My head hurt. My throat hurt. My hand hurt - why did my hand hurt?
"Ow." I sat up slightly and felt a tug on my hand.
"Il mio amore. Rachel?" I could hear Daniel croon as he stroked the back of my sore hand.
"Why does my hand hurt?" I spoke, still groggy, ignoring where I was or how I got there. All that I could concentrate on was the throbbing pain in my hand.
"It's where they are pumping fluids into you, to flush out the sedatives."
"Sedatives..." I began, but then everything became clear. The drink. There was something in that drink. I was so stupid. "Crap."
"Yes," Daniel said. "I've been feeling like that for a while now."
"How long have I been out?"
"A few hours."
"Wow, strong sedatives." I began, but then I raised my free hand and softly touched his cheek, his stubble brushing coarsely against my thumb. "You stayed."
"Look what happens when I leave you alone." His words were full of pain and my heart constricted. I dropped my hand from his face and squeezed his own hand gently.
"Hey. This isn't your fault. I'm the one who drank the mysterious drink." I shook my head at my own stupidity.
"You said it..." Daniel said as a smile spread across his lips.
"So," I tried to change the subject. "You were worried about me?"
"You must really like me," I teased.
He let his right eyebrow raise up at me. "I must do."
I tugged at his hand, to pull him closer. He understood my intent and smiled before giving me a soft kiss.
"Wait," I murmured against his lips.
He laughed as he pulled away. "What?"
"Carlos and your friend went back to the hotel."
"Ah," I spoke slowly, letting a smile slide across my face. Even with my foggy head, it didn't take much to guess what exactly they were getting up to. Or got up to. Well, we'll find out.
Daniel's eyes lit up as he realised where my thoughts had led me to. "Really? You think?"
I raised my eyebrows at him, as if saying 'don't you remember who we're dealing with?' He replied with a laugh.
"Let's see if I can get discharged."
Once all the papers had been signed and I had gotten changed, Daniel was driving me towards the hotel.
"Are you sure you're OK?" Daniel began, staring at the road ahead of him.
"Yeah..." I began, but I didn't want to lie to Daniel. "Well, it's a new experience."
"I'd be worried if you had, had that one before."
"So would I," I laughed.
"It shouldn't have happened to you, Rachel," Daniel's voice had adopted a serious tone.
"It shouldn't have happened to anyone. But it did. It just so happened to me. And look," I said as I squeezed his knee slightly. "I'm fine."
"But I left you - if I hadn't have left you-" Daniel's voice still seemed to sound panicked even when he was driving perfectly calmly. Baffling.
"You couldn't have known."
"No. I should have known," he said as he pulled up outside the hotel.
"No Daniel," I said strongly enough that it forced him to look at me. "You shouldn't have - couldn't have - whatever. You didn't force me to drink that drink, Daniel. Tyler didn't force me to drink that drink - I drank it of my own accord. As stupid as that was. And if it counts towards anything, I'd much rather it was me than Blake."
"Si sono perfetti," he spoke slowly.
The words hit me and made me melt, even when I didn't know what they meant. I think it was the way he said them - looking at me directly in my eyes. Swoon. "I have no idea what you have just said, but I like it."
Daniel let out a quick laugh. "I should ring Carlos."
Ah to warn them that we were coming...
Once we had reached my hotel room and Blake had opened the door - fully clothed, I must add - we said goodbye to the new Italian additions in our lives.
When the door to our room had shut, I turned towards Blake and let a grin spread across my face. "You had sex didn't you?"
"Glad to know you're good," Blake smiled, amused.
"Sexy times?" I prompted.
"Don't you start, I know exactly what you did. Did you even manage to sit through the picnic?" She wiggled her eyebrows at me, teasing.
"Hey!" I laughed and I flushed at the memory.
"Ah, Italians," she sighed as she flopped down onto her bed.
I followed suit and she turned to face me, "But you are OK, aren't you?"
"Course I am, Blake. All I did was sleep."
She chuckled. "I feel bad, because it should have been me."
"I was only testing it for you, you wouldn't have liked it," I said as I wrinkled my nose at her.
"Someone has to be." I sat up and headed over to my chest of drawers to pick out some pajamas.
"You're tired?" Blake raised her eyebrow at me.
"What can I say?" I shrugged at her. "Being drugged by a creepy, blonde, American man is exhausting."
"Being drugged does something to your sense of humour, you should do it more often."
"Ha-ha." I pulled a tongue out at her.
When I had climbed into my bed, under the covers, I turned to face Blake who was staring up at the ceiling.
"Ever wonder what we're getting ourselves into?" I asked.
"Sometimes," she spoke seriously at first, but then changed her tact, smiling at me. "But we're in Italy. You know, when in Rome..."
"Ah. When in Florence," I corrected her and she laughed.
For the first time that night or day, I wasn't actually sure what time it was, I thought about what type of people Daniel and Carlos were, if they knew someone like Tyler Larkin. Where there any more slimy Americans out there?
I shook my head as I rolled over to face the opposite wall. I couldn't believe what I was thinking. I let my mind think of other things as I drifted off to sleep.