Smiling I flipped the ‘closed’ sign over, thankful for another busy day having passed. This store used to be a small closest space when my grandmother first started as a tailor.
Now I have expanded the store making it large enough for a dress show case with rows and rows of dresses, suits, fitting rooms along with an office for me to meet with clients to design their own gowns.
It is my dream come true and I would never give this store up. My grandmother started this business and now it’s in my hands, hands that will ensure I do the store and my grandmother proud.
Reaching down I grabbed the trash and moved to take the back exit out of the store to the trashcans so I can head home for Netflix and wine. Just as I opened the back door it flings open with someone slamming into me, quickly turning around and forcing the door shut. The sounds of a lock clicking in place the moment it was closed.
“Who are you and what do you think you’re doing?” I yelled taking a step back staring at the man who slumped on the wall with a groan. Hearing my voice, he turned to look at me.
The second his dark brown eyes connected to mine I couldn’t help the gasp of air lodging in my throat. The man screams Italian god with his dark eyes, perfectly groomed hair and small beard. The mystery man let out a groan clutching the left side of his abdomen with a mutter of Italian drawing me back to the present situation.
The man who barged into my store past closing had blood- wait blood? Yeah, dark red blood oozing out his side. “Holy shit your bleeding!”
“Well spotted Signorina. Phone.” He said in a deep smooth voice while I looked him over. What the fuck does someone do in this type of situation?
Against anyone’s better judgement I rush towards the man, my hands connecting with his side forcing his hand away to see the amount of blood coming through his suit.
“Is this a gun-shot wound?” As the man said nothing but lean against the wall I figured that was the least of the problems to discuss right now. And possibly an answer and story I do not want to know. “Never mind. Come on there’s a couch right over there you need to sit on. I’ll get you a phone after we get this bleeding under control.”
He must have agreed or was too tired to fight me and allowed me to help him to the couch in the middle of the room, the black fabric taking in his blood the moment he sat against the cushions.
“Where am I?” The man asked as I bent down tearing away his blazer and shirt trying not to focus on his heated gaze or abs but rather the wound that bled.
Clearing my throat, I got up and ran to a first aid kit that was in a table for when brides faint over their dress. It has happened more than you would think.
“London Threads on Washington Street.” I bent down putting an alcohol wipe on the wound making him hiss out in pain. Taking my phone out of my back pocket I unlocked it then passed it to him. “Here is a phone, names Stella since I have started tearing your clothes off.”
I mentally face palmed myself for that. Because yeah, I am 100% aware it sounds sexual, not to mention I have no idea who this man is and why the hell he is bleeding over my once nice couch.
“Grazie, name is Maximus and I apologize for barging in, it was the only option. But I am not sorry about a beautiful woman as you tearing my clothes off. Please excuse me I must call my brother.” With that he typed a number into the phone and a moment later he was talking in Italian.
I kept my attention on his bleeding side, cleaning it up and taping gauze over his skin to contain the wound until he can see a real doctor who could take the bullet out. Soon silence filled the room and Maximus placed the phone on the couch now focused on watching me finish patching him up.
“I um think that does it? I have no idea what I am doing just working from what I have seen on Greys Anatomy which is a tv show not real medicine… So, don’t die? I mean unless you’re a bad guy and that’s why you are shot, wait are you shot from police am I going to go to jail because if you’re a bad guy then I will take this bandage off you and send you on your-”
My rant gets cut short from Maximus letting out a roar of laughter. “I like you Signorina. A man is in your store bleeding from a gunshot, you help him and then tell him he can leave if he is, as you put it, ‘bad’? Most people will be frightened yet you bring out sass.”
“.. Are most people scared of you?” I asked looking up at him on my knees which is a position I need to get out of like right now. Stumbling onto my feet I walk over to a stand, take off the display blazer and pass it him which he puts on over his gauze coved wound, keeping his naked chest open for me to admire.
His eyes looked up and down my body, the tight red pencil skirt and black blouse now burning under his gaze before he looked back in my eyes. Different vibes came off him; intrigue? Guard? Lust? Well he did get shot so I can see him being guarded around me but lust?
“Some. But you don’t need to be Signorina Stella, I take out the bad guys you simply called them, I would never hurt someone as gorgeous, innocent and helpful as you.” He put his hand against his side giving pressure on the bandage, his face trying to hide the pain. “In fact, I’ll owe you for letting me barge in and for you patching me up.”
