“Adrian, we need to talk”
Adam had just walked into my office. It was two in the morning and he looked like he had just got done with a work out. Beads of sweat were rolling down his forehead. His t-shirt soaked with what I presumed was also sweat. He was in just a simple t-shirt, basketball shorts and tennis shoes, which was very unlike him. Adam was always quiet and reserved, dressed for any occasion in his best suits. I rarely saw him like this. His eyebrows furrowed making me slightly uneasy. His eyes held a look of concern. I knew she had something to do with whatever he was about to tell me.
“What did she do Adam?”
“How do you know it’s about her?”
“The look on your face gave everything away. Just tell me before I have to strangle it out of you.” My hand found its way to the bridge of my nose pinching it hard waiting for the inevitable headache I was about to receive. I already knew what it was going to be about. She disobeyed my orders.
“She’s been training. I assumed behind your back since she has been sneaking out late at night with Alex.”
“Of course she has… And by the looks of it you’ve been helping haven’t you?”
“Yes. She has a point Adrian. This world of ours is dangerous. And even if you have been trying to keep her out of it, she is sucked in. She deserves to train and learn to have some self defense. We aren’t always going to be there for her Adrian. I agreed to help her because I care about her. And so do you. You know she was right. Plus, she kicked my ass tonight. She’s a fast learner. And honestly, she’s kind of a badass. You would have been proud of her tonight.”
“Are you done?” I looked up at him dropping my hand from my nose. My eyes shot an emotions that Adam was familiar with. It was never really directed towards him but rather towards our enemies. The look of anger and aggravation. I was thoroughly annoyed at his rambling trying to justify his actions. They all went behind my back. She went behind my back.
“You and Alex are not to take her out of this house again, do you hear me? You know the risk you put her in every time she leaves the safety of this house. You and Alex are not to teach her anything in regards to kicking anyone’s ass. Both you and him should be getting rest for tomorrow. Not playing around with a girl who has no business getting involved in our lives.”
“Oh come on Adrian. Can you for one second stop being Mr Mafia and just admit that you are in love with that girl and that for once someone besides you was right. You cannot hide her behind the walls of this house forever. And no matter how hard you try to keep her out of this life, she wants in. I’ve seen the way she looks at you. She’s been a part of this life the minute you saved her. Get your head out of your ass Adrian.”
“Excuse me? Don’t you forget who the hell you are talking to. Or do I have to beat the respect back into you. I may be your brother but I’m still your capo, understand? You are not to have any contact with her until after our mission tomorrow is done. Do I make myself clear?” I knew he was right but I didn’t want to admit it. He was right about all of it. I knew it from the first time I saw her that I was going to fall in love with her. I’ve craved her touch for weeks now. I’ve craved to hear her sweat and innocent voice. To know that she kicked my brother’s ass brought an unfamiliar feeling. Adam was right I was proud of her. Even if I was pissed that she went behind my back I was proud that she stood up for herself and fought for what she knew was the right thing for her. Her whole life someone else had been in control of her and she let them. Now, now she was becoming strong, and brave. It made my heart skip a beat knowing she was stronger than we all thought she was. God, the amount I would have paid to watch her kick Adam’s ass. She was so full of surprises. But I couldn’t afford to let her know what I felt for her. I couldn’t let her know that I was in love with her. That I was proud of the person she was becoming.
“Understood, boss.” Was all Adam could say, placing his hands behind his back, nodding his head towards me and turning to leave up the stairs.
He was right. She deserved to know how to defend herself. Tomorrow the DeLuca’s were finally going to confront Dominic and his brothers. It was a plan that was in the process for awhile. I didn’t want to let Addi know about it. She already had enough on her plate. I didn’t want to add anything to it. She cared about all of us too much, she would end up begging us not to leave, or worse asking to be a part of the plan.
I started to think, what if one of us didn’t make it tomorrow. Would Addi have enough protection, have enough skills to defend herself if Dominic were to come for her? If I didn’t make it tomorrow would Alex and Adam be enough to keep her safe? I quickly shook the ideas out of my head. No, we would all be fine. We were DeLucas for crying out loud. It was going to take more than a few guys to take us all down.
I turned the lights out in my office and retreated to my bedroom for the night. I really wanted to check on her make sure she was okay but I thought otherwise. I hadn’t seen her in weeks. She was avoiding me and I her, like one of us was going to contract the black plague just by looking at each other.
I quickly undressed slipping on a pair of grey sweatpants, throwing my clothes from the day into the hamper. The bed looked so inviting. The day had been filled with planning for tomorrow. Making sure every detail was perfect so that the execution of our plan went smoothly. I couldn’t afford to lose anyone, including my brothers at the hands of Dominic.
