He couldn’t believe it, she was finally awake.
After three and a half years, her eyes were open and her unusual sea-like irises were on him, just like before.
That familiar yet strange smile formed on her thin, rosy lips and in no time, she was full-out grinning, displaying her perfect set of teeth.
“Enrico.” She spoke, the sound of her voice reaching his ears and he felt that familiar pang he always felt whenever she spoke.
Her voice was just like his mother’s and just the sound of it had him reminiscing in those horrific, unwanted memories.
“Enrico?” She questioned and he focused on her rather than the floor he hadn’t realized he was staring at.
“Yes?” He stepped closer, observing her with his stormy grey-green eyes.
Luciana watched in amusement as her brother approached her cautiously.
“Hi.” She smiled as he poked her cheek, making sure she was really there.
“Hi.” He replied, stepping closer and pulling her into his chest.
“You’re awake.” He whispered and Luciana giggled, pinching his chest and laughing when he slapped her hand away.
“Of course I am, can’t you see? Has my little brother gone blind at such a tender age?” She teased and Enrico scowled.
“I’m not little anymore.” He blankly stated and Luciana nodded, eyeing him in understanding.
“Yeah. You grew up so fast.” Enrico hated being reminded of his past and every time she spoke like that, the memories came flooding back.
“Why are there n doctors checking your vitals?” He asked instead, subtly changing the subject.
“Bryan already checked.” He nodded.
“I have to go now. I’ll be back after dinner. Don’t wait up.” He ruffled her hair and walked out, her being four years older than him didn’t stop him from treating her like she was younger than him.
She was always the immature one, laughing and giggling at the slightest thing.
He wanted to hug her and tell her how much he missed and loved her, but he didn’t, he couldn’t.
He was only that open with his fiore and she was helping him since if Luciana had woken up a month ago, he wouldn’t have even hugged her.
Luciana knew her brother loved her and just how much, so she really didn’t have a problem with him subtly showing her, but she was shocked when he was able to hold a conversation that was somewhat normal.
The last time she was awake, he was a rock and she was curious about his sudden change in behaviour.
She pressed the button on the side of her bed and waited for a nurse to come.
Soon enough , a young woman dressed in all white appeared, a tray with tablets and a glass of water in her hand.
“Yes, ma’am?” She asked, bowing slightly and Luciana laughed.
“My name is Luciana, but you can call me Lucy.” She smiled at the nurse and nodded at the tray in her hand.
“For me?” She asked and the nurse nodded, carefully resting it on the table beside the bed.
“Doctor Munroe said to give you these if he was absent.” Luciana’s brows furrowed at her statement.
“He’s not in? Where did he go?” She asked and the nurse shrugged.
“I don’t know, ma’am. He just said he’ll be back in an hour.”
“It’s a small one.” Enrico told Mr. Knight as he closed the door behind him.
Izabella’s two brothers, Carter and Austin sat in chairs scattered around the room.
“What does that mean?” Jacob asked frustratedly from his seat and Enrico clenched his jaw.
What he was going to say next was hard for him to say. It was things like those that made him what he was today.
“It’s a child’s.” There was complete silence after he spoke as everyone soaked in his words.
Enrico ran his hand through his lengthy black hair and released a tired sigh, Carter’s eyes scanning his tense frame.
“Who was it?” He asked and the others looked to Enrico, eager to know the answer.
“Izabella Knight. Seven years old. Oldest daughter of Maria and Stephen Knight. She had two younger siblings, a brother and sister. She went missing two weeks ago.” Enrico spoke as he handed her file to Mr. Knight, gazing at her brothers intently.
“This picture was at the bottom of the box.” He passed the photo to Jacob who was closest to him and waited for everyone to see everything.
The picture was actually a painting of the girl, she was wearing a white dress and her hair was braided.
“Is this her?” Sean asked and Enrico nodded.
He looked to Carter and Austin who nodded and stood up, exiting the room silently and closing the door behind them.
“What is it?” Mr. Knight finally spoke up, his eyes trained on the man in front of him.
“I want to assign some of my guards to your house. I’ll feel more at ease that way.” They all knew about Enrico’s feelings towards Izabella since he felt they had a right to know.
Apart from that, he wasn’t ashamed of his feelings and felt that confessing would make them understand why he took her to his house and why he acted a certain way around her.
Enrico wasn’t one to share his feelings, but he hadn’t been himself ever since he started talking to Izabella.
She had influenced him so much and she had no idea.
“Okay. How many?” He asked, on board with the idea.
Enrico clasped his hands, resting his elbows on his thighs and rested his chin on his clasped hands.
“Eight. Austin will be her bodyguard.” He looked to the older man in silent question and sat upright when he nodded.
“Sounds good. I’m putting my daughter’s life in your hands because I know you won’t let anyone harm her, but if you hurt her in any way, I’ll deal with you myself.” Mr. Knight warned, staring straight into Enrico’s eyes.
“I would never dream of hurting her in any way, Mr. Knight.” Enrico stood up and shook his hand.
Mr. Knight patted his back with a warm smile.
“I’m sure you won’t son. I’m just being a father who loves his baby girl.” The older man laughed and handed the folder in his hand to Enrico.
“Send me a soft-copy of these. I don’t want to take them home and have the possibility of Izabella seeing them.” He told the young man as he stepped back, his eyes shifting to the door.
“Sure. I'll send the guards over tomorrow. Would you like Austin to go with you now, or should he go tomorrow with the rest of them?”
“Tomorrow. He has to pack and we have to prepare the guest room for him.” Sean responded, his eyes conveying his gratitude towards the man.
Enrico briefly nodded, his eyes meeting Mr. Knight’s who flashed him one last smile before he walked out.
“I’ll protect you, fiore.” He said to the empty room, the door bursting open and Carter and Austin walking in consecutively.
“How’d it go? Did he agree?” Carter asked, his face the picture of worry and Austin just stood beside him, watching the two men quietly.
“Austin, you need to pack tonight.” He instructed before stuffing the files in Carter’s hands and running a hand trough his hair.
“Send a soft-copy of these to Mr. Knight and find all the girls named Izabella in this city. I’m pretty sure he won’t go out of it.” Enrico exhaled before turning to Austin, nodding at him as a signal that they were ready.
Austin called as they walked out of the building and into the car parked just outside the door.
“Sí, Austin.” (Yes, Austin.)
Enrico started the car and pulled out his phone, checking his schedule and tucking it back in.
“Un’asta è stabile stasera.” (An auction is taking place tonight.)
Enrico’s grip on the wheel tightened as he reversed the car.
“La Belle. They’ve got girls as young as five.”
“I’m sure he wouldn’t want to babysit a girl like me.” Izabella insisted, totally against the idea of having a bodyguard.
“I’m not asking for your opinion on this. I have to do what’s best for you and I know it’ll take some adjusting to, with someone tailing you and all, but you need to.” Mr. Knight countered and she pouted.
“Okay, what’s his name?”