"Oi, ragazza!" My eyes flew open, instantly meeting stunning, endless amber depths. "It's-a not a good idea to keep Nonno waiting."
Lovino took a few steps until we were fairly eye level and offered me his hand. I had been fully prepared to give him dirty looks and tell him to fuck off, but his act of unprovoked kindness took me off guard. Cautiously, I placed my palm into his, fully expecting him to hoist me up. He surprised me again by lowering his head, gently brushing his lips against my knuckles and then pulling me up. We caught each others gaze and stared for a moment.
"Lovino?" I questioned, slightly confused and overwhelmed by the amount of eye contact taking place.
"Stai bene?" He questioned, studying me closely.
"English." I deadpanned. He rolled his eyes at me but repeated himself anyway.
"Are you okay, ragazza?"
"I mean..." I scratched the back of my head and looked down at myself. "Sure? Why, do I look weird?"
"You know that's not what I-a meant." Lovino muttered, climbing back up the steps. I stood there for a moment, eyebrows raised, watching his back.
"Are you..." My eyes widened and I pointed at him as he turned around. "Is Mr. Grumpy CONCERNED about me?!" My hands flew to my cheeks and I gaped excessively. His face twisted up in embarrassment and shock.
"Zitto, ora!" Lovino hissed. I laughed at his reddening cheeks. "It's not like I-a care!" He huffed and started stomping away.
"Aww, don't be like that Luigi!" I ran after him, catching his shoulder and making him turn around.
"What the fuck do you-a want?" Lovino growled, still looking very embarrassed. I made a face at how rude he was being, causing him to sigh and stuff his hands into his pockets at my display of displeasure.
"Thanks," I smiled up at him and he blinked in shock. "You're the first person to ask." Against my better judgement and lack of fucks to give, I hugged him. He stiffened, making me think he was uncomfortable with the sudden contact. I began to pull away, but was stunned when he returned the gesture and pulled me against him. Smiling, I pressed my face into his chest and leaned into him.
"Kesesesese! Already making a move, Luigi?"
"Ohnhonhon! My, you are fast Lovino!" We pulled apart to see the door to the room wide open and everyone trying to get a decent view of what was going on.
"Ve~ Does this-a mean Lovi has a girlfriend Nonno?" Feli asked, looking over to see the boss with a very amused face. I barely had enough time to pull away before Lovino blew up.
"Che cazzo, fratello?! Perché cazzo stavi guardando noi?!" He screeched throwing his hands in the air.
"It seems as if he's been-a found out!" Romeo laughed. "Shame, too. I wanted a chance."
"EXCUSE you?" I demanded, planting my hands on my hips. "The hell do you think I am? I'm not your blow-up sex doll replacement, freak!" I flipped him off.
"Ohnhon! So fiery!" Francis whistled.
"I'll light a fire beneath your ASS, you frog leg fucker!"
"Easy there, signora." Romeo chuckled.
"I'll show you easy," I growled, marching forward to beat his ass. Lovino was quick to catch my shoulder.
"I wouldn't-a do that if I were you." The hot headed man smirked. "He's a masochist. He'll-a enjoy it." I busted up laughing at this new piece of information.
"I am-a not! You liar!" Romeo defended. "Sei una cagna mentendo!"
"Hai appena chiamato una cagna, figlio di puttana?" Lovino hissed angrily, his hand drifting to his waist. They stared at each other, the air thick with tension. I looked around to see everyone except Feli and Nonno watching with amused faces.
"Ve~ Fratello, I don't-a think-"
"Shut it, Feliciano." Romeo barked. "He needs to-a learn how much of a bitch he-a really is."
"Maybe we should-a take this up with Maria." Lovino said with a smirk. Romeo's eyes darkened. A few 'ooo's could be heard behind him.
"You better watch what you-a say, fratello. Or I'll have-a to shut your-a mouth for you."
