Gio and Bianca Bonus Scene
Thank you for reading Love by the Slice. Gio and Bianca have such a special place in my heart. It was fun having such a fucked up hero as well as a strong heroine who's willing to fight for what she wants... after her heart heals. The plan is for Love by the Rules to be the last in the series but I've had so many requests for Cash's brothers to have stories that who know?
I put the car in park before it came to a complete stop, jerking both Bailey and me against the seat. She made a choking sound and then laughed.
“Damn, B,” she said and sure as hell didn’t need to elaborate.
“Look, I’m hungry.” That tone wasn’t really meant for her. I inadvertently let my irritation over trying to figure out what had been going on with Gio all day but not having any answers seep into my words. “Let’s eat,” I continued. “Then I’m going to corner Gio to force him to tell me what the hell is going on today.”
Bailey giggled beside me but opened the door at the same time. “Solid plan, Bianca. I’ll eavesdrop from nearby.”
Which, knowing my best friend, she’d definitely be listening in and wouldn’t try to hide it.
When we went into the house through the kitchen I expected to find Mom inside finishing up some last-minute things for dinner. That was how it usually happened. She’d demand that Bailey and I get our asses in gear to help her out.
Yet, the room was empty. There wasn’t anything left to be done.
“Mom,” I called out.
“Dining room,” she called back. “Waiting for you.”
“Waiting for me?” I muttered as we made our way to the table. “We’re early.” My dad and Gramps were on the ends, with Mom next to Dad. Everyone was there. Everyone except Gio. “We’re actually early,” I repeated so they’d hear it this time. “Why’s everyone already sitting?” I glanced around again. “And where’s Gio? He can’t be working. Romano’s is closed.”
“He’s not working,” Mom said.
Then she looked from me down to the table and back to me.
I blinked a bunch, waiting for her to say something, anything, about why my family was acting as if they’d all been taken over by a group of body snatchers.
Until finally I glanced down at the table where she’d repeatedly been looking.
Sitting in the middle of an empty place was a red velvet box, open with a beautiful round pink stone, morganite I think it was called, sitting in the middle of a rose gold band dotted with smaller pink stones. It almost looked like an engagement ring. If anyone in this room was getting engaged.
“What… the fuck?” Bailey said under her breath, bringing my attention over to her right in time to see my mom grab her by the wrist and yank her into the chair next to her. She for sure was as confused as me.
“What’s going on?” I asked no one in particular.
Mom had a little smile on her face but slowly lifted one finger to point behind me. This whole thing was weird and confusing.
I spun around. Gio was behind me, leaning against the wall between the kitchen and dining room, arms crossed over his chest. His gaze heated me all the way from there and he looked at me with such tenderness I almost forgot I wanted to demand answers from him.
My resolve melted away as I wet my bottom lip and tried to get a read on him.
He was intense on his best days but tonight… it was totally different yet I couldn’t put my finger on exactly how.
“What is this?” I asked though, at this point, I knew. We closed the gap between us at the same time so that I stood right before him. “Gio?”
At first, he didn’t say anything which began to worry me. Why would he have done all of this to stand there and say nothing?
Did he change his mind about whatever was happening?
Gio could be skittish when it came to our relationship but I thought we were past all that.
“Gio,” I said with a bit more demand.
He cleared his throat but kept his gaze decidedly on me. “Harbor Point and the people in this room are important to us. We have a lot of good memories.”
I allowed a small smile to appear. “We’ve had some great ones.”
“And some bad ones.”
“I don’t care about those,” I said quickly then reached out to lay my hand on his arm. One day I’d get him to let all of that guilt go. To realize that none of it mattered to me and shouldn’t matter to him.
“I do,” he said quietly. “But I’d also like to spend the rest of my life replacing any of the bad with only the good.”
My mom sniffled from behind me but I didn’t dare look. Not even a glance. I wanted Gio to finish what he had to say because I wanted him to ask the question so that I could answer it.
“You want to do this here?” I asked quietly, covertly pointing behind me to indicate the audience watching us.
“Yes,” he said as a smile twitched at the corners of his lips. “You’re not the only one I want to reassure that I’d never hurt you again. They need to know it as much as you do.”
Now I did glance back at the others, all intently watching us with different emotions on their faces. Mom trying not to cry. Dad with a tight jaw and something soft around his eyes. Gramps, a satisfied smile, and Bailey with narrowed eyes on him. As if she was deciding whether to trust him or not.
Though she’d made that decision months ago.
“I love you, Bianca,” he said. His hands rested on my shoulders before sliding up the sides of my neck so that his thumbs could brush along my jaw the way he knew I loved. “I want to spend our lives together.”
“We do that now,” I whispered.
He shook his head. “It’s not the same thing. I love what we have. I love being with you. But I want to have those things while being married to you.”
“You don’t have anything to prove to me, Gio.” I swallowed hard because the tenderness with which he looked at me would be the thing to bring me to tears.
“I have everything to prove to you. And I will. But say you’ll marry me so that I can prove it to you as your husband.”
“Are you sure?”
He smiled and I think even chuckled a little.
I’d guess he probably didn’t think he’d have to justify his proposal and that wasn’t what I was intending to make him do. I wanted to be sure that he understood I didn’t need this from him. I wanted it but only if he truly wanted it, too.
“I’ve never been surer of anything, Bianca. You changed my life. Gave me a life I never thought possible and you accepted my fucked-up family while doing it.”
His family was my family.
“Marry me, Bianca.”
Setting this up in front of everyone was pretty unlike Gio. Which showed exactly how much he wanted this. I didn’t need him to marry me to spend the rest of my life with him but at the same time, I knew, given his background, exactly what this meant to him.
And how much it meant to me that he wanted this life with me.
“Of course, I’ll marry you, Gio. Of course, I will.”
He reached his arms out and scooped me up into them so quickly that I hadn’t even seen him move. He held me against him tightly as I wrapped my arms around his neck. My feet barely brushed the floor.
Then he kissed me. Kissed me like he’d been waiting his whole life to do it. He’d never kissed me like that in front of my parents and as he took my breath from me, I forgot that they were even there. Neither of us cared that we had an audience.
Finally, he set me back down on the floor, much too soon in my opinion. Without a word, he walked over to the table, grabbed the ring box, and came back.
My chest rose and fell quickly when he plucked the ring out and slid it onto my finger.
In conversation over the last year, I’d mentioned that I didn’t love diamonds because of the way they were mined. Now, thinking back, it dawned on me that this could’ve been why the subject came up. He’d been planning this for a while and wanted to get a feel for my taste in jewelry.
With it in place, Gio leaned down to kiss me again. This time softly and probably more appropriately than before.
We each took a deep breath before turning to face the group together. Our families had done an excellent job of making us feel as if we were alone for a few beautiful moments.
Then they exploded in a round of excited congratulations as they all popped up from the table to hug us. When my dad wrapped his arms around me he whispered in my ear. “I still have those kitchen shears.”
It was a reference to something he’d said when Gio and I first got back together. He’d told me that if Gio ever hurt me again, he’d cut Gio’s balls off. Dad didn’t like seeing me anything less than happy and Gio had destroyed me back then. While it’d taken a while, he’d come to actually like Gio. Trust him even.
“I don’t think they’ll be necessary. But hang onto them anyway,” I said back and patted his shoulder.
Gio had taken a bulldozer to my life once, I couldn’t imagine him doing it again. Back then, it had hurt him more than he could’ve known it would but now…
Nobody’s hurting anyone anymore.
If you loved Gio, make sure to check out Sal and Cash!