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Chapter 16 - Warnings

"What are you doing in my room?" I ask with hesitation.

Maybe it's the fact that he saw my beloved teddy bear, or that I'm wearing a simple nightgown that's a bit too sheer to be considered appropriate, but right now I feel a bit more anxious than usual, if that's even possible which I highly doubt at this point.

He always has a way of getting under my skin, and I always end up embarrassing myself in some type of a cringe way.

"Like I said," reiterating himself with a shrug, "I was looking for you."

Bad habits have a way of finding their way into the mind. Instantaneously I move my hands to smooth out my dress, presenting myself as best as I can, though my bunny slippers do no justice for that. "Well," I gulp in between words, "you found me."

Alessio runs his eyes down my body, not inappropriately, but in a way that makes me want to scream because of how his eyebrow raises when his gaze lands on my feet.

I can feel the burning Judgment.

Oh the irony.

I should be the one judging since it's him who's covered in blood.

Yet that statement brings a frown to my face, wondering if he's okay.

Then of course other thoughts filter in. Are these the type of questions my mother warns me of? To just let go and let be?

"It's easy when you know your way around." His eyes still lingering on my shoes, "and it's not like I can really miss those... things." Pointing to my shoes a smirk finally makes an appearance on his face.

However, the look in its entirety is unsettling.

A man with wicked smile covered in blood, now this makes my toes curl which in return causes the ears to my bunny slippers to shift with my movements.

Am I embarrassed? Yes. But I'll never give up my slippers. I like them, they're my favorite animals. So sweet and fluffy, hopping everywhere they go. How can you not appreciate such gentle creatures?

"I suppose they stand out." Fingers from both hands intertwine as I weave them together and set them in front of my tummy, shyly looking down.

"So coy." He shakes his head, crossing his arms over his wide chest. "Just like your rabbits," dryly saying with a lick humor.

Was he really trying to crack a joke... while covered in blood?

Now that's odd.

It takes me a second to actually process what he just said. When I do a smile dances on my lips.

I think I'm okay being compared to a little bunny.

"Un pensatore lento." Green eyes narrow narrow. "Though I wonder what I can do to make things stick with you." The tone he's using isn't anything I'm familiar with. It's friendly, a little too friendly.

And that brings back memories of earlier.

"I don't-"

"What are you doing in here?" A low monotone voice asks from behind me.

Gasping aloud I flinch away from the presence behind me. Quickly turning around and stumbling back I regain my footing upon seeing my older cousin leaning against the doorframe, his slim arms are crossed like Alessio's.

"Levii?" At first I'm worried he'll tell on me. My father would go on a rampage if he knew a man was in my room that wasn't immediate family who he knew of.

My cousin is the opposite of insubordinate, he has the utmost respect and obedience and ranking in our family, that is until you test his patience or disrespect his honor. No one besides outsiders do that, and when they do they quickly learn their lesson. Yet he's never been the one to tattle on me, he was one the best cousins when growing up, but the family's business is what separated us like all the others.

Keeping them extremely busy and all as we grew older.

"Cherry, something you'd like to say?" Levii tilts his head. The raven colored hair that falls over the pale skin of his forehead moves slightly, following his actions. Midnight eyes look boredly between Alessio and I, the sharpness of his jawline clenching and unclenching.

My words can't find their way out.

"Hmm," Levii shortly hums as he looks behind me. "Romano, your cousin is asking for you," telling Alessio who looks annoyed. "He's running everyone's ears off."

Alessio's deep breaths captures my attention. When I turn to him his index finger and thumb rub his closed eyelids. "What’s Fionn saying now?"

"Spewing random shit, he's still delirious from the blood loss."

The boy! He's a Romano.

"He was one of hurt ones," stating when understanding who they're speaking of. "Will he be okay? And H-Harry, how is he?" A stutter makes its way into my voice as I think about how Reece will handle this information.

"They're fine," Levii nonchalantly says, as if their lives are nothing of importance.

My eyebrows pull together, when shifting my gaze between them. "I saw them bleeding a lot."

"Harry took the ricocheting of a bullet, it was in alive when it hit him, but he'll be okay. His father-in-law called a doctor he knows, he's already here helping out downstairs." Alessio explains more thoroughly which shocks me. Never have I ever had anyone explain to me what was going on when it came to serious situations... or any situation for that matter.

"I'll take care of Fionn." Alessio's words are meant for Levi but he keeps his attention on me when saying this, "tornerò per te quando meno te lo aspetti."

Walking slowly to the door, he grabs me with both hands on each side of my waist and gently moves me out of his way, holding me carefully as if I'm made of glass.

His eyes hold mines, something kind glistens in his irises before his sternness takes over again as he looks to Levii. The back of Alessio's head bends slightly then pulls straight back up, it's then I know his eyes have trailed over my cousins form. Levii's face is impassive but his stiffened frame let's me know he disregard the intimidation Alessio makes him feel.

There's a sense of wary we all feel when he's around.

Levii meets Alessio's eyes but is the first to pull away then steps out of the entrance of the door so he can pass through.

When Alessio walks through and leaves, my cousin re-enters the room, flashing me a knowing look. "If your trying to be inconspicuous, you're failing."

Baffled at what he means I part my lips and let out a small gasp. "W-What?"

What in particular is he referring to?

"Your cheeks are redder than the color of your name." A teasing devious smile expands across his lips. "Be careful little Cherry, don't let your feelings blind you from what he truly is." Levii purposefully mixes his witful words with his honest advice.

Well what do I say to something like that?

"Will you tell my father that... Alessio was um... in here?" Asking and changing the subject in one go.

Nervously I fidget with my fingers but keep my spine straight, hoping he'll say no.

"Your father is the type to literally shoot the messenger," he laughs at the mention of death. "Your secret is safe with me, but I'd advise do a better job at keeping it." The comedic gleam fades away and he's back to his original domineer.


"Thank you Levii."

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