They didn't move-both just stared into the other's eyes searching for-something.
"I saw you and Dante leave and then he came back in and said something was wrong but he couldn't tell."
"I'm just-" She forced herself to brighten. "-I'm just a bit tired I guess."
He walked to the railing and stood beside her, his hands in his pocket. "You know, they all really like you."
"Hm. I don't know how they already could; I haven't really said much."
"They know a good heart when they see it; and its in your eyes-especially when you smile."
She laughed softly, looking down at her fingers, avoiding his penetrating gaze.
He tilted her face upwards towards his as piano music drifted out from inside.
I've been alone so many nights now
And I've been waiting for the stars to fall
I keep holding out for what, I don't know
To be with you
Just to be with you…
Dante's rich voice drifted out as he played one of his and Luca's favorite songs.
Isabella's eyes shone as the moonlight pierced them making their depths sparkle.
And when we finally meet
I'll know it's right
I'll be at the end of my restless road
But this journey, it was worth the fight
To be with you
Just to be holding you for the very first time
Never letting go
Never letting go…Isabella's voice echoed the last line; her voice soft and sweet.
Luca's lips turned up in a soft smile which Isabella attempted to return but her lip only quivered as tears came to her eyes-deep hurt was there and all Luca could do was wrap his arms around her shoulders and waist and pull her to him. He held her tightly and soon, she buried her face in his chest and cried quietly.
Dante caught sight of them and his heart ached for them both; they were caught in impossible circumstance and both their hearts longed for the same thing-but neither could see a clear way to obtain it.
After a half hour or so, Isabella's tears quieted and she and Luca just stood there silently on the balcony. He'd loosened his hold on her but his arms were still wrapped comfortingly around her waist, his chin resting on top of her head…he'd give anything to know her pain and take it away but he didn't have to ask to already know she had no desire to talk about it. "Is there-anything I can do for you-anything Bell, please ask me."
Isabella hesitated for a moment because the first thought that popped into her head was a kiss…she desperately wanted his kiss; just even a small one she felt would ease the bleeding ache in her chest. But-how could she ask that; they'd only known each other for barely a month now and what would he think?-she couldn't ask that-not that…
But then it occurred to her-she didn't have to ask…
Her head rested against his chest and she could hear his rapid heartbeat-almost as if he could read her mind. She pushed back ever so slightly; enough to look up into his face. She couldn't believe what she was about to do-the risk of scaring him off-him pushing her away-thinking she was out of her mind, insane. All of these risks flashed through her mind in a millisecond before she immediately dismissed all of them and pushed up on her tiptoes, quickly pressing her lips to his.
Luca was stunned, his mind froze and his eyes widened for a split second. Then this passionate warmth spread through his head and down to his heart-his eyes drifted closed and his lips responded, pressing against hers as his arms tightened around her ever so slightly.
Isabella relished his kiss-it made her dizzy and there was a heated passion behind it that she sensed ever so slightly but he wasn't letting it go. Her hands pressed against his chest as she breathlessly broke the kiss-her timid, frightened eyes met his for a few moments before she slowly pushed herself out of his arms, turning away and walked inside-leaving Luca standing breathlessly on the balcony. The small group didn't appear to take much notice of her as she passed Dante who gave her a small encouraging smile and nod. She smiled back as she grabbed up her small sweater jacket and exited the room quietly.
# # # #
After the group left after a long, enjoyable evening, Dante found Luca still standing alone out on the balcony. He joined him but waited silently for Luca to speak.
After a long moment of silence, he looked at Dante; his brother's eyes held warmth and a hint of sympathy.
"Brother-I-why would she kiss me?"
"Because she wanted to. Why else?"
"No. No it was more than that-"
"Luca-what is it exactly that's bothering you?"
"I'm-I'm not sure…I just feel-lost-confused."
"Tell me what you're thinking."
Luca leaned back against the railing, his arms folded across his chest and Dante could see the troubling expression in his brother's eyes.
"It's like-suddenly I don't know my own heart-like it doesn't feel like-mine anymore. A month ago I would've told you that I still couldn't get Jordan out of my mind and now-now I'm not so sure of what's in my mind."
"Are you saying you feel like you've finally let Jordan go?"
Luca shook his head. "I'm not sure-she was-everything to me; even though it was only two weeks that we were together, I-I loved her, Dante and I'm not sure if that love for her is gone or if its just hiding beneath the surface-Bell has-thrown me for a loop I feel completely-unhinged when I'm with her! It's like all of my thoughts just go haywire and then my self-assurance goes out the window and I hardly know what to say to her-I spend half the time just staring at her!" He pushed off the railing then and began to pace. "You ever had that feeling that's just like-you lose track of-everything that used to makes sense to you? You completely lose sight of what used to be familiar; what grounded you. And you hardly know which way's right or left and it-it drives you completely crazy I mean, you just go completely out of your mind insane over it and yet-yet you keep coming back to it-you-you want more because its-its gotten inside you-it's gotten deep down inside you, in your skin, in your veins and-right here." He beat his chest lightly with his fist, looking at his brother, his eyes pleading.
Dante walked up to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Brother-you're-falling in love."
Luca's eyes shifted as if it had just dawned on him and he sank to the floor, his arms rested on his knees as he hung his head. Dante squatted down beside him, a comforting hand on his shoulder. When Luca raised his head, tears were streaming down his cheeks. Dante squeezed his shoulder affectionately, as his brother leaned his head back against the wall, sighing heavily.
"It's alright, Brother-I'm here, Man just let it out."
Luca shook his head, biting his lips as the tears came a bit more freely. "I never-thought-I'd ever-be able to let her-go." he choked out, releasing the pain he'd been carrying with him for years. "And I never thought-or believed I could-fall in love-again."
"Luca you can't keep your heart locked away forever-in time, the heart will always want what the heart wants-love."
"But-how can it be-no, not like this-not like this!"
"I know what you're thinking but believe me, you'll find a way-you both will."
"How?!" Luca's tears subsided as he looked at his brother. "She would-never be able to love me back-with the way-things are, the way that I am and with the space between us-Jordan didn't even say goodbye when she left; she left me that letter and even though she didn't say it outright, I could read it between the lines-she could never leave her life like that-just for me."
"You're forgetting one thing, Brother-Jordan was English-they're culture is so much less-closely-knit in love and passion, than ours is-and Bella's culture is very much the same if not more-you're making judgments before you even know for certain what she'd say."
Luca remained silent, his eyes trained out towards the ocean.
"Look-there's four and a half weeks left on this tour-give it time. I know it's difficult to do that because you're worried that now is all you have but don't think of it in terms of 'after this, I'll never see her again' think of it as your time to figure things out with her-and that-even if you two are separated at some point, there's still a good chance that you can overcome the distance and finally be together-if that's what you both want."
"You really think she could even think about being with me like that?"
Dante shook his head, snickering and put his forehead to Luca's. "Don't be so dense, brother; she kissed you, remember? She's not the kind of girl to just do that because she felt like it-it meant something to her."
"But-how can I know for sure, Brother-how can I really-know if-if this is for real?"
Dante thought for a moment, then shrugged and grinned from ear to ear; "Kiss her again-and see what happens. That's what I would do."
Luca laughed then as Dante offered him a hand, pulling him up off the floor. "Thanks, Brother-I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have you to ground me."
"Oh I know where you'd be-sniveling in a crazy home somewhere, pining for love because you didn't have me to give you the push for the go-ahead."
Luca shook his head, rolling his eyes as the two brothers walked inside, both silently thanking God for the blessing of each other.