Lovino was sitting on the couch, reading a book you had left out the night before. His silence and peace was interrupted when the door burst open. Lovino jumped to his feet in alarm, thinking something was wrong. He spun around to find you and Elizaveta storm in, more or less just you storming in and the Hungarian following but still. You were furious and it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why so Lovino followed, however he stayed out of sight, just in case. If you were in one of your moods again, he didn't want to get in the way like he did last time.
"Don't worry, he's gone!" Liz assured you.
"Ugh! Can you imagine?" you groaned, "He asked me to date him!"
The Hungarian chuckled and shook her head, trying to agree with you so you would calm down. She has listened to you rave and rant all the way to the apartment you shared with Lovino about how horrified that you were that a sleaze from one of your classes had asked you out and had been so certain that you would say yes that he just told you when he would pick you up for your date. You had given some none-too-kind words and in all senses told him to leave you alone with the hint of bodily harm if he refused to comply. Being around Lovino, as much as you were, gave you a colorful array of threats to use against him.
"Guh! Me, the girlfriend, of that boorish brainless-!"
"He seemed pretty convinced you'd say yes," Liz argued.
You scowled. Neither of you noticed Lovino standing in the door way of the kitchen. He merely watched from the shadows, ready to step in if you needed him or step out if you didn't. He would have liked to have believed that you would need him, only him, not that stupid burger munching cousin of yours. Who on earth went around proclaiming that they were a hero? Alfred had a hero complex that was all there was to it. However, this only depressed the Italian man. You spent so much time with your cousin, even going out of your way to make plans with him, completely changing your schedule, just to spend time with him
Not that he was jealous or anything! No! Lovino Vargas was not jealous of that alien obsessed freak who just happened to be your cousin!
"No way! I'd never go out with him!" you snapped.
Liz held up her hands innocently as a sign of universal peace. She knew that you were upset, so naturally, you would lash out. She had taken much worse verbal abuse in her past. You reached into your cupboard to get yourself a drink to calm down. You pulled down a glass and filled it with water from the tap. You inhaled the water and practically slammed the glass down. Maybe you could convince Lovino to let you sample his newest wine. He always gave you tastes as he was brewing. It was his pride and glory the wines. You were the only one he shared it with, for free at least. Others had to pay through the nose on his winery tours. You felt your face grow hot at the thought. He was always doing nice things for you, though he often said it was 'just because' or 'that he wasn't doing it for you' and then he would brush off your appreciation.
"Because you have your eyes set on someone else?" she guessed.
"What?" you asked, "No
"Is that so?" Elizaveta asked coyly.
Lovino could have sworn that the Hungarian woman knew he was there. She was always trying to play match maker with Francis and Kiku. They liked getting pictures of those they got together. Last week, she kept hinting that you and Lovino would make the sweetest couple. But Lovino digressed and kicked her out of the apartment. You didn't love him, you couldn't have. You would have said something by now, right? Besides, he was the brother no one liked out of the two Vargas twins. People were burned off of him the moment he opened his mouth. Feliciano's 'hug therapy' didn't help at all. It only made him even angrier because he felt there was nothing wrong with him. There was just nothing to love about him that was it.
"What about Lovino? He's cute," Elizaveta continued.
"Yeah, drop dead gorgeous," you agreed.
Lovino smiled at your assessment. But he knew that you were just agreeing with her to shut me up. You couldn't have really have thought that. It would have been nice to believe that it really was your opinion of him. But no, he had been off the dating scene because he had fallen for you, though what did he have to offer that others didn't? Italians were known for being good lovers, perhaps even on par with the French. He could cook better than any English dandy. He knew a great deal on wine. But that was it. He couldn't offer you open affections. He was angry a lot. He wasn't as smart as some people. Nor was he as strong.
"But I don't see where you're going with this
"Are you blind, woman? He's head over heels for you and you're the same with him!"
You scowled. Elizaveta had seen through your façade, you knew that she knew this. You knew that it was probably obvious to everyone except for Lovino himself (and the guy who asked you out earlier but he didn't count). You wanted to believe that he would date you, but he had so much to offer the world now. He would soon be off to bigger and better things. Large companies were starting to look at his wines. Any day now, he would be offered that one job that he simply couldn't refuse and he would leave you behind in the dust wondering where your best friend went. It would be that quick. You knew so you stayed away, or at least as much as you could. He was your roommate after all. You lived with him so you had to have some interaction with him.
Elizaveta threw an arm around your shoulders. You shifted uncomfortably under her hold, but she eased you away from the sink and towards the dining room table. You stared at the wood, remembering the day you and Lovino bought it together. You sighed deeply. The two of you had argued for some reason over what kind of table to get, eventually he won because you both went home that night without a table and the next day, the table was sitting in your dining room. You had been so mad at him but you had grown to love that table. The wood was Italian, naturally, more expensive than you could afford on your college budget, but that was when his winery first opened up and it was his first splurge. Lovino was proud of the table and his purchase, as any good man would be.
