“Dad! Why didn’t you guys call me last night? I fell asleep waiting for you to call.” Izabella pouted at her laptop screen and her father laughed and she saw Sean chuckle from Jacob’s laptop, sticking his tongue out at her.
“I figured it would be late over there and decided to let you sleep. I didn’t want you getting bags. By the way, didn’t you see the text I sent you?” Mr. Knight questioned his daughter with a raised brow and she furrowed her brows.
“Text?” She asked, reaching for her phone and unlocking it. Sure enough, there was a message from him, one that told her they were fine.
Izabella gave the two an embarrassed smile as Jacob patted her head.
“Anyway, princess. We need to get back to work. Sean and I have a meeting in five minutes. Have a great day.” Mr. Knight said and Izabella nodded.
“You too." She replied and Jacob ended the video chat.
“Ready to go?” He asked her and she nodded, standing up from the sofa.
“Just let me get something.” Izabella walked into the kitchen and grabbed a bag of gummies from the fridge before walking back into the living room and picking up her cross bag.
She followed Jacob into his car and waved at Leo who was sitting in the garden.
“I think we should find Leo a new job.” She spoke up when they had exited the compound and Jacob gave her a puzzled look.
“Has he done something? Why do you want him to get a new job?” Izabella furiously shook her head and turned to look at her older brother incredulously.
“Of course not! I just don’t need a chauffeur that I rarely ever use. Do you have any vacancies at work?” Jacob nodded.
“A few, but they’re all in Moscow.” The two siblings became silent as they thought. They both knew they couldn’t send Leo to work in a country so far away, especially in his father’s old age.
Besides, Izabella wanted Lea to set sail and that wasn’t going to be possible with Leo being thousands of miles away.
“Those persons who were leaking information have been caught?” Izabella questioned and Jacob nodded.
“Leo does have a degree in computer engineering and Information Technology. I honestly don’t know why he even thought of being a chauffeur.” Jacob told her as he stopped at a red light, glancing in her direction to see her reaction.
“He does?” She jerked forward and Jacob smiled, nodding. Leo was a very brilliant man and she couldn’t understand why he would choose a job that was too poor for someone with his qualifications.
“Can you possibly transfer someone and replace them with Leo?” Izabella quietly asked, not sure if it was the right thing to suggest. Jacob seemed to be in deep thought for a few seconds and the light turned green just as he answered her.
“Yes. I know someone who’ll be happy to get a transfer.” The young female smiled and thanked him as he stopped in front of the café.
Izabella was once again the only person in the front of the café around seven fifteen and she was wiping the tables when the bell above the door rang, signalling someone had entered.
Not thinking about who it could have been, she turned around and frowned at the man. He was the same one who had asked for her number the previous day.
“Good eve-“ There was no chance to reply as his hand clamped around her mouth, effectively ceasing her words as he dragged her fighting body out of the café.
The neighbourhood Izabella was in was not known for having crimes committed so it was known to be relatively safe, though a little precaution never hurt.
The man’s hand smelt of dirt and cigarettes. Her back was flush against his front, giving her a fair knowledge of his intentions, if she hadn’t already figured out. The man dragged her into the dark alley at the side of the café and slammed her body hard against the concrete wall.
“You like playing hard to get?” He questioned darkly, his eyes roaming her trembling figure.
Izabella wasn’t able to process anything, too stunned from the hit and she couldn’t see clearly.
The man wet his cracked lips and yanked off her apron, casting it aside like the useless cloth it was in that moment.
“We’re going to have so much fun.” He chuckled, his hands squeezing her throat and popping open the buttons of her plaid shirt, revealing the fitted black tank top she wore underneath it.
Izabella had long regained her senses, trying to make some sort of noise, but his hand around her throat was constricting, stopping any sort of sound willing to escape.
The only thing left to do was fight, and that is just what she did. Flailing her legs and arms about like a person possessed, she managed to slap the man hard, his dirty cheek becoming pink from the hit and the man growled, ripping off her shirt and squeezing her throat until it burned her.
