The Bottom of a Bottle
“Come on Adrian, in ya go.”
He was dead weight. In his drunken stupor he could barely walk a straight line. His arm wrapped around my shoulders trying to find some kind of stability in my small stature. He nearly pushed me over a few times when he lost his footing slamming into the walls of the surrounding hallway.
I managed to get him into the car in one piece. But shortly after his sobbing stunt in the bedroom he turned eerily silent. Only his small heated breaths could be heard escaping his lips. He tried to keep his eyes open but I could tell he had started seeing double when one eye began squinting shut. His face was expressionless the whole walk from the bedroom to the car. It was like he shut down.
I quickly rounded the back of the car opening the drive side of the car and sat down. My eyes glanced over to him tracing his body from his feet to his face. His mood, his anger, his sorrow, everything he felt I felt tenfold. It broke my heart.
The night had turned back to peaceful as I drove out of the garage. The torrential downpour that took place earlier no longer existed. Grey clouds covered the moon, letting its bright light cast down on the city in beams to be cut off by the next passing cloud. There were no stars tonight. The wind had died down, leaving only the silence of the sleeping city behind. Much like my emotions. From livid, dangerous, to calm, silent.
But my mind kept wandering to the man that sat just inches away from me. His elbow propped up on the window ledge balancing his face in his hand as he peered out to the world that surrounded us.
“You wanna talk about it?” I reached my right hand over placing it on his knee rubbing his leg up and down.
“Talk about what?” his face kept the same position but his eyes moved to my direction staring at me from the corner of his eye. His voice was flat, there was no tone.
“What happened tonight.”
There was a long pause. One which I didn’t know what it meant. Was he thinking about what to tell me? Was he going to just stay quiet and pretend that he didn’t hear me ask him a question? But soon a large sigh came from his mouth.
“Adrian… talk to me. I know something clearly happened.” I didn’t know if he didn’t want to talk because he was trying to keep me out of everything, if he was still upset by what happened, or if nothing really did happen-which I knew wasn’t the case because Alex came home shot.
I kept my hand resting on his knee but focused my attention back on the road. I wasn’t going to push my luck. He would open up to me when he wanted to. I had gotten used to this side of him over the past couple of months. At times he would rarely speak. Other times I would rarely see him. His life was not an easy one to explain. The things he’s had to do, the things he has yet to do I know the majority of the world would never understand it, the world would never understand his upbringing, his family, their business.
I let the silence stay between us as I took my hand back from his thigh placing it back on the steering wheel. Like I said I wasn’t going to push my luck with him. Adrian was not the type of man that took to being told what to do, I had learned that easily moment ago. I knew he was going to open up to me when he wanted to and the best that I could do was be patient and wait.
I didn’t understand her. She just stood there while I became a person I never wanted her to see, destructive, unpredictable, throwing things against the walls watching them shatter into a million little pieces. The old her would have ran away, would have cowered down somewhere in a corner, slammed the door in my face in attempts to flee. Yet here she was, standing tall. Her feet planted firmly, a shoulder width apart. Her arms crossed over her chest. Her head cocked to the side impatiently waiting for me to calm down. One eyebrow raised towards me as her eyes rolled a few times at my tantrum. Her lip turned up on one side like she was biting her inner cheek. It was an emotion I hadn’t grown accustomed to seeing in her yet. She was growing stronger, braver. On any other day I would have loved it, I would have taken her right then and there thinking about the person she had become. But my rage mixed with the bottle of whiskey did me no favors.
Seeing her stand there, covered in his blood reminded me of everything that happened. I left my brother in her hands. But here she was soaked from head to toe in dried blood. Her jeans crinkling under each movement, her shirt stiff. She didn’t even attempt to clean the blood from her hands. She looked insane, completely unphased that she was standing in my bedroom littered with someone else’s blood. And that pissed me off even more.
She wasn’t supposed to be at home tonight. She was supposed to be here, at the loft, where I knew she would be safe. But she defied my orders once again without reason. I shouldn’t be mad at her. She happened to be where I needed her to be the most almost like she knew she was needed. But I couldn’t help but think what if something happened to her because she left. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if she were ever taken from me. She had me so wrapped around her finger.
But currently I didn’t care how in love with this woman I was. I could feel my teeth snarl at her under my cheeks. I was more pissed off at tonight than I was at her but she happened to be the only thing left for me to release my rage out on considering I had broken anything else that was tangible. I couldn’t help the worlds that slipped out in my drunken, rageful state.
“Look who finally fucking showed back up to the place I told her to fucking stay in in the first place.” Part of me meant it. But the larger part of me didn’t. I wanted to hug her, touch her, take care of her after what she had been through tonight. But the only thing my mind could process was betrayal. And right now the devil sitting on my shoulder was overpowering any other feelings I had for her.
I didn’t want to look at her. I was disgusted that she couldn’t follow one damn command, yet again. But I could see her beautiful features through the reflection of the window. Her hair was a mess, thrown into a messy bun, loose strands falling all over her face. Some seemed to be adhered to her forehead as the sweat that she must have produced earlier took hold of them. Her dark brown eyes full of so many emotions that my half dizzy mind couldn’t even comprehend. Those lips, damn it. How badly I just wanted her in my arms, to feel her cheek under the palm of my hands again so I could pull her face to mine and kiss her until the sun comes up. But the alcohol racing through my veins created an internal battle and my body was craving more.
