Hospital, how the fuck am I going to get to the hospital? Wait, should I even go to the hospital? Maybe he won't actually want to see me considering my fucking incompetence is the reason he's in there... but then again, he text me, that has to mean something... right?
I rush into the bathroom, pulling out all the pins from my hair and twisting everything back into place before sliding them back in so I don't look like I've just been fucked hard when I go downstairs.
Twisting to try check the back I notice the purple tinge developing in a line across throat. Jesus Christ Brianna, you let the guy fucking collar you! You're so screwed up that almost letting a guy kill you is how you cope with emotional turmoil. Although it was... hot? A release? I don't actually know what it was but hell did I need it.
Standing in front of the bathroom mirror I can't quite maintain eye contact with myself, letting my fingers lightly run across the marks as they tingle below my fingertips. Suddenly my hand is pulled back and held in his own as Antonio stands behind me and places his lips to my skin, leaving gentle kisses along the light bruising.
"I'm sorry I hurt you amore, it was not my intention. I never wish to cause you pain." I know he doesn't. Antonio, for all his faults, has never intentionally ever done anything with the purpose of causing me any kind of harm. He's clearly as damaged as I am, it’s half the reason we keep finding each other, the other half being how our bodies feel whole when they're connected.
The noise of the party below us has drawn quieter than it was earlier and I'm sure both our absences haven't gone unnoticed.
"We have to go back now. Clarisse will be waiting for you." He stops kissing me at the mention of her name, his face pulling back from my skin until our eyes meet in the mirror. I expect him to pull back entirely and walk away but instead his hold on my waist increases as he turns me to face him.
He moves his hand up to under my chin, tilting my head back so he's staring down completely into my eyes, as I find myself wedged between him and the sink behind me. "You don't understand what you do to me Brianna, you don't understand the pain it causes me when we're apart. What I have with Clarisse is... complicated. There is a family obligation to my position here currently, but I do not believe it will be forever. One day, I know I will be free of her... One day I know I can be yours as you are mine."
There's such sincerity in his voice, he speaks every word like he believes with his whole heart that they are true. What does he expect me to do with them? Does he expect me to wait for him? Maybe one day he will be free, maybe all the stars will align and the fates will trust us against each other once more where we can truly just fall into each others arms... but when will that be? Tomorrow, next year, never? Even if he found himself in that place right now it wouldn’t change who he is. It wouldn't change that there is a part of him, and I'm not sure how big this part is, that scares the crap out of me.
I will not live in fear. Not again.
Pulling my hand gently from his I cup his face, a smile on my lips as I take in those beautiful chocolate eyes of his. Who knows if we'll ever see each other again after tonight, there may never be a reason too.
"You changed my life when you came into it. Some ways for the better and some ways for the worst, I mean... you've practically ruined other men for me for starters." I joke, but the smirk on his face lets me know he realises I'm not entirely joking. "You have a hold on me I can't entirely explain. I once said to you that we were just sex, that all we'd ever be is sex, but that was a lie. You've made me feel things I wasn't sure I could.."
"No, please let me finish. You've made me feel precious and wanted, but you've also made me feel used and betrayed. Soon Antonio you will have a wife, I don't entirely understand the situation you've got yourself into here but it's clear it is not one you will be able to escape easily. Tonight has to be goodbye for us, maybe not forever because life has taught me you can never predict the future, but for now it has to be goodbye."
He looks at me, turning his head when his eyes can't meet mine anymore and placing kisses to the sensitive skin on the inside of my wrist.
"Brianna, a name that still sounds so foreign to me yet it pierces my heart in the same way as your first... Destiny was a girl I found myself in awe of, Brianna a woman I've found myself enamoured by upon each meeting we've had. I wish only for you to have the world amore, I pray to the Holy mother that one day I shall be the man to give it to you."
Maybe, one day... but not today.
Leaning in he keeps my hands in his grasp, placing a kiss to my cheek before moving into my ear. "Mi hai cambiato la vita, siamo fatti l’uno all’atra. Ti penso sempre amore, il mio cuore è solo tuo. Io credo in te, senza di te non sono niente. Sei I'amore della mia vita e voglio passare il resto della mia. Noi siamo per sempre Amore."
**(You changed my life, we're made for each other. I always think of you my love, my heart is yours only. I believe in you more than I have believed in anyone, I am nothing without you. You are the love of my life and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. We are forever Amore.)**
I didn't need to understand the words, I felt them.
He pulls back, our lips meeting for what may be the last time in a kiss softer than any other we have shared. My Italian man, my client, my escape. He has been so many things to me yet now he has to become something a part of me wished he didn’t - My past.
