Taming Damian(3)

By: Jessica Wood

“Yeah, they have. Your phone actually started going off during the groom’s father’s toast.” He handed me my purse and phone, his eyes never leaving me.

“Oh shit! I hope no one noticed.”

“You should probably check your phone in case it was an urgent call. I think you got a text too right after the call.” His expression was stone cold and distant, and he stared at me in a way I wasn’t used to, like I was a stranger he’d just met for the first time.

“Sure. Right,” I agreed softly. I wanted to ask him what was wrong, but I held my tongue. Something told me that it wasn’t a good idea. I looked down at my phone and cautiously took it from him. I could feel his eyes locked on me, scrutinizing my every move. Don’t be so paranoid, Alex.

“So who called?” He looked at me expectantly as I switched on my phone.

My heart stopped when I saw the missed call from Chris. “Uh. No one. Just a call from work.” I looked up from my phone and gave Damian a quick smile.

“On a Saturday?” He frowned at me and cocked his head to the side.

“Yeah. You know how lawyers are. I was helping a partner prepare for a big case before I left yesterday, and she must be working on it this weekend. She must have had a question or something.” My stomach was in knots. I hated myself for lying to him. But what scared me more was how easy it was for me to lie to him with a straight face.

Why is Chris calling me now? I had told Chris that I was going to be out of town with limited phone reception when I thought Damian and I were going camping. I pulled up his text message.

Hey hun. Did you get the results yet? You know I’ll support you no matter what.

I kept my expression free from any of the panic that was racing through me. I was happy to hear that Chris wanted to be there for me, but the timing of his call and text was the worst. I had to call him back at some point without Damian knowing or else he’d probably continue calling and texting until he got ahold me. And if Damian accidentally found out that my ex-boyfriend was contacting me, I would not be able to explain this to Damian without making him mad—or worse, without causing him to leave me.


His voice broke through my thoughts.

“Oh sorry. Did you say something?”

“Something wrong?” He looked at me suspiciously.

“No, nothing’s wrong. Sorry, was just checking my email.” I was riddled with guilt as I quickly turned off my phone so he couldn’t catch a glimpse of what I had been reading. I dropped the phone in my bag and smiled up at him. “Sorry about that. Seems like the office doesn’t need my help after all. Should we head back out to the reception?”

“In a moment. So what was it that you’re going to tell me soon?”

“Oh.” I let out a forced chuckle. “I was just telling myself that I had to remember to tell you how crazy happy I am right now here with you. I’m still speechless by this surprise getaway trip to Italy you’ve planned for us.” I turned around to face him and gave him a smile, hoping he couldn’t tell that something was wrong. I wasn’t completely lying. I was incredibly happy right now with Damian, and being here with him in Italy was more than I’d ever imagined for a small-town girl like myself.

“Are you sure that’s what you meant?” There was a hint of doubt in his voice, and I wondered what he had actually heard before I’d known he was there.

“How long were you standing there? You scared me.” I hit his chest playfully as I tried to take control of the conversation. Nerves shot through me as I watched his eyes study me carefully.

“Not too long.” He narrowed his eyes and cocked his head. “Why?”

“Oh, no reason. I was just wondering how long you were standing there being a creeper and lurking in the girls’ bathroom without announcing yourself. It’s a good thing no one else is in here or they’d report you.”

I threw my arms around his neck and pulled him down toward me for a kiss. I wanted to enjoy this week with him without anything to ruin it. Even if that meant I had to lie to him. All that can wait until we get back to San Francisco.

He pulled me into his embrace but then pulled away and looked me up and down. “You’re shaking.”

“Ah, yeah. It’s cold in here.” I quickly shifted my face to avoid his gaze, hoping he wouldn’t see through my lie. I cleared my throat and plastered a grin on my face, beaming up at him. “This was a beautiful wedding, Damian. Thanks for bringing me as your plus one.” I buried my face into his chest and inhaled his musky scent. His body felt unusually stiff. “Are you okay? Your muscles seem tense.” I moved my hands to his shoulders and gently massaged them.

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