Second Chance with the Millionaire

By: Penny Jordan



‘Alim, the owner, had it completely refurbished. The floor was sanded back, the chandeliers repaired. The Grande Lucia is once again the place for a wedding.’

‘I know it is,’ Mona admitted. ‘It is actually where James and I met. I was here for my grandparents’ anniversary. James was here, visiting…’ Mona stopped herself from voicing whatever it was she had been about to say. ‘I just don’t like it that Fleur is calling all the shots just because her…’ Mona clapped her lips together. Clearly she didn’t want to say too much.

Gabi, curious by nature, wished that she would.

Fleur was being very elusive.

From the draft guest list, the groom’s side seemed incredibly sparse. Just a best man from Scotland would be flying in and that was all. There was no mention of James’s father.

Gabi wondered if Fleur was widowed.

But Gabi wasn’t there to wonder and her mind turned, as it always did, into making this the very best of weddings.

‘Imagine dancing under those lights at night,’ Mona said.

‘There is nothing more beautiful,’ Gabi assured her, and then pointed up to a small gallery that ran the length of the westerly wall and imagined the select audience watching the proceedings in days long gone.

‘The photographer can get some amazing overhead shots of the dance floor from up there. A photographer I…I mean Matrimoni di Bernadetta regularly uses does the most marvellous time-lapse shots from the gallery. They are stunning.’

She could see that Mona was starting to get excited.

‘When you say you were here for your grandparents’ anniversary,’ Gabi probed, because the thought of time-lapse photos had got her thinking…

‘My grandparents were married here,’ Mona told her. ‘Sometimes they take out the record they danced to on their wedding night.’

‘Really?’

‘I even recognise the floor from their wedding photos. It’s like stepping back in time.’

Yes, even the ballroom floor was stunning—a parquet of mahogany, oak and redwood, all highly polished to reveal a subtle floral mosaic.

‘Your grandparents still dance to their wedding song…’

Mona nodded and Gabi could see she that she was already sold on the venue.

There would be a string quartet, but Mona loved Gabi’s suggestion that she and James dance their first dance to the same record that her grandparents had.

And a wedding, a very beautiful one, was finally starting to be born.

It was a rather more glowing bride-to-be who returned to the lounge area and now chatted happily with Fleur and Marianna about plans.

And it was a bemused Gabi who looked up and saw Ms Blonde angrily striding through the foyer; she didn’t know why, but she would bet her life’s savings that Alim had uncoiled her, unwilling, from his arms.

Then later, much later, when plans were starting to be put more firmly in place, Gabi called Rosa with the official dates.

‘I’m already working on the dress,’ Rosa said. ‘She’s cutting it terribly fine to wear one of my gowns, even ready-to-wear.’

And, after a long, tiring day taking care of others, Gabi did something for herself.

She was all glowing and happy from that tiny exchange with Alim. Of course his lover’s departure could have nothing to do with her, but Gabi was a dreamer, and already her mind was turning things around.

‘Can I come and try on the silver dress?’ she asked.

It was wonderful to dream of Alim.

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