The birds chirped outside as the pair lay in bed. Luca’s arm was underneath Ambra’s head as her hands lay delicately on his tattooed chest. Their talking had ceased just before dawn and they lay in a state of content purely feeling the other close to them.
Ambra’s eyes had begun to flutter shut as the consequences of an all-nighter finally caught up with her. She felt a feather-like touch caress her cheek which only made her snuggle into the arms of her companion more.
“Sleep,” Luca whispered. “I’ll be here when you wake up, I promise.”
Not caring for the boundaries that a typical friendship had, Luca couldn’t help but wrap Ambra tighter in his arms. He wanted to keep her with him for the rest of his days; he couldn’t let her go. He could already feel the darkness in his soul fading the longer he spent time with her. The nightmares had stopped. Luca didn’t find himself waking up covered with a sheen of sweat. No longer did he have to squeeze his eyes shut in fear of what was in the dark corners of his room. Ambra made it disappear. He found himself fearing the effect that the little minx in his arms had on him, but the feeling of elation overpowered it all. He knew he had to take it slow with her, they’d only just met, but couldn’t fight the urge to make her his.
He’d been staring at Ambra and thinking for a few hours before movement in his arms stirred him out of his thoughts. A cute yawn escaped Ambra’s mouth before she sleepily looked at him and smiled.
“Morning, love did you sleep well?”
A light giggle escaped Ambra’s lips before she could stop herself as she blushed. “Yes, I did actually. For the first time in a looooonnnggg time for some reason.” Ambra knew it was because of the handsome man’s arms that she’d been wrapped in all night long. She hadn’t received any comfort like that for as long as she could remember. There was a small part of her that regretted staying out all night without telling her parents but after grabbing her phone and seeing no notifications, she knew it was all okay.
“I’d like to take you someplace special today,” Luca couldn’t help but feel nervous as he spoke to her. He’d never taken anyone before and he was worried that she’d find it to be stupid. He didn’t want to scare her away.
“Sure!!” Ambra’s eyes shone in pure excitement as she got up from her place in his arms. A small pout formed on his lips as the cold enveloped him too quickly. “Can we drop by my house I need to get some clothes, but I’ll brush my teeth here and we can have breakfast and then leave.”
Luca nodded before he too got up and followed her into the bathroom and got a spare toothbrush out from under the sink. He unwrapped it for her and placed it next to his in a small pot beside the sink. As he began to undress and prepare himself for a shower he heard a small squeal from behind him. He turned around and saw Ambra in his black t-shirt and her panties with her hands over her eyes. A deep chuckle erupted from his chest as he walked up to her in just his boxers and took his hands off of her flushed cheeks.
“Something the matter love,” he raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow and smirked at her.
“No no, I-I just expect to see you g-getting undressed in front of m-me,” her stuttering only made the smirk on his face grow bigger as she couldn’t stop herself from looking at the tattoos on display in front of her. He leaned down and brushed his lips over her ear.
“Don’t worry love the shower has fogged windows so you won’t see me,” he drew back and winked at her as he turned around and continued to undress.
Ambra turned around and looked the other way as she began to brush her teeth. Using the full two minutes she put her toothbrush back into its place and ran out of the bathroom and down the stairs. Locating the kitchen was a feat. She had never been in a home as big as Luca’s before.
What kind of money did he make to afford this, she thought as she walked past closed doors before finding the kitchen and set to work on making breakfast.
Twenty-five minutes and a few burnt bacon strips later, Ambra had prepared a decent breakfast at the same time Luca strode into the kitchen with sweatpants and a black tee. His nose scrunched up as he tried to figure out where the smell of burning was coming from but only found a sheepish Ambra with two plates full of pancakes in front of her. He sat down in front of her as she looked in front of her with a guilty look and began to eat her pancakes in silence. She looked anywhere but him and this only made Luca more suspicious as he didn’t touch his food and looked straight at her.
Noticing the untouched pile of food in front of him, Ambra spoke up.
“Won’t you eat?”
“I will but first tell you me why you looked like you just burnt down a cat shelter and are trying to hide it from the world.”
Ambra couldn’t help but giggle as she pointed at the burnt pile of food behind her and then apologized, “I tried making you something nice after everything you’ve done for me and that is all that came out so I stuck with pancakes instead. I hope it’s okay I’ll make it up to you later, don’t worry. I’ll buy you ice-cream when we go out okay?”
Luca stared at the beauty in front of him as he couldn’t find the words to speak. His insides felt like they were rearranging themselves. He felt weird. A good kind of weird. Deciding to not let this feeling go away, he nodded his head and basked in joy running through him.