"Who's-a mouth, Romeo? I'm sure Maria needs someone to-a keep her mouth shut for her." Lovino commented smugly. Rage filled Romeo's eyes. In one blinding motion, he whipped out his gun and clicked off the safety. Lovino lazily returned the gesture, almost as if this whole thing amused him.
"Watch yourself." Romeo stated in a rather threatening nature. As terrifying as this stand off seemed, I was getting rather tired of watching them puff their chests out. I made an annoyed face and stepped out in front of Lovino, fluidly removing the weapon from his hand.
"Thank you." I hummed, walking away from his stunned expression to retrieve Romeo's gun. "And thank you." I presented both of them to Nonno, who took them with a nod.
"Che cazzo?" I heard the dueling brothers mutter in unison as I brushed past the wall of people to take up my purse. Checking the time on my phone made me realize that it was actually fairly early in the afternoon.
"Jesus, I'm hungry." I commented, remembering that I hadn't eaten since last night. "Are we still going to grab something or nah, Feli?"
"Ve~ Um, well..." He looked fairly startled.
"How about you-a show the signora some real Italian and-a make some pasta, si?" Nonno asked, locking up the weapons in his desk. Feli instantly lit up and started jumping for joy.
"PASTA!" He sang loudly and ran out of the room. I giggled at his enthusiasm and followed behind him.
"Oh my gosh, that was fantastic!" I moaned, completely filled with Feli's amazing cooking. He smiled at me from across the table and stack both of our plates together.
"I'm glad you-a liked it."
"It would have-a been better if it were pizza." Lovino grumbled, adding his plate to the forming pile of dishes.
"Pizza is great, but that was amazing." I sighed as I stretched.
"That was-a good, Feliciano." Nonno complimented as he collected dishes. He seemed rather pleased to get approval from Nonno. I stood, beginning to help out the bubbly Italian, when something glittering in the corner of my eye caught my attention. A medium sized stage sat at the far end of the restaurant.
"Never noticed that before." I commented offhandedly.
"It doesn't get used often around here." Gil explained.
"Why don't you just do karaoke every Friday or something like that? Let bands play gigs on the weekends." I thought aloud. Nonno seemed to appreciate my input.
"That sounds like a good idea, signora." He praised, reaching into his pocket to answer his ringing cellphone. I smiled at him but my attention was still focused on the stage.
"Ohnhonhon~ Why don't you sing something for us, mademoiselle?" Francis suggested cockily. I shook my head.
"Maybe some other time. For now, I would kind of like to go home if that's alright with you?" I asked to no one in particular as a picked up my phone to text Arthur.
"Today has-a been a rather full day for you, signora." Nonno said sympathetically. "We will-a touch base tomorrow, si? I still need an answer from you."
"That's fine." I looked up with a smile as I threw my phone back into my bag. "Thank you for everything. It was nice meeting all of you!" A chorus of goodbyes were given as I walked towards the door. "C'mon, Lovino. I'm not waiting on your sorry ass."
"What?" He asked, very confused.
"You won the race so you get to take me home, remember?" Francis and Gil gave a knowing laugh.
"If 'e does not take you 'ome, I will be more zhan pleased to do so myself~" The Frenchman gave a perverted smile.
Lovino rolled his eyes and walked over to the door. I flipped off Francis and offered one last farewell as Lovino held the door open for me and we stepped outside. The sun was bright and annoyed me as I waited on Lovino to unlock his car. I was more than grateful to be able to get out of that place for the day.
"IGGYBROWS!" I yelled into my apartment as the door slammed behind me. The fading noise of squealing tires made me roll my eyes. Lovino could be such a damn show off.
"I thought I told you not to call me that." A crisp, annoyed accent sighed from the kitchen. I followed the sound of his voice to see him making tea on my stove.
"Honey, I'm home~" I mocked. My hip met the counter as I leaned over his arm, watching him expertly pour the dark liquid into two mugs from my kettle.