My body found its way to the mattress abruptly falling on it with a loud sigh. My heavy eyes closed as my hands found their way behind my head. I tried to think of anything else but tomorrow. Anything besides her. Any spare moment my brain had, it filled my thoughts with her. Her long wavy chocolate hair with swirls of caramel hanging in her face as she tucked it behind her ear. Her stolen glances towards me at the kitchen table. Her eyes filled with what looked like desire. Her smile when Amelia would make a joke at breakfast. Her laugh was contagious. Her eyes wrinkled at the sides when she laughed, I mean really laughed from her core. It didn’t happen often but when it did I could tell how happy she was here. She never looked worried or scared anymore. She looked… safe, happy even. Her sweet angelic voice ringing in my ears when she spoke to Alex. Her relaxed body when they would play pool together in the family room. I would just there and drink pretending not to watch her while Adam and Amelia sat near the bar watching Alex and Addi make fools of themselves. They acted more like brother and sister than I did with my own siblings. Addi brought a side out of me I didn’t think was possible anymore. She brought out a side in my whole family I hadn’t seen since we were kids. They all looked carefree, like they hadn’t just put a bullet in between someone’s eyes hours earlier.
She was perfect. Waking up to her in the morning just that one time was like waking up in heaven. Her face was cuddled up into the divot of my chest and her hand pulled at my shirt whenever her nightmares would rise. The little sounds she would make when her lips parted. Her eyes crinkled up and tears would fall, all from her dreams. My arms would tighten around her letting her know I was there and she was safe. My lips instinctually found the top of her head placing small kisses at the edge of her hair line just above her forehead. Her small whimpers would stop and a small smile would creep up on her lips when she remembered whose arms were around her. I barely slept that night. I wanted nothing more than to just sit there and watch her beauty rest.
Now all I just wanted her body near mine again. I needed to feel her touch. Who was I kidding when I yelled at her that there was nothing between us. I didn’t want to drag her into this mess of my life but she kept dragging me into hers. She was a force that I couldn’t resist. The longer she stayed here, the more she opened up. The more I… the more I fell in love with her.
I had never been in love before. The closest I got was a few girls that I would bring home occasionally to get my fix of sex and kick them out. None of them were worth anything more than that. But Addi, my god. I wanted to wake up to her beautiful face every morning if I could.
What was I doing? Just laying here thinking about her. Before I could even think about what I was doing my feet were moving under me to her room. I just needed to make sure that she was alright. I hadn’t checked in on her in a while and I felt guilty about not doing it. I promised I would keep her safe. And I felt like I was failing on every level.
My soft footsteps lead me to her door, cracking it open just enough to peer into her room. Her bed was fully made and looked like it hadn’t been touched all day. Where the hell was she? Then I heard the splashes of water with the flickering of lights coming through the bathroom doorway spilling into the bedroom.
I couldn’t help but track the light. My feet moved under me again until I found the source of the flickering light. The flames from the candles danced on the wall around her. The bubbles in the bath covering her up to her neck. Aromas soared through the air drifting under my nose making the room smell like rose petals.
Her hair tied messily into a messy bun, stands falling out resting on her neck and back. A cut rested evenly on her eyebrow scabbed over. A bruise with distinct patterns of a fist lay on her cheek. No doubt from the training she had endured.
I rested my shoulder on the door frame, my hands neatly in my pockets watching her rest with her eyes closed. She looked peaceful; beautiful, really. She looked like an angel on any given day. But now with the scent of flowers and the white bubbles looking like clouds surrounding her I was positive she was some kind of angel here to deliver me from evil.
As she noticed my presence she opened her eyes forcefully. She sat there staring back, waiting for me to say something, do anything. How badly I wanted to touch her skin, caress her cheek, feel the warmth of her lips on mine.
I clearly was staring at her too long deep in thought. She sat up slightly leaving bubbles trailing down her skin. Showing the crevasse of her breast. She looked at me urging me to make a move. But I couldn’t. I wanted to, believe me. I wanted to pick her up out of the tub soaking wet, throw her on her bed kissing every square inch of her body, claiming her as mine. Every cell in my body wanted that. But the little voice in my head warning me to stay back kept getting in the way. She must have noticed my internal struggle when she finally broke the silence.
“You have three choices Mr. DeLuca. One, you can turn around and leave me to bathe in peace. Two, you get your ass over here and rub my back for me. Three, you get in and join me. Take your pick, but you cannot just stand there and keep staring at me like that.”
“Excuse me?” Her boldness was surprising. I wasn’t used to this Addi, the one that was finding her voice. It turned me on. Every primal instinct I had I tried to repress. I could feel myself overheating at the thought of joining her. My hands shifted in my pockets through my flimsy sweatpants trying to cover my growing erection. All I wanted was her. How badly I wanted her hands all over my body. But giving into my desire to have her, all of her, wasn’t wise. So I decided on the second best option. The one that at least allowed me to touch her.
“Did I stutter Mr. DeLuca?” The look on her face told me everything. How much she desired to feel my touch too. One eyebrow raised with that little smirk of hers begging me to give in. Her eyes were filled with an emotion I had yet to see in her. Strength, power, resilience, longing, desire. All of it piercing my skin, my soul, as she stared through me waiting for an answer.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I needed to feel her. I walked hesitantly over to the shower, sliding the door open grabbing one of the -oh what do girls call these things, loofahs or a sponge- whatever it was called. I knew if I did this there was no turning back. Everything I felt for her was going to erupt.
