“Why do you think I kept talking to you about my views on marriage? I was feeling you out, trying to see if you’d reject a proposal.”
They both seemed to get the same idea at the same time. The kiss happened so fast that it was impossible to tell which of them made the first move. One second they were talking, and the next they were in each other’s arms. Clothing fell to the floor. Words took a backseat while actions became their number one way to communicate.
They made love in a frenzy, desperate to reunite their aching flesh. It was quick but satisfying the first time. The second was slow and sweet. Satiated and exhausted, they slept in each other’s arms for a few hours.
He woke before her and placed gentle kisses along her throat until she opened her eyes. He spoke near her ear, his voice scraped raw with emotion. “I missed you,” he said. “I missed this.”
Lying on her side with her back to him, she smiled as he snuggled closer. She said, “I missed you so much I thought I’d die.”
“I missed you so much I thought I might kill somebody. The employees will be relieved we’re back together. Everything they said and did got on my nerves.”
She turned her head and laughed into her pillow.
“It’s not funny,” he said. “I seriously wanted to murder some of them.”
She stopped laughing abruptly. “I heard what you did to Thomas.”
He groaned. “I didn’t mean for that to hit the news.”
“Thank you for defending me. Nobody has done that in a long time.”
“I threatened to bankrupt him if he didn’t tell his parents the truth. They know everything now. He confessed. Then I punched him in his smug face and told him if he eventhinksabout you again, I’ll destroy him. I took Sullivan with me to make sure I didn’t kill him for the way he mistreated you.”
Christian jumped up and hurried from the room. He returned in seconds with the ring. She held her hand out so he could slip it onto her finger, but he shook his head. Grinning, he held onto the ring box. “You didn’t say yes yet.”
He shook his head again. “I want to give you a proper proposal. Come back to New York with me, and we’ll do it right.”
That’s when it hit her, all the decisions they had to make. She bolted upright. The pink sheet slipped. She pulled it up to cover herself and locked it to her sides beneath her arms. “Where are we going to live? I don’t want to raise a child in a New York penthouse. What if I want to stay here in London? Do you hate the idea? And what about the baby? I thought you didn’t want children.”
Christian held a hand up to stop the flow of questions. “I love you, and I will live wherever you want. I can move our headquarters here. No problem. As far as children go, I didn’t want to have a random kid with a random woman.” He bent down to kiss her naked shoulder. “But I definitely want to have a baby with you.” His hand went to her growing baby bump beneath the sheet. “I want this baby more than I ever thought possible.”
She started to ask more questions, but he covered her mouth with his. Laughing, she pulled on him. He tumbled back onto the bed, and they wrestled in a playful way until passion consumed them. She wasn’t worried anymore. As long as Christian loved her the details didn’t matter.
A week later in Greece…
“Here Comes the Bride”began to play, performed by a four string orchestra off to the side of the church. Tears filled Bianca’s eyes. The elaborate double doors parted, opening to reveal a grand sanctuary with over three hundred guests. They all stood for her. She barely noticed them or the two young men holding the doors. The only person she saw was her beloved groom waiting at the end of the aisle. He looked like a dream in his tux… and a bit nervous. Since she had butterflies the size of eagles in her stomach, she understood.
Flowers adorned the altar and the end of the pews. Pink rose petals left a trail for her to follow down the aisle. Christian’s mother had taken care of everything. The woman had done a total one-eighty after finding out Bianca was pregnant with her grandchild and had insisted on putting together the wedding on short notice. Isobel and Christian had had a terrible row over the whole thing.
“I will not allow my grandchild to be born illegitimate!”
“You won’t allow? What makes you think you have any say here? You didn’t want Bianca in my life to begin with, so kindly butt out now.”
Bianca had stepped in to play the part of peacemaker. She had the feeling she would be doing that a lot. She’d stepped between the glowering pair, reminded them stress wasn’t good for the baby, and she graciously accepted her future mother-in-law’s offer. She’d told Christian, “If your mother wants to do the work and throw us a wedding, let her.”
After an awkward moment, Christian’s expression softened. He’d smiled. An arm slid around Bianca, and he had told his mother, “You are lucky I love this woman so much. Whatever Bianca wants for the wedding, I want her to have it. Make sure she gets everything she wants.”
That had been his last official word on the subject. Every time his mother called with an additional idea for the nuptials or called to ask Bianca if she’d prefer orchids or lilies, lobster or shrimp, this or that, he either rolled his eyes or snickered, sometimes both. But he hadn’t said another word on the subject.
Now, focused on his beautiful smile and his eyes overflowing with love she was grateful to his mother. The day was perfect; everything was perfect. Since neither of them had a father, she walked down the aisle by herself. The wedding gown she wore was like spun sugar, so light and fluffy the material almost floated, and it shimmered with silvery highlights.
Everything blurred for her in a dreamy haze.
When she reached him, Christian took her hand and turned it over so he could place a soft kiss on the inside of her wrist. His lips were cool, but they sent a fiery heat through her that couldn’t be explained or denied. She handed her bouquet to Katie, her maid-of-honor and took a moment to calm her nerves before returning her attention to her future husband.