… which was a position I hadn’t yet asked anyone to fill. Arnoldo had taken the reins with the weekend planning, but I didn’t know if he had done so because he assumed he’d be standing beside me at the wedding. Maybe he just had more initiative than the other guys.
Only a few short weeks ago it would have been a no-brainer to have Arnoldo stand with me. Part of me hoped that he still would.
Arash was also a good choice. Unlike Arnoldo, I saw Arash nearly every day. And as my attorney, he knew things about me—and Eva—that no one else did. I could trust him with anything, even without the protection of attorney/client privilege.
But Arnoldo was direct with me in a way no one else was, aside from my wife. I’d long thought that Arnoldo’s blunt, incisive advice had kept me from becoming too cynical and jaded.
This weekend should make the choice between the two men clear.
It felt … wrong to stand outside Eva’s apartment door and wait for her. As I leaned against the wall opposite the doorway, I considered how swiftly things had turned a corner and how violently opposed I was to having them ever go back. I hadn’t known it could be like this between us. Open, nothing to hide, so deeply in love.
There had been glimpses of this life before. Some of the nights we’d spent together in the apartment next door. The weekends we’d sneaked away to be alone together. But those times had existed in a vacuum. Now, we lived those moments openly. It would be even better when the world knew we were married and she lived completely in the penthouse with me.
The door opened and Eva stepped out, looking cool and sexy in a sleeveless red wrap dress and heeled sandals. She had sunglasses perched atop her head and was wheeling a suitcase out beside her. The next time she packed, it would be for our honeymoon. We’d leave together, like we were doing now, but we would stay together from that moment forward.
“Here,” I said, straightening to take the suitcase from her.
She tackled me as I reached for it, her body soft and warm against mine. She pulled my head down and kissed me, a quick, sweet kiss. “You should’ve come in.”
“You and me with a bed nearby?” I caught her around the waist and steered her toward the elevator. “I would’ve taken advantage, if I didn’t think Cary would bang on the door and bitch about missing your flight.”
Eva separated from me as we descended to the lobby, reaching behind her to grab the handrail and showing off her sexy legs. It was a full-body flirt, with her eyes playing the game, too. They sparkled at me as she licked her bottom lip. “You look super sexy.”
I glanced down at the white V-neck T-shirt and khakis I’d changed into before leaving work.
“You usually wear dark colors,” she pointed out.
“Too hot for that where we’re going.”
“You’re too hot.” She lifted one foot off the elevator floor and slowly rubbed her thighs together.
Amused and feeling the slow heat of building arousal, I settled back and enjoyed the show.
Once we’d reached the lobby, I gestured her out in front of me, catching up to her in two strides so I could place my hand at the small of her back.
She tossed me a smile over her shoulder. “There’s going to be traffic.”
“Damn.” Traffic—and the time it would add to the commute—was what I was counting on.
“You sound sooo disappointed,” she teased, before smiling at the doorman, who opened the door for her.
Raúl waited outside by the limo. In moments, we were on our way, merging into the sea of cars battling their way across Manhattan.
Eva took the bench seat that spanned the length of the vehicle, while I settled on the seat in the back. “Want a drink?” she asked, looking at the bar across from her.
“I’m not sure.” Her lips pursed. “I wanted one earlier.”
I waited for her to make up her mind, my gaze sliding over her. She was my joy, the light in my world. I would do anything to keep her carefree and content for the rest of her life. It weighed on me to think I might have to hurt her. She’d been through so much already.
If we found out that Monica was not who Eva thought she was at all, how would I break that news? My wife had been crushed when she realized her mother was tracking her via her mobile phone, her watch, and a compact mirror in her purse. A false identity was a much worse betrayal.
And what did that fake identity hide?
“I can’t find a dress,” she said abruptly, her lush mouth turned down in a frown.
It took me a beat to snap out of my thoughts and register what she was saying. “For the wedding?”