He leaned in for a kiss.
She averted the attempt. “Hey, what’s with all the PDA?”
“I can’t help myself. Come on, Samantha is waiting for you.”
“Your company publicist, right?”
“Yes. She wasn’t in New York, but you met her at that first meeting at OTB. She’s handling the European leg and will make sure you get through everything. Call your personal assistant, too, if you need her. We know this is a lot of work and want to make it as painless as possible. So be sure and ask for whatever you need, okay?”
“I’ll remember you said that.”
It was early afternoon in the Old Smoke. The skies were overcast and the traffic brisk. London hardly noticed the right-sided drivers and double-decker buses, so busy was she interacting on social media and responding to emails about New York’s show and the gossip that ensued. A horn startled her from the task just in time to take in the wrought-iron gates of Buckingham Palace and two bobbies conversing beneath Big Ben. A wisp of a smile as the scene brought back memories of when she’d jumped on a police officer’s horse and spent the next two hours convincing him not to put her in jail or worse—call her parents. She’d spent a lot of time in her namesake. Movies could be made about her wild teenage years. The more London thought about it, Milan was definitely the better choice for her parents’ visit. Less chance of running into an escaped skeleton from her closet moonwalking down Abbey Road.
Forty-eight hours later, London owned London. The show had gone off without a hitch and there were no floral deliveries. The team flew to Milan, the third of the fashion-week calendar’s four major shows, with nothing but more success on their minds.
They arrived at Il Caravaggio International Airport, a smaller strip near Bergamo that served intercontinental flights and private planes such as the one the OTB team had flown in on. A car was waiting to take them to Seven Star Galleria, a boutique hotel of just seven suites near one of the oldest malls in the world, Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. They would only be in Italy for two days so rather than a home, Frida had booked them into the presidential suite of this boutique—quiet, private and close to the runway-show location.
London yawned loudly and rested her head on Ace’s shoulder.
He wrapped his arm around her and shifted for her comfort. “My poor baby. I know it’s a grind, but it’s almost over.”
“I’m okay.” Said through yet another yawn.
“I hear how okay you are. I think I’ll contact Samantha and cancel today’s interviews. You need sleep.”
“You know what ballers and shot callers say about that.”
“You sleep when you’re dead.”
“Yeah, well, while working my show, you’re going to rest and prolong that inevitable eternal get down, okay?”
London nestled into him. “I wanted to visit the castle.”
Ace rested his chin atop her hair. “I thought about that place, too. Where you and I met all those years ago.”
“I wonder if anyone bought it or whether it’s still being rented out for ridiculous prices.” Ace shrugged, said nothing. Wheels turned.
“How long are your parents going to be here?”
“They arrive tomorrow and leave the day after our show for a ten-day tour of Italy. They’ll see Rome, Florence, Tuscany and a couple more places.”
“Sounds like a whirlwind trip. I can’t wait to meet them.”
Their assistants had flown commercially earlier, taken the bulk of luggage to the hotel and given the room cards to the driver who met them at the airport. They bypassed the front desk and, still keeping up appearances, took the stairs to their side-by-side suites on the third floor.
“This is beautiful,” London said, admiring the decor as they walked down the hall. “Feels like a place to spend a honeymoon.”
Ace gave her a look.
“Not with you!”
“Wait, that didn’t sound right. What I meant is that wasn’t a subtle hint or anything.”
London sped Ace’s walk down the hall with a playful push. Somewhere over the past few weeks they’d settled into the easygoing rapport of, well, an old married couple. Neither of them realized or would have admitted it, but being in each other’s presence was why they felt so good.