16 Raven

She was glad Angelo had left with his men. It was all happening so fast; she realised her feelings for him where intense and it unnerved her. He was breaking down all the walls she had carefully built up around her heart.

Raven enjoyed Esther and Giovanni's company she stayed with them in the kitchen making cookies, meatballs, spicy tomato sauce and homemade pasta.

She had eaten lunch with them and had chatted about each other's lives and even more recipes that Giovanni wanted to show her. Today though they had made the evening meal together and she was pleased with that.

She also ate her weight in cookies, which Giovanni didn't seem to mind as he said he would make her them every day.

She tried to explain that she didn't want cookies everyday but he wouldn't hear of it. She could only give in to his kindness.

She enjoyed the company and learnt a lot from Giovanni, she loved to cook and she felt special he trusted her with his recipes. It was like being with family and family she missed.

Angelo had brought her more than he would ever know. He gave her family and a home. Up till this point she had refused any love or comfort from anyone save for her two best friends of course.

Thinking that she looked to Esther, "Can I borrow your phone? I need to call my Rory and Milo."

Esther looked taken aback but she handed over her phone none the less.

"Hopefully my phone will arrive with the rest of my stuff today, thank you for lending me your phone." Raven replied.

She of course new Milo's and Rory's number off by heart and she dialled the first number quickly.

Raven heard a groan in response and she laughed at the greeting.

"Hi Rory" She laughed again at Rory's response. Just like her she would loose track of time to her art and right now Rory sounded tired.

"I know I know, but you know me I get swept away in my art like you do." After she finished an exhibit and before she started her next project they always made time to catch up.

"When are you free babe?" She asked but the phone was wrenched out of her hand, turning she saw Angelo at her side.

She smiled up at him but he looked furious and she wasn't sure why. She took a small step back and she saw him hang up and slam down Esther's phone.

"Hey that's Esther's phone, be careful with it." She shouted.

"Who the fuck is he? Who is your babe? You have a pet name for some guy but call me by my first name?" Angelo stepped up to her and she backed away.

Her back hit the kitchen counter behind her and she winced. She wasn't scared of Angelo, he would never hurt her but she winced at his anger.

"I was only calling my friend Rory, we always call each other babe." While he still scowled at her she added. "Rory is short for Aurora." She whispered, she didn't look up at him again.

She felt him sigh in relief, and then she was engulfed him a tight hug. She held her arms between them against his chest.

"I'm sorry, I thought… never mind." Angelo said against her ear.

She felt how tight he held her, he didn't want to lose her.

"I made you dinner." She said in a small voice.

Angelo leaned back and held her face towards his, he kissed her forehead and cheeks then finally her lips. Brief butterfly kisses that became his signature for his affection towards her.

She reached out and held his hand, "Will we bring our dinner upstairs?" She asked.

She wanted to find out more about him and him in turn more about her. There would only be more confusion ahead if they didn't start communicating.

"That's a great idea. Your things have arrived and have been brought to our suite." Angelo announced, her hand was so small in his.

"Let's go then." She said before turning to the stunned faces in the kitchen.

She walked to the counter and dished out their dinner onto two plates and Esther helped her with the rest onto a tray.

Angelo picked up the tray and wordlessly guided her back to his suite.

Once inside they sat at the oak table inside his kitchenette, they faced one another on the two black velvet chairs. The fabric felt so soft she was afraid she would mark it with tomato sauce.

Raven put out the plates and cutlery while Angelo brought over two glasses. Hers filled with coke and ice, his had an amber liquid inside. This all felt comforting and domestic, she couldn't stop from smiling.

"I hope you like it, this was my third batch." She giggled. Giovanni was patient with her but she seemed to like to burn his meatballs. She was not great at cooking but she wanted to learn.

Angelo took a bite and she watched patiently holding her breath.

"I love it." He replied and she breathed out in relief.

"He is going to show me all your favourites." She announced as she cut up a meatball and ate it. The sauce was light and flavourful, the meatballs tender and slightly spicy.

"You are my favourite." He said with a smile, which showed off his much-loved dimples.

She changed the subject as her heart pounded, "I met Rory in art college along with Milo they have been my rock and always been their for me over the years. You have to be kind to them."

His gaze was intense and she saw his jaw tick before he nodded. "Bring them here. I would like to meet them... Raven I am here now for you and I always will be…"

"I know." She cut him off, her cheeks heated with his devotion and the words she knew he was about to say. "And thank you, Rory will only torture me if I don't meet with her soon. Its our tradition after an exhibit finishes."

She bit her lip, "You know Rory... she was there for me years ago when I was in trouble... she." Her words died off as she tried to think of a way to describe her feisty friend.

"What happened?" His gaze turned hard as he questioned her.

"That... I will tell you but not now. Not today. She was there that's all I can tell you today." She glanced down at her pasta. She would open up about her past but not when they were just getting to be comfortable round one another again.

"You will tell me soon." He announced, it wasn't a question. She nodded and he continued, "My home is your home now remember. Just let Esther know and she will let the guards know who to expect at the gate." Angelo whispered leaning forward and taking her hand.

"Thank you." She beamed. "let's eat. I don't want it to get cold." Raven announced.

They ate and discussed her art for a while. He told her about his legal business and she didn't ask about the rest.

After dinner Angelo showed her to two other rooms in his suite that she hadn't noticed before as the doors looked just like walls.

One was a library and the other was a home gym. He said she could use the library to work on her art. That meant so much to her. The library was so much larger than her apartment living room. The space meant larger canvases could be ordered.

"One condition though, I want a painting for my office." He demanded.

She jumped into his arms and hugged his strong waist. "Okay, deal!" she mumbled into his chest.

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