeated, this time without hesitation. A grin of his own spread wide across his face. It was getting easier every time he said it. “Now it’s your turn.”

Sabine leaned into him, her green gaze focused intently on him. “I love you, Gavin,” she said without a moment’s indecision. Then she placed her hands on his face and leaned in to kiss him.

Gavin wrapped his arms around her, thankful to have this again after two days without her touch or her kisses to help him get through it. He’d worried that he’d ruined it again.