Earl served the cup of coffee to Damascus before sitting beside me.
“It’s already late and you’re still sleeping.” Damascus nagged and I just rolled my eyes at him. I’m not in the mood to be lectured by this old man. Damn, and here I was thinking I can spend some of my time with Earl before we go back to work.
“Ah, sorry about that.” Earl said while dropping his head low, obviously sulking.
Damascus slightly smiled. “No, it’s not your fault.” Then, he looked at me with eyes like a hawk. “You’re not answering any of my calls. What the hell have you been doing?”
I clicked my tongue and glared at him. “I was busy fucking this guy last night so shut up.”
Earl looked at me, face red as tomato. “M-Matthias!”
Damascus remained his poker expression and only sighed. “Your father wants to talk to you. You better go to him before he pays you a visit here.”
Fuck, I don’t want that old geezer coming here in my house. “I don’t want to talk to him.”
“Well, you have to. Or else, you know what will happen, right?” Damascus sipped his coffee. “And besides it’s been a while since you last saw each other.”
I glared at him. I just saw that old bastard months ago and trust me, I don’t want to see his face again. Yet.
After finishing his coffee, Damascus stood up and looked at me. “I’ll give Marcus a call to say that I talked to you already.” He put down a thick envelope on the table. “I’m going now. Don’t forget what I told you Matthias.” He took his coat lying on the table and smiled at Earl. Earl bowed his head at him before standing up.
When Damascus was gone, I opened the envelope and groaned. Those fucking bastards won’t just stop treating me like a god damn child.
“What’s that?” Earl asked from behind me and when he saw what I was holding, he gasped out loud. “W-why did he give you that?!”
I rolled my eyes and threw the stacks of euro bills on the table. “Allowance.”
“T-this is your allowance? For what? The whole year?!” He looked at the money and gulped.
“You want it?” I smirked at him when I saw his eyes narrowed.
“Of course not. Even if that’s a lot, I wouldn’t dream of taking your money.” He said in a matter of fact and I can’t resist smiling. He took the used cups on the table and put it in the sink to wash.
I stared at the envelope, refusing myself to burn it. “He always gives me money every week.” I said and that made Earl stop what he was doing. He turned around to look at me.
“What? You mean your father?” He asked and I nodded a little.
“Yeah, ever since I started living here in Italy. Damascus said that it’s just an allowance but…” I bit my lips and glared. “…I know he’s just doing this to make me look like a fool.”
Earl remained silent. I sighed and stood up from the chair. “Anyway. I don’t need this shit. You can have it.” I walked straight to my room to get dressed.
After taking a bath, Earl and I walked out of the apartment to go to work. While walking through the corridor, Earl suddenly grabbed my hand.
“What?” I looked at him and he just shook his head. There was a slight smile on his face.
“I just want to hold you while we still have time.” He said and looked up to me to grin. “Thanks for the staying the night with me. I was being selfish and all but…” I stared at his lips and decided that he was babbling non-sense already.
“Shut up.” I leaned down and kissed him. When I pulled away, I saw his face flushed in probably embarrassment. I laughed a little and ruffled his already messed hair. All these years and he’s still not used to this.
“Come on, we’ll be late, right?” I asked sarcastically and he just groaned.
I pushed the elevator button and waited for the lift to arrive at our floor. When it finally did, we both entered inside and Earl was the one who pushed the basement button floor.
“Oh yeah, what were you saying about Hall?” I asked when I suddenly remembered what Earl was saying last night.
Earl briefly looked at me and I noticed that his hold on his bag tightened. “Well, it’s just that I think that Nicholas might be planning on something.”
I raised my brows at him. “Planning?” Well, it’s true that we’re planning something since our companies we’re collaborating on something big. I give him money and he’s the one who’s going to develop whatever he’s gonna produce.
“Yeah, we’re planning on doing a new business under the name…” I was stopped when Earl shook his head.
“No. Not that kind of business plan. I mean he said…I’m not sure what he meant by this.” Early looked straight into my eyes and I know that he’s being serious about this. “He said that he’s going to take over Altrees.”
