Slow Dancing in the Darkness

72: I Think I Want To Marry You

“I knew my daughter had nice tastes” Maria mused as she stared up at Lionel, her blue eyes scrutinizing the argentine “But you really are something, aren’t you?” she posed.

Lionel, who eyed the older woman unsurely, shook his head. “Why are you here?” he muttered.

“I heard mumblings that my little girl was having a wedding and I am not going to miss out on my shot at being mother of the bride” Maria shrugged as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. It had been a long time, over 10 years had passed since she had last seen her daughter, but that wasn’t about to stop Maria. As bad as things were between her and Gabriela, she wasn’t about to miss out on her getting married like she had done the first time.

Lionel snorted. “You know that she’s already been married, don’t you?” he posed.

“Yes” Maria replied “She married that dreadful son of my ex-husband’s lawyer. Elliot, wasn’t it?” she posed.

Lionel nodded his head. “You know that you’re a grandmother?” he posed.

“Once from Gabriela” Maria replied.

“Twice” Lionel corrected “She has a son who will be six in a couple of days and a daughter who’s nearly 4 months old” he noted.

Maria pursed her lips.

“Mrs Fernandez, I really don’t know what you were hoping to achieve by coming here, but I can safely assure you that the last thing that Gabriela wants today is to deal with you. I am going to have to ask you to leave” Lionel noted calmly.

“It’s my daughter’s wedding day” Maria replied.

“Her actual wedding day was a year ago” Lionel countered “And I don’t want you ruining today for her. She’s been through enough problems with Elliot for a lifetime and the last thing I want is you screwing up something I have worked remarkably hard to perfect for your daughter. I don’t care what you do tomorrow, Mrs Fernandez, but today, this is about me and my wife, so please” he noted with a gesture towards the door.

Maria shook her head. “I am not just going to go away” she mused.

Lionel sighed. “What do you want from me, Maria?” he muttered.

“I want to see Gabriela” Maria replied.

“You’ve not wanted to see her for 10 years. Why would today be the day that you decide you want to see her?” he countered, crossing his arms across his chest. He knew why she was there, she wanted to cause trouble, but he wasn’t going to let it happen. After months of planning he wasn’t going to allow the older woman to ruin that day for him.

Maria sighed. “She’s my daughter” she noted.

“The one you left behind when she was 17” Lionel countered “She’s told me the story and I am not expecting her to welcome you with open arms, Maria, not to mention Luca and your sons” he added.

Maria pursed her lips for a second before she opened her mouth to speak again, only to be cut off as Lionel’s father stepped into the room. “You need to be getting dressed, Leo” Jorge noted.

Lionel offered the older woman a look before he turned back to his father. “Papa, I need you to get rid of this woman” he muttered “She is to be, under no circumstances, in this room when Gabriela arrives” he noted.

Jorge offered his son a look, but nodded. “Alright” he agreed.

Lionel spared him an appreciative smile before he offered Maria a glance. The last thing he wanted was for her to ruin a day that he had spent so much time perfecting for her daughter.

“Shakira, this is ridiculous” Gabriela complained as the blonde woman pulled her t-shirt over her head, leaving her stood in her underwear. It had been a bizarre morning, after breakfast with her brothers and the singer, Shakira had dragged her to a spa to get her nails done before they’d stopped by a hairdressers, all of which had happened whilst Gabriela wore a blindfold.

“It will not seem so ridiculous in a little while” Shakira replied, carefully helping Gabriela to step into her dress “When you see what that lovely husband of yours has been up to, you will be more than thankful” she teased, zipping the dress up.

“Shakira” Gabriela grumbled, her hands fiddling with the blindfold.

Shakira shook her head. “Come on, Gabby, it’s just a few more minutes. Do you think you can be patient for me?” she noted, gently pushing Gabriela’s hands away from her face.

“I don’t see why this is some huge secret” Gabriela complained.

“You’ll see why in a few minutes” Shakira smiled as she clipped the veil onto the top of Gabriela’s dark curls, her brown eyes admiring just how beautiful the brunette looked before she turned to the door, flashing a small smile towards Luca and his sons who smiled widely. “I’m going to leave you with your padre, Gabby” Shakira mused “I really hope you love this” she added before she stepped away, allowing Luca to step up to his daughter’s side.

“You look amazing, Lala” he enthused gently.

“I don’t really know that, Papa” Gabriela replied, her hand gesturing to the blindfold which sat over her eyes.

Luca smiled and looked towards the door, not missing the nod that David sent in his direction, before he turned towards his daughter, carefully removing the piece of fabric from ahead of her eyes. “Surprise, Lala” he grinned.

Gabriela blinked a little before she peeked at the mirror ahead of her, a small surprised sound falling out of her mouth. “Papa…”

“It was your husband’s idea” Luca mused as he offered her his arm “He’s been working on it for a little while which is why…”

“Why he’s been so odd” Gabriela murmured, her voice soft and awed.

Luca nodded his head. “He wanted to do this for you” he noted.

Gabriela sniffed a little, her blue eyes peeking at her reflection, before she looked up at her father. “You gave him the Ok, right?” she posed.

Luca nodded. “I couldn’t really say no” he noted “You love the guy, Lala, and whilst I am not sure about it all, I can see how happy having him around has made you. It’s more than it was with Elliot and when he asked me, I knew I could only say yes. You two aren’t a phase and I…I should have seen that sooner” he admitted.

Gabriela shook her head, her arms wrapping around him tightly. “It’s alright” she murmured.

“As touching as this is” Evan noted “We kind of have to get moving” he added.

Gabriela nodded her head and linked arms with her father, taking the bouquet of white peonies that David held out to her, a sight which made her grin. Lionel had even remembered her favourite flower.

Following her father and brothers, she allowed her blue eyes to peek around the nicely decorated hallway before they came to a stop outside of the hotel’s ballroom. “Congrats, Lala” David grinned as he placed a kiss on his little sister’s cheek.

“He’s a keeper” Evan grinned as he linked arms with Penelope who offered her cousin a thumbs up and a grin.

Gabriela watched them walk into the room before she peeked up at Luca who grinned back at her. “You ready?” he teased.

“You have no idea” she mused with a small tearful smile.

Luca smiled and pressed a kiss to her forehead before he led her up the aisle towards Lionel who was already smiling at the sight of her. Gabriela allowed her blue eyes to roam the room for a moment before she settled them on Lionel, her breathing faltering for a second. “You’ve got this” Luca murmured “He’s only got eyes for you” he added before he offered her hand out to Lionel who eagerly took it, pressing a soft kiss against her skin.

“Feliz aniversario” he mused, offering her a boyish smile.

Gabriela shook her head. “You couldn’t have just made breakfast in bed?” she teased, just about stifling a cheerful sniffle.

Lionel chuckled. “I thought about it” he joked “But I figured this would perhaps be slightly more memorable. What do you think, Ela?” he added.

Gabriela sniffed. “I think I want to marry you” she spluttered out with a laugh.

Lionel grinned and took her hand, leading her towards the official who greeted them with a smile.

Maria, who sat at the back of the room, shook her head. There was no way she was just going to leave without having spoken to Gabriela and her brothers.
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