“Silvia, wait! I can’t run after you with these damn things!”
“Good! Stay behind and let ‘Liv’ cuddle you.” She spat, slamming the door behind her. She didn’t even give me time to explain. Hell, she didn’t even give me time to say a single word. One moment we saw Olivia appear at the door, the other Silvia was grabbing her things, and storming out.
With the crutches it was impossible to keep up with her pace, and when I tried to get rid of them, my knee killed me. I shuffled to get to the damn elevator, but by the time I did, she was already gone. “For fuck’s sakes, woman, be reasonable for once!” I punched the wall, frustrated.
I knew since the beginning that being with Silvia Banchi would be a never-ending rollercoaster that would make me feel dizzy, but I balanced the pros with the contra and the pros won. Every time. Now this is what I get. Then again it is my fault, after all. I omitted that little detail about Olivia and I’s sleeping arrangement.
These weeks have been amazing yet frightfully open. Silvia and I have been mushy and cheesy and corny, yet we’ve also delved into deeper waters, soaking ourselves to the core.
We’ve talked about her, mostly. About Matilde and the bond they had. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times did Silvia cry these weeks. Actually, we could have shown you, but the author and I-uh ... I mean, I decided it was best to skip all the heartbreaking and core-wrenching moments. We’ve had enough of those, haven’t we?
Yet it seems it’s not over. Then again, when is it ever?
“What happened?” Olivia asked, as if completely unaware of the fact that she just broke me up with my girlfriend.
"You happened, Liv. You. Worst timing ever, damnit.” I spat.
She blinked her eyes, taken aback. “I don’t understand, what ...”
I snapped to her, livid, pointing at the closed elevator. “That was the love of my life ditching me because you just had to have the worst timing ever, Olivia.” I growled, rubbing the bridge of my nose. “Goddamit, I was trying to get to the part where I tell her I live with my ex, did you have to just barge in like that?”
She frowned, crossing her arms. “I live here, too. I thought I had every right to come back home whenever.”
I scoffed. “No, you don’t. You momentarily share this place until you get back on your feet. This is my place, not yours, not ours, but mine. And you can’t just barge in like that, calling me names, acting like a girlfriend. I do have a girlfriend, and it’s the woman you just chased out, for fuck’s sakes!”
Olivia stepped back, evidently hurt. In other circumstances I might have tried to be gentler, but these damn shenanigans have stretched out for even too long. I should have told Silvia since the beginning, yes, I know, don’t be a smartass now. I just ... couldn’t find the words. She’ll never admit it, but she’s a jealous type, so how could I just flat out tell her I’m currently living with my ex for whom I still care and that, accidentally, still loves me and that, also accidentally, is kinda convinced we’re in a defining our relationship phase?
Ok. I see those glares there, ladies. It’s my fault. I’m a jerk, I know. But you still love me, tsk. I told you since the beginning I was bad news, so now just roll with it.
“You know I’m not gonna leave until you talk to me, right?” I grumbled, sliding along the door to sit on the floor. I’ve knocked seventeen times already, but all I’ve received are threats to my life and my manhood. It’s probably not very safe to stay, given that I’m not in my best shape and she’s one hell of a fighter, but giving up was never in my DNA.
“We can keep going forever, baby. I’m not moving until you open the door and let me in. You know how stubborn I am.” Predictably, she didn’t answer. I’ve been here for half an hour already, after the threats, she decided to move on to the silence treatment. I’m not sure whether that’s an improvement or a bad sign because it means she’s plotting my murder in details.
“I’m gonna suppose you’re behind the door, so I’m gonna talk either way.” I announced loudly. She’s probably gonna kill me for that, too, because she hates it when people know her business, but I’d rather face one matter at a time. After all, it’s better if she kills me for letting her neighbors know we fought than because she thinks I cheated.
I know Silvia Banchi. A woman like that, when you’ve wronged her and she threatens your family jewels, you’d be a fool not to take her seriously. She almost castrated me only for teasing her the first time in the elevator, this time she might seriously go all Lorena Bobbit on me.
“Nothing happened between Olivia and I, alright?” I said loud and clear. “She needed a place to stay and I offered it. She’s been in a bad situation, I was just trying to help.” No answer. Predictable. I’m probably gonna have to crawl at her feet to even only get her to talk to me, which in my conditions might be kinda tricky, but oh, the things one does for love, huh?
I know it looks as bad as it possibly could. I mean, we’ve been dating for a month now, yet I never told her my ex lives with me. Even I can see that’s stupid. Olivia, the one girl I’ve cared for before her, the one girl that’s managed to push through the layers of darkness and get a place in my corrupted heart, is there, sleeping just one room away from mine, still in love with me, and convinced I have yet to decide whether I want to take a chance on us or not. Fucked up doesn’t even begin to define it. Of course she’s pissed. I could have told her on day one, but I didn’t. Stupid coward that I am.
