Dante's Girl (Page 33)

Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)(33)
Author: Courtney Cole

“Never mind,” I stammer quickly.  “Don’t answer that.”

“It’s complicated, Reece,” he tells me. “I’m sorry. It’s just really complicated.”

And apparently, liquid courage is also sort of like liquid fire-starter because my temper flares right up.

“It’s not complicated,” I tell him icily.  “Either Elena is your girlfriend or she’s not.  It’s pretty simple, actually.”

“You don’t understand,” he sighs.  “My world isn’t the same as yours.”

And suddenly, the fire in my veins is doused with ice cold water.

Because he’s right.  We’re from different worlds and I’ve known that from the beginning.  I shouldn’t have asked him to kiss me because he can never be with me. I know that.  I’m not in his league at all.  And I suddenly realize that I’m not sure that I even want to be in it.  His world is so complicated, after all.

“This was a mistake,” I mutter as I try to get up from the lounger.

I stumble and fall back down, directly into Dante’s lap.  His legs are strong beneath me and I fight the urge to linger there.  He holds me for a second, his eyes glued to mine.  His are clouded with regret and I ‘m not sure why.  Does he regret kissing me?  Or does he regret that he can’t kiss me again?   Either way, it’s enough.  I bolt from his arms and run.

And I’d thought that I wouldn’t have to run in my heels.

My footsteps are loud on the marble floors and anyone in a hundred yard vicinity can hear me coming.  Guards are stationed at periodic intervals in the Old Palace and although they look at me curiously, they don’t interfere.  I can hear Dante behind me and I can hear him calling my name.  But he never asks the guards to stop me.

I almost make it to my room before my left heel tangles in my gown and I fall to the ground in a heap.  My dress is spread around me and my hands don’t quite break my fall.  My shoulder scrapes the floor.  I should be humiliated since this is exactly what I was afraid of from the moment I put the high-heeled-stilts-from-hell on, but surprisingly, I don’t care.  I lay there for a moment and compose myself.  I can hear Dante next to me.

“Are you alright?” he asks softly.

I don’t say anything.

I stay still and he bends down and scoops me into his arms.

He holds me with one arm and opens the door with his other and then carries me inside, placing me gently on the bed. He doesn’t sit down.

“Are you alright?” he asks again, staring seriously at me. He picks up one of my hands and examines it, but I pull it away from him. I want nothing more than for him to touch me, hold my hand, hold me, but that can’t happen.

I steel my heart and nod silently, then I look away.

“Goodnight, Dante.”

I am dismissing him.  It is clear.

“Can we talk tomorrow?” he asks.  He is almost pleading.  He’s so polite.  So… Caberran.

“I don’t know.”

“Please, Reece.  Let’s talk tomorrow.  You’ll feel better in the morning.”

I nod silently.  I can’t talk right now.  I just can’t.

“Sleep well.”

He turns and leaves and I bury my face into my pillow and cry.

It’s what any normal girl would do.

Chapter Fifteen

If I’ve ever, at any point in my life, thought I was dying, I was wrong.  I wasn’t even close then.  I know that, because I’m dying now.  So now I know what it feels like.

I groan and shove a pillow over my face as the morning light assaults my eyes with a cold-blooded vengeance.  My head is splitting apart.  Someone is crushing my skull with a hammer.  And poking my eyes with a sharp stick.  And banging my head into the wall.  And then stomping on my forehead.

I squint one eye open.  Who am I kidding?  I’m alone. And I’m hung-over.

And I am not enjoying it.

I groan again.  This is so not worth it.  Why would anyone in their right mind do this to themselves?

My phone buzzes and I realize that it is what woke me in the first place.  I have no idea how long it has been vibrating, but I throw out an arm to clumsily grab it.  I peer at the screen.

Quinn McKeyan.

Oh, perfect.

Just who I need to talk to.

Not.

I drop the phone back onto the bed and then throw my arm back over my eyes.  I’m not answering it.  And no one can make me.  I’m hung-over and grumpy.

My phone is silent for a scant minute before it starts ringing again.  I let it go to voicemail.  It starts ringing again.  We go through this process two more times before I realize that Quinn is not going to give up.  He’s bound and determined to talk to me.

Eff.

I growl into the phone.

“What?”

Brief silence.

“Reecie?” Quinn is taken off guard because I’m not usually bitchy, even during “that” time of the month.  Even-keeled, girl-next-door. That’s me. It’s my eternal curse.  “Are you alright?”

And he actually sounds concerned, so I feel bad about biting his head off.  Sort of.

I swallow the build-up of saliva that is pooling in my mouth.  Oh, the joys of hangovers.  Again- really- why do people do this to themselves?

“I’m fine,” I assure him and I even sound somewhat convincing.  “I just have a massive headache.  Why are you calling me a hundred times? Is something wrong?”

“Everything is wrong,” he groans into the phone and I can hear the pain in his voice and I am instantly alarmed, sitting straight up in bed even though my head might explode from the contact with the light.

“Is Becca alright?” I ask quickly.  A hundred different scenarios roll through my head, none of them good and most of them involving blood.  Car accident.  Horse-back riding incident.  Drowning. Sickness.  Surgery?  

“No,” Quinn answers. “She’s not.  She won’t listen to me and I don’t know what to do.”

I start to feel calmer.  No accident.  Why am I such a paranoid freak?

“So, nothing has happened to her?” I just have to clarify.

Short pause.

“No, nothing bad has happened to her.  It’s just that everything is a mess.  And it’s all your fault, you know.”