He was my gift to Luca. The most precious thing I could give him.
Two nurses came to live at the house. They cared for my father day and night and he became strong quickly. It might have been Torrington Hall. It might have been all the love Laura and I poured into him, but his recovery surprised even his doctors.
My flowers began to bloom. John stood beside me.
“Wow! They are amazing. You have green fingers,” he said.
“Thank you, John.” I was proud of myself.
“Shall I cut them and take them up to the house for you?”
I turned to him with a smile. “No, let them stay here. They’ll brighten up the place for us.”
He smiled back. “You know you’re right. They really brighten up the pIace. I think we should plant more flowers.”
“I think so too,” I said. In a way, I think I had become the daughter he lost. Quite often I invited him up to the house to eat dinner with my father, Laura, and me. On those days, he would drink too much ale, and sleep over in one of the spare rooms.
A wedding invitation arrived from Sienna. My heart began to beat like a drum. I knew Luca would be there. I carefully detached the reply and sent it off. An unworthy part of me said, maybe he was already with another woman. Maybe he would even bring someone else, but I refused to listen to it. He will find his way back to me.
One day. One day.
My stomach was getting bigger and bigger. It was the beginning of summer and I was six months pregnant when a woman came to the house. She told me she had been hired as a nanny for my child. It hurt like crazy, but I understood instantly. Luca didn’t trust me with his child. I gave her a room in the house. It was good that this big cold house was filling up with people, and voices, and laughter.
Not mine. Not yet.Chapter 53SkyeThe Wedding.
-Love Me Again-The wedding was held in an abbey in the old town of Portofino.
I sat in my lavender dress with my father and stepmother. My stomach felt tight with nerves. A door to the side of the altar opened and Angelo came out. He was wearing a morning suit and he looked like the happiest man on earth. Luca, who was Angelo’s best man, followed behind.
I couldn’t stop staring, I simply couldn’t stop drinking him in hungrily. He was wearing a cream jacket, a white dress shirt, a burgundy waistcoat, and black trousers. He was still as stunning as ever, but he seemed thinner. The scar on his face looked more prominent, which made him appear even more unapproachable and hostile. Oh, how I yearned for him. My heart felt as if it would burst out of my chest. He did not look at the guests seated on the pews.
He did not look for me.
My father reached out and squeezed my hand. I looked at him and his expression said, chin up, you can do this. I nodded and smiled at him. Today, I was determined, would be all sunshine and rainbows. At that moment the music changed and there was a noise at the back of the abbey. We all turned to watch the incoming train of almost twenty bridesmaids and groomsmen, dressed in baby pink floaty chiffon dresses and pristine white suits.
As Sienna came closer, I could not help but be amazed by how fabulous she looked. The new mother and blushing bride was dressed in a beautiful lace and pearl embroidered wedding dress that made her look like a fairytale princess. She was so petite no one would have ever been able to guess she’d had a baby only two months earlier. I wondered if I’d be able to snap back as quickly as she had. Unconsciously, I rubbed my belly.
“Two months to go. Come out safely, my sweet angel. Mommy and Daddy are waiting for you,” I whispered to my bump, then realized I must appear mad to civilized society, and quickly looked up.
But no one was looking at me, only my father, and he smiled reassuringly. I flashed him a brilliant smile back. My father didn’t know the details of my relationship with Luca and neither had he ever asked, but sometimes he would look at me with sadness in his eyes. Of course, Laura and him knew something was wrong. Luca never came to visit me and yet we were all living in luxury in his estate.
I watched him as Sienna eventually arrived by her groom’s side. I couldn’t keep my eyes on the happy couple, my eyes had only one focus, on the man standing tall and handsome by their side.
Strange, but as if guided by the primitive instinct to protect what my body considered mine, my eyes found a bridesmaid sneaking glances at him. It took everything I had to push down that green-eyed monster of pure jealousy. Still, I couldn’t blame her. He was a catch. A real catch. Everything a woman dreamed of. Sometimes, during the short time I was with him, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not in a dream.