I narrowed my eyes at what he said. “What?”
Earl carefully looked at me like he’s waiting for me to snap. “Yeah, that’s what he said the last time we talked.”
Wait, the two of them were already talking to each other…without me knowing about it. I faced him and glared at him. “You mean you two are meeting up?”
His eyes widened in disbelief. “What?” He snapped and shook his head. “Wait. You got it all wrong! Yeah, we talked a couple of times before but…”
I felt my blood boil at what Earl was saying right now. I know something’s odd about that Nicholas Hall guy. I couldn’t care less if he wants to take the company or what, I could just buy or establish another one, but the thought of my Earl, my Earl, talking to that man makes me pissed off.
“And who told you that you can talk to him?” I said with my teeth gritted and Earl only looked at me with a confused face.
“What the hell are you talking about?! We’re talking about Nicholas wanting to take your company!”
I stepped forward and he stepped back until he hits the wall like a cornered rabbit. “You know that you are mine, right?”
Earl made a face like he can’t actually believe what I’m saying. “Are you out of your mind Matthias?! The thing we’re talking about is…”
I suddenly slammed my palm on the wall to his side and he yelped. “About the thing where you talk to Hall.”
Earl slapped his forehead in defeat. “Geez, I’m not cheating on you!”
“He was totally checking you out.” I finally said and he gaped at me.
“What?! What’d you mean he’s…?! Fuck! He’s not that kind of guy, okay?!”
I raised my brows at him. “And what makes you say that?”
“Well because I just know, okay! Just drop this shit already and let’s talk about…”
“I swear if I caught you with that guy again…alone, I’ll kill him.” I threatened and Earl rolled his eyes on me.
“Damn Matthias, when did you start being so paranoid?”
“The moment he looked at you with those eyes.” I answered and he shook his head.
“He’s not seeing me in that way, loosen up, you idiot!” He tried to push me off but failed.
The elevator door suddenly opened and Earl gasped when he saw who it was at front. I felt something snapped inside me when I saw that Nicholas bastard standing in front of us.
“Oh, hi, good morning.” He first looked at Earl before smiling at me. I closed my hands into a fist. I suddenly tugged Earl near me and I heard him struggle.
“Good morning, Mr. Hall.” Earl politely greeted and Nicholas grinned at him. Fuck, he’s definitely looking at him with those weird eyes.
“Going to the office?” He asked Earl and he nodded.
“Yeah, we’re a little bit late, aren’t we?” He joked and I snorted.
Nicholas eyed me with concern. “Is there something wrong, Mr. Blaise?”
I glared at him and was about to say something but Earl beat me to it. “So! Did you spent the night at your friend’s house?!”
What the fuck are they talking about?
“Ah yes, she’s a bit sick so I decided to accompany her.” He gently answered.
“Is that so? Is she okay now?” Earl asked and I rolled my eyes again. Why the hell is he even asking that?
“Yes, she’s fine.” Nicholas smiled at him and I resisted the urge to punch the lights out of him.
Finally, the elevator arrived at the basement. I quickly put my arms around Earl’s shoulder to lead him to my car. Nicholas was looking at us with amusement but stayed silent.
“You really are close with Mr. Blaise, hm?” He asked and Earl nervously laughed.
“O-oh, that’s because we were classmates back at New York…” He said and I snorted.
“Classmates my ass, I’m his…”
Earl suddenly laughed out loud. “HAHAHAHA! We’ll see you later Mr. Hall! Take care!” He pulled me by the sleeves and dragged me towards the way to my car.
When Nicholas was out of sight, Earl gave me a hard glare. “What is wrong with you? Do you really wanna sabotaged your dignity?”
“Dignity? What the hell’s that?” I sarcastically asked and that made him groan.
“Geez, you’re unbelievable! What makes you think Nicholas was looking at me in that way?” He asked as he climbed inside the car.
“Just call it an instinct.” I shortly answered after I got inside the car. I started the engine and drove off of the parking lot.
Earl heaved a sigh. “You know you’re not gonna make me stop talking to him.”
I laughed sarcastically. “I have my ways. And you won’t like it.”
