CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
The mood is light as we momentarily forget about James and his threat, or the fact that we are wanting to get the mafia involved to rid him from our lives. Instead we sit around laughing at stories of Chase’s childhood. I stay snuggled in Chases lap, laughing at the embarrassingly awkward teen years Chase experienced, my mind going to what's happening between Chase and I.
Only a week ago we were at each other's throats. The sexual tension was always there, and I won't deny having feelings for him, but we were the furthest from a relationship you could get. And now? Well, I guess I'm trying to figure out what we are. We're married, obviously, but how do we go from perfect strangers to happily married in a matter of weeks? There's no stepping stones in our relationship, no first date, no making our relationship official with the mandatory Facebook relationship status update. No deciding to live together, getting engaged then married. No, it's just straight into happily married and I'm trying to get my head around it. Not that I'd change anything, it's just unconventional. But that's us.
At just after three in the morning a knock at the door stops all conversation. We look at each other nervously, for a moment in time we forgot about James and his threats, or what we were going to do, we were just a happy little family. Mark stands and clears his throat.
“I'll get it.” He says. He disappears out of the lounge room and into the foyer. Chase places a kiss on my temple.
“Everything will be ok.” He tells me. I simply nod. I know it will be, but being responsible for getting someone hurt or killed is weighing on my mind. Even if he is a horrible human being who has ruined countless lives, knowing I'm instrumental in something happening to him isn't an easy concept to accept.
Mark walks back in followed closely by a tall, lean man who I recognize instantly.
“Alessandro!” I say excitedly. I jump out of Chases lap and wrap Alessandro in a hug causing him to chuckle.
“Hey Kate, been a while.” He says with a smile. Of all the Valentino brothers, I'm probably the closest to Alessandro. He's a year older than me, and a bit of a joker. He's the most relaxed of the brothers. Tony has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and wears that burden heavily. While Luca, well Luca is dark and brooding, and as time goes on he seems to be falling further into darkness. Nicole told me about her best friend Natalie, and what she meant to Luca. While time usually eases the grief that death caused, it seems to be doing the opposite to Luca. “Jesus Kate, what could anyone possibly do to deserve this?!” Alessandro asks. He looks around the horribly painted room and I can't help but laugh. I really do need to get it repainted.
“It was the heat of the moment.” I say. Alessandro chuckles and shakes his head. “What are you doing in the states?” I ask.
“Here on business. Tony and Luca are in Italy.” He replies. I nod, knowing not to ask more, though it's strange not seeing the three of them together. I can feel eyes on us and I turn towards the others.
“Sorry! Alessandro, this is my husband Chase.” I introduce them. Chase stands and shakes Alessandro's hand, although I can see in his eyes that he's wary. “And this is Mark, Ryder and Verity.” I continue. Alessandro shakes each of their hands and I see Verity check him out. I smirk at her when she realizes she has been caught and she gives me the death glare making me snigger. Alessandro takes a seat in one of the arm chairs and I sit next to Chase who places a possessive arm around my waist.
“So what's going on? I only got a message from papa telling me to get over here.” He tells me. I chew on my nails, wondering what to say but Chase sits forward and takes the lead.
“My cousin, James Caldwell, he threatened Kate.” Chase says. Alessandro visibly tenses in his seat.
“Threatened how?” he asks. I see Chases jaw clench and I place my hand on his knee, hoping to give him some comfort and calm him.
“He has a history of assaulting women, he has a lot of cops and high end officials in his back pocket that he hasn't so much as been arrested, despite the evidence against him.” Chase tells him. Chase looks to me quickly then back to Alessandro. “Basically he will go after Kate if I don't give him my company.” He says. I can see the quiet anger radiating off of Alessandro, his hands clenching the arms of the chair.
“I'm fully prepared to give him the company, but...” Chase states before Alessandro cuts him off.
“But that won't stop him from going after Kate anyway, or any other woman.” Alessandro says. Chase nods his head.
“Not to mention, it would just give him more power and influence.” Verity adds. I turn towards Alessandro.
“I know we aren't in Australia, so you may not be able to help, but I...” I say before Alessandro waves me off.
