Danika's mouth was open, gawking at him and she hadn't even realized it. Hernan looked at her and felt a certain disappointment. She was not looking at him that way at the hospital, but now that she knew he was her husband, she was unhappy.
When she finally woke up to life, Danika walked over to Hernan, but he turned his face away.
“I don't want your pity. Just behave and this will soon be over.” His tone was cold and Danika didn't like it at all.
“And who said I pity you?” She asked quietly, just so he could hear. Hernan looked at her in disbelief and she returned his gaze with a raised eyebrow. ‘He is kind of rude! Not like the nice gentleman from the hospital! Such a sly lying bastard!’, she thought.
No, she hadn't spoken as if apologetic, or embarrassed, but rather along the lines of 'I don't care about your sufferings'. Nobody ever dared!
He took a breath, irritated, and started up the mansion's ramp, which had, of course, been adapted to receive him.
Some guests were already there to celebrate the company's anniversary, which coincided with the birthday of the founder, Hernan's grandfather, Lazlo Allaband.
Danika was very nervous, after all, the few times she'd participated in this sort of celebration—and they weren't that magnificent—she was always the waitress, never the guest.
A man similar to Hernan, but older, approached them with a glass in his hand and a smile on his face.
"My son!" He said and leaned down to hug Hernan. “Finally you've arrived. And… Who is this beautiful young woman?” he asked, looking at Danika.
Leida hadn't shared the news with the family, not even his father. She talked to Hernan and he asked her to let him introduce Danika himself to everyone. Although she didn't agree, Leida complied. She didn't live in the mansion as she wasn't married to Brennon and so it was easier to keep things private.
“This, father, is my wife. Danika Allaband.” Hernan said and took Danika's hand, kissing it and looking at her with a tenderness that left her perplexed. “My love, this is my father, Brennon Allaband.”
'This man really is an actor, isn't he?' she thought disapprovingly.
“Your…your wife?” Brennon asked, shocked and confused. "When…? When did you get married, my son? And you didn't tell anyone!"
“I didn't want the media to intrude. Danika is not a woman who likes that sort of thing and I would never subject her to it.”
She swallowed and then looked at Brennon, who was studying her. Danika smiled.
“Yes, Hernan is a gentleman. He always thinks of everything!” She said and leaned down, cupping Hernan's face with one hand and placing a tender kiss on his cheek. "I couldn't help but fall in love with him, could I?"
Hernan didn't expect that attitude from her and definitely feeling the warm kiss from the beautiful redhead's soft lips left him shaken. But he knew how to handle the situation and caressed her face.
“I say the same, my love. Impossible for me not to have fallen in love with you.”
Brennon cleared his throat, indicating he was uncomfortable with the whole lovey dovey thing.
“Let's go in, shall we? Your grandfather is inside.” Brennon said and Danika realized that he was not only surprised but a little annoyed. She just didn't know if it was because he hadn't been informed beforehand or simply because his son got married. Or worse, it was because Hernan married HER.
Danika followed by Hernan's side, they spoke to a few people along the way, but her 'husband' didn't explain anything to anyone, just nodded. Danika did the same.
The place was immense. They had just passed through, they were the gardens, very well kept and lit. Danika wondered what it must be like without all those artificial lights but with natural sunlight.
The entrance door to the Mansion was double, immense. Danika wasn't very good with measurements, but she could tell it was at least ten feet tall. Dark wooden doors with carvings and gold accents. The building appeared to be made of marble.
Inside, a luxury. The red carpet, flanked by golden stripes. The marble columns, the carvings on top of each column, the rugs on the walls… There were vases with flowers, roses and some people were there, talking.
In the very center, at the end of the great hall, a huge staircase that forked in two at the top. The banisters were gilded with a marble tip. And the great candlestick was gigantic.
'Is this crystal?' Danika wondered, amazed. 'It feels like I'm in a palace! Not that I've ever been in one, but...'
A tug on her hand snapped her back to reality. Danika looked down and saw Hernan staring at her with annoyed piercing blue eyes. His black hair, as dark as the night, was very neat. Normally people had dark, brown hair, but black hair, real black, wasn't so easy to see. His wasn't gray. It wasn't reddish. It was just black.
“My grandfather is coming this way!” He said through gritted teeth and then Danika realized she must be looking like an idiot. She nodded slightly and looked ahead, seeing a man of about seventy, very well dressed, with eyes like Hernan's. His hair was already gray, almost every strand already white. His posture was impeccable.
“Hernan!” He said and hugged his grandson. “And… miss?”
“Grandpa, this is my wife. Danika.” Hernan said and the old man raised his eyebrows in surprise, but he smiled warmly, unlike Brennon.
“Pardon me, Mrs Allaband.” He said and held out his hand, asking Danika to put hers there. As soon as she did, he kissed it and looked at the girl. “Welcome to the family.”
“And grandpa, congratulations! I wish you health, happiness and many, many years of life!” Hernan said and Danika could feel he wasn't being less than sincere. It was genuine affection for the older man.
"Thank you, my dear."
“Hernan!” Another man's voice sounded and Danika, who was holding hands with Hernan, felt him tense up.
She followed the birthday man's gaze and saw another man who must have been about Hernan's age, with blue eyes, but differently. He was also very handsome, but not in the same way.
Next to the man, a woman with chestnut hair, striking blue eyes, a spectacular body, clearly visible in the red dress she was wearing, with only one strap over her shoulder. The slit in her skirt made it possible to see her shapely leg with every step she took.
"Xandros and..." Hernan said and looked at the woman. “Catriona.”
"Who is this?" Catriona asked and Danika watched her run her eyes over her body with complete contempt.
'What a bitch!' Danika thought, already feeling that she would hold a grudge with that woman.
“Xandros, Catriona!” Lazlo said, a little uncomfortable, as far as Danika could tell. "This is Hernan's wife, Danika."
Catriona looked even more disgusted, and Danika realized that this woman was most likely interested in Hernan. As much as she and her husband weren't a real couple, it was very daring for the woman who was with his brother to look at Danika like that!
‘Yeah.. I don’t like her one bit!’ Then, she looked at Hernan, who seemed dazzled by the woman and Danik wanted to hit him in the head. Talk about respect!
When Danika looked at Xandros, he was staring at her, with a sideways smile and darker eyes. She felt as if he was undressing her right there. She wasn't the only one to notice the man's eyes. Hernan pressed his lips together, because as much as he had ran his eyes over Catriona’s body, he was her fiancé! But Xandros… he was doing that on purpose, juts to irritate Hernan!
"I'm going to the table wing with my wife." He announced, making a brief movement of his head. “Excuse me Xandros, Catriona and grandpa.” He had to get away from those two before he talked too much, like asking his dear brother if he intended on taking another woman from him.
He tugged on Danika's hand and cursed that he wasn't walking on his own two feet. He could hold her by the waist and show his damn brother that she was his! Not only his brother, but all the other men he could see looking at her.
'If you were walking on your legs, Xandros wouldn't be with Catriona and you wouldn't even know Danika', the voice in his mind reminded him. And it was true. Catriona dumped him because of his condition after the accident.
“Hernan?” Danika called out to him by name and tugged at his hand. He then looked up at her and saw that Danika glanced to the side. They were in the hall and a blonde woman with a rich bitch expression was approaching them.