Saturday, October 21, 2017

Will Love Prevail - Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Mark’s cell phone on the counter announced a text message.
Chiara quickly glanced over to the phone. Mark put his hands to his rims and wheeled over to the phone and picked it up.

The message was in the group chat from Corey: Hey man, how are things going?

Mark looked over at Chiara, explaining, “It’s from my buddy.”
Chiara nodded and focused on Ranger again, petting him softly.

Mark replied: Everything’s good
Corey: Is she still there?
Mark: Yes, she’s still here. She won’t go anywhere anytime soon.
Corey: What are you going to do?
Mark: Nothing for right now. I got some clothes for her from my neighbors.
Corey: Do you need anything else for her?
Mark: I don’t think so. I may go and try to get some shoes for her, some sneakers or something.
Corey: Maybe we could come over later on and meet her.

Mark thought for a moment and glanced over at Chiara. She was still petting Ranger and seemed lost in thoughts.

Mark: I don’t know if it’s a good idea. I don’t want to stress her out.
Corey: Understandable. Maybe we can talk about it later
Mark: Yeah

He finished chatting with Corey and put the phone down again. He wheeled over to Chiara.
She looked up at him and Mark explained again, “It was my buddy Corey. Just checking in to see how I was doing.”
“Do your friends know I’m here?”
Mark lowered his eyes for a moment, then looked back up her, answering carefully, “Yeah, they know.”
She didn’t say anything and Mark wondered how she felt about this.
He felt he had to explain more, “They knew about everything from the moment I met you at the bar. Really that night when it all kind of went wrong they knew about it.”
Mark kept his eyes on her, waiting for her response. She didn’t say anything.
“They also knew I was looking for you to get the money back to you.”
Chiara still didn’t say anything.
“They thought I was stupid and crazy.”

He hoped she would respond to his explanation and he lowered his eyes again.
She finally softly said, “You’re a good man Mark. You’re not like other men.”
He now looked up and bit his lips, then said, “I’m just a guy.”
“No, you’re not just a guy. You have values and a good heart.”
Mark shook his head, “I’m not special.”
“In my book you’re very special.”

He didn’t know what to reply to this and he just kept his eyes on her. He wanted to tell her so many things and he wanted to tell her how glad he was that she was with him. He wanted to tell her how beautiful he thought she was and how much he liked her eyes, even with the bruise underneath it. He wanted to tell her that with him she would never ever have a bruise under her eye again because he would never lay a hand on her.
Mark sat in his TiLite and instead of saying any of those things he just felt insecure. 

Chiara then got up and Mark felt his heart beat speed up. But instead of walking up to him and letting the imaginary picture of her lips on his come true she walked over to the wall where he had the plaque with the Purple Heart which he had been awarded for being injured in combat. It was surrounded by several inscriptions of his honorable service in the Infantry and his honorable discharge. There was also a letter from the president thanking him for his service. Around the Purple Heart all his medals from his active duty years were displayed.

He watched as Chiara just stood there looking at the wall display of what used to be his life for some years. She quietly scanned all the objects and then lingered with her eyes on the Purple Heart.
Mark felt rather nervous at her looking at those things so closely and curiously and he was expecting her to ask him questions and he dreaded it already.

She kept her eyes on the wall display for a few moments longer and then asked softly without looking at Mark, “Did you have to kill people?”
Mark bit his lips. That was exactly the kind of question he didn’t want to hear. She didn’t turn around but kept looking at the display.
She asked still without looking at him, “Many?”
He took a deep breath, “I didn’t keep track.”
“Bad guys?”
“Men who didn’t respect women?”

Mark felt his hands tremble now and debated if he should even reply anymore.
He didn’t answer and hoped very much she wouldn’t follow up or ask anything else.
But she did ask one more question, “So you know how to kill?”

