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   Chapter 5 Hannah's Decision

The Billionaire's Demand By Shafira Sardar Characters: 14751

Updated: 2018-07-14 12:02

Hannah knew having a week to herself without Nero or his charming father Valerio showing up was because Nero gave her that. He gave her time to let his words sink in and make a decision. Yet there wasn't a whole lot to think about. Either she gave in and married the cheater or she'd refuse and he'd find ways to make her life a living hell. She was well aware that he was capable of that. It was the harsh truth that money opened doors. She wasn't doing poorly, but she wasn't close to what Nero had achieved. So she knew which option she had to take, she was just pouting about it. Resentment simmering in her blood.

"What did that muffin do to you?"

Maria's voice scared her. She had been so far gone she didn't even realize she was taking apart her blueberry muffin with a fork. Putting the fork down she let out a tired sigh and leaned back against her seat. She pushed the plate away from her and reached for her Chai tea, taking a huge gulp to let the warmth of the hot beverage comfort her. Maria raised an eyebrow at her, confused by her recent behavior. She had asked Hannah about her behavior a couple of times now, but Hannah always brushed it off. Smiling and pretending it was the pregnancy.

"Sorry, I was just thinking." She placed the empty tall glass on the table and wiped her mouth with a napkin.

"Thinking of ways to destroy a perfectly baked muffin? I put a lot of effort into that, you know."

"I'm sorry."

Maria leaned forward, narrowing her eyes at Hannah, "You've been acting strange all week. From what I can tell is that you don't want to talk about. But I just want you to know that I'm here. You don't have to deal with whatever is bothering you by yourself."

"Wish that was true." She whispered and then got up, "I'll clean this up. Can you look after the store? I'll be in the kitchen."

Maria glanced around, "There is only that couple in the back." She made a face of disgust and glanced back at Hannah, "Looking like they'll do each other right here. What's with people and not being able to control themselves in public?" She asked in a hushed tone.

Hannah snorted, "Love. They live in an illusion, thinking that they only need each other. But there is no trust, people betray each other because the heart is a fickle thing. One minute it beats for a blonde girl next door, the next it beats for the confident brunette who is clearly a better match for him."

Maria frowned, quickly glancing over her shoulder, "What brunette?" She then looked at Hannah again and pointed to herself, "Me?"

Hannah collected her plate and cup and walked past the confused looking Maria, "I was just rambling on. I'll be right back."

She pushed through the heavy door and entered the sweet-smelling kitchen. Washing her dishes she took a minute to collect her thoughts, they were all over the place. She had spilled her thoughts to Maria without thinking. The brunette didn't link everything together because she didn't have all the pieces. She was grateful she never talked about her past with Nero. She knew Maria was curious about him, same with her mother. She wasn't going to explain herself to her mother though. She knew exactly what Lillian was going to say. It was words she never wanted to hear out loud.

Forcing a smile on her face, Hannah pretended to be fine. She could pretend, she had done it before. She'd use her overly sweet voice while serving her customers. It was nearly time for their afternoon rush, it would keep her mind off things, or more specifically, Nero.


Feeling a lot better after talking to customers, serving up some healthy teas, Hannah felt like she was floating. It could be because she shoved everything up in a little box again, keeping all her thoughts and emotions locked up, but unlike that morning she felt great. Smiling, she wiped the counter and put away the clean glasses, humming along with the gentle sound of the piano playing in the background.

"Someone looks like they're having fun."

Her heart raced to hear that voice. Slowly looking up she met the gentle smile of Valerio.

"Sorry, didn't mean to scare you, Hannah."

People around her told her that a lot, she really was living in her head these couple of days. She blamed him for it, she blamed everything on him.

"It's okay." She told Valerio, "Here for your regular? It's been a while since you visited the shop."

Valerio's eyes observed her, taking her in. His son told him about their situation, it was clear in those hazel eyes. The way his eyes softened and his smile brightened confused her though. He looked utterly happy with the situation. It was her worst nightmare, but it seemed like it was a dream coming true for Valerio.

