GianCarlo Ch. 06byihartekenny©
[Author's Note: Hey, I'm back and I've made this chapter juicier. I'm sorry for the long wait bur I'm not a particularly fast writer. Please bear with me. Ciao XOXO]
Denise woke up the first time to banging. She figured it was someone up for a midnight snack. It didn't occur to her that no one would be angrily banging things to make a sandwich but she was too sleepy to care. She woke up a second time to voices. Ms. Camden and Dee both slept like bricks, but Denise, she was a light sleeper. She pulled on a house dress; she slept in the nude, and made her way silently to the rest of the house. When she made it to the dining room she saw Dee on the ground cradling Gian's head in her lap as he spoke softly in a different language. Fear immediately shot through her.
"Dee! What is he doing here!?" She whispered loudly.
"I-" was all Delia could say before Gian began muttering again and Delia stroked his cheek to calm him.
"You have to get him outta here! He's going to get you killed! Here, I'mma call Stefan." She said turning toward her room.
"Please! Nise, not yet, Just give me a few more minutes, please." Delia pleaded. Her voice was shaking with her held back sobs.
"Dee," Denise said softly, "There could be people headed here right now to kill you. Stefan, he can protect you."
Gian muttered his request again, more frantically. Delia stroked his cheek to calm him. She felt cornered. If Denise called Stefan he'd take him away forever, if he stayed any longer his father would try to kill her, but if she left Gian what kind of punishment would he inflict on himself. Her head was spinning.
"Per favore," Gian muttered as Denise said,
"Delia, you've got to let him go, for your own sake."
"I can't," She said to Denise as she began sobbing. "He needs me."
"What is wrong with him? Why would he put you in this situation? He knew coming here could get you killed and he did it anyway!" Denise said getting angry with Gian.
She came and kneeled down next to him looking as if she could hit him. She took a closer look, even boldly lifting his eyelids to clearly see. "Dude's chirping? He came here high? What the fuck? No, I'm calling Stefan."
"Please, Denise, a few more minutes." Delia pleaded, grabbing on to her sisters arm to stop her from moving.
Denise gave her sister a long look as she debated. "Okay, five minutes, I'm going to get my phone."
Dee gave her a sad smile, "Thanks."
When Denise left, Delia turned her attention back to Gian. "Please, speak English for me; tell me what you want me to do!"
"You're all I have," He said softly. He looked at her his green eyes at half-mast. He sat up slowly, lest he lost balance or got dizzy. "I never said nothing... but I live by myself...I'm alone all the time...my mom don't love me anymore...my dad's a prick...I disappoint him...I'm nothing...worthless piece of shit...You were the only good in my life...now you're gone...I want you to run away with me...I'm selfish...I don't deserve you."
His voice was choppy and his eyes, barely open, darted around her face. Delia felt a new level of helplessness. Everything in her wanted to stay with him. He had no one. At least Delia had the support of a large family. He had no one, and the thought broke her heart. She couldn't leave him like this.
"Stefan's on his way," Denise said softly from the entrance.
Delia nodded; she only had a few more minutes with him. She turned to Gian and pulled him into her embrace. He laid his head on her shoulder as if it were too heavy for him to hold.
"I don't know if you'll remember this when you're sober," Dee whispered into their embrace, "Just do one thing for me, stay strong. Do it for me. One day we'll be able to see each other again. We both can survive this. Just promise me you'll stay strong until that day comes. Do you promise?"
Gian lazily nodded his head. "Gian, I love you." She said. At her admittance, Gian's grip tightened around her. He only understood every other thing Delia said and he was certain he made even less sense but one thing chimed clear to him. It was that she loved him, just as much as he loved her. The rest of their situation seemed so much more bearable, now that he knew beyond any doubt he could conjure that she loved him and that she'd always come back to him when the time was right.
They'd stayed like that until Stefan's soft knock at the door. Their goodbye this time wasn't any easier. Stefan came in and helped Delia get Gian to his feet. They walked him to the door where Delia gave him a final hug goodbye.
She never wanted to let go. After a few long moments of holding onto him Stefan gently reminded her, "It's not safe for you."
Delia nodded somehow finding the strength to let go. Stefan slowly guided Gian out of the house and when it looked like Dee would follow Denise gently grabbed her by the shoulders.
