Mondays are for Excerpts

29 Sep


“Kiddo, so good to see you,” Victor said, kissing her cheeks and hugging her tight. “I knew you wouldn’t let me down,” he said, releasing her.

“Glad to be here,” Tessa said and when Dina hugged her she whispered, “I’m seeing Adrian this afternoon.” By the look on Dina’s face she knew she shocked her. “I’ll tell you more tomorrow,” she said, giving Dina a thumbs up.

“Tessa, oh my, I haven’t seen you in ages,” Elena, Victor’s daughter, said.

When Tessa turned around, she saw Elena approaching with her husband Marcel holding the baby. They hugged and Tessa asked to hold the baby.

“Wow, what a big boy you are,” she said and the baby smiled happily, trying to grab her necklace. Tessa looked at Victor who stood across from her, his pride bulging his chest, then at the baby and said, “I’m glad you don’t look like your grandpa,” then burst into laughter.

“Oh dear, only you could’ve said something like this and still be alive,” Dina leaned toward her, pretending to look the other way.

Victor’s face reddened and his pointed finger threatened to poke at her. “You better take those words back. Either you’re blind or you just want to annoy me, but I’ll—”

“Good afternoon everyone.”

Tessa looked over her shoulder and saw Alessandro standing right behind her. She turned to face him and smiled, still holding and rocking the baby. To her relief, he was alone.

“Hi,” everyone said and Alessandro did the round of hugging and shaking hands, leaving Tessa for last. When her turn came, he just stood in front of her, looking grave and struggling to swallow. His jaw clenched, his eyebrows drawn together. Dressed in a pale blue shirt and jeans he looked dazzling. He brushed a hand through his hair, bowed and Tessa thought for a second that he’d kiss her over the baby’s head.

She tilted her chin upward, stopped rocking the baby and waited. But the kiss never came. Alessandro caressed the baby’s head, then took his chubby hand and shook it gently. “Hello, little man,” he said, smiled at the baby and walked away.

Tessa felt her face on fire, her heart melting. How humiliating! She was mortified by her own expectation—why would he kiss her, when she had sent him away? She looked around their group, but no one seemed to observe what just happened.

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