“Mr. Hall is waiting inside for you, Sir.” Rick said as soon as I arrived on the floor. I rolled my eyes at him and gave him my bag before strolling towards my office.
When I opened the door, Nicholas was already sitting on the sofa, casually looking around the whole place. I slammed the door close and it made him look at me.
“Oh, buongiorno Mr. Blaise.” He smiled at me and I gave him a dead look. I walked to my desk and sat on the chair.
“What do you want?” I asked with bitterness in my tongue and he only grinned at me.
“I’m here to show you the latest design of the company.” He said and I sighed.
“Fine.” He handed me an envelope and I opened it. “By the way, where’s your secretary?” I asked him but I was still reading the documents he gave me.
I heard him smile. “Well, sometimes, it’s nice to do your work without someone like that, right?”
“You’re the first.” I mumbled sarcastically and he only laughed.
“Yeah. Oh. Before I forgot, I want to invite you to dinner.”
I raised my brows at him and only flipped the document to its next page. “Sorry, I’m not into dating guys.”
Nicholas stared at me and laughed out loud. “Io non intendevo in quel senso [I don’t mean it that way]. Just a formal dinner with some of my clients as well.”
I finally finished reading the pegs of his new research proposal and I’m fine by giving him a financial support. I grabbed my fountain pen and wrote my signature on the paper before tossing it back to him. “I’m not interested in meeting your clients.”
“Oh come on, they want to do business with the Matthias Blaise. Per favore [Please], just this one time.” Nicholas smiled and I stared at him.
Fuck, what a pain in the ass. “Fine, whatever. Just tell Rick about my schedule.”
Nicholas grinned and gathered the papers in his hand. “You’re always a delight to work with, Mr. Blaise.”
I snorted and he chuckled. “I’ll see you later then. Ciao.” He walked out of my office and I finally leaned on my chair.
It was already late in the afternoon and it’s almost time for a break. I stood up from my chair and walked out of my office only to be greeted by Bella.
“There you are, Matthias!” She screamed in my face and I glared at her.
“What do you want, woman?” I asked.
Bella gulped and waved her hands. “This is bad. This is really, really, really bad!”
I held my already aching head. “What’s your problem?”
“MY SOON TO BE HUSBAND IS MISSING!!!”
I blinked at her and resisted the urge to laugh. “Oh no, that’s too bad. Guess he backed out.” I said teasingly and she growled at me.
“This is no laughing matter Matthias! Dovete aiutarmi!! [You have to help me]” Bella said in distress and I sighed.
“Why me? Why not just call my sister and…”
“I can’t contact Marge! What should I do? What should I do?” She circled in front of me, obviously panicking.
“When was the last time you talked to him?” I asked just to make her stop pacing.
“Two days before! He said that he’s gonna meet with some of his business clients then he disappeared!” Bella was almost close to crying and I really can’t take it when she cries like that.
Fine, there are three people in this world that can make me do anything just to make them stop crying.
Marge, Bella and Earl.
Why am I such a softie when it comes to things like this?
I sighed at her. “I’ll send some of my men to look for him. Give me his information background.”
Bella was smiling but her face was still stressed. “O-okay!” She quickly got a pen and a piece of paper inside her handbag and jotted some of the important details about her fucking fiancé.
She handed it to me with shaking hands. I read some of it and nodded. “I’ll give this to Franco.” I motioned Rick to come closer who was standing a few inches from us, patiently waiting for me to finish talking to Bella. He walked towards me and bowed his head. I passed the note Bella gave and he took it.
“Tell them I’ll meet them at exactly 9 pm. If they’re late, they know what will happen.” I threatened and Rick obediently nodded his head. He also bowed at Bella before walking away to do what I told him.
“Grazie [Thank you] Matthias! Ti devo grande [I owe you big time].” She almost cried but of course, she didn’t.
I slightly smiled at her. “You’re such a pain the ass, woman.” I teased and she pouted at me.
“Oh, hi Bella. What’s wrong?” Earl asked as soon as she saw Bella and me approaching him.
