The brunette sighed in relief. “Oh thank God. Damen would kill me otherwise.”
It was the Leventis siblings’ turn to roll their eyes. Who did she think she was kidding? Mairi had her husband wrapped around her little finger, and the whole world knew it, thanks to a certain New York Times bestseller that served as Damen’s love letter to his beloved wife.
The four of them were able to snatch a few minutes of good-natured ribbing and small talk before Damen was called away for work and Mairi had to get Nala ready for her ballet class in the afternoon.
“Oh, and Diana, before you go…”
In the act of reaching for her iPad, Diana turned to face the screen again, her sister-in-law’s mischievous tone making her curious. “What is it?”
“You might have fooled your brother for now, but I’m so on to you.”
“You’re a creature of habit, Di. It’s not like you to be late in taking our calls, and—” Mairi’s tone lowered to a whisper. “It’s so not like you to suddenly start wearing black undies.”
Shit. Oh, shit. Diana fought hard to keep herself from blushing as she tried to bluff her way out, asking innocently, “What about it?”
“I just wanted to try wearing black. That’s all.”
“Sure it is.” Mairi’s tone was sly.
“I’m not kidding—”
Her sister-in-law waved her words away, asking eagerly instead, “Who is he?”
“I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, come on. I’m just really excited that you’ve finally found a guy you like.”
Diana made a show of checking the time. “I’m going to be late.”
“Spoilsport,” Mairi grumbled. “But because I’m a nice person, I promise I’ll keep your secret—”
“And don’t worry, I’ll make sure to take care of Damen, too.”
She was about to end the call when she realized too late what her sister-in-law meant to do. “Mairi—”
“Talk to you next week, Di!”
But the screen had already turned black, and Diana bit back a groan. While Mairi always meant well, she also always ended up having her best-laid plans backfire. Which means, Diana thought uneasily, Mairi taking care of Diana’s brother would most likely end up the opposite and have Damen banging on her front door and thinking the worst.
Diana took a deep breath.
Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 26:3.
Mairi might be a walking trouble magnet, but even she couldn’t get in the way of the Lord. Right?
This Is Why I Need You by Jesse Ruben
Diana was about to leave the dorm when the resident manager called out to her, asking for her to wait.
He came back a moment later, a small, beautifully wrapped parcel in his hands. He handed it over to her with a smile, and she took it gingerly, unable to think of any reason why she would be sent a present.
“This is really for me?” she asked doubtfully.
“No other gal here by the name of Diana Leventis,” Lenny answered cheerfully, “so I’d have to say yes.”
Since the package didn’t come with any card, she asked, “Did you get a name?”
“Afraid not. Maybe you’ve got a secret admirer?”
Diana couldn’t stop her cheeks from turning red. “I don’t think so.”
And the lady truly meant it, Lenny thought ruefully as Diana thanked him before turning away. Poor gal. That Esther Leventis woman must’ve been a real horror, to have made a pretty little swan like Diana think of herself as an ugly duckling.
A cautious but irrepressible form of optimism had infected Diana’s senses by the time she made it out of the dorm, and unable to help it, she plopped down on the nearest bench and eagerly began unwrapping it.
Underneath the layers of foil wrapper and soft tissue was a box, and hope reluctantly gave way to confusion at what she was seeing.
Granted, it was the latest model, but…an iPhone?
Maybe Damen needed to give her another phone for security reasons? It would be just like him if so, and she wouldn’t be even surprised if this came with GPS tracking and whatnot.
She opened the box, and the first thing she saw was the sticky note posted on its screen.
The passcode is the date we first met.
And that was when she knew, her eyes stinging, her heart skipping a beat, and a euphoric burst of hope exploding inside of her with such force that she could barely breathe.
Her fingers shook as she turned the iPhone on, and her heart skipped another beat as she typed the numbers that corresponded with the clue. The lock screen blinked out, and the next thing she saw was the new message notification.
One click, and her heart started pounding.
Matthijs: In the event you need to contact me.
A helpless smile played over her lips.
Diana: Is that your way of saying you want to keep in touch?
Diana: But you went as far as buying me an iPhone.
Matthijs: To ensure our means of communication remains secure and private.