Isabella checked the calendar hanging against the wall of the kitchen.
Two more days.
She smiled, looking forward to attending the wedding. It would be held at the De Rege mansion. There was a small bounce in her step as she climbed the stairs. She headed toward the balcony and relaxed. With her arms resting on the iron railing, she gazed upon the town.
Meanwhile, Alberto and Donatella were downstairs watching television. Alberto raised an eyebrow at his wife when the doorbell rang.
’’You didn’t say someone was coming over, Amore.’’
‘’Don’t look at me. I didn’t invite anyone.’’
Next thing they heard was a banging noise.
‘’I’ll get it,’’ Alberto said and went to open the door.
He widened his eyes when he took in Giovanni’s appearance. It wasn’t that much different from his usual look. A fitted suit and overall well-groomed. Nothing Alberto hadn’t seen before. Except for the flowers Giovanni held in his hands. Alberto held up his hand and told him to wait for a second. He promptly walked back to his wife to let her know of the situation.
‘’Do you know why Silvio’s son is standing outside our house?’’
Donatella’s expression morphed into one of delight. Without clearing things up to her husband, she went to see Giovanni and clasped her hands together.
‘’You’re here for Isabella aren’t you?’’ Donatella glanced at the bouquet and stretched her arms. ‘’Here, let me free you of those. Isabella is upstairs…or do you want me to call her downstairs?’’
‘’Thank you. It’s fine. I don’t want to disturb her. I only came to give those.’’ Giovanni raised his chin and nodded toward the flowers that were now in Alberto’s hands.
Donatella waved him off and guided him inside the Donati house by his arm. ‘’Don’t be silly! She will love it if you come to see her. You will probably find her on the balcony around this time.’’
Giovanni was very much in favour of seeing Isabella, however, he didn’t think he would be able to control himself. He didn’t think he could stop himself from roaming his hands on her body.
Giovanni exchanged a quick look with her father. Alberto certainly wasn’t trying to hide his dislike to Donatella’s suggestion.
‘’The balcony you say?’’
‘’Third room on your left,’’ Donatella said to him.
Giovanni excused himself and walked the stairs up. The wood creaking lightly under his weight. He followed Donatella’s instructions, grabbed the door handle and lowered it. The air was a little bit cooler in the room. With the curtains to the side and the balcony doors wide open, Giovanni watched her back. Her head was ever so slightly turned to the side, showing him a glimpse of her carefree expression. He let his eyes wander over the shiny black hair cascading down her back. It looked soft.
Isabella turned around when she didn’t recognise whose footsteps she was hearing. She sucked in a breath at the sight of Giovanni.
‘’I didn’t know you were coming.’’
‘’It wasn’t really planned,’’ he said and planted a chaste kiss on her cheek. ‘’I got you flowers. They are downstairs. You mother must have put them in a vase by now.’’
Her heart skipped a beat at the gesture. ‘’Really? I’ll go see them.’’
Giovanni stopped her from leaving to see the flowers for herself. ‘’I’d prefer to keep you here for a little longer.’’
Now that he was here, he would make the most of it. Giovanni sat down on one of the rocking chairs and pulled Isabella by her forearm. In one swift motion, he made her sit sideways on his lap. The space between them diminished as their bodies leaned into each other. Her hands were on his shoulders to get a better grip. He caught her gaze drifting to his lips and saw her quickly looking away when she noticed him watching her.
‘’You can look all you want,’’ his voice lower and more raw than he intended.
She peeked up at him, unable to focus. Everything was hazy. Isabella’s sudden realisation that their faces were only inches from each other didn’t help. All she knew was that she didn’t want to move away.
Isabella shook her head at him with a small smile. ‘’You’re so direct. I don’t know how you do it.’’
Giovanni stroked her upper thigh creating goosebumps on her sun-kissed skin. ‘’Speak your mind.’’
Isabella laughed under her breath. His advice was something that couldn’t be applied to her.
‘’I never asked you how old you are.’’ she mused.
’’Twenty-five, piccolo angelo.’’
So, seven years? That’s not too bad. Isabella thought to herself. Wait…little angel? He called me little angel?
Blushing and all, she looked at him with wide eyes. The feeling of touch on her waist left and felt his hand brushing her long hair. Her breath was stuck in her throat when he ran his finger down her back. Compared to the other times he touched her, this felt more sensual.
‘’I’m not sure if I can do that. Speak my mind,’’ she said.
‘’With me or anyone?’’
Her voice was barely audible, ‘’You.’’
‘’Are you scared of me?’’
‘’No, but it’s not as if I don’t know what you do.’’
It was no secret to the people in Naples who the De Rege family was and what they did. Plenty of rumours were whispered from ear to ear. They ranged from them helping people in need to murdering men in cold blood. Whether all rumours were true or not was something else.
‘’You will never come to harm with me, Isabella.’’
Isabella rested her head on his shoulder and repeated his words of assurance in her head.
Giovanni and Isabella stayed like this for a couple of hours. What should have been a quick visit turned into a session of him admiring the beauty sitting on his lap. As the minutes ticked by the more Giovanni felt like he had to go. Control was slipping through his hands like grains of sand.
‘’I have to go.’’
She drew her dark eyebrows together. ‘’You’re not staying for dinner?’’
The two of them left the balcony and went downstairs. Isabella spotted the peony flowers Giovanni gifted her.
‘’They’re lovely.’’ she looked at them with awe.
Giovanni kissed her on the top of her head. ‘’I’ll see you on the wedding then.’’
Just as Giovanni was about to leave the house, Sergio barged in. A look of confusion evident on her brother’s face.
‘’Giovanni.’’ Sergio greeted.
‘’Sergio.’’ Giovanni greeted him with a firm nod and glanced at Isabella one more time before leaving the Donati house.
Sergio narrowed his eyes at his sister. ‘’What was that about? What is he doing here?’’
Isabella lifted her shoulders. ‘’Just visiting,’’ she said and turned on her heel to take the pink flowers to her room.