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Chapter 18 - Roses In The Garden

Sweet birds chirp softly.

The smell of dewy grass blows gently, passing through a screen of an open window.

Sunlight sheds.

It pours against the seams of my beige curtains that are dancing high up in the wind.

My eyelids flutter open at this. Raising my arms above my head I let out a soft yawn and stir in bed.

It’s serene, peaceful, and I don’t want to get up from this just yet. Rolling myself on my stomach I reach for my phone that I left on the nightstand and press the home button to check the time.

Twelve O’ seven.

Gasping and jumping up to sit on my knees I start to internally freak out.

How did I sleep in so late?

Thinking about how disappointed my parents must be in me for the lack of my attendance I rush into my closet and grab a few items.

Picking out a white wrap cami dress and undergarments to match, I make haste and run into the bathroom, locking the door behind me. Turning on the shower and waiting for it heat up I decide to do my morning routine in there rather than getting out and wasting more time. When I collect my face scrubs, toothbrush, and toothpaste I step into the shower and quickly begin the process.

It’s not long before I’m out and patting myself dry. Slipping on my clothes I stand before the floor length mirror mantled on the wall of my bathroom and twirl around in my daisy print dress, smiling happily to myself.

Fresh, clean, and presentable.

Looking around the bathroom my smile drops upon noticing that I didn’t bring my second pair of slippers with me. In total I have about four pairs. One for around the house, another for when I get out of the shower and two outdoor slippers that I use for when I’m walking around the patio of the backyard.

And of course they all have to be bunnies, they’re my pride and joy at this point.

My bare feet lightly slap against the cold marble floor as I make my way to the door. Swinging to door open I find Alessio sitting on the edge of my unmade bed.

“W-What are you... h-how did you get in here?” I shout that’s not much of a shout but rather a high pitch squeal.

Alessio look at me tiredly, unaffected by my voice. His hair is disheveled and eyelids are slightly drooping. Though his attire is the same from last night, his shirt is not. “How do you do that?” Still asking with my hand on the handle of the bathroom door. Shuffling behind the door a bit I wait for him to say something, anything.

“Do what?” He finally asks after a few seconds. Alessio’s voice is deeper than usual, it sounds rough, sleepy.

“Show up out of nowhere?” I tell him. “It’s starting to get-”

Alessio loudly sighs and I stop talking. My mouth tightens in a straight line upon seeing him drop his head and run a hand through his hair then down his face. The back of his hand rubs his eyes and that makes me stifle a smile because of how younger he seems when doing that.

“Se ti dico, come ti vedrò?” Dryly laughing to himself, though there’s no smile on his face when he does so.

Biting my bottom lip, my fingers mindlessly play with the lock on the handle, not knowing what to do. “Did you just get here?”

What was the purpose of him being here? Did he want to tell me something or did he just want to see me?

It doesn’t seem as if wants to talk.

Hunched over with his elbows on his knees he lifts his head up and says, “I never left.” Green eyes stare intensely at me, his thick brows pulling inwards as if he’s concerned.

I feel terrible for him, he looks... well to be completely honest he looks awful. Maybe he should go home and get some rest, but will he be able to drive? Should I let him lie down instead or bring him to a guest room?


“Business,” blunty answering, relaxing his facial features.

I can feel my skin warming up underneath his gaze. Coyly I look to the ground and wrap an arm around my waist. “So um, why are you here then?”


“In my room.”

Mirth reaches his eyes but not his lips. “Because I want to be.” Though tired he seems playful in this moment.

Despite that I’m not shocked by his simple answer. “Well, what if your missing something important... for your business I mean.”

“My distractions are equally important, if not more.” And there it is. The tingle in my stomach starting up again.

It blossoms inside me like a rose in spring.

I’m important to him, this makes me giddy...

... but when reality hits me of what’s occurred last night and his reasoning for even being here in the first place infiltrates my mind once more the excitement dies down.

“Is everyone okay?” Moving from the door I take a few steps towards his way.

It’s not a lot but I do make it halfway.

The edge of his lips turn up ever so slightly when his eyes trail from my head downwards. A single soft airy laugh slips from him when looking at my feet. “No raccoons this time?”

Shyly giggling I shake my head and place my hands behind my back to hide the fingers that are twiddling. “Bunnies, they’re bunnies not raccoons.

It’s all smiles in the silence.

“Are they still here?” I change the topic back, genuinely curious.

His smile fades away.“Only my father stayed with me.”

“How’s your cousin?” At that he rolls his eyes.

“Alive,” Alessio grumbles out. Standing from the bed he lets out a sleepy sigh. “Do you have any plans for today?”

Plans? I don’t do much if not with my mother or father. It’s been that way since my thirteenth birthday. By then my family was preparing me for my future position and the bonds I would be responsible for creating. “I don’t ever really have plans,” sadly admitting.

“Good, I need you.” His forwardness is shocking sometimes.

My chest constricts, lungs tightening before releasing.

