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“Where the fuck do you think you’re going? I’m not done with you.” Edie said as she stepped in front of Luca, blocking him from going up the stairs.

“Move.” He growled at her, trying to get past her but she wouldn’t let him. Edie stared down at Luca with so much hate in her eyes it’s amazing he didn’t burst into flames where he stood.

There was no doubt that she was angry that he had had Owen come get her, and while she was so intoxicated she could barely stand. I can’t say I blame her though...

Sometimes Luca needed a taste of his own medicine, and Edie was the perfect person to hand it to him other than me. But he seemed to like me. Her — not so much.

“If you don’t move, I’m having Owen come get you again.” He warned her, his voice laced with anger. I’d known him long enough to know that he wasn’t kidding, he was good on his word. She crossed her arms and stood her ground refusing to get out of his way. I rolled my eyes and climbed the few steps behind Luca, nudging him aside and grabbing Edie’s upper arm, yanking her backwards.

“You two are like children.” I huffed under my breath as I pulled Edie along.

“He started it! He could have just minded his own fucking business and left us along last night but noooo, he just had to ruin all the fun and bring Owen along.” She cried out behind me, pulling against my hold on her as we stumbled up the stairs.

“Edie, for the love of God, just walk!” I hissed at her, reaching the top of the steps, seeing Luca not far behind us shooting her daggers.

“You convincing Adelaide to sneak out while she’s in danger is my business, you fucking maniac. She’s my wife.” Luca spat back at her.

“Not until she says ‘I do’ you fucking idiot!” She snarled back at him.

I thought Luca and I were vicious when we fought, him and Edie could give me a run for my money. It was like watching two feral cats fight each other and at this point I wasn’t sure who was going to win.

“Enough!” I yelled as I spun around, still holding onto Edie but keeping them separated as best I could. God, it really was like having children! My nieces behaved better than this.

“You two are going to fucking drive me insane, I swear I’m going to lock you two in a room together!” I felt the tension rolling off both of them.

“Luca, go do whatever it is you need to do. Edie, shut up and come with me.” I started dragging Edie down the hall with me towards my room while she dug her heels into the ground, not ready to end her feud with Luca.

“If he wasn’t such a massive di—“ Edie started again.

“STOP!” I screamed, stopping her. “Luca and I just got followed on our date and I’m already anxious enough, can you two just stop for like 5 seconds please.” I pleaded, hoping they’d both catch on and just drop it.

“What the fuck is everyone yelling about?” said another voice as Owen came around the corner. Great I groaned internally. Let’s just keep adding more fuel to this fire.

“Nothing. I don’t have time for this. You better get your creature under control while I talk with Gabriel.” Luca snapped at him as he walked past me, annoyance burning in eyes as much as mine. I’d deal with him later. Right now, I needed to get Edie to calm down and away from Owen. Something told me those two hadn’t exactly made up after last night.

“Everything’s fine, Owen. I just need to borrow Edie for a little.” I said as I tightened my hold on Edie’s arm, annoyance rolling off her in waves. I couldn’t tell who she was more fed up with — Owen, Luca, or me for not letting her maul Luca.

I dragged her to my room finally while she huffed and puffed and shut the door, attempting to block out everything going on.

I hadn’t even had time to digest that Luca and I had been followed during our date before having to deal with his and Edie’s bullshit and my anxiety was through the roof.

I can’t ever just have a normal fucking day, can I?

My back was pressed against my door as Edie paced back and forth in front of me, trying to calm herself down. Sometimes I didn’t know who had a worse temper, me or her, with the way we seemed to mirror on everything. It comes with having a best friend who is like a sibling, I suppose.

“Please tell me you’re not still considering marrying that asshole.” She said as she continued pacing.

Here we go again.

“Why don’t you tell me what happened with you and Owen last night first after we got separated. I really don’t want to get into my marriage right now.” I took a few deep breaths and rubbed my temples before heading towards my closet to pack a bag.

“Nothing! Nothing at all! He didn’t want to talk about what had happened between us at all!” I heard her say as I walked in and rifled through my things to find what I needed. Edie’s talking served as background noise as I tried to figure out what to bring, not knowing how long I’d be at Luca’s before all my things were moved in.

“Anytime I brought it up he said we’d talk about it later or at a different time when I wasn’t drunk. So then I tried talking to him this morning and he kept changing the subject.” She was laying back on my bed now, looking at the ceiling, and looked completely exhausted. Edie always looked like death when she had a hangover but adding her relationship issues with Owen on top of it added a whole new layer to that exhaustion. Poor girl just couldn’t win.

“Maybe it’s just a lost cause. We’re not getting back together and he doesn’t want to.” She said, sounding defeated. “Maybe he’s already seeing someone else and just doesn’t want to say. I don’t know. I don’t know what to think.” She let out a long sigh and continued staring at the ceiling with her arm spread wide on my bed.

