Word Count: 549
It was still sitting on the plate when he went down early the next morning. He dumped it in the trash and started the coffee pot.
His day at the office went much the same. After hanging up with his representative in Tokyo, he stared listlessly at the pile of papers waiting for his signature. With a grimace, he shoved them in his bag and slung it over his shoulder.
“I’m going home.” He told Alice as he passed.
She laughed and he flushed.
“Take some time to sleep, too!” she called after him. He jabbed the ‘close door’ button on the elevator and fumed the entire trip out to his house.
A sleek black car waited outside. He stepped out onto the gravel drive and hurried inside. He didn’t think Mancini would let the police in without calling him first, but if they had come to arrest her…
He burst into the living room. “Renee-”
He was brought up short.
His aunt was sitting next to Renne, holding her hand. Smiling.
“Colton, dear!” the woman gushed standing and crossing to him, hands extended. “Why didn’t you call us? Let us know the happy news?”
Renee saved him from his splutters. She stood as well and came and planted a kiss on his cheek. “You know Colton, Selene!”
Selene pinched his cheeks. “Of, course I do, darling. Come sit! Tell me all about it!”
Colton stumbled to the couch, Renee pushing him down and snuggling up next to him.
“What are you doing here?” He choked out finally.
“Ivan and I were in Barcelona.” Selene explained with an airy wave. “We saw the news. I couldn’t rest until we had come to see if you were alright.”
“When did you know?” Selene asked, beaming.
“Know, Aunt Selene?”
“That you were in love?” She exclaimed. “You must have felt something.”
Colton managed a grin. “I don’t know…I just…” He had known he had to protect her, protect her from being accused of treason and murder, of spending the rest of her life paying for the thirty seconds she spent being a hero. “It just happened.”
Renee laughed, a rich, throaty sound. “He’s so shy! He didn’t want to wait, I couldn’t put him off.”
Selene patted his knee, smiling. “So like your father. He swept your mother of her feet the same way, God rest them! But, dear, weren’t you frightened?”
“Of the suicide bomber?” Renee snorted, scornful. “I was so mad I wanted to kill him. Selfish coward, killing innocent women and children.”
“Thank heavens you were not injured.”
Renee touched the bandage on her forehead. “Not badly, just scrapes.”
“Colton, dearest.” Selene said suddenly, turning to him. “What would you say if your uncle and I came to stay for a few days?”
“Oh, do!” Renee said enthusiastically. “Please, Colton. I want to meet your family. Say yes!” Colton stared openmouthed as she begged him, her eyes wide and sparkling.
“Of course,” he heard himself say.
“Its settled,” Selene said, standing. “I’ll go back to the hotel and tell Ivan. We’ll be back for dinner. How’s does that sound?”
“Fantastic.” Renee assured her, going with her to the door. “I can’t wait.” She waved as Selene got back in her car and drove away.