Bella said she wanted to go and search for her husband but I told her that she should eat first before going anywhere. She looks like she’s been skipping lunch and dinner for a week now and making her sick was not a part of my agenda.
“Hi Earl.” She slightly smiled at Earl and he only raised his brows. He looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders.
“Her husband ran away.” I said and Earl gasped. Bella only smacked me on the shoulder.
“He didn’t run away! He disappeared! Disappeared, okay?!”
“Yeah, yeah, stop screaming.”
The three of us sat down on the table. Today, we decided to eat lunch in one of the French restaurant just a few meters away from the company.
We browsed the menu and finally decided on what to eat.
“Waiter.” Earl called one of the staffs and he walked towards us.
“Sì signore? È pronto per ordinare? [Yes sir? Are you ready to order?]” The waiter asked and Earl looked at me.
I smirked at him and he rolled his eyes at me. “Avrò uno dei Sole au Vin Blanc. [I’ll have one of the Sole au Vin Blanc.]” Matthias said to the waiter who only wrote his order down. “What about you?”
I pointed the beef stew and the waiter jotted it down as well.
We all looked at Bella who was only staring out of the window. I sighed and looked at the waiter. “Lei avrà la Bourride. [She’ll have the Bourride.]”
The man only smiled at us and repeated our orders. After that, he walked to the kitchen.
“Bella.” Earl called her but she was still in a trance.
I shook my head. “Snap out of it!” I snapped my fingers in front of her face and she jumped.
“W-what?!” She looked at us and I glared at her.
“I know you wanna find you douchebag of a fiancé but right now, you have to eat.” I grabbed the pretzels on the plate and I stuffed it inside her mouth. “Marge’s going to kill you if she’ll see you like this.”
Earl was eyeing us with worry. “Matthias…”
I froze when I noticed a red spot on Bella’s arm.
In an instant, I quickly pulled Bella away from the sniper laser target. All the people inside the restaurant gasped in shock.
“Fucking…!!!” I watched the bullet miss its target. The floor cracked because of the shot and everyone screamed once they realized that someone’s shooting at us.
“M-Matthias!!” Earl stood up and I quickly pulled him towards me. I kicked the table to provide us some cover. Everyone was running out of the restaurant, shrieking in fear of getting shot.
“W-what’s happening?!” Earl asked and I shushed him down.
Bella was glaring. “That fucking asshole!!”
“You know who’s doing this?” I asked and Bella nodded.
“Enzo.” She said and I clicked my tongue.
“Who the hell is Enzo?!” Earl asked and I bit my lips.
“Let’s just say he’s not someone nice.” I smirked at him and he groaned.
“How can you even smile at a time like this…?!” He stopped and shrieked when a car suddenly drove pass the restaurant, showering us with bullets from a machine gun. The windows of the restaurant shattered in thousands of pieces and everything was getting shot.
“Motherfucker!!” If it wasn’t for the table covering us, we might as well be dead.
Bella pulled out her gun and looked at me. “They won’t stop until we face them.”
I glared at her and she immediately knew what I was thinking. I can’t risk Earl’s life on this. She nodded and looked at me. “Move out of here, I’ll give you cover.”
I smirked at her and tossed her an extra gun from my holster. She got it and grinned at me. “Thanks. I work better with two in my hand.”
“Figures.” I grabbed Earl’s back and looked at him. “Dock and run, okay?”
Once we got out of the table, the gun shot continued, hitting almost everything on our way. Good thing Bella was providing us with defence. One by one, I can hear the people firing us we’re getting shot by Bella. Once it stopped, I kicked the broken door of the restaurant open. People from every corner of the streets were running away from the ruckus.
I swiftly ran towards my car and it automatically opened once we approached it. I threw Earl inside and heard him groan in pain but I ignore it. I still have to get Bella out of the resto.
“W-what about Bella?!”
“I’m getting her.” I stepped on the gas so hard and maneuverer the car towards the side where Bella was. I drifted to the sharp corner of the road and smirked when I saw the people firing her gasped when they saw that I was going to run them over.
Bodies flew everywhere and I stopped right in front of Bella.
