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   Chapter 3 Hannah's Confidence

The Billionaire's Demand By Shafira Sardar Characters: 14063

Updated: 2018-07-14 12:01


Grabbing the empty tray which had been filled with a delicious smelling Lemon tart, Hannah pushed the door open to the kitchen and entered it. Hannah placed the tray down on the sterile looking counter and watched as Maria grabbed another tray out of the oven with a cute little oven mitt. Maria baked a few blueberry muffins, they were popular in the morning while people came in for a coffee to go. It sold out immediately so Maria often baked them.

"Want one?" Maria asked her with a small smile, "They're even more delicious when you eat them heated."

"I do want one." Hannah admitted, "But I want a cup of mint tea with it."

Maria laughed, "I'll make us both some mint tea."

Hannah watched as Maria strolled out of the kitchen with a tray in hand, "Thank you, Maria!"

Hannah took a moment to catch her breath. She had been in cleaning mode all morning, wiping the tables and vacuuming the store even though they cleaned up yesterday after closing time. The sluggish feeling was slowing her down now. Maria had seen it, offering her a little break. She knew the store wouldn't survive without Maria. She was grateful to that woman.

"How can I help you?" Maria's voice traveled into the kitchen, the woman sounded different than usual. Bubbly and cheerful, almost girlish. The voice she always made fun of when Hannah used it to be overly sweet to her customers.

"I'd like an Espresso."

Hannah bumped into the counter, covering her mouth to keep the noise down. That voice, that deep voice, rich and cultured. It made her heart race and her body react to it even though her brain sternly told her body to cool it. The noise of her hitting the counter and moving a tray probably traveled to the store because she heard Maria giggle and apologize.

"The owner." Maria let him know, "She must have run into something."

"Maybe you should check on her, that sounded painful."

Maria giggled once more. The giggling started to annoy Hannah, her usual levelheaded Maria was turning into a giggling teenager because of him. It wasn't that she couldn't comprehend why he was a charming guy with looks which equaled that of a supermodel. The irrational part of her, though, felt betrayed.

"Morning, Maria, is Hannah in the kitchen?"

Hannah buried her face in her hands, cursing the fact that her mother showed up without notice. She had never done that before. Her mother was a woman following the rules. Social rules, society's rules, the company rules, it didn't matter. Her mother followed them all without straying.

"Hannah?" She heard him repeat.

From all the women he dated it was her name he remembered, she knew she should feel flattered. But she cursed him for it. He wasn't supposed to remember her. She was supposed to be a face which blurred in the sea of women who surrounded him.

"My daughter." Her mother explained to him, "Oh my, you look familiar to me."

"Really?" He sounded amused, "Might be because my father is a regular."

"The handsome gentleman." Her mother sounded flirty which made Hannah want to teleport herself into space and never look back. Oxygen be damned.

"I'd refer to him differently."

"Handsome and funny, that's cute." The change in her mother's voice made her run to the back door, she wasn't going to let that happen.

"Where are you running off to? Lillian Holmes is here to see her daughter, I can see why you'd want to escape, but that's unlike you." She turned to look at Maria who looked confused, a hand on her hip, "You planning to experiment with some baking? I mean, I don't mind. Especially since there is a handsome guy out there."

Hannah shook her head at Maria, "I need to get out of here, fast."

Maria made sure the door behind her was closed and closed the distance between them, "What's going on?"

"The sperm donor, " Hannah whispered to Maria.

"That guy?" Maria asked surprised, "You sure know how to pick 'em."

"Maria!" Hannah hissed.

"Fine, you can wait outside. I'll tell your mom you're doing some quick shopping for some sweets I'm baking later. She'll buy it considering I'm always baking."

"Thanks!"

Hannah slipped through the back door, letting Maria handle the situation. It wasn't ideal, she rather takes care of her own problems, but she wasn't ready to face him. Not when she was nearly five months pregnant with the baby he knew nothing about. She was waiting for eight minutes outside, wrapping her arms around herself to get a little warmer. She didn't think he'd take his time, he always had been busy, always on the move. He was taking his sweet time today though. It pissed her off more.

