I woke up to the most pounding headache I have ever experienced in my life. My muscles were aching like crazy, and my mouth was as dry as the Sahara Desert.
G*d… What did I do to myself?
I was sprawled out on the bed. My eyes were barely open due to the bright sunlight that streamed through the windows. I felt like I had hammered my head against a wall and fallen at least fifty flights of stairs. I looked around as I tried to remember what had happened because right now, I couldn’t remember s*it. Also, why did nobody stop me from drinking that much?
… Yes, I refused to take responsibility for my actions when I was suffering this much.
I tiredly sat up in bed and noticed that I was naked. I looked down at the floor and saw the dress I had worn was on the floor next to the armchair.
Had I undressed by myself?
I couldn’t recall anything and forced my body to get up and go to the bathroom. I stared at the bathtub. I could really use the time and soak myself in hot water and bubbles, but in fear of never getting up again and being stuck, I decided a shower would do.
I got out of the shower when my body started to be red from the hot water. My fingers had started to wrinkle and that was when I
thought I might have stayed a bit longer in the shower than intended. I tied my hair into a loose braid, letting a few strands of hair loose around my face, and got dressed into a pair of black sweats and a thin black top that stopped mid-drift.
I made my way downstairs to the kitchen at a snail’s pace. I did not have more strength to walk any faster. The smell of coffee hit my nose and I inhaled deeply, already excited about the crea*y hot liquid. If there was anything I truly enjoyed, it was the smell of coffee in the morning.
I could people talking as I neared the kitchen, and soon enough I saw Arianna and Rafaelle sitting by the island, having their breakfast.
“Good morning!” Rafaelle shouted in a singing voice, making me grimace.
“For the love of G*d, stop.” I groaned as I covered my ears. They were too sensitive to high noises at the moment.
“Someone had quite a bit to drink yesterday.” Arianna commented as she drank her coffee.
“How are you all fine? I feel like s*it.” I placed my head on the cold surface of the island and sighed a bit, the cold sensation helped with the headache.
“No s*it, I’m surprised you’re even alive. You kept taking shot after shot. You are one tiny human but you sure can drink.” Rafaelle laughed.
“Urgh… Why did I hate myself that much?” I groaned. Arianna placed a mug of coffee in front of me and I took it gratefully.
“You don’t remember what happened yesterday?” She gave me an
“Not really… Nothing comes to mind when I try to remember last night.” I scrunched up my nose.
“As long as I didn’t do anything too embarrassing then I think I’m fine not remembering. You know what, even if I did, it’s better that I don’t remember anything at all.”
“Mmhmm, well you did become best friends with Tank Man. Or at least tried to.” I had my mug midway, about to drink from it when I looked at Rafaelle.
“Wha-*o – how do you know…? What?” I rapidly blinked at him, trying to figure out if I had heard him right.
“You were yelling at him, calling him Tank Man, and something about him being macho macho.” I looked at Arianna mortified. Suddenly, the entire night came rushing back to me and my eyes widened.
“You’ve got to be f*king kidding me.” I put my head in my hands. and groaned in embarrassment.
“I really made a fool out of myself last night. S*it, when did I become like that?”
“Well, we had fun watching you. Actually, I think that was the best party I’ve ever been to in my life.” Rafaelle laughed.
“What a sad life you have had then… Wait, how old are you?” He did look to be around in his mid-twenties.
“35.” He shrugged and I raised my brows in surprise.
would have never guessed. I thought you were in your twenties!”
“Ah, what can I say, I like to take care of myself.” He wiggled his brows.
“Please, don’t tell me you’re in your thirties as well. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just that you look to be around my and Cara’s age.” I asked Arianna.
“Yeah, I’m 26.” She smiled. At least I got that sort of right. She and Cara were the same age.
“Does that make you the oldest of us all?” I looked back to Rafaelle.
“Nah, Lorenzo and I are about the same age, Damianò is 38.” I spit out my coffee and started to cough violently. Holy s*it, I did not see that coming. Was he really that much older than me? I was now starting to believe that they were vampires because they were certainly aging slowly.
Arianna patted me on the back as my coughing wouldn’t cease. I had finally calmed down and got myself a bottle of water and drank it greedily.
“Jesus, calm down woman I was only kidding. He’s actually 42.” Rafaelle continued with a smug grin.
