His voice was silky, his Italian accent more pronounced than usual, and Vivian had to consciously will herself to keep breathing. It was just too sexy! When she could make her vocal chords work, she choked out, “N-no.”
“Then…” His head cocked to the side. “Perhaps you are trying to tell me something?”
“What is it?”
And again, there it was, the promise in his gaze, but oh, it was so much more sensual now, so much more possessive.
Vivian whispered, “I will be your wife.”
Tuesday. It might be the second day of the week, but as far as Vivian was concerned, today – and not yesterday – was the beginning of a new chapter in her life. A chapter that, this time around, revolved completely around Gianluca Valencia and his adorable daughter, a family that she would soon be a part of—-
She pinched her cheeks, and it hurt.
She knocked her head against the vanity mirror mounted over the sink, and it hurt, too.
Pulling away, she stared at her reflection, thinking, I’m not dreaming then.
She said out loud, “So that’s that, soon-to-be Mrs. Luca Valencia.”
A tumultuous mix of joy, fear, and excitement struck her at hearing the words she had spoken, and Vivian could feel herself redden even if it was just her—-
From the hallway, Maggie called out laughingly, “Did I hear you just refer to yourself as—-”
—-and her roommate.
She cut Maggie off in embarrassment, groaning, “Don’t!” Wet hair flying behind her as she hurried down the hallway, she saw Maggie already waiting for her beside the table, still in her pajamas but with a Cheshire smile on her face.
“Naughty, naughty girl,” the other woman cooed as Vivian plopped down on her seat and began stuffing her face with cereal. “Are you really going to marry your billionaire?”
Vivian lowered her spoon with a groan. “Will you please stop calling him that? You make me sound like—-”
“You’re after his money?”
She glared. “I’m not.”
Maggie’s face softened. “I know you’re not, hon, but the world doesn’t so you just gotta be prepared for some backlash.” She stared at her friend, who was, as always, the picture of innocence in her cleaner’s uniform, and sighed. “Are you sure about what you’re doing, Viv?” When her friend had come home all flustered and starry-eyed, lips swollen with kisses, Maggie had honestly no idea what to do or think. And then Vivian started telling her the most amazing story about Mr. Photocopy being a billionaire in disguise and, to top that, a father looking for someone to be his wife and mother of his daughter-—
If it hadn’t been Vivian, Maggie would have thought she was being conned. But this was Vivian, who could never really lie well no matter how hard she tried. It had to be true, but the question was – could Mr. Photocopy / Mr. Billionaire be entrusted with her friend’s gentle heart?
She said carefully, “I don’t want to burst your bubble or anything, but…don’t you think everything sounds too good to be true?”
Hiding her face behind her coffee mug, Vivian asked haltingly, “Are you saying you don’t think it’s possible that he’d want to marry someone like me?” It was hard, voicing out her worst fears, and she held her breath as she waited for what her always-blunt friend had to say.
“If you mean someone pretty and unbelievably nice—-”
Vivian choked on her coffee. “Mags!”
Maggie smirked. “Serves you right for wasting time on self-pity.” Her voice became firm. “I’m not saying this as your friend, okay? You know I always call it how it is, and I’m telling you that any guy with average IQ should consider himself lucky to have someone like you as his wife. That said, I still think there has to be a catch, and before you marry him, it’s important that you find out what it is.”
Anxiety had Vivian chewing on her lip. A catch, she thought uneasily. Logically speaking, she knew that Maggie was likely right and there had be a catch for someone like Luca Valencia to go to such extraordinary lengths just to marry someone like her.
What if the impossible had happened and there was no catch? What if, in the course of all those weeks they had spent time with each other, he had realized they were greatly compatible and he had gone as far as buying her IOUs just to make sure he had a chance with her? What if he was just covering all his bases, simply to make sure that she would be forced to spend more time with him and realize what he already knew?
And that was that they were meant—-
“Stop that,” Maggie said darkly, knowing what was going on the moment she saw her friend’s dreamy expression.
Maggie scowled. “Seriously, it’s creeping me out.”
Vivian blinked. “Huh?”
“That look on your face,” she snapped. “Quit it.” Doing her best to resist the urge to shake some sense into Vivian, Maggie said emphatically, “Just ask him, okay?”