Ty stood frozen at the opened door. Her brain could not process what her eyes were seeing and she had to blink a few time and then rub her wide eyes with her free hand to make sure she really was seeing who was before her.
"Dante?" Ty finally uttered, frowning slightly. After the initial shock wore off to a degree, her frown deepened as she took him in. He was still dressed in the same clothes he had on in the morning but his black t-shirt was now clinging to his frame, outlining his defined muscles and acting as a second skin. The hard lines of his impressive six-pack clearly displayed through his drenched shirt. His grey jeans were no better. They were soaked through, now a dark grey, almost black, instead of the light grey they were when dry. She refrained from looking at his waist as the jeans had, like his shirt, stuck to his legs like cellophane, hugging every line and curve of his body in a rather provocative way. His hair was stuck to his head, tiny rivulets of water dripping from the tips and down his face. Even his piercings were glistening from the rainwater, a single slow drop falling from the silver hexagonal screw head.
"Fuck, you're completely drenched. Whaddya do, take your fish for a walk?" she questioned, looking back at his face after her quick inspection.
Dante rolled his eyes, rubbing his slippery arms to try and get some much needed warmth in them. "It's raining buckets," he responded dryly, keeping his stutter at bay.
"Yeah, I know that, dipshit. Jeez, get inside; you're creating your own lake." She grabbed his wrist and pulled him into the apartment, kicking the door shut behind them. "Like I need a moat added to this glorified shithole," she added under her breath, intent on keeping the remark for her ears only but Dante heard her anyway and kept the note to himself.
Dante simply let her pull him along up the stairs and into her room. She released his wrist and went into her en suite bathroom, soon returning with a fluffy red towel in hand and turned off the air con.
Dante was still trying to get his thoughts sorted. He wasn't even sure of his emotions, but he knew one of them. He was surprised, stunned even, that Ty had let him in, actually grabbed, and of her own free will, quite literally pulled him into her house instead of cussing at him and playing leader of the Spanish inquisition.
He voiced his thoughts and Ty snorted as she tossed Dante the towel before heading to her closet, "I may not particularly like you, but you're frozen stiff, soaked to the bone and basically look like a drowned rat that was swirlied a year's worth of swirlies in one sitting. Just because I'm a bitch doesn't mean I'm completely heartless. If George or one of his lackeys were the ones to show up in your position, I'd give them the same treatment."
Dante tried to stomp down on the flames of irritation that shot through his being at the mentioning of George, the very same meat headed idiot who had a crush on Ty and also tried to harm her, who would apparently receive the same treatment Dante himself was getting.
Ty turned around to face Dante and sighed when she saw that he was simply holding the towel in his clenched fist and he had a nice little puddle circling him, "The towel isn't poisoned or anything so use it or you're gonna get sick. And take off your clothes, I'm looking for something that could fit you."
Dante scowled at her out of habit but nonetheless dried his hair off with the towel. He hesitated a moment, looking at Ty who had returned to rummage through her closet, and stripped down to his boxers.
The air bit into his exposed skin but he had to admit that it felt good to be out of his sopping wet clothes that didn't allow for him to absorb any form of heat. His blue checked boxers were soaked through, but he could survive a cold waist as the rest of his body began to slowly warm up.
Dante stood in the center of the room, finally taking in his surroundings as he wiped the rainwater from his body.
His eyes scanned the simple room with a somewhat curious gaze. Ty's green bed was slightly messed up as she had been lying on it watching the TV that was still on. Her skateboard and gear were propped up against her desk that had her schoolwork and books carelessly splayed across the polished wood. Her floor was surprisingly neat with videogames and controllers piled around the foot of her wall mounted TV next to her Xbox and PS3 consoles.
The whole while, he resolutely kept his gaze off of Ty. When she had opened the door after he repeatedly pressed on the doorbell, she wasn't the only one stunned speechless at what she saw. Dante was actually thankful that he was freezing because he would have had an embarrassing problem if he had been dry.