They both finished up in a comfortable silence before making their way to Luca’s car and making the familiar drive to Ambra’s home.
As soon as they got through the front door, Ambra intertwined her fingers with Luca’s and dragged him up the stairs to her room.
“I didn’t quite imagine us getting to this stage so quick love but sure,” a flirty wink was sent her way as she blushed before slapping his chest and pushing him to sit on her bed.
“Hahahaha shut up and sit there on your phone while I change,” a giggling Ambra made her way to her cupboard before choosing on a white halter dress with flowers adorning the material. Making her way to her dresser, she picked out a flower crown headband and walked to the bathroom and shut the door behind her.
Luca had gotten up from the bed and started to make his way over to her dresser and looked at the various photographs she had on display. Each one told a different story, he noticed. And by the looks of it, there wasn’t a bleak moment in Ambra’s life either. Each picture had her gorgeous pearly whites on display with someone different.
He was shaken out of his examining when Ambra came out of the bathroom and stood next to him. She picked up her perfume and spritzed it on herself before realizing that he was looking at her pictures.
“Oh! Do you like them? I took all of them myself! That one is my favourite,” she pointed at a picture with her and her parents. “It was before I graduated from high school and told them I wasn’t going to uni. Everything seemed perfect and now it’s like I’m living with two completely different people,” her eyes had a forlorn look in them as they brushed over the frame.
Luca couldn’t stand seeing her so upset and whipped her round with his hands on her waist. “You are perfect little miss. Don’t ever worry about what others have to say, I lov- like you just the way you are,” Ambra didn’t notice Luca stumble over his words as their noses rubbed together. They stayed that way until Luca cleared his throat and created some distance between them. Not wanting to ruin the sweetness of the moment, Ambra grabbed Luca’s hand and pulled him along with her to the door.
“Come oooooon, I wanna see this place that you love so much,” and with a look behind her shoulder, Ambra sent him a brilliant smile that had his heart-stopping before they got into the car and drove off.
“Okay keep them closed. Don’t you dare open them up.” Luca’s hands slowly left Ambra’s face as he took ahold of her warm hands and guided them forward. The sound of water dripping could be heard in the distance and an eerie feeling settled over Ambra. Her hands tightened around his as she pulled him to a halt.
“I don’t like this,” Ambra whined as she shook their hands between them.
“Do you trust me, love,” Luca grabbed Ambra’s face in between his hands as rough calloused fingers caressed her cheek.
“Of course I do you know that.”
“Then keep walking, I’m not planning to murder you don’t worry,” he let out a laugh and kept guiding her forward for a few more seconds before he stopped and lifted her blindfold.
She let out a gasp as she witnessed the flurry of colours in front of her. He had brought her to an abandoned underground parking lot, but he’d turned into something of his own. The walls showed the faces of those who had passed. Singers, artists, boxers, anyone and everyone. Each face had been painted with the utmost detail and precision and covered the walls in an immaculate display. The lights had been renovated and new ones had been put in their places so that each one could shine like a spotlight on each face. She walked up to a face of Queen and ran her finger along it. Her eyes continued to run across the walls until they reached a nervous Luca.
“This is beautiful, I don’t know what to say,” her eyes held Luca’s as a blush rose up his neck and to his cheeks.
“Thanks, each one shows the pain that they went through. It helps me relate to them. Knowing that they felt pain like I do—did. It helps me.”
Ambra took the time to survey the paintings once again. Each one showed a hidden emotion in their eyes. Each one a struggle they had been through.
“Well, I personally think it shows a struggle that they overcame. They all went through pain, yes. But at the end of the day, they became someone better.”
Ambra walked up to a painting Luca had done of Michael Jackson and began rambling about how he had gone through so much yet had come out stronger nonetheless. Eventuallydead, yes. But stronger.
Luca hadn’t ever seen them the way she was describing it. His emotions always tended to lay in the darker side of life.
That’s what he was used to. So when Ambra moved onto the next painting and helped him see a new perspective of life, a better perspective. He couldn’t help himself. He walked up to her and grabbed her by the hips and swivelled her around. He looked into her eyes and took a moment to see what they held.
True beauty. Happiness. A soul willing to help him. He hesitated for a second before mumbling under his breath.
“Fuck it,” and his lips enveloped hers in a passionate kiss.
He knew he’d gone against all his instincts. His willingness to go slow with Ambra had been thrown out the window the minute she’d shown him that there was more to life than he knew. He was beginning to crave the need to have her show him what life was life.
The beauty of it.
He needed someone to share the experience with as he began to discover what the world had to offer.
And Ambra might just be the one, he thought.