She hastily ran towards my car. I opened the car windows and quickly shot the man who was about to chase after her. When she got in, I instantly drove straight on the road.
“Fuck, they’re still following us!” Bella said and I saw that there were three black cars right on our tail. I cursed and looked at Earl.
He panicked. “W-what?!”
“What? Do you wanna use the gun then?” I asked and he shook his head. We changed seats and I opened the car windows to shot the fuckers who were still following us.
“Fucking shitheads. Damaging my fucking car again.” I angrily muttered.
I can imagine Earl rolling his eyes. I concentrated on shooting the wheels of one of the cars that were chasing us.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
The car from the right loudly screeched after I shot the wheels. It immediately halted and finally flew across the road. I clicked my tongue and watched the car exploded into tiny pieces of debris.
I heard Earl cursed as he sharply turned to the corner. The car made a loud screech but it continued to drive through the empty road.
Bella was also shooting the cars behind us. I got back inside and looked at Earl. “Get out of the main road, now!”
Earl gritted his teeth. “Working on it!”
“What a bunch of assholes! I didn’t even manage to eat my lunch! I’M SO FUCKING HUNRGY!”
I ignored Bella’s remark and pointed at the left side of the road. Earl immediately turned the car on the way I was pointing.
“Shit, they’re still following us!”
“Fucking bastards!” I opened the secret hood of my car and Earl gasped when he saw the different kinds of pistols, machine guns, rifles, silencer and many more inside the secret cache.
Earl narrowed his eyes and I shrugged my shoulders. “What?”
He only shook his head and focused on driving. I threw Bella a machine gun and she expertly caught it. She quickly positioned behind the car seat, peaked half of her body outside the window and blasted the fuckers away with the gun I gave her.
“TAKE THAT YOU STUPID SHITS!!”
“What’s with the curses Bella?!” Earl asked and we heard Bella’s evil laughter.
“She’s definitely enjoying this.” I said and Earl snorted.
“Yeah, good thing one of us is having fun.”
I pushed Earl’s head to the side and quickly reloaded my gun to shot the motorcycle beside him. His body flew across the road and Earl gasped in fear.
“W-what the fuck was that?!”
“He was pointing a gun at you, didn’t you see?”
“Oh shit, this is not good.” Earl looked up and so did I, only to see a chopper hovering right above us.
I cursed and looked at Bella. “You have a lot of explaining to do Bella.” I muttered.
“What should we do?!”
My eyes widened when I saw that one of the bastards from the chopper was pointing a sniper rifle at us. “Fuck!” I quickly took the wheel from Earl and turned it to the right.
Earl screamed when our car drove straight into the bridge.
“We’re going to die!!” Earl braced himself and I rolled my eyes at him.
Bella quickly opened the car doors and jumped out of the vehicle before it hit the river. I pulled Earl close to me and banged the door open. It opened and I looked at Earl.
“I just wanna eat my lunch in peace!!” He said and I saw there were tears on his eyes. I wanted to laugh at how scared his face was but the guilt of dragging him into this kind of situation was already killing me.
I hugged him close to me and jumped out of the car. “That’s what you get for dating someone from the Mafia.”
Earl panted loudly beside me, huffing and coughing water at the same time. I was panting a little and sighed. “Fuck, I smell like shit.” I can’t believe we ended up in the most polluted river of Italy.
“What do you expect, we swam in a…” He huffed again. “I can’t breathe!”
I looked at him. “Just relax and sit up.” I guided his body towards mine and patted his back to cough the water out of his body.
“Well damn, where the hell is Bella?” I asked while I look around the empty riverbank.
Earl rubbed his wet hair and sighed. He looked around as well and groaned. “Now where the hell are we?”
“Somewhere downtown.” I answered. I stood up and so did Earl.
“What’re we going to do now?” He asked and I shrugged my shoulders. I cursed when I realized that I left my phone back at the restaurant.
“We need to find Bella.”
“Oh shit!” I heard Earl hollered a few meters away from me and I ran towards him. When I saw Bella’s floating body not far away from where we’re standing, I quickly dove into the water to get her. When I grabbed a hold of her body, I swiftly swam across the river to get her to dry land.
