“You might as well call me Dante, since you’ll be seeing so much more of me in the future.”
“And why would that be?” Cal asked.
Keeping her face buried in Dante’s chest, not so much because of embarrassment but because it smelled so wonderful there, Cleo held up her left hand for Cal’s inspection.
He gasped and grabbed her hand.
“Now that’s a serious rock,” Cal said. “’Bout time you made an honest woman out of her.” His tone changed, going deeper and more serious. “I wanted to tell you I was sorry to hear about the baby. It just about broke my heart. You have my sympathies.”
“Thank you, Callum,” Dante said sincerely. “That means a lot.”
“So, look . . . this is a onetime deal. I’m gonna take some clothes and head over to a friend’s and stay the night. Knock yourselves out, but do not, for the love of God, have sex on my bed!”
Cleo sniggered, and after an experimental wiggle, figured it was safe to climb off Dante’s lap. She launched herself at Cal and hugged him fiercely.
“Thank you,” she said. “For everything.”
“Anytime, hon. Anytime.”
A couple of hours later, sated and exhausted, Dante and Cleo lounged on the sleeper couch, completely naked.
“I’ve never made love on a sleeper couch before,” he said bemusedly, and Cleo giggled. She felt absurdly happy.
“It’s called slumming it.”
“I mean, we could have gone to the Damaso International Hotel on the Golden Mile,” he said, referencing Durban’s famous beach strip. “But the thought never even occurred to me.”
“So . . . some stuff to talk about,” she said, toying with his pendant as she sat on his lap.
“Hmm.” He looked and sounded exhausted.
“I hate that penthouse; we’re getting a real house.”
“Bossy,” he said on a yawn.
“And we’re having a proper wedding with a big white dress and a tux and everything, but you’re paying for it because I’m totally poor.” He snorted as his hands roamed absently up and down her slender back.
“We’re honeymooning in Japan,” he added. “And going to each and every page marked off in your travel guide.”
“How do you know about that?” she asked, stunned. As far she knew, he’d never even noticed her guide.
“Please, you were poring over that thing every time we were in the car with Daisuke, asking him questions about places that interested you in the book. Most evenings, I had Daisuke drive by some of those places so that, even though we didn’t have the time to properly visit them, you could have a sense of what they were like.”
“I wondered if that was your doing,” she said. It had been a kind and considerate gesture, to say the least.
“I also happened to leaf through the book one day while you were in the bathroom.”
“Sneaky,” she tut-tutted.
“Hey, it was just lying there, in full view at the top of your handbag,” he joked.
“I also wanted to discuss children,” she said, and he went still, obviously bracing himself for something. “I’d like to hold off on another baby for a couple of years, if that’s okay.”
“That’s fine with me, dulzura. I get to have you all to myself for a while.” He looked so relieved by her comment that she was curious.
“What were you expecting me to say?” she asked.
“I was concerned that maybe you never wanted another one.”
“What would you have done if that were the case?”
He considered her question carefully.
“I would have left you to think it over a little longer, and in a few years’ time I would have asked you to reconsider. If you were still adamantly against it, I would have tried steering you toward adoption.”
“You wouldn’t have minded?”
“I would have minded very much, but your happiness is my happiness,” he said simply, and she cupped his stubbled jaw between the palms of her hands and kissed him.
“I also want you to draw up a prenuptial contract,” she said quietly, and he went still beneath her. Every muscle in his body froze.
“We don’t have to.”
“We do,” she said. “You’re not your father, Dante, so don’t be stupid. Draw up the contract.”
“But I’m happy to share everything I have with you.”
“And that’s fabulous, but I want you to approach this union as you would have approached marriage to your boring dream woman. Draw up a contract that you know we’ll never use because we love and respect each other too much for the ugly notion of divorce to ever enter our heads. Do it for me. Make sure I don’t take you for every penny you own.”
“You’re a weird and wonderful woman, Cleopatra Knight.”
“God, I wish you’d stop calling me that! And don’t you ever use my middle name again, Dante Aloysius Damaso,” she said, and he scowled. “Remember, I can dish the dirt too.”
“I have some rules for you too,” he said. “They’re pretty simple. You allow me to finance a studio for you so that you can start teaching on a more serious basis.”
“But that’s . . .” He held up his forefinger and tilted his head.
“Shush. I’m not done talking yet. You always share a workout space with me, because you’re seriously sexy when you’re doing that whole ballerina thing.”
“So are you when you’re doing the boxing thing.”