Chapter 30: Deciding what and who is safe
Maybe I’m whipped. It would be a first. But never have a felt for anyone as I feel for Belle. My protective and possessive side is thriving with her by my side, especially because my enemy is after her. I loathe sucking the insights she can give me about her family out of her, but it is helpful. I hope she knows she’s more than a tool in this war. She is my queen.
And now I lay in our bed, stroking her beautiful soft hair and gazing adoringly at her sleeping face. So innocent. So pure. So mine.
Her small nose, smooth skin, soft plump lips.
“You’re staring at me,” she whispers as her eyes flutter open and an angelic smile graces her lips. How can she look at me like that? As if she adores me? She loves me, and I have no idea why. I’m eternally grateful that she does. What if I had done something stupid before that would make her hate me completely? I’m not a good guy, I would have easily killed that guy, Jeremy I think, her friend who helped her, and if I did so, she would never have forgiven me. And everything would be different right now.
“I can’t stare at my fiancé?” I question her with a wide grin that I just can’t help. What the fuck has she done to me?
“No,” she replies in a quiet voice, snuggling her face into my chest so that I can’t see her anymore.
Almost dragging the little girl out of bed, we shower and make our way down to breakfast. Is it strange to finally feel at peace when we’re on the brink of war? With Belle by my side, it makes me feel so much more powerful, so much more secure. There’s nothing to prove. I have my queen.
As we leave our room, Ranger spots us down the hall and narrows his eyes. What is he even doing this side of the house? This is where my brothers and I sleep, and now Belle. Everything has been off since Belle confessed that she thought Ranger was the mole.
I hadn’t noticed anything at first. But it’s the little things as I’ve been watching his movements over the past week. He’s cold to Belle, as she is to him. I find him in places he has no reason to be in and he has left a couple of nights to God knows where.
“What are you doing?” I ask, tightening my hold on Belle’s waist as she squirms uncomfortably next to me.
“I left my jacket up here the other day when you asked to see me,” Ranger replies coolly, though I can see he’s tense from the way the veins on his neck are bulging. “Morning, Belle.”
I glance at Belle to see her eyes wide and terrified, as if he had hurt her or something. Had he? I can’t be surprised that she would be terrified of anyone she suspected working for her uncle after what she had been through though. Perhaps that’s why.
“Let’s eat some breakfast,” I whisper over to Belle, leading her down the stairs and away from Ranger.
“Why haven’t you done something about him?” Belle asked, her eyes glassy with tears but hopeful.
“I’m sorry, neonata, but there’s nothing to say he’s the mole. I’m still looking into it, okay? If he’s done something to you, I’ll end him right now,” I tell her.
Her chest starts to move up and down rapidly, her breaths short and frantic. She clutches my hand, and I wrap my arms around her, holding her up. She’s having a panic attack again.
“Belle, gattina, please calm down. You’re safe with me. I’ll never let anything happen to you. You don’t have to worry.” I try to bring her down but her eyes glaze over me, as if she can’t even see me anymore.
And then she starts to sing. Her voice is comparable to an angel, sweet, melodic, beautiful. And the song brings her right back down to earth.
The moment her eyes connect with mine again, she hugs me tightly, squeezing her eyes shut tight. I thought her anxiety would get better now that I’m in her life. She should feel safe and protected. She shouldn’t need to feel any panic.
I bend down to her height and cup her face in my hands.
“Belle, I will do anything to protect you. I love you. You need to know that. You don’t need to panic.”
“I know. It’s just... I...” A tear escapes and rolls down her cheek. I wipe it away and embrace her once again. “I’m hungry.” I chuckle softly, stroking her back on last time before heading into the dining room.
Belle sits beside me. I pull her chair right up next to mine and place a hand on her thigh, rubbing up and down.
“I still don’t agree with sleeping with the enemy,” Luca grumbles as he walks in, receiving a glare from me.
"Devi controllarti, fratello," (you need to check yourself, brother) I snap.
Leo and Rafael stroll in, sending a smile to Belle and a nod to me. Whilst we are brothers, I'm the boss. They cannot disrespect me, or my bambina.
"When's the wedding set?" Luca asks.
"Next week." Belle gasps beside me, glancing up towards me and furrowing her brows. "Everything will be arranged quickly and I'l get someone to look for the perfect dress for you, Belle."
"Can't I do that?" she asks.
"You want to go shopping?" I never thought she wanted to leave here, because her anxiety might convince her it was unsafe. Plus, as long as she is in my sights, she's safe.
"For my own wedding dress," she replied.
"It's not safe."
"Why? Nothing has changed from before. Alfonso still doesn't know I'm here. Please?" She flutters her lashes innocently and gives me the sweetest smile.
"Fine. But I'm going with you."
"You? Wedding dress shopping?" Leo snorted, Rafael joining in. "The big bad boss is finally showing his feminine qualities." I glared at them and rolled my eyes.
"There's a war brewing, Enzo. Don't waste your time. Send someone else out with her," Luca declares.
"Then I'm sending you. As my brother, I know you'll protect Belle no matter what, even though you don't like it," I state, raising my eyebrows and daring him to disobey this order.
"Can I bring Sofia with me?" Belle asks. Sofia? One of the maids?
"Sure. That's settled then. Luca, you are taking a couple of men with you to guard Belle and Sofia today. No arguments."
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