CHAPTER SEVENTEEN - THE HEART THAT LOVES
“We need to talk.” Luca says. I take a deep breath and walk towards Luca, my mind whirling with what he's going to say about Marco and I. I'm an adult, and it's my choice, but still... I can't help but feel guilty, like I've done something wrong and am about to be scolded like a child.
I sit down on my bed next to Luca, carefully watching his reaction. He looks at me for a moment, then throws himself back on the bed and runs his hands over his face. Ok.... not what I was expecting.
“I don't know what to do...” He sounds so vulnerable and I wonder if this is about Marco after all.
“About what?” I ask. He sighs and looks up at me through his fingers.
“Natalie.... I like her... I really fucking like her...” he says. I smile as I take him in, he's like a lost little boy. “She drives me fucking insane! I can't stop thinking about her.... but... fuck! What would a woman like that want with a guy like me?” I look at him in shock, and then I can't help but laugh. He looks at me, frustrated by my reaction but I just shake my head.
“You two are ridiculous.” I say.
“What?” he says annoyed.
“Nat likes you too, Luca, but she thinks a guy like you wouldn't even look at a girl like her.” He looks at me like I've grown a second head.
“A girl like her? She's beautiful... perfect.” He says sincerely. I give him a sad smile.
“I know that. But she doesn't see herself the way we see her.” I say. He simply nods.
“So I have a chance?” he asks me. I laugh and nod.
“Yes, you have a chance, you just have to take it.” I tell him. He thinks for a moment.
“And you'd be ok with it? I mean, you've only been here 18 months, but you are my sister despite that. There's rules about hooking up with your sisters best friend.” He says. I look him in the eye.
“Are you just looking for a hook up?” I ask, my voice a warning. He shakes his head.
“No.... I want everything with her...” he says. I smile and pat his knee as he sits back up.
“Then I'm ok with it. You two have a chance to make each other incredibly happy... I will never stand in the way of that.” I say. He grins widely and pulls me into a hug.
“Thanks sis.” He says. I giggle and hug him back.
“You're welcome bro.” I reply. He laughs and stands up.
“Come on, we're all watching a movie.” I stand up and follow Luca towards my bedroom door, slightly relieved I dodged a bullet with the Marco thing when Luca stops and turns to me. “About Marco...” I look down at the floor as a blush stains my cheeks. Luca sighs and runs his hands through his hair.
“He's a player, Nicola, be careful with him.” He says, concern showing in his voice. I smile and nod.
“I know. He also lives in Italy. I'm under no illusion that it's anything more than a fling.” I tell him.
Luca nods, pursing his lips.
“A part of me wants to kick his ass for touching you... but you're an adult, and you deserve to experience life... but if he so much as hurts you...” he trails off. I nod and place my hand on his arm.
“Thanks Luca.” I say. He simply nods and walks out the door. I follow, sighing in relief that he hasn't hit the roof over it.
We walk into the lounge room where everyone is already settled in and the movie is ready to start. There's two spare seats, one next to Natalie where I would usually sit, and one next to Tony. I walk over and take the seat next to Tony, earning a confused look from Natalie. I simply wink at her, causing her to glare when she figures out Luca is now sitting next to her. I stifle a giggle as Tony leans over to me.
“Luca finally going to make a move?” I smirk and nod my head. “About fucking time!” Tony mumbles. I laugh quietly and turn towards the TV as The Castle starts to play.
I can't help sneaking glances at them during the movie, they appear to be moving closer to each other throughout the night. It's so cute, the subtle movements between them, the slight changes in body language between them. When the movie ends, we all head off to bed, only Luca and Natalie left in the lounge room. I'm sure I'll hear all about it tomorrow from Natalie, I just hope she's up in time for our next shift.
My alarm wakes me up at 5am and I groggily stumble out of bed and into the bathroom. I'd half expected Marco to visit my room last night, but I guess he got his fill from the shower session. Part of me is relieved. My mind is still reeling from the tenderness he showed me. I'm not sure how to take it. It was easier when he just left after he got what he wanted, at least then I knew where I stood, that it was just some fun. A carnal need. But Marco being sweet and kind is confusing.
I push the thoughts out of my head as I shower and dress, ready for another day of placement. As I walk out of my room I see Natalie sneaking out of Luca's room. She sees me and freezes, her cheeks blushing red making me giggle. Sheepishly she approaches me.
“So that's what that noise was last night...” I say as I wiggle my eyebrows at her. She slaps my arm with the back of her hand and turns even redder, letting out a little giggle.
“As if you can talk Miss "I got fucked in the shower"” she whispers loudly. Now it's my turn to blush and lower my head. She laughs and links her arm with mine. “Come on, let’s grab some breakfast and head to work, you can fill me in on the Italian god on the way.”