"He doesn't have anyone!" Delia sobbed as she pulled at Nise's retraining hands.
"If you follow him, he won't have you either." Denise said pulling her back.
Delia turned into her sister's embrace and cried. It was as if the wound had been ripped open all over again.
Delia paced her room, later on that day.
She had an idea.
It was crazy, stupid, could get her killed, could hurt her family, but to her sleep deprived brain and heartbroken soul it felt so right. She didn't sleep a wink after Gian left. She lay in her bed crying until all she felt was anger. How dare someone she hasn't met dictate her life? How dare Gian's mother abandon her only son? What the fuck was so wrong with her that Gian couldn't be around her? The more she questioned the more she got angry, and the angrier she got the more her plan felt less like a daring fool's agenda and more like a brave young woman fighting for her and her...what was Gian to her?
The question stopped her in her tracks. If she was going to go through with this reckless plan shouldn't she at least know what she was to him? Denise knocked on her door before entering and Delia immediately felt guilty for entertaining the idea of going through with her plan.
"How're you doing?" Denise asked softly bringing her a bowl of oatmeal.
"What would you do?" Delia found herself asking,
"You've always been the logical one, what should I do?"
"I don't know what I'd do, honestly. What I think would be best for you is to-"
"Move on? Forget about him? I can't do that-well; I can, but what about him? He has no one."
"He has Stefan." Denise said.
"He doesn't need someone to watch out for him. He needs someone to...fight for him."
"Gian's a grown man, Dee, he can fight for himself." Denise said settling down on Delia's bed to watch her sister pace.
"No, I didn't mean that...he needs someone to... support him, to...back him up, to..."
"Love him?" Denise said knowing where this was headed. She didn't like the sound of it.
"Yes!" Delia exclaimed a little too loudly, "You know what he told me, he said his mom didn't love him anymore. He said that he's alone all the time. You remember that documentary we watched about solitary confinement, how lack of interaction with people fucks up your mind."
"Delia what are you thinking?" Denise said a small frown creasing her brow. "What happened last night, how he just showed up in a...stupor; shit like that will just keep happening to him and it'll only get worse and you know what? Stefan won't be able to do a damn thing about it."
"And you will?" Denise asked not liking at all Delia's train of thought. Her twin had always been a magnet for trouble, mischief, and danger but this was just too far.
"Yes! Who did he run to when he was at his lowest? It wasn't Stefan's window he was banging on, it was mine. He'll always run to me and you want to know what? I'll always be there for him."
"But Dee, what about us, your family? Who am I going to run to? You're the only one I tell everything to." Denise said knowing Delia's plan to run away with Gian.
"Nise, He needs me. You have so many people who you can confide in but he has only me."
"But you're my sister." She said shakily, her eyes began to glass over.
When Delia noticed she came to sit beside her sister.
"That's not going to change," Delia said, "He needs me right now."
"You keep saying that!" Denise said sounding a little angry, "but who's going to take care of you? Not him, he barely has a handle on himself."
Delia jaw dropped, "I can take care of myself!" Dee knew her sister was sad about this plan and she hid it with anger.
Driving Gian home was painful. The boy broke his sobriety and was high out of his mind. What made it painful was for the first time, in the three and half years he knew Gian, he saw him cry. There was no anger, no snide remarks, no violence, just a boy with nothing left. He leaned on the passenger door, eyes opening and closing with a slowness. Fat tears bubbled up and fell down his cheeks as he murmured in Italian. The sound was heartbreaking. The worst part was Stefan had no solutions. He prided himself in his logic and problem solving but he had no answer, no hope to give Gian.
This new guy wasn't doing his job and he knew exactly how Gian escaped. You see the apartment that Stefan had before was in the tall building directly beside Gian's and its exact double. If the new guy had that apartment he could see every part of Gian's apartment, the windows were wall to ceiling and the apartment linear. There were only two blind spots the bedroom and the emergency staircase down the hall. When Stefan watched Gian he'd rigged both places with cameras to make sure Gian wasn't sneaking out. When he left he took his equipment with him.
