Dante's Girl (Page 25)

Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)(25)
Author: Courtney Cole

@ReeceLEllis:  Lie Much?

I can’t stop crying. Betrayal hurts.

@ReeceLEllis: I’ll never forgive you.

And what’s worse than her status updates are the outpouring of comments in reply.  It looks like everyone we know has rushed out to support Becca, without even talking to me about it.  Am I such a horrible person that it’s so easy for them to believe that I screwed Becca over?

A knife plunges into my heart and twists this way and that.  I feel instantly numb and shocked and horrified.  But I’m also puzzled.  Why is Becca taking this so hard?  Yes, I have a crush on her boyfriend.  Make that had.  But she’s acting like Quinn and I had cheated on her and we didn’t.  I wouldn’t.  Not ever in four million years.

But she won’t pick up the phone.  I try, then I try texting her.  Then I try to call her again.  I leave her four voicemails and four texts.


I sigh.

Mia was right.  I can’t fix it from here. If Becca isn’t going to pick up the phone, then I’m going to have to put this out of my mind until I can march up to her door and make her listen to me. But I can’t do that until I’m back in Kansas.

There’s no place like home, Dorothy.  If only I could click my heels together three times and make it happen.

There’s a knock at my door and then Heaven pokes her head in.

“Can I come in?” she asks politely.

“Of course,” I answer, closing the laptop.  I make a conscious decision to put Becca out of my mind as I turn my attention to Heaven.

She’s so small – heavens, are all Caberrans so tiny?  They make me feel like a giant or an Amazon- and she’s carrying a white box that seems almost as big as she is. And that’s only a slight exaggeration.

“Whatcha got?” I ask curiously, as she lays it on the bed and beams.

“It’s a gift for you from Dante,” she answers with a grin.  “It’s for dinner tonight.  I take it that you’ll be dining with them.”

My heart sort of stutters before it begins beating again.

A special white box to prepare me for dinner? This can’t be good.  It’s instantly apparent to me that dinner tonight will be a big deal thing.  No simple barbeque or cookout or goulash or spaghetti. Of course not.  They literally change flags when the Prime Minister is in.  They aren’t going to serve him meat loaf.

With nervous fingers, I lift off the lid and gasp.

A gown, as in, a ball gown, is folded neatly inside the box inside of elegantly folded tissue.  A white card is lying on top.

I pick it up and read, Reece, I hope this isn’t presumptuous, but dinner tonight will be formal.  I assumed that you didn’t buy anything formal this morning, so I thought this might work.  If it doesn’t fit or if you don’t like it, just let me know and I’ll have it replaced.  D.G.G.

His writing was bold and scrawling and it took me a moment to decipher it.

“D.G.G.?” I looked at Heaven.

“Dante Griffen Giliberti,” she answered.  She looked surprised, as though she thought I should have known that.   Of course I don’t. The subject of his middle name has never come up and I’ve only known him for a matter of days.  Nevermind the fact that it feels like weeks already.

I lift the gown out of the box and gasp again.

Made from deep blue stretchy velveteen, it is floor length and strapless.  The material is so soft and light that I know it will feel like I am wearing nothing at all.  It’s gorgeous and I know that it will look nice with my eyes and skin color.  This whole situation is so Pretty Woman or My Fair Lady.  No man other than my father had ever bought me clothing before.

And the things I’m feeling for Dante are far from daughterly.

“It’s beautiful,” I announce to Heaven, because it’s clear she is waiting for a response.  “But can you tell me… where can I find a strapless bra?”

She points impishly to the box and I find a strapless bra folded neatly in the bottom of the box.  34B. Just my size.  My cheeks flare and I want to die. Just knowing that Dante had even pondered the size of my boobs makes me want to curl up and expire.

“He knows my bra size?” I utter in humiliation.  Seriously?  Oh. My. Gosh.

Heaven grins.  “No.  He asked me to guess your size and then pick up a bra that would fit under the dress.  He was a little helpless about that.  And very uncomfortable, I might add.”

Thank goodness.  I no longer want to die as much, but still.  It’s still a little humiliating.

Next to the bra, there is a pair of silver shoes, size 8.  Strappy three-inch heels.

“I guess I’m all set then,” I tell her.  “That is, if I don’t break my neck trying to walk in those stilts.  At prom last year, Becca and I took flip-flops to change into.  I only wore heels for about an hour. And trust me.  I’m not very good at it.”

I’m slightly anxious, if slightly anxious can be defined as me banging my foot against the bed like a lunatic.  I’ve never had dinner with anyone more important than my sophomore track coach after a track meet.

“You’ll be fine,” Heaven tells me assuredly.  I stare at her.

“Easy for you to say,” I answer.  “You are around these people all of the time.  Do you know who I’m usually around?  Cows.  And trust me, creatures of the bovine variety are not exactly up to the highest social standards.  I may need to brush up on my fancy party etiquette.  Do you happen to have a Miss Manners book in your pocket?”

Heaven giggles, then stands up.  “I’ve gotta go,” she tells me. “I’ll tell Dante that you love the dress.”

“Leave out the part where I’m terrified, okay?  I don’t want to ruin my chic and sophisticated image.”

She rolls her eyes and nods. “Yeah, I don’t want to let that cat out of the bag.”

“What time is dinner?” I ask.

“It’s at 8:00,” she answers.  “And Dante is with his father now.  I don’t know how long they’ll be, but I’m guessing he won’t have time to hang out.”

“How did you know that would be my next question?” I stare at her blankly. “Hmm.  What will I do to kill time this afternoon?  You’ve got to work and Dante is tied up.” I force my mind out of the gutter after uttering those last four words.