Now Mark looked over to her. She was still standing in front of his Military display and didn’t turn around.
Mark put his hands to the push rims and spun his wheelchair around facing her back and he answered cool, “Yes, I know how to kill.”
Now Chiara turned around and she pushed her hair behind her ear, exposing her bruised eye and busted lip and she looked straight at Mark.
He had to look up at her somewhat and he saw very clearly the injuries in her face. They gazed at each other for a few moments. Mark didn’t say anything else and she didn’t either.

Just then it knocked on the door and they were both pulled out of the intense moment and Chiara’s eyes flickered nervously and she quickly stepped away from the wall and toward the hallway.
Mark put his hands to his push rims and wheeled around to the dining area and called out, “Who is it?”

There was no answer. He pushed his rims hard and passed by Chiara through his hallway and quickly grabbed his gun from his bedside table and stuck it into the waistband of his sweat pants, then pushed by Chiara again and to the door.
She hid away in the hallway and Mark wheeled over to the door, calling out again, “Who is it?”

He had his hand on his gun as he unlocked the door and slowly pulled it open with the chain still in and peeked out. There was no one in sight but instead he saw the UPS truck pull away and his eyes travelled down to the ground and there was a package. He took a breath of relief, undid the chain and grabbed the package, remembering the order he had placed for a new high-speed game controller a week earlier.

With the package on his lap he closed the door, locked it again and turned his wheelchair around looking over to Chiara standing by the hallway.
He held up the package, “Just UPS brought a package.”

Chiara stepped out some and had her arms wrapped around herself. She looked at Mark with nervous eyes, now her hair draped over her bruised eye again.
Mark decided at that moment he would keep his gun on him at all times from now on. He could see she was scared and he now pushed his wheelchair over to the kitchen counter and set the package on it, then turned to Chiara, assuring her calmly, “Everything’s cool. Nothing to worry about. Just a thing I ordered.”

Chiara didn’t respond and Mark then asked, “Why don’t we get out of here for a while? We could drive South, maybe find some shoes for you, get away from here. I for one could use some time on the road. This apartment can be depressing sometimes.”

With that he glanced over to the Military wall display and Chiara’s eyes followed his.
He then looked back at her, “What do you say? You want to get out of here a bit?”
Chiara shrugged her shoulders, saying softly, “I don’t know.”
Mark knew he had to assure her, “He won’t know where you’re at. We’ll drive down South to Tacoma or Olympia.”

Chiara thought about the phone she had thrown away and how even if Trey tracked it somehow, he could not know where she was at. The phone would now most likely not send a signal anymore or only from some place he could never go to. She also knew her friends out on the street would never give away in what car she had disappeared in. She was sure she could trust the girls.

She nodded in agreement, “Okay.”
Mark was relieved and smiled, trying to sound cheerful, “We’ll make it a day. Just fun, nothing to worry about. Just you and me.”
With that he met her eyes on him and she smiled shyly and nodded again, “Okay.”

The tense questioning from earlier and what she had asked him still lingered in Mark’s mind but he was trying to forget about it and not think about it too much anymore. He knew exactly what she had implied and it had caused his heart to beat quickly and his nerves to vibrate with tension through the parts of his body he could still feel.

It had been the same vibration of extreme tension when he had prepared for and gone on missions with his Infantry unit in the past. And with his hand to his gun he had felt the primal need of defending the weak and protecting what was his.

Three times he had been deployed to Afghanistan and he had killed because it had been part of his job and back then it had been merely collateral damage of a war that was still going on to this day and would possibly never really end.

After he had come home in a wheelchair, he had intentionally only acquired the 9 mm Beretta handgun because he didn’t trust himself with anything stronger and more serious. He still didn’t trust himself in that sense and having Chiara directly ask him those questions had awakened something inside him.

It had been the very deeply ingrained military character and the other side of his being. Not only was he this paraplegic guy in a wheelchair, a guy who couldn’t walk, and was broken. He was also still deep inside a warrior and also an assassin.

