“You were going to tell me you were with other women, weren’t you?”
He shook his head in wonder. “You thought I was sleeping with other women in the last few months?’
My heart started to flutter. “You didn’t?”
“Of course not. I was in hell.”
“That’s good, because so was I. I missed you like crazy.”
“Me too,” he said with a smile. “Don’t you want to hear my confession then?”
I laughed, which actually hurt my stomach. “Ouch.”
He looked concerned. “What is it?”
“It hurts when I laugh,” I said with a happy smile. “So tell me. What’s the big confession all about?”
“You know when the FBI contacted you and asked you to spy on me?”
“Yeah?” I said carefully.
He cleared his throat. “They were not the FBI. They were just some actors I had my PA hire working from a script.”
He looked a bit sheepish. “Yeah, sorry.”
I stared at him in astonishment. “Why would you do something so horrible?”
His eyes were remorseful. “Many reasons. Because I knew our time together was coming to an end and I wanted to keep you longer. Because it was a good way to test you and see what kind of loyalty you would show. Past experiences had taught me to trust no one. Also because I had to go away and I was afraid someone else would take you away from me. And because I really wanted to marry you, but I knew I had my inner demons to sort out and I was just buying myself some time.”
I blinked with astonishment. The idea that anybody, let alone a man like him, would go to such elaborate lengths to keep me in his life and marry me, was overwhelming to say the least.
‘’You could have just asked me to stay with you, Luca.’’
‘’No. I was not ready to accept what my heart knew. I needed time.’’
“So the FBI were not really after you?” I asked, still bewildered.
“No. They have no reason to want me. I run a clean business. It’s true that when I first took over from my father, the business was a criminal enterprise, and I still have acquaintances, links, and favors owed to me from that world, but Mafia bosses end up in jail eventually or an early violent end. I didn’t want that for myself. It took years but slowly, bit by bit I turned the business around into something totally legitimate and above board.”
My mind had gone blank. All the things I thought about him were completely untrue.
“Say something,” he murmured.
“Okay,” I said slowly. “I forgive you for the deception. While we’re talking about deceptions, I want to tell you how I got pregnant. I was taking the pill, but one day before I met you, I was sick right after taking the pill and Melania said it must be that time that the pill was rendered ineffective.”
“I know you would never deceive me. You’re not that kind of person. I was just blinded by the past that I couldn’t see it then.”
“Hey, what does our son look like?”
He grinned. “I got a photo for you.” He took his phone out and showed it to me.
My heart hurt as I saw his unbelievably small frame and flushed skin. How I wished I could keep him inside my body a little longer, until he was bigger, stronger. Luca heard my intake of breath and lowered his head leaning against mine to render support.
“I know. I know. It hurt me too.”
I choked back my tears but they still filled my eyes and came pouring down my face. I held on tightly to his hands while he cradled me in his arms.
“Thank you,” I said to him. “For saving me. For giving me him. It is the best gift ever.”EpilogueSkyeOne year later.
-How Long Will I love You?-The entire family was gathered in the living room of Luca’s father’s residence in Boston to celebrate Dante, our son’s first birthday. There were balloons everywhere and a table full of gifts. We were all gathered around the long dinner table where Angelo and Sienna’s son Fabio and Dante were sitting in front of a big birthday cake. The toddlers were incorrigible when they got together, but I never expected them to do what they did.
We were all singing Happy Birthday when both boys suddenly, and without any warning entered into a competition of seeing how much of the cake’s icing they could lick off.
Luca lunged forward, grabbed Dante and pulled him off the destroyed cake, while Sienna rushed to pull Fabio off the cake too, but it was already too late, their faces were covered with icing. To the amusement of Luca’s mother. She was terrible for letting the boys do anything they wanted.
The other day, she let Dante play with an old Roman artifact that cost many thousands of dollars. Of course, he broke it. I was horrified when I saw what he had done while I was in the bathroom, but she laughed and almost proudly pronounced that the antiquity had survived great wars and hundreds of years until it met Luca’s son.