Chapter 39 : A Practical Woman

1.4K 156 4


"You two make a beautiful couple," Eisabet Castillejo says, beaming at Kate and me.

Kate squeezes my arm affectionately. "You're very kind," she says shyly.

"My wife is too modest," I say, patting her hand over my arm. "But we're both happy to be here in support of the foundation."

Around us, the well-heeled guests mill around the ballroom of the country club. Lights from chandeliers hung from high ceilings glinted off the diamonds and other jewelry on ostentatious display. It's the annual benefit dinner for the Araceli Gabàs Foundation, an event I attend every year.

This year, however, is the first time I showed up with a plus one that wasn't an aunt or a cousin.

"It's good to finally see you with a real date, Raul," coos Max Stanbridge, before casting a playful eye on Kate. "I was beginning to lose hope for you."

Kate did ask me this once, when she was still working for me. "No date?" she said offhandedly, the second time she made arrangements for tickets.

I said no, but didn't elaborate. The truth is, I felt that a benefit dinner was too public an event to be taking a date whom I wasn't serious with. Between the requisite press coverage and the number of family members who were there, it was tantamount to taking a date to a family wedding. The year Gia and I had been together was the last time I brought an actual date to these events. Having Kate by my side tonight feels ... comfortable. I'm curious if she enjoys this sort of thing or if she's only willing to do it because it's for charity.

Tonight, she's breathtaking in a gold Balenciaga custom-made recreation of a vintage 1961 dress. The dress gives her a glow that makes me even more reluctant to take my eyes off her. Her hair is pulled up in a loose chignon that makes my fingers ache to take it down.

What the hell is wrong with me?

"To be honest, I almost lost hope in myself, too," I say. "Luckily, Kate didn't. I thank God every day she gave me a chance at love."

Okay, that was laying it on a little thick but they all seem to be buying it. Kate looks up at me with adoration in her eyes and something twists in my stomach.

Has she always been this good at acting the part of the besotted wife?

"Oh God that's so romantic," Max says, a hand on his chest. "When I'm this mushy, Giles just gets embarrassed."

"Only when you talk about it to the dog trainers, honey," his husband says. Giles Stanbridge is a portly man in his forties with a serious air about him.

"Oh, we're very close with our dog trainer," Deiondre Jones says. The large canary diamond on her ring flashes as she takes a delicate sip of champagne. "He's practically family."

"We only have cats, Deiondre," Giles says dryly.

Everyone laughs.

"If you'll excuse me," Kate says, "I'm just going to pop over to the powder room." With a parting smile at the group and then at me, she leaves.

I consider escorting her to the powder room, but that would be too obsessive, even for me.

The two weeks since she confronted me about manipulating Nico and Yandra have been fraught, to put it mildly. In private, it was as though the Kate who was my assistant had returned - she was civil but kept her distance. In public, she was the loving wife I needed everyone to see.

"Goodness, Raul," Deiondre says with a giggle, "She's only going to the ladies', not running away."

I tear my gaze away from Kate's retreating back to turn to Deiondre. "Of course," I say. Two weeks ago I was comfortable with the knowledge that I always had Kate in my corner. That I could count on her no matter what.

Fake-Married to My Billionaire BossWhere stories live. Discover now