Authors: J'aimee Brooker
Tags: #venice italy, #italy, #verona italy
“Well, I didn’t
know why he’d called me in. So, I sat while he started asking
questions about my writing. I wasn’t really paying attention, just
counting down the minutes until his impromptu interview was over.
Then he started asking about my notepad, he wanted to know what I
wrote in there and asked if that’s where I wrote all my dirty
little secrets. I refused to answer and got up to leave and that’s
when he pulled the notepad out and started reading out loud… the
details of… you know…” she hid her face embarrassedly. “I asked for
the book back and walked to his desk to try and grab it back but he
pulled me onto the floor in front of him. Then I noticed, he was
already undressed, well his pants anyway and he…” she trailed, the
tears building up again.
Imogen? Tell me”
“He said, he
liked the part in my notepad where I was down on my knees…” she
trailed off, not wanting to make the memory any more real by
putting it in words.
“Fuck it” Luca
replied, standing Imogen up and starting to pace the room, his
hands already curled into fists, his temper rising so quickly his
head was starting to spin. “Then what Imogen, what’d he do to you?”
he asked, before noticing she was shaking and on the verge of tears
and moved to hold her.
“He told me I’d
best be making a habit out of kneeling in front of him, and… you
know… if I wanted him to keep my dirty little secret” Imogen
murmured before the tears began flowing again and the shaking
threatened her ability to stand.
Pushing her to
arm length, Luca again looked her over for injury, “Did he…make
you…?” Luca asked, scared to verbalise his thoughts.
“He grabbed my
hand, he wanted me to give him a hand job to ‘get him started’, so
I grabbed his other hand and bent it back as far as I could the way
you showed me then I ran… I heard him screaming as I got out of the
room, then I realized I’d forgotten to get my notepad and I was too
scared to go back in for it… he’s going to show everyone…” she said
dissolving into tears again.
“No he isn’t”
Luca responded, pulling out his phone and speed-dialling Roman.
back on the couch, it was less than five minutes before Roman
knocked and calmly entered the office, followed hastily by a fuming
“You ok?” Roman
and Dominic asked her in unison.
silently, trying in vain to smile and failing miserably.
exchanging pleasantries, Roman sat beside Imogen and offered her
some calming words, explaining it’d all be sorted out and that yes,
they’d make sure they got her notepad back, and no, no one would
get hurt. Though looking at Dom and Luca, the likelihood of Bill
coming out of this unscathed was look more and more unlikely.
minute?” Dom asked, pulling Luca out of earshot of Imogen. “Did
he—“ Dom asked.
“No. I knew
this guy was an asshole so I’ve been teaching her some self-defense
and boxing; seems she took care of him herself” Luca replied
proudly. “But he has a notepad of hers that’s filled with, ah..
personal details, and he’s threatened to publicise it around the
that’s not happening” Dom replied resolutely and in that instant
Luca felt calmer that between the three of them they’d sort out the
problem and get Imogen’s notepad back.
practical one, Roman had texted Cassandra to come and keep Imogen
company; “Cass, it’s been a while” Luca said, stepping forward
hand-in-hand with Imogen, and placing a gentle kiss on Cassandra’s
“We were only
saying the same thing last week Luca” she replied, before patting
him on the back and whispering, “we figured you’d been busy lately”
and smiling in Imogen’s direction.
very smooth” Roman laughed, before planting a kiss on Cassandra
“Im, Cass will
stay here with you” Luca explained, feeling the blush hit his
cheeks thanks to Cassandra’s pointed comment. He hadn’t realized
that his brothers had noticed how much time he was spending with
Imogen; the smile on Dominic’s face confirmed that they’d all
talked about it.
by the stench of testosterone filling the office that something has
happened?” she said to no one in particular, and when no one
offered an explanation, she turned her attention back to Imogen.
“Come, lets get you freshened up sweetie, have you got some spare
clothes here?” she asked Imogen, who nodded and smiled weakly.