"You rather stay out here in the cold than face me?"

She swallowed hearing that voice. He found her hiding spot, he wasn't supposed to. But then again he always had been an intelligent man, picking up on the little things. Inhaling deeply she slowly turned around and faced him.

"Nero." She greeted.

"Hannah." His eyes traveled to her round stomach, "That's a surprise."

He didn't sound surprised and when she scanned his face he didn't look surprised either. She did, however, see the pure rage in his eyes, hidden by his usual charming smile. She tried to cover up her round stomach by lowering her arms, it didn't hide anything though. But it gave her a bit of comfort.

"I suppose it surprised us all."

"Hannah-"

She raised a hand, not wanting him to come any closer, "Please, don't."

His eyes darkened, "We need to talk about it, don't you think?"

She didn't want to talk about it. She already convinced herself she could do everything on her own, she didn't need Nero D'Amore to help her. He helped her enough already.

"I-I need to get back to work."

Nero didn't listen to her and stepped closer to her. They were standing in a narrow street, his presence overwhelming her. He always looked intimidating because of the coldness in his eyes and his impressive height. He knew how to use them without using force or raising his voice. It was something which had intrigued her. Now, however, it scared her. She was on the receiving end of his coldness and there was no escape.

"Maria has it covered."

"You don't know that." She narrowed her eyes at him, "I can't let my employee deal with the morning rush on her own." She gulped down the fear she felt and stepped closer to him as well, their feet nearly touching as she tilted her head back to look him in the eyes again, "So right now I don't have the time for you."

She was about to turn around and head back inside when he grabbed onto her wrist, keeping her in place, "Then you make time for me." He told her, "This is something which can't be ignoring."

She pulled her wrist away from him, "Why are you assuming this has anything to do with you? Don't be so arrogant and think the world always revolves around you."

"Then you saw someone else right after me?" He asked her, the tone of his voice mocking her.

She remained silent.

"That's what I thought. Since you can't miss wo

rk now we'll meet up after the coffee shop closes. We're going to talk about this, Hannah."

She knew once Nero made up his mind nothing could change it. He was a stubborn man, always had been she assumed. When they were together for a few months it was something about him which she found hilarious. She'd purposely argue with him to see him get so intense about something like what kind of pizza topping was better. She still preferred pineapple with tuna which he probably still found an insane choice. He preferred the classic cheese pizza. They were so different, his pizza preference should have been the first sign to alert her about them not being a match at all.

"Hannah?" He asked, placing his hand on her shoulder to get her attention, "Where are you right now?" He leaned in, his eyes scanning her face, "You feeling okay? Let's get you back inside, I think you need to sit down."

She held onto his biceps, staring straight into his hazel eyes, "Y-Yeah, I need to sit down."

"Let's get back inside."

Hannah turned away from him and unlocked the back door. She stepped inside first, hearing Nero's footsteps behind her. Maria was still in the front of the store. She could hear her mom chatting away with her, Maria probably couldn't escape. The poor girl.

"I'd like to stay here." She told him.

His eyes traveled to the door which led to the front of the store, "You don't want your mom to find out." He concluded, "She'll find out about me eventually. I'm not going to stay in the background." He warned her.

She was well aware her mother would find out about Nero eventually. He wouldn't stay quiet, he'd be up in her space. But today wasn't the day she'd tell her mother Nero was the sperm donor. She'd freak and try and match them up. She was also aware that Nero would probably agree with everything her mother had to say. She needed to talk to him alone, away from Lillian and her meddling ways.

"I'll meet up with you at the hotel. Does eight sound good to you?"

He sighed tiredly, "Fine, I'll go with it for now. Eight is fine, come to my penthouse instead. I'm not having this conversation in public."

She knew she already demanded too much of him, his voice told her that much. She wasn't going to be difficult now. Them arguing about it would alert Lillian and Maria. She didn't want an audience either.