“I know it looks bad, but it’s the truth. Olivia’s been living with me for a month now, and before that, we spent two months together. She came from a rough situation, and I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t at least try to help her. I know that, if you could reason right now, you’d understand why I did what I did.”
I waited a couple of moments because I heard shuffling, but Silvia didn’t open the door. Instead, from the door opposite to hers, a little girl, aged 5-6, came out. She had big brown eyes, and long hazel hair. Funny enough, she kinda looked like a baby Silvia. But maybe it’s just my lovesick mind playing tricks.
The little girl had a phone in her hand when she came to stand right before me, looking at me quizzically.
“Hi?” I greeted, confused. “Should you be out here? Won’t your mother worry or something?” I really don’t have time to deal with kids.
“Mommy says that if I see a strange man outside and we don’t know him I should call 911.” She said on the phone.
I frowned. “What?”
“Stranger danger.” She said to me.
“If I’m stranger danger, why are you talking to me, kiddo?”
She shrugged. “Because you don’t look dangerous.” I wonder if I should start hanging a cartel that says the exact opposite on my neck. KEEP OUT: I’M BAD NEWS. Will they get it then?
“Alright, so who’s on the phone? Police or your mommy?”
“Who’s Lily?” The little girl pointed behind me, at Silvia’s door. “You mean Sissy?”
“No ... Lily. She’s my friend. I spend Saturdays with her, but lately she was busy, now she’s here and I go to her while mommy sleeps because she’s tired from work. But you block my way and my mommy says that I can’t talk to strangers, but if I don’t talk to you then you don’t move and I can’t go to Lily. Also Lily says you have to let me pass.”
I frowned, befuddled. She barely took a breath to say all that. Kids nowadays. Lily’s probably some nickname she uses for Silvia ... wait ... “So Silvia-I mean, Lily’s on the phone right now?” I stretched my hand to get the device. “Can I speak to her, please? It’s important.”
The kid stepped back, holding the phone to her ear. “She says she don’t want to speak to you.”
“And why does she talk to you?” I grumbled.
“I’m her friend.”
“Well, I’m her boyfriend.” I scoffed.
The little girl tilted her head to the side, studying me closely. “No, you’re not.”
“No.” She blew raspberries at me.
“No ... Ryan is cute and sweet.” She grimaced. “You’re grumpy and you make Lily sad.” She kicked my foot.
The girl stuck out her tongue to me. “You’re mean.”
“You just kicked my foot yet I am mean?” I scoffed. “Where’s your mother? Why the hell are you on your own?”
She gasped. “You cussed!”
“Yeah, big deal ... why don’t you go home and let me talk to Lily there?” I tried to grab the phone, but she didn’t let me.
“No!” She blew raspberries at me again, stepping back.
“Hey, I don’t have time for this,” I stood, not much easily, holding onto to the damn crutches, “just give me the damn phone, and go home, kid.”
“Come on, kiddo. I’ll buy you candy.”
“I can’t eat candy, mommy says it hurts my teeth.”
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, I’ll buy you whatever. Just give me the damn phone.”
She pouted, sending me a dirty look. “Mommy says Baby Jesus cries every time you cuss.”
I snorted. “That’s bullshit mothers say. Give me the goddamn phone.”
She gasped, covering her mouth with her little hand. “You called God in train!”
“You mean in vain. And yeah, whatever. Just-”
“Lily says she don’t want to speak to you and that if you’re mean to me, she will kick your bummy.” The child laughed, still holding the phone against her ear. “She says you’re a big bad man and I can kick you.”
I rolled my eyes, turning back to the door. “Oh, really mature, baby, really mature. What next? You gather your army of kindergartners, and have them throw poop at me?”
The little girl giggled, amused, but when I turned to her she stuck out her tongue to me. She seriously looked a lot, lot like Silvia. I can just picture baby Silvia being exactly like that. Wait ...
Nah. She’s a virgin. She doesn’t ... no, come on, I’m just tired and paranoid. Tsk. Talk about having hallucinations. I mean, if she’d had a daughter with Sir Douche or even before that, I would know it. Also, she wouldn’t claim she’s a virgin while in fact she isn’t. Goddamit, this whole situation has fucked up my brain cells as well.
“Lily says you need to go home.” The little girl told me, phone always at her ear.
I scoffed. “I’m not going home until she opens the damn door.” I raised my voice. “And it’s not going to be a kid to stop me.”