"What about when he went out with that Spaniard, for a day?" Elizaveta questioned.
"They're just friends."
"Stop changing the subject
So what about when that girl hit on him when you went to the mall? You were steaming for an hour afterwards!"
Your face grew pink. You shook your head, trying to get rid of the blush. If Liz caught it, you knew it would be the end of you. She would tease you about it until the day you died. She would tell Kiku who would tell Francis, who would tell, well, everyone and then Lovino would find out. He was your friend so naturally, he would be bothered by this, so he would leave. Then you would never see him again, unless he made the paper or something or you decided to stalk him on his website. But that would be pathetic, being unable to move on from something like that. You refused to sink that low, ever, even if your life depended on it.
"You were imagining things. I was just tired."
"Or when Chelle from the AV club said she'd date him this morning? You flew off the handle!"
"That's because what she was suggesting was far from dating!" you argued.
Lovino smiled at the thought of you yelling at someone to defend him, though he wasn't there and probably wouldn't meet the Chelle from AV club in his lifetime. You were an independent person, strong willed, albeit shy at times, but he appreciated that in you. He could defend himself to, but sometimes, it was nice to be reassured that he would have someone in his corner should he ever need them to be there for him. Sure, he had Antonio, but that tomato bastardo was only good for few things. You were there for him after his grandpa died, and when they read the will, finding that Feliciano inherited most of what their grandfather had left the two. Feliciano ignored his grandfather's wishes and gave Lovino the land where he then created his winery, but it was still the fact that his brother had to give it to him in the first place that hurt him.
"Plus, I'll let you in on a secret."
"What?" you asked sarcastically.
"He likes you too
"And that, dear Liz, is where you are wrong
Lovino sighed. This was where she would tell Liz what a terrible roommate he was, how she truly didn't like him and how she wanted him gone. Maybe he should just go to his room and lie down? He didn't really want to listen to this. Even his own brother couldn't live with him. He had been rooming alone until he saw you sitting on a park bench one day with a newspaper for apartment ads looking forlorn and depressed. He had no choice but to walk up to you when it started raining. He demanded to know why you were sitting in the rain like an idiot and you just laughed at him. Somehow the conversation led to apartments and he mentioned how he just moved into one and was looking for a roommate a small white lie. He had moved in a year before he met you but did have a spare bedroom that was literally a room full of empty boxes and crap. So you became roommates.
"What's so wrong with him liking you?" Elizaveta snapped.
You gave her a pointed look. She had to have realized by now that Lovino was just out of your league. You were from a blue collar family that had worked your way up to college to become as close to white collar as you could get. He was white collar fed on a silver spoon, though his grandfather was neglectful towards him. He was given whatever he wanted so long as he stayed out of his grandfather's way until the old man passed away, then Lovino and Feliciano took over his restaurant. Lovino got the lands. Feliciano got the restaurant. Both were making something out of being left nothing, aside from money.
"It just doesn't work out that way," you said.
"And why's that?"
You were lost for words. You didn't want to say it out loud, that would mean admitting that you liked him first. You would rather die than say that in front of Elizaveta. You loved her to death but she was a gossip until the very end. Not a single secret told to her was kept, because she viewed it as gossip. She could spread a rumor faster than a cowboy could draw a gun, faster than a wildfire could spread. It was a talent for her, but a curse to those who she spread rumors about. She could ruin someone's reputation faster than the snap of a finger. But she was your friend. She did tend to pull her punches just a little when it came to you only just though
Unless you had an extremely juicy secret. Then you were screwed.
"Because it just can't!" you argued.
"That doesn't make any sense!"
You looked away from her. You got to your feet and walked over to the window, looking out into the city below. You sighed to yourself, wondering how best to put this for her to understand so that she left the topic alone forever. It did need to be put to rest and out of her head. How to make it so that you understood too? He was just too good for you. You had nothing to give him, nothing that he could possibly want aside from the occasional good company; even then he didn't always smile like you wanted him to. You weren't even as pretty as the last girl he dated.
"Did I ever tell you Bella had a crush on him?" you asked, "She liked him a lot
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Elizaveta asked, "You're afraid of hurting her feelings? What about you? Do you like him?"
"What are you getting at?" you snarled, "Are you really going to assume that he likes me?"
"You told me so yourself that he has enough money now to buy his own mansion!" Elizaveta shouted.
