“Fuck.” His whole body drips with concern as Jayce stands up and offers him his chair before walking over to sit with Al on the bed. Connor doesn’t hesitate as he sits down next to me and immediately starts to run his fingers over all the scrapes and bruises upon my face. “Are you okay?”
His touch is so soothing. I don’t want him to feel like he has to be here because I’m hurt, I don’t want him to rush before he’s ready to see me again, but I can’t deny the pleasure that being near to him causes me. “I’m okay... Where’s Hope?”
He becomes slightly stiffer, his gentle touch against me removed entirely as he takes his hand and places it back on his own lap. “She’s umm.. She’s with her grandmother. Meg wants her to be a part of the wedding so she’s trying on dresses.” Maybe I did slap some sense into that bitch after all. “Well not Meg, more like her mother refused to go to the wedding unless she included Hope in some way.” Ah yeah, that sounds more like it.
The tension in the room is thick and I don’t know what to say, thankfully Jayce comes to my rescue. “Hannah called to say she pulled in some favours so hopefully they’ll have the bug out soon. Think Mum just wants to check everything after what you saw.”
I roll my eyes whilst Connor gives me a confused look. “Hannah is Tara’s friend, she’s a police detective. The night the car went off the bridge I saw someone standing by it but it was nothing. It was parked at the front so there’s always people around there. They were just going to leave the bug where it is for a bit because we all knew it was a death trap for years, but Tara insisted it be checked properly in case anyone tampered with it. I told her she watches too many cop shows.”
Jayce chuckles. “Remember when Milo got her to watch The Walking Dead and after it finished she tried to convince Cole to let her turn the pool house into a bunker we could all live in when the zombie apocalypse comes?”
I love Tara to death but she’s the biggest hypochondriac I know. We all laugh, even Connor, before his eyes come back to mine and I enjoy the small smile still on his face. “You sure you’re okay? I thought you were definitely avoiding me when you didn’t answer my text that nigh, or respond to any of the school stuff since.”
“You text me that night?” I don’t remember seeing anything from him.
He nods, running his hands through his hair before glancing quickly at Jayce and Al, who are already busy with their own conversation. “Yeah, I knew you’d struggle with it being the anniversary and stuff so I text just to see if you were okay after I knew the ceremony would be over.”
Oh fuck, I did feel a text come through in my pocket but I didn’t answer it because... because I was with Steve. I was kissing Steve. I haven’t even told Josh about it yet, not with everything going on, it just didn’t seem important considering.
Connor looks at me waiting for an answer but I don’t know what to say, my heart aches as I realise that night he was thinking about me but I wasn’t thinking about him, I was thinking about someone else.
“Don’t take I personal mate, her phone was fucked after the crash. I only got her a new one today just before you called, she had a load of messages but Kallie couldn’t respond to all of them before she went. I’m sure she would’ve got to you.” Romeo, always covering for me. Connor takes my hand again but his hold is weak.
Oh bless her heart. “Kal answered my messages?”
He nods. “Most of them were from that she-devil you work for but Lee had already dealt with her. There were a few from people at the church just checking you were okay now, a few drunk messages from Josh telling you how much he loved you that night.” Typical. “And one from that guy from work.”
Guy from work? “What guy from work? We’re a pussy only office.”
Jayce shrugs. “The contact just said ‘big dick Italian from work’. She told him what happened and that you were here but he didn’t respond.”
Oh fuck. Aleah’s eyes lock with mine and we both know this isn’t good. Connor looks at me confused but I try to palm it off. “Oh yeah, that guy, he is a dick.” Although that’s not why I called him big dick...
There’s a slight commotion outside the room, the swoon of gossiping women fills the air and Aleah steps to the window to see what’s going on. “Um Brie...”
She jumps back quickly, the air becoming thin as a head of near black hair in a perfectly tailored navy suit steps in through the door next to her. My heart stops for a moment as Antonio’s deep dark eyes scan over my broken body, how does he always have the ability to make me feel naked no matter what I’m wearing? “Amore...”
He pauses in the door, his gaze falling from my body to my hand still held in Connors, before a snarl appears on his face.
I know Connor recognises him from that night outside the school, his loose grip on me becoming agonisingly tight as he squeezes my fingers between his own.
The tension in the room is practically suffocating, my eyes don’t know where to look until they fall on Aleah’s face. She’s bloody loving this, she might as well be jumping up and down clapping her hands shouting “DRAMA! DRAMA! DRAMA!” with how happy her little theatrical loving ass is enjoying this.
Jayce doesn’t have a fucking clue what’s going on but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out as he bounces his way between Connor’s face and Antonio’s. “Babe, maybe we should give these guys a minute, go get that baby something to eat.”
Jayce grasps her wrist and attempts to pull her through the door, her eyes growing sad as she glances back at me. I just catch her final words before the door slams shit behind her. “Great! Now I’m going to miss all the fun!”
I don’t say a word. I mean, what the fuck am I supposed to say? Hey Con, remember that time I got fucked by your ex-wife and ruined our budding relationship? Well this is the guy that invited her between my legs and then fucked me senseless afterwards. Don’t think that would go down well...
Antonio is never intimated by anyone and today is no exception. Where Connor oozes calmness, Antonio is all power. He pulls a chair straight to the other side of my bed and doesn’t spare Connor a second look before grasping my other hand in his own and kissing the fingers one by one. “How are you feeling Amore? Sonya did not inform me of your condition or I would’ve attended to you earlier.”
Fuck, that accent. I don’t even get a chance to respond before Connor speaks directly to the Italian. “So, you work for Brie?”
He knows fucking well he doesn’t work for me but he’s trying to make a power move... I’m kind of here for it...
