Waiting for the nausea to pass I let my head hang in the toilet bowl. It seemed that no matter what, I was always throwing up. I thought morning sickness was something of a small window but it seems I’m one of those people who will have it for the full term.
I wanted to keep tonight’s amazing dinner food down, but here I am.
Taking a breath, I felt ready to stand up and not worry about puking. Getting up I moved to the sink to brush my teeth. Even in the low light of the bathroom I could see the dark circles under my eyes.
I haven’t been able to sleep since the kidnaping. My mind is trying to remind me of what happened and the more I try I fight it, the more it fights to remind me in my dreams.
I drag my exhausted body back into bed. Netflix played over my TV and I pulled my laptop over looking at the different applications that have been sent in. I need help at the store and as much of a control freaky I am; I really need to hire someone. All I need is someone to help manage the store and orders while out on maternity.
Looking over the applications, my fingers moved across the keyboard to set up interviews with the different contestants. Closing the laptop, I slid the device under my pillow and burrowed into the bed. My hand gripping the comforter to pull it over me hoping it provides some form of safety.
Closing my eyes, I willed for sleep. I left Netflix on for white noise hoping the ‘Good Place’ could lull me to sleep where I could dream peacefully instead of the horror of the kidnapping. Chidi is also better than thinking about Maximus’s brothers hating me and thinking I’m with him for his money.
My eyes were only closed for a moment before snapping open when Carnellio appeared. I gripped my stomach and focused on my breathing. All I want is to sleep! To be able to curl into bed and not have to worry about this pregnancy, making things work with Maximus or the fucking kidnapping!
Thoughts not on the kidnapping…. Let’s see.
The family dinner tonight went an unexpected way, but I can’t complain. Yes, I was freaking out the entire time to give a good impression but it was natural and fun interacting with everyone.
Never would have thought that ‘fun’ and ‘natural’ would be words I use when talking about dinner with a mafia.
Closing my eyes again I felt my body drift away.
A hand appeared around my neck from a man, Carnellio. “Sorrentino!”
Fear gripped me when I realised I was strapped in a chair. I fought against my restraints to get his hand off my neck. I tried to call out, to move out of his hold but it was too late. He pulled out a dagger and plunged into my stomach, his hand reaching in to take my child out.
“NO!” I jumped out of the dream, my hand wrapping around my stomach to make sure that he or she is still safe inside.
My free hand went to grab my phone, my fingers tapping without my thinking and hitting a contact to call.
With the phone on speakers I snuggle into my bed with the call ringing.
“I knew it was too good to be true.” Max mused into the phone.
“What is?” I asked thinking back on tonight.
“You actually enjoying dinner tonight.”
I chuckled into the phone, my nightmare slowly disappearing. “I did have a good time! Sure, your brothers were a bit intense but everyone else was supper nice. So, you were right, meeting your family stopped my brain making your mafia into boogiemen.”
Max lightly chuckled. “I’m glad you are the forgiving type. How was seeing Sebastian? I saw you guys talking before we left.”
I sighed, sinking deeper into my bed. “All during dinner I didn’t know what to day, rather was focused on putting on good face. But it was good thanking him in person.”
“Glad you got the chance to, even if you didn’t need to. Now, you going to tell me what’s wrong?”
I picked at my comforter. “What makes you think anything is wrong?”
“Your calling me at midnight.”
“Oh uh.” I winced. “I was calling to make sure you weren’t working and you are so go to bed.”
Max hummed saying something in Italian and then the line went dead.
When the room went silent I felt a pang in my chest. Right, he is busy working his underboss position this late, why did I call him? I am a strong woman, I can get over a stupid kidnapping and family drama.
Accepting defeat that I won’t get any sleep tonight I flung the comforter off and slipped out of bed. Standing up my hand went to the bed to stabilize myself when the floor threatened to flip. Taking a breath, one hand held onto my bump and I began walking out of my bedroom, this time without feeling dizzy.
Walking into the kitchen I opened the fridge looking at everything I have. Sighing I take out bananas and strawberries, placing them on my counter before reaching up to take out the pancake mix.
Moving around the kitchen I began making my midnight snack, my body making fruit pancakes with whipped cream and soon I was able to sit on my counter eating it.
Here’s to no sleeping.
I jumped hearing a knock at the door. Who would come over at this time? Putting my plate down, I slip of the counter moving to the security panel next to the door to click on the camera to see who it is.
Opening the door, I cocked my hip. “What are you doing here?”
Max stood in the hallway still in one of his perfect suits despite it being well past midnight. “Told you I was coming over.”
