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About Deviant Chiara Lewes***Female/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 5 Months
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Leather and Lace (7)
Lovers forever
Face to face
My city your mountain
Stay with me, stay

No sooner had they awoken from their nap than Romano and (Reader) found themselves back in their apartment preparing themselves pappardelle arrabbiata. (Reader) had insisted she try her hand at making something simple for dinner, and Romano only agreed because he was so exhausted. There were not enough naps in the world to help him overcome the fatigue of nearly losing her, and anyone else preparing food was always welcome. Throughout (Reader)’s time at the stove, Romano wrapped his arms around her waist, insisting he was only there to “make sure she didn’t Americanize the pasta when he wasn’t looking.” Any other time, (Reader) would have been annoyed, but that day (Reader) allowed herself to laugh and kiss him on the cheek. Neither of them could bring themselves to say it, but they knew the real reason Romano was there.
Per favore, non lasciarmi, tesoro. Tu sei il mio cu
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Mature content
RomanoxSick!Reader Leather and Lace (6.5) :iconvideodreams:VideoDreams 3 0
Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Leather and Lace (6)
Lovers forever
Face to face
My city, your mountain
Stay with me stay
CONTENT ADVISORY: Brief mention of coerced sex, suggested pregnancy

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, (Reader) laid out her makeup supplies and prepared herself for battle. Telling Romano about her ex boyfriends was not going to be easy, and (Reader) wanted to be fully decorated in her warpaint before he arrived. Naked3 stood at the ready atop the bathroom counter, its virgin shades of glowing pink waiting for the first swipe of the palette’s brush. (Reader)’s signature eyeliner stood at attention, alongside a thick pink tube of mascara and eyebrow pencil. Several tubes of primer were neatly laid out with brushes and sponges…and the infamous Orgasm that started the downward spiral. Swipe by swipe, brush by brush, (Reader) pulled herself away from the face of a ‘sick person’, characterized by swollen eyelids and a wan overtone to her skin. Confidence rushed be
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader: Leather and Lace(5)
Sometimes I’m a strong one
Sometimes, cold and scared
And sometimes, I cry

CONTENT ADVISORY: Suggested pregnancy
The dreamless yet panicked sleep that plagued (Reader) the night before was replaced by ten hours of midnight blue slumber. Around Mabel, Camila, and Georgina, (Reader) knew she had nothing to fear nor anything to perform for obtaining acceptance through ableism. All of them accepted her exactly as she was, and never once called her “disgusting” or blamed her for health problems beyond her control. Mabel may have sometimes pushed (Reader) especially hard in taking care of her needs, but she always made a point of dispelling abled lies whenever (Reader) started to panic.
“It’s not your fault, (Reader). There’s nothing any of us could have done to “deserve” being sick. It’s just a lie that ableds tell to deny the idea that they could become sick too.The only thing you deserve is good healthcare, doctors who li
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader: Leather and Lace(4)
You in the moonlight
With your sleepy eyes
Could you ever love someone like me?
CONTENT ADVISORY: Brief mention of suicidal ideations, suggested pregnancy

Several hours after (Reader)’s attack ended, she wore a pair of Mabel’s sweatpants while mopping the bedroom floor.
“I wish you had told me you threw up on yourself before you came over,” Mabel said, curled underneath the covers.
Obsessive compulsive disorder caused Mabel to be incredibly nervous around vomit. The smallest particle would send her over the edge, and (Reader) did her best to scrub the floor in compensation. Still feeling woozy, (Reader) wished she could have been resting beside Mabel underneath the covers for a daytime slumber party. Nevertheless, making sure one of her best friends—especially another member of the chronic illness community—felt safe if her own home was critical. Having felt unsafe from ableism so many times, (Reader) would have done anything to
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader: Leather and Lace(3)
Lovers forever
Face to face

Grumbling awake, Romano sighed, thinking he was going to wake up alone again. Two months of sharing a bed should have taught Romano that (Reader) would always get up first, and she would never wait for him underneath the sheets. Fear had a knack for overriding logic, and Romano was no exception, especially in the morning. In the limbo between wakefulness and sleep, anything could happen, and Romano always feared awaking to find everyone he loved was either an illusion or that they abandoned him. Nights full of terrors and violent warping memories left Romano grouchy and exhausted, not from a lack of sleep, but from using all of his energy to repress tears. Reaching out, Romano prayed with what little strength he had that his tesoro (treasure/darling) would be on the other side of the bed, waiting to cuddle and say everything was all right. To Romano’s surprise, his prayer was answered, but it came with the price of strange crumbs througho
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader: Leather and Lace (2B)
But I carry this feeling
When you walked into my house
That you won’t be walking out the door