“A few nights ago you said you saw something, a shadow in the dark. I want to set up a sensory motion. The security your father already has does nothing to ease my worries.”

Oh no, dad will never allow this.


“Your father already authorized it, he’s inspected the device I want to set up,” Alessio answers my unspoken question.

“Your balcony has stairs leading to the back patio does it not?” Nodding with an inquisitive look on my face he takes my hand in his and leads me to the door that I always keep locked.

“Wait, which part of the backyard are you taking us to? I need to get my shoes first!” Exclaiming as I attempt to tug away from his grip with meaningless effort.

Walking to the double door he unlocks it then pulls both doors open. “The garden.”

His eyes briefly close against the warm sunlight, the winds gently combing through his hair. “And don’t worry about your shoes,” his eyes open again and head turns to me, “I’ll carry you.”

Alessio closes in on me and suddenly I’m lifted into the air. “Alessio!” I almost scream. Wrapping my arms around his neck for stability and leaning in closer I lift my head up to meet his gaze.

“I won’t drop you, cerbiatto.” His muscles flex around me when we step onto the balcony.

I feel secured in his hold, safe.

Sometimes I forget how tall he actually is, the view seems higher than usual. When he takes his first step down the staircase I press myself closer to his chest until he reaches the last step.

Alessio leans down, his lips brushing against the temple of my head. “How did you sleep?”

Sweet words are spoken as if a lullaby.

“Good, I slept good,” reminiscing on how late I slept in.

We cross the patio with me still in his arms and onto the pathway of my mother’s garden. It’s grand, exquisite in taste. Various of landscape designs are made up of flowers and bushes. Tall trees of many species line the edges of the backyard until reaching the back of the acre.

My favorite part of the garden are the hedges that stand over eight feet and are decorated in roses of white and pink. It’s all the way in the back of the land but it’s still beautiful from afar.

Blue birds are perched by a large fountain in the center of the garden. This feels nice, to just sway in his arms.

We indulge in the silence.

Once we pass the fountain, I can hear the soft crunching of grass underneath our weight. We’re off the trail and are heading the the hedges that I thought of only a moment ago.

When we do come to a stop it’s for Alessio to set me down on a stone bench. “Did you have this set out already?” My eyes trail over a device and a few tools sprawled out on another bench across from me.

Alessio pushes my damp hair out of my face and behind my ear. “I had someone bring it in earlier.” His hand follows down the length of my hair, stopping at one of the shorter layers that ends at the top of my chest.

His hand lingers, then draws away.

“Last night was intense, are you alright?” I’m in need of a distraction. Those butterflies in my stomach are moving down south, making my thighs clench.

“I’m fine, but It was a close call.” Alessio shoves his hands in his pockets, shifting his weight on one leg.

“It seems dangerous.” I can’t help but think of how my mother worries for my father, she loves him so much. “Will you always be doing dangerous things when we... um marry?”

Why am I always embarrassed to bring the subject up.

I must look like a tomato!

Alessio narrows his eyes. “That’s not something you should be concerned with.” Turning away he begins to move the tools around leaving me to stare at his back.

The harshness of his tone has me regretting the question I asked.

My fingers intertwine on my lap as I put on a pout.“I’m sorry, I know it’s not my place.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Even turned away I can see his hands moving to run over his face. A few unintelligible words are mumbled underneath his breath and I feel even more embarrassed to be the cause of his annoyance.

“What did you mean then?” I feel overwhelmed with emotions.

I don’t want to do or say anything wrong.

Bending my neck down I watch as my legs that are too short to reach the ground swing back and forth.

“It’s just the family code.” Alessio’s black dress shoes come into my line of vision but still I keep my head down and silently recite my mother’s words to myself. “It’s so you won’t get hurt.”

“But we aren’t family yet.”

It’s the truth.

A harsh truth for me but still the truth.

Hands cup my face as he bends down to get on his knees.

Now we’re face to face.

“We will be.” When he lifts my head he smiles at me.

This side of him is better, it’s nice not to see him so frustrated.

His thumb rubs over my cheek, stroking in a gentle manner. Our eyes lock onto each other, neither of us wanting to look away.

There’s something deep in those green eyes that softens.

His hands move to mine as he pulls me up to stand. Swiftly his hands shift to my waist and we find ourselves walking around the corner of the hedge.

His chest pushes against mine and I’m pushed into the rose petals that grow along the hedge. “Che cosa mi stai facendo, Cherry?”

(What are you doing to me.)

Our skin touches when he brings his face down, nose nudging against each other and I laugh at how it ticklish it is.

At my action his smile grows wider and the hands on my waist move to wrap around me in a hug.

Unfortunately, I know better.

My hands move to his chest and my smile falls off my lips. “My father has cameras on the patio.”

Alessio scoffs carelessly with his lips skimming over mines ever so gently.

A shiver racks through me.

“Why do you think I pulled you deeper into the garden.”

My smile returns when realizing what he’s done. Alessio hovers over me, his lips finally coming down on mines when I boldly press up on the tips of my toes at the same time.

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