I had to feel for her. Her and Owen had started dating after a few months of talking and hanging out, she’d been at the same events as me with the Katsaros since her family was involved with mine as well, so she knew what she was getting into. Everything seemed like it was going well and a small part of me hoped that maybe her and Owen could make this last long enough that they’d get married too. Then she’d not only be my best friend, she’d be my sister-in-law and we’d have even more reason now to always be together. She was head over heels for him and I’d never seen her so happy with a guy. A Katsaros at that. Something about them just magnetizes women.

You’d know

But seemingly out of nowhere Owen broke it off with her. No explanation, no reasoning, nothing. She’d been absolutely devastated and that’s when she took off for Bali for a few weeks to get away from it. Maybe I could weasel something out of Luca when I was staying with him. He was close with his brothers since he scared the hell out of everyone else so maybe he could find something out.

“Give it time. He’s an idiot if he thinks he could find someone better than you.” I said as I came out and put my bag on the bed, laying clothes out next to it. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. You didn’t do anything, this is all on him. Maybe I can find out if he’s said anything to Luca.” I hoped that would give her a little hope. And Edie knew she was a catch, everyone did. Owen was moron if he didn’t see that.

“I’m sure it was Luca who told him to break it off.” She seethed, still pissed at him. I rolled my eyes knowing that wasn’t true.

Luca could be a real asshole but he wouldn’t do that. And if he did and I found out, he needed to fear me more than Damien Moretti.

“Why are you packing? Are you taking a trip? Is he kidnapping you?!” Edie picked her head up and said frantically, finally noticing what I was doing.

“No, Edie, believe it or not, Luca isn’t awful enough to kidnap me.” I rolled my eyes. “Like I said, we were followed on our date so he wants me coming with him sooner than later. Damien Moretti has now sent his men to follow me twice and it’s getting too risky. We got lucky last night, I don’t know how, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.” I sat on the edge of my bed and looked at her, hoping she’d finally understand what was going on.

“He is awful. But I know he’s not awful enough to let you get hurt, I’ll give him that. I just have a really hard time seeing past how much of a dickhead he is.” She said as she sat up and sat criss cross on my bed. “Am I going to be allowed to visit at all, you think? Or are we all going to have to wait until your wedding?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what he’s going to do about Damien, truthfully.” I looked down at my bed spread and picked at a few loose strings, rolling around everything that was going on in my head.

Luca and I had been enemies for so long, warring with one another so much it’s a wonder we didn’t kill each other, that it didn’t seem possible that we’d ever get along long enough to be where we were now. And now here we were with an actual threat against me that he was doing everything he could to protect me instead of just handing me over to be done with it. He could have easily broken the contract by doing so, freeing himself from me and this marriage, yet he held onto me with no intentions of letting go.

I didn’t know how to feel about it all. Of course I was giddy and over the moon like any girl would be to go on a date with a guy she liked, and know he liked her back. A spark had lit in my chest when he had said he liked me after all this time despite how we had treated each other before then. But I couldn’t help but feel nervous and conflicted over this whole situation. Would he give up eventually if Damien continued with his threats? Am I still just a pawn in this game to gain territory and nothing more? How would he be towards me after our marriage and the contract was then sealed?

Luca had felt right and safe the last week, between coming to my rescue in the dress shop with Hannah, to making sure Damien’s spy was thrown off our trail leaving our date. I’d even been intimate with him, not feeling any regret or remorse for it, it had felt like the most natural thing to be with him in that way. I had wanted more of that with him, that feeling like we were supposed to be together, like the universe knew we were, but I was still scared of what was to come.

“The Katsaros are not to be messed with, everyone knows that. They’re ruthless and terrifying. I’ve spent enough time with them to know. I’m sure that Luca and his father have something planned out, he probably just doesn’t want to tell you to not worry you more.” Edie tried to say comfortingly. I didn’t have to tell her for her to know how anxious and worried I was about the whole thing, she seemed to always know how I was feeling.

“But I will kick Luca’s ass if he doesn’t let me visit.” She said, causing me to let out a small laugh. “How was your date?” She emphasized date with a slight tone of disgust.

“It was good other than being followed. He took me to get a coffee and then the aquarium.” I said with a small smile on my lips as I continued staring down at my bed spread.

It was a good date. The best date since I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but it probably would always be. He took me to my favorite place and didn’t complain as I looked at the displays and tanks over and over, feeling completely at ease for the first time in a few days. It had made my heart flutter a little when he put his arms around me as we watched the fish lazily float by in the bigger tank.

We may have always been at odds with one another but Luca had paid attention to me this whole time, knowing what I liked and where I felt the most free. He knew I could stay down at the beach for hours on end, the sun and water never becoming boring to me. He knew I had explored all the tide pools and studied all the sea creatures I could, filling my shelves in my room with as many found shells as I could carry. It was the one place I wasn’t just Adelaide Foster, nothing and no one cared who I was the daughter of, or soon-to-be wife of.

