I don't know why I kept thinking that I had done something wrong. The way he looked at me before he left the dining room... he looked disgusted in me. I tried to shake the thoughts from my head.
I had spent most of the day with Amelia. After Adrian had left to go to his office his brother Adam and Alex wondered out from the lower level of the house. I had no idea that they had been hiding down there, or rather living down there. As a matter of fact I really didn't know that Adrian had brothers. They both had quite entertaining personalities and I eagerly welcomed it.
"Ahhhh, this must be the one and only Addi we've heard so much about already." Adam claimed.my cheeks flushed with a rosy tint. Had Adrian been talking about me? Why would I even care. After all I was living in his home. He had the right to tell who ever he wanted about me. But still, butterflies rose up in my stomach fluttering around making me slightly nauseous.
"You've given our brother a run for his money haven't you dear," A loud laugh coming from Alex's mouth after nudging me with his elbow.
"I-ah...I'm sorry" I looked down at the floor ashamed. The butterflies in my stomach quickly died and left me with a pit full of shame, and guilt.
"Oh, no, Addi. Please sweet thing. Don't take it like that. It's about time someone makes him feel something other than anger and rage." Alex said seeing my face turn bright red at the thought of inconveniencing Adrian. Anger and rage? I hadn't seen that side of him. Actually I hadn't seen much of anything from him or rather didn't remember too much about the nights prior.
"Oh.. okay," was all I could manage to say meekly before Adam's phone rang.
While he spoke on the phone I was able to take in their features in their full extent. They both looked similar to Adrian. Both of them were tall, towering over my short stature. Alex had lighter hair than Adam but Adrian had the darkest out of the four of the siblings. Their hair styles were relatively similar, short on the sides fading to longer hair on the top wafting off their foreheads and brushed neatly, yet messily out of their faces. Alex and Adam had stunningly blue eyes that I occasionally found myself in a trance staring at. Muscles were not something foreign to the two men either. If it were up to me, I wouldn't ever want to get into an altercation with either of them, they could snap me in half like a twig. Whether that was from dedication to weight lifting or they were genetically blessed with the rippling muscles they had, I'm sure neither of them had any trouble finding women to occupy their time.
From what I gathered Adam was the second eldest, then Alex and Amelia was the baby. Out of curiosity I managed to shyly ask Amelia if they were all purposely given names that started with A. She giggled and explained that yes, their mother liked the thought of all of them having something in common, even though each of them had vastly different personalities. That and when she would yell at them when they were in trouble she had an excuse when she would call one of them by the wrong name saying, damn it you're names are too close so excuse me for calling you the wrong name occasionally.
I turned my focus back on Adam and Alex as Adam Finished up with the conversation on the phone. Adam was more focused and more serious than Alex. I quickly learned that Alex was the jokester of the family but his little jokes would force a smile on my face, something I wasn't too familiar with anymore. While Adam may have been more serious he was just as genuine and kind. But Alex, he was just a damn big teddy bear. I felt safe with him right away, almost like I knew he would protect me in an instant if he needed to. We bonded relatively quickly after the short breakfast we shared. He acted more like a big brother to me than anything else. I welcomed those feelings as well. He was like the brother I never had.
Adam's face had turned into a scowl and his eyes rolled as he was trying to finish the conversation on the other end quickly to get back to breakfast. "Ya okay. SO? You couldn't have just fucking walked up stairs to grab us or fucking talk to us? Whatever. Ya asshat, we'll be down in a bit. FUCK Adrian, I said we'd be down in a bit, chill the fuck out."
"You know why Adrian isn't coming upstairs..." Amelia shot me a gentle look and then rolled her eyes towards Adam. What was that supposed to mean? A shy look resurfaced on my face again as I lowered my head feeling like I was already starting to overstay my welcome.
"He's so fucking dumb. One new girl in the house that doesn't leave before he fucking wakes up and now he doesn't know how to act." Adam groaned while getting out of his chair. "Well I guess Alex and I have some business that needs attending. I'll you see you ladies later."
"See you later beautiful" Alex chimes in planting a kiss on my cheek. I tried to not flinch but it's an automatic reaction after everything that's happened. He noticed, and shot down a concerned glare but shrugged his shoulders and walked down towards Adrian's office.
"So," Amelia began placing her elbows on the table propping up her chin. "What should we do today?"
"Umm..." I shyly responded. "I thought I wasn't allowed to leave the house."
"Well you'd be with me and one of the guards."
"Yeah. You don't live the life that we do without some protection."
I had no idea what she meant and I didn't think I really wanted to know.
"Can we maybe just stay in? I'm still sore and I don't necessarily feel the best still."
"Movie day it is then. Go get into some pajamas. I'll meet you in your room in 20. I'll bring the popcorn."
I did as I was told and quite frankly it felt good to get into a pair of matching fuzzy pajamas and crawl under the covers of my luxurious king size bed. I really didn't feel the best still. But Amelia was determined to keep me occupied while the boys attended to their 'business'. Whatever the hell that meant.