She didn’t feel the cold air, too scared for herself.
She knew if she didn’t get oxygen soon enough, she was going to pass out and she couldn’t afford to do that because the man would have his way with her.
Izabella felt his hand touch her bare stomach and flinched from its coldness, he had slipped his hand under her top.
His breath was stink with alcohol and his red eyes showed he wasn’t in his right mind.
There was no way this man was ever going to stop. Tears filled her eyes at that thought.
Just as Izabella’s eyes were closing, the man’s weight was removed and there was a threatening, frightful growl.
“Wrong. I’m going to have so much fun.” The man who had saved her life spoke and his sentence was followed by a sickening crack, probably the sound of his fist connecting with the disgusting man’s face, but Izabella couldn’t care.
She dropped to the cold, dirty alley floor in a small heap, coughing and wheezing hysterically.
The colour returned to her face and she was able to breathe once again. Her entire body felt weak and the sounds around her were faint.
She feebly rose her hands to her throat and hissed when her fingers grazed it, immediately regretting her actions as she began coughing violently.
“Izabella! Where are you?” Amelia’s voice seemed to be coming from all directions and even if Izabella wanted to reply, she couldn’t. Her throat was too raw and talking would irritate it more.
“Izabella!” She felt hands on her body and jerked away, still in shock from the previous events, but relaxed the moment she recognized the voice.
“Oh my goodness! What did he do to you? I should have been there.” Izabella was partially glad that Amelia wasn’t there though. It wouldn’t have made a difference, the man would either have knocked her out or killed her.
“Enrico! That’s enough. You’ll kill him!” Amelia shrieked and it was only then that Izabella realized who her saviour was.
He had saved her once again.
“Fiore?” His deep voice sounded breathless and gave her chills. Only just realizing she was just wearing jeans and a tank top in such cold weather, Izabella shivered.
Something warm was placed around her body and she felt herself being pulled into his chest, the warmth radiating from him and the distinct smell of his cologne calmed her and she willed her eyes to open.
The first thing she saw was a pair of sorrowful, angered grey-green eyes.
“Enrico.” It was the first time she had said his name and even in a time like that, it did things to him. She hadn’t meant to say it, it just slipped out and it felt natural to say, like it was her place to say it.
Enrico pulled her closer than she thought possible and buried his head in her shoulder, being careful not to cause her throat pain.
Izabella would’ve normally been freaked out, but at that moment, the gesture seemed comforting.
Seeing the great Enrico Silvano cuddling with a girl was an occurance deemed impossible by many, but there he was, cuddling a girl, not just any girl though, he was cuddling his love, his fiore.
Amelia decided to leave them alone so she walked back into the café and gathered Izabella’s things, preparing to close the shop.
Izabella felt small tingles erupting from her neck and shifted a bit. When the tingles were replaced by a soft, damp feeling, she stiffened in realization.
Enrico was kissing her neck, his lips caressing the large bruise that had already formed.
“Does it hurt much?” He asked, his lips barely leaving her neck as he spoke and Izabella swallowed, ignoring the pain she felt while doing so.
“Y-yes.” She said and he hummed, planting the softest kiss on the base of her neck, just above her collarbone before pulling away.
His arms remained wrapped around her small frame as he stared at her face.
“I’ll kill that bas-” He stopped his sentence when he caught sight of Izabella’s panicked expression.
“No.” She croaked and he sighed, allowing himself to revel in their close proximity.
Enrico noticed a smudge of dirt on her left cheek and brushed it away, tenderly kissing her forehead simultaneously.
He knew it was dangerous to show affection like that, especially in the open, but took the chance as it was dark and no cars or people were passing.
“I’ll have him imprisoned then.” Izabella nodded, pleased at his words and made a move to get out of his hold, but he tightened his grip on her, shaking his head and letting a few dark strand of his messy hair fall into his eyes.
“You’re not walking. You’re coming with me.”