Home > Two for the Show (One for the Money #2)(8)

Two for the Show (One for the Money #2)(8)
Author: Skye Warren

“My mother will be beside herself.”

“I’ll talk to her,” Finn says.

“She’ll be so happy. Three weddings in one year? That means she gets three chances to be the center of attention.”

“Happy to let her be the center of attention. I’m sure she’ll want to be involved in the planning.”

“Oh, I’m absolutely sure. You’ll be the one to break the news to her, then?”

“Whatever makes the transition the smoothest.”

The transition. Like he’s moving me to another branch of his company. Like he’s suggesting in the most callous way that our fake engagement turn into a real one.

My hurt is folding into white-hot rage. I’ve known for a long time that men aren’t to be trusted. Rich men and Constantines in particular. I’m angry at myself for allowing even a second of false hope, but I’m furious with him for letting me lead him down this path.

A better woman would put a stop to it. Would plant her feet and raise her eyebrows and say are you serious right now? She would make him understand how awful he was being.

Except I want him to see it for himself.

I won’t accept anything less.

“What about the honeymoon?”

The corner of Finn’s mouth turns down. “I can’t be away from my father for very long. Paris for a week. I have a place in the Virgin Islands. Something for the Sunday Styles section in the Times. We’ll keep it simple.”

“Simple, but backed up by photo evidence.”

“That’s right.”

I let out a disbelieving laugh. “What will your mother think?”

“She’ll be…” Finn actually thinks about it for several moments. “She’ll be pleased I’ve decided to settle down. She thinks it’s time I stopped going out and fucking around.”

“You’ve certainly done that.”

“Yeah. I guess so.”

“Any thoughts on the guest list?”

Finn shakes his head. “We’ll have to walk the line on that one. Meet people’s expectations for what a Hughes wedding should be without the damn thing getting out of control.”

“And what about your Dad?”

He blinks, like I’m the one who’s gone too far. Finn has no idea. Anger burns in the middle of my chest. Anger that hardly seems to belong to me. I don’t get pissed and have outbursts. That’s never been a tool in my arsenal. I don’t know that I’ve ever been angry like this.

“What about my Dad?”

“Will he be able to attend the ceremony? If he’s going to, we’ll have to design it around his abilities. And the reception…” I purse my lips and stare at a spot above Finn’s head. “Daphne and Emerson barely got away with five hundred people at the reception. A Hughes wedding, though…that’s seven-fifty minimum.”

“Eva, this—”

“You’ll have to make some decisions if you’re going to get the outcome you want. You know better than I do what your Dad is capable of. I have the feeling it’s one thing or another. Either he’ll be able to attend the ceremony, or he’ll be able to make a speech at the reception.”

“There’s time to figure that out.”

“Did you like the food tonight?”

Finn’s eyes narrow. “I didn’t eat.”

“Oh, right. You came late. Is the catering something you wanted me to handle?”

He’s silent for a moment that hangs and drags. It twists itself together with the pain in my heart. “You don’t have to handle any of it. We can get married at the courthouse, for all I care.”

I laugh like he’s made a real joke. “A courthouse wouldn’t be nearly enough for the press releases. Be serious, Finn.”

“I am serious. We can decide all of this later.”

“That’s just not how events like this go. It’s possible to throw together a wedding in a short period of time, but not ideal. And it’s not like when Leo and Haley got married. You’re Finn Hughes, remember?”

“For now,” he shoots back. “And it’s a wedding, not a trade negotiation. It can be as simple as getting a license.”

“You’ve got it all figured out, then.” This is what he’s decided, all by himself. A fake date is one thing. A fake relationship. A fake engagement, even. But a fake marriage? One that has no real love in it, only duty?

That’s what Finn is offering. He’s going to put a ring on my finger and push me away. He’ll keep me in a separate wing of his house, in a separate wing of his life, and hold me at arm’s length while he waits for the future he thinks is inevitable.

That’s not what I want from Finn. I might’ve told myself that, but I don’t want something fake. That’s never what I wanted, even when I knew it would hurt.

“Eva.” He sounds hurt now, and it’s bullshit. I’m not the one who hurt him. He hurt me. He stood here in this art gallery and did it again and again. “It’ll be easier once we’re married.”

“There’s just one problem.” I draw myself up to my full height and cross my arms over my chest. I’m not just protecting myself. I’m protecting a little piece of Finn, too.

It gives me a warm, glowing feeling to think of protecting our child, even when I’m mad as hell because Finn is doing this to me now. Standing here like what we had didn’t matter. Standing here like he can offer me a hollow imitation of a marriage and have that be enough.

“What’s that?” Finn asks. His eyes go dark, like he’s replaying our conversation to find some detail he missed.

“You never asked me to marry you.” His eyes widen. “You never asked. And I will never, ever say yes.”

I turn my back on him and walk away.

 

 

6

 

 

FINN

 

 

I am a fool in every possible way.

I’m a fool for going to that wedding reception instead of just going to Eva’s apartment and begging for forgiveness. I’m a fool for announcing to her that we’d get married. As if Eva Morelli, a queen, would agree to my pathetic offer. No one tells Leo Morelli what to do, she said to me, once upon a time. Well, nobody tells Eva Morelli what to do, either.

At least they don’t stare at a painting and announce she’ll marry them.

“You look like you chewed up a lemon.” Hemingway leans against the doorway to the den, surveying me with raised eyebrows.

“Thanks.”

“That was code for what made you look like you chewed up a lemon, Finn? Bad night out on the town?”

“Yes. I had a horrendous night.”

“One of my friends texted me to say that you had a fight with Eva Morelli at her sister’s wedding.”

My God. It’s never going to end, is it?

Oh, it will. Before you want it to. The matter-of-fact voice in my head won’t shut the hell up.

“We didn’t. We had a discussion.”

“Something go wrong with your fake engagement?”

“Jesus, Hem. Keep your voice down.”

“Sorry.” Now he uses an exaggerated whisper. “I meant, it’s clear something went wrong with your fake engagement. Do you want to talk about it?”

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