"Very funny." Arthur sneered, handing me a green mug with a grey anchor painted on the side. "Jasmine tea."
"What, no 'welcome home dear sweet love of mine'?" I giggled, taking my mug into the living room.
"What, are you looking for a husband, Jayce?" One of his enormous eyebrows rose up curiously over his white mug as he sipped. "If you're that lonely, get a dog."
"Why would I do that when I could just keep you around?" I mused, seriously considering the idea of a pet in the back of my mind. I sat down next to my TV to turn the stereo on.
"Issues or Hands Like Houses?"
"Hands Like Houses." He responded, prompting me to scroll through my songs on my iPod. I quickly chose This Ain't No Place For Animals and set my device back into the dock. After kicking off my shoes I skipped over to join Arthur on the futon. "So how did the date with the mafia twins go? I saw the shooting on the news."
"Ah, yes. The death triplets." I hummed, remembering that Romeo technically made them triplets. Mentally preparing myself for the longest rant of my life, I sprawled out on my stomach so I was half on his lap. I tucked my elbows next to his thigh and kept my mug balanced between my fingertips. "Well..."
"That was literally the closest to death I have ever been." I finished, looking up at him. His face was a mixture of emotions I could relate to and not fully understand all at once. "I honestly almost shit myself during the interrogation, too."
"I'm surprised you didn't." I watched his eyebrows raise expressively from my place in his lap. "If I were in your shoes, love, I would never even look their way again."
"I kinda need to join the mafia, though." I confessed, making his head whip down to stare at me wide-eyed. I jumped to explain quickly. "Okay, look. If I don't there is a 99% chance that Natalia chick will find and kill me! If I join the mafia, then I'll be a hellva lot safer."
"Well..." Arthur sighed and rubbed his face. I could tell he was at a loss for words. Gently, I placed my empty mug on the ground and rolled over so I was on my back.
"I doubt Nonno will let anything happen to me after his sons pretty much fucked everything up."
"You don't know this, Jayce. You could just as easily be seen as dead weight. Or what's worse, they could make you take up another gun in exchange for protection and work for them."
"That doesn't seem like something he would do..." Then again, how was I to know? I barely knew these people.
"Come stay with me." He blurted, barely letting me finish my statement. I stared at him, confused and shocked. He looked slightly embarrassed at his outburst. "My father is a cop, Jayce. If you stay at my parents place for a while, maybe-"
"Arthur you know the police do squat in this town. Almost every officer is either too scared or been paid off. You know they only handle purse snatchers and not mafia business. No offense to your dad, he is great at what he does."
"It was a thought." He offered, defeated. I smiled and gave his tummy an appreciative pat.
"I either join and possibly live or pretend nothing ever happened and die within the next month."
Arthur's head tilted back and he rubbed his face with both hands, obviously overwhelmed and frustrated. He was pretty much everything I was supposed to be feeling but, for some odd reason, wasn't. It seemed wise to leave him to digest this and not bother his train of thought, so I sat up and collected our empty cups. As I was refilling the kettle, I absentmindedly tuned back into the music that was playing. My mood lightened and I couldn't help but sing along.
"I can't make my own decisions
Or make any with precision
Well maybe you should tie me up
So I don't go where you don't want me"
I could barely contain my hype as I turned the stove back on and began bouncing around to the tune.
"You say that I've been changing
That I'm not just simply aging"
Double checking that I wasn't going to burn down my apartment, I skipped back into the living room. Seeing Arthur stare blankly at the wall gave me a really bad idea.
"Yeah how could that be logical?
Just keep on cramming ideas down my throat"
I grinned, running full speed at him. He barely managed to react with a 'fucking hell' be thrown my way as I leapt on to the futon and half tackled him.
"You don't have to believe me!"
I sang obnoxiously, watching him recompose himself as I hopped back onto the floor.