Lovino's eyes widened. You and Lovino were good friends but the two of you never got face to face and screamed at one another when they were clearly angry unlike the two girls in the kitchen. You two looked like you were going to get into a cat fight and he was not taking Francis' advice of just sitting there and watching to see if the two of you started tearing at each other's clothes. But what did his finances have to do with anything? Sure, his winery had been booming and he had a huge income because of it but he liked being your roommate. The winery was his pride and joy because it was something that was his and his alone, though he did do business with Feliciano's restaurant and his brother paid handsomely, but Feliciano's restaurant was doing well too, so he could afford the high prices.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"He obviously doesn't want to leave or else he would have by now!"
You flinched and pulled away from the Hungarian. But Liz didn't back down. You and Elizaveta were so close to one another Lovino was afraid we were going to start hitting one another. He was surprised when Elizaveta hugged you tightly. For a moment you were rigid and then you shoulders started to shake. Lovino's eyes widened as he realized that you were crying. But anger flashed through his being. Elizaveta had made you cry. No one got away with that. He felt guilty if he made you cry and he always made up for it by giving you chocolate or something along those lines. It usually worked to help make you happy. If all else failed, he took you to Feliciano's restaurant for dinner, his treat to make up for whatever he did to upset you.
"Isn't it better to find out if he at least feels the same way?" Elizaveta asked, "Isn't it better to love him now, while you have him than to lose him again and never tell him?"
"I don't love him
" You argued weakly, "But he's my best friend
The Hungarian sighed. You were a difficult nut to crack. She was going to have her work cut out for her if she was going to get the two of you together. You refused to admit that you liked Lovino under any circumstances. Lovino refused to admit that he liked you no matter how much he was pressed and prodded about it. You were both living together; continually oblivious to the moves that one puts on the other. She hated cycles like this the friend zone was a terrible place to be, but that was what made pulling the two of you out of the friend zone that much more rewarding. If just nudged in the right direction, Elizaveta was sure the two of you would finally see how much you meant to each other.
"It's a start
Lovino snuck around the kitchen. He opened the front door before closing it, loudly; making sure that everyone knew he was here now. He hated being ignored. He hated going unnoticed. But in this case, he was going to let it slide. Now he just had to pretend like he hadn't heard a single thing about your conversation with Elizaveta. He kicked off his shoes loudly too, not that he would ever tell _____________ he had his shoes on in the house a pet peeve of yours. It was probably why no one thought he was home. Normally, you got home first, after calling out a reminder for him to take off his shoes when he got in.
"I'm-a home!" he called.
He could hear someone scrambling in the kitchen and he assumed it was you, trying to make everything look natural before he walked in so he wouldn't be worried. He walked in casually, as if he didn't hear your entire conversation or your blatant rejection of his feelings. He knew he wasn't good enough for you. He had a horrible temper and he cursed all the time. You deserved someone who wasn't going to give you a lashing when you did something nice for him. You gave him a shaky smile as he entered. Neither woman knew he was there after all because judging by the surprised look on her face, Elizaveta hadn't expected him either.
"Y-You're home early," You said.
"We-a finished early," Lovino responded.
A small voice in the back of his head told him to be more affectionate towards you, and then perhaps you may realize that he liked you. But another part of him argued that it might scare you away. Also, Elizaveta was right there. She might have taken it the wrong way, but he shrugged it off. He didn't care. He would rather try and not know and he was going to tell you by the end of the night regardless of what happened. It was his solemn vow. Still, being openly affectionate wasn't really his thing, especially when someone was watching. Regardless of the voice in the back of his head he walked over to you and put his hand on yours. It wasn't anything much but it was the most he could manage at the moment.
"Are you okay?" he asked, "Not that I care or anything but-"
You laughed, though it was a hollow and fake laugh that even you knew that he had spotted as such. He lived with you! He knew when you were depressed. He knew when you were trying to hide things from him. If he didn't, then what kind of roommate was he? He was a great roommate. You had been lucky that he even offered to let you room with him. He could easily afford the place on his own (he could afford a mansion on his own) but he had wanted you around for some reason. Yet you pulled your hand away from his. Lovino frowned. He was trying, but it wasn't working. That didn't mean he could give up.
"Just some guy giving me a hard time in class!" you said, "Nothing to worry about though."
"Do you want-a me to speak with him?" Lovino asked.
"No," you said quickly.
Elizaveta sent you a look and Lovino could tell it could pertain to the argument from earlier the one he wasn't supposed to be there to hear, the one pertaining him and how you felt about him. Lovino ignored the look for now. He wasn't supposed to see it anyways. He put a hand to your face when he noticed something out of place. Your eyes were bloodshot. Your eyes widened. You knew he spotted the tears. You should have run some water over your face, claimed you just came in from running with Liz, but then how were you 'sweaty' and she wasn't? You bit your lip as your mind scrambled for a lie to tell him for your excuse.
"Did he-a make you cry?"
