Isabella couldn’t stand the mess in the back of their store and decided to clean it up. By the time, she had arranged everything in a way she was satisfied with, she fanned herself with her hand. A few drops of sweat covering her forehead. Her lips turned upward, proud of her work. All that was left to do was to throw away the empty cardboard boxes. The chiming of the bell let Isabella know someone had entered the store, but there was no need for her to welcome the customer. Her mother was already occupying the counter. Just as she was about to continue her work, the girl heard her mother speaking.
‘’I didn’t think I would see you this soon again.’’
‘’Actually, I came here for your daughter. Is she here?’’
Isabella’s ears immediately perked up when the male voice spoke about her. His voice sounded vaguely familiar. She racked her brain trying to think of who could possibly want to see her.
‘’She is here and I think it’s fair to ask why you want to see her, Giovanni. Don’t you think?’’ Donatella said.
Hearing her mother made her heart still for a second.
He is here? To see me? Oh, no. This is not good. What do I do? I can escape through the back door…Isabella turned around to stare at the back door and considered doing it.
Her mother, however, snapped her out of her thoughts and called her to come to the front of the store. Isabella set the box cutter in her hand to the side and tightened her ponytail before making her appearance.
‘’Yes? Do you need me for something?’’ she looked innocently at her mother, acting as if she didn’t hear her conversation with Giovanni.
‘’You have a special visitor.’’
Isabella locked her gaze with Giovanni but quickly averted her eyes when the nerves got the better of her. Instead of making eye contact with him, she opted to focus somewhere lower. His lips. She mentally slapped at herself for doing so because it only caused her to blush.
An amused smile tugged on his lips but would save her the embarrassment of commenting on it.
‘’Do you have time?’’ he asked Isabella.
‘’Well,’’ she began and her eyes flickered from the back of the store to Giovanni. ‘’I’m still working.’’
‘’Why don’t you let him help you? I’m sure he won’t mind,’’ her mother spoke up.
But I do mind!
While she did have a crush on him. She’d rather not be alone with him yet.
Giovanni cleared his throat. ‘’I’m happy to help.’’
Isabella let him know to follow her to the back of the store and instructed him to help her flatten out the cardboard boxes. That way it would take less space up in the dumpster.
‘’Thank you for helping,’’ her voice gone softer than usual.
Being alone with Giovanni made the space they were in feel a lot smaller than it was. He hadn’t said much yet and his occasional glances made it hard for her to focus on her task. It felt as if the temperature in the room had shot up.
‘’Are you free tonight? Or tomorrow?’’
Isabella stopped what she was doing. ‘’Tonight, yes. Tomorrow, no.’’
‘’Good. I’ll come and pick you up then.’’
‘’Just to spend some time with you.’’
The moment Giovanni set his eyes on Isabella. He knew he wasn’t going to get her out of his head. For the past week, she had been occupying his thoughts. Giovanni wanted more. He wanted more of Isabella.
‘’That must be him!’’ Donatella said after hearing someone knocking on the front door. ’’And don’t worry too much, Tesoro. He would be stupid not to fall for you.’’
Isabella tried to stop her smile from breaking out. ‘’You only say that because you’re my mother.’’
Donatella shrugged. ‘’Doesn’t mean it’s not true. Now, off you go.’’
Donatella knew her daughter would be in safe hands with Giovanni. Celia had raised her kids well. Isabella would be safe with him.
Isabella kissed her mother on the cheek and left. She swung the door opened and was faced with a well-dressed Giovanni. She couldn’t deny how good he looked in it.
‘’Hi.’’ she flashes him a shy smile. ‘’Am I underdressed?’’
‘’No, we’re just going for a walk.’’ he held out his hand for her to take.
Isabella closed the door behind her and took his hand. It was large compared to hers. The two of them began walking through the dimly lit streets of Naples.
‘’Why did you ask for me?’’ she looked at him through her black lashes.
She could go on for hours wondering why he came to see her but she wanted to hear the answer straight from the source. Was he as infatuated with her as she was with him?
‘’Didn’t I already tell you?’’
When Isabella averted her eyes from him, it clicked in his head. He didn’t mind telling her the truth, but he doubted she could handle it. Judging from the few times they had come in contact, Isabella was quick to get shy. Nonetheless, Giovanni liked the pink colour adorning her face.
He leaned closer to her ear and said in a low voice, ‘’Do you really want to know?’’
The feeling of his lips brushing against her ear made her shiver. Isabella swallowed through the dryness of her mouth. His closeness made her body heat up.
Giovanni never answered her question. There was no need to tell her how she took over his mind. Not only during the day but also at night.