Chapter 22 - A Friend’s Company
3 DAYS LATER
“You kissed him!” The back of Reece’s hand goes up to cover her mouth. Her eyes widen with disbelief and I don’t blame her. It’s quite a stretch to believe that Alessio Romano is capable of any type of gentle emotion.
Pacing around my room I stop in front of my bed where Reece is sitting. Her hands are wrapped around the beam of the bedpost that she’s slightly leaning against. “It wasn’t exactly like that.” I defend myself, it’s not like I made the first move — I think? It’s complicated to explain when it just happened.
“He kissed me first?” I harshly whisper with wavering confidence. The last thing I need is for anyone outside of my room to accidentally hear what we’re talking about.
Both of our father’s are just downstairs discussing what new business they have going on, but nothing slips pass them. Parents always tend to know what their children are up to, and with overprotective fathers it’s only worse.
Reece’s hazel-green eyes narrow at me. It’s a little funny to see her trying to act serious because the look just doesn’t match her personality. “I think you took the initiative,” she teasingly says.
Her lips then press down together as if she’s trying not to laugh.
I can’t believe she’s even laughing at me to begin with!
“I… well we both kinda did.” In all honesty Alessio was the one who bent his head down to my height while I pushed myself up to meet him halfway, so technically the effort came from both ends.
“Wow, I never knew you had it in you,” she giggles and my mouth drops open.
Reece stops laughing upon seeing my reaction but continues to smile. She slightly moves her head to the left where she attempts to hide half of her face behind the bed post but ultimately fails.”I didn’t mean that in a mean way! It’s just… well he’s very intense and I didn’t think anyone could get through someone like that, he’s a bit scary.”
Well she isn’t wrong.
Then again a lot of the men in the family are like that.
“You got through Harry didn’t you?” I try to compare the situation because of the similarities. I remember Harry being just as intense — but now he’s just angry and a bit skittish.
Her smile disappears as her eyes cast down to the floor. “Well... I thought I did,” her voice goes quiet. “But he’s been unpredictable lately.” The last of her words come out in a sad whisper.
Instantly I move from where I stand and make my way over to her to sit down beside her. Reece’s eyes stay locked onto the carpet when I take her hand in mine, feeling awful that I mentioned it at all. “I thought it would get easier, and for a moment it was,” she softly continues. “For a moment everything was okay and I didn’t have to worry if he was out there cheating or just wanting his own space from me.”
“What happened?” I can’t help but ask, hoping I don’t sound insensitive. It’s just she never got the opportunity to tell me about her assumptions of Harry’s infidelity at the party and I want her to know she can vent it all out if she wants.
It’s moments like these that are hard to deal with. An outsider attempting to comfort a friend who’s going through problems that you aren’t able to solve instantaneously.
Words can only do so much.
“It’ll get better, it has to.” The answer is a cliche I know, but the optimism is better than the latter.
I understand that I can be in Reece’s position, there’s always a fifty-fifty chance when marrying for the family’s business.
Though Alessio and Harry are similar in some aspects, they aren’t the exact same. Unlike Harry, Alessio's self-discipline is something that rarely falters, he has yet to stray from principles both he and Harry live by and I hope he never does.
I hope he doesn’t become what Harry is becoming. I have a strong feeling he won’t but nothing is certain in life.
“Thank you,” Reece lightly squeezes my hand. “I just wish things could go back to the way they were.” Purposely straying away from the topic, Reece shifts our conversation back to me. “Enough about that. Tell me, when will you see Alessio again?”
A bubbly feeling comes creeping into the pits of my stomach at the mention of his name, but it leaves as quick as it came.
Stopping myself from pouting like a child I shrug my shoulders and turn my attention elsewhere. “He’s been gone for a few days. Most likely for work of course.”
The day we got lunch was the day he told me he’d be gone for the rest of the week and I couldn’t have been more upset.
A knock at the door abruptly halts Reece from responding, and before I can get up to open it I hear a gentle voice from the other side. “Ms. Valentino, lunch is on your patio table as requested. Is there anything else I can get for you or Mrs. Giordono?”
“No, that’s all. Thank you, Mary.” I don’t bother to answer the door because after I give her my response I can hear her footsteps immediately retreating.
Those who are employed to my father never linger, the fear of the unknown drives them to keep a considerable distance.
“C’mon, let’s eat. All this talk is making me so frustratingly hungry,” Reece tells me. With my hand in hers she pulls me to my french double doors that lead to my small patio deck. Dropping my hand she pulls both doors open to reveal a variety of food set across my patio table.
And if on cue my stomach makes a loud grumble.
“I’m guessing you feel the same way,” she laughs aloud.