Italian Billionaire's Unwanted Quadruplets(4)

By: Sophia Lynn


Then still trembling with adrenaline, she climbed out of the pool and rolled over on her back at its edge, breathing slowly as the people nearby fussed over the child. She glanced up as the man sprawled next to her. She was somehow unsurprised when she realized he was smiling at her.

"I guess I know what kind of mermaid you are now," he said.

"A foolish one,” she replied, and he laughed.

"Tell me, foolish mermaid. What's your name?"

She hesitated, because for one mad and mysterious moment, she wanted to give him her real name. The older girls had always told her to never give out her real name, and this was the first time she had ever been tempted to. That shocked her to her core, and for a moment, she couldn't even remember her stage name.

"Amilla. What's yours?"

"Luciano Donati. There are about a dozen middle names in between them, but I tend to save them for those I want to irritate."

Pearl was slightly startled that she wanted to know them. God, had all the adrenaline gone to her head?

"What the heck is going on here? Make way, I own this place!"

"Oh god, oh no," Pearl whispered, and she levered herself up into a sitting position as Carson pushed his way through the crowd. She noticed that he had found dry clothes quickly enough, but his thin hair was still plastered to his head.

"You've been warned, Pearl," Carson said, stomping up to her. "You're a distraction and a troublemaker, and my father will..."

"Reward her for rescuing a small child?" Luciano asked.

As Pearl watched, Luciano jumped to his feet, towering over Carson with a kind of casual menace. Carson did a double take that was almost comical, but he still glared up at Luciano.

"Sir, you don't know the situation, and you don't know about that employee's history..."

"I know that she saved that little girl's life," Luciano continued. "I know that it was on your watch that that little girl somehow made it out to the middle of the pool."

That was when a trim and fashionably dressed woman burst out of the crowd. She held the little girl's hand in hers as if she never intended to let it go, and she threw her free arm around Pearl, sobbing noisily. She spoke quickly in Spanish, and Pearl, who only knew a few words, reached up to pat her shoulder awkwardly.

To Pearl's surprise, Luciano switched to Italian easily, comforting the woman and apparently explaining something to her as they all watched.

As quickly as she had come to embrace Pearl, the woman turned towards Carson, her dark eyes spitting fire. No one watching needed to know Spanish to guess that Carson was being roundly beaten down, and Carson himself finally retreated under the woman's onslaught.

Luciano spoke calmly and soothingly to the woman, who looked far more distressed than her child. For her part, the little girl was watching Pearl with large eyes, taking in everything from Pearl's strong arms to the graceful sweep of her pure white tail. Pearl wondered how long it would take for the little girl to start demanding a tail of her own. She knew that for herself, the moment she had first laid eyes on professional mermaids in Florida, she had longed to be one.

Well, it looks like everything's taken care of right now, she thought.

She entered the water with a nearly silent splash. She wondered if she heard someone calling her name, but she was already powering her way back towards her spot. After all, the show was getting ready to start soon.

***

The woman whose little girl had needed rescuing turned out to be Drea Calavedra, from a family that was known to Luciano's own. Between flights of tears and angry recriminations towards the man who had threatened her daughter's rescuers, Luciano got her calmed down and arranged for an escort back to her rooms.

"Mama, Mama," he heard the little girl say. "Where is the mermaid who rescued me? She was so kind and pretty..."

Luciano could certainly agree with that, but when he turned back around, Amilla had disappeared. He shook off a strangely sharp pang of disappointment. When he thought about it, the poor girl had likely had enough trouble that day. Something about her, however, told him that she was a girl who tended to take trouble head on.

He made his way back to his friends, who jeered at him for the splash but were eager to know more about the mermaid with the white tail.

"You think she likes to party?" asked one. "Let's see if she wants to come with us tonight, always room for one more, especially as pretty as that one."

The others laughed, but Luciano shook his head.

"She's too good for all that," he said. "Not that kind of girl, I don't think."

The conversation turned to other matters, and he quelled the strangely protective and jealous streak that was revealing itself inside him. These were men he had been to school with, and he knew them well enough. Of course, that was the problem, and he knew exactly how they liked to party. For some reason, after exchanging less than a thousand words with Amilla, he wanted them far away from her.