The hotel room door was opened, and Adrianna pulled Nick inside, hugging him so tight that it took his breath away, as she planted a million little kisses all over his face, before she snuggled tightly against him into his embrace.
Over Addy’s shoulder Nick saw her 2 year younger sister Bianca, who smiled shrugging and waved at him.
“Is everything okay with you girls? How come you’re in San Myshuno?! We just talked last night, you didn’t say a peep. Had I known, I would have stepped on it with packing yesterday, so I would have time for you today! Movers will be here tomorrow morning and I barely have half my crap boxed.” Nick wondered, concerned, his question aimed at Bianca, since Addy was way to busy nibbling on him to pay much attention.
“Depends on your take of ‘ok’. And she couldn’t tell you, because we literally were dragged straight onto the plane after breakfast. We barely had time to pack and it wasn’t until after wheels up that Papa told us where we were going.” Bianca told him, as she got up and joined Nick and her older sister.
Adrianna pulled away, her eyes seeking Nick’s.
“He is dating her! Nick, it’s a travesty! He is turning our family into a joke! I am so humiliated.”
Taken aback, Nick arched his eyebrows, looking between his girlfriend and her younger sister, who shrugged again.
“WHO is dating WHOM? Girls, I already packed my crystal ball. You gotta give me a little more here.” Nick asked, slightly annoyed.
“Papa, of course! We are here on such short notice, so he can go on a date! Can you believe it!? Nick, my own father is trying to ruin our reputation, acting like a ridiculous teen boy. Everyone will laugh at us now!” Adrianna told him.
“Huh?!” Nick was still lost, Bianca noticed.
“Did you not tell Nick about Meaghan?! What do you guys talk about all those hours you chat and facetime?!” she addressed her sister.
“Of course he knows! I told him how embarrassing they acted during the last time we were here. Nick’s even related to Meaghan, so I am sure she told him too! And he was there at that party with me where it all started. So, of course he knows! Nick, you have to put a stop to this!” Adrianna pleaded.
“Me? Stop what?! The only Meaghan I know is Eric’s step-daughter and I am not related to her. I am barely related to Eric. I think in all the years Eric’s been with Lana, I’ve probably spoken to Meaghan a few dozen times, and usually only when I went to see my dad at his law firm while she worked there. And how would your dad even know her?” Nick tried to make sense of the odd situation.
“Seriously Nick!? The big party at Chase’s some weeks ago! The one where Chase, Hailey, Colton, Maddie and their kids celebrated moving to some castle in Forgotten Hollow, Hailey’s transformation to vampire, her brother Grady and my sister Giulia’s gender reveal for baby number three, which is why Papa, Bianca and I were there, and of course Hailey’s bestie Hadley’s divorce finalization celebration, which is why Lana was there, since she was Hadley’s attorney, and of course she brought her family, including Meaghan! When Hailey’s friend Hadley and Meaghan got into it, because of that cheating business by Meaghan with Hadley’s husband or something, Papa swept in, all the gentleman, and took Meaghan for a walk while Hailey and Chase talked Hadley down in one of the rooms. Next thing Bianca and I know is that she joined us for lunch the next day, then they went out a few times. We thought it was done and over with, forgotten, after we flew back to Tartosa. HA! They must have stayed in touch, urgh, I don’t even want to imagine them whispering stuff like you and I do to each other. Anyway, this morning at breakfast he told Bianca and me that we were going on a little trip, was all giddy, at first we thought our sister Giulia had her baby early and we were going to see them. On the jet he told us that he was going to formally introduce himself to Eric and Lana and make his romantic intentions about Meaghan known – meaning, he is serious about her! Nick – you have to do something! Tell Eric and Lana to say no or talk sense into Meaghan or something!”
“Addy, I am not that close to that side of the Camerons. I can’t make Eric or Lana do anything, let alone Meaghan. Plus, what’s the big deal? Both of you were in my ear about ‘poor Papa, so lonely without Mama, blah blah’ last time I was visiting you, so now he has someone. Problem solved, right? And maybe he’ll be too busy with her to be up in our business all the damn time now. BONUS! Cos, I love you Addy, but 90% of what little time we get to spend together has been with him somewhere, watching. Gets old. I mean, I get it, he loves you and we are not 18 yet, but that is taking helicopter parenting to totally uncharted heights. Maybe Meaghan’s assets make him forget to be all Stasi about us!”
“SHE IS BARELY 3 YEARS OLDER THAN ME, NICK!!! OH MY GAWD!”