“No, as soon as papa heard you were coming here by yourself he called ahead and made it known you were under his protection.” Alessandro states. I furrow my brow, unsure how I feel about that. I had wanted to do this by myself. Alessandro seems to read my mind. “No one was to interfere, unless your life was in danger Kate, if they knew about what was going to go down at the café...” he trails off.
“That was unforeseeable.” I say. It came out a few days after that the shooter was a disgruntled ex-employee, no one could have predicted he would do that.
“I'll have to discuss it with the boss here, it's his turf after all, but we won't let him touch you Kate, you have my word.” He tells me. I give Alessandro a weak smile and nod.
“Thank you.” I say softly.
“Anytime Kate, you're family, we look after our family.” He tells me. Rafael has said the same thing to me countless times, I never fully understood what that meant until this moment. Alessandro doesn't stay long, but it's close to 4 in the morning by the time he leaves. Mark, Ryder and Verity leave soon after, leaving Chase and I alone.
“Sorry your birthday was so shitty.” I say. Chase chuckles and pulls me into his arms.
“Despite all the drama, it's still the best birthday I've ever had.” He says. I raise my eyebrow, thinking how bad his previous birthdays have been. He smiles and places a soft kiss on my lips. “I have you this year, nothing can top that.” He says smoothly. My heart flutters and I reach up on my tip toes to kiss him.
“Come on, let’s go to bed.” He says. I nod and let Chase lead me to the bedroom. We are both exhausted, so we just snuggle in together and fall into a restful sleep.
It was late afternoon by the time I woke up alone in bed. Chases side was still warm so I knew he wasn't up long. I could hear the shower running in his ensuite, so I slid out of bed and started stripping off my clothes. I feel bad that we've slept Chase’s birthday away, but maybe I can give him a little appetizer of what I have planned for him later.
The bathroom is steamy as I quietly enter. I open the glass door and slip in behind Chase, wrapping my arms around his waist and kissing his muscular back.
“Mm morning wife.” He says huskily. I smile against his back as he spins around to face me.
“Morning husband.” I say. I see his eyes darken with desire as he looks down my body, setting my nerves on fire. He crashes his lips on mine as he's hands move directly to my breasts, cupping and squeezing them. I rub my hands down his wet chest and abs until I feel his hard member in the palm of my hand. I wrap my hand around him, squeezing lightly before breaking the kiss and kissing down his neck and chest.
“Mm Kate.” He moans. I sink to my knees, looking up at him through my lashes as my tongue swirls around his tip.
“Fuck.” He hisses as I lick from his base towards the end then take him fully in my mouth. His hands grip my hair and I keep my eyes on his face, seeing his expression change and his eyes close as I start to bob up and down his thick shaft. Hi eyes open as he watches me take him to the back of my throat, trying to suppress a gag, again and again.
“Kate...” My name almost sounds like a pained whisper on his lips and I feel his cock twitch in my mouth, telling me he is close. I take his balls in my hand and gently massage him as I increase my rhythm, chases hips thrusting into my mouth as he nears his release.
“Kate... I'm... I’m going to…” he groans. I suck harder, pulling him further into my mouth as he yells out my name and a warm liquid coats my throat. He pants hard, his eyes closed tight as I lick him clean and slowly stand to my feet. He pulls me into him as his eyes open and he looks at me with wonder.
“Happy birthday.” I say with a smile. He lets out a breathy chuckle and crashes his lips to mine.
“So was that the present you had planned?” he asks. His eyes twinkle with amusement and satisfaction. I run my finger up his chest and lean in to whisper in his ear.
“No, that just a taste of what's to come.” I say. He growls and pulls me into him, his lips finding mine again. We pull apart breathless and I reach behind him for the body wash, squirting it into my hand I rub it on his body, enjoying the feel of his muscles under my fingers. My eyes catch his as he watches me with a look I can't quite understand.
“What are you doing to me?” he whispers. I smile up at him, my eyes not leaving his.
“I could ask you the same question.” I say softly. He doesn't respond, just looks deep into my soul before closing the distance between us and kissing me slowly. I get lost in the moment, our wet, naked bodies pressed closely together as our mouths devour each other in a passion I've never experienced before. When our lips pull apart, neither of us move from our intimate embrace, our eyes locked on each other's in silent conversation with our souls. And in that moment, I know without a doubt that I won't be leaving here, I won't be returning to Perth, or leaving Chases arms.