Seized by an unexpected shot of adrenaline, (Reader) was pulled from a dreamless sleep, panting as though she had run a marathon. Initially, (Reader) feared a delayed asthma attack from vigorous lovemaking and bolted from the sheets to grab her inhaler. Only after a few steps out of bed did she realize her panting came from overwhelming anxiety, much to her chagrin and relief. Glancing at the bed, (Reader) checked to see if Romano was awoken by her brief panic. If he thought she was having even the slightest health worry, Romano would stop whatever he was doing until he was certain (Reader) was well. (Reader) appreciated his protectiveness when she was having vertigo spells or asthma attacks, but was thankful he stayed asleep through her anxious awakening. It wasn’t that (Reader) was ungrateful for Romano’s diligent care—if anything, (Reader) was feared her illne
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Mature content
RomanoxSick!Reader: Leather and Lace (2A)(Lemon) :iconvideodreams:VideoDreams 5 5
Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader: Leather and Lace (1) (LIME)
Is love so shallow and the heart so hollow?
Shatter with words, impossible to follow
LIME CONTENT ADVISORY: Sexual tension, innuendo, bisexual flirtations

(Reader) sighed while she drummed her glittering fingernail on the Sephora makeover counter. It was happening again for the millionth time in how long? A month? Keeping track of how often Romano flirted with other women seemed like a waste of time. Having Romano’s younger brother, Feliciano, for a best friend already alerted her to the inevitability of their amorous natures. Feliciano and Romano were the human manifestations Italy—a nation infamous for its flirtatious and sexually aggressive men. Long before (Reader) and Romano looked into each other’s eyes, she often listened to stories about Feliciano’s polyamorous adventures, particularly after drag shows with famous queens. Feliciano’s stories made it clear that a wandering eye came with of dating the Italy brothers, and (Reader
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Smile: Part 6B
You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile

(Reader) hazily stirred in Romano’s bed, wondering if the past twenty four hours had been real, or just fantasies to cope with Ménière’s loneliness and pain imposed by her mother. Certainly, what she saw before coming back to Romano’s room could not be anything beyond a dream. Envelopment in shimmering gold skies while watching a mysterious figure guide her through the beach, holding her hand as the ocean crashed into their feet. Transitioning to nudity under blue sheets and a rainbow of roses hardly seemed like impossible in primary processes, where the mind reverts to carnal candor without fear of societal constraint. A paradoxical texture lay beneath her fingertips—rough enough to match the sensations felt in dreams yet soft enough to seem an entire realm away. Preparing herself to explore where
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Mature content
RomanoxSick!Reader Smile: Part 6A (LEMON) :iconvideodreams:VideoDreams 11 3
Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Smile: Part Five (LIME)
Don’t know how I lived without you
Cause every time that I get around you
I see the best of me inside your eyes
You make me smile
LIME CONTENT ADVISORY: Sexual tension, innuendo
Romano’s surprise may not have gone as planned, but (Reader) still gave the reaction he hoped to see. No sooner did she sit down to dinner than he dashed into his room and returned with a vase of roses. (Reader) gasped upon seeing the bouquet, its luscious petals opening with red velvet passion. Transfixed by her favorite flowers, (Reader) hardly noticed Romano left the table once more until the dining room lights were gently dimmed. The enthusiasm in her eyes was further illuminated by the two white candles Romano placed on the table. (Reader) could hardly believe she was in Feliciano’s apartment, rather than an Italian restaurant in the richest part of the city. Such was only comprehendible when looking at Romano’s setup of their shared dinner. Rather than bringing out ea
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Smile: Part Four
You make me smile like the sun
Fall out of bed, sing like a bird
Dizzy in my head, spin like a record
Crazy on a Sunday night

“So do I stir it like this?” (Reader) asked, frantically spinning the wooden spoon through the sauce.
“No,” Romano replied, “It’s more like this.”
Placing his right hand over (Reader)’s, he guided her hand through long gentle strokes. (Reader) yelped as Romano slipped his left arm around her waist, sending a wave of goosebumps across her skin.
“That’s the problem with American cooking. It’s rushed and treated like stopping at a gas station. Filling up when you run out of energy, then moving onto something else until you’re empty again. You have to slow down to make Italian food right.”
“Really?”
“Mhmm. You Americans always want to rush things. Cooking everything on high, then wondering why it comes out burned, or trying to get easy flavor by covering everything
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Smile: Part Three
Even when you’re gone, somehow you come along
just like a flower poking through the sidewalk crack
And just like that, you steal away the rain
and just like that…

“…the stuffing is done!” Feliciano exclaimed, “It’s a lot easier than it looks.”
Romano’s fifteen minutes had now turned into twenty-five, and Feliciano was getting worried about the calamari. If it sat out raw for too much longer, Romano’s gift to (Reader) was going to be a lovely case of food poisoning. The only thing that would upset Romano more than his brother stealing the birthday dinner was (Reader) getting sick from anything he prepared. (Reader) already spent too much of her life hunched over the toilet bowl from Ménière’s vertigo spells and a family that was medically negligent. Adding to (Reader)’s sickness in any capacity was the last thing Romano wanted to do, but such was inevitable if the calamari was not stuffed and boiled
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Smile: Part Two
You make me smile like the sun
fall out of bed, sing like a bird
dizzy in my head…


