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Twisted Hearts

By:Cora Reilly

Gemma 10, Savio 14

Some people don’t believe in love at first sight.

They say it’s only lust.

The first time I saw Savio Falcone, I fell for him, literally and figuratively, and not in lust either because I didn’t know what lust was. I fell in love with a boy I couldn’t have, not in a way my family would approve.

Stretched out on my belly on the sofa, the Jonas Brothers blared from my earbuds, gearing up for the chorus. Moving my legs in rhythm to the music, I sang the first line of the chorus at the top of my lungs. A shadow fell over my magazine. Annoyance burst through me. I hated it when Diego spied on me. My head shot up and a little scream shot out of me. A boy leaned over me, his elbows braced on the backrest of the sofa and a smirk on his face.

Trying to jerk upright, I tumbled right off the sofa and landed in an undignified heap on the floor.

The boy walked around and stood over me, the grin becoming wider.

His lips moved, but Nick Jonas was screaming into my ears. The boy bent down and tugged the buds out of my ears, dousing my surroundings in quiet.

“So, you’re Gemma. Nice singing,” he said.

I flushed, still unmoving and silent. I had a nice voice, but I hadn’t been trying to sing well. I had screamed the song, trying to let off steam. He wasn’t complimenting me. The mocking twinkle in his eyes made that very clear.

Despite his rudeness, I couldn’t deliver a sharp comeback. Because this boy was so beautiful it hurt looking at him. He was tall and muscled, with eyes the color of dark chocolate and perfectly styled, charcoal black hair. All sharp cheekbones, strong jaw, and arrogant smiles. Even his clothes looked out of this world. Black leather jacket, low cut dark blue jeans, tight white shirt showing off the outlines of a six-pack, and white sneakers. I’d only seen guys like him in the girls’ magazines I read in secret.

The same magazine he was picking up from the sofa and reading.

Mortification filled me.

One of his eyebrows—and even that was perfect—rose. “If you want to find out in a few years, let me know.”

The smirk.

My lips fell open as a flock of butterflies fluttered wildly in my belly. I clenched involuntarily at the unfamiliar sensation. Diego sauntered over to us, looking from me on the floor to the boy and the magazine in his hands.

Diego’s olive eyes, the same color as mine, flashed with annoyance as he snatched the magazine from the boy. “Gemma, you aren’t supposed to read this shit! Nonna is going to wash your mouth with soap if she finds out.”

“She only threatens to wash my mouth with soap if I say bad words, not if I read them.”

“It’s worse. You’ll be grounded for weeks,” Diego muttered. He scanned the article I’d been reading, and his face turned red. Then he ripped the magazine apart. If Mom hadn’t confiscated my phone only a few days ago, I would have taken photos of the pages like I’d done in the past. “Did Antonia give this shit to you again?”

Of course, Toni had given it to me. She was allowed to read girls’ magazines. Her dad was cool. I jutted my chin out. I wasn’t a snitch. Noticing the boy’s eyes on me, I glanced toward him, feeling my cheeks throb with embarrassment.

“What’s the problem?” he asked curiously.

Diego looked embarrassed. Why was he acting strangely? With Mick, he was never that awkward. Who was this boy? “My sister isn’t supposed to read rags.”

“Nonna doesn’t want you to read them either.”

The boy frowned. “Why not?”

Diego actually blushed. Now I really wanted to know who the pretty boy was. “Because Gemma isn’t supposed to know about these things.”

“These things,” the boy repeated.

Diego lowered his voice. “Kissing and stuff.”

The boy burst out laughing. “Don’t tell me you don’t know about the birds and the bees?”

Despite his mocking, I wanted to smile. How could anyone be this pretty?

He looked me in the eye before he grinned at Diego. “Do I need to have the talk with you?”

Diego looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him. I rarely managed to embarrass him. This boy needed to teach me how he did it. “I know how it works, but my sister isn’t supposed to.”

“You aren’t supposed to either.”

Diego glowered. “I’m a boy. Dad talked to me.”

“Oh man,” the boy said, chuckling.

Suddenly, Diego’s expression darkened. “We honor our traditions. You should too, even if you don’t believe in them.”

