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Love Redesigned: Chapter 51

Julian

My phone rings, interrupting me in the middle of slicing through a block of wood.

I answer. “Dahlia?”

“So, feel free to say no, but I have this crazy request—”

“Done.”

Her laugh is the sweetest sound.

She composes herself before saying, “You haven’t heard what it is.”

“Do I need to?”

She grumbles something under her breath that I can’t make out.

My brows pinch together. “What?”

“The Creswells are throwing their annual postseason wrap party, and I conveniently ended up on the RSVP list.”

I’m not the slightest bit surprised. With the media rallying behind Dahlia after Oliver’s Vegas drive-thru wedding and the disaster of their last season, the Creswells need some major damage control.

“When is it?” I toss the wood post to the side and start cleaning up my station.

“Tomorrow night.”

“I’ll be there first thing in the morning. Should I bring a tux or a suit?”

Julian.”

“Good call. I’ll pack both, and you can pick between the two.” I wipe my sawdust-sprinkled hands down my shirt.

“You seriously want to go?”

“Do you plan on attending?”

She pauses for a moment. “Yes.”

“Then, yeah, I want to go.”

“Thank you,” she whispers before hanging up.


Last time I was in San Francisco, I could barely afford an economy ticket to get home for the holidays, yet here I am now, parking my private jet on a secluded landing strip.

Sam earned himself a nice Christmas bonus for finding a pilot at the last minute and renting me a red Ferrari worth more than all my cars combined.

I park the car outside Dahlia’s townhouse before killing the engine and stepping out. The Victorian style fits Dahlia to a T, with white wood trim, blue siding, and those bay windows she loves so much.

I climb the steps, step over the faded mi casa es tu casa doormat, and ring the bell.

“Coming!”

The door swings open a few minutes later.

Dahlia rubs the sleep from her eyes. “You’re here.”

“I told you I would be.” I wrap my arm around her waist and crush my mouth against hers, kissing her like I’ve dreamed of doing since she left Lake Wisteria four days ago.

It quickly turns punishing as I take my frustration and worries out on her lips, sucking and biting them until she hisses.

I pull away and rest my forehead against hers. “I missed you.”

“It hasn’t been a week since I last saw you.”

“Four days too long.”

“You’re needy.”

“Tell me about it.”

She yawns. “When you said you were coming in the morning, I assumed you meant later.”

“I thought we could spend the day together.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Whatever you want.”

“Breakfast for sure.”

“Yes, please.” My stomach grumbles on cue.

“Pedicures?”

I make a face. “Sure?”

She clasps her hands together. “Shopping?”

“I expected as much.”

The pure happiness radiating off her makes today’s early wake-up call worth it.

She grabs my hand and pulls me inside before shutting the door behind me. “Give me a few minutes to get dressed. Feel free to snoop around.”

I plan on taking her up on the opportunity, but a sealed box beside the door stops me.

“I’ve been meaning to send his stuff back.”

“You got his address wrong. Hell’s zip code is 666.”

She wraps her arms around my waist. “I feel better already about everything, and you’ve only been here for two minutes.”

“Am I going to find anything else of Oliver’s around here?”

“No. This has always been my place, though he hated the idea of us living separately.”

“Remind me to thank your mother for pushing against you living with someone before marriage.”

“I have a feeling you’ll regret that statement one day.”

“What—”

A phone ringing snags her attention, and she takes off up the stairs, leaving me alone. The warm color palette, hardwood floors, and mix of furniture and textures match Dahlia’s style perfectly, although the cardboard moving boxes in every room seem out of place.

Natural light pours through the windows, highlighting the picture frames hung in a neat row. Each holds a different sketch.

Her mother’s flower shop. The Founder’s house. Her current living room featuring different items from her décor collection.

“Ready?”

I turn to find Dahlia dressed for the chilly weather outside. “Are you moving?” I point to a stack of boxes beside her.

“Yeah.”

My stomach tightens. “Where to?”

“I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but there’s this small town in Michigan called Lake Wisteria—”

“What?” I must have heard her wrong.

“I told you it was small.”

“You’re moving back home?”

“I am.”

“Why?”

“I turned down the deal with Archer Media.”

I blink a few times. “Why?”

“It didn’t feel right.”

“But what about your show?”

She shrugs. “When the right contract comes along, I’ll know it.”

“No second-guessing?”