During his active duty years, it may have been for a cause and it may have been on orders from his command but he had killed nonetheless. Chiara had reminded him of that person that was suppressed deep inside of him. It was the person he had been trying very hard to ignore and keep locked inside with the help of counseling and medications. Nowadays only in his dreams he was still that dangerous warrior and he had very much tried to keep it that way. 

Now having Chiara in his life stirred emotions of another kind. Trying to surface were the emotions of actually wanting someone close to him, someone to touch, to hold, to love and to care for and someone doing the same to him in return. These very deep and intense emotions combined with the reason why Chiara was in his life had triggered two basic instincts of human nature in him, love and fear. Knowing love was what he longed for but overpowering was the fear that he could lose her again and he would do anything to prevent that.

He looked at Chiara again and smiled at her, “All right, let’s get out of here then.”

Chiara wasn’t sure what shoes she would actually wear. She couldn’t go in the fluffy slippers and she also knew that only in flip flops she would certainly get cold feet. It was fall outside, the temperatures were only in the mid 40’s during the day.
Softly she stated, “I guess I’ll wear the Flip Flops your neighbor gave me.”

Mark quickly thought about this and he remembered she really didn’t have any shoes there except her thigh high boots and the slippers and flip flops from Maya.
“Well, then that’s the first thing we’ll buy. I’ll turn the heat on high in the car for your feet.”
Chiara smiled and then asked, “May I wear your hoodie again?”

In Mark’s bedroom Chiara dug the Flip Flops out of the large bag from Maya and slipped them on her feet. Right away she felt the coolness on her feet. She kept on the leggings and the green shirt but slipped Mark’s red Nike hoodie over her head, then pulled her hair out.

Mark watched as she did that and he imagined running his fingers through her long red hair.
“Are you okay like that?”
She nodded, “It’ll do for now.” She grabbed the bag with the clothes from Mark’s bed, “I’ll take this out to the living room with me.”
Mark nodded, “Okay. I’ll change into some other clothes too and I’ll be right out.”
She nodded and headed out of the bedroom.

Mark rolled over to the bedroom door and closed it so he could change without her seeing him.
He looked through his backpack and made sure he had supplies in it that he may need. After he had finished in the bathroom, he grabbed his jeans and changed while sitting in his wheelchair. It was a hassle and lots of shoving legs and adjusting his position. He was panting as he finally had his jeans over his butt, almost falling out of his chair. It was always easier to put on his jeans while lying on the bed but he didn’t want to take too long and cause Chiara to wonder what he was doing.  

He grabbed his hoodie, pulled it over his head and then put on a baseball cap. He glanced into the mirror on his wall once more and looked at himself sitting there in his TiLite. He adjusted his feet on the foot rest and he lifted up from the seat for a moment. He grabbed the backpack from the floor, set it on his lap and then wheeled out of his bedroom.

Chiara was sitting on the couch waiting for him. She had the hood of Mark’s hoodie actually on her head and it covered her face some. He glanced at her, somewhat thrown off by her head covered. Her red hair was hanging out on the side from the hood.
Mark asked, “Are you ready to go?”
She got up and nodded, “Yes.”

Ranger was walking around and Chiara squatted down and petted him, talking to him softly, “You be a good boy now. We’ll be back soon.”
Mark assured her, “He’ll be fine. He’ll go to sleep and wake up and bug us when we’re back.”
Chiara smiled under the hood and they headed out.
Mark had the Berretta in the waistband of his jeans again.

This time he had to reorganize the storing of his TiLite. The Challenger only had two doors and only a small back seat. Mark had never really thought about having a passenger too often. The wheelchair fit in the back seat but he had to fiddle with it more than usual. He threw his backpack into the back seat first and then transferred from the wheelchair onto the driver’s seat. Chiara watched him get into his car and now she got into the passenger side.