We don't speak another word, him simply standing to the side and allowing me to leave first. My legs feel heavy as I hold myself high, refusing to buckle under the pressure of these foreign emotions. It's not like I love the guy or anything... I'm just not sure I'll ever truly be able to say goodbye to him.
Approaching the front door I notice it's slightly ajar, despite the fact I definitely thought I heard Antonio shut and lock it when we came it, although I was pretty out of it so I could be mistaken.
A quick scan of the hallway shows it to be empty, so I hurry out and back down the staircase, the lively melody of the band lifting my spirits as I re-join the fray.
I didn't want to risk running into any unsavoury characters; Clarisse, Christopher or my poor excuse for a mother may make me lose all restraint and let go of the punch my fist has been trying to hold in all night. So I ducked into the kitchen hoping to find Sonya in there and get this screaming fit over with, but she was nowhere to be seen.
Checking everything had been completed first, I spent the next hour making sure all the little niggles had been taken care of, putting all the rental equipment into the staging area ready for me to return to the vendors in the morning.
Before the event with Helena earlier we'd actually planned on sleeping here together so I could be here as moral support when her and Christopher told everyone about them at the brunch tomorrow, but obviously now that wouldn't be happening I couldn't imagine anything worse than staying here alone tonight. My plan was now to wrap this up and get out of here as soon as humanly possible.
I heard Clarisse had already gone up to her room, the party a complete success according to all the guests. The best bit about these high society parties is that they didn't go on forever, no-one wanted to be the talk of the town the next morning for getting drunk and stumbling out at four in the morning.
There were still a couple of stragglers but as the lights came back on they quickly made their way to the exit. I boxed up all the glass items and had the staff make sure to preserve everything else before I finally called it, the dollar symbols flooding my eyes like I was in a cartoon as I stepped back out into the empty ballroom. We fucking did it.
It was too late to ring Jayce to come get me and the last thing I wanted was to call Josh away from Steve, I had every intention of calling for a cab until I spotted Sonya’s driver still waiting in the near empty car park. If she's not left then where the fuck is she?
I quickly popped back up to the room to see if I'd missed her but it was empty, the kitchen staff said they hadn't seen her for hours. Her phone was ringing still but no one was answering. I approached the guy on reception, who was clearly gayer than Josh, but still gave me an approving smile.
"Hi, could you check in the coat room to see if there's a long, red, faux fur coat still here please?" Sonya may have gone home with someone else and forgotten all about the driver, but she'd never forget that coat.
He chuckled. "Um, are you Brianna by any chance?"
Oh my reputation precedes me I see. "The one and only, why?"
Scratching the back of his neck nervously he tries to stifle a giggle. "She told me to tell you that you're a dead woman when she gets her hands on you and you can kiss your career goodbye. That was before she threatened to have my testicles removed and served to me in a soup if I tried to move her."
Standing back I lean over the desk to see a passed out Sonya on the floor of the cloak room, covered in her coat and snuggling it like a blanket. If she wasn't such a sadistic bitch I might actually think she looked cute.
Fuck, I can't just leave her here. I give an apologetic look to the boy but he seems to have found the whole thing rather amusing. "Babe, don't take it personally, she threatens to have my nipples pulled off and barbecued weekly. Can you get someone to help me get her out of here?"
"I can help you bellissima."
I turn to see the Walmart version of Antonio, standing against the wall and smirking at me. He extended the hand he used to plunge a knife into Steve and it makes me want to puke at the mere idea if touching him.
"Go find a sink to plumb Luigi, I'm good."
Pushing past him I grab one of the tall gold trolley carts they use to take up people's luggage and pull it next to the coat room. Mr 'I should give him Josh's number' helps me drag Sonya’s unconscious body onto the platform before I start to wheel her towards the entrance, covering her in her coat so she looks like a fluffy red ball.
Stabby McGee tries to pull my attention again but I ignore him, I'm now able to see the family resemblance and honestly the last thing I need is to be reminded of Antonio right now.
The driver spots me pulling the cart down the ramp and shakes his head before getting out to help me lug her into the backseat of the car. By the looks of things, this isn't the first time he's had to do this.
I manage to climb on top of her to pull her seat belt around her, she stirs but doesn't completely wake before snoring again by the time I slip into the front passenger seat.
We take off and I watch the hotel fade away into the night sky through the mirror. When Sonya told me about this job I never could've imagined this was how tonight would go. There was a part of my heart that I had always wondered where Antonio was or what happened to him after he left our hotel room that morning.
Now, even if nothing else ever happens between us, I have my answer.