The wind blew through their hair as they walked side-by-side; not a care in the world. Both forgetting the broken homes they’d have to return to as the sun began to set. The light chatter from adults walking past them filled the air as they finished off the last bits of their ice-cream. Luca stopped and plucked the empty cup out of Ambra’s hands as they passed by a rubbish bin.
Luca winked as Ambra began protesting, “don’t want you getting your hands dirty for no reason.”
“I could’ve done that Luca. You didn’t have t-”
“I’m here, aren’t I? As long as I’m around you don’t have to worry about little things like these,” Luca turned around to throw away the rubbish. Ambra stared at him in awe. Throwing away someone’s trash wasn’t a big deal to Luca, he’d spent his entire life picking up the pieces of his broken heart; trying to piece it back together. But to Ambra? She’d never seen someone like him. It warmed her heart knowing that they’d become so close in just a couple days.
Luca turned around and the pair continued to walk around the park. “So tell me more about yourself. What are your parents like? When did you move here? Did you have a lot of friends before? Let me get to know you,” Luca smiled as he spoke almost as if the idea of getting to know someone knew intrigued him. Ambra couldn’t imagine, she assumed the looks of the six-foot-something tall male would be enough for him to get to know everyone. How didn’t he have a girlfriend already, she wondered.
“Well, my parents are lawyers like I told you in the shop the other day. I moved from the city because my parents got a job here. They don’t really like it though, but I do! I wasn’t that popular, I had a good group of friends but nothing worth missing. I’m twenty years old an-“, Ambra paused. Her eyes widened before she swivelled round and turned to a confused Luca. “How old are you?? Oh my gosh, what if I’m hanging out with a pervert. Do you have make-up on to hide how old and wrinkly you are? You’re so gorgeous though you must have an amazing makeup artist. I’m not ready to die yet oh Jesus. I wanna die a virgin I made a promise to my favourite stuffy that I’d be purer than the Virgin Mary until twenty-five,” Ambra rambled and started pacing before Luca. Her rambling was cut short however as she heard a deep chuckle sound from next to her.
Two sets of pearly white teeth shone from underneath a pair of full lips. Ambra was briefly hypnotized by the way they shone in the sun but was taken out of her staring my Luca bending over and laughing louder and clutching his chest. “I-I’m not a pervert,” Luca was cut short by another set of giggles erupting from him. Ambra stood next to him and giggled nervously as Luca fought to catch his breath. As he straightened up his face painted itself with an amused smirk, “I’m thirty-five love and no I do not have a make-up artist stashed away in my house somewhere. It’s nice to know you think I’m good-looking though.” A wink was passed Ambra’s way as she flushed a deep red.
“Y-you can never be t-too sure, I just had to check and wait thirty-five?? You’re fifteen years older than me my parents would kill me Luca. Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Hey, I’m sorry it’s not like either of us asked each other how old we wer—”
“NO. It doesn’t matter you should have told me you were a lot older than me!”
Luca ran a hand through his hair frustratedly. How had a day that had been completely fine gone to shit? He knew he had to be careful with his words so he wouldn’t scare the younger woman away.
He needed her.
The realization hit him like a truck but in a feat of denial, Luca pushed it to the back of his head. They had just grown really close and he needed a friend. Yeah right, his subconscious spoke. Regardless of the fact, he diverted his attention back to the seething woman in front of him.
“Love, this isn’t really my fault. Neither of us asked that question and besides I don’t think it makes a difference, we actually click really well together.”
Ambra couldn’t deny the warmth in her heart when Luca said they clicked, nor could she deny that she agreed with him. The stubborn part of her, however, didn’t want it to be true. Her parents always told her to find someone in her age range. Someone smart. Someone financially stable. She was at a war with herself. Maybe she should listen to her parents; she did go against their wishes of going to university. She owed them this much.
Luca panicked as he began to see Ambra walking away from him. “No! Please Ambra, I’m sorry,” he ran to catch up with her. For a small woman, she was incredibly fast.
He stopped in front of her and grabbed her hands, “at least let me drive you, home love, come on. I’m not letting you walk around at this time in the evening, let’s go.”