She watched as Mark grabbed the cushion off the chair and stashed it in the back seat.
He then took one wheel of the its axle and was about to put it in the back seat, saying, “Watch out. It’s a little bit tight but it works.”
Chiara leaned over some to give Mark space to get the second wheel and then the frame of the chair into the back seat.
Once everything was stored in the back seat, he pulled his door shut and smiled at her, “There, all done. I know it’s a bit of a hassle.”
She pushed the hoodie off her head, “I’m sorry it’s such a bother with me in your car.”
Mark quickly said, “It’s not a problem. It works.”
Chiara remarked softly, “It’s interesting how you do all of this with your wheelchair.”
While adjusting his legs in the floor board in front of him Mark replied, “Sometimes it gets annoying but I guess I’m glad you find it interesting.”
He paused and added, looking over at her, “I hope it’s a good interesting.”
She didn’t smile and only answered softly, “It’s very good.”

Mark nodded more to himself and stuck the key in the ignition, then turned on the car.
Chiara curiously watched everything still. He felt her eyes on him as he put the car in gear and then used the hand controls to back out from the carport.

She watched it all and for a moment he glanced over at her and she then smiled, “Very interesting but also a little scary.”
Mark asked with a smile, “Why scary?”
She glanced at the hand controls, “That you use that thing to operate your car. I mean you have to use your hands to give it gas and break and it seems so different. But of course, I understand that it’s the only way since you can’t use your legs and feet.”
Mark pulled out onto the street, “Exactly. It’s different but I’ve been doing it for a while now, so you don’t have to be scared. I think I’m a pretty good driver.”
He smiled at her and she smiled at him.
He added with a smirk, “You trust me, don’t you?”
Chiara smiled and nodded, “I do, I totally trust you.”
“Good, I’m glad.”

He stopped at a light, “So I was thinking we could drive South, maybe to the Outlet mall or something, go find some shoes for you and if you need anything else. We can go shopping down in Tacoma or Olympia or even farther South if you want. You don’t have to use my shower stuff even though you say you don’t mind smelling like me.”
He laughed and Chiara also laughed softly.

“I don’t mind buying the stuff you need. I’m okay with it, I just want you to know that.”
Chiara swallowed and for a moment glanced at him, then looked out front again, “Thank you Mark.”
“It’s no problem for me.”
He pushed the gas and they drove out of Burien heading for the Interstate.

Chiara hadn’t been out of Seattle and its proximity in a while. She had spent most of her nights out on the streets in various locations. Every so often cops would come out and patrol certain areas and so the girls would have to switch their locations regularly to not get caught. She had been on the run and she had been hiding from the law for as long as she had been with Trey.

Trey worked together with some other guys who had girls out on the streets and some of them had girls who would meet their clients in sketchy hotel rooms across the city. Sometimes Chiara had also met her clients in hotel rooms and Trey would have been waiting in front of the room until she was done. He made sure the money was paid and then he would take her to another client, drop her off on the street or sometimes just take her home to their place.

For three years they had occupied an apartment in a run-down neighborhood in South Seattle. The apartment wasn’t all bad for the area it was in. Under a different identity Trey also ran a website for porn. He made money with that and he made money with selling Chiara to men who were willing to pay.

Really, they had known each other for about nine years and had been together more or less since then. Chiara seemed to remember a time when she possibly had loved Trey. That had changed over time as he frequently became more violent and abusive toward her. She had tried to leave him and she had run away but he had always found her and it had always been bad for her because he had always made her pay for her attempts to leave the life she had known with him behind.

And in between hitting her he would yell at her how worried he had been and how much he loved her and that they were a couple and that she belonged to him. And usually in the end when she lay there crying and in pain, she believed that her place was indeed with Trey and she would not survive without him.

Every time he had made her believe that without him, she was nothing and she would not make it. Every time he had managed to make her believe that he was right and he was the only one who knew her and knew how to handle her. Every time he had made her believe that she had deserved the beatings and the abuse. And every time he then caressed her and told her how beautiful she was and how proud he was of her and that she was so worth everything.