Gian must have gone to the bedroom, used the innate ability that vampires had to de-materialize, and appeared in the staircase that led to the exit behind the building. The kid was sneaky when he wanted to be and slipped out of every crack provided. Stefan knew that now Gian had a way out he'd use it every time his resolve was weak. Now, here they sat, with Gian high and crying and Stefan out of solutions.
Stefan parked behind the building as to not be spotted by Durante's goons. He slung the now unconscious Gian over his shoulder and started up the stairs. When he made it to the top he appeared in his room to put him on the bed. The more this problem escalated the guiltier Stefan felt. His head filled up with 'shouldas', 'couldas', 'wouldas', and 'if-onlys'. It's funny how one misjudgment sent everything into a spiral.
"Dee," Gian began to moan in his fitful slumber.
"Fuck, kid! What did you do?" Stefan said softly to himself.
Delia was scared but she knew she had to go through with it. She loved her family and didn't want to leave but she knew that Gian had taken her happiness with him and she'd never see it again without him. She stood in front of the bank pacing. She was sure she looked crazy with her, now, baggy cargos, wrinkled dress shirt and busted old flip flops. Her hair was a frizzy mess and she couldn't stop nibbling at her cuticles. She finally decided to take the plunge and complete the first step in her leaving. She went in to the bank and cleared out her checking and savings. The young teller woman gave her a strange look but completed the task, as Delia nervously tapped her foot.
It took Delia the rest of the day to finish preparations. She worked trying to quell any thoughts she had lest they led to her punking out. She stashed the eighteen hundred from the bank and the sixty she got from her change jar in a small pouch. She then went to writing letters, letters to her mother , her aunts and cousins, her boss, and her friends, letting them know how much she loved them, that she'd be okay, and that one day she'd come back to them. The last thing she did was mail them out before she pulled out two big duffle bags to fill.
Denise came home around three that afternoon. She faked period cramps to get out early, she worked concierge at the Springhill Hotel and her supervisor was a guy who obviously never been around a woman because any mention of 'women troubles' and he clammed up and sent them home. Denise was afraid of coming home to find Delia gone; the anxiety of it had gotten to be too much. Nise didn't know why Delia didn't understand. She was Denise's rock, her diary, and her best friend. She never told her but Denise needed her sister. Maybe Denise was being selfish. Gian made Delia happy like Nise never could. Denise came in the nick of time. As she walked in she saw Delia struggling to carry two over stuffed duffle bags.
"You were going to leave before saying goodbye?" Denise asked by way of greeting.
"I didn't want argue with you, or feel guilty, or-or-"
"Dee, I'm not mad...anymore. I can't talk you out of it, you're stubborn like mama." They stared at each other for a few silent moments.
"I wrote you a letter," Dee said at the same time Denise said, "I got you a birthday present."
"Tell me now what it says," Denise said again at the same time her sister said, "Our birthday isn't for a couple months."
Denise gave a sad smile, "I know but I got to cheer you up." They stood there silent again not knowing what to say.
"I'll go get it," Denise finally said. Delia nodded and dropped her bags to wait.
When Denise came back she held a small fuchsia box with a black ribbon around it. "Here you go."
"Thanks, Nise" She said as she took it. It was light and Delia suppressed the urge to shake it. She made to pull off the ribbon to open it when Denise stopped her.
"Wait! Open it on our birthday."
Delia gave her a look, "For me?" Denise pleaded.
Dee nodded, "I love you," she said pulling her twin into a hug. Denise wrapped her arms around her, holding her tight. They haven't hugged this hard since they were twelve in their father's house.
"Please be safe Dee" Denise found herself sobbing.
"I promise. Denise this isn't goodbye forever." Denise nodded her tears getting the best of her words. After at least a minute Denise let go, allowing Delia to pick up her bags and head out to the cab that must have pulled up a few minutes after her. She stayed strong waving good-bye as stray tears stained her cheek and blurred her vision. As soon as she heard the soft thud of the closing door her resolve broke. She fell to the floor in a sobbing heap. It took a few minutes for her to regain her composure. When she did she pulled out her cell to call Stefan.
"Hey," She said when he answered, hating how sad and uneven her voice sounded.
"Hey, what's wrong?" He asked concerned.
"Can you do me a favor?"
"Anything," He said.
"Watch out for my sister, keep her safe." She said starting to cry again.
