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Love Redesigned: Chapter 53

Julian

The only time I leave Dahlia alone is to get us some drinks. Thankfully, she has a few good people in her corner, so I’m able to wait by the bar without worrying over her.

“Did Oliver get the house?” a woman asks beside me.

“He finally pushed the seller into a deal, and we’re supposed to go under contract on Monday,” says the dainty voice that I assume belongs to Olivia.

Oliver’s name has my ears perking up. I’m careful to keep my back to the women as I listen in.

“How much are they selling it for?”

“Eight million.”

“You lucky bitch!” the other woman cries.

Olivia laughs. “I never thought we could find a house for sale in Presidio Heights, but we drove by it one day, and I fell in love with the corner lot on Clay Street. Oliver promised it to me as my wedding gift.”

“Where can I find someone like him?” The other woman gushes as I open the Dwelling app on my phone and log in using my admin credentials. While there aren’t any listings currently available on Clay Street, there are only four corner lots.

“Is it the Edwardian one you mentioned before?” the other woman asks.

“No. That one ended up staying in the family. This one’s got more of a European style to it.”

It only takes me a few clicks to find the only house matching Olivia’s description. I pull up my text thread with Rafa and shoot off a message asking him for a favor.

RAFA

What do you need?

I send him the Dwelling link and a request, to which he responds, Give me twenty minutes.


It doesn’t take me long to find Dahlia and her friends, seeing as they’re the loudest ones here. While I was away, someone dragged one of the outdoor heaters closer to a table, which casts a warm orange glow on the four of them.

“Thank God.” Dahlia grabs the fancy mocktail I ordered and guzzles half of it.

“Thirsty?” I laugh before taking a pull from my beer bottle.

“I’m terribly dehydrated, thank you for asking.” Dahlia taps her glass against mine. “Cheers.” She takes a sip before shutting her eyes with a sigh.

“What are you doing?”

“Tricking my mind into believing this has liquor.”

“If you want—”

“No. They’re not worth screwing up my progress.” She takes another sip of her drink while I drag a chair over and drape my arm across the back of hers.

Her friends continue chatting about the new shows they were hired to help with and how no one will ever compare to Dahlia. I sit back and enjoy their interactions, all of which end with Hannah, Reina, and Arthur arguing over something.

Dahlia’s happiness radiates off her with every grin, laugh, and joke, and I’m honored she invited me here to watch her thrive in front of the family who tried so damn hard to destroy her.

After one of Arthur’s jokes, Dahlia’s head drops back from the intensity of her laugh, earning looks from everyone, including Oliver.

My grip on the back of her chair tightens as I glare back at him.

Our staring contest is interrupted by his pocket lighting up from his phone screen. He reaches inside and pulls it out, only to frown at the screen.

I lean closer to Dahlia and whisper, “How do you feel about us joining forces and pranking other people instead?”

Her eyes widen. “What did you do?”

“I overheard Olivia mentioning how Oliver had a house lined up to buy in Presidio Heights as a wedding gift.” I tilt my chin in his direction.

Dahlia’s head swivels toward him.

“What do you mean someone else bought the house?” Oliver shouts into the phone.

A few people glance over at him with a variety of confused expressions.

“You promised it was mine.” He stomps off in the opposite direction, only to pause midstride. “Ten million dollars?”

Dahlia gasps. “Tell me you didn’t.”

I tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “Out of curiosity, how do you feel about homes architecturally influenced by the Italian Renaissance?”

“Absolutely despise them with every fiber of my being.”

“Perfect. Me too.”

The laugh that pours out of her makes the house worth every penny.

She barely has a chance to catch her breath before she asks, “Did you really buy a random house we both hate because you’re that petty?”

“No. I bought a random house we both hate because I’m that in love.”


At Dahlia’s insistence, we drive the packed moving truck back to Lake Wisteria rather than hire a moving company for the job. She claims there are too many valuables, but I quickly catch on to her plan of wanting to extend our trip for as long as possible.

