“Scared? Of what?” Enrico questioned, both confused and alert. He couldn’t think of any reason she was scared and he was beginning to wonder what made her feel scared. “Did they do something you haven’t told us about?” Izabella shook her head, the lump in her throat growing with each second she couldn’t speak.
She wanted to tell him what she was feeling, but she wouldn’t allow herself to.
What if he thought she was weak?
Would he still love her after hearing her insecurities?
She had many fears and often hid them from her family. She was sure they had picked up on them a few times, but was glad they hadn’t questioned her. “Gosh, I’m so pathetic.” She groaned, her fingers tightening around Enrico’s wrists as she squeezed her eyes shut, willing herself to speak. “I-I’m scared. So scared.” She whispered, her breathing turning irregular as her eyes began to sting and the lump in her throat grew to the point that it hurt to talk.
Enrico just watched her, knowing fully well that she had to allow herself to be open and not do it because she was being compelled to. After a few minutes of silence from her, he sighed and removed his hands from her face, his hands moving to encase hers in his. Her palms and fingertips were cold and Enrico brought her hands to his lips and began blowing in an attempt to warm them.
Izabella just watched in silence, internally scolding and belittling herself for behaving so cowardly in front of the man she had an undeniable attraction for.
“Take your time, fiore. I’m right here and I’ll always be here.” Enrico said as he lowered his hands to her lap, his thumbs gently brushing against her hands as he watched her keenly, observing her every facial expression.
“I want t-to tell someone, I have to. I feel so hypocritical because I always tell my brothers and dad that they need to be more open about their feelings and I don’t take my own advice. Does that make me a bad person? I feel like it does.” She rushed out, her eyes downcast as she stared at their hands on her lap. When she was answered with nothing but silence, she looked up and furrowed her brows when she saw Enrico just staring at her. “Is there s-something on my f-face?” That thought alone was enough to make her flustered and had her moving her hands out of his, however, Enrico immediately shook his head, his hold on her hands getting stronger.
“No. There is nothing on your face except for that beauty mark just under your right eye. You want to know why I’m staring?” He asked and Izabella nodded, her eyes moving away from his as she did and was caught off-guard when he gripped her chin, tilting her head upwards so they made eye contact. “Do you know what I see when I look at you now?” His words were making her feel all sorts of ways and she wasn’t quite sure whether she liked it or not. “Do you?” He stressed.
“No.” She answered and he smiled. She regarded him with curious eyes as he rose to his feet, letting her hand drop from his as he stretched and she felt disappointed at the lack of warmth.
Enrico sat on her bed, bracing his back on the pillows resting against the wooden headboard before he reached out to her, taking her hand in his and pulling her onto his lap, making her straddle him so that they were facing each other. Izabella of course, squealed, not expecting the bold action and tried to escape his hold, but it was useless. He was determined to keep her where she was and in his mind, it was where she belonged.
“I was staring because I was trying to understand how a person as beautiful as you could see herself as ugly.” His unsuspecting words made her eyes widen and she wanted to hide from his grey-green gaze. His eyes were like tornadoes and whenever she stared, it was like she was standing and looking at one as it moved closer, the more she stared, the closer it got and sucked her in.
“Not following your own advice does not make you a hypocrite, fiore. It’s understandable for one to not follow the advice they gave to a person encountering the same situation as them. Can you see a problem the way someone else sees it?” Izabella didn’t respond, her mind was too busy processing his words and Enrico knew it so he didn’t wait for an answer.
“It’s easier to give advice when you aren’t in that situation, but the moment it happens to you, you don’t follow your advice because for some twisted reason, it doesn’t seem like it’ll work. People think that either their problem is more or less severe, it’s just the way human beings are and you’ve got to accept that fact. I wish it wasn’t because many of the problems in my life wouldn’t be here, but they are and I can’t change that, but I can overcome them slowly.” His hands went to her face and his thumbs swiped at the few tears that managed to leak out of her honey-like eyes.
“You don’t have to tell me tonight, just know I’m always here whenever you need to talk and as much as you should talk about this to your family, I want to be the one you run to when you have a problem. That being said, it’s completely your decision.” Enrico placed a soft kiss to her forehead before encasing her shaking form in his arms as she sobbed into his chest.
He didn’t mind that his shirt was wet and clinging to his stomach because it was his fiore’s way of ridding herself of her troubles and he was glad that she was comfortable enough to do it with him.
“T-thank y-you.” She mumbled into his chest, her tiny fists clutching his wet shirt as he kissed her hair. “Thank y-you.” She repeated and he shushed her, resting his head on top of hers and running his hands up and down her back in an attempt to calm her down a bit.
“It’s okay to cry sometimes.” He wanted to laugh at himself for saying that when he couldn’t even shed a tear without calling himself pathetic because he was grown up with the thought that crying meant showing weakness.
Izabella didn’t have to know that though and it was at moments like those that he was glad no one could read his mind. “Enrico.” She called as she pulled away, moving to sit beside him on the bed and releasing a relieved breath when he didn’t try stopping her.
“Fiore.” He countered and let a small smile appear when she giggled, the sound leaving him in utter awe and desire for the young female. The thought that he could’ve made her feel a sense of joy pleased him and he considered her laugh his trophy.
“Why did dad move us here?” The question made him snap out of his trance and he looked to her, his stoic face giving nothing away, much to Izabella’s dislike.
“Like he said, it is for your protection and I’ll be able to protect you better if you’re here with me.” The young girl sighed, her sixth sense tingling.
“Why do I feel as if there’s more to it? Is there?” She asked quizzically and he shook his head.
“No. Your father felt it was best that you move here for your protection and because he didn’t want you to relapse.” Izabella didn’t say anything, she just nodded and sighed deeply. “Can I sleep here tonight?” Enrico suddenly asked, effectively breaking the silence and leaving Izabella stunned.
“No!” She protested, shaking her head vigorously as she gave him an alarmed glare. “You should leave now, I need to sleep and so do you.”
Enrico sighed, slowly rising from the bed and nodding.
“Good night, fiore.”
“Good night, Enrico.”