"Nero thought it was better if I stayed away for a while." He explained to her, "My son is always very strict, but this time I figured he was right to be so uptight. How are you feeling?"

"I'm okay." She told him, lying through her teeth.

"You know, I liked you from the start. I kept telling Nero about you, the girl with the beautiful smile and a beautiful heart. My son kept teasing me about it. Never would I have thought it would end up like this."

She was serving up his cappuccino, listening to his words which were like stabs to the heart. She knew Valerio liked talking to her, he kept coming to the coffee shop for weeks, telling her stories about his trips and favorite food. His family. She still blamed herself for not putting it together faster. He had left so many hints, yet it just never clicked.

"Nero mentioned you two are working things out."

"We are." She told him, placing the colorful cup in front of Valerio.

Valerio narrowed his eyes on her, "I know this is rather rude of me, but I just want you to know that whatever you decide, whatever you two decide to do about this situation, you and that baby would be in good hands. Our family got ripped apart by a tragic accident, this is like fate has given us a second chance. Nero wouldn't mess that up."

Her heart ached. She knew it must have been painful for both Nero and Valerio, losing their precious family members so early in life. They didn't have enough time. The fact that Nero didn't have any loyalty toward her didn't mean he wouldn't be loyal to their child. She knew his own flesh and blood was a different story. He probably wouldn't betray them, ever.

"We'll work things out." She promised Valerio with a smile, "Do you want a brownie with that? It's some healthy new recipe Maria came up with."

Do you recommend it?"

Hannah pressed her lips together, shaking her head and glancing over her shoulder to make sure Maria wasn't in hearing range. She then leaned closer to Valerio and whispered, "It might be a healthier option, taste-wise, it still lacks quite a bit."

"Then, I rather not." Valerio grinned, "But thanks for the offer." He reached for his cup and held it up, "Thank you, Hannah." Something in his eyes changed as he clutched the cup a bit tighter in his hand, his knuckles turning white, "Nero is restless these days. I hope you two can figure things out soon."

"We will."

She doubted Nero would give her more time if he was restless. He was probably forcing himself to stay away from her, going against his instinct to march up to her and demand she make up her damn mind already.

"I'm having dinner with N

ero at the hotel at eight, tonight. If you're up to it, please join us."

"I don't know if-"

"Nero didn't put me up to this, I just want to spend a little more time with the mother of my grandchild. I rather enjoyed our little chats, Hannah. I don't want anything to change."

She nodded, "Thank you for the offer."

"Then maybe I'll see you tonight." He sounded hopeful, which only hurt more.

He turned on his heels and left the shop. Valerio was a nice man, she couldn't despise him even though he fathered Nero, the man who made her life rather difficult. The way he talked about his son told her he was rather fond of him. She knew from experience that Nero could be kind and gentle. Fun to hang around with. He had given her the summer of her life until that one moment she had seen him together with that brunette. Then it all went to hell. The perfect dream shattered, causing her to become distrustful and guarded.


She stared at the building where she made a lot of memories, some great ones, some not so great ones. When she first entered it she had lunch with her friends, thinking it was going to be a girls' day out, shopping and messing around. Not giving a care in the world. Then she ran into him, literally, dropping her phone and purse on the floor which made him feel awkward and guilty. He helped her collect her things and when he actually looked her in the eyes, something changed. He chased her and she loved it. She fell in love with him in a matter of a few weeks. She should have known better. Falling that hard and fast was never a good sign. Then it all slipped through her fingers when that girl showed up, looking all fabulous. Someone who looked like she had seen the world, experienced great things and knew exactly how to please a man like Nero. Things went downhill from there. This building knew all her secrets and now it terrified her to enter it.

She blinked when an older man bumped into her, quickly apologizing, "Sorry, Miss."

"It's okay." She told him, knowing it was her fault because she more or less stood right in front of the building.

Taking a deep breath, she moved forward. She came this far. It would be a waste of time and energy if she turned around now and cowered away in the safety of her own apartment. Smiling to the receptionist at the front desk, as always, Hannah made her way to the restaurant, easily spotting Nero and his charming father, Valerio. It was Valerio who noticed her first, smiling widely and getting to his feet like a real gentleman as she approached their table.