Ambra’s stubbornness seemed to have taken her over fully as she brushed past him and kept walking with a pout on her lips and her arms crossed over her chest. Luca silently seethed at the disrespect he’d received, but they weren’t at the stage in their relationship where Luca could teach Ambra a lesson.
“Ambra, I will not tell you again. Do I make myself clear? Get the fuck over here before you make me regret being nice to you two seconds ago.”
She paused in her spot as she turned around. The sheer dominance in his voice made her legs clench as a weird feeling overtook her. She couldn’t figure out whether she enjoyed or hated the way he talked to her. Maintaining a frown, Ambra walked towards a now satisfied Luca and got into the passenger seat. The driver’s door shut and the car rumbled to life.
“What’s your address?”
“1087 Lambervale End, “Luca nodded his head before driving off.
The drive was long and painful as Ambra kept her gaze outside of the window. Luca could tell they were getting close as the richer side of town began to appear. Three-story houses with perfectly mowed lawns and white-picket fences.
“Right here,” a quiet mumble broke the deafening silence.
“Why are we stopping by a lamp post?” Luca couldn’t hide the confusion in his voice.
“I can’t let my parents see I’m with a guy, they’d kill me Luca.”
“Give me your phone,” Luca’s outstretched hand waited.
“What? No, I’m not giving you my—”
The phone smacked into Luca’s hand and before she knew, it was placed back into her lap.
“What did you do?” she eyed it suspiciously.
“I put my number in. Call me if you ever need me,” Luca stared into her eyes as he spoke. His eyes were pleading her to not give up on him before anything had even started.
“I’ll delete it once I get in my room anyway so—”
Luca grabbed her chin roughly between his fingers as a whimper left Ambra. “Don’t make me tell you again, am I understood? Call me if you need me.”
Shakily nodding, Ambra opened her door and ran down the street towards her house. She slammed open the door and shut it behind her and ran up the stairs to her room. She gently closed the door to her bedroom and opened the curtains to look outside. Luca was staring straight at her and gave her a flirty smirk and wink before driving off.
Ambra closed the curtains before placing a hand on her heart and breathing out slowly. Maybe she’d been too harsh on Luca. It wasn’t his fault if she really thought about it. Her thoughts were interrupted as a knock sounded on her door. “C-come in!” She hoped the person on the other side couldn’t tell she was out of breath.
“Hey honey, dinner’s ready,” her father came in with a suspicious look in his eyes. “You’re out of breath, is everything okay?”
“Just peachy, I’ll be down in a few.”
Her father nodded and gave her room one last glance before walking down the stairs.
Dinner was silent. Dead silent. Not even the clinks of the forks and knives on the plates could be heard. Her mother was the first one to break the silence.
“Where did you go today?” her voice was higher than a canary’s as she wiped the corners of her mouth with the handkerchief on her lap.
Ambra straightened up and pushed away the plate of untouched food. She hadn’t expected her mother to ask; quite frankly her mind had been on Luca. She had been unfair to him. Neither had asked about the other’s age and her reaction was uncalled for and quite frankly, dumb. A heavy weight settled in Ambra’s chest as she looked up at her mother who was waiting expectantly for her answer.
“Well, I went to the bookstore again and then went for a walk in the park,” she purposefully left out the parts about Luca and the drugstore. Her mother did not need to know about that.
Her mother hummed seemingly not caring about what her daughter had to say. “That’s all very well, but I want you to get an interview at the diner before the next week starts. It’s Friday today otherwise you can kiss that bookstore of yours goodbye.”
Ambra’s heart twisted in discomfort as she thought of never getting to see Luca again. With a nod, she pushed her chair back and stood up. “I’m going to bed,” with a tight-lipped smile towards both her parents, she walked up to her room with only one person on her mind.
She made sure to lock the door before picking her phone up from its place in between the wrinkled bed sheets.
She was scared. The fear coursed through her veins as she pondered over the decision in her head. Her parents’ reaction was one she did not want to imagine in her mind, but something about Luca kept her coming back. Today’s display of dominance was the icing on the cake. She felt powerful when she was with him and that adrenaline is what encouraged her to send the text.
“Text me your address, I’m coming over.”