Chapter Twenty Nine

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I groan, rolling over to glance at the clock sitting on the nightstand beside my bed.

2:37 a.m.

I keep drifting in and out of sleep. I can't get a good rest for some reason. I think it's this bed maybe.

This bed is way more comfy than the one at home, so I don't see a problem there. I remind myself.

Then why can't I sleep?

My thoughts wander.

To my uncle, my ex boyfriend and best friend.

Then to Marcello.

They linger on the tall, mysterious Italian, and I finally find myself drifting back to the normal stage of half asleep, half awake.

Finally, my mind gives in and slinks into a deeper sleep.

°•°●°•°●°•°●°•°●°

I wake up to soft snoring and a warm, comfortable feeling surrounding me. My eyes have difficulty fluttering open, but I manage to pry them apart.

I'm temporarily blinded by a bright light coming in through the windows. I jerk a bit in surprise when my eyes find the familiar hunk of man I've come to know as a self-centered jerk.

I find it hard to feel any hostility towards him when he's asleep. He looks like what I'd imagine an angel would.

His dark eyelashes barely brush the top of his high cheekbones. Clear olive skin covers his sharp jaw bone and defined features. His tempting lips are curved into a soft, almost unnoticeable smile.

He's almost perfect.

Then comes his personality.

Selfish. Cocky. Completely self-absorbed. Inconsiderate.

My list comes to a stop as I start to think deeper into it. At all the kind gestures he's done for me.

He lets me stay here, puts up with my crap. He even lets me sleep in his bed. He did that picnic for me too, even thought he ended up leaving me.

Maybe he's not as selfish or cocky as I thought.

He has his moments, but I've witnessed him being both a jerk and an angel. Well, maybe not an angel.

My thought process halts when he shifts, taking in a deep breath. His arms around me tighten, causing me to roll my eyes. I don't know if I should be annoyed or happy at this action.

I clear my through loudly, "Marcello."

His only response is a defiant groan.

"Marcello." I say louder, but this time, I get no reply at all. "Do you want me to flick you awake again?"

"No." His voice says, sounding gravelly and gruff.

I jump in surprise, not expecting him to be this coherent, considering he just woke up not even ten seconds ago.

His eyes peek open, and I catch sight of his familiar pools of dark brown. When the sun hits them, they look like someone decided to mix smooth, golden honey into melted dark chocolate. Wonderful combination.

"Good morning?" I say more as a question than a statement.

He doesn't answer, only stares.

I roll my eyes, scooting away from him, only to have him pull me closer to him.

"Marcello." I complain.

"Hm?" He questions innocently.

I sigh, not as awake as I wish to be.

I remember the events of yesterday, and shoot my head up to glare at him.

"You left me yesterday." I state, not knowing if I feel sad or mad about the situation. Maybe both.

The amusement on Marcello's face disappears, replaced with guilt.

"I didn't want that to happen. It wasn't supposed to end up like that. I thought I would be able to do it." He explains, more to himself than to me.

His explanation only confuses me further. "What're you talking about?"

Marcello loosens his hold on me, enough for me to back away so I can get a better view of him, but he still has a hold on my shoulders.

"Brimmy, I'm not good with emotions. Even my own." He begins, taking a pause.

I decide to fill the pause, "Why?"

His eyes look hesitant as he looks at me, seemingly searching for something. He sighs, having made up his mind about a matter unknown to me.

"When I was young, my mom was murdered." Marcello begins, getting straight to the point. His eyes harden, "A rebelling gang kidnapped her when she was grocery shopping and sent my father videos of them torturing her. They were blackmailing him, obviously. They wanted his status. They wanted the mafia. He promised them if they returned her safely, they could have anything they wanted. But she was already dead when he made the deal, so by default, it was broken. He's spent the last 20 years looking for that gang, but the videos didn't give anything away. They wore masks and voice alterations."

My whole body freezes at Marcello's story.

It all makes sense now.

This is why he's so cold and closed off.

He's not a jerk, he's just trying to protect himself.

I understand that saying 'sorry' won't help anything, so instead, I settle for an awkward hug.

He pulls me closer, tightening the hug and buries his face in the crook of my neck. I pat his back, trying not to show my uncertainty in the action.

After minutes of silence tick by, I decide lower my lips near his ear, "Are you okay, Marcello?"

He nods his head yes, but doesn't pull away from the hug.

My awkward pats on his back turn into long strokes of comforting rubs as we sit in silence, a mutual agreement to lay here for as long as necessary.

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