Chapter Twenty Six

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"I swear, if you're going somewhere to kill me and dump my body, I'll haunt you for the rest of your life." I scowl, clawing at my blindfold.

Yes, blindfold.

He's very persuasive when he wants to be.

"Trust me, if I wanted to kill you, I would've done it a long time ago." He snorts.

I guess he saw me messing with my blindfold because I feel the pressure of his hand grab my own and bring both of them to my lap.

"Stop trying to take it off." He scolds me, still holding my hands down.

The heat of his skin on mine is comforting and calms any worries I currently had.

He keeps his hand wrapped around mine for the remainder of the ride, effectively putting me in a happy mood and making a smile appear on my face.

The car stops, leading to a few moments of silence before I hear Marcello sigh and start pawing at the knot he tied in my blindfold.

After expertly untying it, the dark fabric falls away from my face, the sudden light momentarily blinding me. After my eyes finally adjust, I almost gasp at the sight through the windshield - as cliche as it sounds.

A beautiful pond with wildflowers surrounding it greets my eyes.

The sky reflects the water, as well as the wildflowers on the edges, only enhancing the natural beauty.

What wasn't natural was the blanket laid out, along with a brown basket placed to the side. I give Marcello a questioning look, completely confused.

"Happy birthday?" He says uncertainly, causing me to beam.

"How did you know?" I ask, still smiling brightly.

"Oh...uh. Marie?" He questions.

"Marie didn't know either." I inform him.

"It doesn't matter anyway." He dismisses quickly.

I shake my head, my grin growing, "Okaaayyy. But why all this? And when? You were with me all morning."

My last statement causes me to blush, but he seems oblivious to how embarrassed I am.

"I had some of my men set it up." He replies shortly, and climbs out of the car.

Before I can turn around and pull the car handle, my door is already open, revealing a calm Marcello with his hand held out.

I take his offered help and climb out of the car and begin to walk to the blanket with his hand still in mine.

"Since when were you nice enough to do this?" I ask, the question coming out more rude than I intended.

"Okay, maybe I won't do this for you." He scoffs, stopping and glaring at me.

"Okay, okay. Sheesh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that." I hold my hands up defensively.

I decide to leave him alone about it and stop questioning his efforts. I'm just curious as to what his motives are. What does he get out of it? He seems like the kind of guy that only does things that he'd benefit from.

After sitting down and plunging into an awkward silence, I see Marcello shake his head out of the corner of my eyes as he reaches over and starts unloading the basket.

My mouth hangs open as he pulls out all my favorite foods.

Nutella sandwiches.

Barbecue pizza.

Dill pickle flavored chips.

Chocolate covered bananas.

Pickles.

And cotton candy.

I stare in amazement, my mouth still open.

"What?" Marcello asks, smirking at me as if he knows something I don't.

"How? Did you kno-" I begin, but cut myself off. I sound like an idiot, of course he doesn't know. How would he? So what is this then? Why is he showcasing all my favorite foods.

Coincidence?

Maybe, maybe not.

But it's sure as hell weird.

"Nevermind." I shake my head, making grabby hands at the nutella sandwiches.

"You wanna start on these?" He raises the baggy containing the nutella deliciousness, causing me to nod my head frantically.

He let's out a chuckle, which is more rare than his smile, and tosses me the sandwiches. I barely manage to catch them, but grin triumphantly when I do.

I frown when he denies the sandwich I offer him.

"No, I don't like nutella, I'll just stick to the pizza." He says casually, as if he didn't just crush my respect for him.

Gasping as dramatically as I can, I put a hand to my heart, "You don't like-nutella?! How can someone possibly not like nutella??"

"Dunno, I just don't." He shrugs, taking a slice of pizza from the box.

"Crazy." I mutter, shaking my head and biting into the sandwich.

As soon as the nutella flavor hits my tongue, a smile marks my face. "Yummy." I moan in delight, with my mouth still full.

Instead of being disgusted at my lack of manners, Marcello smiles, looking more amused than before.

As he munches on his pizza and I chow down on the nutella, I glance around, soaking in the beauty of the place.

Our blanket was placed just beside the pond, close enough for me to be able lean onto my stomach and dip my fingers in.

I resist the urge to do so, but stare into the beautiful water, seeing if I can spot any fish.

With my failed attempt of fishing with my eyes, I turn my gaze back to Marcello.

"Its so pretty here." I comment, tilting my head in question, "How did you find this place?"

I see the hesitation in his eyes, and he seems uncomfortable as he begins speaking, "My mom. She used to bring me here when I was younger."

"In that case, I'm glad she showed you this place. It's so peaceful, it's like therapy at its best." I try to joke to relieve the thick tension.

"Yeah, this place is really calming I guess." A small smile touches his lips.

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