"I'm so glad you could make it, Hannah."

She smiled, "Me too." She answered him quietly.

"Come, sit down." He gestured to her, obviously surprised, but content at the same time.

She shrugged her jacket off, placed it on the back of her chair and took a seat beside Nero. She felt his eyes on her, but she didn't have the courage to meet his gaze yet. Instead, she took Valerio's offer of ordering her something to drink.

"An orange juice, please."


Valerio gestured to the waitress to come over. He asked her about the orange juice and then turned his attention back to Hannah.

"We haven't ordered yet." He told her, handing her a menu, "The food is pretty good here."

"I know." She took the menu and opened it, scanning briefly through it.

Nero trailed his eyes to his father, "Hannah and I had dinner here many times."

"Really?" Valerio asked confused.

"We usually ordered room service." Hannah reminded Nero, "It might have slipped your mind."

She wanted to add, it's probably some other woman you've entertained while having great food at your restaurant, but she kept those words to herself.

"It might have." Nero agreed, no emotion whatsoever in his deep voice.

They ordered dinner and mostly throughout dinner, Valerio talked, entertaining them both. She laughed when was necessary and responded when needed to. She never once met Nero's gaze. It seemed that he was avoiding looking at her as well. They could have been two strangers who met for the first time. Valerio noticed it too. When they finished dessert Valerio muttered something about needing to go home because he felt tired. He didn't give Hannah time to respond, leaving quickly and giving them the privacy they needed. Once Valerio was out of sight Nero ordered himself a bourbon.

"You want anything to drink?" He asked her.

She shifted her gaze to the curious looking waitress, "A hot chocolate, please."

"You want some whipped cream with that, Miss?"

She grinned, "Yes."

Once the waitress was out of sight, Nero shifted in his chair, his eyes finally landing on her. She held her breath when their eyes met. The same feeling of fear mixed with curiosity washed over her as when she first laid eyes upon him.

"My father likes you."

"I like him too." She responded without hesitation, "He is a nice guy."

"That he is." Nero agreed, "I'll do anything to make sure he is happy."

His voice didn't give her room for doubt, he was referring to her. He saw her as a threat, someone who could potentially hurt his father's feelings. She didn't plan on hurting anyone though. She wanted to keep the peace, just like Nero suggested.

"I've made my decision." She told him in a small voice, hating how she lost most of her confidence whenever she faced him.

"I figured you did." He trailed off, watching as the waitress placed his tumbler before him and served her the steaming cup of hot chocolate with a generous amount of whipped cream.

"I want to keep the peace."

He reached for his glass and took a leisurely sip, giving her time to freak out about the words which spilled from her mouth without her thinking twice about it.

"You know what that means, right?"

"I do."

His hazel eyes narrowed at her, "Then I'll set everything in motion."

They didn't have any small talk, they merely drank their beverage of choice, seeking comfort in it. When they finished it Nero dropped her off at her apartment. Walking her up to her door and watching her unlock it. His intense gaze, making her so nervous her hands trembled. She tried to hide it from him though. She had shown him too much of her weakness already. She wanted to keep some of her dignity.

"Thank you for dropping me off."

"You're welcome."

She glanced down, staring at her feet encased in platform heels, "I-I need to get some sleep. I have an early morning."

"Get some rest then." He suggested, "I'd like to meet up at the end of the week to discuss our arrangement. Free some time for me."

She nodded, "Okay."

He stared at her, but she didn't look up once. She just needed him to leave her alone so she could catch her breath and collect her thoughts. He must have sensed it because he stepped back, giving her some room.

"Night, Hannah."


She turned around and entered her apartment, closing the door behind her. She leaned against it and let out a tired sigh. It had been strained, being alone with him. It wasn't like that when they dated, they always enjoyed each other's presence. Now it felt like they both needed to force it. It wasn't a perfect situation at all, but she'd keep her word to him. She'd go along with her decision to make sure they kept the peace between them and the people around them wouldn't end up getting hurt.

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