“See you tonight.” Izabella kissed Sean’s cheek before exiting his car and walking into the café, unaware of grey-green eyes watching her.
The bell above the door rang as she pushed the door open.
“Good morning, Amelia.” She greeted the older woman who was sipping on a cup of coffee.
“Good morning, dear.” She replied and smiled at the young female.
Izabella walked to the back of the café and rested her bag down before grabbing her apron and wrapping it around herself, tying it around her waist.
“I’m flipping the sign.” She told Amelia and walked to the glass. She looked across the street and saw a man bracing against a car.
He was wearing dark sunglasses and a black suit. He was staring right at her, as far as she could tell and the moment she looked at him, he got into his car and drove away.
Izabella shook the stalker vibes rising in her and flipped the sign before walking back into the kitchen and preparing the ingredients for cakes and pastries.
After an hour and a half, she took the frosted cakes and chilled pastries out and placed them into the glass case outside.
There were already a few customers at some tables, most of them were women chatting with their friends. The low hum of their laughter and talking blended with the homely feeling of the café and Izabella smiled to herself as she sliced the cakes and put them in the glass case.
Amelia walked over to her and snatched up a fresh pastry, having just finished serving a customer.
Izabella chuckled at the older woman and shook her head.
“Did you deliver the leftover pastries to the shelter?” She asked Amelia who nodded.
“Yes. I had Marcy accompany me. She seemed to enjoy herself.” She laughed at her words as she stuffed the rest of the pastry into her mouth.
Marcy was one of Amelia’s long-time friends from high school. They had been neighbours for years before actually talking in junior year. Also, she was Tyson’s mother and Izabella realized that was how Amelia knew of his crush on her because Amelia never visited the orphanage.
“That’s good. How is she, by the way? All better?” Marcy had been sick for the past two weeks with very high fever and migraines.
Hearing she was able to get out of the house and walk around was extremely good news to Izabella. The woman was a lively person and found it depressing to have to lie in bed and stay indoors all day.
Her husband was taking care of her and he often complained to Amelia about how grumpy she was.
The older woman nodded, laughing a little.
“Yes. She was literally jumping around when I asked her to accompany me. Tyler had to save her from falling over.” Tyler was Marcy’s husband, he was a sweet man in his late fifties with black and white hair. He was short and had chubby cheeks, something Izabella thought made him appear cute.
“That’s great to hear.” She smiled and walked over to the cashier to assist the man waiting.
“Good morning. What can I get you?” The man eyed her with an lustful glint in his eyes before he spoke.
“Your number.” Izabella mentally gagged. The man wasn’t handsome and neither was he ugly and besides, he seemed to be in his late forties, twice Izabella’s age.
“Smooth.” She drily muttered under her breath before plastering on a faux smile and rolling her eyes, giving the man the impression that she was amused.
“Anything on the menu?” She asked and the man shook his head.
“No. I’m going to sit over there and think of ways to get your number.” Izabella wondered how he was so open about it, then again, not everyone was like her.
"Izabella! Can you lock up today? I need to deliver this food to the shelter and Marcy wants to go see a movie." Amelia yelled from the front of the café and Izabella walked out of the back room to give her a nod.
“Sure. Have fun. Tell Marcy I’m glad she’s feeling better.” Izabella helped her fetch the containers of leftover food to the car just outside the café and hugged her.
“Stay safe.” Amelia said as she got into the car, waving as she drove off.
Izabella sighed and looked up at the dark sky. The sun had long gone down and the moon had appeared, giving the dark sky a dull sheen. There were no stars and Izabella loved that about the night.
She had always had a fondness for starless nights where it had either a full moon or a crescent.
“Fiore.” Izabella’s head snapped to the right and brown eyes met grey-green.
Enrico stared down at her small form, he was finally able to see her full body in the apron, since she had been hiding behind that counter the last time and he imagined her in his kitchen, baking and cooking for him.
“Mr. Silvano.” She said softly and though he wanted her to call him by his name, something stopped him.