“Was that what you were doing when you were thrusting your tongue down Dakota’s throat? Honoring your traditions?”

“You kissed a girl?” I blurted.

Diego sent me a look demanding I shut up.

“Nonna wants us to wait until marriage!”

That seemed to be the last straw. The boy keeled over, bracing his hands on his thighs and roared with laughter. “Don’t tell me you’ve never gone further than kissing, Diego?”

Diego glanced at me, mortified, then gripped the boy’s arm. “Let’s go up to my room. Gemma will keep bugging us if we stay down here.”

The boy shook his head in disbelief. “Whatever.” He followed Diego to the stairs.

“Our house is nowhere near as splendid as your mansion,” Diego said. Was he embarrassed of our home?

“So what?” the boy said. “Before we came to Vegas, my brothers and I shared one room.”

He was perfect. The butterflies in my stomach kept doing their little dance and I liked the sensation—a lot.

“What’s your name?” I blurted before they went up.

“Savio Falcone,” he said, giving me a grin.

Flutter. Flutter. A riot of butterflies.

“And I meant what I said. If you want to find out in a few years, come to me.”

It took me a moment to understand what he was talking about: the article.

Diego looked between his friend and me, frowning. “Come on, man.” They disappeared upstairs.

Savio Falcone.

Diego had told me that he was friends with a Falcone but I thought he was pulling my leg. Not in a million years would I have considered this pretty boy a Falcone. The way people whispered in fear about them, I’d expected someone scary and monstrous in appearance.

I had really talked to a Falcone… and embarrassed myself.

My cheeks were still burning thinking of my undignified fall and the article Savio had caught me reading.

How to tell if your boyfriend is a good kisser?

I’d never kissed a boy and I wouldn’t. Not until my wedding day and no one but my husband.

Right then, I promised myself that Savio Falcone would be the one.





Gemma 13, Savio 17



Rubbing my eyes, I trudged into the kitchen and straight toward the fridge. I didn’t remember the last time I’d spent a Sunday morning in bed. Nonna always chased us out of bed at sunrise so we could make ourselves presentable for church. I’d faked period cramps this morning because I’d spent half the night texting with Toni and had been too tired to go to church, and worse the potluck afterward. Last time I’d argued for more than an hour with Nonna before she’d let me leave early so I could meet Toni. Mom and Nonna always thought I needed every moment at church functions to cancel out the fact that I was a girl who loved martial arts.

“Meow,” a deep voice said right behind me.

I jumped in the air with a screech, then whirled around and threw the milk carton at the intruder.

Savio ducked and the carton hit the wall, only to burst with a splash. Milk flew everywhere and the soggy carton dropped to the ground.

“You’ll have to work on that aim, Kitty.” Dark chocolate eyes shone with amusement and that infamous arrogant smile twisted his lips.

My cheeks flamed as I followed his gaze to my pajamas. A tank top and shorts with Hello Kitty all over them and that wasn’t even the worst. I wasn’t wearing a bra and unlike many of my friends, I already had breasts and needed a bra. I jerked my arms up and crossed them over my chest. Was this the punishment for lying to get out of church? Nonna would certainly say so. It was too harsh of a punishment. I’d light up two more candles next time.

Savio smirked, but he looked away from my chest. He didn’t look anywhere near my body. Instead, he sauntered over to the burst milk carton. “I always thought it was an urban legend that kitties loved milk. You prove me wrong.”

I wanted to die on the spot. Of course, while I was in embarrassing pajamas, Savio wore his usual Instagram model-worthy outfit. Ripped black jeans and tight white shirt accentuating his perfect body. “What are you doing here?” My attempt to sound flippant turned into a nervous mutter. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep my composure around him. I wasn’t the only one, though. Almost every girl I knew had a crush on Savio. He was tall, muscled, and a beast in the cage, and if rumors were to be believed, in other areas as well. Embarrassment washed through me. That wasn’t something I was supposed to know anything about. If it was up to my family, I’d still believe storks dropped off babies on the porch. Toni was a life saver.

“Diego and I are watching my last fight.”

“Oh, really? I hear you beat up your opponent pretty badly,” I said, feeling more at ease talking about this and glad to finally get the chance to do so. I only wished I was allowed to actually watch one of his fights.

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