“Only if you tell me about you and Luca.” I reply. A smile forms on her face at the mention of his name.
“Deal.” She says as we walk downstairs.
Marco stayed with us for two weeks. Every day after our shift, Natalie and I would swim in the pool, joined more often than not by Marco and Luca. At night, Marco would either join me in the shower or come to my room. But he never left straight away, instead either washing my body with tenderness or holding me in his strong arms until I fell asleep. I always woke up alone, but I found myself more and more drawn to him, not just physically.
By the time he left I had developed feelings and had cried in the solitude of my room. I missed him. I missed his arms, his lips, his smile. I know it was stupid of me to catch feelings, he lived in Italy and it was just a fling. But my heart didn't care. It wanted him.
Natalie never returned to her house after that first night with Luca. They'd kept their relationship a secret, or so they thought, for a while. But we all knew Natalie wasn't sleeping in the guest room. No one said anything, allowing their relationship to blossom behind closed doors until they were ready to announce it to the world.
It took them three months to come clean, and they have been growing stronger each day since. I honestly believe they are soul mates, the way Luca looks at Natalie is the same way Rafael looks at Angelina. So much love and devotion in his eyes it makes my heart hurt. Would I ever have that? I can't help but think of Marco. He never looked at me like that. Lust was in his eyes, not love. But could it grow into love? Or is the feeling immediate? I don't think I will ever know.
Natalie and I were both offered jobs when our placement ended. Myself in the emergency ward and Natalie in the surgical ward. We both decided to continue onto university to do our bachelor of nursing, having our diploma already would cut the time it took to get our degree in half. That was over a year ago now.
Natalie and I celebrated our 20th birthdays together, talked at length when she was scared to tell Luca she loved him, only for him to say it first. We celebrated another Christmas and New Years and worked long shifts throughout the year. Marco and I had kept in touch after he left this time, sending text messages often enough that my heart still raced when his name popped up on the screen. He would tell me about Italy and said he missed me. I couldn't wait for him to return, my heart hoping that maybe something will become of us.
He hadn't messaged me for a week, his messages stopping around the same time that Luca and Tony would have landed in Italy. They were ask to attend to represent our family at some secret function. No one was really sure what was going on, only that they were needed. It would only be a quick trip, Tony and Luca due to return this afternoon. I know Natalie couldn't wait as she sat beside me on my bed, painting my nails and glancing at the door. I giggled at her obvious impatience.
“He will be home soon, calm your tits.” I say. She laughs at my use of words.
“One of Judy's?” she asks and I nod, smiling as I remember my old friend.
“I just miss him, it's the longest we've been apart since we got together.” Natalie sighs and I nod in understanding.
“I'm jealous of you and Luca.” I tell her. Admitting what I had kept to myself for so long. She furrows her brows and looks up at me.
“I thought you were ok with us... I mean...” Her eyes fill with worry and I place my free hand over hers, shaking my head.
“No, I'm fine with you guys, I'm jealous of what you have... the way he looks at you.” I say with a shrug. “I'll never have that.”
“Of course you will... I know you have feelings for Marco but he's not it for you, when you find him you will know.” She says. I give her a sad smile.
“Even if I do find it... I'll never be able to keep it.” I say sadly.
“Why not?” she asks. I sigh, not really wanting to think about the reality of my life.
“Eventually... father will find me here... and I'll have to run... and he'll find me wherever I end up and I'll leave there too.” I say, pushing back the tears that are beginning to burn my eyes. Tears spring to Natalie's eyes and I immediately regret bringing it up.
“Luca, Rafael and Tony will do whatever it takes to protect you.” Natalie says and I nod.
“Yeah... but I know that to protect me... it may mean me having to leave.” I tell her softly. Natalie shakes her head as a tear rolls down her face.
“No.. I can't lose you... you're the best friend I've ever had. You get me.” She sobs. I pull her into my arms, watching my wet nails and squeeze her tight.
“Even if I eventually have to run, we will find a way to stay in touch.” I promise her. She squeezes me tight then pulls away. We pull our thoughts away from the negative and chat about random things when the door swings open.
Natalie's squeal tells me who it is before I see him walk through my bedroom door. She's off the bed and in Luca's arms in an instant. He laughs as he holds her tight, peppering her face with kisses. I smile at them, my thoughts drifting to Marco and the possibility of us being like that one day. Luca lets her go and looks at me nervously as he approaches and pulls me into a hug. I hug him back and pull away, looking into his eyes I see concern and sadness.
“What's wrong?” I ask. He sighs and looks down at his hands, before pulling me back to my bed and gesturing for me to sit down. I sit, not taking my eyes off of him as my mind races with possibilities.
“There's something I have to tell you... it's about Marco.”