Chiara (The Doms and Dommes of New York: Book 3)

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Chapter 11

The doctors had said it could take up to six months for Steven to go back to work, but, like everything else he did, he shocked everyone by going back in three, and I was glad for it. For three months he was in pain, though he tried to hide it from me, argumentative, and downright bitchy. I punished him twice as much in those three months than I had in the six months prior to the shooting, and that made me argumentative and bitchy, too. Finally, though, he went back to work, and things got back to normal.

His first day back in court was a month after he started working again, and I wanted to be there for him. The case was that of a drive-by shooting that had killed a seven-year old boy and his five-year-old sister as well as wounding his baby sister and his mother. That was all I knew, and, since I had some time off from my job because of Steven's injuries, I went to the court to watch him do his thing.

I got there early enough that I was able to sit in the row just behind the family members of the victims. Steven was already at his table, and when he looked around the courtroom and saw me, he smiled and walked over to me.

"Hi, there, moró mou," he said, giving my cheek a kiss. "What are you doing here? Checking up on me?"

I shrugged. "Maybe a little. I just need to know you're okay."

"I'm fine," he answered. "Just itching to put these bastards away." He glanced at the defendants' table, and I followed his gaze.

Four men were sitting there, and I could tell two of them weren't lawyers. They fidgeted in their seats, pulled on the collars of their shirts, and tugged on their ties. They both looked to be in their early twenties, and when one turned to look at us, I gasped at the hatred in his eyes that was directed at Steven.

"Don't worry about him, agapiméni. He can't hurt me or you. See the cuffs?" I nodded when I noticed his hands were handcuffed together in front of him, and that there was a chain running between his ankle cuffs. So were the other defendant's. "They tried to attack the bailiff on their way here today, so they'll be shackled for the entirety of the trial. Their lawyers weren't too happy about that, but it's their own damn fault." Then he grinned at me. "Just goes to show you that stupidity doesn't pay."

"I thought the saying was 'crime doesn't pay,'" I answered with a smile.

"That, too." After another cheek kiss, he went back to his table.

The trial lasted for a month, and I tried to be in court at least once a week. Finally, the closing statements were presented, the jury deliberated, and a verdict was released. Once again, the prosecution did their job, and both men were convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder. I wasn't there when the verdict was read, but I got a text at work that day.

We won, agapiméni! Will you celebrate with me?

How could I say no? I texted him back that I would, and he said he would get reservations at Miguel's for seven o'clock. I could just meet him there. He asked if I would dress sexy for him, and I agreed.

It was almost five o'clock, and when I left work, I went straight home. I pulled out a strapless red thigh-length dress with a deep neckline that reached halfway down my chest and clearly showed the swell of my breasts. I added black nylons and red four-inch heels. Then I piled my hair up on my head and put on a chunky black necklace and black dangling earrings. After dotting on perfume, I hailed a cab.

Reaching the restaurant, I got out and smiled when I saw Steven waiting by the entrance. As I started toward him, he came toward me, and we met in the middle of the sidewalk.

"Fuck me, Chiara!" he breathed as he ran his hands over my bare shoulders. "That is some dress!"

"I'm glad you like it," I answered with a smile, and when he dipped his head to kiss me, I opened up to him. When I broke the kiss, he was breathing hard.

"I'm tempted to forget about dinner and take you somewhere private, moró mou, if you'll forgive my boldness."

"Not going to happen, Steven. I'm starving." I stepped closer to him, felt his arousal, and he groaned. "Maybe later."

"Shit!" he mumbled. "Good thing you didn't cage me this morning. I'd be miserable right now."

I grinned, and he took my arm. He guided me to the restaurant, and we were immediately seated at a table near the back. We talked about our days, and he smiled brightly when he told me how the two defendants tried to escape when the verdict was read. They were instantly taken down by the bailiffs, though, and now they had more charges to deal with.

Dinner went by quickly, and then dessert arrived. It was a lovely chocolate mousse with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top. Steven knew it was my favorite, and he had ordered it before I even arrived at the restaurant. As I dipped my spoon into the chocolate sumptuousness, it hit something hard. I looked at Steven in confusion, but he just lifted his eyebrows and stared at me while he licked his own spoon.

"What's this, Steven?"

"Why don't you find out?"

I spooned out the hard object and stared back at him as I licked it clean. His eyes darkened lustfully, and when I finished cleaning it, I saw that it was a small, pearl-colored ball.

"What is this?"

He pointed at it with his spoon. "Open it, moró korítsi."

I studied it and saw a small clasp. I flipped the clasp to the side, and half of the ball opened. Inside was a piece of paper. It had two words on it: Look down. I did, and I gasped when I saw Steven on one knee before me. In his hand was a black ring box. The box was open, and the ring inside was exquisite. It was silver with a huge diamond in the center which was surrounded by eight smaller diamonds.

"Chiara Martinelli," he said softly as our eyes met. "I love you. I think I loved you the moment I met you. I truly can't imagine my life without you, and I want you to stay with me forever. Tha me pantrefteís, agapiméni? Will you marry me?"

I held out my left hand, and he grinned as he took the ring out of the box and slipped it onto my finger. Then I held onto his hand tightly. "I love you, Steven, and I would be honored to be your wife."

Then he stood up and pulled me to my feet amid cheers and applause from the other patrons of the restaurant. When he kissed me, the cheers grew louder. After he stopped, I said softly, "You do know this changes nothing, right, boy?"

His grin grew even larger. "I would have it no other way, Mistress."

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