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“Are you sure?” Sabrina asked.
“Yes, of course.” Raffaela laughed. “Now, you two get out of here and go have some fun.”
“You don’t need to tell me twice.” Daniel stood, pulled out Sabrina’s chair and offered her his hand. She took it and stood.
“The best part about living here is that we’re within walking distance of the town and the fair,” he said once they were outside and started to walk along the street with its old style street lamps.
“It’s a beautiful night for a walk,” she agreed.
The air was warm, the stars were bright, and the moon was full.
Daniel laced his fingers with hers. “How did you enjoy your time with my mom?”
“I had a lot of fun,” she said honestly. “She’s a great woman.”
“That she is. I’m glad you and she got on well.” He smiled.
“We did. She talked about you a little. About how you love cannoli.”
He chuckled. “I love more than just cannoli.” He tossed her a hungry look.
She decided to ignore it, considering that they’d already reached a more populated area with people walking on the sidewalks and cars passing. This was not the place for a passionate kiss. Instead, she changed the subject.
“It must have been wonderful growing up here. It’s so peaceful.”
“It had its perks and its disadvantages.”
He motioned to the people around them. “Everybody knows everybody.”
“And that’s not a good thing?”
“Not when they constantly poke their noses in your business. Like the Boyds.”
“Oh.” She knew Daniel had a point. But every town had people like the Boyds. It was unavoidable. Though she wished the Boyds didn’t know Audrey. Would Daniel’s ex-girlfriend always come up whenever they came to visit his parents?
“Are the Boyds very good friends of your parents?”
Daniel shrugged. “Rather acquaintances, I’d say. Mom never got very close to Linda. She finds her too cold and superficial. But dad likes to play golf with Kevin, so Mom often gets stuck with entertaining Linda.”
Sabrina sighed. “I feel for your mom having to be nice to Linda when she doesn’t really like her.”
“She does it for Dad, really. I guess that’s part of being a couple, accepting the other’s friends, or at least tolerating them.”
Daniel’s words made her think. Would she have to put up with friends of Daniel too and pretend to be pleased to see them even if she didn’t like them?
“I’m a little worried about meeting your friends,” she confessed.
He whirled his head to her, his eyebrows snapping together in confusion. “But why? Trust me, they’re nothing like the Boyds.”
“It’s just, what if they don’t like me? Or what if I don’t like them?”
“Of course they’ll like you!”
“Did they like Audrey too?”
Daniel stopped walking and faced her. “Why are you bringing up Audrey?”
She pulled in a deep breath. “Because somebody will always bring her up. If not the Boyds then one of your friends.”
Daniel ran a hand through his hair and let out a breath. “I have a past, Sabrina. We all do. I can’t change that. I can’t change the fact that Audrey and I dated and that my friends know her. We’ll have to deal with it as best we can.”
She nodded. “It’s just… ”
“What?” he asked encouragingly, his voice soft and pleading.
She lifted her eyes to meet his. “Linda Boyd’s words made me feel so inadequate today. As if I wasn’t good enough for you. I mean, in a way she’s right, isn’t she? You could have any woman you wanted, but you chose me.”
“Exactly. I chose you. Because you’re exactly what I need and what I want. Don’t listen to people like Linda. There’s only venom coming from her mouth.” He brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. “We’re together, and nobody can change that.”
Slowly, she nodded. “I’m just scared. Everything is so new. We barely know each other.”
Daniel caressed her cheek with his knuckles. “Yes, it’s new. And a little scary. I get that. But we’ll make it. We belong together and we’ll prove it to everybody who might think otherwise.”