"But the way I, way I see it
Next time you point a finger
I might have to bend it back
Or break it, break it off"
Arthur rolled his eyes at my childish dancing with my pretend mic. I saw him try not to crack a smile as I hulled him off the couch and took his hands to dance.
"Next time you point a finger
I'll point you to the mirror"
When he wouldn't budge, I stabbed him repeatedly with my pointer finger until he gave in with a chuckle.
"There it is!" I teased. He rolled his eyes again. "Take it away Mr. Lead Singer." I giggled as I handed him the brush I had left out this morning on my coffee table to sing into. He mocked me slightly as he took the brush from my hands.
"If God's the game that you're playing
Well we must get more acquainted
Because it has to be so lonely
To be the only one who's holy"
"Get it, Arthur!" I laughed, twirling around aimlessly before climbing onto my coffee table to play air drums.
"It's just my humble opinion
But it's one that I believe in
You don't deserve a point of view
If the only thing you see is you"
"You don't have to believe me!" I screeched happily from my position on the table. "But the way I, way I see it-"
"Next time you point a finger
I might have to bend it back
Or break it, break it off
Next time you point a finger
I'll point you to the mirror"
"Your neighbors must hate you." Arthur mused as he watch me jump down from the table and walk over to the stereo.
"Nah, man. The first thing I did when I moved in was sound-proof the entire place."
"Smarter than you look, as usual, love." He chuckled as I changed the music to a Set It Off song.
"Why do you call me that?"
"Call you what?" I looked over at his confused face.
"Love." I mocked, putting on my best British voice as I walked into the kitchen.
"Uhm, well..." Arthur ran his hand over his neck nervously. "You see-"
"ANSWER YOUR FUCKING PHONE!"
"Bloody hell." Arthur breathed out, placing a hand over his chest dramatically. "Did you change your ringtone again?" I grinned and nodded.
"JUST DO IT! DON'T LET THIS GO TO VOICEMAIL. JUST...DO IT!"
"Pete's Pizza, the best fucking piece of pizza." I answered, placing my phone on speaker. "Jayce speaking."
"Ah...Jayce?" A timid voice asked, making me squeal.
"Can-yada!" I bellowed obnoxiously. "Did you call for the poutine recipe?"
"Um, no?" Matt questioned, sounding more than a little confused. "I-I'm sorry to bother you. Is this a bad time?"
"Never a bad time to talk to you. Actually, spontaneous idea, we should totally hang this weekend."
"That sounds great. What time?"
"Just swing by anytime on Sunday." I hummed, pulling out my tea leaves. "What exactly was it you called for?"
"I was wondering if you would cover my shift this Thursday. Kuma has a vet appointment."
"Sure, Matt. So long as you bring him with Sunday. I still need to meet him." I remembered aloud. "The fact that you own a bear makes you, like, King of Canada."
"Ah, sure...? I guess I'll be sure to bring him along. Thanks."
"Yup yup." I turned around and took two steps to the side. "ARTHUR COME SAY HELLO TO OUR BEST CANADIAN!" I screeched into the other room.
"Bloody hell! I was only in the other room!" He hissed, rubbing his ear for effect. "How are you, Matthew?"
"Good, thank you." A crash sounded in the background, nearly scaring the tits off of me. "No, Kuma! Bad bear!"
My eyebrows raised and I glanced at Arthur. Frantic, whispered commands and growls mixed with the sound of destruction. I barely registered the sound of Matt swearing rather loudly in French before the line went dead. My mouth instantly became a shocked 'o' and my hand covered my lips. Arthur and I looked at each other again.
"I'm sure he's fine. King of Canada and all that." I reasoned, reaching down to pour more tea into my mug.
"Right..." Arthur muttered slowly. "I'm going to go make sure he's still alive."
"Aww. Okay." I placed my kettle down and raced over to him while he was putting his jacket on. "Let me know if you're coming back."
"Alright. Take care, love." He mused my hair as I hugged him. I returned to the stove as the door slammed, leaving me in pure silence.