Fall from India Place Page 66

I jerked back from Cole instantly, hating the idea of them fighting again. Anyway, if anyone was going to be throwing a punch tonight, it was going to be me. At my movement, Marco’s gaze flicked to me, along with his anger. “Nothing going on between you, huh?”

Indignation riled me even more. “What about you?” I leaned into him. “This is you fighting for us? A double date with some blonde and the mother of your child?”

His jaw clenched and he forced the words out between his teeth. “It’s a favor for Leah. It means f**k all.”

“Then why didn’t you tell me last night about it?”

“Because according to you we’re just dicking around, so I didn’t think it would matter all that much to you.”

Oh, my God, how on earth had I gotten myself into this convoluted emotional craphole? I pressed back against Cole, silently telling him it was time for us to leave. “You’re right. It doesn’t matter.”

But Marco wasn’t about to let me leave. Suddenly he was so close to me I had to tilt my head back to look up into his face. “What do you want from me? You tell me I’m just something you need to get out of your system and then you act like a jealous wife. Are you proving me wrong about you, Hannah? Does it turn out you’re just another woman playing stupid, f**king mind games that I’m never going to understand? Because if that’s who you are, maybe I don’t want this after all.”

A punch to the gut. His words were a definite punch to the gut. Winded, I crowded back into Cole, who was now gripping my arms, as if holding himself back from jumping into this with Marco. “Finally,” I said, breathing harshly, “we’re on the same page.” I turned around and strutted past Cole, hearing his footsteps following quickly behind me.

I hadn’t taken five steps when I heard faster, heavier footsteps approaching. My arm was seized in an unrelenting grasp. I gasped, and looked up at Marco’s resolute face. He didn’t say anything – he just turned and started marching toward the hallway of the restaurant. My cheeks were burning because by now we had an audience. “What are you doing?” I snapped, tugging at my arm and meeting absolute resistance. As I was dragged farther, I glanced back over my shoulder to see that Cole hadn’t moved to stop him. “Cole?” I called back into the room.

He shrugged.


He’d just made it onto my kill list!

In the dimly lit hallway we passed the door to the kitchen, turned a corner, and marched to the very end of it. Marco knocked on the door there and pulled me inside.

We were in a small office. Bookshelves crammed nearly every inch of the wall space and in the center of the room sat a large desk with a computer and piles of papers all over it.

Behind the desk was an attractive older Italian man I’d seen a couple of times around the restaurant. Gio D’Alessandro.

I tensed.

This was a man who had verbally abused Marco. This was a man who had hit him. I felt invisible little claws spring out at the end of my fingers and I narrowed my eyes on Gio.

He looked at Marco and me in surprise. “Everything okay?” He stood up. He was tall and still fit for his age. If he’d been anyone else I would have admired his air of casual grace.

“Gio, this is Hannah. Can we borrow the office for a few minutes?”

Gio’s gaze snapped to me and the recognition in his eyes told me that he had heard of me. That surprised me. Marco had spoken to his uncle about me? “It’s nice to meet you, Hannah.” He gave me another smile and then passed us to let himself out of the office.

I didn’t say it was nice to meet him back.

Once the door closed behind his uncle, Marco let go of my arm and I took a few steps away from him. Not wanting to look at him, I looked anywhere but, and my gaze fell on a frame on Gio’s desk. In the frame was a picture of Gio holding Dylan and staring at the boy with undisguised love.

“Dylan,” I said in realization, unable not to look at Marco now. “He’s what brought about the change in your uncle.”

He watched me carefully. “He finally saw I wasn’t my father or my mom. In fact, he thinks I’m a good dad. He loves Dylan.”

I was thrilled for him that things had turned out the way they had. That he was able to forgive his uncle and move on and have a real family for the first time in his life. However, I didn’t say that to him. I didn’t want him to know how much his happiness affected mine. Instead I threw him sass. “Do you have a purpose behind publicly humiliating me?”

“That way you were with him, with Gio just now…” Marco took a step toward me, clearly ignoring my question. “That’s how I know you still care.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of a smart answer, so I remained silent.

Marco sighed, rubbing a hand over his short hair in discomfort. “It’s just dinner. Me and the blonde. She’s Leah’s cousin and she’s staying from out of town. She’s just got out of a bad relationship and Leah wanted to take her mind off it. Nothing was ever going to happen.” He took a step toward me. “But it was a stupid thing to agree to when I’m trying to get us back on track. I’m sorry.”

I continued to remain silent because I was afraid of what I’d say if I opened my mouth. My emotions were sitting on the surface and I was very close to letting it all spew out in one hysterical rant.

Marco didn’t get this, though. I could see he thought I was being obstinate. His eyes hardened in annoyance. “You and Cole?” Okay, more like jealousy than annoyance. “You been lying to me about him all this time?”

I raised an eyebrow at the accusation. “Do you really think if I had something going on with Cole he would have let you haul me away from him like that without putting up a fight?”

“So he was just trying to piss me off?”

“Yes. Not because I asked him to,” I assured him. “But I do think sleeping with you has confused things for me because… admittedly I was pissed off to see you with another woman. Which is ridiculous! Like I said last night… we need to stop.”

In answer Marco turned toward the door and my heart jumped into my throat when I thought he was just going to walk out on me. Instead he locked the door.

Something made my muscles relax and I knew it was relief.

What the f**k?

“I’m a mess.” I threw my hands up, not even caring that I’d said the words out loud.

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