I take a sip of my coffee the next morning and my eyes seek out the picture of his house on the kitchen counter.
What the hell am I going to do?
The rational, logical part of my brain is screaming run for the hills and do not go. But the other part is thinking I haven’t had a holiday, sex or been treated by a man in years...
Who are you kidding, Ale? You can’t go!
I text Hanna and ask her to meet me for lunch today, I need someone else’s opinion on this. I meet her at one of our favourite cafés in the city centre. When I arrive, she’s already waiting at a table with mimosas.
“So, what did you need to talk to me about?” She asks when I’m settled and sipping on my drink.
“You are not going to believe this...” I proceed to tell her about my encounter with the mafia don last night and his proposition, I slide over the photo and details for her to look over.
Her mouth hangs open the majority of the time I’m talking, her only contributions are ‘What the fuck’ and ‘Shut the fuck up’.
“Are you serious?” She looks up and down between me and the photos. “This is crazy!”
“I know, right! I thought I was hallucinating or something.” I shake my head and finish off my drink, I need another.
“What are you going to do?” Hanna shrugs. “At least, you still have three more days to decide.”
I stare at her in surprise. “You actually think I should consider going?” I blurt out and she grins.
“Why not? YOLO, right?” She laughs. “Seriously, if he’s as hot as you say he is, and you never fancy anyone, by the way, why would you let this chance pass you by? You’ve been offered a week of pampering and great sex!”
“Yeah, with a total stranger who most likely has a criminal record,” I hiss, glancing around to make sure no one is listening to our crazy conversation.
“Oh, please, that makes it sexier. Who hasn’t fantasised about a mafia guy before?” Hanna brushes off my worries and signals the waiter over. “Two more mimosas, please.”
I remain staring numbly at the house picture whilst she gets us more drinks.
“I’ll admit, I’m interested, but I really don’t think it’s a good idea.” I sigh heavily. “I’d be going alone into a stranger’s house, him and his men have guns, for fuck’s sake! They could do anything to me.” I shudder at the thought.
“Hm, that’s true. You said he offered to answer any questions you have, why not ask him how he can ensure your safety?”
“I guess that’s a good idea.”
After our fourth mimosa, I gain the courage to pull my phone out of my handbag. I add Mr Lencioni as a contact and open a new message to him.
If I’m going to consider saying yes to this, how can you ensure my safety? I don’t want to walk into your house full of guns, alone and unarmed.
I press the send button before I can change my mind. I shove my phone back into my bag and down the last of my drink.
“Perhaps we should get out of here? We’re one mimosa away from embarrassing ourselves at two o’clock in the afternoon,” Hanna comments with a laugh.
Everyone around us is being civilised and eating their lunch, and we’re downing mimosas like it’s going out of style.
“Let’s go,” I agree. I stand up and grab the table momentarily to get my balance back.
Wow, the alcohol hits hard when you’ve got nothing but a salad in your stomach.
Hanna and I settle the bill and leave the restaurant, just as my handbag vibrates with an incoming text.
“Fuck, I’m scared to read it,” I mumble and dig out my phone.
If it would make you feel safer, I can arrange your own firearm that you can keep whilst you are staying with me. Good call on not having another mimosa, I would hate for Luca to have to carry you home.
My head snaps up and I glance around, trying to find his men. “He’s got men watching us,” I hiss and my eyes narrow when I spot one of the bodyguards down the street, sitting casually in the Range Rover.
“Wow, he must be really interested in you,” Hanna says and gives Luca a drunken wave.
He doesn’t wave back.
“He’s rude,” she pouts and turns back to read his text. “Ooh! You get your own gun? That’s cool.”
“No, it’s not cool! I have no idea how to use a gun, how would that make me feel safer?” I complain and she shrugs.
“Better than nothing, I guess. Besides, he doesn’t want to hurt you, look, he’s even assigned bodyguards to watch you.”
She points in Luca’s direction, and I see him frown in the car.
“He might be watching us to make sure I don’t run to the police,” I point out and she bites her lip.
“Let’s find out,” Hanna says and grabs my phone.
“What? No! What are you doing?” I hiss as I watch her frantically typing on my phone.
I try to grab it from her but she’s a nimble little thing, even if she is four inches shorter than me. Seven inches shorter, actually, when I’m in these heels.
“There. Sent.” She smirks triumphantly and hands my phone back to me.
I read her message and sigh with frustration.
Dude, what’s with the bodyguard? Is it to protect me or to protect yourself? Yes to the gun btw.
I groan when I see she’s sent a second message.
P.S ‘Luca’ is FIT. He should smile more tho.
“Honestly? Why did you think that was a good idea?” I roll my eyes at Hanna and grab her elbow.
“Come on, we can’t stand arguing in front of the café all afternoon. We’re getting a taxi home,” I tell her and wave down a passing cab.
“I thought it was a good text! And Luca is hot!” She protests as I push her into the back of the taxi.
I tell the driver the address of her flat. My phone buzzes and I anxiously check it.
You’re lucky that Luca informed me that it was the blonde texting me, I do not share gattina.I will be assigning a new bodyguard if he is too much of a distraction. Luca is for both of us, I had to make sure you would not make my proposal public, and I want to keep you safe.
I read the text and hand it over to Hanna to read. I’m not sure what to make of it, but I know the drinks have hit me hard and right now I just want a nap.
“Ooh, he wants to keep you safe! And ‘I do not share gattina’, I like the possessiveness!” Hanna giggles and I shake my head at her.
Hanna is dropped off at her place. She unlocks the door and I watch from the taxi, making sure she gets inside. At the last minute, she pokes her head out of the door at me.
“I do not share, gattina!” She shouts to me, putting on a gruff man’s voice.
I burst out laughing in the cab. The driver probably thinks I’m off my rocker, but he takes me home. I kick my heels off the moment I’m in my flat and I fall onto my sofa, crashing straight away.
I wake up at just past 4PM. Feeling groggy and dishevelled, I change into my gym gear and force myself downstairs in my apartment building’s gym to try and wake myself up.
I work out for an hour, and it helps. I feel back to my old self, if a little sweaty, when I go upstairs. I take a shower and then go to the shops to get some food for this evening. I make myself some dinner. It’s good, but it’s nothing on Marco’s ravioli.
As I eat alone, watching some banal programme on the TV, I think over the Italian’s offer.This is like something you’d read about in a romance novel. The protagonist would obviously say yes. Offers like this don’t come by every day. I shouldn’t turn it down.
Besides, if I change my mind, I can probably still leave. Domenico strikes me as the kind of guy who is used to getting what he wants, but somehow, I don’t see him as someone who would assault a woman. He has too much respect for them, I think.
By the time I get into bed, at 11PM, I have made up my mind. I text Domenico again.
Am I crazy for actually considering this?