Broken Queen

Page 20

Brady looks at me. He doesn’t trust me. I get it. I wouldn’t trust me either. “That’s premature, don’t you—”
“You what?” Lucien starts, turning back to us, the look in his eyes that of pure hate as they move over me and settle on his sister.
I smile and stand, buttoning my jacket as I pull Vittoria’s chair out. “My attorney has all the paperwork. I’m sure it’s in order. If you’ll excuse us, it’s been a long day. My wife and I are tired. Vittoria.”
Vittoria tucks the letter into her bag, looks up at me, then back at her brother. She stands. “I’d like a private moment with my brother,” she says.
The lawyers nod and start to pack up, Brady saying something about coffee.
Setting a hand on her shoulder, I squeeze, then lean down so my mouth is at her ear. “What are you doing?”
She looks up at me. “You and Bastian have your agenda, and I’ve given you everything you asked for. This is mine,” she says and stands, her eyes over my shoulder on her brother.
I set my hand on her waist as everyone begins to file out. “I don’t want you alone with him.”
She drags her gaze to me, and I have her full attention. “He won’t hurt me. He’s too much a coward to touch me,” she says so only I hear.
She brushes something off my shoulder. “Besides, you and Bastian are right outside the glass wall. You can see everything.”
“Mr. Caballero?” Brady says from the door.
I glance at him, then at my wife. “I don’t like this.”
“You don’t have to.”
The door clicks closed. Lucien’s eyes move to it, but mine remain locked on him. In my hand, I clutch my bag containing the letter my father wrote me and wait for him to look at me.
“Which one are you fucking?”
He’s clearly not expecting honesty but recovers himself quickly and snorts. “Guess it stuck.”
I am momentarily confused but get to the point. “Did you do what they said?”
His eyes are shifty. “What did they say, dear sister?”
I look up at him, at my half brother whom I don’t know. I certainly don’t like or trust him. But could he have done what they’ve accused him of? Is he that much of a monster?
“Their sister,” I say more quietly, not sure I want to know the answer.
His eyebrows rise. “What did they say I did to her?”
“She was fourteen. You were an adult. They said you raped her.”
He shakes his head and looks away momentarily. “She was young, I get that now, but I didn’t rape her. We were in love.”
I’m shocked at his answer. Struck silent for a long moment. “She was fourteen,” I finally say. “You were what? Nineteen? Twenty?” Does he really believe they were in love?
He pushes a hand through his hair, his face growing red.
“Do you really believe that you were in love?” I ask.