Bidding on the Billionaire

By: Rachel Angel

“It just sort of happened and I am clueless as to why,” Sophia said, raising her hands up in surrender. “It really doesn’t matter though. You’re not going to ruin this chance for me are you?”

“Well, if there’s anyone I can trust with the gallery, it’s you,” Mandi said.

“And Andre is actually very knowledgeable in fine art. Maybe he can make you some sales, or even buy a few pieces for his family’s estate house up north.”

“I think he’s done enough by funding my date. It seems like an awfully big repayment for some assistance with a lousy blind date though.”

Sophia gave a guilty look, and admitted that there was more. She went on to tell Mandi how Sergio had been working so hard that he was withdrawing from his friends, and not interested in having any fun whatsoever. The guys were worried about him, especially how he had withdrawn since the whole breakup with Olivia, and could see that he needed to relax a little bit and have some fun. Mandi suddenly realized that there were certain things that money and charm couldn’t provide, and she couldn’t agree more with Sophia and Andre’s assessment of Sergio having some fun. Despite being a very dedicated type A personality when it came to business she knew full well that nothing in life was worth it if you didn’t take time to enjoy it. She’d been enjoying life too little as of late herself.

Mandi thought about her mom again, and was surprised how much thoughts of her had entered into her mind tonight. Her mom had always wanted her to be happier more than anything else, and had wished for her to find an amazing and grounded man to sweep her off her feet. Yes, her mother was a romantic, and she had every right to be. Mandi’s father had been that sort of man himself, and had only been taken away due to a car accident. At the time, Mandi was only two and now the only memory she had of her father came from the pictures that her mother kept so tidily in an album that she’d created just for Mandi.

Not even realizing that Mandi had drifted off to other thoughts, Sophia kept talking. “Andre and I are going to do wonders with the studio. Oh look…here he comes with Sergio.”

That caught Mandi’s attention. She looked up and saw Sergio was about two steps away and that Andre was right behind him. She was impressed with his confident stride and glad that he’d come over because she was very overwhelmed at the moment.

“Are you all set to go on a grand adventure tomorrow, Mandi?” Sergio asked.

“Thanks to Sophia and Andre. They’re going to watch the gallery when we go.”

“Are they now,” Sergio commented, looking at his sister and friend. Mandi saw his look, and could tell he’d had the same speculation she’d had about the two.

“Well, the only work event that I must tend to while in Rome is a 50th anniversary party for the company’s Rome division. Hopefully you won’t mind being my date.”

“I don’t think I’ll mind at all. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.” Mandi couldn’t believe it. She knew that press followed Sergio around everywhere, and wondered if they would be pictured together in the paper. That would be crazy. Yes, Mandi was in the papers frequently with gallery events, but a date with a highly eligible BBBBC in Rome was completely different territory. She’d better prepare herself for this journey because it’d likely be a very interesting one.

“Well, my driver and I will be at your place at 5:00 tomorrow evening. If it is possible, can I get your passport information tonight for the ticket and customs?”

“I hadn’t even thought about that. Can they do that on such short notice?”

“For me they can,” Sergio commented. He laughed softly, but the words he said were true. Sergio operated in a league that got things done on their time and that others bent over backward to ensure their demands were met. “Well, I must get going and tend to a little business before leaving tomorrow. So, until tomorrow, Mandi,” Sergio said. He grabbed her hand and she felt an instant flutter in her stomach. Then he turned to Sophia, and gave her a hug goodbye.

Mandi couldn’t help but watch Sergio walk away, and what he was looking at instantly annoyed her. She saw him looking in Olivia’s direction with an odd look on his face. She was surrounded by men, and laughing gaily and flirting away. Mandi was sure she was putting on a show, knowing that Sergio was looking at her. The real question Mandi had was why Sergio was looking at her? If he’d wanted to be with her he should have let her win the auction, or taken her back already.

As Mandi turned her eyes away she reminded herself to be careful. It was never good to open your heart to the possibilities of a relationship with a guy whose heart still belonged to someone else. She was so confused, wondering if an answer would come before it was too late—for her heart anyways.

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