“Adrian…” her voice was quiet but laced with irritation at my behavior. And honestly, I didn’t blame her one bit. But I was already too far gone.
I took one last drink out of the crystal decanter I held in my hands letting the burning brown liquid errode my taste buds one last time. I could see her shaking her head at me in the reflection and that was the only thing my intoxicated mind needed to completely release itself once more.
“Nooooo, no, no. Don’t give me that fucking look. Don’t fucking come here covered in my brother’s blood thinking you can scold me.” Maybe I needed someone to put me in my place. I was acting like a jackass after all.
“Adrian, sit down please. Before you fall over.” she walked over to my side attempting to grab my shoulders leading me towards to bed.
No Bella, don’t come near me. I’m afraid of what I’ll do. Please.
“Don’t you dare try and tell me what the fuck to do. If you don’t listen to my orders why the hell should I listen to yours?” I could feel the last few shots of whiskey beginning to kick in as the room started to spin and I couldn’t get my words out. But there she stood. My perfect angel. Standing her ground trying to take care of me after all the shit she’s been through tonight. My mind kept telling me to give in, to be kind and gentle, to not scare her away. But the words that kept escaping my mouth were brutal and harsh. I couldn’t control them.
“Adrian. Sit down.” She was becoming a little bit more angry with me. Once again, I didn’t blame her.
“Yeah… No.” It was like I had become possessed. Any other time I would have accepted this side of me, used it to my advantage. But with her infront of me all I could do was try and keep it repressed. Without warning though, my hand brought the decanter up to my mouth one last time forcing my tongue to slam the rest of the liquid, before my body turn and chucked the crystal at the window causing it to shatter. My vision went black. The room began to spin. Anything that wasn’t already broken was now as the pressure from my hands ripped every feasible thing apart regardless if it was already broken or not.
“WHAT? You think just because you were in the right place at the right time gives you a free pass to defy my goddamn orders. Think again. I don’t care if I loved you before this night. You’re the ficking reason my brother got shot. I want you out of my fucking life.”
Nononono. Why the hell did I just say that?
“ADRIAN ANTONIA DELUCA. SIT THE FUCK DOWN. Stop acting like a goddamn child.”
Bella don’t push it.
“Don’t you dare tell me what the hell to do Bella. Get out of my fucking sight.”
“No. Do you honestly think you can fucking scare me away Adrian? I could care less if you’re drunk or sober. I know you damn it. And I know no matter what happens, how much alcohol you’ve had or the hurtful words you say, you will never lay a hand on me. Now. Sit. The FUCK. down. You’re bleeding.”
That was it. In one instant her beautifully stern, angelic voice brought me back to reality. It carried me away from the demon taking me to the dark corners of the bottle of whiskey I had finished. Never in my life had someone so innocent looking brought me out of myself, away from my own mind. But here she was surprising me again.
I blanked out what happened after that. I remember sitting on the bed. A cold, damp cloth brushing against the skin of my knuckles and once again on my arm. I remember her telling me that Alex was alive. But nothing else.
My mind raced at thoughts of her, even though she was right in front of me. Her beautiful smile, that I didn’t seen often. The way the strands of hair would get stuck in her eyelashes because her lashes were too long. The wrinkles in the corners of her eyes letting me know she was happy without ever having to smile. The girl she used to be, so meek and frightened, to this woman standing on the side of me. I didn’t understand how she changed so much in such a short amount of time.
I looked up to find her standing next to my side, looking at my arm in wonder. My hands quickly found the back of her thighs pulling her in between my legs. Her little squeal from the surprise made my heart skip a beat. She placed her hands on my shoulders and looked down at me all anger, all irritation thrown away.
“Bella, why aren’t you scared of me? Of this?” I looked around to my first hand destruction.
“What’s there to be afraid of Adrian?” Her voice was sweet, caring.
My head hung heavy knowing this was not the place that she needed to be. While I was grateful for everything she had done for this family, she needed to be as far away from us and this life as possible.
“Bella. I told you I’m not a good man. I’ve hurt people. I almost got my brother killed. Look what I just did. I- I could have… Please, you need to get as far away from us as you can before something happens to you.”
“Hey, hey. Shhhh.” I could feel the tears starting to stream down my face at the thought of losing her. Her hands embraced my face like mine had done to hers so many times before brushing away the tears that I could no longer hold back. “Adrian. I love you. It doesn’t matter if you’re drunk, if you’re sober. If I watch you kill a man. When you say harsh things because you’re hurt. That isn’t going to change how I feel. I know no matter who you are, what you have to do, there is one thing that you would never let happen. You would never purposely put your family in danger if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Adrian, I’ve seen both sides of you. I wouldn’t be standing here if I thought my life was in danger. I would have run away from you a long time ago. I don’t plan on going anywhere that doesn’t involved you by my side. I’m not leaving Adrian, ever.”
While her words comforted me I knew that she didn’t know just how much of a mess she was about to walk into. Our lives were going to be anything but easy from here on out and she was oblivious to it. Frankly, that’s how I wanted it to stay for the time being. But the last thing that came to my mind before we went home was something that still holds true from the first time I laid eyes on her.
“Bella, I don’t deserve you. I never have.”