Luca bent and
placed a long kiss on Imogen’s forehead, feeling her starting to
tremble all over again. “Im, go with Cass, she’ll look after you
and we’ll be back in no time” he whispered, pulling her in
Walking over to
his desk, Luca pulled out Imogen’s spare workout clothes and handed
them to Cassandra. “Use the bathroom up here” he said, pointing
toward his personal bathroom, “and keep the door locked, ok? We’ll
text when we’re on our way back”.
“I’m here to
see Bill McNaught” Luca explained assertively to the young girl at
the front counter of the library. She seemed nervous at the sight
of the three brothers standing opposite her, no doubt picking up on
the hostility they were exuding as she quickly explained that Bill
wasn’t available for the rest of the afternoon.
Luca could feel
his temper rising, something that’d rarely happened until today
when he realized Imogen had placed in danger. Dominic had always
had a temper, but was extremely vigilant about keeping it in check.
The feelings he was experiencing were all new to Luca; and his head
was spinning trying to hold it all together.
rising annoyance, Dominic stepped forward and explained to the
girl, “He is expecting us. Please, show us through to his
“I’m sorry, I
can’t. He’s… not feeling well” she answered meekly.
Dom replied, referring to her name badge, “We’re not here to start
trouble but we’re not leaving until we see him. So, please let him
know he has visitors”
As she dialed
through to Bill’s office, Luca walked over to Roman and confided,
“Roman, my head is spinning, my head feels like it’s gunna explode.
I just want to fuck this guy up.”
changed from concerned to alarmed in an instant. “Luca, you’re not
going to touch this guy, you hear me? That’s not how we’re sorting
Roman, he would’ve—“
“But he didn’t.
She got away Luca. You did well teaching Imogen the self-defense,
really. We’re going in to get the notepad, make sure he hasn’t made
any copies and to give him a scare. Don’t touch him mate, honestly,
if you’re feeling this worked up the last thing you need to do is
unleash your anger—" Roman offered knowingly. He’d spent the most
of his childhood protecting his mother and brother from their
father; if anyone understood the power of a bad temper it was
will see you” Eliza replied.
It was Luca who
made the first move, bursting past the front counter and walking
through to the back rooms in search of McNaught’s office; Roman and
Dominic following quickly behind.
out here.” Luca shouted to no one in particular, more an attempt to
find the office quicker.
Roman shot him
a silent warning, a simple rise of the eyebrows and a glance that
could stop traffic, which Luca conveniently chose to ignore.
A man, appeared
in his doorway looking worse for wear with his hand heavily
bandaged; Luca couldn’t help but stifle a smile, Imogen had clearly
done a good job on his hand.
there something I can do for you?” he queried innocently.
“I believe you
know why we’re here” Luca retorted.
A look of
confusion flashed across McNaught’s face as he looked from Luca to
Dominic then finally to Roman; an understanding of what was
happening registering on his face.
came from behind Roman, “Bill, everything ok out here” spoke the
short, spectacled man.
“Yes, yes. All
fine thank you Professor” Bill spoke cheerfully, before turning to
the brothers and ushering them quickly into his office.
The door had
barely closed, when Luca had McNaught by the throat and against the
back of the door, his feet dangling a good inch or two above the
prick” Luca hissed at him; a frenzied look of anger contorting his
face, as Roman made a move toward Luca.
him” Dominic interjected, placing a hand on Roman’s chest to hold
“Where is her
notepad” Luca continued.
“In… in my
briefcase. Please… I’m sorry… I didn’t hurt her…” McNaught
spluttered, further infuriating Luca.
hurt her? Are you serious? She told me what happened, you sick
bastard. Is that how you get your kicks, forcing women to blow you
because you can’t get it anywhere else, huh?” Luca questioned,
holding McNaught and thrusting him more firmly against the door.
