Caught Red Lipped

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Caught Red Lipped


Grace spent the afternoon tidying up their apartment. It wasn’t that the space needed cleaning so much as she relished in having something to keep her mind from wandering. The last thing she wanted to be thinking about was that white sheet covering the dead Mrs. Whitmore.

She leaned in to scrub the sink with more vigor. She didn’t stop until her knuckles were as void of color as a boiled turnip.


From the other side of the room, Grace heard the door click open and closed again. She quickly looked up, brushing loose pieces of hair back with her forearm. Luca was standing in the entryway, shedding his coat and hat.

Grace stole a glance at the clock. It was scant four o’clock.

“You’re home early,” she called.

“I thought I might switch things up for a change and actually spend the evening with my beautiful wife.” Luca shot her a swoon worthy grin.

Grace shed her apron, leaving it sprawled out across the back of a kitchen chair and went to kiss her husband.

She wove her arms around his neck.

“I think that is a lovely idea.” She gave him another quick peck.

Grace pulled herself from his grasp, heading to the kitchen to make him a drink.

Luca followed his wife to the liquor cabinet.

He pulled her into yet another embrace, from behind this time. He leaned in and caught a hint of her perfume. She smelled like roses, odd for this time of year.  The scent was like a drug to him. He simply could not get enough.

Grace poured two fingers of whiskey into the glass. She pushed it into Luca’s open palm. Using all the restraint she possessed, she walked away from her husband. She feared if she didn’t get out of his immediate reach, she might begin to act like an attention-starved puppy. In order to avoid this, Grace went to hang her apron and finish the other chores around the house.

Luca enjoyed watching her flit around the house. He loved how carefree she appeared to be and would give anything to keep her that way. Valentino’s warnings floated through his mind. He wasn’t to leave Grace alone.

“I think we should move back to the house,” Luca said, loosening his tie.

“I just got this place just how I like it,” Grace responded, trying her best not to sound dejected.

She went over to right the crooked vase the couple had received as a wedding gift to emphasize her point.

Luca breathed a laugh from somewhere behind her.

“I know, and I’m sorry about that. But with everything that’s happened…” Grace knew he was referring to Nina.“I’d feel better if we, and especially you, were surrounded by more people.”

“Can’t you just tell Donny to stay the night? I know Milo is taking up the spare bedroom, but Donny seemed more than comfortable on the sofa the other night. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”

Luca’s jaw tightened. He didn’t like the thought of Donny sleeping while he was supposed to be protecting his wife and nephew.

Grace noticed how he had stiffened. She placed a dainty hand on his strong chest, drawing lazy circles on the fabric of his shirt, as she was fond of doing.

“He is not my favorite person, Luca, but you work him too hard. It seems like he never has time to rest.”

“He knew what he was signing up for,” Luca quipped. Grace rolled her eyes.

“Even the best men need their sleep, Luca.”

Luca grabbed her hand, halting it on its easy path.

“What about the men that want to do more than just sleep?” he muttered, leaning down to kiss her neck.

 Grace knew exactly what he was referring to and she also knew this was hardly the time. Luca’s hands moved to her thighs, drawing little circles with his thumbs and he continued to kiss her neck. It was difficult to think straight. It felt so good.

“Luca, we… We can’t do this right now,” she stammered out through uneven breaths.

“Why not?” he whispered between kisses. He couldn’t get enough of his wife’s sweet skin.

Grace wracked her mind for a reason they couldn’t- shouldn’t- but thanks to Luca, her brain felt fuzzy and she couldn’t come up with a reason.

“Milo’s in the other room,” she stammered.

“He’s fine to play a little longer.”

He watched Grace bite her lower lip. He had her on the ropes; she was going to give in to sweet temptation.

“We shouldn’t. What if-“

Two stern knocks against the front door interrupted her thought.

Luca looked like his head might blow off in frustration as his wife pulled herself from his grasp yet again, this time to answer the door.

She opened the door to reveal a flustered Vincent standing in the doorway. Grace moved out of the way to admit her brother-in-law into the apartment.

Her hands smoothed out the wrinkles in her skirt and tried to fix her mussed hair as best as she could, hoping Vincent wouldn’t be able to tell what she and Luca had just been doing. She brushed her fingers over her lips, feeling just how swollen and red they seemed. She prayed that it wasn’t noticeable.

“What a pleasant surprise, Vincent. What brings you here?” Grace had fallen effortlessly into her hostess façade.

Luca was not so eager to entertain any guests at the moment.

“Yes, what a surprise. Your timing is impeccable.” One would have to have been deaf to miss the sarcasm in Luca’s words. He was not happy at the intrusion, especially when Grace had almost given in to him.

“Something tells me you’re lying, little brother,” Vincent wore a sly grin as his eyes wandered to Luca’s pants.  Grace followed his gaze. She blushed fiercely upon seeing the awkward state in which Vincent had found her husband.

Luca, on the other hand, did not look embarrassed, only slightly more perturbed than he had been five seconds ago.

“What are you doing here, Vince?”

In true Venzetto fashion, Vincent slid his hands deep in the pockets of his slacks.

“I came to get Milo. Nina’s awake.

"Grace gasped audibly, “Oh, Vincent! That’s wonderful. How is she?”

He smiled back at her.

“She is tired and weak. The doctors didn’t wait to tell her that she lost the baby when she fell. She says it’s her back that is ailing her, but I can tell the bigger ailment is a broken heart. She needs to see Milo, to be reassured that things are still good.”

“Yes, she does need Milo, but she needs you just as much if not more Vince. Don’t forget that.”

He nodded somberly.

“Where is little Milo?”

Grace pointed in the direction of the guest room off to the left.

“He is playing in there. Oh, Vincent, he will be so happy to see you.”

Vincent left the room to go find his son, leaving Luca and Grace alone once again.

“My brother certainly knows how to kill the mood, doesn’t he?” Grace giggled into his chest, which annoyed him even more.

“It’s probably for the best. Besides,-“

“No. In no world was that for the best. Especially not in my world.”

Grace scrunched her brows up at her frowning husband.

Besides,” she reiterated. “Nina is awake, and that is wonderful news.”

Luca glanced down at his little wife marveling at how lucky he was to have such an amazing woman to love.

“You’re right, cara. It is wonderful news.” Luca leaned down to kiss her forehead.

“Eww.” The couple turned around to see Milo making a face in his father’s arms.

Grace laughed. Luca thought it sounded like the most glorious of morning birds chirping in the trees.

Papa says Mommy is awake and that I get to go see her!” The excitement in the little boy warmed everyone’s hearts.

Luca watched as Grace played along with his excitement and let out an over-exaggerated gasp.

“She is?” Milo nodded. “Well you must take your papa and go see her!”

“You’re right, Bella Gracie. I’ll see you later. Daddy and I have to go see Mommy.”

“I’ll see you soon, little one.” Grace kissed her nephew’s cheek.Vincent turned back to Luca before leaving the apartment.

“Don’t forget about the opening tonight.”

With that, they were gone.

“Opening?” Grace asked.

“Well, I had grander plans for asking you, but there is an opening of a new club tonight and my father would like us there. It’s supposed to be very ritzy and high end. Father says they’ll be serving the good champagne.” Grace raised an eyebrow at the mention of alcohol.

Luca rolled his eyes in response.

“Anyways, there’s also going to be a new jazz pianist. He goes by Duke Ellington. He’s supposed to be good, and-“

“Luca, you’re rambling. I’ll be ready to leave in an hour.”

Grace kissed her husband before sashaying into the bedroom.

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