Amelia followed in shortly after I got dressed in a pair of her own pjs, hair up in a messy bun with bowls of popcorn and multiple snacks I didn't know existed. She plopped all the goodies down on the bed and pulled the remote for the TV out from the drawer of the bedside table. She quickly pulled up Netflix and put on some sappy romance movie. I knew that life would never be like one of these damn movies and I hated to admit that I loved every second of the stereotypical Hallmark and Lifetime romance movies. But my eyes always filled with such hope and desire whenever I watched them. After they were done my body felt depressed knowing I wasn't worthy to have something like that in my life.
Eventually it was dark out and we had burned through too many cheesy movies to count. Amelia had finally resorted to her own room in hopes to get some sleep before whatever adventures she had planned for us tomorrow. I was grateful to have some time to myself finally. Not that I didn't like Amelia's company but I still barely knew her and she could be a little much at times for me. Honestly, she reminded me of Sofia.
I pulled the book off the nightstand that I had placed there from earlier in the day. I slowly walked over to the alcove shutting the grey satin curtains, turned on the reading lamp in the corner and cuddled up on the loveseat with a fleece blanket. I needed a little me time again and reading always helped take my mind off all the emotions flowing through my veins.
I got a few chapters in as I felt my body sigh relief and start to finally relax. The heaviness in my eyes started to take over. I was determined to finish the current chapter I was working on not realizing that my eyes were shutting. Just five minutes I told myself.
I don't remember completely falling asleep drifting off to a peaceful slumber wrapped in the warmth of the blanket.
It was a terribly long fucking day. The majority of it was spent at the safe house coming up with a way to get Dominic. I know there was a mole on our side but had no idea where to start. Adam and Alex had manages to form some okay ideas, but they were too risky. I didn't just have us to think about anymore, I had her. I had Addi to think about.
I quickly leaned my elbows on to my desk pinching the bridge of my nose sighing out in frustration. What the hell was I going to do. Eventually Dominic was going to figured it out that I had her. He would start a war just to get her. Something was telling me that I needed to protect her. I didn't know if it was because I knew what Dominic was capable of or if the emotions that rose in me whenever I was around her. Either way I had no intentions of putting an innocent, beautiful, caring woman through hell again just to save my ass.
The glass of whiskey on my desk dripped with condensation from the chill of it. I quickly slammed the rest of it down welcoming the burn to the back of my throat. I groaned as I stood placing my hands flat on my desk. It was already three AM and I knew this night was going to hold very little sleep, if any. As I walked up the stairs I loosened the tie around my neck unbuttoning the top button of my shirt. It felt like a damn noose every time I wore the damn thing. I fucking hated it. But thanks to my father's untimely demise to death I was now forced to look presentable and be head of the business. Thanks Dad...
I lost track of my footsteps as my mind wandered. It wandered back to her. God she was beautiful this morning. Even with no makeup, in plan clothing she was extraordinary. Her brown eyes taking quick glances at me made me melt. But I saw the sadness, the loss in her eyes. When I watched that footage in the basement I saw her change. I saw her soul being taken from her. I saw her lose hope. She had gone from a fearless fighter to welcoming the hell that consumed her thinking she would never be free. Today I saw the internal struggle her mind was performing; trying to figure everything out. With one look into her eyes I could tell she was trying to remember who she was. She was in mental turmoil with herself, struggle to find herself. I would be damned if anyone tried to take away her chance at remember who she was.
I hadn't even realized where I was going until I opened her room. It was almost like a habit to check on her before I turned in for the night. I cautiously cracked her door open peering just around the corner of it Incase she were still awake. A smile crept onto my lips as I saw her. She was curled up on the couch with the fleece blanket wrapped around her. Her head resting cockeyed on the armrest. A book lay open across her chest. She looked peaceful. Even though her tiny body was scrunched up on the couch. I didn't want to disturb her but I knew that if she slept there all night she was going to wake up in pain.
I opened the door as quietly as I could shutting it behind me and kept my footsteps as light as I could to not wake her. I carefully pinched the book out from underneath her arms and bent down to her level. This time I couldn't help myself. I brushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear before the pad of my thumb drew circles on her cheek. She moved her face slightly, her cheek settling into the palm of my hand.
"Addi, Bella... you fell asleep on the couch. I'm going to move you over to bed okay?" I whispered to her. I knew she probably didn't hear but I didn't want to take the chance of startling her.
I placed one arm under her back and the other under her legs and carefully picked her up. Since I pulled her from the basement she has flinched at anyone's touch. This time was different. She almost embraced my touch. Her eyes opened to just a slit and looked her head up at me.
"Adrian?" Her groggy voice whispered.
"Shhhhh. Go back to sleep Bella." And she did. She nuzzled her head into the croak of my neck rubbing her cheek against my shoulder. Her tiny hands grabbed onto my shirt under my collar wrinkling it slightly. I didn't care though. Her lips parted slightly as soft breathes came through them. I didn't want to let her go. I wanted to just stand in the middle of this room holding this beautiful woman for the rest of my life.
