The Divorce Party(8)

By: Jennifer Hayward

Whether or not she was just going through the motions was irrelevant. She had been moving on.

Until that kiss tonight.

She touched her fingers to her mouth and tightness seized her chest. How could she kiss Riccardo like that when the same from Harry inspired only lukewarm affection?

“Which do you prefer, Lilly? Snakeskin or alligator?”

She gave the trendy young shoe designer who had cornered her and Alex a blank look. “Sorry?”

“I was asking if you prefer snakeskin or alligator... If I’d known you were doing this tonight I would have begged you to wear my shoes.”

If she’d known she was doing this tonight she would be halfway across the Atlantic!

“Snakeskin, definitely,” she murmured.

The other woman nodded and continued her relentless discussion of fashion.

She would be crazy to go back to Riccardo. But what choice did she have? The idea that the bank would lend her the money—more than she’d make in ten years of work—was laughable. Even in installments. Her parents were barely getting by on the farm, and although Alex had a great job with one of the city’s top PR firms they would never, collectively, be able to scrape up that kind of money.

She had the power to help Lisbeth. Her stomach seemed to go into freefall at the thought of what that might entail. The question was, could she?

Alex gave her an I need to talk to you look and politely whisked her away from the designer. “People keep stealing you away,” she hissed, dragging Lilly toward the windows. “What did he say to you?”

Lilly stared at her sister’s flashing blue gaze—the only thing that differentiated them as twins. Her eyes were a mirror image of their sister Lisbeth’s. And suddenly her guilt for never having been there for her younger sister made her next move crystal-clear.

She forced herself to smile. Riccardo had made it clear no one was to know about their deal. Not even family. There was too much of a chance for someone to say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person. The press would blow it wide open.

“We had a really good talk, Alex. I—”

The music stopped. She spun around to find Riccardo standing at the front of the room, his gaze trained on her. She swallowed hard as he nodded for her to join him.

Judgement time.

She steeled herself and raised a trembling hand to push her hair out of her face. “I’ll explain afterward,” she whispered to her sister. Then she walked to Riccardo’s side.

Her presence there said everything.

A satisfied gleam lit her husband’s eyes. He raised a hand to quiet the room. The elegantly dressed crowd fell silent as every eye moved to them and hushed anticipation blanketed the air. The first marriage in the history of the De Campo family to disintegrate. A golden couple at that.

She was distracted by a waitress, who presented a bottle for Riccardo’s inspection. “The 1972 Chianti.”

A 1972 Chianti? The same wine as on their wedding? Her gaze flew to her husband’s, which was impaling hers with a burning darkness that seared her soul. He was really doing this to her?

What kind of a game was he playing?

The waitress passed each of them a glass of the ruby-red wine. Its deep, rich color was hypnotizing, reminding Lilly of the emotional blood the two of them had spilled. Her hands shook so much around the crystal she was terrified the wine was going to end up down the front of her dress.

Riccardo turned to face their guests, with a controlled, purposeful ease to his movements. “Lilly and I would like to thank you all for coming. You are our closest family, friends and acquaintances and we wanted you to be the first to share in our news.”

He paused. The room grew so silent you could have heard a pin drop. Lilly’s fingers tightened around the glass, her heart pounding in tandem with her head.

“Sometimes it takes a momentous occasion to bring true feelings to the surface.” Riccardo returned his gaze to her face. “For Lilly and I, it took contemplating divorce to realize how much in love we still are.”

A gasp rang out. Alex gaped at her from the front row, where she stood with Gabe.

Riccardo cast his gaze over the crowd. “Lilly and I are reconciling.”

A shocked buzz filled the room—the sound of a hundred conversations starting at once. Flashbulbs exploded in her face. Hearing the words spoken out loud made her knees go weak. But she kept her gaze trained on her husband’s and forced what might have passed for a smile to her lips.