Ty was only dressed in an oversized dark green hoodie that barely fell to her upper thighs with the sleeves bunched up at her elbows. He had to keep his eyes firmly on her face or else they would have drifted down to her naked legs. The hoodie was at least three sizes too big for her and he couldn't help but wonder who it originally belonged to.
"Here, these should probably fit you," Ty broke his train of thought and stood up, facing him with a pair of clothing articles in her hands.
She froze when she saw Dante and couldn't stop her eyes from drifting across his body. His upper chest was covered by the towel that he had slung over his shoulders but it didn't hide his abdominals that were much more impressive without clothes dimming their existence. He definitely trained as much as Luca had hinted at before, his muscles rippling with every movement yet he wasn't disgustingly over built. He was visibly strong but he didn't look like those body builders with bulging muscles that were the size of watermelons.
Ty shook her head and returned her gaze to his face but found that she couldn't look at him without increasing the temperature of her body and looked right at his piercings as she held out the clothes to him.
Dante took the clothes in his left hand as his right held his wet clothes, feeling a sense of pride and smugness that he wasn't the only one affected by lack of clothing. He saw the way Ty had observed his body and was pleased to see her cheeks and the tips of her ears turning red. Especially her ears.
"Where should I keep my clothes?" he asked, keeping his tone and behaviour as casual and relaxed as possible.
Ty swallowed and took them from him, "I'll just go and put them in the dryer. They should be dry by the time the storm dies down and you can go home." She motioned towards the bathroom and added, "You can use my bathroom if you want. Shower or just dry off completely and change. I'll, uh, I'll just go and sort your clothes out."
Without waiting for Dante to answer, she rushed out of her room and ran downstairs, resolutely only thinking about the dryer.
Dante chuckled quietly, surprising himself, but seeing Ty so flustered was a pleasing change to her usual snarky confident manner. He shivered, remembering that he was practically naked and still damp, and went into the bathroom, not at all surprised to see that she did not suffocate her bathroom with various products. Just the bare necessities required in a bathroom with a few extra toothbrushes that belonged to her friends.
He looked around the rather spacious room, her family's wealth quite apparent yet again. There was a sink, a toilet a shower encased in glass walls, a medium sized tub, even a cupboard up against the wall next to the sink where he guessed she got the towel from. Everything was white and practically gleamed, a contrast to the bathrooms at his own home that while around the same size, maybe a tad bigger, didn't feel so cold and unlived in. It was almost like he was in a prestigious hotel's presidential suite's bathroom. The only sign of some sort of individuality were some of her clothes hung messily on the towel bar.
He eyed her shower stall, tempted to take her up on her offer of a warm shower. The floor inside of it was slightly wet and the edges of the glass still had some droplets of condensation at the edges. Immediately, an image of Ty in the shower hidden by steam generated by the hot spray of the filtered water came unbidden to his mind and his body temperature spiked for a brief moment.
He shook his thoughts from his head, not wanting to dwell on them and confuse him further. His mind was already in a state of turmoil that he was not used to and did not like one bit. He quickly dried off, attempting to dry his boxers as much as he could so that they weren't sopping wet but rather slightly damp, and slipped into the clothes Ty offered him.
Ty returned to her room after stuffing Dante's clothes in the dryer and stared at her bathroom door, worrying her bottom lip. She shifted on her feet and looked down, turning bright red with the mortifying realization.
I'm not fucking wearing pants! She tugged the bottom of her hoodie down and rushed to her closet in search of some sort of pants. There was no way she was going to continue walking around pant-less with Dante in her apartment.
Ty had just finished tugging on a pair of shorts when her bathroom door opened to reveal Dante as he stepped out dressed in the clothes Ty had given him. The red sweatshirt was a tad snug on him, the sleeves barely reaching his wrists, but the black basketball shorts were fine if just a smidge short.
Even though he was now clothed and mostly dry, Ty couldn't get the image of his almost naked, dripping wet body from her head, making heat crawl up her neck and into her cheeks despite her will to fight it.
