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   Chapter 8 Nero's Shield

The Billionaire's Demand By Shafira Sardar Characters: 13354

Updated: 2018-07-14 12:02


Typing away at his laptop Nero hadn't even realized his father had been in the same room as him. Valerio apparently had been talking his ears off, but Nero didn't hear a thing. He was focused, his eyes fixated on the spreadsheets before him. Writing up an angry email to his hotel manager, he looked up when his father angrily slammed his hands on Nero's desk, finally catching his attention.

"Dad, what has gotten into you?" Nero asked calmly, trailing his eyes back to his screen.

"I've been trying to get your attention for about ten minutes or so." Valerio sounded upset, "Could you look at me when I'm talking to you?" His voice was now raising, Nero didn't want his father to start yelling at him so he looked up, raising an eyebrow in question at his angrily looking father.

"Dad, what's going on?"

Valerio sighed and sat down in one of the leather chairs in front of Nero's desk. He leaned back, his shoulders slumped while he threw an accusing look at his son. Nero knew though, that he had done nothing wrong. He had been locked up in his office for about a week or so. He didn't even fix things between Audrey and him. She kept her distance and he did the same. It wasn't like him, but he was figuring out how to get his control back. Hannah broke his defense and he needed time to glue his armor back together. He didn't have time to casually chat away with his father.

"You've been working nonstop."

Nero rolled his chair slightly back, the leather of his desk chair creaking as he leaned back, "I didn't think you'd throw that at me as an insult."

Valerio glared at him, "You should be working on your relationship with Hannah!"

"Hannah and I are doing fine."

Valerio's face told him his father didn't buy it. He wanted to tell his father to back off, but he knew Valerio wouldn't take it well. He was too fond of Hannah, already treating her as his beloved daughter-in-law. He knew his father instantly fell for Hannah's charms when he entered her colorful coffee shop. The fact that Hannah by some weird coincidence had a past with Nero and carried his child was a blessing in his father's eyes.

"You haven't seen Hannah for a week." Valerio pointed out, a frustrated sigh following, "Why isn't your bride to be living with you? Why are you two keeping separate living arrangements? Is this some weird modern living arrangement you two decided on? I'm not okay with that!"

Nero laughed, amused at how upset Valerio was on his behalf, or rather, on Hannah's behalf.

"This is not the time to laugh at your father, Nero!" Nero only laughed louder, trying to catch his breath while Valerio stood up and glared at him, "If you have time to laugh you have time to convince Hannah to come to live with you instead."

"Dad, relax." Nero told him quietly, "Hannah and I are going to live together. I just don't know if the hotel is the right place for her. I was thinking about asking her to start living at the house. I mean you're living alone in such a gigantic house, I'm sure you can use the company."

That shut his father up, Valerio was so surprised he couldn't even stand anymore. He quickly took a seat, his eyes trailing to the family portrait behind Nero. Nero held his breath when he saw the sadness flashing through his father's eyes. He was remembering them, the smile that followed after told Nero that he had made the right call about Hannah. He'd ask her what she'd think of moving to the house instead, but somehow he knew that she wouldn't complain. Hannah wanted to be there for Valerio as well. He wondered if Valerio filled up a hole in Hannah's heart which her biological father left.

"That's a great idea, Nero."

Nero smirked, "I knew you'd like that. I haven't mentioned this to Hannah yet, so don't push her. Hannah is very proud of what she accomplished, she also has her mother to take into consideration."

"I understand, " Valerio told him.

"Dad, I'm serious. Don't bring this up yet."

Valerio grinned, "I won't, I

ast week. I feel really anxious, Nero."

He gave her hands a squeeze in reassurance, "I'll be fine."

Her eyes told him she didn't believe him, but she didn't push the subject either. She quietly sipped her tea while they talked about their week. While he was telling her about what he had been doing he realized he isolated himself from the rest of the world. Tonight had been the first night he went out and actually talked to people casually. Maybe it hadn't been so wrong of Valerio to be worried about him.

"Your father is a great guy." Hannah told him, "He worries so much about you, I know you might feel constricted by that. But he means well."

Nero smiled, "No need to sell me on that, I know he means well. Sometimes he just acts like a drama queen." He leaned forward, his smile widening, "And what's up with him always running to you to gossip about me?"

"We're not gossiping!" Hannah protested.

"Really?"

"Valerio only says nice things about you, he is so proud of you." She released his hands, her eyes trailing away from him, "I never speak ill of you either. My insecurities got the better of me, but it won't happen again." She met his gaze again, a fire burning in her eyes, "I promise. I'm serious about our future as well."

He couldn't look at her when she looked that determined about that. It hurt, the knot in his stomach getting unbearable tight. He didn't want her to make promises to him which she wouldn't be able to keep. He was sure it would only hurt them more. Instead, he changed the subject to something they could no longer avoid.

"I want to have dinner with the parents this weekend. There are a lot of things we need to discuss. We've been held back by the past, but we're moving forward now, right?"

She agreed without hesitation, "Right!"

Her cheerfulness was cute, he liked it. It also made the uncomfortableness he felt when bringing up the subject of his mother and sister fade. She was knowingly avoiding the subject, he was glad she understood he wasn't ready to talk about that.

"I have a few suggestions about our future, but they're just suggestions. We can discuss them until we find a way to live in peace."

"I'm sure we can make it work."

She was being kind to him, while they drank their beverages they had a light conversation. They didn't touch the subject of their past or the future again. That would be left for the weekend when his overdramatic father and her strict mother could join them. It would be eventful, but he figured it would be a nice distraction from the subject which was hovering above their heads, ready to pour down sorrow and leaving destruction behind.

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