Earlier in the evening
Dinner with Isabella should have been fun. We had a lone table out on the patio of the restaurant — I'd arranged it for privacy — and she looked lovely under the lights strung up on the trees. She was a bright and interesting conversationalist. And she was interested in me.
For some reason, I couldn't just relax and enjoy myself.
I know the date was not the best idea, considering everything that was going on. I asked her out on impulse, maybe a last-ditch act of defiance in the face of what I had no control over. Still, a beautiful woman was a beautiful woman. I thought I could have set everything aside and just enjoyed the evening. I was wrong.
Not that Isabella noticed anything amiss. Why would she? We didn't know each other that well, after all. Although it was possible she noticed and just hadn't let on.
It was almost a relief when dinner was over and she and I were ensconced in the backseat of my car, on the way to her place.
"That was a beautiful restaurant," she says, resting her hand on my knee. "Do you go there a lot?"
"Occasionally, yes," I reply, instinctively putting my hand over hers. To my surprise, I notice she is trembling slightly. "Are you cold?" I stroke her fingers with my thumb to soothe her nerves. Lots of people get nervous on first dates.
Isabella lets out a low, barely audible whimper and she leans toward me. Breathless, she kisses me with a hunger that catches me off guard. My arm goes around her waist as I return her kiss. She's soft and warm in my arms. My thoughts drift to the night ahead. Perhaps we should be heading toward my place instead. I don't relish the idea of spending the night in a stranger's apartment, especially since I will have to be at the office tomorrow. I think of Kate and her worries about our future in the company. It seems unfair that it's not just my job that hinges on the decision I've made, but her job as well.
I look down at Isabella's puzzled expression. She has pulled away from the kiss and I barely noticed. "Nothing," I say. "Why?"
"You seem distracted."
She puts a hand on my cheek, trying to coax me back to her. I cover her hand with mine and turn to kiss her palm.
"Would you like to come up?"
It's only then that I notice the car has stopped and is parked on the side of the street. "Maybe another time," I say. The regret in my tone is genuine. She really is a lovely girl; unfortunately, I'm not in the right head space right now.
She tries to hide her disappointment with a smile. "Sure. You have my number."
After she'd gone inside her building, I tell my chauffeur Santino to take me to Kate's.
When I get there, my first thought was perhaps I'd gone to the wrong house. Because of my night blindness, it takes me a moment for my eyes to adjust and see who the couple was in the front yard.
Something twists in my gut when I see Kate with Marcus's arms around her. What are they doing? Have they been dating in secret? The words come out as a shout before I could think better about it.
"What's going on?"
The unfamiliar feeling in my gut has given way to an equally unexpected anger in my chest. My voice sounds harsh to my ears and I'm not sure why.
"Raul!" Kate says, her voice a few octaves higher than normal. She turns to me but does not dislodge Marcus's arm that was still around her. "What are you doing here?"
YOU ARE READING
Fake-Married to My Billionaire BossRomance
"It doesn't have to be me." He lowers his head to brush his lips over mine. "I want it to be you, Kate." Raul Marin is in trouble. The CEO of one of the biggest clothing companies in the country, he's about to lose his position because of his notori...