Reliving Fate, page 8
I find it hard not to feel for him because I know how much it hurts. I'm still not over my big sister's death.
"Isabella, stop being sorry."
"What happened to them?"
There has to be a reason he doesn't even have aunts, uncles, or grandparents.
He looks up at me out of the corner of his eye. "Why do you want to know all of this, Bella?"
"I want to know everything. Aren't you at all curious about me?"
He lifts his eyebrows. "Full disclosure? I can ask you anything?"
I swallow. "Sure." Come on, it's not like he's going to ask if I have a dead sister. "But, first, tell me about your dad."
"He was sort of murdered."
My eyes bulge, and at the same time, my stomach bottoms out.
"I...what happened?" And how can you be sort of murdered?
Rocco places a hand on my leg and squeezes. He thinks I'm worried or scared or something to that effect. He has no idea how close to home this is hitting.
"He was a fighter in his new town and--"
"What the fuck, Rocco? You fight!"
He jumps at my sudden outburst. "Chill out. I'm better than he was."
"Are you fucking serious? That's your argument?"
"No, that's my reason. Nothing is going to happen to me. I'm not going to make the same choices or mistakes as either of my parents, so take a breath."
I don't like this one bit. And he wouldn't like what I'm doing, following Celia here either.
Is what he's doing really that different from me?
Yes, fuck, it is different from what I'm doing.
He's going into something, knowing full well that he could get killed or seriously injured. I, on the other hand, don't have the same danger. This place and these people are just what I assume were involved in Celia's death. It's a pretty educated guess, considering there were no links to anything dodgy in all other aspects of her life, and I've only just discovered she would come here to meet a mystery guy. Still, Rocco's fighting is worse.
"What happened? How did he die?"
"It was a bad punch. He went straight down. It was instant."
"You were there?" This is getting worse by the second.
"I was. He left when I was a baby, but I'd occasionally see him when he reappeared here to fight, never visited me though."
I frown, and strangely, it makes Rocco laugh. His dad was an arsehole.
"How old were you?"
He was just a kid, too. I want to tell him all about Celia, so he knows he's not alone. We were both so young when we lost someone.
"Don't say sorry."
Pressing my mouth together, I nod. "I won't." Then, I ask, "Why did you watch his fights?"
"You think I wanted to know him?" he asks, raising his dark eyebrow.
"Yeah, it's only natural that you would."
"I guess. Things were shitty at home with my mum always high and fucking around. I liked watching him fight. He was savage, but he also lost control, and that's why he died. He left himself open, and the other guy took advantage."
"Do you fight because he did?"
"No, Bella, I don't want to follow in his footsteps. He was a street fighter, not a surgeon. I do it because I need money, and I know I'll get it."
"You know, regular jobs do that, too."
I roll my eyes. That's just great.
"And you were young when your mum died?"
He nods. "Yeah. Fifteen."
"Did you...did you see that, too?" My heart flutters as I wait for his reply.
"No, I was out. I found her when I got home."
My God, his life hasn't been easy.
"Who was there for you once she was gone?"
"No one, but she was never there for me when she was alive. I've always taken care of myself."
"I wish I'd known you sooner," I whisper.
He smirks, and his eyes light up. "You want to take care of me?"
"What? You wouldn't let me?" I challenge.
"I'll let you take care of something," he replies, lifting his eyebrows at his innuendo.
"The meaningful talk is done now, I see."
Rubbing his forehead, he sighs in exasperation, but uncharacteristically, he doesn't snap. "Bella, please, I don't want to do this right now."
I scoot closer, practically sitting on him, and smile, trying to offer comfort. What else can I do? "Okay, no more talk about your parents." For now.
He doesn't reply because he's staring at me like he can see right into my soul. I bloody hope he can't.
* * *
Rocco watches TV with very little interest. It looks like his mind is ticking over and over.
Is he thinking about his parents?
He might have been very cold and matter-of-fact about it, but it must have hurt.
I can't believe that he lost both of his parents.
Why would anyone want to walk away or put drugs before him?
He turns his head. "Hmm?"
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?"
Because you just talked about your past and your mum dying!
When my family talks about Celia, it sometimes takes every ounce of my self-control not to scream at them.
"You just looked spaced then, is all."
I want him to talk. I want him to tell me how it really made him feel when his mum died. And I'm the biggest hypocrite because I don't want to tell him about my sister.
"What do you usually do while watching TV?" he asks.
"When you watch TV, you don't just sit there and stare at a screen, right?"
I purse my lips and glare. "No, I do not. I also regularly check my phone, flick through magazines, randomly burst into song, paint my nails--the list could go on and on."
"Thank fuck I'm not a girl."
"If you were a girl, you'd like it."
"If I were a girl, I'd never leave my room."
"That's lovely, Rocco," I mutter sarcastically.
"What would you do if you were a guy for the day?"
"I'd get someone to kick me in the balls, so I can see why men turn into little bitches when that happens."
He looks me dead in the eye. "You can't even comprehend the pain."
"No, I'm sure nothing a woman could ever go through would be as bad as that."