Dante cleared his throat, ignoring the small twang of disappointment he felt when he saw that Ty had put on a pair of long shorts that ended at her knees. After his little almost-dilemma in the bathroom, he had to admit to himself that he did feel some sort of attraction to Ty. She's admittedly hot for an annoying stronza, so it's no big deal. It's just lust and I haven't had a chance to get laid since that blonde ragazza from weeks ago.
"So, they okay? I put your clothes in the dryer and they'll be ready in a while."
Dante nodded, pushing the sleeves of the sweatshirt up to his elbows, "Yeah, they're fine. Thanks."
Ty stared at him in shocked disbelief.
"What?" Dante asked, frowning. He suddenly felt an odd sense of self-consciousness and fought the urge to play with the ends of his borrowed shirt.
"Y-you… Did you just thank me? And without any sarcasm or an insult?" Ty continued to stare incredulously at Dante.
He rolled his eyes but his lips tugged up slightly at the corners, "Is it that much of a shocker, stronza?"
"Yes," Ty answered without hesitation. "You don't seem the type to apologize or thank people."
"I don't, usually," he shrugged. Dante looked out at her window and commented, "It's still pouring."
Ty nodded and hummed, not knowing what to say, "Mhmm."
They stared out at the rain and lightning for minutes that dragged endlessly, neither knowing how to proceed and get rid of the awkward tension in the air.
Finally, Ty's stomach made its presence known, making her blush and Dante smirk, "Hungry?"
Ty stuck her tongue out at him, "Shut up. But yeah I am, obviously. I was about to go hunt for food when you showed up."
She started to leave the room but stopped at the doorway, asking, "You want something to eat? The storm's probably going to rage on for some time and your clothes'll take forty-five minutes minimum."
Dante shrugged carelessly, "Sure. I haven't eaten yet either. You cooking?"
Ty scoffed, shaking her head, "The only time I'd cook is if I wanted to murder someone via intense food poisoning or if I was in the mood to blow up a house."
They made their way downstairs, Ty taking two steps at a time while Dante trailed her at a more leisurely pace. When Dante hopped off the last step, Ty was already neck deep in the fridge frowning.
She slammed the cold metal door shut, complaining, "There's nothing to eat."
Dante leaned against the doorway of the kitchen, watching her with quiet amusement when she turned around and looked at him hopefully, "Please tell me you know how to cook."
Dante shook his head, both to clear his surprise – never had he thought he'd see the day where Ty would look to him for help, and he was surprised by how cute she looked with the expression. Dante would never have dreamt of associating cute and Ty together – and to say, "That's the only thing we have in common, can't cook for shit."
Ty groaned and pouted, instantly no longer seeing him as something important to her survival, "You're no use." She turned around and began going through the cupboards from bottom to top, scanning the contents for something that didn't require any cooking skills whatsoever.
She was almost about to begrudgingly settle for cornflakes and a carrot from the fridge when two cylindrical plastic containers behind some spices in of one of the top cupboards caught her eye. She quickly stretched her arm, trying to get the containers from the very back of the cupboard, but she was just millimetres too short.
"Fucking piece of shit," she grunted, going on her tiptoes but still only barely touching her goal.
"Need some help?" Dante asked, trying and almost failing at keeping his face and voice impassive. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but he enjoyed watching Ty raid her own kitchen, seeing all her different expressions as she focused solely on finding something to eat.
Ty's mind was so absorbed in trying to will her body to stretch far enough to get the containers that she had completely forgotten that Dante was even there. Therefore, she was completely unprepared when Dante reached over her head from behind and grabbed the two containers with ease.
She squeaked and jumped slightly, backing up right into Dante who stumbled with her added weight and the two fell backwards onto the floor. Dante's arm automatically wrapped around Ty's waist, holding her steady against his chest as they fell onto the white tiled floor.
"Ouch," they both groaned.
"Why the hell are you so jumpy?" Dante grumbled, using his free hand to rub the back of his head that had collided with the cupboards behind him. He had dropped the containers and they were lying on either side of the two.
