Chapter 2

Betty hurried down the corridor of Gio's building and out into the sunlight. Pulling out her phone, she rang for a cab then noticed that there was a voicemail message. She dialled in and felt faint as her boyfriends voice came over the line.

"Henry! Oh God, what am I going to tell him?" she wondered aloud.

In truth, she hadn't even thought about him until she'd heard his message. How awful was that? Shouldn't the first thing on her mind be Henry? Surely if she loved him as much as she thought she did, she wouldn't have even slept with Gio?

She listened to the message again and bit her lip as she realised what he was saying. Apparently, he was happy to forgive her behaviour at the club the previous evening. She abruptly cut off the recording and promptly deleted it. It irked her that he saw it as her fault. How many other times had she apologised for something she hadn't done or said?

Her cab arrived and she got in. All the way home she thought about her relationship with Henry and she began to realise that it was more than a little one-sided. A trait that had gotten worse as he prepared to leave to be near his yet to be born offspring.

She eventually reached home and went in quietly. Luckily, her father was out shopping and Justin was at a friend's house. Unfortunately, her sister, Hilda, was waiting to pounce almost as soon as she got through the door, firing question after question until Betty had to shout to make herself heard. Naturally, her sister wasn't one to be silent for long.

"Aye, Betty, go and get changed and I'll make us a nice cup of coffee and then you can tell me everything!" Hilda directed as she pushed her sister towards the stairs. "Don't be long."

Contrary to Hilda's request, Betty took her time. She showered and changed her clothes then headed back downstairs. She wasn't looking forward to the coming conversation, especially since Hilda was the one who'd actually been on date with Gio the previous evening. As if she didn't feel bad enough already…

Hilda fussed around her like a mother hen then settled her down at the kitchen table so that they could talk. Betty was reluctant at first but the whole sorry story soon came tumbling out.

Surprisingly, Hilda wasn't judgemental. She told Betty that she would have attempted to stop her but she never got the chance as they'd left while she was in the restroom.

"I asked around and a security guy told me he'd seen you two leave together, so I decided to go home."

"I'm sorry, Hilda. You were Gio's date, not me, and I just took off with him. I still can't believe I did that!"

She waved away Betty's apology and shrugged her shoulders uncaringly.

"I could tell Gio liked you and not me. He upped his game when you and Henry turned up at the club." She let out a sigh. "I hope that I get a guy who likes me that much one day."

Betty let out a snort of derision. "Gio doesn't like me," she refuted. "I was just another conquest to him."

Hilda laughed at her younger sister's blinkeredness. "Honestly, Betty, if you can't see how much Gio adores you, then you need stronger glasses."

Betty stared at her in confusion then shook her head. "No, it doesn't matter anyway, I have Henry."

Her sister looked at her sympathetically. "What are you going to do? Tell him?"

Betty sighed. "If I do, we'll split up."

"Then don't tell him. You only have a few more weeks, why spoil it?"

Betty nodded and stood up. "I think I'll go and lay down for a while. Maybe get some sleep and clear my head a bit."

Hilda watched her sister leave and let out a long sigh. If it were down to her, she'd get Betty to dump Henry and go to Gio. Unfortunately, all she could do was sit and watch from the sidelines and hope that Betty did what was best for her for once.

Betty thought long and hard about her decision and called Henry that evening. She arranged to go over there to talk. It wasn't a long discussion. As soon as she saw him, she knew. The feelings she'd long nurtured seemed to dissipate leaving only the warm affection of friendship in its wake. She just didn't love him anymore and she realised she hadn't for quite a while.

That didn't make telling him about Gio any easier though.

As she'd suspected, Henry wanted nothing more to do with her and she accepted his choice with a sad nod of her head. At least it'd be easier for them both when he finally moved to Tucson.

That just left Gio. She wasn't sure what to do about him. Her feelings were a jumbled mass of contradictions where he was concerned and it'd take far longer than one day to untangle that mess…but first of all she had to decide if she even really wanted to.

**************************************

Gio sat on his couch and rubbed his eyes tiredly. It had been a long day and he was pleased to be finally home. A week had gone by since he'd last seen Betty and, as usual, he wondered what she was doing.

"Probably with Egg Salad obediently doing whatever he says," he muttered sardonically to himself.

A sudden knock at the door made him jump and he got up to see who was there. Opening the door, he couldn't have been more shocked if Marc had been standing there in a woman's cheerleading outfit…pom-poms and all.

"Hi, Gio," Betty greeted with a shy smile.

"Betty!" he exclaimed, his initial joy rapidly replaced by anger as he added bitterly, "What are you doing here? I thought you never wanted to see me again…ever!"

"I'm sorry I said that," she apologised quickly before hesitating a moment then asking, "Can I come in? I-I'd like to talk."

Gio stared at her for a few seconds then stood back to allow her entry. She walked in with a grateful smile then turned to look at him. He shut the door and gestured to the couch.

"Sit down," he said as he stood awkwardly nearby. "Do you want a drink?"

"No!" Betty refused firmly. "No more alcohol, thank you. I think I had more than enough last time."

There was a slight pause then Gio ventured warily, "I meant a coffee or something."

"Oh! I'm sorry, I-I didn't realise…" she spluttered, feeling her face grow hot. This wasn't going quite how she hoped. Regaining some equilibrium she replied, "Coffee would be good, thanks."

Gio nodded then walked off to the kitchen and began to prepare their drinks. He took his time over the task as he tried to get his head around the fact that Betty was in his apartment again. She was obviously after something. Either there was a problem at work that she needed his help with or she had come to make sure that her secret was still safe.

He was betting on a work problem. Must be pretty bad one too for her to actually come and see him after what had happened.

