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.” Elijah handed over his cell phone without comment.Ruben quickly looked through Elijah’s contacts until he found Yancy’s number then sent him a text message with the description of the car and the man with the camera.Not two minutes later, he received one back from Yancy stating that he had seen the guy and taken down his license plate number.He already had someone looking into it.He was also going to circle around and watch the guy for a little while, see if he followed Ruben and Elijah, or where he went.He’d come out to the ranch later.Ruben breathed a sigh of relief and snapped the phone closed, handing it back to Elijah.“I’m really scared, Elijah.”Elijah smiled and patted Ruben’s thigh.“I know, baby.I am, too.This is starting to get really weird.I’m beginning to think that Janice plans on trying to take Alani from you due to your gay status.”“She can’t do that!”“Normally, I would say that is true, but it is not always the case.You were legally married to her mother, and that right there might save you.”“But?”“You’re with me now, and that might change things a bit.”“How?”“I just came out of the closet.”“Yeah, and?”“Well, after kissing you in full view of everyone on Main Street, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve dragged you over to the dark side.If Janice gets the right judge, she can state that you are raising Alani in an immoral atmosphere, sleeping around with any gay man that will have you.”“I was a virgin!”“Can you prove that?”“Yes, I—” Ruben snapped his mouth closed when he realized there would be no way to prove he had been a virgin before Elijah came along.Ruben suddenly frowned.“You believe me, don’t you?”“Yes, baby, I do.You would never lie about something like that.But what I believe cannot be proven in a court of law, and since I’m the gay lover in question, the judge would never take my word for it.” Elijah winked at Ruben.“I’m a little biased.”“Isn’t there anything we can do to stop her?” The look that Elijah sent Ruben made his knees quake.It was filled with lust and need and a desire so fierce that Ruben felt it settle in his balls and make his cock hard enough to cut glass.“Marry me.”Ruben’s eyes bugged.Surely he hadn’t heard right.“What?”“Marry me and let me adopt Alani.I have better standing to work within the law if we’re legally bound to each other.” Ruben’s heart shuddered with anguish.Elijah only wanted to marry him to keep him and Alani safe.He wouldn’t have asked under normal circumstances.Just a little while ago, Elijah could barely touch him in public, and now he wanted to get married for all of the world to see? Ruben didn’t think so.No matter how much he loved Elijah and wanted to spend the rest of his life with the man, Ruben gave the only answer he could.“No.”Chapter 10Elijah sat on the couch and watched the entire Blaecleah clan making plans to keep Ruben and Alani safe.He felt left out.Sure, they asked him legal questions like what was allowable by law and not.But not a single one of them, not even Ruben, asked him his opinion.In fact, Ruben hadn’t spoken a single word to him since he had turned down Elijah’s marriage proposal.Elijah was still trying to figure that one out.He knew he wasn’t that fantastic of a catch.He had a lot of baggage to deal with.But he was pretty sure he had something to offer Ruben.He had a good career, money in savings, and a nice cottage they could all live in with Alani.He’d even be agreeable to moving out to the house Ruben was having built if that’s what the man wanted.He just wanted Ruben and Alani.Forever.Elijah didn’t miss the fact that no one paid him any attention when he got up and walked out of the room.It was like he wasn’t even there.He grabbed his jacket and walked right out the front door to the porch.He couldn’t leave.He knew that.He was drawn to wherever Ruben was like there was an invisible rope tethered between them.Elijah walked over and sat down in one of the chairs on the porch.He dropped his head down into his hands as he tried to figure out how everything had gone so wrong.Had he waited too long to claim Ruben as his? Did Ruben regret their time together? Did the man not want him anymore?Elijah’s head snapped up when he heard someone sit down in the chair beside him.He glanced over to see Da sitting there.The man leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his thighs.He didn’t say a word.After a few minutes, the silence started to get to Elijah.He felt like he was being scrutinized and found lacking.“I asked Ruben to marry me.”“Is that so?”“He turned me down.” The words stabbed at him, making his heart ache.He gripped his hands together.The need to rant and rave and scream out his pain was riding him hard.He just didn’t understand.“I thought he loved me.”“I suspect he does, son.”“Why did he turn me down?” Elijah cried out.“I just want to take care of him and Alani and keep them both safe.I–I want to slay all of Ruben’s dragons for him.”“You don’t think Ruben can slay his own dragons then?”“Huh?” Elijah turned to look at Da.“You believe Ruben is so weak that he needs someone to care for him?”“No!” Elijah frowned.“What would make you say something like that? Ruben is one of the strongest men I have ever met.” Elijah waved his hand in the air as his agitation grew.“Look at all he has done with Alani.”“Then why would you want to slay his dragons?” Was Da daft?“Because I love him.Because he needs someone in his corner.Because he’s the most amazing man I have ever met.” Elijah swallowed hard at the knowing glint in Da’s eyes.“Because I need him more than I need air.”“That’s an awful lot of need, Son.Air is pretty important.” Elijah smirked.“So is Ruben.”“Did you tell him all of this?” Da asked as he sat back, staring at Elijah and waiting for an answer.“Well…no,” Elijah said as he looked back at Da.Didn’t Ruben already know this? Didn’t Ruben know that Elijah couldn’t live without him?“Then I think you have something to tell my son,” Da said as he leaned forward once more.“Did you ask him properly?” Properly? What the hell did that mean? He had asked Ruben to marry him, and the man had turned him down.Elijah couldn’t think of any other way to ask than flat out.“I’m not following you.” Da chuckled as he shook his head.“When I asked Ma to marry me, I told her how I felt about her.She knew that the moon and the stars shone just for her.Does Ruben know this?” Elijah blew out a breath as he shook his head, feeling so out of his depth here that he might as well have been drowning.“No.” It was too true of a fact.He had just asked Ruben to marry him, nothing more.He hadn’t told his lover how much he meant or dropped to one knee, nothing.Elijah stood, shoving his hands in his pockets as he stared out over the Blaecleah ranch.He hadn’t told Ruben a lot of things.Sure, the guy knew Elijah loved him and was trying his hardest to deal with PDA, as Ruben put it, but he hadn’t really told the man how deeply he loved him or how soul stirring his very presence was to Elijah.“Go inside,” Da growled.Elijah heard a car coming down the driveway as he turned to look over his shoulder.He grinned at Da’s protectiveness.Elijah felt pride race through him knowing he was a part of the Blaecleah family from what he was witnessing on Da’s face.“He’s the PI I hired,” Elijah said as he swallowed at the dark look shadowing Da’s face [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]