I curled my last section of hair before unplugging my wand and giving my hair a light spray of hair spray. A little mascara and eyeliner to compliment my red lip stain. A natural look was what I preferred. I walked from my bathroom to my full length mirror, turning so I could see to zip my dress up. My little black dress hugged my figure just enough to keep some left to the imagination. I strung a long silver necklace over it all and slipped on my nude heels. I stepped back and gave myself a quick review. Wondering if this was too formal. He gave me no hint to where we were going. I shrugged and threw on my trench coat and a scarf. Matthew met me at my bedroom door and took my suitcase. His eyes lit up at my appearance.
“Miss Rossi you look lovely. Is Mr. Flynn taking you out?” I nodded and smiled wide. He stepped aside to let me lead the way to the car.
“Hello Loreina.” Neil held out a small tightly done bundle of flowers for me. I took them from him and inhaled their soft sweet smell, they hid my blushing cheeks.
“Mhmmm. They’re lovely, thank you Neil.” I kissed his cheek and let my lips linger a moment longer than they should have. He opened my car door for me and I slid into the passenger seat of his black Land Rover.
I admired the flowers and gave them a home in the empty cup holder as we drove. Nothing but trees around us. Matthew and Howie in the black SUV in front of us, I could see them laughing and joking around.
“What are you thinking about?” Neils words snapped my thoughts back into my brain. I shrugged. Nothing. I was numb with anticipation.
“Nothing really. Mostly just wondering where we will be going for dinner.” He smiled and gripped the steering wheel a little tighter.
“That’s a surprise. Like I’ve said three times already.” His tone laced with annoyance but it didn’t hold any water being followed by a husky chuckle.
“Dinner was fantastic, thank you again.” He nodded and we both stood to leave. My feet seemed to drag heading to the car. I didn’t want this night to end. I didn’t want to face tomorrow. I didn’t want to watch him leave as I stayed behind at the cabin. He must have felt the same magnetic pull because he stopped at the passenger door of his vehicle.
“You are perfect.” It seemed he had more to say but he let the words hang in limbo for the moment. His right hand cupped my face and I laid mine over his and snuggled into his touch. “I thank God that I have met you. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but I do know that I can see you in my future and I would give anything to keep you by my side tonight.” He pulled me into his body and I clung to his warmth. A shiver ran down my body and a breath flew from my lips that I didn’t know I had been holding.
“I am glad to have you too. I know I have Alex and Howie. But, you give me a different feeling of safety.” He let out a small sigh of relief as I spoke after a long silence. “Neil, I just don’t want to lead you into something you may not be ready for. This won’t be a normal relationship, I’m fucked up. I- he just ruined my-” I was cut off by his lips crashing into mine. I shivered as heat rose through my body and I had forgotten it was freezing temperatures outside. After an eternity he pulled away. His eyes filled with lust but also anger.
“Don’t ever, talk like that. He is not a part of you. Your heart is gold. He will not creep into our relationship, understand me?” I nodded, feeling a little embarrassed. His grip on my hip tightened as he spoke. “I don’t have feelings for you because I think you’re vulnerable, an easy target. I chose to pursue you. Your confidence fills any room and I have never been more attracted to a woman in my life. You are not fucked up.” I couldn’t break my gaze from my feet.
“Look at me.” His command held some authority behind it. My eyes flew up to meet his flaming gaze. “You’re mine.” I ferociously blushed and couldn’t hide my shit eating grin. A smirk broke his face and lightened those grey orbs. He stepped back from me and I craved him immediately to return. He seemed to shake his head no at me as he opened the car door for me.
“It’s so late. Your grandfather isn’t going to mind, will he?” He snickered and said no. He didn’t explain but instead took my hand in his as he drove awful close to the speed limit. He was still selfishly dragging out every second like I was. Happiness bubbled from my heart. Genuinely. I hadn’t felt that in years. A few tears stung my eyes but I fought them back easily. Happiness was too much of an addicting feeling to ruin it with crying.
We arrived at the cabin after an hour or so of driving. As we entered the house the scent of a fireplace filled my nose and I could feel some of my anxiety about staying fade. He walked with me up the stairs and then down the hallway to my room.
After setting my bags on the bench in front of the large bay window he loosened the tie around his neck and let it hang around his neck. Tired surrounded his eyes. I knew that look. It’s the same look Alex and Howie had been ridden with all weekend. I shook the thought away of the fight Alex and I had. Slipped out of my heels and removed my jewelry.
Laughing from downstairs pulled my attention back to the hallway. I looked to Neil for an answer and he shook his head and laughed. We made our way back downstairs and rounded a corner into the dining room off the kitchen. I scanned the old wooden round table and took in the faces. Howie, Matthew, Shamus and three other men sat in a circle.
“My grandfather is having a poker game tonight. Don’t let them disturb you. If they get too rowdy just come down and shake your fist at them old salt dogs.” I giggled and nodded. The three men I didn’t know stood and cleared their throat and introduced themselves. Shamus came around the table and hugged me tightly. I was taken back but I didn’t mind. It was comforting to know I was so welcome at such an unnerving time.
“Hey little lass. Isn’t that what Howie calls you?” I blushed and covered my mouth from laughing. He winked at me. “Neil, can I deal you in? We haven’t started yet.” Neil slid his hands in his pockets and shook his head no.
“No pops, I have to get going. It’s been a long day. And I’ve got an eight hour drive back to Somerville.” His grandfather nodded and lit his cigar. It looked more like a cigarette in his hands.
“Very well then. Don’t worry son, the boys and I will keep a good eye on her. There’s nothing to worry for.” His gaze made its way to mine as his friends gave questioning looks at me. He put his hand on the small of my back and his other held the cigar, ushered us into the foyer. “Look, Loriena, I don’t know what all the details are but my men are the best of the best. Like fine whiskey… they only get better with age. Howie brought a small army. My guest house is packed. I’ve been in this game longer than the two of you have been on this earth. You are safe here.” I smiled and he placed a warm kiss on my temple. He returned to his game and raised some ruckus so the liveliness was back in the room.
Neils hands wrapped themselves around my waist and he tucked his face into my neck. He seemed to be taking in my scent. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t doing the same as my arms locked themselves around his neck. I rubbed my nose into the collar of his shirt.
“It’ll only be for a few days. Maybe not even that long if everything goes as planned. I nodded through closed eyes and his hands cupped my face. His thumb brushed away a few stray tears. “I will come back for you, okay? But until then, you have Boston’s finest goons in there protecting you.” I laughed and rolled my eyes. He seemed satisfied to have made me smile and chose to depart on a happy note. His last kiss took my breath away. I didn’t deserve this man.