DISCLAIMER: "Ugly Betty" is copyrighted to ABC Studios. I retain rights to the plot, but not the characters. This story is meant for enjoyment purposes only. No infringement is intended.

AUTHOR: Katrina

SYNOPSIS: Gio/Betty. AU. Gio believes that it's over between Betty and himself and is determined to move on, but Betty has other ideas.

TIMELINE: From end of season 3 episode, "Betty Suarez Land" and then goes AU from there.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The title of my story is from a song called 'Painted On My Heart' by The Cult – it seemed apt 

PAINTED ON MY HEART

Chapter One – Moving On

"I was trying everything that I can
To get my heart to forget you

But it just can't seem to"

~ Painted On My Heart – The Cult ~

Giovanni Rossi let out a long sigh and settled back into his favourite chair. An open beer bottle hung loosely in his right hand, its' contents untouched. It had been a very long, very emotional day.

Letting his head drop back to rest on the chair, he closed his eyes and let his mind wander back over the previous few hours events.

As soon as he'd entered the Mode magazine offices, he'd known he would see her again.

Betty Suarez.

It was inevitable. Unavoidable, even. Especially since she'd ran straight up to him and given him the kind of non-drug induced hug he'd dreamt about being on the receiving end of for months.

A hug for God's sake. Like they were best friends. Like she hadn't ripped out his heart that day at the Mode/Elle softball game and ground it into the earth beneath her feet.

His hurt had manifested itself in anger and he'd told her that he hated her. That she wasn't a nice person. That she was banned from his deli and, more importantly, banned from his life!

Naturally, all of it was a bunch of lies but he'd had to protect himself somehow. His battered heart simply couldn't take any more.

Unfortunately for him, Betty had seemed determined to make amends. After luring him to her new apartment under false pretences, she'd then proceeded to blackmail him into staying. Somehow, she'd managed to get hold of some of the cheese he'd discovered in Italy and used it as leverage. Desperate to have the cheese, he'd resigned himself to listening to the conversation she seemed bent on having whether he liked it or not.

And that's when he'd finally lost it. Having sat through half an hour of her gushing about their 'friendship' and how he'd helped her 'find herself' and 'changed her life' he'd had enough. Sick and tired of her living in her own little world and refusing to acknowledge anything or anyone around her, he'd launched a scathing attack.

"For once, this isn't about you," he'd bitten out angrily. "And if you didn't live in Betty Suarez Land…"

Betty had stood up at that jibe. "OK," she'd begun indignantly, "I do not live in Betty Suarez Land."

Gio had also stood, putting himself into her space. "Oh yes you do," he'd retorted bitterly before adding derisively, "Twenty-five Teddy Bear Lane, Betty Suarez Land, USA."

Obviously taken aback, Betty's jaw had dropped open in surprise at the attack and she'd folded her arms as though protecting herself from further insult. But Gio had been too incensed to stop his tirade and, voice raised, had continued on heatedly, "And if you were to step out of it for one minute, you'd realise that it takes two to make a relationship and I'm not interested!"

"Well why not?!" Betty had demanded loudly.

"Because you broke my heart!" His voice, full of raw emotion, had cracked on the word 'my' and he'd hated himself for it. Hated the extent of the hurt and depth of feelings that he'd revealed in those five small words. Hated that he'd felt his eyes fill suddenly.

Hated the expression of dawning comprehension that had slowly appeared on Betty's face.

All this time, all the things he'd said and done and she'd never really had a clue of the full extent of his feelings…and that's what had hurt him the most.

Who knows, if her damned phone hadn't have rung she might have said something worthwhile, but he doubted it. It would probably have just been a fumbled attempt at an apology he hadn't been in any mood to hear at the time anyway.

Naturally, events had overcome them and he'd let himself get drawn back into her world once again. To be honest, it hadn't been as bad as he'd feared and by the time he'd took Betty back to her apartment, his anger had abated somewhat.

She'd finally let him have the cheese for which he was grateful and because of that, he felt he could be charitable enough to at least try and part on reasonable terms. She'd apologised and told him that he was right, that she did live in her own land sometimes.

He'd responded by saying that he'd been stupid to ban her from his life but she'd been insistent that he should have those feelings if that's what he needed...and that's when he'd realised that it really was all over between them. They couldn't even be friends again. Not if he truly wanted to give himself a real chance to get over her.

Amazingly, he'd actually felt his heart physically ache at the knowledge.

Knowing that it'd be the last time he'd ever speak to her, he'd gathered his inner reserves and put on the same brave face he'd been putting on for the past few months as he'd told her that he didn't blame her for choosing herself.

And he didn't; not really. How could you blame someone for trying to find themselves? He was kind of proud in an odd way that he'd been instrumental in her new independence. He'd known along she'd had it in her, it was just a shame she wasn't willing, or able, to share it with him.

Raising the beer bottle to his lips, he took a long swallow before letting his hand drop down again.

He needed to get a grip on his own life now. He'd done the hard part, he'd seen Betty and now he could really move on. He had to get back on track with his own plan. He'd let himself get distracted too, so in one way she'd done him a favour by rejecting him.

Gio snorted aloud and shook his head at his own thoughts. Even now, he was trying to justify her actions…he was really going to have to work on that.

He finished his beer then stood up and took the empty bottle over to the bin. After dropping it in, he made himself something to eat and went back to his chair. He switched on the television but, in truth, he barely registered the programme. His food tasted like cardboard and his head was aching due to all his jumbled thoughts and turbulent emotions.

He raised a hand to his forehead and rubbed it soothingly. Why, oh why had he let himself get in so deep? What an idiot.

Clearing away his dinner, he switched the TV off and got ready for bed. He had an early start the next day and he wanted to get a decent night's sleep.

Climbing under the covers, he let out a long sigh and closed his eyes. Immediately, visions of Betty's smiling face filled his mind but he determinedly pushed them away. He wasn't going to do this to himself anymore. For his own sanity, Betty Suarez was out of his life and she wasn't welcome back.

Not now.

Not ever.

END CHAPTER ONE