Antonio smirks at Connor but it’s so vicious I don’t trust the words about to come out of his mouth so I cut him off. “Antonio is a client from work, the big job I’ve been working on is his.”
Connor nods like he’s acknowledging what I’m saying but his eyes haven’t left Antonio’s, other than to give subtle glances to where Antonio holds my hand. The silence is deafening. Maybe this is a good thing, maybe this will cause Steve to miraculously wake up so he can force his way into this room too and end my life by overdose of fucking awkward!
“You must really appreciate the staff that work for you to come all the way down here just to see one?” Oh god Connor, don’t make this worse!
Of course Antonio doesn’t budge, bringing my hand to lips again whilst staring directly at Connor. I refuse to let the tingle he’s leaving on my skin have any effect on me but I’m still too physically weak to successfully pull back from his grip. “Brianna is quite special to me, I can assure you. Maybe you haven’t spent the quality time I have with her in order to appreciate her unique appeal.”
Kill. Me. Now.
This is a pissing contest and I’m the fucking wall they’re using to measure against.
Connors grasp on me falters slightly, coming undone under Antonio’s intense gaze. He’s not naturally aggressive like Antonio is, the one time I saw him hit anyone it was at the bar the night we met but even then that was more out of protection than aggression. I see the spark in Connors eye, his cogs working until something snaps into place. “Ah the job you’ve been working on, the engagement party. I guess that makes you the groom then, congratulations. My best wishes to you and your fiancé, I’m sure it will be a wonderful evening with all the effort Brie’s been putting into making it perfect for you both. For a second there I forgot you were soon to be a married man... seems you did too.”
Oh fuck, he’s going to kill him. Antonio’s eyes rage to the point of being red as he realises Connor has him backed into a corner, he’s got a fiancé which means he can never truly have me the way someone like Connor can and he knows it.
I use his distraction to yank my hand free, a shot of pain firing through my shoulder causing me to wince and grasp it. Both men back down sharpish as they jump to their feet, turning their attention to me as they speak as one.
The throbbing in my shoulder ceases as I breathe through the pain. “I’m fine, I just.. I just need to rest.” Both men back away slightly, my gaze turning to Antonio. “You should go, the party is in a few days and I’m sure Clarisse is waiting for you.”
I don’t look but I already know Connor has a look of satisfaction on his face. Antonio’s eyes draw deep and sad as they look down on me, the rest of the world disappearing for a moment as he smooth’s his hand over my cheek and presses his lips to my head gently. “As you wish Amore.” I can’t stop the skip in my heart at his treatment of me, he’s never this gentle. “I’m just a call away if you need me... for anything.”
The tiny glint in his eye isn’t lost on me as he quickly drops it across my body, this guy is shameless.
“She won’t need to, she’s got me.”
Connor draws me back into the room but Antonio pays him no attention as he whispers directly to me. “For now.”
Antonio steps away and the heat from his body leaving my own makes me feel colder than I ever thought I could. It takes Connor only moments to engulf me in his own, his hand gliding over my cheek like he’s trying to replace the lasting touch of Antonio’s with his own.
There’s a gentle chuckle from Antonio as he reaches the door, he knows what Connor’s doing but as I look into Connor’s smiling face I don’t care. “Amore?” Antonio stands in the open doorway looking back at me. “Do they know what happened with the car?”
I shake my head. “No, the police haven’t got it out yet to check but they should soon. We both know it was fucked anyway. It was odd though, I’ve had loads of problems with the engine before but never anything with the breaks.”
His hands curl up into fists at his side, the veins in his neck pulsing so hard I can see them from here. “The breaks...” I’m not sure what’s got him all worked up but I’m pretty sure Clarisse is going to feel the brunt of it very soon. “Amore, please inform me when you become aware of the cause.”
I nod, his eyes glaring into mine one more time before leaving the room.
“I don’t like that guy.”
I try not to laugh as Connor drops back into his seat, all the tension that was weaving its way through his body dissipates the moment he realises we are free of the wannabe mobster.
“Ha! Yeah, he has that affect on people... So, I have you huh?” I tease as I watch the blush creep up his neck onto his pale cheeks. I hadn’t taken the time to truly look at him before now, he looks tired.
He stutters before composing himself. “Sorry, that was really childish. I just... I didn’t like the way he was looking at you... like he owned you or something.”
I scoff. “You know better than anybody, no-one owns me.” I try to stretch as a yawn overtakes my mouth, these pain killers they’ve got me on are making it hard for me to stay awake but they’re doing shit all to help my shoulder.
Connor sits forward, looking at the bruising on my shoulder before kissing it gently. Granny always did that when we got hurt as kids, she’d pick us up and kiss it better then we’d magically be okay again. “Rest Brie, I have to go get Hope in a bit but I’ll wait until Aleah and Jayce get back before I go.”
There’s a stupid irrational part of me that wants to pull him into this bed, to bury my head in his chest and let him comfort me the way I’ve seen Romeo do to Aleah a million times... but I know I can’t, I’m not even sure I’d know how. I close my eyes, my body relaxing into the hand he has placed to my cheek. “Are you still angry at me?”
I sound pathetic, but right now he can’t shout and scream whilst we’re in the hospital so I’m taking the opportunity to ask while I still can. “I was never angry at you Brie, I was... hurt. I’m sorry, I should never have walked away that day, I just... I’m just not there yet. Don’t worry about it now, we can talk when you’re better.”
I’m gonna hold you to that good boy.
The bright daylight in the room has faded to the warm tones of the setting sun when I next open my eyes, welcomed by the sight of a Aleah wolfing down a family size bag of Funions all to herself with a smile.
“So.... spill! Was there a fight? Oh god, was there a threesome?!”
This fucking girl...