I was definitely getting my workout done with all these stairs. Especially when I was wearing heels, that was a whole new kind of workout.
For me, at least.
I walked down the last steps and looked at the scenery in front of me. It was beautifully set up, but then again, this manor was out of this world, and I wouldn’t have expected anything less.
Large round tables were placed around the garden, with flowers and large candles decorating the center. Small torches were placed in the ground, making the dancing fires glow with their orange and yellow colors. Servers were around with serving trays filled with glasses of champagne, greeting the guests as they arrived.
I grabbed a glass of champagne as I walked past a server, giving a small smile to the guest as a greeting, and went to stand in the back. I just wanted to keep myself in the background and be more of moral support for Cara. I couldn’t help but feel a little empty and lonely and I wished Michael was here. I missed the goofy blue- eyed man terribly, and he could always put me in a better mood.
I stood there, lost in my own thoughts while the place got filled up pretty quickly. I noticed some of the women looked at me up and down, and I glared right back at them, not having any tolerance for dealing with these sorts of people tonight. I was literally standing by myself, minding my own business.
“You’re looking a little sour tonight, aren’t you?” I was completely lost in my thoughts and zoning out that I hadn’t even noticed someone had approached me. I looked up and met a guy with short light brown hair, dark brown eyes, a sharp jawline, and stubble.
He was actually pretty cute.
“I’m not looking sour. I just suffer from a resting bit*h face syndrome.” He threw his head back and laughed at my answer.
“I see. I’m Rafaelle.” He stuck his hand out for a handshake, and I
“But you, beautiful, can call me daddy if you like.” He said with a smug grin.
“Ew.” I rolled my eyes at him but cracked a small smile.
“You’re hurting my ego.” He put a hand to his chest, faking a hurt.
“And what is your name, beautiful?”
“So, you’re the infamous Althaia.” He raised his eyebrows in realization, and I raised my brow at him.
“What do you mean?”
“Ah, word spread around like wildfire. Dead, but not dead.” He casually said, and I sighed. I guess wasn’t going to hear the end of that anytime soon.
“Something like that…” People around us started to talk louder and looked towards the stairs. I followed their gaze and saw Cara and Lorenzo making their way downstairs. Lorenzo was wearing an all-
black suit and Cara with a pale blue flowy dress with a deep v-line.
They were truly a sight to die for.
I made the mistake and looked to the other staircase and my heart clenched at the sight. Damiano, with a woman linked around his arm, was walking down the steps. She was gorgeous with her golden-brown hair and her rosy, plump lips. She was wearing a tight champagne dress that flowed around her feet, and with a slightly deep v-line.
I looked away. She was gorgeous, and there was no way I could compete with someone like her. Hell, I would leave me for her. I downed the rest of my champagne in one go and I made my way towards the bar. I needed something stronger.
“Two shots of vodka, please.” I said to the bartender. Maybe if I got drunk fast, I could turn in early and be free of seeing Damiano with that woman.
“Same for me!” Rafaelle said and stood beside me.
The bartender handed us the shots and I wasted no time and downed it. The liquid created a burning sensation as it went down my throat. I grimaced and shook my head a little as I looked over at Rafaelle, who had the same expression.
“The first one is always bad.” I laughed at him.
“Woo! It sure is.”
“Ready?” I grabbed the next one, and he did the same. We clinked our shot glass before downing it once again.
“Now, it’s a party! What’s next?” I laughed at his excitement but ordered something lighter. It was still too early into the party to get
We stood there and chatted for a while, and I was actually starting to enjoy myself. He was very fun to talk to and continued to cra*k jokes. Most of them were inappropriate but it was fun.
I looked over Rafelle’s shoulder, seeing Damiano talking to the woman. She had her hand placed on his shoulder, and I glared daggers at it while he listened to whatever she had to say. As if he felt I was looking at him, he turned his head and looked straight at me. I averted my eyes quickly and resumed my chat with Rafaelle, smiling at him to pretend everything was fine.
“We should get seated. Dinner is being served.” He offered his arm for support, and I accepted it. Together, we made our way to the table where Cara, Lorenzo, Damiano, and the woman were seated. I didn’t want to be near him and looked around to find another table. But it was too late as we had arrived. Rafaelle pulled out a chair for me to sit… right next to the woman, who was sitting next to Damiano. Cara was in front of me with Lorenzo to her right.
I crossed my legs, showing my entire bare leg as it rested on top of the other. This didn’t go unnoticed by Rafaelle, who took his time looking at my leg and he was not trying to be discreet about it either.
“That… is a very nice dress you’re wearing.” His eyes were still fixated on my leg. Normally, I would have been a bit more careful not to show too much, but this time, I didn’t care. Especially in front of Damiano.
“Thank you, Rafaelle.” I gave him a flirtatious smile and put my hand on his bicep.