“Are you closed?” He asked, glancing at the open glass door and back to her.
Izabella shook her head, ushering him into the café despite her nerves.
As they entered the building, she recalled the last time he was there and how starstruck she was when he had drunk from her cup. Thankfully, there was no cup for him to drink from this time.
She exhaled deeply and walked behind the counter, working up the courage to look him in the eyes once again.
“I’ll have the chocolate latte with peppermint.” Enrico spoke first, unknowingly saving her from having to use her temporarily non-existent voice.
Izabella nodded and collected the money, gave him his change and walked over to the coffee machine.
Enrico’s eyes followed her every movement like a hawk. He was drinking in the sight of her.
He knew he was putting her in great danger by just being seen around her, but he just couldn’t stay away.
He longed for her and the knowledge that he couldn’t have her ate at his heart, gnawing like a starved rodent.
If he were to be completely honest, he was a mess before her, easily angered and miserable.
It was practically the reason his members thought he was going insane when he stopped blowing up like a lit fuse. None of them had any idea that it was all because of a girl, one he had never talked to.
The thought of how stupid he was back then to deprive himself of listening to his fiore’s voice made him laugh at himself though interacting with her was just as stupid.
Many times, his brain short circuited and his thoughts became jumbled, all because of her. No one else was able to have such an effect on him and it bothered him. She had the power to break him and for someone as powerful and independent as Enrico, the feeling was foreign.
He couldn’t remember what it was like to be dependent on someone, waiting for them to provide and do stuff for you. For more than half of his life he had been an adult mentally and it made him miss out on his childhood.
He often wondered if he would have been like he was if he had gotten a normal childhood, then again, normal wasn’t society’s normal for him.
His normal was witnessing abuse and murder, his normal was not crying when a loved one crushed you. His normal was everything society deemed abnormal.
For him, his life was normal and it was one of the reasons Izabella attracted him.
Despite her unbelievable beauty, she was innocent. Her eyes always reflected her personality for those who could’ve seen and it always came to light whenever she cared for someone.
The way she could always see the bright side of everything sparked interest in him and he wanted her to remain that way. She was the only white flower in a field of dead, blood-soaked flowers, the only pure one.
Yes, it was people like him that used people like Izabella, but he would never use her. She was too precious to him and he would never allow anyone to take advantage of her.
She had to remain pure and he would make sure she stayed that way.
“Mr. Silvano? Are you ok? Hello?” Enrico’s eyes snapped up to see Izabella waving a hand in front of his face, hers was a picture of a puzzle, reflecting how confused she was.
She had been calling his name for quite a while and he hadn’t responded.
Without thinking, Enrico reached out and held her wrist in his, the skin contact igniting fire within him and sending pleasurable sparks all over his body, starting from where his skin touched hers.
Her skin was relatively warm and pale.
Izabella’s face flamed out of both embarrassment and shock. She hadn’t expected to feel so lightheaded at his touch, it was exhilarating.
Enrico looked up and smiled at her red face, making the young girl blush more, not knowing the effect his smile was having on her.
Izabella was shocked at how gorgeous he was. Sure, he had smiled at her before, but she was just beginning to notice him.
At first glance, there was no denying that Enrico was handsome, but if you looked closer, you would see the little details that composed him.
He had a small mole just under his right eye, it was barely noticeable because of it’s size and colour, but she noticed it. As they stared into each other’s eyes, Izabella noticed his eyes weren’t just grey-green, they also had small specks of blue and gold around the edges of his irises and she looked away, too shy to continue staring at him.
Enrico instantly released her wrist, clearing his throat and picking up the cup of latte in front of him.
“S-sorry.” He shocked himself when he stuttered because he never did, but shook it off, already getting used to the effect she had on him.
Enrico wasn’t the only one stunned though, Izabella’s eyes widened at his words and she decided to not linger on it.
She had definitely heard wrong because Enrico Silvano did not stutter and never did. To her, hearing him stutter was impossible and highly unreasonable.