Chapter Twenty-Seven

Josh was right where Tony expected, out on the terrace staring into the night.  Talk about deja vu.  This was strangely similar to when Josh had confronted Tony outside his wedding years ago.  Hopefully he could convince Josh that this time things would be different.

“Josh I really don’t know what to say to you.” Tony chastised himself, not exactly the best opening for this conversation, “But I love Marah.  Always have and I always will.”

At first Tony didn’t think Josh was going to answer.  The only response from the man was a tightening of his grip on the railing he was leaning against.  But finally Josh turned and faced him, “You don’t think I know that?  I knew that six years ago and I know that now.  But love has never been the real issue.  Either it was your lifestyle or your choices which inevitably left my daughter picking up the pieces of her heart.”  He shook his head, “I sympathize with what you went through Tony but my first concern is Marah.”

“And mine isn’t?  Yeah I screwed up six years ago.  And look what it cost me.” He ticked them off one by one,”The woman I love, my family, and my freedom.  And through those six years of hell the ONLY thing that kept me going was Marah.  I’m not perfect, probably never will be, but she makes me want to be a better person.”

Josh could understand that, even respect it, but he couldn’t make it easy.  Truth be told Josh didn’t hate Tony, at least not anymore.  Back when he was a little punk dating his teenage daughter hate was too tame a word.  But he knew the man who stood before him loved his daughter and that he made her happy.  And well, Reva would be all over his case if he ruined this for Marah.  She’d told him to give Tony a chance then proceeded to point out all the times in their colorful history that they’d screwed up.  “Okay.”

Tony wasn’t sure he heard correctly. “Okay?”

“That’s what I said.  As long as you don’t revert back to your old ways and bring the mob back into my daughter’s life you have my blessing.  Danny’s managed to leave that life behind so I am hoping that won’t be a problem,  do you?”

Josh looked at him with what could only be described as a glare.  But he had nothing to worry about.  That life was far behind him and he wasn’t even tempted into looking back.  “Definitely not.  You have my word.”

Josh nodded, “I really need a drink.”

***

Marah kept glancing at the doorway hoping that everything was going well.  Her father was stubborn especially where Tony was concerned.

“Would you relax?  Your father’s not going to throw him over the balcony.  Too many witnesses.”

Her mother and Rafael might find that funny but Marah wasn’t amused.  She didn’t want to keep fighting her father over this decision, she had done enough of that in the past to last her a lifetime.   Her mother and Rafael kept chatting but Marah didn’t hear a word.

So caught up in wondering what her father and Tony were talking about she jumped when she felt the light tap on her shoulder.  Rafael just looked at her with a reassuring smile, “You don’t have to worry about Tony.  If he made it through these past six years he can make it through your father’s interrogation.”

Marah knew he was right but that didn’t alleviate her worry.  When a drink was suddenly placed in front of her she turned to thank the waiter but found Tony smiling down at her, “Worried about me Baby?”

The talk outside couldn’t have been that bad if Tony was actually smiling afterwards.  And not some phony, pasted on smile for her benefit either. “Maybe a little.  So how did it do out there?  You don’t look like you are suffered any serious injuries.”

Tony kissed her gently before taking his seat, “No worries we just had to clear the air a little bit.   We both love you and want the best for you.  I just had to convince your father that I deserved another chance with his gorgeous daughter.”

In typical Tony fashion he was trying to put her at ease with the situation.  And like usual it worked like a charm.  No

***

By the time dessert was served Reva had worked herself into a one-woman wedding frenzy, “So when were you two thinking about having the wedding?  Ballpark figure.”

Marah looked at Tony who just shrugged.  “Mom we’ve only been engaged a few days.”

Reva wasn’t deterred, “I said ballpark figure.  Just trying to figure out what timeframe we’re looking at here.”

“Maybe next year.”  At her mother’s shocked expression Marah went on to explain, “Tony is going to be busy with re-opening Infierno and I still have to decide what it is I am going to be doing career-wise.”

“And we need to find a place to live.” Tony interrupted, “Can’t keep staying at the Beacon or at Towers just to get some, um, alone time.”

Marah blushed at what Tony had alluded to since they were sitting with her parents.  It was probably foolish, since her parents probably knew full well what was going on when Marah and Tony managed to sneak away, but they were still her parents and she didn’t even want to go there.  She looked at her father, who since rejoining them at the table had been silently sipping his bourbon.  “What do you think dad?”

“I think I don’t even want to know what you two do in your ‘alone time’ but I know Blake put her house up for sale when she married Frank last year.  They hired Lewis to remodel the whole thing so I can vouch that the house is built solid.”

Tony had been thinking about an apartment or maybe even a condo but had to admit the idea sent a thrill through him.  Marah and him in a home of their own.  A place to put down roots and, if it was in the cards, a couple of kids.  Yeah he loved the idea immensely.  He turned towards Marah, “What do you think?”

Marah could tell he was excited at the idea even though he tried to act casual.  She grinned, “Depends.  Are you going to try to put a home gym in our living room?”

Tony winced at the mention of their brief forray into living together.  It had been so good there for awhile…until he screwed it up.  “I promise to surrender all creative control in the decorating department to your expertise.”

Marah sat up straight, “That’s it!”

Her outburst had all eyes in the restaurant turning towards her, “That’s what Baby?”

She couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought of it before. “I could be an interior decorator.”  She was so excited about this idea she could barely contain herself, “Think of it Tony, I already know about design, I know what works best together, fabrics and textures and all that.  I did a great job decorating the museum when we lived there and also helped Danny pick out paintings for Orchard Manor.  So you think I should try it?”

Tony couldn’t help but smile, “I think it sounds like an excellent idea, but only if it makes you happy.”

“I think I’m going to do it.” Marah loved that he supported her while still giving her the freedom to decide on her own.  They really were partners this time around.

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