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Chapter 20

My breath catches when I found Luca in his black T-shirt and shorts. His hair is a god-given mess. There are several forming bruises on his face, and I wince at the cut above his collarbone.

But everything is overshadowed by dried blood. From his nose, on his knuckle. In some places, you can clearly see that the blood is not his.

I stare at Luca. “What happened to you?” I ask approaching him, reaching out, and gently stroke bruises with my fingers.

He shrugs. “I was fighting.”

“Why the fuck for?”

“I won`t let that fucker take you away from me. I found him and made a deal with him. I will take a few fights to earn money, here take it. It’s two thousand, a few more fights and we’ll have all the money.” He said, running his fingers through his hair.

“You didn`t have to do something so fucking dangerous. What if he had fucking beaten you to death! What if...” I said pissed.

He stops me, eyes hardening. ”I do it for you and I would do it over and over again if it means you are safe and lying in my arms every night. You think I look bad? You should see the other guy I was fighting.”

I glare at him. “I didn`t ask you to put your life in danger for me. I didn`t ask to take my fights for me.”

“Enough! I don`t need your permission for this. Whether you like it or not, I will still do it for you. Because I fucking love you!” He tells me, his blue eyes locking with mine. I see the warmth and love radiate from those eyes.

I stand there speechless, I didn`t expect him to come out about his feelings like this.

“Look, can we just... talk about this tomorrow?” He pleads me with his eyes. ”Please, Mia. I don`t want to argue anymore. I`m tired and just want to go to sleep.”

I sigh. “Fine” I mutter.

“Will you sleep with me?” He asks me, stepping forward, and brushing a stray lock of hair away from my face and tucking it behind my ear.

I nod because his touch leaves me breathless every time.

“I’m going to take a shower first.” He kisses my forehead and I leave him alone to handle it.

Going down the stairs, I see girls sitting on the couch, hearing the steps they turn around.

“Dominic and Luke have already gone to bed, we will go too. We just wanted to wait for you.” Lisa said eyeing me carefully.

“How’d it go?” Anna asks while I sit near her on the sofa and sight.

“He’s beaten, said he’s fighting for money. All this is obviously illegal, but I’m afraid it won’t end badly... He doesn’t agree to quit everything...” I mutter the last part.

“How much did he get for the fight?” Lisa asks.

“Two thousand” I mutter because I don`t like where this conversation is going...

“He still needs to win four times and all this will be forgotten. Isn’t that okay? We won’t find a easier way to get money.” Lisa says.

“You don’t understand, it’s not money. The point is he, his health. I can’t look at his face every time and know that I’m guilty of every beating.” I say sternly.

“We understand Mia, but do we have another choice in this situation. If he hadn’t done it, we would continue to consider what to do. And time is running out... We need to collect the missing amount of money as soon as possible.” Anna tells.

I know they’re right, but my heart can’t withstand a sense of guilt. I can’t look at him and know I’m guilty of everything. It would have been better if I hadn’t shown up in his life.

“Mia, don’t blame yourself. Just consider our words and calm down, maybe we will be able to solve everything and leave it all in the past.” Anna says trying to reason with me.

“Do you really think so? If my mom borrows from some fucking gangster guy money again, then what? Luca will sacrifice his life again trying to raise the necessary money, and I just sit and watch?” I almost scream standing up from the couch.

“You’re right. Let’s solve the problem first and then think about how to get rid of your mom.” Lisa says.

I nod my head because I don’t want to talk about it anymore...

“We’re going to go, try to rest as much as possible.” Anna says and comes hugs me.

After I see them off, I climb the stairs to our room and I find Luca lying in bed waiting for me.

After I change, I get into bed and Luca hugs me and pulls me close to him.

I put my head on his sturdy chest, wrap my arms around his waist, and try to fall asleep while he caresses my head.

“I heard your conversation with the girls.” I stay silent.

“They’re right, let me take care of you, let me protect you, let me love you. Let’s take care of this problem first, and then we’ll think about what to do with your mom. Now sleep. I love you, baby.” He says and kisses my head.

“I love you too, Luca” I quietly tell him to his chest.

“What did you say?” He asks in disbelief.

I raise my eyes and meet his gaze, and say firmly with love, “I love you

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