Letting him in, I shook my head. “No, you didn’t. You said something in Italian then clicked off.”
He turned chuckling. “Sorry, I speak Italian so often I don’t register when I switch back and forth.”
I hummed, his presence in my apartment acted like a safety blanket to keep memories of Carnellio away. “What did you say?”
Max took a step closer lifting his hand to cup my cheek, his thumb running under my eyes over the dark circles. “I said that’s bullshit and I will be right over. When was the last time you slept?”
Sighing I leaned into his touch, the smell of his colane filling my nose. “I don’t know... before the kidnapping?” Taking his hand off my face I walked back to the pancakes taking a bite. “Sorry I know the kidnapping was a while ago, it’s stupid. Another Tuesday in your world.”
“Stella.” Maximus softy said moving behind me, pulling me into him, his hand resting on my stomach. “I never forced you to tell me about what happened, wanted you to come to me when you are ready. I think you are, if you keep fighting yourself the memories will keep coming back.”
I shook my head nibbling on my pancakes, Max’s arm tightening around me. “It’s just stupid dreams.”
“If it’s so stupid then tell me about them.” He whispered now rubbing my stomach, a motion that was soothing and made me relax further into his body.
Dropping the pancake onto the plate I gave up trying to forget about it, maybe telling Max will rid myself of the whole nightmare thing. “They always start the same, me being tied to the chair while Carnellio yells in front of me. His hands wrapping around my neck strangling me and no matter how hard I fight I can’t get out of the chair. Just when I think I will pass out he takes out a knife and does what you told me someone would do. Cut out our child.”
I was spun around, Max’s hand firm on my hip and his other cupping my face. “Stella, I swear to you no-one will ever touch a strand of your hair again.” He commanded making me take in a breath from the mafia mask he now wore. “And no-one will ever touch our child, I will protect you till my dying breath.”
“I know I’m safe with you, it’s my over active brain trying to decipher everything plus pregnancy hormones which send me into a tizzy.” I muttered feeling my lip quiver when I pressed myself closer to Max. “And don’t ever say that again, you are not allowed to die for me.”
Maximus’s lips pressed my forehead. “Yes I am. Your nightmares make sense. It’s this apartment, this is where you got kidnapped, it’s natural to feel unsafe and repeat the kidnapping. Why don’t I stay tonight? Then you could move into my place while we look for our home.”
“You want to move in together?” I asked shocked taking a step back from his perfect body that has my hormonal body humming.
He tilted his head wrapping an arm around my waist. “I want you Stella, and our child. Living together would let us raise them, together. Did I put my foot in my mouth, is it too soon to talk about that?”
“Uh, I guess it would make things easier.” I rushed feeling heat come up my neck from his rashness. “But I’m not getting rid of my apartment now. We can revisit that a little down the road.”
The corners of his lips tugged up into a soft smile, one that I want to say he has been only giving me. With me he never has his mafia face one, he never has to worry about being the Sorrentino Underboss.
Max lifted his right hand, taking off his family ring. “Here.” My eyes widened looking at the large sterling silver ring with a large ‘S’. “And before you ask, no it is not a proposal. I would like you to have it, anyone who sees it will respect you and see that you are a part of the family.”
I slowly took the ring in my hand, the weight of it small compared to the weight of meaning. Him and I are getting serious and instead of anxiety at the thought, my heart actually warms. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you’ll wear it?”
Chuckling I curled my fingers over the ring. “I’ll wear it.”
“Come on let’s get you to bed, I’m staying over.” He said making me laugh and walk to the bedroom.
“You know I don’t like being told what to do.” I said walking into my room, placing his ring on my bedside table before getting back in my bed.
Max stepped into my room and slowly began undressing. “I’ll withhold my usually retort.”
Watching him take off his suit with care I felt my body get warm, my body remembering how he feels against me. I know I said no sex until I figure out what I want but I have figured it out.
I want him.
“Based on your eyes right now I’m thinking you want me to order you around.” He now stood in front of me with only his briefs on. “But you are lucky I have been practising self-restraint all my life.”
Max slipped into the bed beside me, my body automatically curling up against him. My head fit in the crook of his neck, his hands resting on my stomach and spine where he slowly soothed me with his up and down movements.
“Know what’s weird…” I muttered on his chest, Max humming in question. “You and I have screwed multiple different ways, but this feels more intimate then all those times together.”
“I feel the same.” He whispered.
Taking a breath, he kissed my forehead and I snuggled deeper into the man I possibly love. His strong arm making me relaxed without fear of any dreams. And for the first time in months I slept.