And usually for a while he would let her recover and give her a break until she was healed enough and presentable again to the men who wanted to use her for their very own pleasures and didn’t think twice about her or her feelings. To them she was an object of desire and pleasure and nothing else, a thing to be used to have fun and then to be thrown away.

But then there was always Trey with open arms and when she fell into them exhausted at the end of a night, he would grip her so tight, it would take her breath away and he would hiss into her ear how awesome she did and how happy the clients were with her. And sometimes he would take her out to eat or buy nice things to reward her. She had always wanted a cat, but he had never granted her that wish.    

Right at the time Chiara sat next to Mark in his Challenger, driving South on the Interstate, everyone in Trey’s circles now knew about Chiara’s disappearance and on his orders, they were everywhere looking for her like wolves smelling blood to hunt down their weakened prey.

And the Alpha was furious and angry, he was full of rage and he yelled and screamed and he had even smashed the glass table in the living room. And now he stood in his bathroom over the sink, wrapping a bandage around his bleeding hand and looking into the mirror at a face hard and dark without emotion, dark hair tousled around his head and his only focus was to get back what was his.

He felt cheated by her once again and this time something seemed different. He had not been able to track her phone and there was no trace of her and he was furious at how she could just leave him like this when he was the one she belonged to.

He wouldn’t stop until he would have her back and whoever stood between her and him would die in the process. She was his and only his and as he looked at himself in the mirror very deep inside, he felt something different. He felt a distant pain that was inexplainable to him but there seemed to be a void with her being gone and he would not allow her to make him feel like this.

He really wanted to smash the mirror in front of him but he didn’t and only stared at himself and hissed, “Who the fuck are you with? You belong to me, your cunt is mine, your body is my property and you are alive because of me. I’m going to find you and you’ll never leave me again.”
He hit the sink with his good hand still and kicked the cabinet with his foot and a few more times he hissed a curse word.

Chiara at that time was watching the world go by outside the car window. She hadn’t been on the Interstate in a while and she was amazed with how Mark was driving his car with the hand controls and here and there she glanced over to him and to his hand on the controls and then her eyes travelled to his legs, lifeless in front of him in the floorboard. And she felt her hands tremble and she imagined them on his legs.
Mark hadn’t really said anything. He was lost in thoughts himself. To get out of the apartment and get away was his way of trying to figure things out. His mind was racing at how this would go and what he would actually do with Chiara. As much as he wanted to be closer to her, he was reluctant still. He didn’t even know anymore how he felt and what to think. Everything about her occupied his mind, her body, her story, her history still unknown to him, the few intense words they had exchanged, the way she looked at him with those curious, green eyes, lingering on him every time he moved about in his wheelchair. She looked at him different than any woman he had been with before and he wanted to know why.

Just at that moment he glanced over at her and he met her eyes lingering on him once again. He smiled at her and she smiled at him.
He needed to say something, “So, are you actually from Seattle?”
“Not all the way. I’m from up North, Mount Vernon but I have lived in and around Seattle for the past ten years. You?”
“I’m from Renton, so yeah, close enough to Seattle I guess. Do you have family in Mount Vernon?”
“Not really. I haven’t seen any of my family up there in a long time.”
“But you do have family then?”

Chiara was quiet for a moment, then she took a breath, “I have a mom I guess. I haven’t seen her in a long time. She was an addict when I left about ten years ago and I don’t know where she is or if she is even still alive. The last thing I heard about my mom was that she was homeless. I also had a brother who was an addict and he overdosed six years ago, he was twenty- four when he died.”

Mark kept his eyes out front and blew air out, then saying, “Okay, so not really a good situation then?”
“No, it never was. What about your family?”