“How fucking dare you touch her” Luca exploded, punching the door
right by McNaught’s head.
over and placed a supportive hand on Luca’s shoulder, “Is this it
mate?” he said, holding up Imogen’s tattered notepad.
it” Luca replied. “You made any copies of this or shown anyone else
asshole?” he directed at McNaught.
“No… no, I
promise you, I haven’t” he stammered.
“What, you were
just keeping it for your own sick games?”
“I like her… I
thought she liked me, then you came along and ruined it all—“
“That’s not all
I’m gunna ruin McNaught” Luca fumed, before unexpectantly dropping
him to the ground. McNaught hit the floor heavily and curled to his
side in an attempt to stand up before booted him in the stomach,
dropping him back to the floor.
writhing in pain, Luca bent to him and picked him up by the scruff
of the shirt. Dominic and Roman made a move toward him, but he
brushed them both off.
coming back, now get your chequebook and let’s start talking a
redundancy package” Luca demanded.
“Yes, yes, of
course. In cases of redundancy, the university offers three-months
pay plus all owed entitlements. Please, give me a minute and I’ll
work that out”. McNaught replied, wincing in pain.
of redundancy? Tell me, normally, are there sexual harassment cases
in play?” Luca countered, standing over the man and exuding
absolute boiling temper.
“No, no… this
would be the… ah, first time for this particular set of
you’ve just offered and we’ll start talking” Luca replied.
“Oh, no I
couldn’t do that” McNaught stuttered, “It’s not my place to make
those kinds of decisions about money”.
and ask Eliza out there to get us the Head of Department down here
then call the cops and explain that Bill McNaught here assaulted a
female colleague today” Luca commanded.
“No! Stop… I’m
sure we can come to some agreement” McNaught pleaded.
“Luca. Stop and
calm yourself before you walk back in to Imogen. She needs you to
be support her, you need to make her feel protected. At the moment
that’s not how you’re coming across. At all.” Roman spoke steadily
as they stood in the rear carpark of the gym.
call the cops?” Luca asked his brothers.
he’s shit scared; there’s no chance he’ll do that” Dominic replied.
“But Roman’s right; don’t go back in to Imogen like this, you’ll
scare her more than she already is.”
Luca sat on the
back of the tray of the utility with his head in his hands, visibly
shaken, “I just didn’t know what’d happened to her. She was crying
and trembling then she started telling me bits and pieces and I
just… just didn’t know if he’d…”
ok. But she’s going to need your support and you can’t do that
unless you calm down and let this go. You’ve sorted the problem
out, now shift your attention to Imogen” Roman offered.
“I feel like I
let her down somehow—“ Luca started, before Dominic stopped
angry Luca. In fact, I’ve never seen you lose your temper like
this. Come inside, we’ll jump on the bags for a bit and get rid of
this before it eats you up” Dominic offered, before throwing a
support arm around Luca's shoulders and heading to the gym.
later and Luca was showing no signs of tiring. Dominic had been
holding the boxing bag, several times being almost knocked over by
the power of Luca’s assault on the bag. Roman looked on wearily,
uncertain of how to interpret Luca’s anger. On one hand, it was
completely normal—someone he loved had been put in danger and
clearly the situation could have ended a lot worse than it did. On
the other hand, Luca had never shown any signs of having such
intense pent-up anger. It was like a switch had flicked and Luca
had gone from carefree and peaceful to intensely angry in an
enough about anger from their father’s heavy-handed ways to know
that Luca needed to reel himself in and get his anger under
control. Looking up, he watched Luca intently; his eyes had glazed
over and he looked vacant. Dom was offering support, the words
bouncing off Luca as quickly as his hands bounced off the bag.
All Roman could
do was watch. Luca’s attitude shift was a concern and Roman feared
that it’d take sheer exhaustion to make Luca stop his rampage; the
thought evoking powerful memories of his father beating them all
until he literally passed out from either drunkenness or
later, Luca stopped abruptly. Dom stepped away from the bag
wearily, dripping with sweat and looking suitably exhausted.