Vivian slowly shook her head.
Maggie’s eyebrows shot up. “You’re not going to ask him if there’s a catch?”
“I want to trust him.”
“I know you do, and naturally you should, but asking doesn’t mean you don’t trust him. It only means you want to know the truth. Okay?”
“Oh my God, you’re so stubborn!”
A smile wobbled on Vivian’s lips because she knew it was true. She was pretty stubborn, once she had made up her mind. “I promise I’ll consider asking him, okay?” Taking one last sip of her coffee, she stood up and took her bag from the living room. “I have to go now. See ya!”
When Vivian stepped out of the apartment building, the first thing she saw was a stretch limousine parked by the curb. The door opened almost immediately, and her jaw dropped when she saw Luca stepping out of it. He was dressed in a dark blue suit, his sense stylish but conservative, with an air of quiet authority that was rarely seen on a man of thirty-one years.
“What are you doing here?” she blurted out.
Instead of answering her, he drew her towards him firmly, and when she was close enough, he bent his head down to kiss her.
Luca almost smiled when he felt Vivian still in shock, but instead of letting up, he deepened the kiss, causing her to whimper under the sweet pressure. Her lips slowly parted and he took advantage, his tongue sliding inside the warm, moist cave of her mouth.
Vivian’s hands curled into fists between them, her heart beating so loud and fast that she wondered how it was that none of the people around them could hear it. The apartment building she lived in had a very busy sidewalk, and even as her mind whirled at Luca’s passionate kiss, a part of her could sense people’s gazes on them, some shocked, others affronted, and then there were those who were so fascinated that she could feel their gazes burning at the back of her head.
She could sense all these, but even so she could just not stop kissing Luca back. There was just something so exquisitely masterful about his approach, and she found herself getting addicted to it rather than turned off. It almost made her feel weird and ashamed, but it was hard to dwell on such negativity with Luca’s tongue still exploring her mouth and all the while doing his best to make her knees give out.
When he finally lifted his head, she couldn’t stop inhaling deeply, needing to breathe, which she had quite forgotten to do in the first few moments.
“Buon giorno, cara,” he said huskily as their gazes met.
Her cheeks turned pink as she mumbled shyly, “B-buon giorno.” A pause, then she added earnestly, “I’ll self-study Italian, I promise.”
Luca traced her lips. “It means a lot that you wish to do so, but allow me please to hire a tutor for you so that you will not need to struggle unnecessarily with the lessons, si?”
Once inside the limousine, Vivian recovered enough of her senses to once again ask him what he had been doing outside her building.
“I wish to drive you to work, naturalmente.”
Her eyes widened. “What?”
“Ah, but before we get to the office, I believe it is proper that you wear this…” He pulled out a box from his pocket and offered it to her.
Heart beating madly against her chest once more, she took the box with shaking hands and flipped the lid open. Inside was a breathtakingly beautiful heirloom ring, and as she stared at it in wonder, Luca said over her head, “It is passed from generation to generation, for the women we promise to marry during the engagement. May I?”
At her nod, Luca took the ring out of the box and slowly slipped it on her finger. It was a strangely perfect fit, which her whimsical mind considered a nod from Lady Luck.
Watching her keenly, Luca asked, “Do you like it?” A quick nod. “Good. We’ll all make the necessary announcements today, and we’ll get married on the day after—-”
Startled, she asked, “Aren’t we moving too fast?”
“Is there any reason for us to delay our wedding?” Luca asked levelly.
“Then we shall proceed as planned,” he interrupted her in the same tone, “si?”
Ruthless, she thought as she gazed at his implacable expression. He was a lot more ruthless than she had initially given him credit for, and now she had her first taste of how it was to try going against him. Wetting her lips, she asked haltingly, “If I don’t agree?” She held her breath, expecting Luca’s temper to ignite any moment.
But he didn’t.
She almost reared back as he reached for her, just the smallest part of her wondering if the billionaire would strike her.
Luca’s hand stilled mid-air and a frown touched his forehead. “Did you think I would hurt you, cara?”