"I-I'm so sorry, Toni," you whispered, stepping back and loosening your grip on his shirt, looking up at him with apologetic eyes. "He needs me," you sighed softly, pulling your hand away.
"N-no! Mi corazon!" Antonio shook his head like a spoiled child, stepping forward and capturing your hand again, holding it against his chest as he looked into your eyes longingly. "I need you too..."
You just stood there, wide-eyed. Antonio and Lovino were your best friends, but it was Antonio who you could open up to, it was Antonio who opened up to you. So, you did not pull away again.
"[Name]..." Antonio sighed softly, seeing the shocked look on your face. "Alright..." He nodded, slowly letting go of your hand as he made to turn around and pick up the tray with his freehand. "Go to him."
"W-wait!" You blurted out before you could stop yourself, squeezing his hand tightly before he could let go. He looked over his shoulder at you with big green eyes. "I'll stay..."
"..." Antonio looked past you at the entrance of the cafe. "And Lovi?"
"I want... to stay," you said, unsure at first, but you looked over your shoulder and saw that Lovino was long gone. "With you."
"Alright, chica," Antonio nodded, pulling you to his side and wrapping his arm around your waist as he picked up the tray. "Stay with me then."
"Okay... I will," you gave a light nod with a low sigh.
"Come on, mi corazon, let's go!" Antonio said, back to being cheerful. Instantly, he was back to being his happy Toni self.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" You laughed, his contagious smile pushing everything that just happened to the back of your mind... for now.
Antonio carried the tray through the cafe and to the kitchen and you followed closely at his heels. He let go of your hand and you hopped up onto the counter, watching him clean the kitchen.
"Say, Toni, are we going to be here the entire night?" You asked, looking across the kitchen at him and definitely not staring at his rear...
"No, no, of course not!" Antonio chuckled, making his way over to you and sliding his hands along the counter, his arms on either side of you.
"So, where are you going after this?" You asked, leaning in until your foreheads touched and your lips were just millimeters apart. The two of you looked into each other's eyes with playful gazes.
"Home," Antonio grinned, lifting his hand to the back of your neck and pulling your head over his shoulder, "and you're coming with me," he whispered softly in your ear.
"Y-yeah, okay," you nodded, your cheeks heating up a little. "Am I staying the night, too?"
"Si, if you want," Antonio nodded, his warmth breath tickling the side of your neck. "I have something for us to do tonight, too..." By now, you were blushing furiously, even though you knew that wasn't what he meant.
Lovino and Antonio were your best friends but you could only ever open up to Antonio and Antonio only ever opened up to you. That was your friendship: a little bit of playful flirting, a little bit of harmless teasing and a lot of intense trust.
"O-okay, and what would that be?" You asked, lifting your hand to the back of his head and stroking his hair as you felt his lips on your ear.
"You like horror movies, don't you, [Name]?" Antonio asked, slowly pulling his head away to look into your eyes.
Truth be told, you only liked that you could cuddle Antonio while watching the horror movies. Whether you were at his house or he was at yours, you could always fall asleep in his arms and he would never let go until the next morning. He knew you were scared of horror movies, but he still assumed that you liked them instead of him.
"Oh, uh, yeah!" You nodded with an awkward, forced smile.
"Si! That's good! Because, tonight, we're going on a tour in a haunted castle!" Antonio said so excitedly with a big, cheerful grin on his face. You could not help but genuinely smile back.
"Great," you sighed softly, combing your fingers through his hair and slowly letting your fingertips slide down his face. "Is it real?" You asked, gently caressing his cheek and he chuckled softly, letting you.
"No," he murmured, shaking his head. "It's still scary, though," he shrugged.
"Fine," you sighed again, hopping off of the counter and into his arms. He hugged you around the waist, holding you off the ground. "When do we go?" You asked as he gently put you down on your feet.
"Right now, if you want!"
You could hear the frightened screams of people in the castle, all the way from inside the car. You turned your head to look up at Antonio with wide eyes.
"Are you sure we can't go to your place, Toni?" You asked, faking a yawn. "I'm really, reeeaaally tired!"
"Si, chica, but if you are good, we can go after," Antonio said with a playful wink, grinning down at you. You frowned.
"Whaaat? Really?" You shook your head, folding your arms across your chest. "I refuse to go in there."
"Mi corazon... If you come with me now... We can cuddle without a horror movie later," Antonio suggested and that frown on your face quickly faded.
It was as if he knew you would like that. That triumphant grin on his face made your heart race. You couldn't tell if that was good or bad.
"Just... hurry up so we can get home," you sighed, reluctantly opening the car door and stepping out. You looked up at the castle with wide eyes and stood there, frozen.
"T-Toni... D-do we have to?" You asked as you stepped back, jumping as you bumped into someone and their arms wrapped around you securely.
"Si, [Name], we do," Antonio teased softly in your ear and you pouted. "I want to cuddle later..." You blushed furiously, suddenly tensing up in his arms.
"Y-yeah, okay, let's go," you nodded as you took his hand, pulling him across the parking lot and up the stone stairs.
By the time you reached the top of the stairs, you froze again, not able to take another step forward. You knew the castle wasn't actually haunted, but your mind was against you and assured you that it was.
