Dante's Girl (Page 47)

Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)(47)
Author: Courtney Cole

“No?” he looks disappointed.

“No,” I confirm.  “And I’m not thinking about anything of the sort right now.  I’m too worried about you for that kind of nonsense.”

Lie.

Five hundred times.

That’s how many times I’ve thought about Dante’s hands on my body over the past week.  He’s been lying in a hospital bed and I’ve been thinking impure thoughts.  His ancestors’ paintings would surely be glaring at me now.  If they could see me. Which they can’t.

“Are you ready?” I ask, fighting the blush that is sweeping my cheeks at my ridiculous and impure thoughts.

“Yes.  Are you?”

Boy, am I.  But that is a loaded question. And now is not the time to think about it.

“I’ll have your car pulled around, okay?”

He nods and I leave to ask them to bring his car out of the garage.  At his direction, I’ve been driving it back and forth to the hospital this week.  At first I was terrified to drive such an expensive piece of machinery, but now it feels normal. And I can see now how he is so casual about his luxurious things.  I’m almost ashamed to say that I’ve become accustomed to them, too.  It’s weird. I guess it’s human nature.  You become accustomed to what is around you.

I help Dante into the passenger’s seat and he still seems pale to me.  But he’s all hopped up on pain medicine so I doubt he’s feeling any pain.  And because of the pain medicine, he’s very talkative on the way to Giliberti House.

“Are you sure that you aren’t into Connor?” he asks me for the third time since we left the hospital.  I have to smile and shake my head while I concentrate on navigating the curves outside of Valese.

“Yes, I’m very sure,” I assure him again.  “He’s like my brother.  He’s always been like my brother.  He used to pull my pigtails and hide my Barbies.”

“I’m jealous of that,” Dante announces.  “He knew you when I didn’t.”

And now I’m grateful for the pain medicine that makes Dante talkative.  It’s revealing a side of him that I’ve never seen before.  A very human, less than perfectly self-assured side.  And I like it.  It tells me that Dante Giliberti isn’t quite perfect.

It makes me love him even more.

The curves and sways of the road combined with the pain meds make Dante sleepy and so he falls asleep, snoring slightly, long before we reach the house.  I pull up in front and wake him up and then I help him through the house.

Marionette scampers ahead of us, surprisingly spy for an old woman, and opens the door to Dante’s bedroom so that I can help him through it.  He’s leaning on me and I’m lugging his stuff and helping him walk, all at the same time.  The pain medicine makes him groggy and out of it.  He’d never let me shoulder all of this weight normally.

But it’s okay with me because it makes me feel like I’m finally doing something to help him.  I thank Marionette and she leaves me alone with Dante.

In his room.

Alone.

As I help him onto his bed, I realize that this is the first time I’ve seen his room. I was never in his room at the Old Palace and that’s okay. Because I know as I look around, that this is his true room, his true space. The place where he is truly himself. 

It’s navy blue.  And that’s so like him. When I think of Dante, I think blue.  Like his eyes.

The bed is huge and comfy, filled with dark blue throws and cushions and pillows.  There is a handful of photo prints and a camera lying on the foot of the bed, presumably exactly how Dante left them before he left for the Old Palace over a week ago.  I glance through them and find that they are pictures of the olive groves and a sunset.  Romantic and dreamy.  And he is really good at capturing beautiful pictures. I set them down.

The furniture here is heavy and there is a sitting area filled with photos in stacks on the end tables.  I can see photos of me from here.  And I’m not mad about it anymore.  It’s clearly something that he loves to do.  It’s not stalkerish.  It’s just….him.  And he’s really good at it.

There is an old picture of his mother smiling from an end-table. She is framed with ornate silver and she is glamorous and beautiful.  There is another framed picture of Dante and his father. They are both standing on the edge of a boat, and the name of the boat is beneath them.  The Daniella.  I wonder if that is Dante’s mother’s name, but I can’t ask Dante because he’s already snoring from the bed.  He’s still fully clothed and on top of the covers.

I decide that it is surely his mother’s name.

And goshdangit.  I said surely again.

“Reece,” Dante says softly.  He’s sleepy and warm and curled up on the bed.  He stretches out and reaches for me.  He doesn’t wince this time when he moves, so he’s either doing better or the pain meds are working. Probably a mixture of both.

I cross the room quickly and sit next to him.

“Thank you,” he whispers and reaches for my hand.  “For staying with me.”

His hands are warm and have calluses from working with Darius.  I stroke his thumb with mine.  And just the mere touch of his skin sets mine on fire.  It’s pathetic, because he’s broken and sore and sleepy.  But the emotional toll of the past week has built up and now I’m aching for him to touch me.

His touch is real.

It means that he’s fine.

It’s a tangible thing.

And I need it.

He needs it too.

I know this because he pulls me down to him and I snuggle next to him, trying to make sure that I don’t bump his bruised ribs.  He leans into me and kisses me, his lips soft on my own and I sigh into his mouth.

He groans, but not a painful groan.

A groan that tells me that he likes it.

Fire shoots through my stomach and into my heart and my hands start to roam.

They drift lightly over his shoulders, his back, his hips, his butt.  He rolls carefully to his side now, facing me and his hands are moving too. 

They’re everywhere.

And he’s kissing me.

And I can’t think.

He whispers my name and now I really can’t think.  I love the sound of my name on his lips. It’s surreal.  Like a dream.

But Dante’s hands are very real and the weight of them tells me that this is definitely not a dream.