Vivian’s eyes slid to the discarded salad, then slid to Tressa. “Everything okay? You usually don’t let food go to waste.”
Sobering, Tressa said, “Should I feel some kind of way about Roth not offering to quit playing at The Underground?”
“He didn’t even say, ‘I’ll find another club to play at, because I know it bothers you that India is my ex.’” Saying it aloud, Tressa accepted how selfish she sounded, but wasn’t she making a genuine point?
“I mean, he didn’t even take my feelings into consideration by not offering to leave. But really, why should he? He’s been playing there far longer than we’ve been dating. Why should he alter his life for me?”
“But isn’t that what people do for love? Make sacrifices?” Ugh. She buried her face in her hands. “What is wrong with me? I’ve never been this weak.”
“Take a breath, Tress. You’re not weak, you’re in love, ladybug.”
Tressa didn’t dispute Vivian’s words.
“You should talk to Roth. He’ll respect your concerns. That man loves the hell out of you.”
A slow smile curled Tressa’s lips. “I’ve never loved any man the way I love Roth. It’s like this beautiful, pleasurable, terrifying plane ride. At times I desperately want to plant my feet on the ground. But at others, I love how he makes me feel like I’m flying, soaring so high in the clouds I feel like I’m in heaven. The way I love him scares me, Vi. I can feel him in my soul. He’s brought so much joy, so much happiness into my life. I can see myself spending the rest of my life with him.”
“I wish you could see your face right now. You are glowing.” Vivian narrowed her eyes at her. “Are you pregnant?”
Tressa tossed a balled-up napkin at her. “No.” However, the idea of her stomach swelled with Roth’s child—his children, as many as he wanted—wasn’t a bad one.
“You’re afraid because of what happened with Cyrus, but you can’t let fear dictate your steps. I believe you told me something similar once.” Vivian smiled, then continued, “I read something once that said sometimes the greatest love of your life comes after the biggest mistake of your life. Would you agree Cyrus was the biggest mistake of your life?”
“Oh, yeah. Without a doubt.”
“Then that means Roth is the greatest love of your life.” Vivian took Tressa’s hand. “I’ve noticed such an amazing change in you, Tress. Every single day you walk through that door confident and sure. I hadn’t seen you that way in a long while. Trust me, I know loving someone with everything inside you is daunting as hell, but do it anyway. It’s so worth it.”
Tressa released a heavy sigh, allowing her worries to escape with the warm air. Vivian was right. Love—this kind of love—was worth it.
* * *
Roth and Alonso sat at the round conference table inside Alonso’s office, neither uttering a word. Roth drummed his fingers over the polished wood as if he was playing his sax, even humming a melody in his head. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman’s “My One and Only Love.” So fitting. Alonso spoke, pulling him from his thoughts of what he’d done.
“Tell me again what happened.”
A sly grin spread across Alonso’s face, then he laughed. Well, who could blame him? The story was so damn bizarre, it was hilarious. One minute he’d been sitting behind his own desk, in his own office, the next… His gaze fell back to the shiny black ring box placed in the middle of the table. “I went inside the jewelry store to purchase Tressa a cross necklace—”
“And you came out with a mammoth-size rock.”
Alonso laughed and so did he. “Man, I swear to God that ring called my name. The next thing I know…” He pointed to the five-carat emerald-cut diamond ring. “I’m walking out with that and without a single regret in the world.”
“Well, I for one had no doubt you were going to make Tressa your wife. The two of you are meant for each other. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you happier than when you are with her. You know I support this 100 percent. I’m happy for you, man.”