“Do you need to sit down?” Sullivan asked.
“Don’t be silly.”
“You almost fainted.”
“No, I didn’t. I just got lightheaded because I forgot to eat breakfast.”
That wasn’t totally true. She hadn’t eaten anything, but that wasn’t because she forgot. Waking up with a queasy feeling in her stomach kept her from filling it with Anya’s fluffy omelet. The smell alone had been enough to make her gag.
Despite her protests, Sullivan called Christian to the office. Grateful for a moment to pull herself together, she sank into her high-back leather swivel chair. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. The extra oxygen helped.
Christian stepped into her office, and she forgot about breathing. She wondered if she would always get butterflies when he came into a room. Or would the magical feeling eventually fade away until she couldn’t remember what first love was like?
He placed a hand on her forehead, checking her temperature. “Are you coming down with something? I can have a doctor here in less than thirty minutes.”
“I wish everyone would stop making a fuss,” she said. “It’s just a migraine.”
Christian nodded. “My mother gets those sometimes. Take some pain medicine and go to sleep. Anya will bring you a cold compress or chicken soup, whatever you want.”
The model appeared in the office doorway in sexy nightwear that made Bianca forget her personal problems. She pointed at Shari and stuttered, “W-what the h-hell is that?” She jumped to her feet and pushed the concerned men out of her way. “This isn’tCosmo. This isLove Life. Whose idea was it to dress her like a hooker?”
Hands on hips, Shari scowled. “This happens to be one of mine. If you ask me, your magazine needs a sexy boost.”
“Nobody asked you,” Bianca said.
Shari went to Christian and leaned against him while clutching his arm. “What do you think?” Her pink lips tilted in a pretty pout. “You like it, don’t you?”
Bianca crossed her arms and waited for Christian to speak. It was her magazine to run. He’d promised her. If he went back on his word now, they were going to have a major fight, a fight that might split them apart forever. She couldn’t be with someone that didn’t keep their promises.
“Bianca is right,” he told Shari as he liberated himself from her grasp. “Love Lifemagazine is about empowering women, not making them into sexual objects.” When Bianca raised an eyebrow, he said, “I read your mission statement.”
It warmed her heart to know Christian cared enough about her to take an interest in the magazine even though he’d wanted to dump it at first. Or maybe he just wanted to keep an eye on his investment. She chose to believe his interest was because of her, that he wanted her to succeed.
Shari’s jaw tightened and her voice got shrill. “Well, I am not dressing like some frumpy housewife!”
“You know what?” Christian took her arm and escorted her back to the dressing room, probably so she could change into her street clothes. “This magazine isn’t right for you. I will find you something more suitable. Get dressed.”
Relief flooded Bianca’s system. He returned for her next and led her to the elevator. Christian seemed determined to take care of her. They rode up in silence. He tucked her into his bed upstairs,hisbed, and gave Anya instructions to call him if she grew worse. With the lights turned off and a cool rag on her head, Bianca felt much better already. He offered to stay with her. The fact he was willing to miss work just to sit beside her while she slept made her realize something. It hit her like an avalanche.
She was in love with Christian Sabatino.
Feeling homesick for London and in desperate need of advice, she called her best friend as soon as he left. A groggy voice answered after five rings. Her eyes went to Christian’s digital clock on his side of the bed—hisside, was that a weird thing to think?—and she realized Katie must have been asleep.
“Sorry to wake you,” Bianca said. “I forgot about the time change, and I need to talk.”
“You sound weird,” Katie said. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m in love with my boss.”
“Aw, Bianca has a crush on her boss. That’s sweet.”
Bianca sighed. “It’s not a crush, Katie. I’m calling you from his bed.”
Startled, Katie squeaked, “I beg your pardon? Why isn’t he in bed next to you? I assume he’s not since you’re taking the time to call me.”
“It’s daytime here.” Bianca traced the flower design on the bedspread she’d traded for his without permission. It was sweet that he hadn’t thrown it out yet. Maybe he just hadn’t found the time. “I am nauseated beyond belief. Come to think of it I’ve been feeling off for days. It comes out of nowhere. I feel like I’m going to spend hours with my head in the toilet. Then I’m suddenly fine.”
There was a moment of silence.