I never took my eyes off her as I walked back and nealt down next to her. She quickly leaned forward tucking her knees against her chest making sure that bubbles covered everything she wanted covered. Her back rounded showing the curve of her spine. I quickly placed the sponge into the water, lifting it up only after it had soaked up the scalding hot water. I let it drip down her back causing her to back to flinch and goosebumps to raise standing all of her hairs on end. A small moan escaped her lips as her eyes momentarily rolled into the back of her head. Her head twisting just ever so slightly watching me from the corner of her eyes. Her bottom lip in between her teeth. Oh how badly I wanted that lip to be between my teeth instead.
My body became hot with all the lust I had for her. My erection grew to where there was no point in trying to cover it up any longer. I placed the sponge back in the water, but instead of drizzling the water over back I used it to trace her every curve, taking in the beauty of every muscles she had sculpted over time. Her breathing became heavy, forcing the moans to stay down. I knew at that moment she wanted me just as badly as I wanted her.
I couldn't’t hold back anymore. I wanted to play a little. I was no longer upset at her for training, but she didn’t need to know that. She still needed to know that it wasn’t acceptable to go behind my back and disregard my orders. I briefly took my hand and lightly ran the pads of my fingers up and down her arm causing her whole body to shiver. One last moan left her lips at the touch of my skin against hers. She had been waiting for it. Craving it.
I inched closer to her neck, practically placing my lips against her ear.
“Lean back.” The words left my mouth effortlessly in a hushed tone.
I was hoping that some of the coverage of the bubbles would slip away and I would get to see her beauty in whole. My hands found her shoulders, rubbing them softly yet firmly. I could tell she was sore from training. Just like I could tell she was enjoying every minute of this. Her head tilted to one side exposing her neck to me. Visions of me trailing kisses from her clavicle to her ear ran in my mind. I was starting to lose control.
I neared the curve of her neck, just under her ear.
“I heard a little secret.” sending yet another shiver up her spine. “I heard someone disobeyed my orders.” I needed to get my mind off her and her body infront of me. “I heard that this girl who disobeyed my orders ended up kicking my brother’s asses.”
“Oh really?” Was all she could respond with through a heavy sigh.
“What do you think I should do with her?” My voice had turned deep, almost primal again. I was trying to get my mind off of everything I wanted to do to her, yet this was only making it worse.
“Whatever you decide Mr. DeLuca.” God, don’t say that. Don’t call me that. Because lord only knows that I was going to pick her up out of this tub and push her against the damn wall so I could put my hands over every part of her damn body…
I couldn’t do it anymore. My hand found her knee and began trailing up towards her thigh. I needed her. I needed to feel her. I wanted every part of her. My hand dove under the water gripping firmly onto her thigh. I moved my lips closer to her neck barely trailing my lips against her skin. My hand traveled further towards her hips until…. I was right where I wanted them. Her legs were tightly clenched together, her breaths coming out in pants, her back arched against the bathtub wall, her eyes rolled into her skull. I made my final move placing my hand in between her legs separating them. My hand had become meer inches away from her center. I could feel the heat radiating from around it. She wanted me. I needed her. But I couldn’t.
I retracted my hand from the water leaving her in dismay.
“Adrian, wh-what are you doing? Don’t- don’t stop” A tiny unnoticeable smirk came to my face at her begs. But I needed to turn back into the Adrian I didn’t want to be to keep her safe. No matter how much she begged. No matter how much we both wanted this, we couldn’t have it. It put her in too much danger the closer we got.
“Get out. You’ve been in long enough.” My stern voice had come back. I turned my face into the cold Adrian Addi was used to.
“What? Adrian, you can’t do that. That’s not fair.” Tell me about it bella.
“No you know what’s not fair? Learning someone who you care about doesn’t know how to listen to a damn order. When I tell you no, I mean it. And when I say you’re done, I mean that too. Get out.” Did I feel slightly bad at sounding like an ass? Kind of. But this wasn’t something I wasn’t used to. It was part of my job, being hard and cold. It was the only way to get the damn job done.
I grabbed the towel, turned my head and closed my eyes patiently waiting for her to grab it. Somehow I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy. I heard the water splashing around in the tub as she stood up.
“What? Don’t want to look at what I have to offer?” More than you know bella.
“Take the damn towel, Addi.”
“Ehh, I don’t really feel like it.” Dear lord this girl was going to be the death of me.
Fine, she wants to act like a child I’m going to treat her like one. “Addilynn Elizabeth Artell, take the fucking towel.” Yes, that’s right I went there. Middle name and all.
“Oh, using my full name huh? Fine, you’re no damn fun.” What the hell happened to her? She was starting to act like every other immature one night stand I would bring home from the clubs.
“Addi, you and I both know that this isn’t you. Get your head out of your ass and stop acting like an immature brat.” She actually was starting to piss me off. “Be dressed in 20 minutes. I’m taking you somewhere.” I was going to remind her who she was, with something that she wanted.
“Did I stutter now Ms. Artell.” she set herself up too easily for me to bring that one back on her.
“Where are you taking me?”
“Guess you’ll have to get dressed and find out.”