they’ve given me. You saved us all.”
Foster’s lungs constricted as another family came on giving more heartfelt testimony. He looked to Cela, who was swiping at tears. She turned his way and offered him a tentative smile as if to say,
See how amazing you are
This matters. You did this.
The meaning behind that look hit him right in the sternum. It was like warm rays of sun shining on his face. For the first time ever, he felt it—truly felt it—by seeing himself though her eyes. He’d made a difference. Maybe not for his own family. He could never make things better for Neve. And nothing would ever bring her back. But he could honor her with this. Every person who came home safe with a 4N product was because of her, a tribute.
As he listened to story after story, and as families came up to him to thank him after the video presentation was over, everything that had been wound so tight for so long seemed to loosen and unknot inside him. This mattered.
And Cela had shown him that. She’d done this for him. Everyone else had let him get by with his bitterness and hardened front, but she hadn’t accepted the bullshit. She’d pushed and pushed and stood up to him, had even taken the brunt of his wrath the night she’d refused to leave him alone to wallow. She’d bled for him.
The woman was more than he could have ever dreamed of or asked for. She was perfect. And she was his.
He exchanged hugs and good-byes with the last of the families who had stopped by to thank him, and then scanned the room for Cela. She’d stepped away when people had started to come over to talk with him, but he didn’t want her anywhere but at his side. He caught sight of her across the room with Bailey, both of them chatting with Lindy. Cela’s dark hair gleamed beneath the soft lighting in the room, and as promised, the short black dress she wore revealed just enough to drive him mad. If he hadn’t known her, his eyes would have been drawn her way regardless. Without letting her see him, he slipped out the door to take care of something.
When he came back, she hadn’t moved from her perch, but had added a glass of champagne to the mix. As if feeling his eyes on her, she glanced his way and sent him a
still mad at me?
quirk of her eyebrows. Inwardly, he grinned, but he kept his expression stern as he made his way over to her. When he reached the group, he grabbed her elbow and drew her next to him. “Excuse us, ladies, Cela and I have a lot to discuss.”
Lindy put a hand on his arm. “You’re not mad, are you?”
He sent her a quelling look. “Not at you.”
Cela gave Bailey a
expression as she handed over her champagne glass to her friend, but he winked at the girl over Cela’s shoulder. Bailey bit back a smile. She gave Cela a little wave. “I’m going grab more of those puff pastry thingies.”
“Good idea,” Foster said, tugging Cela away.
She glanced back at her friend. “Is it just me or did she just throw me to the wolves?”
“Wolf,” he corrected.
Cela eyed him, as if still trying to figure out if he was truly mad or screwing with her. “Where are we going?”
He didn’t answer as he guided her out of the party room and toward the bank of elevators. As if they’d been waiting for Foster and Cela’s arrival, the gold gleaming doors spread wide. Foster dragged her inside.
As soon as the doors slid shut, he crowded her against the wall, banding an arm around her waist. She let out a little squeak of surprise, and he pressed his forehead to hers, holding her eye contact. “Last time we were in this elevator, I was so desperate for you, I went against my better judgment. I could tell you were holding something back, and I took you to that room anyway.”
He lifted his head and smiled down at her. “It was the best fuckup I’ve ever made.”
She stared up at him with those big, brown eyes, her lips curving.
He cupped the back of her neck. “And all this time I’ve made