How can I keep him alive if I can't even think when he's near me?
"So, we need the security cameras reset. The Masons can't know where they are this time," I say, scanning the blueprint spread across the dining room table.
Blake and his family are on the third floor enjoying a few hours of pampering, courtesy of Interpol, giving us time to work out our new protection plan. We've pulled out the initial files Monroe gave us the day we met Blake, along with the new information Sammi found while holed up in her office all that time.
"Mason's got a shit storm of social engagements coming up for his company. That's going to be problematic. Maybe we should ask him to cancel," Jameson says looking over the schedule Sammi printed.
"No, he's in the public eye. His absence from several events is already a hot topic in the press. We can't display him as a coward," Dresden says, his brows furrowed.
"What about sending Lily in as his date again?" Sammi asks.
"No," I snap. Their eyes turn on me, wide and full of surprise. "I can't protect him like that. That charity ball is what started all this."
"Okay, then we do things by the book. Lily heads security, Vlad and I with her. Sammi and Hayato watching the cameras, Jameson in the getaway car, Rhett with us as backup," Dresden fires off.
"Lily, how do you intend to handle your relationship with Mason as far as the media is concerned?" Vlad says, meeting my gaze.
I've thought about this a lot over the last few hours. My choice wasn't easy, and my stomach knots painfully thinking about it.
"As far as the public is concerned, Blake Mason is still the most eligible bachelor in Baltimore." I look down, taking a deep breath.
"What?" Dresden says.
"In my regular clothes, no one will recognize me as his date from the charity ball. I'm sure he can find other dates to these events, he can take that bitch Miranda, and that way, no one makes the connection between him and me. The Taurus already knows. It won't help to have the damn tabloids following us around too. Interpol Agent falls for Wealthy Business Man . . . yeah . . . I can do without those headlines."
"What headlines?" Blake says, our heads snapping up toward the door as he and his family join us.
"Nothing. We'll talk about it later," I say giving him a weak smile.
"Lily, you need to tell him," Vlad says quietly.
"Tell me what? What’s going on now, Lily?" Blake stops next to me, his eyes stern.
"Vlad, shut it. Blake, bedroom, now," I snap, pushing off the table and stalking to our room.
Once Blake enters, I slam the door. This is why we need the public distance. When we're wrapped in each other, we argue over his safety, and I need to have my head on straight at these functions.
"Lily, what's going on?"
"We're going back to the apartment tomorrow. We've been going over your schedule of public events for the next few weeks."
"Okay. Oh, that reminds me, you need something to wear to each of those."
"I'll be wearing my suit, Blake."
He raises an eyebrow. "My girlfriend is not attending a formal function with me in a suit."
"I won't be going as your girlfriend. I'll be going as the head of your security. We aren't going public with our relationship," I say staring impassively into his eyes.
"What?" he says his voice escalating. "What the hell do you mean we’re not going public with our relationship?"
"Do not raise your voice at me," I hiss. I should’ve figured this would be an all-out war with him.
"Screw that. You're my girlfriend and I'm not going to run around pretending like you aren't," he yells taking a step toward me.
"Blake, please don't fight me on this. I'm trying to keep you alive and I can't do that in your arms."