The taxi ride seemed like the longest ride of her life but Delia was determined to see this through. As they got closer to the neighborhood where Delia knew Gian lived the more stupid she was beginning to think her plan was. She had no clue which building Gian lived in she only knew the clues he'd given her during their conversations. She knew it was down the street from the mall she worked at. She knew it was beach front and she also knew it was near a bakery where Gian used to bring her cookies. That should narrow it down to about three or four buildings and the plan was to check the roster at each until she found Contiello.
It was a stupid plan but the only one she had. She had the taxi drop her off in front of the first sky scraping condominium and paid him. It was so open, she realized. She also realized how much in danger she was. People milled around her and she looked at them all with suspicion and paranoia. She slipped into the building where it felt a little less open. Another obstacle provided itself when she realized that this wasn't like the apartment buildings she was used to, where posted on a wall was a list of last names and apartment numbers. No, this building had a front desk and receptionist. Delia was instantly afraid. What if the receptionist had orders to look out for her? She exhaled deeply pushing away paranoia and fear and went up to the receptionists.
The woman gave her a smile and after a few word exchanges, politely informed Dee that there were no Contiellos in residence there. She breathed an easy breath but afterwards came another bolt of fear. She had about two or three more buildings to check. She picked up her bags and started out the door. She hadn't made it fifty yards out of the building before a black car with tinted windows pulled up beside her. It was similar to the ones she'd seen before the accident. Her immediate reaction was to drop her stuff and straight hoof it to god knows where.
She was going to bolt. Stefan quickly rolled down the window.
Overwhelming relief washed over Dee, she almost fell over. "What are you doing here?"
"Get in, hurry!" Stefan said. He didn't have to tell her twice. She heaved her bags inside and scrambled in after.
"Your sister sent me." Stefan said after they drove off.
"Please, don't take me home." She said, "I need to go to Gian."
"Delia this is crazy, you're going to get yourself killed." He said.
"Don't you think I know that?" Delia said a little more harshly than she meant.
Stefan sighed, "I'll take you to Gian,"
Delia was quiet for a moment, "Thanks," She said finally.
"You're braver than you seem. Gian needs someone like you in his life. If I'm honest with you, though, you still don't know him."
"I do know him!" Delia said defensively. She just wished he'd silently let her make her own bad decisions.
"What I mean is there are things about him, you have yet to know. I just hope you stick with him even after you know."
It sounded ominous and Delia hated Stefan for it. "I will." Delia said adamantly.
After another bout of silence Stefan asked, "What's your plan?"
Truthfully her plan was still iffy. "Well, I was going to flesh out the details with Gian. I have a cousin who manages a condominium in Atlanta and if we need to get further I have another cousin who owns a couple places in Maine, they'll put us up for a while until we can get our feet under us."
Stefan considered her plan. It was smart if they were dealing with an ordinary man but this was Durante. "My advice," Stefan said, "head west, Gian's father's claws don't reach that far."
Dee nodded at this and yet a bit of fear entered her eyes. Stefan figured she had no family out west.
Stefan pulled the car down an alley and parked in what looked like a service entrance. As they got out he effortlessly picked up one of Delia's duffles.
"We have to get you up there before nightfall; it'll be safest for you."
"Why?" Delia asked. You'd think that the cloak of night would be safest.
Stefan couldn't answer without opening a whole can of worms about the vampire world. He thought it best Gian explain that to her.
"Just trust me,"
Stefan led them to the emergency staircase, swiftly clearing the steps. At about the fifth level Dee began to slow. The duffle bag began to feel like it weighed a hundred pounds and her sleepless night had begun to creep up on her. Stefan took on the second bag for her.
"Only ten more to go," he said.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me." She said wondering how he had the stamina for it. Delia damn near crawled the last few steps before they reached the door.
"Wait!" Dee said breathlessly when Stefan reached for the door, "Won't that...set off the alarm." She heaved.
"No it's fine, its only two people on this floor." When they entered Dee noticed how luxurious the hall alone looked. She had no idea Gian lived like this. The hall had thick cushioned carpet and gold embossed walls a few big mirrors that made the space wider and an elevator flanked by two small tables and fresh flowers. Gian's doors were at the end on the right. They were thick wooden French doors.