Camillo launched into another pull-up, whimpering as his brother shouted at him from the side lines.
“You can do better than that, come on!”
Carlo knew he was overdoing it, but he had to out-shout the chainsaw that raged from the upper floor.
Vittoria had taken the news that she were to move out well. There were no hard feelings at all – actually, she was happy to have a place all to herself. So happy.
She happened to have started doing ice sculptures with a big, noisy chainsaw, but that was just because doing ice sculptures was the next logical thing to do. It wasn’t that she was angry. She just coincidentally revved the chainsaw whenever he came to check on her in her room, so they couldn’t talk.
“Can you guys talk about whatever issues it is you’re having?” Camillo asked, collapsing after another pull-up. “You’re taking it out on me, and that chainsaw is driving me nuts.”
“You can take a break.”
Camillo rolled his eyes. “Gee, thanks, bro.”
As Vittoria’s moving day drew closer, the silence between them grew heavier. She didn’t even try to be around him anymore. Her and Camillo talked, but as soon as Carlo came into the room, she either went back to her chainsaw or angrily cleaned the house. It was spotless, and got even cleaner for every day they spent not talking.
He came back from work one night to find Camillo pleading with her to talk to him.
“You two should really talk about things,” he said.
“About what? We got the sofa for Bell Farm sorted out, so…”
“Not the farm, I meant…”
But Vittoria had already gotten up and started viciously attacking the dirty dishes. When Carlo made his presence known, she didn’t move, though she did scrub more furiously than before. Camillo mouthed at him: “Fucking talk to her.”
He didn’t. The courage escaped him.
He didn’t face her until the day she was set to move. After all was said and done and her things were packed, he grabbed her hand before she could wash another dish. As usual, she had been manically cleaning the whole time. It was time to leave, he told her. Time to go.
“That’s goodbye then,” she said, pulling her hand out of his grasp. “It’s been fun.”
Carlo grabbed her hand again and held it, even as she tried to pull away, and he finally looked her in the eyes. He shouldn’t have.
For only a second, her eyes were full of misery, loneliness, hurt. It was only a second, but it was like a kick to the stomach.
“Don’t do that to me,” he whispered. “You’ll be fine.”
“Why do you want me out of here so badly?”
Carlo closed the distance between them and lifted her chin with the tips of his fingers.
“Like hell you-”
He quietened her with a finger to her lips. The skin contact was almost enough to make him break down and force her to stay.
“I want you here,” he said.
His arms drew her near automatically and one hand came up to rest on her cheek. She was so close, he could feel the heat from her body through his clothes and her breath against his lips. Her fingertips grazed his waist.
“Then why kick me out?” she whispered with her eyes closed.
“Look at me,” he growled.
She met his eyes.
“You’re right about what you said. I like my job. Cracking safes, disabling security systems, getting my way because people are afraid of what the gang will do if they don’t obey. I’m a bastard, a criminal. By now, I’m used to getting what I want, and right now I want you.”
She held her breath, trembling. When he started being afraid that she would pass out, she released the breath and asked: “You want me?”
“Yeah.” He traced her bottom lip with his thumb. “Badly. I want to use you up and throw you out because that’s what I do. Believe it or not, I respect you too much for that, so I’m keeping my distance. For your sake.”
Every word he said drew him deeper in to self-loathing. No emotion crossed her face, but he could feel the pain in her trembling limbs.
“You could have asked what I wanted,” she said.
“Not a chance,” he said. “I’ve done everything wrong so far. I lost the villa, tarnished my family name, I drew my brother into this shit fest I’m living, and I still live like this because I like it. If my dad could see me now, he’d disown me. The one good thing I can still do is let you go.”
Though for every second he spent this close to her, it became harder.
He wondered if it would be that bad, just kissing her once. But he also knew that if he started, he wouldn’t stop. He’d end up dragging her to his bed, and it would be like Lucia and Vittoria’s bastard father breaking his dad’s heart all over again. Just another crook making off with a lovely girl.
He pushed Vittoria away.
He thought she would just nod and walk away, or maybe even look hurt again. Instead, her palm connected with his cheek with a deafening crack. It still echoed in his skull when she spoke:
“Fuck you, Carlo. If you want me out of here that bad, fine, but it’s not because I’m afraid of you. You’re a shitty criminal compared to what I grew up with.”
She whirled around, but he caught her arm before she could go. It felt wrong to have her walk out like this, but then she spun and glared.
“Let. Go,” she said.
Carlo dropped her hand like it was hot coals. Her eyes were dark with rage.
He was a full head and a half taller than her and probably weighed double, maybe triple, what she did. In his time with Good Guys Inc. he had taken bullets and been stabbed more times than he cared to count. He’d spent long, cold nights in jail and been beaten up by guys that could have picked her up and swung her around their heads. All that, and he was frightened by the look in her eyes. Eyes like a dark void.
“Vittoria, what the hell happened?” he whispered.
“That’s none of your damn business.”
She stomped out of there and slammed the door on the way.
Hi guyyyys, it’s that time of week again 😀 I hope you enjoy – this was a chapter I enjoyed writing a lot. Arguments and romantic tension. Yum.
I hope you’re all doing well. I feel like uni is flattening me a little bit, and I’ve got so much stuff on my mind. Don’t get much writing done, but I have four more chapters ready to go. I might come back and edit this one a bit. I haven’t given it a little read as I usually do before posting. I’m just too damn tired.
Just had family over for cake, ’cause my birthday is soon, and I wanted to get family visits over with so I can spend my actual birthday (this Monday, the 18th) however I please. Two years ago I would have sworn being alone on your birthday was the saddest thing ever. Now I say it’s bliss. (Besides I’ll only be alone in the morning and until early afternoon).
Anyway, I hope everyone’s having a good time. I’ll see you for the next chapter 🙂 ~Louise