I tilt my head to the side, watching her closely. “You fucked my cousin. The night before we were to get married.”
Her lip quivers and tears spring to her eyes, but I don’t for one minute believe they’re genuine.
Liliana is a master manipulator.
“It was only cold feet.”
“Or a cold heart,” I reply calmly.
“I wish you would just forgive me, Dominic. It was a moment of weakness. It meant nothing at all.”
I nod, considering her words. “Yes, Marco told me that you’d been fucking him for about three months. So, was that just a three month long moment of weakness then?”
Her eyes narrow and lips firm. “Did you come here to reconcile or not?”
“Not.” I drag my finger over my lips, considering her. “I came here because my cousin needed me.”
“Then why did you invite me to dinner?” She props her hands on her slender hips and glares at me.
“For a few reasons.” I rest my hip on the banister casually. “One, I’d like to know how much money you’ve talked Marco into giving you over the past six months.”
She starts to speak, but I hold a hand up, stopping her.
“I also wanted you to finally admit that you’d been fucking him since before I proposed to you. And I wanted to simply ask you why.”
“Why what? Why does Marco give me money? Why was I fucking him?”
“All of it.”
She tosses her head back and laughs. Not the sexy, lovely laugh I once knew her to have, but a vindictive, malicious laugh that only makes her look more ugly.
“Oh, come on, Dominic. You’re an adult. We had a good time together. The sex was spectacular, we made each other laugh.”
“The sex was mediocre,” I correct her and smirk. Sex with Alecia was spectacular.
“It was never about you,” she spits out. “As soon as I set foot on this vineyard when I came out here to take care of your mama, God rest her soul, I knew that I wanted it.”
“You wanted the vineyard?” I ask incredulously. “For what? You’re a nurse.”
I rack my brain, thinking back to those months when Liliana came here to care for my mama when she was dying, how compassionate she was.
She’d been my rock during that time, and it was why I’d fallen in love with her.
“I’m a damn good nurse, but do you honestly think that’s what I want to do forever? Watch people die?”
“What do you want?”
“I want money!” She shakes her head at me like I’m stupid. “You always talked of moving to America, starting over, and that wasn’t what I wanted. I love it here. Right here. And I knew Marco would never leave.”
“So, you seduced him.”
“And I still do,” she replies with a smug smile. “And he does pretty much whatever I tell him to.”
“Including steal money from his sister,” I growl.
“Hey, I’ve been asking Gianna to talk you into moving back home for a long time, Dominic. You were the one I wanted, but I wanted you here. And I wanted a claim on this vineyard.”
“Have you forgotten that you’d signed a pre-nup, Lil?” I smirk, when her face pales and she glares at me. “And aside from that, Marco and I are not controlling owners in this vineyard. He and I only each own twenty-five percent. Gianna owns fifty percent. This is her vineyard.”
“Well, then it’s a good thing I’ve kept the mindless twit as a friend all these years, isn’t it?”
“You’re no friend of mine.”
We both turn, shocked to find Gianna standing at the end of the porch, a bottle of wine in her hands, quivering with rage.
“Gianna, bella, you misunderstood me.”
“No, I didn’t.” Gianna shakes her head and sets the wine on the railing. “All this time, I thought you were in love with Dominic.” She turns her sweet eyes to Liliana and sighs. “I felt sorry for you.”
“Well, that’s something we have in common,” Liliana replies coldly.
“You’re going to need to get the fuck off my property now,” Gianna says, surprising us all with her language. Liliana turns to me in a huff.
“Are you going to let her talk to me like that?”
“Absolutely. Get the fuck out.”
“Dom,” she begins, and softens her face into a soft, self-deprecating smile. “When your mama was dying, she told me that she hoped that you’d find a nice woman like me. She wanted us to be together.”
“My mother didn’t know what you are, Liliana. I do. Get off of Gianna’s property before I have you arrested for trespassing.”
Liliana glares at both of us, then stomps inside for her purse and slams out the front door. Gianna and I watch each other quietly as we hear her car start and the tires squeal as she tears out of the driveway.
“Are you okay, bella?” I ask her.
She frowns and nods, but then her face crumbles and she shakes her head no. I cross to her and gather her close, rocking her back and forth as she cries.
“I thought she was my friend.”
“I know. I’m so sorry.”
“I thought she loved you, and I felt sorry for her, and that’s why I always ask you to come home.”
“I knew that too.”
“God, she’s a bitch.”
I chuckle and kiss her head, then lead her to the porch swing and help her dry her cheeks.
“You knew all of it,” she says quietly. “You knew that she was helping Marco steal from me, and all the rest of it.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
I tilt my head and watch her quietly, and finally she sniffs and nods.
“You tried. Right after it all happened, you tried, and I told you that you were imagining things and wouldn’t believe you.”
“She was your friend.”
“You’re my family,” she replies.
I shrug and then nod, just as my phone rings in my pocket.
“Hi, Dominic. I’m placing the food order for the family reunion being held here next weekend, and I wanted to make sure that you don’t have anything to add to it.”
“No, the last email I sent you is it. Check with Blake, though. He might have tweaked the menu a bit.”
“Yes, sir. Oh, and did Alecia catch up with you the other day before you got to the airport?”
I frown, ignoring Gianna’s look of surprise at Alecia’s name.