"I forgot you were there so you surprised me," Ty rolled her head back to narrow her eyes at Dante. She froze when she realized how close she was to him; her back fully molded into his chest, her neck curved onto his shoulder so her cheek was now pressed against his neck, and his legs bent at the knees around hers like a warm, safe cage.
Dante watched her cheeks and ears redden again and he found himself liking that he had such an effect on her. He liked it far too much.
He released her and Ty crawled out of his hold, standing up a fair distance away from him while she tried to cool off.
Dante picked up the containers, reading the bright red and yellow label. "2-minute noodles?"
"Unless you want some kind of whole wheat cornflakes with raisins and a head of cabbage or a cold carrot," Ty drawled.
"Noodles," he confirmed.
"Thought so," Ty smirked. She took one of the 2-minute noodle containers from Dante, grateful she had bought them at some time for situations such as these when her parents were gone and had forgotten that Ty didn't know how to cook her own food so their private cook hadn't made anything for her to microwave, and walked to the water dispenser that was set next to the fridge. It was already turned on and the hot water dispenser's light was lit much to Ty's relief. She didn't want to wait another thirty minutes or so for the water to heat up.
She peeled the cover off halfway and set it on the counter, taking out the little sachets of flavoring and the plastic foldable fork. She dumped all the flavoring into the cup and filled it with the hot water from the dispenser, closing the cover and holding it down.
Dante followed suit and soon the two had their plastic fork and cup noodles in hand, waiting for the hot water to cook their food.
"Wanna head back upstairs and watch some TV or something?" Ty asked, not in the least inclined to just stay in the kitchen.
"Sure," Dante agreed, also uncomfortable with the idea of just standing around in the kitchen where more awkward silences were sure to suffocate them.
As they walked out of the kitchen, Dante's eye caught a flash of white and purple on the perfectly set dining table. He walked over to it and noticed the silver necklace with the red garnet lying next to it.
"Yours?" Dante asked, turning to face Ty who had followed him to the table, wondering what had caught his eye.
Ty rolled her eyes at his amused tone, "It was a package we got a couple days ago. The necklace came with the bear, but I don't know who sent them or if they were for a specific person. The box only had my address."
Dante picked up the necklace, eyeing it curiously. It clearly cost someone quite the pretty penny. They had even gone to the effort to make a custom teddy bear to pair it with.
But why the anonymity? Dante shook his head and put the necklace back down. Nah, forget it, I'm just overanalyzing it.
"C'mon," Ty urged, leading the way to her room with Dante following close behind.
They got to Ty's room, Ty closing the door behind them and plopping down on her bed, facing the TV, and peeled the cover off her noodles, greedily digging in.
Dante sat down next to her, crossing his legs up on the bed and started to eat too, grateful to have something in his stomach.
They stared at the TV as they ate slowly, pretending the other didn't exist since they honestly had no idea how to speak to the other. The only times they talked were when they were arguing and surrounded by others.
When Ty had finally finished with her noodles, one can eat only so slowly, tossing the container into her trashcan, she sighed and turned to Dante, "Let's play twenty questions."
"What?" Dante frowned at her, redirecting his blank stare from the TV. He had stopped watching it a while ago his eyes glazing over as he zoned out, surprisingly not dropping any noodles or soup as he mindlessly ate and finished his food, toying with the empty container.
"Twenty questions," Ty repeated. "This silence is killing me and there's nothing good on TV. And, we've ignored each other for almost two entire hours." She turned her body so she was completely facing Dante and her look brooked no argument.
He sighed, tossing his own cup into the trash, "Alright, spara." Secretly, he was admittedly grateful that she had come up with the idea. Her behaviour that night had surprised him and he realized that she wasn't the tough, stubborn brunette he thought she was. There were also some things about her that bugged him and this game would give him an excuse to satisfy his curiosity without arousing suspicion.
"Spara? What the hell does that mean?" Ty furrowed her brows.
"It means 'fire' or 'shoot'," Dante answered. "Well that's your one, now my turn."
"What, hey, no it isn't!" Ty cried out.
Dante smirked, "You asked me what spara meant."
"That does not count, prickface!"