“Rafaelle, shut up. Are you trying to kill her? She just had a coughing fit.” She smacked him on the head, and he just pouted at her and rubbed the back of his head.
“Don’t listen to him, he plays around too much. He’s 28 and so is Lorenzo. Damiano is 30 and not 38.” She explained.
“That’s a relief…” I let out a breath. I did not know what to think about Damiano being that much older than me. Arianna chuckled
“Is Cara not up yet? She is always the first one to wake up and drag me out of bed.” I asked when I noticed she still hadn’t made an appearance.
“Not what we know of. We’re the only ones who came down for breakfast.” Arianna shrugged.
Then I got an idea.
“Payback is a bit*h. I’m going to wake her.” I smirked. Every single morning, she would barge into my room and wake me up. For the first time in forever, I had woken up before her and now it was time to give her a taste of her own medicine.
I found a new surge of energy and I s*iped down the hall to her bedroom, excited to finally disturb her peaceful sleep.
I did an evil snicker in my mind.
I stood in front of her door, and I quietly put my hand on the handle to make sure I wouldn’t make any noise. I tried to contain my laugh when I carefully opened the door and tiptoed into her room. Her bed was empty, and my shoulders sagged in disappointment. The sound of the shower running, and I shrugged, thinking I might as well just scare her a little since I was here.
I kicked the door open.
“Boo, bit*h -” I stopped in my tracks and stood frozen at the doorway.
In front of me was a freshly showered and a very naked Lorenzo. I heard Cara squeal in the background and Lorenzo just looked at me, unfazed that I had just barged in. I opened and closed my mouth like a fish, struggling to find any words as we looked at each other.
I heard Cara say something and I snapped out of it.
“I am so sorry!” I yelled and turned around and ran out of there as fast as I could. By the time I reached the kitchen, I was out of breath. Three pairs of eyes snapped at me as Damiano now decided to appear.
He looked at me with furrowed brows as he looked at my wide- eyed and red face.
“What’s wrong?” Arianna looked behind me to see if someone was chasing me.
“I – Uh, nothing.” I scratched the back of my neck and looked away in embarrassment.
“That did not look like nothing.” Rafaelle commented.
“It’s nothing, trust me.” I awkwardly laughed as I returned to my seat by the kitchen island.
“Althaia.” Damiano looked at me sternly, and I bit my lip a little, hesitating.
Oh well, here goes nothing.
“I saw Lorenzo naked.” I said quickly. They didn’t say anything, and I kept my head down, refusing to look at anyone. Then Rafaelle burst out laughing. He was laughing so hard that he actually fell from the chair. I glared at him as he continued to laugh at me. I looked at Arianna who failed to try and hide her laugh behind her hand.
“Were you spying on him?” Rafaelle asked after he had calmed down but was still chuckling, and I scowled at him.
“Ew, no! He was in Cara’s bathroom when I tried to scare her.”
“They were probably doing it in the shower. Ah, maybe that’s what the banging against the wall was in the middle of the night.” He said, coming to a realization.
“Gross.” Arianna grimaced in disgust.
“Lorenzo! Had a good time?” Rafaelle looked behind me and wiggled his brows. I kept my head down, suddenly very interested in the marble design. Lorenzo ignored him and continued over to the coffee machine.
“Anyways, I was thinking about spending the day by the pool. Care to join, Althaia?” Arianna broke the silence and I turned to look at her.
“I would love to, but I didn’t bring a bathing suit with me.”
“Oh, I have tons of new ones, let’s go and find you one.” She said excitedly and I got up to follow her as she made her way out. I looked over to Lorenzo who was leaning against the counter, already staring at me with a slightly amused expression.
“I’m really sorry… If it helps, I didn’t see anything.” I said quickly to reassure him with an apologetic smile. I wanted to make sure he didn’t think of me as a creep who peeped. Rafaelle burst out laughing again.
“Da*n, she called you small.” My smile fell.
“No! That’s not what I meant! I’m sure you’re well equipped…” My eyes started to widen in horror, and Rafaelle was laughing so hard that he fell on the floor. Lorenzo just looked at me as he sipped his coffee.
“I’m very sorry.” And I got out of there as fast as I could.
The Devil’s Fire by Mariam El-Hafi Chapter 24