18

1.5K 77 21
                                    

HANA

8 hours of nonstop painting.

With everybody out, I had no one to stop me from working, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, I haven't had much to think about except finishing this mural.

Morelli slipped into my mind a little more than I'd like, but those thoughts were easily subdued.

It's almost 2 AM when the team comes back from their case. They had perfect timing because I had just finished the last of the stars when Dani texted me they were on their way.

I had some time to clean up all my supplies so it looks neat. I stand in front of it with a never-leaving smile on my face. My first mural. One of my biggest milestones as an artist.

"Han?" I hear Lina's voice down the hallway.

I jump from the sudden noise. "Wait!" Almost sprinting past the corner, I see most of the team heading my way. The first person I notice is Morelli, who stands taller than everyone else. His eyes are already on me. I smile again.

"I finished the mural."

Colton tries to turn his head to see but I interrupt him. "Stop that! Cover your eyes, I want you guys to see it as a group."

He almost pouts but he complies like the rest of the group. All except Morelli who keeps his eyes on me.

Close your eyes.

He flashes a grin but inevitably listens. The sound of my heels clicking against the marble floors lets them know to follow. When everybody is settled in front of the wall, I can't help but smile again.

"Alright, take a look." I inhale a deep breath as they open their eyes. I hear gasps, and holy shits, and I feel like I'm beaming from ear to ear. I admire the mural with them, paying attention to the tiny things that wouldn't matter if they weren't there. But the fact that they are there makes it even better.

You can see people in the building windows, the stars look like they're sparkling, and the lightposts cast shadows on residents walking on the sidewalk. My favorite detail is a lady taking her dog on a walk. AKA, Beau and I painted in black shadows.

My face hurts from grinning, but I can't stop it. Almost three months of working on this and I don't regret it at all. I've made the closest friendships I've had since grade school while working on this piece.

I've fallen in love with one of my art pieces. For many reasons other than it's beautiful. I can hear my friends complimenting everything they can see, it echoes in my head. The only feeling in my mind is bliss.

Until a daunting thought falls in place.

I won't be able to just visit here anymore. I don't have a reason to. I probably won't see the team as much as I do now because they already don't have a lot of free time.

"Hana." A deep voice pulls me out of my never ending thoughts. I barely flinch and my eyes whip to where I heard the voice. Morelli.

A sense of warmth flows over my body as he smiles at me. It's a smile I rarely see, it's subtle on his lips. It's the type that makes the brown in his eyes warmer.

He's so far, I realize. We're on each end of the group. The rest of the team walks closer to the wall to inspect my work, which just leaves me with Morelli.

I lean on the wall parallel to the mural, my back feeling cool against it. He copies my movements, but he also takes two long strides closer to me. We're almost shoulder to shoulder so I have to crane my neck to see what he's saying.

He looks down at me. I'm proud of you.

I grin. I know.

To save my neck, I face forward again, my hard work on full display for me. Dexter turns around to face us, a look of glee on his face. "We're gonna order dinner. You guys want anything?"

I shrug, "I'll have whatever." Out of the corner of my eye, I see Morelli nod his head towards me, as if saying, 'what she said'. Dexter nods, and the whole crew disappears upstairs without us.

"Hana," he says again. My name sounds like a harmony when it comes from his lips. "Tell me what's wrong."

I exhale audibly. "I don't like the fact that this is probably one of my last times coming here."

His body tenses from beside me, so much that I feel like he might snap. He pushes himself off the wall and turns to look straight at me. "What do you mean?"

"I can't visit anymore without a valid reason. I'll probably get my associate's pass revoked, which'll be very sad- I might shed a tear." I shrug, my smile faded.

"Why wouldn't you be able to visit?"

I roll my eyes at him, mimicking the 'you look like an idiot' look that he always gives me. "You really think they'll let me into this place when I have nothing to do here? The most I'll be is a distraction, and I don't want to distract you guys from catching murderers."

"Who the hell is 'they'?"

I think for a long second. I narrow my eyes at the ground, a frown pulling at the corner of my mouth. "I don't know... Iris? Whoever is above you, who pulls all the strings, makes all the calls."

"Cara mia," he says softly, the Italian passing by me, "There is no one who makes all the calls other than me."

My gaze darts from the marble to his eyes. I almost squint trying to read him, but eventually I see it. You're not leaving us that easily.

Something twinkles in the darkness of his eyes. You're not leaving me that easily.

I know, I look back at him, a bright smile on my face. A huge weight is lifted off my lungs. "So I won't have my associate pass revoked?"

He shakes his head, a grin playing on his features. He's so pretty when he smiles, I think to myself. I could spend hours painting a portrait of him without getting bored.

"If I painted another mural here, would it keep that smile on your face?"

He glances at me, and without hesitation, he replies. "You could do anything and it would make me smile."

Why does he always answer so perfectly?

"Noted, Morelli. I'll be sure to use it later."

He demonstrates his earlier words, his smile visible in the dim lights of this hallway. It makes me want to melt into the floor and never come back up. Unless I can't see his smile from down there, then I'll come back.

I tuck my hands into my jean pockets and stare at the 2D buildings in front of me. "Y'know I thought I'd hate you when I first saw you. You make very bad first impressions."

I don't see his reaction but I can hear his shoulders shrug, the fabric of his black button up rubbing against the wall. "Most people dislike me at first glance. They end up not caring enough to change their opinion afterwards."

I furrow at that, "How do you work with the police if they hate you?"

"I scare them into submission."

I accidentally snort, but quickly cover my mouth with my hand. Out of my peripheral vision, I see him tilt his head towards me. I look back at him, almost wincing at the honesty that's coming out of my mouth, "Sorry, it's hard to see you as scary in any way."

"That's for the better." He smiles, and I have to fight back the urge to do the same. I never want to leave his view when he looks at me like this. Like I'm the only one in this whole building, this whole world.

Somehow, I forget what day it is, and I bask in the glory that is being in Luca Morelli's presence. Getting lost in his eyes is like a safe place for me to hide in.

And I never want to leave.

CluelessWhere stories live. Discover now