Earl helped me pull her body. “Oh shit, no. Bella! Bella!”
I pushed Earl aside to give Bella a CPR. I placed the heel of my palm on the center of her chest and started pumping. When she didn’t budge, I tilted her head back and lifted her chin before pinching her nose to close it. I breathed inside her mouth two times before starting to pump on her chest again.
Earl was anxiously waiting and when he saw that Bella’s chest was already rising, I stopped the CPR and gave her space to cough the water out.
She panted and coughed again before looking at us. Her eyes were still blurry but she easily recognized us.
“W-what happened?” Bella asked.
I sat on the floor in relief.
“Of course they are. And my car too.” I pouted a little and Earl smiled a little.
“You can afford another one, Sir.”
“I’m sorry. Oh God, I’m so sorry for bringing you to this situation Earl.” She looked at him and Earl shook his head.
“I’m glad that we’re still alive. That’s all that matters. Besides, I won’t date this idiot if I don’t know the danger he brings.” He pointed at me and I playfully glared at him.
“We need to find a place away from here.”
“Yeah, but could we find some clothes first? I’m freezing.”
I put the dark hat on Earl’s head and looked at Bella who was dressed in a heavy coat and a black bonnet. I nodded at them and proceeded to walk towards one of the inns in town. Looks like we we’re carried by the river to one of the closest town in Rome.
“Fuck. Where are we going now?” Earl asked. I looked at my wristwatch and saw that it was already 7 pm. Damn, I just remembered that Nicholas invited me to dinner.
“Let’s rent an inn and we’ll talk there.”
After we found a safe inn, we quickly went inside the room and Earl sighed in relief.
“I took off my bonnet and looked at Bella who was now taking off her coat. “Explain.”
She sighed and sat on the bed before looking at us with tired eyes. “A few months ago, my boss closed a deal with the people from Quarto.” I raised my brows at him.
“He lent them 60 million dollars but when we started to collect the debt, they started to fight back. They were threatening us first but I didn’t expect they’ll do this.”
“Why borrow that kind of money if they can’t even pay it off?” Earl muttered.
“Are you sure they’re the one who’s behind all of this?” I asked and Bella stared at me.
“Well not really since I’m not sure if it was the Quatro who hired Enzo and his men.”
What if this matter was the cause why Bella’s fiancé disappeared? Maybe, but the reason was too shallow. No one in their right minds will fight one of the most dangerous loan sharks in the Blackmarket.
They wanted to kill Bella.
“Are you feeling alright now, Bella?” Earl asked and Bella nodded with a smile.
“Sì. Thanks for asking, Earl.”
There’s no other way of finding out the truth.
I have to talk the old man.
I sighed and turned to the side to look outside the window. The heavy curtains were covering the view outside but I can still see some bits and pieces of what’s going on.
“Hey.” I looked at the sofa across for where I was lying and saw that Earl was looking at me. He took a quick glance on Bella who was soundly sleeping on the bed. She insisted that we should stay together in one room in case something happen.
“C-can I sleep beside you?” He asked in the cutest way I can ever imagine.
“Fine.” I patted the space beside me and he smiled. He silently walked towards me and lied down.
“Sorry we dragged you into this.” I mumbled and Earl only shook his head.
“Yeah, I guess I’m a little bit stunned.” Stunned? Well, things like these aren’t that crazy for Earl anymore. He’s been through a lot of dangerous stuffs anyway.
But I know I’ll always be there to protect him.
Damn, when did I get sappy?
He put his head on my shoulders and nuzzled my chest. “I’m glad you’re here with me.”
I smirked. “Yeah, if I weren’t, you’ll probably be dead by now.”
He chuckled for a moment before stopping and scowling. “Will everything be alright? I mean with Bella and her fiancé?” He asked and I shrugged.
“I’m not sure.” But I intend to find out what’s happening.
Earl was quiet for a moment. He looked up to me and sighed. “Don’t leave me, okay?”
I stared at him. “Is that even a question?”
He snorted and we both laughed.