Billionaire UnveiledBy: J.S. Scott
“You look better,” he said huskily, his tone slightly more gentle. “What did you do to your hair?”
I ran my fingers through the short pixie cut. “Nothing. The stylist just evened out the cut, and then dyed it all back to my natural color.”
Being a detail guy, Marcus had sent me every service I needed while I was in the hospital, including somebody to fix my hair and try to heal all the cracks and breaks on my skin.
“You’re a redhead?”
“Yes,” I admitted. “But I thought I might have a better shot at the foreign correspondent job if I went blonde. Redheads draw a lot of attention, especially in foreign countries where that hair color is hardly ever seen. I wanted to blend in instead of standing out. I didn’t really want anybody to know who I was.”
Marcus seemed to be satisfied with my answer because he was silent for a few minutes. He wasn’t a guy who spoke just to hear himself talking, a trait I was currently grateful he had.
Once the jet leveled off, I told Marcus, “I think I’ll try to sleep for a while.” I was exhausted from just the mild exercise I’d had during the day. All I’d really done was get discharged from the hospital and made my way to Marcus’s jet. Still, I felt like I’d spent the entire day doing hard labor.
He opened his laptop computer, and without looking at me, he answered, “Bedroom is in the back. Go sleep as long as you want. It’s a long trip.”
“Thanks.” I undid my seat belt and made my way to the back of the large aircraft.
My brothers all had private planes, so it wasn’t unusual for me to see this level of comfort and convenience in a private jet. But it did feel strange to be the only other passenger in such a massive aircraft.
The sleeping area had a large king-sized bed, and a bathroom attached. I popped into the restroom to change into a nightgown. Seeing my suitcase next to the bedroom door had been no surprise. Marcus obviously demanded efficiency from his staff, and he got it without question.
“You done with the bathroom?” The sound of Marcus’s voice beside me in the bedroom nearly made me jump out of my own skin. Yeah, I knew he was still on board, but he’d startled me.
Right now, it didn’t take much to make me jumpy.
I nodded. The restroom had two entrances. One connected to the bedroom, and the other was right outside the bedroom door. A quick glance told me that the bathroom door next to the bedroom was closed, and Marcus was just politely checking to see if I was done.
I tried to calm my nerves, berating myself for being so damn jittery, and then looked up at Marcus to reassure him I wasn’t a lunatic.
His sharp, ever-changing eyes were so intense that they felt like they were prying open my soul.
Without looking away from me, he answered, “I wanted to freshen up.” He paused before asking, “Hey, are you okay? You’re really pale.”
“I-I’m fine,” I lied easily.
In truth, I wasn’t feeling well at all. My body was slowly getting stronger, but my mind wasn’t functioning as well as it used to. I obviously startled easily, and I couldn’t seem to keep my thoughts from returning to my time as a captive.
I’m safe. I’m safe.
I wondered if I kept up the mantra for a while, if I’d start to actually believe that nobody was going to hurt me.
“Bullshit,” Marcus cursed. “You look like you can barely stand up.”
He moved closer, his big body crowding me against the wall like he was ready to support me if I fell.
“I’m tired,” I admitted as I continued to look up at him, trying not to react when he put a hand on each side of the wall, leaving me trapped.
“What else, Danica? What’s bothering you? I know that look on your face. I’ve seen it before in other rescue situations.”
Marcus was my only confidant at the moment, so I either told him what was wrong, or I kept it bottled up inside. I decided on the former. “I can’t stop thinking about what happened. I was so damn certain I was going to die, Marcus. Returning to this world, knowing that I’m not going to be hurt again is pretty surreal. I’m happy. I really am. But the fear won’t go away.” The words tumbled out of my mouth awkwardly.
“That’s normal,” he told me. “You can’t survive an ordeal like you went through without developing a heavy dose of worry and anxiety. Do you want to talk about it?”
Oh hell, I didn’t know what I wanted. Maybe I needed to talk, but I certainly didn’t want to, especially to Marcus. I was too used to always keeping my guard up around him. However, he was all I had right now.
“Not really,” I murmured. “It’s in the past. I just want to be myself again.”