Chapter 24

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Okay, so when Lauren said she was taking me out, this hadn't exactly been the vision in my head.

We had driven through valleys and on the side of some mountain where rows of green grapevines and cornfields pretty much owned the slopes of the steep terrain. The sunset over lake Garda had been ōrgasmic to watch, even if just from a car window. I had imagined Lauren taking me some place incredible like in all the sappy movies, and while my usual sarcastic body dejected the whole premise of corny love, I had to admit it would've been nice.

But no. Instead Lauren chose to reenact what I could only assume in her head was some cheesy, human version of Lady and The Tramp – actually set in Italy this time, instead of some back alley.

I looked around in the cozy, old fashioned-Italian restaurant where Lauren shockingly and despite my countless protests had parked her Lexus at, wherein couples were dining and families were lively chatting away. Kids were running around the red-and-white-checkered tables because they couldn't sit still, while their parents enjoyed a few moments of romantic hand-holding by the little yellow candlelight that oh-so-clichéingly had been placed by a jar filled with breadsticks. Waiters were trotting around with platters of admittedly delicious smelling food and bottles of wines I couldn't pronounce, and smiled with their Italian charm to warm their customers up.

All the while a tone-deaf man and his band played some Italian opera in the corner, bellowing through the restaurant that was placed on the mountainside in the middle of nowhere.

I just couldn't cope with the stereotype explosion that was happening in this little restaurant. Right from the green ivy crawling up the wooden pillars, to the kitchen-mama who greeted all the customers at the door, to the stray cat that smoothed in between the tables to catch leftovers that had fallen of the plates.

And here we were; Two wanted government agents with licenses to kill, smack-dab right in the middle of it all with kids playing around us.

If Lauren found it uncomfortable, she didn't show any signs of it. I, on the other hand, kept squirming in my seat and had trouble focusing on reading my menu – but that was partially because I couldn't read Italian and there were no English translations. This was a truly thoroughbred Italian restaurant.

"Lauren, what are we doing here?" I finally decided to say to break the eerie silence between us that only seemed to get amplified by the noise around us. We were the only couple there that weren't twining fingers or even looked at each other.

Lauren had her face in her menu card and unlike me seemed to be reading it with great interest and actual capability. Had we been in Romania, things would've been the other way around.

"We are here to eat," She responded with a small crease between her brows as she focused on her menu. "Pick something."

"We have food at your place," I stated and sat up a little straighter in my chair. "Why did we have to go here? And don't tell me it's because of Fiorelli the Fantastic over there belting out."

Lauren's lips twitched in slight amusement, but then she focused back on her menu. "We're just here to get something to eat, dolcezza. You don't have to overthink everything. Relax and taste what Italia has to offer."

I had already tasted more than enough of what they had to offer, and yes, that was a euphemism. As Lauren's eyes flickered up again, I noticed them glint with that dirty look I recognized as lust and the 'I-can-guess-what-you're-thinking' undertone. I pursed my lips at her and turned my attention back into my menu, simply so I wouldn't have to look at the smug look on her face. "You know that's not what I mean."

"I do, but I'm choosing to ignore it."

"You shouldn't. We're both wanted, Lauren," I now said and changed into a serious tone as I looked up at her again. "Do you really think we should be sitting here, dining amongst kids, when our heads are wanted with a platinum bullet in them? I know you don't give a crap about people getting killed, but I'd at least thought you cared about helpless children."

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