Mark shrugged his shoulders, “Well, my parents are both gone. They divorced when I was ten, my sister was thirteen. She lives on the East Coast with her family but we don’t talk really, only once a year for Christmas maybe. She has two kids, a boy and a girl, eight and six. She married rich and kind of forgot where she came from. I don’t fit in her picture of her perfect life. She did come visit me a few times when I was at Walter Reed when I first came back to the US from the deployment.”
Chiara asked cautiously, “What’s Walter Reed?”

Mark swallowed and looked at her for a moment, “It’s the military hospital there in Washington DC. Most people who get injured overseas get transported there for initial stuff and eventually they disperse people to wherever they are from or where they want to go. I was there for the first four months, then I was flown over here and spent the rest of my time at the VA hospital in Seattle until I got discharged.”

Chiara had kept her eyes on him while he had been talking.
She now asked, “So why don’t you talk to your sister?”

Mark took a deep breath and then explained, “She didn’t want me to join the Military. I was only eighteen when I walked into the recruiting office. She was angry about it and especially when I joined the Infantry. She was worried and we fought about it a lot. My mom was still alive then but she had cancer and my sister basically blamed me for my mom’s cancer which was bull shit. She would always say how I could do this to my mom and her. Well, I joined and I left them behind. My mom moved with my sister to the East Coast while I was stationed in Georgia for two years, then deployed, then came back and soon after coming back from the first deployment I got stationed up here at Lewis. Got deployed shortly after I moved here and spent another year in Afghanistan, came back, switched to another unit and then they got ready to deploy. I had a choice to stay back but I didn’t want to, I wanted to go again, I felt like it would give me a chance to finish the job. I don’t even know which fucking job, I was an idiot and stupid. Well, I went and three months later I was back on US soil in the horizontal position, right in the Intensive Care unit at said Walter Reed hospital. My sister did come and see me and she was still angry, still mad at me while I was laying there and couldn’t say much. She was right, I got what I had asked for. She was mostly blaming me for my mom’s death because it happened while I was deployed the second time and then when I came back injured, she was only concerned with making sure I knew she couldn’t take care of me because she had her kids and husband and that it was all my own fault anyways.”

Chiara had pulled her feet up onto the seat and had her arms wrapped around her legs and now Mark looked over at her. He had become lost in telling the story about the relationship with his sister and he had felt the pain come up about how everything was between them now.

Chiara kept her eyes on him and asked softly, “Would you like to see your sister again?”
Mark looked at his hands on the steering wheel for a moment, then out to the road again, “Yeah, I would like very much to reconcile and reconnect but I don’t know. She had made it pretty clear that she was done with me and I was on my own with my…with my stuff.”
“Maybe you can try again sometime to reconnect.”
“Yeah, maybe.”
He looked over at her, “And you maybe find your mom?”
Chiara shrugged her shoulders now, “Yeah, maybe.”
Mark smiled, “I guess we have some stuff to take care of sometime.”
She smiled without looking at him and nodded.

The road was busy but Mark was cruising along on the fast lane the whole time and they were nearing Tacoma.
“Do you want to go to the mall in Tacoma?”
Chiara thought for a moment, “Maybe not.”
“Not here or not at all anywhere?”
“Not here, it’s still too close. I know…” She stopped and took a breath, then continued, “I know he has friends down here.”
Mark nodded, “Okay, no problem, we will go further South.”
“I’m sorry Mark, I’m causing you so much trouble.”
He shook his head, “It’s no trouble for me. I want you to feel okay and safe so I don’t care how far we go. There is no place I have to be and no place I have to go.”

For a moment they sat silent again until Chiara stated, “You drive good with those.”
She nodded at the hand controls as Mark glanced over at her, “Thanks.”
He smiled at her, “I like driving, always have.”

He then asked, “Do you drive?”
“I know how to I think…I haven’t driven in a long time. Usually he drives. I don’t have a car.”