Lovino knew better. He knew you were lying, just as he was. But you didn't know that. He slowly removed his hand from your face. He was defeated for now. He would have to be more affectionate later, when Elizaveta wasn't around. She was probably going to tell Francis and Kiku later, but for now, he would just enjoy what he could. If Antonio found out, then his social life would practically be ruined from now to eternity. The Spaniard would tease him until the very day that he died. That was just how Antonio was, but you came first. Besides, you had mentioned someone at school giving you a hard time. He had to focus on that.
"You know I'll kick that bastardo's ass right?" he asked.
But I think I set him straight," You said.
Lovino frowned at that. He wanted some excuse to look good in front of you, to look out for you, to show you that he cared. Even if it was something small, anything was better than nothing. If he could do it by beating the tar and feathers out of some punk who thought he could force you to date him, he would do it. Granted, sheer strength was not one of Lovino's strong suits. He was better when he had a weapon in his hands. But for you, he would try to do anything. He would deny it until his last breath, but the thought was still there.
"What's that supposed to mean?" You demanded.
"Nothing," Lovino countered, "Are we gonna make-a dinner or what?"
Liz and I were going to make dinner. Feliciano and Roderich are coming over for dinner later
"Great the potato bastardo's third party
" Lovino grumbled.
You frowned. He had been referring to Ludwig's cousin Roderich. He did hate the Germans with such a passion, though you had no idea why. Before you could ask why he was so upset about it. He walked out of the kitchen and went to the living room, where he had been before. You frowned. You had told him about this last week. Elizaveta was your friend and you were congratulating her on a promotion she got at work with the newspaper she worked for. He grabbed your book once again and began to digest new stories, wishing that he could be as lucky as half of the heroes in the story to get the girl of his dreams. No wonder you liked the book so much. You wanted to be like the princesses.
Dinner was an awkward affair one of the worst and most unsociable events you had ever been to in your entire life. You had no idea what had gotten into your roommate and it worried you. Lovino had yelled at Feliciano for small things, like hugging you for too long, for not shutting up in general or for spilling sauce on you. After the sauce incident, Liz decided it was best that Feliciano, Roderich and her left. You went upstairs to change shirts so hopefully you could get the red stain out of the fabric. You had just gotten out of the shower and changed, holding your stained shirt in your hand when you heard a knock on your door. Three knocks in repetition it was Lovino. You had a code worked out so you would know who it was who knocked. Three knocks meant Lovino.
"Give me a minute!" you called back.
You had wrapped a towel around your shoulders. Your new clothes were pajama pants with tomatoes all over them and a shirt that had been styled to look like a tomato, where it was mostly red except for the collar where it was supposed to look like the stem of the tomato. Antonio had gotten them for you for your birthday. Whenever you seemed to wear them Lovino was quiet and withdrawn though, for some reason. Perhaps it was because he liked tomatoes and saw you dressed as one? You had no idea. People could be so weird at times. You stepped out of the bathroom. Lovino's eyes couldn't meet yours. You frowned. He was probably just embarrassed that his brother spilled the sauce all over you. Liz was wrong about how he liked you. He had to have been.
"____________, I want to
I didn't mean
"It's okay, Lovi," you said.
His head jerked up upon hearing his pet name the one Antonio used for him and the one you also called him. He swallowed thickly. You just smiled at him. Dinner hadn't gone exactly how you planned but really, with Feliciano, how was it supposed to go? Nine dinners out of ten, you ended up wearing something because of the ditzy Italian. You waited for him to say something, because you knew he had problems expressing himself sometimes. You were patient enough. You sometimes had a short fuse like he did, but you two always made up in the end. That's what made your friendship something good, something strong.
"Listen, ___________, maybe
this isn't working out
"You, me, being roommates
We should just
Maybe look for-"
"Why are you saying this?" you demanded, "It was just a dinner party! Feliciano has spilled worse on me!"
Lovino grabbed you by the forearms, staring intently at you this time. The look in his eyes was just pure agony, as if this were hurting him. But if that were the case, then why was he doing it? What had you done to make him believe that kicking you out was a good idea? You had been a good roommate. You barely complained about things he did, aside from the shoe thing, but there really wasn't much that you and Lovino argued about. It was always minor things like what team should win the football tournaments (otherwise known as soccer) or what tomato tasted better in which pasta sauce. It was stupid stuff.
"It's not that! I like you more than just friends!"
Do?" you asked.
Romano slapped his hands over his mouth out of the sheer horror of what you had just found out. This had ruined everything. He had said too much. But you didn't care. You seized the tie around his neck and pulled him close. A hot blush crept over his face as you stepped close. He could smell your [favorite scent] shampoo on your skin as you leaned close. He then noticed the hot blush on your cheeks. You were embarrassed because of your own bold actions but his heart pounded in his chest, hoping that you could feel something for him too. But as he looked into your eyes, his heart skipped a beat.
like you too
You pulled him in for a kiss.