Maybe Luca deserves a little more credit than he’s been given all these years.

Luca was one of the most frightening and intimidating men on this earth, but he wasn’t oblivious. He had his own small ways of showing he cared and that made me blush a little with giddiness.

Luca Katsaros actually likes me.

There was a knock at my door.

“Come in!” I yelled loud enough to be heard on the other side of the door. Luca stood there, looking as powerful and menacing as always. My heart fluttered when I looked at him with how attractive he was, his hair messy and disheveled, his muscles straining through his shirt, his eyes connecting with mine and flashing with something I couldn’t quite make out for a split second.

“I need to talk with Adelaide, if you don’t mind.” He said to Edie, trying to not sound as if he wanted to kill her for my sake.

“I do. But for her sake, I’ll let it slide.” Edie tried sounding dignified, but it came off just as bratty as always. If I could roll my eyes at them anymore they’d get stuck. Luca just looked at her with a bored expression as she walked out of my room and he came in, shutting the door behind him.

My heart rate began to increase as he stood with his back to the door, staring at me. That power he possessed radiated off him, reaching out to me to try to pull me to him. I tightened my hands on my bed spread to keep me from moving, not wanting to give into him too much. He must have picked up on it as a smirk spread across his lips as he began walking towards me.

He walked over to the side my bed that I was sitting on and leaned down, caging me in by putting his arms on either side of me. My heart was beating like a humming bird’s wings now like it had been all day on our date. He made me nervous but in the most excitable way.

“We didn’t get to finish our date.” He said as he leaned in fully and ran his lips along the side of my jaw and down my neck, peppering it with kisses. His soft curls brushed along my cheek and neck while his lips warmed wherever they touched, causing my head to roll back and to the side, giving him better access. He moved in closer and stood in between my legs, grabbing one under my thigh to wrap around his waist while his other hand wrapped around my waist as he leaned me further back. I wrapped my arms around his neck to pull him closer to me, not wanting him to stop.

Small moans escaped my lips as he kissed my more sensitive spots on my neck and shoulder, moving across my chest to kiss up and down both sides. He began moving his hand that was on my thigh up under my dress before I reached down to grab it, stopping him.

“You’re not going to score on our first date.” I said as he let out a frustrated groan. A smile spread across my lips knowing how much he hated when I had control over him.

“I’ve already made you come before we even went on a date, Princess. We don’t exactly do things in order.” He murmured against my neck before lifting his head up and giving me a quick kiss. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest.

“Maybe we should. Maybe I should make you wait until we’re married to do anything else.” I teased him. He huffed a laugh.

“That won’t happen. We both know it.” He leaned in to kiss me once more before leaning back and letting me stand up.

“Keep up your fighting with Edie and it just might happen.” I said waking around to the other side of my bed where my bag was laying open and my clothes still not packed. He rolled his eyes as a smirk crept up on my lips.

I started packing up my bag as he sat down on my bed and laid back, putting his arms behind his head and watching me.

“You’re really going to deny yourself any pleasure with me because Edie and I don’t get along?” He asked as I started folding clothes and putting them in my bag.

“She’s my best friend and you’re my — you.” I quickly paused and tried to keep going.

He’s my what? Boyfriend? Fiancé? No. He wouldn’t want that.

Surely not?

“I don’t want to deal with you two trying to kill each other over me forever. It’s already exhausting.” I couldn’t look at him as I stumbled over what I said. I could feel his stare burning into me and a small creeping along his lips.

“I’m your what, Princess? Boyfriend?” His smile turned devilish as he caught my stumble and was now going full speed with it.

Good one, Addy. Great stumble there.

You’re never going to recover from that one.

I couldn’t do anything but peek at him from under my eyelashes as I kept putting clothes in my bag, too afraid to continue. My cheeks began to burn.

“Go head, say it. You want me to be your boyfriend.” He got up from my bed and stalked behind me. He pressed his front up tightly against my back and pushed me up against the bed, trapping me between him and the bed with nowhere to go. My bed was higher up so he was able to cage me in front behind, putting his arms on either side of me again and leaning down, his lips brushing against my ear. My throat felt dry and my hands began to shake slightly from the nerves.

“I’ll be your boyfriend, Princess.” He slowly slid his lips from my ear to my cheek, placing a light kiss on it as his beard tickled my cheek. I could feel my chest and cheeks turning bright red from the nerves. This wasn’t exactly how I wanted him to say he was my boyfriend.

And how exactly did you want him to say it??

Does this mean I get to ‘score’ on our date then?” I felt him smile against my cheek as I finally let out a breath, not realizing I was holding it.

“Always in the gutter.”

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