“Oh wow, impressive.” I said as I felt his hard muscle. He gave me a smirk and winked at me. I looked over to Cara, who kept looking
between me and Rafaelle and kind of signal to me with her eyes that Damiano was sitting here as well. I picked up a glass of champagne and smiled behind it before taking a sip.
I could play this game too.
Food was served and I had almost emptied the glass of champagne.
“Woman, you need to eat before you get drunk.” Rafaelle chuckled.
“You don’t need to worry about me. I know what I’m doing.” I patted his thigh in reassurance.
“You must really spend a lot of time working out.” I said as I lingered my hand on his leg, feeling him up a little.
“You bet I do, baby.” He grinned at me.
Chatter was made around the table, Cara talking to Lorenzo, and that woman to Damiano. I sat and ate my food quietly, not feeling like chit-chatting with anyone as I continued to be in my sulking mood. I leaned back in my seat when I finished my food. That was when I noticed the same snobby women from earlier kept giggling and looking at me at the same time.
Seriously, what the hell was their problem?
I smiled at them, sweetly, before flipping them off and dropping my smile at the same time. They rolled their eyes at me but looked away. I then noticed Lorenzo was looking at me, tilting his head slightly to the side. That was when I realized, me, flipping off the snobby women, looked like I was flipping Lorenzo off. My eyes widened and I slowly pulled my hand down. The woman beside me
burst out laughing, and my cheeks heated in embarrassment.
“I like her.” She spoke.
I don’t like you.
“She’s a wild one, Arianna.” Rafaelle said. So, that was her name.
“Let’s get another shot.” I said to Rafaelle and stood up. I stumbled a little on my feet, and he immediately held onto my waist to steady me
“I don’t think you should get any more to drink.” He laughed but I shrugged him off.
“It’s a party, I’m having fun.” I rolled my eyes at him. The music started to play loudly, and my eyes widened.
“Let’s dance!” I grabbed his hand and dragged him to the middle where people had already started to dance. The Spanish melodies of a guitar reached my ears and I started to sway my hips to the music. Rafaelle grabbed my hips and pulled me into him until my back was against his front and started to dance with me.
Not bad… He was actually a pretty good dancer with the way his body moved with mine.
He suddenly spun me around to face him and I put my arms around his neck as we continued to dance with our bodies pressed up against each other. Rafaelle looked behind me and smirked. He took a hold of my right leg and pulled it up against his hip and dipped me low. I squealed a little as I did not see that coming and giggled when I got up again.
“Oh s*it, that got me dizzy.” I laughed and blinked a couple of times. Being tipsy and doing fast moves were not a good
combination. I made a sound when I was suddenly ripped out of Rafaelle’s arms. Damiano grabbed Rafaelle by the collar and punched him in the face. With so much force he fell to the ground.
The music stopped and gasps could be heard.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” I yelled at Damiano. I was furious he had ruined my fun time. He gave me a look that said I should pray for my life and grabbed my arm. He started to drag me away from the party, but I ripped my arm out of his grip and turned to see if Rafaelle was okay. I didn’t get far when arms took a hold of me, and I got thrown over his shoulder.
“Are you insane? Put me down!” He ignored my yelling and walked with inhuman speed. I started to get dizzy with how fast he was walking, and I, being upside down, didn’t help.
“I’m going to be sick…” I mumbled a little as the dizziness got to
He kicked a door open and plopped me down on a desk, making me face him. He rested both of his hands on the desk on either side of me, caging me in. I gulped a little as I looked at Damiano, who looked like he was ready to kill.
“What the *uck is wrong with you.” He hissed lowly. I crossed my arms and faced away from him. It looked like we were in his office.
“Look at me when I talk to you.” He ordered firmly but still gently held my chin to face him. But I glared at him.
“Me? I should be the one asking you!” My built-up frustrations were coming out, and I was furious now. His eyes narrowed.
“What are you talking about?” His voice was still deadly low, but I didn’t give a *uk about it.
“You think you can just come and mark my freaking body, and then just disappear for G*d knows how long? And not to mention
showing up with another woman!”
“What woman?” He said sternly and I clenched my jaw at him for playing dumb.
“Just let me go.” I tried to move away but he kept me caged between his arms.
“What woman?” He pressed on again.
“That woman… Arianna.” I spat out her name. He went silent and kept looking at me for a while. He then sighed and leaned back a little.
“You’re letting another man touch you because you think I’m with her?”
“I’m not *u*ing dumb.” I crossed my arms.
“Don’t ever let other men touch you.” He leaned closer to me, warning me to not defy his order. I leaned forward as I glared at him.
“Good thing I can do whatever I want. Just like you.” I gave a sarcastic smile. Damiano clicked his tongue in annoyance as he kept looking at me.
“She’s my sister.”
The Devil’s Fire by Mariam El-Hafi Chapter 21