"This is going to be so fun!" Antonio said so cheerfully as he led you through the huge wooden doors and into the dark castle. Oh, your nerves...
The black marble floors were dull and the staircase was old. The people around you were all so excited to tour the haunted castle, but not you. Oh no, you held Antonio's hand real tight as the guide made her way over to the front of the group and addressed everyone.
"There are three rules... Stick close together, do not wander away and do NOT, under any circumstances, touch ANYTHING," the guide said as monotonously as ever.
"We can do that... Right?" You asked, turning your head to look up at Antonio and he could not help but smirk.
"Si! Si, we can!" He assured and there you stood, unconvinced...
While everyone followed closely at the guide's heels, exploring the dark corridors of the creaky, cold and haunted castle, Antonio leaned down to whisper softly in you ear.
"Hey, chica... Follow me," Antonio said so coolly and you could not keep your eyes off that not-so-subtle grin of his.
"Toni! You heard the guide... We're not meant to wander," you whispered firmly in his ear.
"Aw, [Name]..." And there it was... His cute pout and puppy-dog eyes. "We came here to spend time with each other... not the guide."
"I guess..." You murmured. He had a point.
"So... yes?" Antonio asked, batting his eyes at you.
"Ohh," you shook your head firmly, "FINE. Okay, okay, let's go."
"Si! You won't regret it!" Antonio interlocked hands with you and dragged you away. The two of your sneaked away from the crowd who listened intently to the guide.
Antonio turned the first doorknob he saw and pushed the door. It creaked open and the two of you stepped inside the empty, cobwebbed room. It was old and unused.
"We better put the room to good use," Antonio commented with a cheeky grin, suddenly closing the door behind you and pinning you against it.
"T-Toni! We can't do this in here!" You gasped as the gap between your chests disappeared. He looked down at you with desirous eyes. There was no stopping him now...
Without a word, Antonio leaned in and pressed his lips onto yours, kissing you full on the lips. You reached for the back of his head and clutched his hair, instantly kissing him back. Antonio grinned during the kiss and you nearly kissed his teeth.
"Toni!" You breathed heavily, "Close your mouth and let me kiss you!"
"Si, mi corazon, that's what I want..." You blushed furiously at his words and leaned in to kiss him again. This time he did not kiss back. He left everything to you, occasionally kissing your lips but it never lasted long.
"WHOSE MISSING?!" You heard the guide screech down the corridor and the group scattered to look for the two of you.
"She figured it out..." You whispered softly, overwhelmed by disappointment.
"Si. That means we can go home now, chica," Antonio smirked, taking your hand and carefully opening the door. The moment you two stepped out, the guide spotted you.
"Get back here!" The guide ordered but the two of you fled with childlike grins, racing down the creaky stairs and hurrying out of the doors and down the stairs.
"Quickly, chica!" Antonio opened the door and you jumped in, scooting over to the passenger seat. He climbed in after you, sitting in the driver's seat and slamming the door closed.
"Go, go, go!" You encouraged and he revved the engine to life, reversing the car out of the parking lot and speeding away from the haunted castle.
"AHAHA!" Antonio laughed out loud and you glared at him at first, clearly not amused. "AHAHA! Chica, we did it! We escaped the haunted castle!" Antonio laughed again and only when he looked at you with such an innocent grin did you burst out laughing.
"Yeah! I guess we did!" A bubbly, childlike giggle left you and Antonio looked at you with adoring eyes.
"Si, chica! We make a great team!" Antonio said, taking one hand off the wheel and placing his hand on your lap. You reached out for that hand and held it.
"Yeah... We do," you nodded, gently caressing the back of his hand as he drove home.
The moment Antonio unlocked the front door, you stumbled in, trembling with laughter. You headed to the living room, seeing the blankets and pillows scattered on the carpet from when you last slept over... Yesterday. You basically lived with Antonio... or so he said when he teased you.
"Welcome home, chica," Antonio came up from behind you and helped you out of your coat, throwing it onto the couch with his and sitting down on the blankets sprawled out on the carpet. He patted the space beside him.
"Thanks..." Just before you sat down, he pulled you down onto his lap and wrapped his arms around you securely.
You sat between his legs and he slowly leaned back onto the pillows, nuzzling his head into the nook of your neck like a cat. You reached over for his head and gently caressed his cheek.
"Nina de mi corazon..." Antonio basically purred into your ear.
"Say... what does that even mean?" You asked, feeling a little silly since he always called you that.
"It means," Antonio began in a tender whisper, "girl of my heart..."
"T-Toni!" You gasped softly, your eyes wide with disbelief. Ever since you first became friends, he addressed you as the girl of his heart... and you didn't even know it. "Aw, Toni..."
"Te amo, [Name]..." He whispered a little more boldly. You turned your turned your head, resting your cheek on his chest, to look up at him. "I love you..."
Your cheeks instantly went beet-red but you could not even look away from him. It felt impossible to shy away from his loving eyes.
Before you could even respond, Antonio leaned in to affectionately kiss the crown of your head; then your forehead; then your nose; and then, finally, your lips. You held his face in your hands, gently kissing him back as you slowly closed your eyes.
"I love you too, Toni..."
That was it...
...There was no impasse...
...You were in love with the cheerful Spaniard...