A Secret Proposal Part 1

By: Alexia Praks

“It doesn’t matter what day it is,” Nicolas said from the door as he came in. “Darcy will always be up at five.”

Darcy glanced at his eldest brother. “Habit,” he said. “See you at breakfast.” Then he left them.

After he had a nice, long shower, Darcy turned on his laptop and started working on his new project. By eight o’clock, he had completed what he planned to get done and headed out the door into the spacious living area of the apartment where all the brothers gathered for meals and entertainment.

Once Darcy was in the dining area, he noted Nicolas, Sebastian, Hayden, and Conrad were already there, drinking their standard coffee, made by Beth, their housekeeper, and eating their breakfast.

Darcy took a chair beside Conrad and poured himself a cup of black coffee.

“I’m starving,” Tristan said a moment later. He slid into a seat and then proceeded to help himself to the perfectly cooked toast sitting in the middle of the table.

“Morning,” Logan murmured as he came in, his hair all sticking out everywhere like he’d just had an electric shock coursing through his body. He took the chair next to Tristan and then poured himself a cup of coffee.

“Ugh!” he made a sound after swallowing a mouthful. “This is disgusting. I wish Sakura was here!”

The moment he said it, he wanted to punch himself in the face, for his brothers had stopped what they had been doing and were now looking at him.

“Shit!” he swore under his breath. He shouldn’t have said her name. He knew it hurt them—all of them—and more so for Sebastian, Darcy, and Conrad, who loved Sakura dearly.

Conrad groaned depressingly and turned his attention to his black coffee, wishing there was the art of a swan, or better yet, an attempted ugly dragon that looked more like a teddy bear gone seriously wrong on it. He’d preferred that than this mug of mud-like coffee Beth had made for them, even if with love.

“It’s been a year,” he said softly. “I can’t believe we still haven’t found her.”

“She might have changed her name,” Nicolas put in logically, his finger furiously typing away on the tablet.

“She probably doesn’t want us to find her,” Hayden said. “Considering what happened last spring.”

“I wouldn’t blame her,” Logan said. “She knew it was Alaina and Tara who were behind the whole thing, making Kate go all mental and attack her.”

The brothers had known all along it had been Tara and Alaina. And Sakura herself could have died if the brothers hadn’t happened to be there surfing and seen her falling off the cliff into the raging sea below.

“On a brighter note, there’s the fashion show today,” Tristan said cheerfully. “There will be models.”

“To flirt with,” Hayden put in sourly.

“Just as long as you don’t bring them into this house, I’m fine with it,” Nicolas said, staring at Tristan meaningfully.

Though Nicolas had said that, he knew for a fact neither Tristan nor Logan had been sleeping around like before. In fact, they’d been rather cautious with the women they picked to bed nowadays. Perhaps they were beginning to settle down in their Casanova ways after all.

“This is a no-female zone,” Conrad said. “The only females who can enter are Mom, Grandmother, and Sakura, if we ever find her.”

“Cheer up, young pup,” Tristan said, smiling. “We’ll find her.” He turned to Nicolas then. “Are you sure that bloody private detective you hired is actually working to find Sakura and not just taking your check and running off for a good holiday?”

Nicolas put down his tablet and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “I’m sure. Detective Osborn is very good at what he does, or so I’ve heard.”

“Or so you’ve heard,” Logan said. “God, this is beginning to annoy me. Where the hell is she?”

“Be patient,” Nicolas said. “Finding missing people isn’t easy.”

“Especially missing people who want to stay missing,” Tristan said. “She must really hate our guts.”

Darcy glanced at Tristan and scowled darkly. If she really hated their guts, then why had she left them notes? Why had she left him a note telling him she loved him? No, Darcy would never believe that. He was sure she’d been confused, perhaps was still confused even now, about her feelings.

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