He switched on the coffee maker and let out a sigh as he thought back to the week before. For all his denial the last time they'd seen each other, there had been a small part of him that had wondered whether her accusation that he'd taken advantage had been true. Although he knew he wouldn't have made a move if he'd been sober, he wasn't so sure he could trust himself around Betty while drunk.

The problem was, she was the first woman in a long time that he'd found both attractive and stimulating. Her feisty nature that seemed to emerge whenever he was around was a turn on both mentally and physically – it was a heady combination that he seriously doubted he would've been able to ward off once his control had been dulled by alcohol.

The mere thought of it had sickened him and it had been a hellish few hours until, one by one, pieces of his memory had returned. He still didn't remember everything from that night but once he'd recalled the moment Betty had ripped open his shirt and then kissed him passionately, it really didn't matter. To his immense relief, not to mention shock, that was when he'd first realised that Betty was, in fact, the instigator.

He'd even tried to stop her; if spouting a few token words of resistance that he knew he hadn't really meant counted as that. Truth was, he'd wanted her as much as she'd apparently wanted him…well, when she was drunk at least.

All in all, it hadn't happened the way he would have liked, but he'd still cherish what sparse memories he'd regained. For while he had no misconception that Betty viewed the night as them merely having sex, he knew that, on his side at least, he'd made love.

It was just so typical that he'd fall for a girl who'd never feel the same.

Unable to delay going back to the lounge, and Betty, any longer, Gio drew a breath and braced himself. Turning around, he stopped suddenly as he found himself face to face with the object of his repressed affections.

Standing only a couple of feet away, her hands were clasped tightly together as she bit her lip anxiously and fidgeted nervously from one foot to the other.

Gio released his breath and felt his stomach drop. Judging by her agitated demeanour, he'd been right. Betty had obviously come to him for help…

"I've broken up with Henry," she blurted out suddenly, almost shouting it in her eagerness to share her news.

Gio froze and stared at her blankly. His brain couldn't seem to process what she'd actually said. "What?"

"Henry!" she repeated as she took a small step closer to him. "We're not together anymore. He really needs to concentrate on Charlie and the baby and what with us…" she paused and unclasped her hands to gesture between them. Cheeks flushing slightly, she looked down and finished awkwardly, "You know…it-it just wasn't going to work anyway."

Gio stared at her downbent head in surprise. What was she trying to say? Dared he hope that she actually felt something for him after all?

"Did you tell him what happened between us?" he questioned softly. Off her nod he pressed, "But why? I wouldn't have said anything, you know that."

She looked up at him then and nodded again. "I do know," she assured him quickly as she took another step towards him.

They were close now and she could feel her heart begin to beat just that little bit faster.

"That night…the memories of being with you…how I felt…they just made me realise my feelings for Henry weren't quite as strong as I thought they were," she admitted quietly. "He was angry when I told him but I didn't want any lies between us. I hope that one day we can be friends again."

Gio swallowed hard and nodded agreeably, although he doubted a friendship with Henry would be likely. There was a moment's silence then he asked the question that had been rattling around in his brain from the second she'd explained her reasons for the break up.

"So…where does that leave us?"

The query hung heavy in the air with Gio practically holding his breath awaiting her answer. He was pretty certain that she had some feelings for him but wasn't sure what they were exactly or even if she wanted to act on them or not. Her next words didn't help either…

"I don't know," she confessed looking down again. "I've been thinking about it all week and I'm not sure what's the best thing to do."

Gio closed his eyes and felt his stomach sink as he listened to her talk. He knew he shouldn't have got his hopes up.

"I mean, should I just kiss you now or rip your top off again? I can't quite decide…"

Gio opened his eyes in shock and found Betty grinning up at him unabashedly. Seconds later, he reached out and pulled her into his arms. She just had time to let out a little 'Oh!' of surprise before his lips were on hers, kissing her deeply. When they broke apart, it took them a few moments to catch their breath.

"Are you sure this is what you want, Betty?" Gio asked suddenly. "I'm not like Egg Salad. I won't stand quietly by and watch you wander aimlessly through life. I'm going to challenge you and push your buttons and make damn sure you get that dream of yours."

She smiled back and nodded. "This is exactly what I want," she affirmed with certainty. "I want you for you, Gio. It's taken me a while to realise that but you're what I need. You bring out something in me I didn't even know was there…and I like it. I like me when I'm with you. No-one's ever made me feel like that before."

Gio was amazed and more than a little flattered at her admission.

"I won't let you down, B," he promised her huskily. "You can always count on me, no matter what."

"I know I can," she replied.

Still entwined in each other's arms, Gio placed a gentle kiss on the tip of her nose and pulled back to look at her with a smile.

"Why don't you go and sit down and I'll finish this coffee," he suggested as he began to pull away.

Betty wasn't that keen to let him go however.

"I'm not really that thirsty," she told him with a coy smile as she ran her hands slowly down his t-shirt clad chest.

Gio chuckled then drew in a sharp breath as her fingers slipped under his top and made contact with his sensitive skin.

"Neither am I," he admitted chokingly as her hands roamed adventurously over his back then downwards to his butt.

Before she could reach her destination, however, Gio suddenly bent down and lifted her clean off her feet. Her yelp of surprise quickly turned to laughter as he walked straight into his bedroom and dumped her unceremoniously onto the bed.

Whipping off his t-shirt, he stared down at her flushed face with a wicked grin and a glint in his eye. "I think it's my turn to do some shirt ripping," he growled sexily just before he pounced.

As the sound of material tearing sliced across the room, Betty's shriek of surprise quickly turned into laughter that gave way to heavy sighs and breathy moans.

This time their night together would be one they'd remember for the rest of their lives.

THE END