The child listened to the phone. “She says, if you don’t go home, she comes out and she make you hurty in your weenie.”
I shrugged. “Whatever that means. Here I am.”
The kid waited a couple of moments on the phone, then she hung up. She came closer, enough to stare at me from her short angle, and I stared at her. I might be totally nuts, but I think Silvia and I’s daughter will look exactly like this little one here.
Finally, after a long, long minute of a stare contest whose result was to make me waver in my resolutions other than have the child cower back in fear, the door behind me was opened ajar.
“Come in, Lulu.” I heard Silvia’s voice mutter. In other circumstances I would have just snapped to her, but with the crutches it was tricky, so I turned around as fast as I could, but the child was faster than I in running to my girlfriend, and she nearly toppled me. I barely made it to placing one crutch on the threshold.
The child, Lulu, stuck to Silvia’s leg, my girlfriend’s hand on her head, and they both stared at me, one in amusement and annoyance, the other in clear hatred.
“I won’t have qualms in taking the crutch, and slamming the door in your face.” Silvia spat.
I sighed, relaxing my muscles a little. “Baby, come on ... you gotta give me at least one chance to explain ...”
“You did.” She gritted her teeth. “You said you live with your ex. You have for a month. You said you spent those two months alone with her. And you failed to tell me all that. That, in my book, speaks loud and clear.”
“No, it’s not all, I-”
“I don’t care if she had a rough situation. I’m not mad at you for helping her, whatever the situation was. I’m this close to kicking your ...” she glanced at the child, who was curiously listening, and covered her ears, “I’m this close to kicking your ass, crutches or not.”
“Why do you jump to conclusions so fast? Don’t I have right to a second chance? I told you nothing happened. Olivia lives with me because she hasn’t found a place nor a job yet.”
Silvia scoffed. “You once told me, 7 times out of 10, if one wants a job in this city, they’ll have to do with your family. If she’s so close to the heir to Watson Holdings, it shouldn’t be this hard for her to get a job, don’t you think?”
“She doesn’t want my help. I said I’d put in a good word or something, but she says she wants to do it on her own.”
Silvia laughed humorlessly. “Yeah, ask yourself why.”
I furrowed my brows. “No, come on, Olivia is not like that. She wouldn’t use such tricks” ... I think. You never know, if you sleep with the dog, you’re bound to get fleas.
“So you do admit she has feelings for you.”
Damnit. “Yes, but-”
“So let me get this straight, your ex girlfriend, the one and only Olivia that ever managed to get to your heart, is still in love with you. She lives at your place, shares your every angle. You’ve spent two months alone with her on the road, and now she’s your roommate. And you seriously have the nerve to come here and tell me it’s not what I think?!” She raised her voice, gently pushing the child behind to come face me, slapping the crutch away from the threshold. “You’re lucky I haven’t killed you yet, tu brutto bastardo traditore e bugiardo.”
“I have no idea what you just called me but I’m pretty sure I’m not it.” I grimaced. “Maybe a bastard yeah, but not for the reasons you think.” I sighed. “I’m a bastard because I led Olivia on, unable to tell her the truth about you. I was a coward. In both ways. I didn’t have the guts to tell you about her, nor her about you.” And now it’s blown up in my face.
“I just ... it was going so well between us, I didn’t want to spoil it. And we had ... our time was more focused on ... other stuff.” Uh. Bad move. Silvia sent me a blood-freezing glare, her jaw clenching.
“Answer just this. Did you or did you not sleep with Olivia?”
“I told you nothing happened. She just lives with me for the time being, I-”
“Did you or did you not sleep with Olivia?”
“I said no, we’re basically roommates, nothing to worry about, we-”
“Jake Watson,” Silvia hissed, fire blaring in her hazel eyes, all her muscles tensing up while the child behind her awed, “I give you one last chance. If you lie to me again, you will regret it for the rest of your life.” She barked. “You just try, one more time, just one, to lie to me, and I will ...” she eyed the little girl. Silvia took a step closer, hissing against my face. “Lie to me one time again, just try me.”
“Silvia ...” I sighed.
“Did you or did you not sleep with Olivia?!”
“Ok, fine! Fine! Yes, I did! But it was way before we got together, hell, it was before the accident! It was a mistake, and I dearly regret it because now she thinks there’s something while there isn’t, and I’m sorry, I need to clear the air between us, but come on! I didn’t cheat! It was over 8 weeks ago. We weren’t together.”
Silvia’s jaw looked like it was on the verge of being crushed. Her eyes were mere slits as she shot daggers at me. If looks could kill, I would have been stabbed to death a thousand times already. ”Sei un uomo morto.”