Dante's Girl (Page 39)

Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)(39)
Author: Courtney Cole

Dante goes still.

“Now apologize,” Dimitri instructs.  Dante clenches his jaw so tightly that a little muscle ticks by his mouth.  His beautiful mouth.  I cringe inside at the thought that Dante has to apologize to this beast. 

“Apologize,” Dimitri says again.

Dante sighs, squaring his shoulders reluctantly as pulls his arm away from Dimitri. He is resigned to doing his duty.  I can see it on his face. It’s a role that he has played in his life many, many times.  And once again, I don’t envy him for it.

“I apologize,” he says icily to Nate the beast.  He takes two steps toward me to walk past Nate and as he passes him, he leans in and says, “For nothing,” in Nate’s ear.

I’m not sure if anyone but Nate and I hear, but the look on Nate’s face is priceless.  He’s pissed and he can’t say anything.

Dimitri and Nathaniel are already nodding and walking back inside as if the matter is closed.  I doubt they truly care as long as public image isn’t harmed.  They are good people, I am sure.  But they are public figures.  They have been conditioned to always think about public perception. I can’t blame them for that.

Nathaniel turns when they reach the doors.

“Are you coming, Nate?”

I realize that he doesn’t want to leave Nate out here.  He doesn’t want to take the chance that Nate will do something regrettable.  I can see that on his face. He knows his son.  And he probably knows that Nate purposely bruised my arm.  I stare at him.  His gaze flickers to me and it almost seems apologetic.  And then the expression is gone.  He patiently waits until Nate joins him and then he nods at Dante.

Then they’re gone.

Dante and I stare at each other.

“I’m sorry, Reece,” he tells me. “Nate will get his.  Trust me.”

His voice is assured and calm with a promise in it.

“I don’t want Nate ‘to get his’,” I tell him honestly.  “I don’t want conflict.  I just want to go on with life, okay?  Thank you for standing up for me.  No one has ever done that for me before.  And I’ll never be alone with Nate again.  I know he’s your friend, but there’s something about him…”

Dante nods.  “I know.”

We start to walk back into the palace, but Dante stops and looks at me.

“I don’t want to go in there.  Not right now.  Want to take that tour of the groves?”

Do I ever.  I don’t even want to be in the same building as Nate Geraris.

“That would be lovely,” I smile.  I’m so grateful that I can’t even see straight.

Dante leads me into a different direction. And before I even know it, we are descending on wide concrete stairs into a basement of some sort.

“The garage,” Dante tells me when he sees the question on my face.  “Come on.  Let’s get out of here.”

He gets no arguments from me.

There are so many cars in this garage.  There are gleaming luxury cars.  Shining sports cars.  Aggressive looking military trucks, even.  And nestled next to a shiny blue Jaguar, there is a sleek black convertible.  I have no idea what kind of car it is, but it is so sexy that it absolutely has to be Dante’s.  Has to be.

And sure enough, he walks right to it and opens the passenger door for me.  I slip into the luxurious butter-soft leather of the seat and it immediately engulfs me in cushioned luxury.  Dante gets into the driver’s seat, shoves a key into the ignition and revs the engine before he punches at a button and the top slides soundlessly down.  

Dante revs the engines again and it roars, then purrs quietly.   I don’t know a thing about cars but even I can tell that there is a lot of power under this shiny black hood.

“What kind of car is this?” I ask curiously.   There is a fancy trident on the glove-box, but I’ve never seen that emblem before.

“It’s a Maserati,” Dante tells me as we glide out of the parking space.

“It’s beautiful,” I tell him. And it really is.

It feels like we are floating on air.  That’s how smooth the ride is.  This car is perfect for Dante.  It’s classy, expensive, powerful.  Back home, the boys drive Jeeps with jacked-up tires or pickups with rifle racks in the windows.  My own car is a little used Honda Civic.  My parents and grandparents had all gone in together and bought it for me for my sixteenth birthday. This is just another glaring reminder of how different we are.

“It’s a car,” Dante shrugs.

He’s oblivious to the incredible things that he is blessed with.  He’s used to them.  He’s not arrogant or stuck-up.  But you can’t grow up in a family like his and not become accustomed to it.  It’s just human nature.

But still.

A little piece of me is panicked by this.

My heart feels fluttery about his car, by his attitude to his car.

By the fact that his father is a Prime Minister.

By the fact that his world is so glaringly different from mine.  Just when I think I’ve got a handle on it, that I’m used to it, something jumps out at me that reminds me all over again.

Our differences are striking and real and this isn’t a fairy tale.  And sometimes, in real life, differences sometimes can’t be overcome.

Chapter Eighteen

The countryside is beautiful.  I can hardly take my eyes from it as we wind our way through the smooth country roads.  Being from Kansas, it is hard for me to believe that there are no dirt roads here. But even the country roads are paved and immaculate, perfect like everything else. 

The landscape is rugged and green, with rocks dotting the hills and tall grass waving.  The highway that we are on winds above the ocean and below us, the blue sea crashes against the rocks.  Above us, the sky is just as blue.  It’s truly breathtaking.

The wind blows my hair and the air smells like the sea.  It’s salty, vast and earthy.  I know that I will never forget this smell.  It smells like Dante.

He looks over at me.

“What do you think?” he asks with a smile.

He is happy now, now that we are racing away from the Old Palace.  I can see it on his face, by the way he is relaxed in the driver’s seat.

And I’ve not been out of Valese, so this is the first time I’ve seen the country here in Caberra.  He knows what I think.  I can see it in his smile.