“Okaayyy … well .. what do you want me to say here? Most old single rich dudes go for young arm candy. Chill, baby. This may just be a temporary interlude, maybe he’s got Spring Fever, so he gets some young piece of ass for a while, hopefully it will do wonders for his mood, she gets to live in the fast lane for a bit, he’ll probably drown her in expensive tokens of his admiration, you know the kind from the jewelers and designer boutiques, and whenever she gets tired of his wrinkly ass and limp noodle, having to wait for the Viagra to get things into gear, both may just realize they can’t deal with each other’s bullshit, all goes back to normal.”
“Nick Cameron! GROSS! And you have to be joking!” Addy exclaimed.
“Addy, give Nick a break. He’s not wrong, he can’t fix this. I mean, have you met Papa? Even if Meaghan tried to pull away now, he’d stay on her like a duck on a June bug. But seriously Nick, we REALLY don’t need to hear about our dad getting a piece of ass and Viagra and such. He’s still our dad, remember? In other words, URGH! Even though I kinda agree with you. Maybe getting laid will do wonders for him not being so strict. Cos at some point I’d like to have a boyfriend too.” Bianca frowned to underline her rant.
“Are you kidding me, Bianca?! Papa is 67 years old, Meaghan is what – 20, 21?! She is younger than our siblings! NO WAY! No – e basta! A nightmare!” Addy continued freaking out.
“Look, Addy, I know it’s mega-weird, but we hate it when our parents meddle in our business, now we can’t be hypocrites. Give them a chance. I mean, maybe it won’t be so bad, maybe she’s cool and like a friend for you, right?” Nick tried to calm his girlfriend.
“Like a friend?! Are you for real, Nick? Do I look desperate for friends?” Addy was still upset.
“No babe, you look stunning, as always.” smiled Nick, ignoring Bianca’s huffs and eyeroll when he kissed his girlfriend. It worked, Addy relaxed in his embrace and returned his kisses.
Adrianna’s mobile phone buzzed with a text message, Nick let go of her, so she could get her phone and check it.
“OMG – it’s dad. He wants us to meet him for lunch. I can’t even … wanna bet SHE will be there? Nick – you have to come! I need you there!”
“Ahem, we’re moving again, remember? I told my parents I’d be right back. Hour max. I can’t, babe. Maybe tonight I can sneak away again for a few hours.”
“NICK – I NEED you there!!! I am just gonna die without you there!”
“Yeah, not to add oil to this fire, but I kinda would like it if you could come, too, Nick. Seriously, from where Adrianna and I stand, this is too weird. So – pretty please, Nicky … pleeease.” Bianca gave him that look now too, with a headshake, Nick couldn’t help but sigh and smile defeated.
“Fine, I’ll go. Most of my personal crap is packed, maybe they can make my sister pack my bathroom up, or mom can do it. Serves them right for making us move again. Then again, as annoying as Aria-Grace can be, witnessing my little sister almost getting kidnapped right outside our school was more than I needed in my life. Del Sol Valley is definitely better equipped to protect celebrity kids than the Greater San Myshuno school system, and A.-G. still has a LOT more years of high school to get through. Plus, moving back to our old villa there is awesome. I loved living there, right next door to my grandpa Blaine. Too bad I will get to enjoy it for not even a whole year anymore before it’s graduation and college and freedom for me. Shit though about Rohan. Wish I could pack my best friend. Leaving him here in San Myshuno sucks ass. Now I am gonna be THAT boy with a long-distance girlfriend and a long-distance best friend. Just splendid, my life. Anyway, rant over, let me run home to get changed, I can hardly go to a fancy dinner in sweatpants, I’ll just let my family know we have some sort of Addy-Daddy emergency, then I’ll pick you ladies up in the lobby in about 30 minutes.”
When Nick arrived at the restaurant with the two Auditore sisters, their father was already seated as the hostess told them, before she accompanied them to a large, private dining room. There, they found the complete adult Auditore clan assembled, Ezio at the head of the table and Meaghan Douglas next to him, on his other side his oldest and only living son Vittorio. Nick of course knew Adrianna’s siblings and spouses. He couldn’t help but grimace when he saw Eric and Lana Cameron. Uh oh. Maybe Addy wasn’t overreacting after all. If they were here, this had to do something with Meaghan. So much for brief fling. Not if he had invited her parents to dine with the whole Auditore assembly.
Once all food had been ordered and all were seated, Ezio clinking a spoon against his glass, which he then raised.
He always toasted at every single dinner Nick had ever joined, so that was nothing unusual. As usual, his speech began with the usual fanfares and verbal hymns about the wonders that were the Auditores, but then the bomb dropped – along with several sets of silverware from hands, which were busied with the food being served into Ezio’s long speech.
“I have asked this beautiful angel to become my wife and I am the luckiest man alive, for she said yes. Children, say hello to the future Mrs. Auditore.”
Aside from a shocked tiny squeak by Adrianna and sharply sucked in air by Bianca you could hear a pin drop in the private room.