"I'll be there at eight." She promised him.

"Then I'll leave through the back door." He told her, not sounding too happy about that.

She watched him walk away, letting out a relieved sigh once he left. Her most valued customer, Valerio, was his dad. He told her she looked familiar to him, but she hadn't officially met him when she dated Nero. Once she had seen a portrait of his family in his office, but it was only briefly. So when Valerio strolled into her coffee shop she didn't link it together. Now she wished she had given it more thought. Valerio had left hints along the way. When he talked about his wife and daughter passing. His son being a workaholic, but always taking the time for him. His son is a handsome guy who'd be good to her. They had the same hazel eyes, but not once did she think they were related. She had no time to call herself a bloody idiot and kick her own butt because her mother was waiting. Taking a deep breath, Hannah forced a smile on her face and pushed through the door, meeting her mother's curious gaze.

"Hello, Hannah."

"Morning, mom. Here for your morning coffee?"

Her mother had a look in her eye which Hannah hadn't seen before. Her eyes were soft and warm while her cheeks looked rosy. Hannah had a feeling where this was going, but she wanted her mother to confirm those suspicions.

"I figured I'd stop by to see that handsome gentleman again." Her mother giggled, the same way Maria had a moment ago. She could now conclude that it was the giggle of a woman who was infatuated with a handsome guy, "He was so kind."

"Valerio didn't stop by today." She told her mother, not mentioning that his son did stop by, "Maybe he'll stop by tomorrow."

"Maybe." Her mother looked disappointed by that, "I dolled up though. How about we have lunch out together? I'll wait for you, maybe help Maria in the kitchen?"

Hannah turned to look at Maria to make sure the woman was okay with it. The kitchen was her domain and she wouldn't interfere with it.

"Sounds like a great plan, Lillian." Maria told her mother, "I could use some help. I'm making a classic cheesecake and an apple pie for our lunch specials."

Maria guided Lillian to the kitchen, giving Hannah some space. It gave Hannah time to prepare for her meeting with Nero. He knew the baby was his, she denied it with her silence when he suggested she jumped right into another guy's bed. She wasn't like that and they both knew it. What scared her was just how much Nero wanted to be in her baby's life.

***

Hannah made her way through the luxurious looking lobby, flashing a smile to the receptionist behind the counter. Heading straight for the elevator bank she pushed the button and patiently waited with a few other people for the car to arrive.

There was an older couple standing behind her, chatting away about the amazing dinner they had. Their talk about food and what cuisine they liked best made the nerves Hannah felt fade just a tad. The way they argued about their favorite food reminded her of the playful arguments she had with Nero about their favorite food. It was a happier time when they pretended they would be together forever.

As the elevator arrived she stepped aside to let people stroll out while she gestured to the couple to head in first.

"No, honey, you go in first." The woman told her with a smile.

Hannah knew it was because she was pregnant. Ever since she started showing, people around her showed her a different kind of kindness. It was odd how much a pregnancy affected so many people around her.

"Thank you."

She stepped inside and kept her eyes on the digital display, making sure she wouldn't miss the floor he stayed at. Top floor, penthouse, not to miss. But she wanted to be extra careful. Holding tightly onto her bag Hannah shifted nervously from foot to foot. She hadn't set foot in his penthouse since the day she ran away from him. The memories which came flooding back when Valerio mentioned the D'Amore hotel were so vivid now she could see flashes of her together with Nero all over this hotel. Them snuggling up in the elevator and joking around, Nero being playful and teasing her. Them walking hand in hand through the hallway, heading to the main office. She needed those images to stop. She couldn't have them slowing her down when dealing with an intimidating Nero. He'd walk all over her with his nice Italian shoes. Inhaling and exhaling she promised herself she'd face him without showing any sign of weaknesses, she'd stand her ground. By the time the elevator reached the penthouse, she was ready to talk about her future together with Nero D'Amore.

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