“Nope. I’ve never felt more certain about anything.”

I clamp my hands around her hips and drag her closer. “You don’t need to move back to Lake Wisteria, though. We could still live here—”

She wraps her arms around the back of my neck and tugs me closer. “I don’t want to live in San Francisco.”

“But—”

“Julian?”

“Yes?”

Te amo también.” She rises on the tips of her toes and seals her mouth over mine.

A shiver rushes down my spine as she deepens the kiss. Our tongues fuse together, teasing each other until we’re both breathless.

She pulls away with a laugh. “What do you say about getting out of here?”

“Where do you want to go first?” I pull my keys from my back pocket.

“Our old stomping grounds.”

“You lead the way.” I motion toward the front door.

We step outside, and she pulls her keys out of her purse to lock up.

I hit the button on the fob, and the Ferrari beeps.

Dahlia’s eyes go wide. “Can I drive it?”

“Go ahead.” I toss the key fob in the air.

She nearly misses it before diving at the last second to grab it. “Seriously?”

I open the driver’s door for her. “Sure. It’s a rental.”

Dahlia adjusts the seat to her height.

“Let’s not get into any accidents today, though.” I hop into the passenger seat and buckle my seat belt.

She tosses on a pair of sunglasses, realigns the rearview mirror, and takes off down the road, making the tires squeal and my heart lurch in the process.


“Is it as good as you remember?” Dahlia asks.

I take another sip of my iced coffee. “Not bad.”

“Not bad? It’s the best!” She grabs my straw and takes a sip. “That’s delicious, and I refuse to accept any other answer.”

“Nostalgia is making you think that.” I wrap my arm around her and tug her against my side as I stare up at the Hoover Tower. “It seemed so much larger when we were freshmen.”

She laughs. “Everything about this campus seemed so big and scary.”

“I was convinced you were going to transfer back to a local college with how homesick you got during the first year.”

“I only survived because of you.”

“We helped each other as freshmen, but you made it through the other three years on your own.”

She lifts a shoulder. “San Francisco warmed up to me eventually.”

“Speaking of San Francisco, where do you want to go next?”

“I remember someone mentioning shopping?”

I tug my wallet from my pocket and pull out my black card. “Buy whatever you want for tonight.”

“I was going to use a dress I already had…” She plucks the card from my fingers. “But if you insist!”

Warmth spreads through my chest like an inferno, consuming me.

Funny how I spent ten years searching for someone to make me feel a fraction of the way Dahlia did, only to end up here, hoping I get to spend the rest of my days with her.


Despite footing the expensive boutique bill, Dahlia doesn’t let me sneak a peek at her dress until it’s time to head out for the event.

Her heels click against the stairs, but I don’t turn until she stops at the landing.

My vision tunnels until I only see her. “Preciosa.”

From her perfectly styled hair and makeup to her silk dress, Dahlia looks like a billion dollars. She does a little spin, and the fabric of her dress flutters around her, changing colors with the light.

“Remember that when you get your credit card statement at the end of the month.”

I grab her hand and give her another twirl, earning the best laugh. “Who’s the designer?”

“Why are you asking?”

“I want to buy one in every color, not complain about the cost.” I hold out my elbow for her to take. “Are you sure you want to go to this?”

“Yeah.” She locks her arm with mine, and we head toward the door.

“Just checking.” I help her into the passenger’s seat of the Ferrari before sliding behind the wheel.

“Will you play some music?”

“Are we feeling like the Stressed and Depressed playlist or the Fuck Love Songs playlist?”

“Definitely the latter.”

I take off toward the Creswells’ mansion with rap music pouring out of the speakers. Their property is in the nicest part of town, where the land costs almost as much as the people’s souls who live there.

The valet team rushes to open our doors and help Dahlia out of the car. When I reach for her arm, she trembles.

“Still sure you want to do this?” I ask again.

A visible change happens as she rolls her shoulders back and holds her chin high. “Yes, I’m sure.”

I steal a kiss before she shoves me away with a laugh and complains about her lipstick. “I’m here for you.”

“Can you promise me one thing?” She holds up her index finger.

“What?”

“When you see Oliver, please don’t punch him.”

“Should I give you the honors?”

“No. One night with you in a jail cell was enough to last me a lifetime.”

I lift her hand to my mouth and kiss it. “I promise not to punch him.”

No matter how much I want to.


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