Maximus let out another groan from the pain of his wound making me try to look around for anything strong to dull the pain. “I don’t have any pain meds to give and the only alcohol I have here is champagne which won’t do much to make you comfortable.”
He waved his hand. “Little pain is good every once and a while.”
I gave a small nod trying not to let the adrenaline that was rushing through my veins make me run my mouth again. “Right.” Letting out a long breath I tried to get my racing heart under control as Maximus kept watching me.
And watching me.
Now I’m thinking this watching me is more of him analysing me. For what though? What does this man want to see?
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked.
He gave a tight smile, the warm in his eyes conflicting against the cold that I feel in them. “I don’t know. Tell me about yourself.”
I looked around my store before looking to him. “You want to ask about me? You got shot, I poorly bandage you up and you want to chat?”
“Don’t often have a woman come to my rescue, especially one as stunning as yourself.” He gave a wink making me chuckle, my heart slowly going back to normal.
I shook my head looking at this man. “Are you flirting?”
His lip curled up. “Well I could die anytime, might as well be appreciating beauty.”
I let my laugher bubble out of me. “Appreciating beauty? Who flirts after getting shot?”
“Italian men. This your business?” He asked wincing when he adjusted his position.
Looking at him I realized his flirt doesn’t have to do with me but to get his mind off the pain he is feel right now. That and he is also trying to get my mind off what is going on; making sure I don’t start freaking out like any sane person would.
Nodding I walked over grabbing a bottle of champagne and brought it over to him making him chuckle when I opened it and passed it to him. Maximus took a few deep swigs waiting for my answer. “It is. Well technically it’s my grandmothers but she has me running the place. She taught me everything.”
Maximus passed me the bottle which I took a generous gulp of. “Family business, I know a thing or two about that. Are you enjoying it?”
I opened my mouth looking at him. “Why are you talking like that?”
“Pardon? Like what?”
Shrugging I leaned back. “You sound so proper it doesn’t seem real.”
He chuckled, the movement making him wince with his hand on his side. “Had a very strict tutor.”
I nodded weakly, the crushing realism of him and his bullet wound starting to come down on me. “Are you a good or bad guy? Like I don’t need to know why your shot just what side of it, I don’t think I would do well in prison for hiding a criminal.”
His lips twitched, obviously telling me he is fighting a smirk. “You still believe in simple good versus evil?”
My eyes narrowed from his jest. “No, I am well aware the world is shades of grey. I am only asking to see if you are a possible Jeffrey Dahmer… not that you would admit that.”
Maximus licked his lips shaking his head. “I am not a serial killer Stella, I got jumped by those who may be. I would never harm anyone who is innocent.”
As he finished his sentence my front door slammed open making me jump from the shock of the sound, the champagne bottle smashing to the floor with men in suits rushing in with guns drawn. I walked backwards slamming in the wall while a man came in front of me barking in a thick Italian accent. Sucking in a breath I gaped at him unknowing what to say, trying not to focus on the fact that half the man’s face has been burned off.
Trying to keep myself calm, my eyes flickered to Maximus for help.
Maximus barked something in Italian making the man in front of me back off immediately and put his gun away. A man stepped beside Maximus helping him off the couch while he kept looking at me.
“This is goodbye Signorina Stella. Grazie for your help, maybe I’ll see you again. After all I will need a new suit.” He said giving me a small warm smile to comfort me.
I couldn’t speak with the amount of men and guns in the store so I could only respond with a small smile and a nod.
Just as soon as the wave of Italian men overcame the store they were gone with the mysterious hot Maximus. Oh course, only I would focus on a man being hot when he had a bullet wound in him.
Looking around the store I focus on the blood on the couch, bloody gauze on the floor and the mess from the Italian men searching the store.
Well looks like Netflix and wine won’t be happening tonight. Moving to the cleaning closet I take out a bucket, bleach and a trash bag. Looking over the couch I knew that was going to be ruined so I’ll have to drag it out to the road.
Curiosity came to me as I took out my phone, the contact he called was deleted from my history. Checking the news there was no police chase though there was a shooting over at the marina docks but that was over five miles from here. There is no way this Maximus man could have ran five miles with a bullet in his side.
It doesn’t matter, the best thing I can do from this weird event is forget it and hope no more trouble comes through my doors.