I placed her carefully into the bed and covered her. Her face nuzzled back into the pillow and her hand came up to clutch the comforter. I could no longer hold back everything I've been wanting to do since I saw her in the basement. My hand rose to her hair running my fingers through the length. My lips found their place underneath her hair line on her forehead. I thought I saw the tiniest of smiles creep to her lips when I did it. I didn't want to leave her. But if she woke up to me in her room everything would become a mess. I couldn't risk her knowing my feelings for her. I couldn't risk getting her involved. She was already caught up in a mess she should never have been part of. If this kept going the way it was she was going to end up in the middle of a war.
I stood up out of my seated position on the bed. I took one last glance at her before turning towards the door, startled as I saw someone standing in the doorway with their arms crossed over their chest. Her feminine figure reeked of attitude. Her hip was popped out to the side and her foot hastily tapping on the floor. Amelia.
"Fuck Amelia. What the hell are you doing? Are you trying to get shot? You scared the fuck out of me. "
"Adrian..." she started
"Don't fucking start with me Amelia." I scolded her. My eyebrows furrowed and my eyes squinted reciprocating her attitude. Except only one of us was actually in charge and had the authority.
"You know you're getting too close to her. You need to back the hell away. Don't let your feelings get involved. You know it's gonna fuck you over and put her life at risk if you get involved with her."
"You don't think I don't fucking know this Am? Don't you think I'm trying to stay the hell away from her? Just... just go back to bed. We'll talk about this later."
Both of us retired to our own bedrooms before anything explosive came out of our mouths waking up the whole house. She was right though. I was putting Addi's life at risk because of my feelings for her. Did I have feelings for her?
I needed to clear my mind of Addi, of Amelia of all the bullshit going on in my life. That was the only way I was going to get at least a few hours of sleep before the busy day that lay ahead of me tomorrow.
I trudged through my room and flopped down of the bed, my back hitting the mattress with force. At the contact with the bed a sigh left my mouth. My arms crossed over my eyes balancing on my forehead, keeping my eyes from opening. What the hell was I going to do? I needed to keep her safe. But the longer she was around the closer I got jeopardizing both of us, mainly her. She was my only thought day and night. She was the reason for half my sleepless nights lately. I worried about her, worried about her past, worried about Franco coming back, worried about Dominic taking her. I hated feeling helpless. She made me feel helpless. Even when I was putting a fist to someone's face today my only thought was her face. Her beautiful face. FUCK!
I pushed all thoughts out of my head and focused on my breathing. In, out, in, out. Until I heard her scream. The hairs on my neck stood on end and the shriek. It was a high pitched scream following with pleads to stop.
Before I had even realized where I was I was forcefully opening Addi's door, swinging it open without a second thought. My heart felt like it was going to climb out my throat. My breathes quickened not knowing what was wrong. The sight before me made my heart ache. Addi was thrashing around in bed. Her legs were kicking in the air and her arms were fighting back the ghosts of her past.
"Please.... no-no. Don't do this. Pleaaaasssse." She begged. Her eyes squeezed shut and tears rolling gently down each cheek. She was having another nightmare. About what or who I still didn't know.
I didn't even think I just acted. I quickly sat down on the bed sinking all my weight down into the mattress. I resting my back against the headboard and pulled the flailing Addi into my chest taking a few punches to the chest.
"Shhhhhhh. You're okay. I've got you." I rocked her back and forth brushing my hand through her hair once more. My chin rested on top of her tiny head. Her silent tears turned into sobs. Her hand found my shirt and clutches on for dear life. Her tears were quickly soaking through my shirt. "You're okay Addi. I won't let anyone hurt you." A kissed the top of her head before I realized she was no longer sleeping. She was fully awake. Her long eye lashes batting away the waterfall coming from her eyes. Her breathes had started to steady and her face was progressively becoming drier. I didn't let go though. I could still feel her trembles through her clutched grip to my shirt. I didn't stop stroking her hair and I had no intentions of stopping.
Silence fell between us as her sobs slowed. I still held her rocking her back and forth only slightly. Her beautiful voice finally spoke up.
"Adrian.... I-I don't want to be scared anymore."
"You have nothing to be scared of Bella." I cooed to her grabbing her face and tilting it up towards mine. My thumb found the dried streams of tears and quickly brushed the residue away. Even when her eyes were swollen and red she was gorgeous. "I won't let anyone hurt you anymore do you understand me? No one will hurt you ever again." It came out more stern than I intended it. But she didn't seem to mind. With that her head fell back into the crevasse of my chest resting her hand on my peck.
"Stay with me tonight." She pouted.
In that very moment I couldn't say no. My brain was telling me to back away, stop getting close. But my heart, oh my damn heart. My damn heart screamed to hell with your head just fucking stay. So I listened to the one of the two I could no longer resist. I stayed.
As her eyes closed I whispered one last thing bringing a sad smile to both of our faces.
"Always Bella, always."