Mark thought about how Trey had most likely really kept Chiara depending on him in any way.  
Before he could say anything about that thought Chiara asked, “So…after your…when you came out of the hospital. Did you have to learn how to drive like this?”
Mark explained, “I started already in Rehab and basically the Physical Therapists and doctors had to give their consent that I was okay to learn how to drive with hand controls. I wanted nothing more than drive as quick as I could. If I couldn’t drive I don’t know…”

He stopped talking and Chiara looked at him, “Have you ever thought about suicide?”
Mark didn’t say anything right away and just swallowed, then nodded, “Yeah, I have. You?”
“Yes, I have tried twice already.”
Mark was surprised at her confession and looked over at her, “You have?”
She nodded and he debated asking her more, but he didn’t.
She then asked, “But you never went through with it?”
They were quiet again and Mark then said, “Well, I’m glad you are here.”
He looked at Chiara but she didn’t look at him but kept her eyes straight ahead.

He really didn’t want to talk about anything dark anymore. He still felt the emotions from earlier when Chiara had asked him about what he had done in Afghanistan. He could feel the darkness on his heart with the memories of the things he had done and now the conversation with Chiara didn't help.  

He took a deep breath and looked over at her and with a soft insecure laugh he said, “I thought we should have fun today instead of…I guess instead of talking about all those not so fun things.” 

Chiara was quiet next to him, her feet still up on the seat and her arms wrapped around her legs. Her long hair was hanging down and she stared out front.
Mark attempted to start a conversation again, “I’m really glad you’re here with me and I guess I’m glad you didn’t succeed with your…with your attempts to…to take your own life.”
He swallowed and looked out front, not expecting her to say anything again.
But she did say something now, “At that time I didn’t have a reason to live anymore, at least that’s how I saw it.”
Mark looked back over to her and he took another breath, “Well, maybe we can change that.”

He looked out front again at the traffic ahead and then added, “I know…I know sometimes it seems…it seems like there’s no reason anymore to live but that’s not true.”
He stopped and swallowed again, “Believe me I know…but life can still be a good thing.”

He paused for a moment and then added, “There’s still a lot of good stuff in this life. It may not seem like it sometimes but there is. There are good people and there’s still so much to do and even though it’s almost impossible to see that when everything just seems so hopeless. Eventually something will come up and it can make us see that we need to be here.”  

Mark was quiet for a moment and Chiara kept her eyes out front.
He then admitted, “That eventually came up for me when I met you that night of my birthday.”
He quickly glanced over at her and hoped she would look at him but she didn’t. Mark turned his eyes to the traffic again.

With a trembling voice Mark wanted to strengthen his comment, “When I met you that night, I felt like I had a task again to get this money to you and then it turned into more when I saw him slap you. It became a mission.”
Now Chiara asked softly, “So I’m a mission for you?”
Mark bit his lips and said, “You’re more than that.”
He hoped very much she would say something but she didn’t.

Mark didn’t say anything else anymore but his mind was racing at what Chiara’s silence meant. He focused on driving and they didn’t speak anymore.


  1. Thanks very much for posting. I can not wait to see a greater rapprochement between them. When I think of Chiara's pimp, I'm worried. I loved the way you wrote about when you knocked on the door and he took a defensive stance. Thanks Dani, keep posting!

    1. Oh, I will keep posting. Lots more to come on Chiara and Mark's story. Soon, they will get closer...thanks for reading and commenting, makes me very happy

  2. Nice update. Appreciate the long chapters.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate it so much

  3. Wow long update! Thanks Dani! I missed your stories while you were away.

    1. You are so welcome. I am happy to be back and I plan on staying for a while. Got some more stories going and hope to share them with my readers throughout the next months, Thanks for your support and reading

  4. Thanks for the long chapters. Can't wait for them to get closer

    1. THanks for your comment, means a lot. Soon they will be close.

  5. Lovely chapter. I really enjoyed reading it.