"Don't give me that childbirth crap. Women do that more than once. I have no desire to ever get kicked in the balls again."
"Okay, I have no experience of childbirth, but I still think you're full of shit right now."
Laughing, he throws his arm over the back of the sofa. His hand brushes past my hair, and my breath catches.
"You think you'll have kids one day?" I ask.
He gasps, faking surprise. "Isabella, we barely know each other!"
I roll my eyes at his comment. Obviously, I wasn't asking to have his children.
Rocco chuckles at his own joke. When his smile fades, he asks, "Do you want kids?"
"No, I don't," I say.
"I do someday."
God, I wouldn't know what to do with a baby. Way too much responsibility, and I saw how broken Mum and Dad were when Celia died. You couldn't pay me enough to get me to risk that.
He smirks. "You might one day. I can see you with several kids."
I laugh and shake my head. "Absolutely not. There's no way I'm ruining this figure. I'll be a cat lady. Nah, actually, that's too cliche. I'll have something cool, like racoons."
Rocco's doing that staring thing again, like he's not quite sure what to do with me. "So, you want to be a crazy racoon lady?"
"Over cats? Sure. Or maybe I'll just travel the world. If you don't settle down, where do you think you'll be?"
"Death? Wow. And you think my goals are weird."
"Why are we even talking about this?"
"Because you spaced."
"I've never gotten off topic so hugely before you."
"You're welcome, mister." The doorbell rings, and I give his chest a shove. "Ooh, pizza! I have some cash."
Yep, pizza again.
I reach for my bag, but Rocco gets there first and launches it across the room. It hits the wall and lands on the carpet with a thud.
"Okay, what the actual fuck was that?" I shout in disbelief.
Chuckling, he stands up and pulls his wallet out of his pocket. "I've got this."
"And you couldn't have just said that?"
What's wrong with him?
"I could have, but that was funnier."
With my mouth hanging open, I watch him walk past me and out of the room. He just threw my handbag.
"If my phone is smashed, I'm going to break your dick!"
Retrieving my bag, I rifle through it until I find my beloved iPhone. I don't know where I'd be without it. My love for my phone would be a whole lot less pathetic if I had friends to contact. But Netflix app? Hello! Plus, I can stalk beautiful celebrity men on Twitter and Instagram.
Rocco comes back through with two pizza boxes. He raises an eyebrow.
"You are lucky my baby isn't broken," I say, holding up my phone.
"I didn't even throw it that hard. And, anyway, I would've replaced it."
"So not the point. Would you be okay with me throwing your stuff, huh?"
"Bella, use your mouth to chew instead of talk, yeah?"
I glare at the prick.
His mouth kicks into a smirk. "Better still--"
"Don't finish that sentence!"
Bloody dickhead was about to tell me to suck him. Not happening.
Rocco sits and opens both boxes. "It's getting cold, Bella."
"Ugh, fine, but I'm only still here because I'm hungry."
"That, and whatever you're running from."
It's not what I'm running from; it's what I'm running to.
And it's a really, really dumb idea. But, hey, it could all be worth it.
I grab a slice of pizza. When Rocco leans back, he kinda moves over, so his arm is now touching mine. There is a whole other space next to me, but we're still sitting cramped together.
Should I move?
He can't, but he definitely had more room before he scooted over a fraction.
Okay, I really don't need to overthink this.
Just eat your fucking pizza, you moron.
He grabs the remote and starts flicking through the channels on Freeview. No Sky or Netflix app on his TV.
What does he do when he's home?
Ugh, women probably.
If he thinks I'm going to be another notch on his bedpost, he's fucking tripping.
"Hey, what's your number?"
He abandons his quest for something less shitty than some car programme. The answer is anything.
"You want to know how many women I've slept with?"
I shrug. "Sure. Why not?"
"Er, why not?" I repeat.
He's silent for a second, and at first, I think he's just considering whether to tell me or not, but then I realise he's bloody counting.
For real, he doesn't just know that?
You don't care. You've known him for a few days, and caring about how many women he's bedded is pathetic. Don't. Be. Pathetic.
"It's around fifteen."
"I don't remember them all, Bella."
I figured that much.
"Wow. You don't even know how many women you've been inside."
He rolls his eyes. "What's your number?"
"Two. And they sucked."
Both guys were while I was desperately trying to act like I was fine and moving on from Celia's death. I jumped into relationships, and obviously, it didn't go well either time. Apparently, I'm not supposed to have a normal, happy life.
So, yeah, racoons, I guess.
"Are you saying I look like a slut?"
He doesn't even flinch, so he's clearly not worried that he's offended me. "No."
"Then, what do you mean by that?"
"Well, you're sneaking out to hang around in shit neighbourhoods. Doesn't exactly scream virgin or long-term-relationship type."
"I don't even know what you think it screams."
"Just a few more men."
"Well, at least I know my number, Mr Slut." I take a huge, unladylike bite of pizza.
"Okay, now, I'm sure you've been with more than two."