"Yes it does. It was a question," Dante countered watching her fume with a calm exterior while inside he wanted to grin and laugh. It was ridiculous, he didn't even feel like himself.
"Urgh, I hate you," she grumbled.
Dante smirked and continued the game, "Where're your parents?"
"Portugal," Ty answered making Dante frown at her tone. It was hardened and cold enough to cut through a slab of concrete were it tangible.
She always has this weird reaction when her parents are involved. Dante eyed her carefully.
"Why did you come to my house?" Ty asked, staring him in the eye sternly.
"I was in the area on my bike doing some work for Papà when it started pouring. Your place was the nearest," Dante answered easily, holding her gaze. He had the answer prepared while he changed since Ty was eventually going to question him. He was not going to admit to worrying about her sudden call to the office during school or seeing her being escorted out of the school premises, clearly unhappy and angry. When he had seen that she was not with her friends at the skate park right before it started pouring, he went home, trying to ignore the new feelings. Eventually, when even training could not ease his mind and he was constantly thinking about her and whether she was okay, his mind coming up with ridiculous scenarios, he hopped on his bike and drove to her place, arguing with the doorman until he revealed who he was and was allowed to go up.
Ty stared at him, trying to see if he was lying but his face was as relaxed and unrevealing as ever. "This late? Doing what?"
"Nope, that's another two questions, stronza," Dante dodged the questions. "Why were you giving money to that brown haired kid a couple days ago?"
Ty frowned for a second before realizing who Dante was talking about, "Oh, you mean Shady. I was paying for a cigarette I bought from him."
Dante frowned at that, "You don't look like a smoker."
Ty rolled her eyes, "I only smoke on occasion, and like you're one to tell me that smoking is bad. You're part of the damn mafia, don't you deal with much more hard core drugs?"
"Papà doesn't tolerate drugs of any sort. When he finds out you smoke, he's going to force you to stop."
"Well he can fuck a porcupine. I'll smoke if I damn well want to and it's not like I'm smoking packs a day, just one or two a year."
"Alright, whatever, anyway that was your question – it was a question therefore a turn, so don't bother arguing – and it's my turn again. Why were you called to the office?"
Dante watched Ty's expression harden. I hit something there. What the hell happened?
"My parents pulled me out," Ty answered shortly.
"Why?" Dante pressed.
"That's another question, it's my turn. How did you know where I lived?"
"We have extensive resources so it wasn't hard to find out where you lived after getting your name. Papà made sure we knew where you lived in case of emergencies."
Before Ty could ask what kind of emergencies, Dante continued, "What did your parents want?"
Ty gritted her teeth, "Look, it's obvious I hate talking about them so can you stop fucking asking about those two-faced, superficial, sorry excuses for human beings?"
"You're the one who suggested the game and neither of us set any boundaries or taboos," Dante pointed out, even more curious about her reactions and what happened.
"They just wanted to keep up the image of a perfect little loving family. They gave me tickets to Lisbon so I could join them when spring break starts to that they can flaunt our fake happiness to their money grubbing family friends," Ty spat. She got off the bed and left her room, leaving Dante to frown at her and face palm himself.
"Cazzo," he cursed. He went after her, making sure she wasn't going to the kitchen to grab a butcher's knife to murder him – not that she could have seeing as Dante would easily overpower her, but he'd still rather not have to go through the trouble of restraining her while not giving her new injuries.
He had just stepped off the last step of the stairs when Ty came briskly walking down the living room from the laundry room with Dante's clothes clutched tightly in her hands.
"Here," she shoved the clothes at his chest then grabbed him by his shoulders, pushing him to the door.
"What are you doing?" Dante questioned, looking over his shoulder at Ty. Her face was a blank slate but he could see the barely controlled anger flaring in her gaze.
She stopped pushing him and opened the door, pulling him out of her house before she stepped back in. "I thought I could handle a civil conversation with you, but I can't. I'm pissed, annoyed, and tired and you need to leave. Good night, Dante," she stated coldly, slamming the door shut in his stunned face.
Dante stood at the closed door, frozen in disbelief. He shook out of his daze when he heard the locks click in the door and he growled in anger.