Three days later, I park the moving truck outside the Muñozes’ house with a yawn. Dahlia and I both climb out, fighting drowsiness as we walk toward the front door.

I grab her hand and pull her against my side. “You could move into my house.”

“Sorry, but my answer hasn’t changed since you last asked me an hour ago.”

“But I plan to decorate it for Christmas.”

Her brows rise. “Really?”

“Yup. I’m hosting the posada this year, which means you’re helping.”

She laughs. “That’s fair after all you did for me during Thanksgiving.”

“Because of everything that needs to be done, it’s probably best that you stay with me. Indefinitely.”

She shakes her head.

“Fine.” I sigh. “I’ll respect your wish not to live together until marriage.”

“Assuming we get married to begin with.”

I tap her nose. “It’s cute that you think you have a choice.”

She lets out a half laugh, half scoff. “God. What will I do with you?”

“I have a few ideas.” I kiss the back of her left hand.

“Dahlia!” Rosa runs out of the house in fuzzy slippers and a head full of Velcro rollers.

Mami.”

Rosa pulls her daughter into a quick, crushing hug before throwing her arms around me and squeezing all the air from my lungs.

Posada: Mexican Christmas festival to commemorate the nativity story.

Guess she forgave you for the jail cell incident.

She pulls away. “You brought our girl back home.”

“She made the choice all on her own. I was only there to drive the truck back.”

Rosa stares up at me with shiny brown eyes that remind me so much of Dahlia’s. “You did a lot more than that.”

Dahlia turns away and swipes at her cheek.

“Are you crying?” I laugh.

She flips me off as she walks into her house. “I hate you.”

Some things never change.


When I helped Callahan Kane remodel his house last summer within a nearly impossible time frame, I knew I’d call in the favor he owed me one day, but I hadn’t planned on using it on Dahlia’s behalf.

My plan could crash and burn, but if it means helping Dahlia get a TV deal that makes her one hundred percent happy, then I will reach out to a man who owes me a big favor.

Callahan Kane is a difficult man to get in touch with. All of my calls go to voicemail, which only makes my anxiety worse with each passing day.

During that time, I focus on my project and getting ready for the holidays. Dahlia helps me decorate my house, and I repay her by fucking her underneath the Christmas tree and watching a few episodes of her favorite telenovela.

Sam keeps his calls to a minimum, which gives me faith in Ryder’s abilities to help me run Lopez Luxury. I know he won’t let me down, and everyone’s feedback about him supports that, so I’m feeling more confident about stepping back and starting a few private projects of my own with Dahlia.

I retry Callahan Kane’s number for a second time today, and he picks up after the third ring.

Miracles do come true.

“Julian Lopez. To what do I owe this rare phone call?”

I clear my throat. “Remember that favor you owe me?”

“Straight to the point. I like it. Reminds me of my brother—”

I stop him before he starts rambling. “Do. You. Remember?”

“Why don’t you refresh my memory?”

I tap my fingers against my workbench. “I fixed your house in exchange for a favor of my choosing.”

“Ah, right. Do you want me to connect you with Declan or Rowan?”

“I want to speak with whoever runs the DreamStream part of the Kane Company.”

“You’d like to meet with the television streaming division? What for?”

I stay quiet.

“Why would a developer like you—” He cuts himself off and makes a confirmatory noise. “Oh. I think I know why.”

“Can you help me or not?”

“Sure, but you have to answer three questions of mine first.”

“What?” I ask.

“Does this request to meet with our streaming department have something to do with Dahlia?”

“Yes.”

“Are you in love with her?”

“What does that have to—”

“Answer the question so I understand the severity of the situation.”

Este pendejo. “Yes, I’m in love with her.”

“Great. That means you’ll do anything to help her.”

“What’s your final question?”

“Are you available tonight?”

“Tonight?”

“Is that a problem?”

“No.” Although I’ll have to think up a good reason for canceling dinner plans with Dahlia.

“Great. Meet me at the private airport at seven.”

I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but I know Dahlia is worth all the trouble, including putting up with Callahan Kane and his annoyingly sunny disposition.


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