"You can fit that much in your mouth, so you must be--"
I punch his arm and swallow. "Don't even finish your sentence. You will never know how much I can fit in my mouth."
"Yeah, of course, I won't," he says sarcastically.
"Wow, you're very sure of yourself."
I'm not sleeping with him. Not even if he begs.
He smirks and picks up another slice of pizza. "We're both impossibly good-looking; it's only a matter of time."
I can't come up with a decent comeback quick enough because my stupid hormones are going crazy over Rocco saying I'm impossibly good-looking.
Get ahold of yourself, Bella.
"Cat got your tongue?" he says.
"No," I reply, narrowing my eyes.
"Then, can I?"
"Oh, smooth, Rocco! Do you really think--"
He cuts me off...with his lips.
His hand wraps around the back of my neck, and he holds me still. It takes me a nanosecond to respond. I grip the muscles over his hips and hold him when I feel like I'm about to fall away. His lips are on mine, and--
They're soft, but the way he's kissing me is firm, and it's so freaking maddening.
Rocco moans as his mouth guides mine in the most perfect kiss. This is doing nothing to curb my obsession with him.
Rocco's tongue sweeps my top lip, and I almost fucking implode. My fingers dig into his skin, and it makes him kiss me deeper.
I really could get used to this.
"Bella," he groans against my lips. "If you're serious about that no-sex-yet thing, you need to stop me now."
Pulling away is something I know I will regret, but I can't let this go too far before I'm ready, so I sit up and look at him. His dark eyes look black and full of lust. He takes a breath and flops his forearm across his lap.
"That's not the last time we'll be doing that, Bella."
"Let me know once you've calmed down," I reply, smirking.
Inside, I'm happy-dancing and doing all that shit I mock teens for. I'm one of them now. Rocco is more than a pretty face with a body sculpted from heaven itself. He's hope.
* * *
Bella hasn't come over for the last eleven days. Eleven. I'm fucking keeping count. Even though she does my head in most of the time, I like being around her. And I like kissing her even more. That first time, she stayed until almost three in the morning. We put on a film but didn't see a second of it. I had to keep stopping kissing her because, like the first time, it was going to get out of hand.
Over the last week and a half, I've spent a lot of time texting her, but it's not the same. I'd rather spend time with her than Ellis. And I suppose it doesn't hurt that she's very easy on the eyes.
Bella sends me a message on WhatsApp. I know it's her because I only use it to talk with her. And, when I say I use it, I mean, she downloaded it and teased me for not already having the stupid app.
So, how much are you missing me?
There's no way I'm telling her that. I don't even want to admit it to myself. I can honestly say, I've never missed anyone
Wait...you're Bella, right?
I wish I could see her face. I want to see those eyes narrow and her mind tick over as she thinks of something witty to hit back with.
Her reply comes faster than I expected.
No, it's one of the "around fifteen." Guess which one.
Very good, Bella.
I should've known she would bring that up.
Of course you don't remember names, slut! Who was lucky number 1?
Sending back your mum is too obvious. Also, I'm working on getting in Bella's pants, so it's probably best not to bring her mother into anything, even as a joke.
One of my high school teachers.
It wasn't, but I'm nowhere near done with this. She's too much fun.
Hey, me, too!
She's lying. Right? She's definitely lying. Come on, of course she is.
I really hate the fucking idea of her being with someone like that. Or anyone. I want her for myself for however long we're going to hang out.
If I could just get her to agree to a friends-with-benefits arrangement...
Were you in school regularly enough for that? Anyway, tell me what you're wearing.
I don't like that subject anymore.
Nothing. Want to see? ;)
Well, that has to be the stupidest question in history. But it's a trap.
You already know my answer, Bella, and we both know your comeback.
Ten seconds later, I get a topless picture and choke on my beer.
I punch my chest, still coughing, and stare at Bella's perfect chest. I can't believe she sent that. It's definitely her, too. She's angled it, so her face isn't completely on show, but I'd know those lips anywhere.
Shit, Bella. Come over. Now!
Sorry, washing my hair.
You're better than that comeback, Isabella. If you can't get away, give me your address, and I'll sneak in.
Oh God, please give me your address.
I know she lives in a nice town, but I have no idea where, and it would be impossible to find her.
Sorry, I'm not ready to up my number just yet.
She said yet. I'll take that. Despite knowing that it would be a bad idea to get involved with her beyond the fragile friendship we have, I wouldn't think twice about taking her to bed. One day, she'll disappear and live the perfect little life she's supposed to, and I'll be a distant memory.
I'm fine with that. Someone like me isn't supposed to be with someone like her. But, while I have her, I want to enjoy it. Repeatedly. Bella knows we'll happen eventually. She just enjoys driving me crazy and giving me blue balls.
I'm here whenever you want to get lucky for a third time.
Thanks! I'm coming over...but not for that, so get your head out of the gutter.
I don't care if she's just coming to argue with me.
Other author's books:
- Broken SilenceSilenceThe CellarPlayers, Bumps and Cocktail SausagesLie to MeSilent NightReliving Fate
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