Dante's Girl (Page 64)

Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)(64)
Author: Courtney Cole

After a few minutes, we get up and walk to a little restaurant in the airport.

And for the next two hours, two hamburgers and four sodas, we talk and laugh and I stare at him because I still need to reassure myself that he is safe and sound.

And beautiful and strong.

But then it’s time to go.

And nothing is fine.

“It will be okay,” Dante tells me as he reaches over and tucks my hair behind my ear.

“That’s exactly what Daniel told me,” I say.

“And Daniel was correct,” Dante points out.  “And so am I.”

“Okay,” I nod.

But my heart is breaking. Because it’s been through a lot lately and honestly, I just don’t know how much more it can take.

Dante walks me to the terminal.  And he kisses me gently as they announce that the passengers are loading.

“I don’t want to go,” I tell him painfully.  And it is painful because my heart isn’t finished breaking yet.  “This is horrible.  This does not feel okay.”

Dante smiles and it looks like he is forcing it.

“It’s not fun,” he admits.  “But think of it this way.  Two hours ago, you thought I was dead. And I’m not.  So everything is fine, remember?”

Well, if he wants to put it that way.

I nod.  And he kisses me again and I walk into the tunnel leading to the plane.

I turn and look and Dante waves, blowing me a kiss.

He makes blowing a kiss look sexy.

But I roll my eyes anyway and pretend to catch it.

And then he rolls his eyes.

I laugh and turn around so that he doesn’t see me crying as I walk away.

* * *

Kansas is hot.

Kansas is freaking hot.

Kansas is hell’s kitchen hot…. As in the devil standing over a hot stove stirring boiling tar hot.

And that Is. Freaking. Hot.

The heat plows into me like a brick wall as I walk out the backdoor of the farmhouse letting the screen door slam before heading out to the barn.

As I walk into the barn, where it isn’t a bit cooler, only somewhat shadier, the barn cats scatter at my presence.  Mischief nickers from his stall, but I’m not here to ride him right now.  I’m here for privacy. I see my grandpa through the back barn door.  He’s out in the pasture working on an irrigation head, so he’ll be tied up for awhile.

I’m carrying my laptop and I climb up into my dark little cubbyhole in the hay loft.  It’s breathtakingly hot up here, but it’s the only place that I can be alone lately. And it’s just close enough that I still get the wireless reception from the house.

I pull up my email.

And my heart quickens because there is a note from Dante.

To: Reece Ellis <[email protected]

From:  Dante Giliberti <[email protected]

Subject:  I miss you

Kansas,

Just a note to tell you that I miss you.  Giliberti House isn’t the same since you are gone. And so I’m staying at the Old Palace for now.  It makes it easier with all the legal stuff going on for Nate.

We found out for sure this morning that Nathaniel didn’t know anything.  But he’s so mortified by the scandal that he tendered his resignation.  I feel badly because I like Nathaniel.  He’s a decent guy.

I hope that all is well in Kansas and that you haven’t forgotten about me.  How’s Quinn, by the way?  (No, I’m not jealous.  Well, maybe just a little).

Anyway, I’ll call you tonight.  I miss the sound of your voice.  I can’t believe you’ve been gone for three weeks already.  It feels like forever.  But I’ll talk to you tonight.

All my love,

Dante

I sigh and close the laptop.  I should answer, but it makes me too sad to email him.  It makes me feel so alone when I remember that he is thousands of miles away.  I want to look at him and talk to him and smell him.  I just want to be with him. Is that so much to ask?

I stare down at my arm and twist the sunflower bracelet on my wrist.  Thank God I was wearing it the day of the Regatta.  Because it’s here with me now and every time I look at it, I’m reminded of Dante.

As if everything else doesn’t remind me of him, too.

“Reece?”

I hear Becca calling for me just a scant second before her brown hair pokes up over the top of the hayloft ladder.

“Why do you come up here?” she demands as she climbs up.  “It’s hotter than hell up here.”

“It’s hotter than hell down there, too,” I tell her.

She’s only wearing cut-offs and a bikini top, so she ought to be cool enough.  I tell her that and she rolls her eyes.

“Today was the car wash for Student Council.  You were supposed to be there. Did you forget?”

Crap.  I nod.  “I totally forgot.  I’m sorry. But I wasn’t even supposed to be here right now, so surely it isn’t that big a deal.”

“No, it’s fine,” she agrees.  “But I would have liked to have you there.  All Drew and Jason did was stare at me and Alyssa while we did all the work.”

“Well, if you didn’t want people to stare, you shouldn’t have worn a bikini,” I tell her absently.

In my head, I’m already composing an email to Dante.  I have changed my mind about answering him. Even though it makes me sad, it’s better than dealing with this trivial kind of B.S.  And it’s funny.  Now that I’ve come back from Caberra after Dante was almost killed, everything sort of feels like it’s B.S.  It’s sort of good.  It makes me realize the important things in life.

Like, oh, life.

“Hellooooo?  Reecie-Peecie?  Helllllo?”

I come back to earth and stare at Becca.

“I’m sorry,” I tell her.  “I was thinking about something else.”

“Don’t you mean someone else?” she rolls her eyes.  “I love you, Reecie, but all you do lately is think about him.”

I have to give her that.

“I’m sorry,” I apologize.  “Really.  I just miss him.  It’s really hard.”

And Beck’s eyes soften up then, because she knows.  She misses Quinn like crazy too. They’re still broken up because it’s for the best but Becca is miserable.

“It’s alright,” she tells me.  “Do you want to go into town tonight and get some ice cream?  I think we both need it.  Chocolate chocolate chip. With chunks.  And cookie dough. And maybe hot fudge, too.”