How dare that little stronza just fucking kick me out? What the hell did I do? Dante punched the wall, right below the doorbell, with his hand that was gripping his clothes. And I just let her pull me around like a damn dog on a leash!
He stomped to the elevator fuming at Ty's sudden mood swing and unreasonable actions. When he reached the lobby, he snarled at Gordon who had been the one to let him up after much convincing, and stomped to his bike that was parked right outside.
Dante quickly shoved his clothes in the compartment under the seat and pulled the hood of the sweatshirt up over his head, putting on his helmet and driving in the onslaught of rain. The storm hadn't calmed down in the least in the hours he spent at Ty's, in fact it seemed to have gotten worse, and that only further ruined Dante's mood.
When he returned home, parking his bike in the garage and once again soaked to the bone, he shivered and stripped off the borrowed clothes to avoid leaving more water than necessary on the floor. He grabbed his own clothes, quietly sneaking through the house and up to his room. Before he could slip inside, Luca stopped him.
"Where were you?" he asked.
"None of your business, Luca," Dante responded coldly. Of course Luca would be awake, damn insomniac.
Luca, not easily deterred, continued, "It's almost one in the morning and you rushed out at nine. Now you're soaking wet in your boxers holding a set of clothes that I'm pretty sure doesn't belong to you since you never seem to have any clothes that aren't black or dark grey."
"It's none of your damn business, Luca. Non mi rompere i coglioni," Dante seethed. He didn't give Luca even a second to speak as he slipped inside his room and slammed door shut, the lock clicking in place., not giving a damn if someone else woke up.
Ty closed her eyes, pressing the heel of her palms against her eyes. She knew her mood swings were getting worse each day no matter how much she tried to control them. She was extremely irritable, easily annoyed to the point of blind rage and only her friends bar Shady knew the reason why.
She walked towards her parents' room and stared at the door opposite to it. She eyed it steadily for a moment before succumbing to her desire to just sink into carefree oblivion.
She went to the potted plant next to the door and found the key she had copied for the door. Her parents always kept certain rooms in the apartment locked, believing Ty would destroy something that was socially important.
Ty unlocked the door and flipped the switch, instantly shedding light to her parents' 'wine cellar' though it was just a fancily done guest room that housed all their alcohol.
Bottles upon bottles of various alcoholic drinks were organized by type and brand on sleek mahogany shelves. It was like a library of alcohol. A cold library since the room was constantly air conditioned to keep the drinks chilled.
Ty walked through the aisles and went straight to the back of the room where her parents kept the alcohol they were never going to touch. They were usually presents from guests and her parents would smile their fake smiles and take the bottles to the room, only to shove them in the corner if the drink wasn't to their standing or taste. It was typically filled with whiskey, rum, tequila and some types of vodka.
Ty wasn't picky. She picked a bottle off the shelf, some brand of whiskey, and turned to walk back out of the room. She paused, hesitant, and looked back at the shelf, debating on whether or not to get one more.
She decided against and walked out of the room, shutting off the lights, locking the door and putting her copy of the key back in the pot under some of the dirt, patting it flat so it looked like nothing had disturbed it.
She went back to her room and fell on her bed, turning the TV off.
Ty stared at the bottle in her hands, the golden amber liquid gleaming through the clear glass. The color almost reminded her of Dante's eyes. She quickly opened the bottle and closed her eyes.
"Stage three, here I come," she laughed humorlessly and brought the opening of the bottle to her lips, tilting her head back and letting the slightly chilled liquid burn down her throat.
She coughed and gasped at the burn, "Shit, I picked a strong one this time." She took another swig, and another, and another, getting used to the burn that was already fading as she felt her mind start numbing and buzzing.
Soon, she fell backwards on her bed, completely knocked out. The empty bottle of whisky rolled out of her slackened grip and to the floor with the promise of a killer hangover.
stronza - bitch
ragazza - girl
cazzo - fuck
spara - shoot or fire
Non mi rompere i coglioni - don't bother me (literally: don't break my balls)