Every time I wore it, I felt like he was nearby, protecting me. I glanced in the mirror, looking at my reflection. My big green eyes filled, but I held back my tears, not wanting to ruin my makeup. I held the horseshoe up and pressed the charm against my lips. Giving it a kiss, I whispered a small prayer for him to protect me always.
Walking out of my bedroom, I didn’t see Jeremy anywhere. He had to be in his room unless he left while I was taking a shower. I felt terrible about our fight and refused to leave the apartment until we made up. We never fought, ever.
I knocked on the door, and since he didn’t answer, I pushed it open. He was lying in bed with his eyes closed, listening to music. I walked over to him. He must have sensed me because his eyes popped opened. Sliding in next to him, I placed my head on his chest; he wrapped his arm around me after he took off his earphones. “I’m sorry, Jeremy. I don’t want to fight like that ever again.” I tightened my arm around his chest.
Sighing, he squeezed me a little tighter. “I’m sorry too, Mia; I had no right to go off like that. It will never happen again. I promise. He’s a good guy … I’ve just heard stories about him; that’s all. Who am I to judge?” He laughed once and placed a kiss on the top of my head.
“Thank you, and just so you know, I didn’t have sex with him. I just led you to believe it to get you mad.” I nervously peeked up at him.
“I knew you didn’t; I was mad that you lied to my face. By the way, you’re a terrible liar.” I laughed and he joined in. We said our goodbyes, and I went out the door ready to question DeLuca.
Relieved to find street parking, I pulled into a spot and dug for change to place in the meter. After I scrounged three dollars in quarters and dimes, there was plenty of time for lunch and light shopping. Admiring the midtown of Boston has never bored me with so many successful individuals wandering around in their business attire. They seem to move at a fast pace, rushing to a busy work schedule. Tourists wandered at a slower pace taking pictures by the Charles River and other historical sites.
I reminded myself that one day that would be me: an up-and-coming attorney running around and busting my ass until I made partner at a top firm. I let out a deep breath, knowing it would all be worth it in the end. I would have to sacrifice having fun and being spontaneous until I was at the top of my career. Hey, I’d done that so far in my life to be at the top of my class, what were a few more years?
Reaching the building, I pulled the door handle; it wouldn’t budge. I shook it a few more times, nothing. I was stunned when I finally saw an OUT OF BUSINESS sign on the door. Great, what was I supposed to do now? Quickly searching for my phone, I dialed Marcus’ number. He picked up instantly. “Hello, beautiful.”
“Uh, hi, uh I’m standing in front of a closed Marcie’s.” I giggled.
“Yeah, I found that out earlier. I had my assistant make reservations at another restaurant if you don’t mind?”
“Okay, where shall I meet you?”
“Well, if you turn around you will see a tall, well–dressed, and handsome young man walking in your direction.” He laughed. I turned and spotted him instantly. He was right: he was sexier than I could’ve ever imagined. He wore an all-black, high-end suit, fitted perfectly against his clearly fit body. The light, salmon-colored shirt and matching silk tie looked perfect against his tan complexion. Even though most men would not dare to wear pink, there was something about a man who could pull it off. Marcus DeLuca could definitely pull it off. Everything about him screamed masculine, powerful, and bold from the roots of his hair down to the stride of his walk.
When he reached me, his eyes were on mine with a wide smile. He pulled me into an embrace and held me. I hugged him back, surprised by his warm, public display of affection. He pulled away and planted a small but soft kiss on my lips. “You look very beautiful, Mia.” Still stunned, I whispered, “You too.” His brows rose with humor. “Shall we eat?” he asked. I responded with a simple nod, unable to say anything else.
I nervously asked him how his morning was as we headed towards the restaurant. He went on about a boring conference call with a judge, but my mind was wrapped around how we walked side by side with his arms around my shoulder. Shamelessly I liked the feeling. It was odd, but it felt intimate: something I wasn’t used to. I’d only known him for a couple days; I had no idea who this man was. Yet I had this connection with him that I couldn’t describe. Then I thought of Jeremy and the articles, and I pulled away. I could tell by his expression that he knew I felt uncomfortable, so he kept his arms at his side for the remainder of the walk and continued with his discussion.
After the longest fifteen minutes I’d ever endured, we entered the restaurant. Of course it was a five-star place. We were immediately seated in a private booth. I settled in my seat across from him. Everything about him was irresistible. My eyes met his, and I lowered my glance to his lips: those lips that he teased me with last night, making me want him, allowing me to fall in a trance I couldn’t control. I had to get to the bottom of things before I got lost in him again.
“We need to talk. I have a few questions for you.” I made it a point to sound stern.
He waved his hand before him. “By all means, Mia, ask away…I mean it, whatever you want. Don’t hold back.”
I scowled at him suspiciously, but before I could begin my interrogation, we were greeted by a waitress I recognized. She saw me, and her eyes widened with a smile. “Hi Mia, how are you? What are you doing here?” She was overly ecstatic.
“Ah, hi Melanie, I’m here with a friend. Marcus, this is Melanie; we had a few classes together in undergrad.” Marcus politely shook her hand; she flushed when she noticed him. She stuttered and mumbled something, but it wasn’t clear enough for me to understand. She took our drink order and hurried away uneasily.
I looked back at Marcus once she was gone. “So you were saying?” He leaned into the table, folding his hands before him patiently waiting.
“Okay, I’m going to just get to the point. What is your connection with the Sorrento family?”
“It’s strictly an attorney-client relationship,” he stated nonchalantly and a little too quickly—maybe even a little too rehearsed.
My stare grew narrow as I studied him. “So all the allegations about you and your brother being involved in illegal acts with the Sorrentos are false?”