Chapter 8 : Separate Rooms

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Instead of dropping Kate off at the office, we both go directly to the hotel. Marcus declines a room, but we get Maricar her own smaller suite so she wouldn't have to be alone at Kate's or rush back to New Jersey.

"You'll have to eat lunch, anyway," I argue when Kate insists she needs to go back to the office. "I need to talk to you alone."

The room service I ordered ahead was waiting for us when we get to our suite. I ask for the food be served in the master bedroom. After the staff leaves, I open up the overnight case I kept in the boot of my car.

Kate is starting on her salad when she looks up at me, her fork frozen over her plate. "What are you doing?"

I undo the last button of my dress shirt before taking it off. "Taking a shower," I say. "My skin feels like sea salt." As I pull off my undershirt, I see her still staring, a flicker of alarm in her eyes at the sight of my naked torso.

When our eyes meet, she shifts her gaze to her salad. "Uhm... What time will you be at the office?" she says, poking at the greens on her plate.

"My lunch meeting with Tia Carmen will take a couple of hours." I undo my belt buckle. "I'll be there at four. I assume you've moved my afternoon meetings to tomorrow?"

"Yes, Olivia already has your schedule." She keeps her eyes on her food, but flicks her gaze back at me when I've stripped down to my boxers. I suppress a smile as I contemplate exposing more of myself to my new wife. If I didn't have to meet my aunt in half an hour, who knows what I'd be predisposed to do now that I have Kate alone with me.

What are you doing? Her words come back to me as I walk into the ensuite. I honestly don't know. Maybe I just want to see my wife doing something other than rushing through lunch and working on her tablet right after the ceremony. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned that way.

I take a quick shower and when I get back into the bedroom, she's finished with her lunch. She reads me my emails and I dictate my replies as I get dressed. Her gaze is focused on her tablet this time, not bothering to steal a single glance my way as I put on a fresh suit. It's dark blue, my aunt's favorite color.

"Are you sure you don't want to join us?" I say. We're done with emails and I'm putting on a silver tie.

"I think it's much better if you speak to her alone," she replies. She's packing her things into her suitcase. "If there's nothing else, I'm heading out."

"All right. See you at the office. And Kate?"

She pauses at the door. "Yes?"

I meet her gaze through the full-length mirror. "Let's have dinner tonight. Just the two of us."

She hesitates for a second before nodding. "All right."


Carmen Elizondo smiles at me over the rim of her water glass. Crimson nails flash against the glass where she grasps it with her elegant, manicured fingers. "You know your parents will expect a church wedding at some point," she says. "Kate is Catholic, yes?"

I hope my smile isn't too smug. "She is," I reply. "And we will have the church wedding as soon as my schedule allows it."

"I have to say, I'm surprised, Raul. You know how we feel about conducting personal relationships with our employees."

My wince is genuine. "Which is why we've kept this quiet. Of course, it won't happen again."

"She's no longer your assistant, I take it?" At my nod, she adds, "Kate is such a sensible girl. So practical. This is completely out of character."

"I'm hoping you get to know her better now that she's my wife."

"I suppose you decided to elope because you got wind of tomorrow's board meeting."

I smile. "I played right into your hands, tia. You should be pleased."

"Oh, I am."

"And tomorrow's board meeting?"

She shrugs. "We'll have to go through with it. You know Saldana. He'll be upset if we take away a chance for him to talk to an audience, especially when he's been looking forward to criticize you on record."

"Can I count on your support?"

"For now." Carmen takes a spoonful of her arroz amarillo con pollo, taking her time to enjoy the food. We're at her favorite Cuban restaurant, a regular spot for our lunches. Their food never fails to put her in a good mood.

"I don't understand," I say.

"Just because you're married, it doesn't mean you've changed your habits or your lifestyle."


"Don't tia me, hijo. This is a family business. It should be fairly easy to remember what we prioritize."

I should have known I wouldn't get off so easily. "Family," I reply.

"Exactly. Which is why I look forward to spending some time with your new wife."

"We could meet you for dinner next week, when you're free."

"Bring her to lunch on Sunday, after church."


"But I will call and meet with her before that."

"We'll be busy—"

"No, you will be busy. Kate is no longer employed by you, and will have plenty of time to meet with me."

Shit. Why did I ever think my aunt would just take this marriage at face value? Of course she'll have to scrutinize my relationship with my wife because that's just what all my aunts do. It won't take five minutes for her to discover that Kate has no feelings for me whatsoever.

"She'd like that." I smile, hoping to mask my panic. "It will mean a lot to her to be welcomed to the family."

"I'm sure it will."

I should be gratified that I've proven that Kate isn't entirely unaware of me as a man, even if she has no deeper feelings for me apart from friendship. Because if we're going to fake emotional intimacy with each other, it will be easier if we had a different kind of intimacy. In this case, it will have to be sexual intimacy. At least I know that one very well.

While the idea of seducing Kate is not unappealing, does she even want me?


Next update will be on Tuesday, July 26. Please don't forget to vote for this chapter if you're enjoying the story!

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