Brutal Prince: Chapter 30

CALLUM

The very next day, I take Aida house hunting all around the Gold Coast, and Old Town as well, in case she prefers to be in her old neighborhood. We look at townhouses, penthouses, walk-ups, fancy apartments in posh buildings, and trendy converted lofts. Anything and everything I think she might like.

In the end we pick something in the middle: an old church that’s been converted into flats. Our apartment is on the top floor, so it includes an entire rose window inside of a pointed arch, making up almost the entirety of the living room wall.

Aida loves it so much that we put down a deposit on the spot.

After that, we fix the other thing missing in our marriage—I take Aida to pick out a proper ring. One she chooses herself, to fit her own tastes and preferences. I’m expecting her to go with a simple band, but she surprises me by choosing a small, emerald-cut center stone with filigreed baguettes. It has clean lines, and a hint of the old world about it. It suits her perfectly.

When I slip it on her finger, I repeat the vows that I spoke so carelessly the first time around.

Now I savor every word, speaking from the heart.

“I, Callum, take you, Aida, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad. In sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I promise you that, Aida. I will always be there for you. I’ll never let you down.”

“I know that,” she says, looking up at me. “I know exactly what you’d do for me.”

To celebrate the beginning of our new life together, I take her for lunch at Blackbird.

When we sit down, Aida sets her purse on the table between us, smiling gleefully.

“I actually have something for you, too,” she says.

“What is it?” I ask her, without having the tiniest guess in my mind. I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten a gift I was actually excited about. I’m used to putting on a fake smile for presents of cuff links or cologne.

“I almost feet stupid giving it to you,” Aida says, passing me a small, flat box. “Since it’s already yours.”

I lift the box, which is surprisingly heavy. When I open the lid, I see a gold pocket watch. It looks exactly like my grandfather’s watch, but I know it can’t be. She must have had a replica made somehow.

“How did you do it?” I ask her, in amazement. “It looks exactly like it. Even a bit worn . . .”

“More worn than it was, probably,” Aida says, guilty. “It’s been at the bottom of the lake for weeks.”

“What?” I say in disbelief. “This isn’t the same watch.”

“It absolutely is,” Aida says triumphantly.

“How?”

“Have you ever seen Cameron Bell?”

“No. Who’s that?”

“He makes these YouTube videos about finding sunken treasure. He’s a scuba diver. Anyway, I saw this video where he found a lady’s earring that she’d dropped in a river. And I thought, if he can do that . . .”

“So you called him?”

“That’s right,” Aida says triumphantly. “I mean, I paid him, obviously. And he gets to use it for his channel. Took him three whole days, and two different metal detectors, but he found it!”

I turn the watch over in my hands, unable to believe it even while I’m holding it.

I look up at Aida’s hopeful, guilty face.

Only Aida would believe she could get the watch back. I never even considered if it might be possible. You might as well drain the whole damn lake before you could get her to give up.

I love this woman. The day she set my house on fire was the luckiest day of my life. It truly is the luck of the Irish: perverse. Inexplicable. And utterly fantastic.

“Do you forgive me for losing it in the first place?” she asks me, slipping her slim little hand into mine.

“I shouldn’t tell you how much you could get away with, Aida,” I say, shaking my head. “But you already know that I’d forgive anything you do.”

“Anything?” she says, grinning mischievously.

“Yes,” I say. “But please don’t test that theory.”

Aida leans across the table to kiss me. She pulls back just a little so her nose is touching mine.

“I love you,” she says. “Did I tell you that yet?”

“No,” I grin. “Tell me again.”

The End

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