“…spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night,” (Reader) sang with the radio as she fluttered out of her fitting room. “Smile” by Uncle Kracker was sweet even when her crushes were limited to celebrity fantasies. Meeting Romano made the song so adorable that (Reader) could not sit still. The caffeinated butterflies from the touch of Romano’s hand returned to lift her from the ground and send her into an enamored tizzy.
“Erm, isn’t that the opposite of how you want to feel on your birthday?” Michelle asked.
“Oh come on, guys, it’s just the song! It just makes me happy and want to bounce all over the place because it sounds like cuteness and falling in love.”
Mabel could not contain her laughter and nearly fell out of her power chair. (Reader) leapt across the floor, the skirt of her dress twirling as she danced the
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Literature
RomanoxSick!Reader Smile: Part One
You’re better than the best
I’m lucky just to linger in your light
Cooler than the flip side of my pillow
That’s right

“Are you done dicing those tomatoes yet, Buttcrotch?” Romano yelled from the living room. The fish market line was longer than he expected, and time was running out to prepare (Reader)’s birthday dinner.
“They better be fucking perfect by the time I reach the kitchen.”
“You want bruschetta, caprese, and homemade marinara sauce,” Feliciano whimpered, “That requires two dozen tomatoes. How quickly do you expect me to dice them?”
“Quick enough that I can finish this food before (Reader) gets here. Mabel and Michelle won’t be able to keep her out forever. Everything in this apartment has to be perfect for (Reader)’s birthday, especially after how her cagna (bitch) of a mother fucked it up.”
“I wish I could say I was surprised, but it’s ju
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Favourites

Mature content
Neko!Italy x Reader *Lemon* :iconxx-norwegiantrash-xx:Xx-NorwegianTrash-xX 10 5
Mature content
Rain Rain Come Again ~Lemon~ SpainXReader :iconfortheloveoffiction:Fortheloveoffiction 278 66
Mature content
Say please if you'd like your gift to be unwrapped :iconmew-ayame:Mew-Ayame 557 306
So Cozy by KureiRikku-Chan So Cozy :iconkureirikku-chan:KureiRikku-Chan 18 18 He's Not Scary~ by tabbycat1212 He's Not Scary~ :icontabbycat1212:tabbycat1212 578 196 Canada Valentine's Card by FeriFairy Canada Valentine's Card :iconferifairy:FeriFairy 38 10 Pastaaaa... Merry Christmas by Erdbeerprinz Pastaaaa... Merry Christmas :iconerdbeerprinz:Erdbeerprinz 166 24 Itacest Magnet by PastaForItaly Itacest Magnet :iconpastaforitaly:PastaForItaly 20 8
Literature
Braids (Romano x Reader)
"Where did you even learn to do this, Lovi?" You asked Lovino, who sat behind you, hands holding your hair.
"Bella taught me, I guess. When I lived with Antonio. She wanted me to do hers." His reply came out muffled, due to the hair tie he held between his teeth. "And don't call me that!"
You chuckled, leaning your head closer to your boyfriend.
When you had invited him over earlier, you definitely hadn't expected this to happen. The two of you had been sitting comfortably on your couch, when you had complained about how your hair kept getting in your face. Lovino, being one of the most irritable people you knew, quickly got annoyed with your grumbling and offered to braid it for you.
You now sat with your back to him on the sofa, with his nimble fingers twisting your (h/c) hair into a smooth plait. You smiled at the slight tugs you felt on the sections that the Italian was weaving together, relishing in the feel of his gentleness.
You played with your hands, head lowered and no
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Mature content
Hetalia x Reader: ... I Visit Canada! :iconmademoiselleautumn:MademoiselleAutumn 75 15
Literature
Hetalia x Reader: ... I Visit England!
… England~!
Ah, England. That deliciously accented blonde man with the bushy eyebrows. You couldn’t help but be drawn to the very proper, gentlemanly man, even if you knew that he hadn’t always been like that. There were many things you liked about him; you liked how short-tempered he could be, but you also liked how really kind and willing to help he was, and you even liked, weirdly enough, how awful his cooking was; mainly because it meant you got to cook with him to attempt to help him improve.
Before you could even knock on the door, you heard yelling and screaming, and what sounded like plates being thrown and furniture falling over.
“WHAT THE FU- ARTIE, WHAT DID YOU DO?!” You heard a heavy Scottish voice bellow, and you ran inside, to see Scotland armed with a chair, whilst Ireland and Wales were dodging a strange looking round thing that looked like a flaming pillow with teeth, and were beating it with a baking tray and a frying pan.
The strange ob
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Mature content
Hetalia x Reader: ... I Visit South Italy! :iconmademoiselleautumn:MademoiselleAutumn 124 76
Mature content
France x Reader: Flirtationship Part 2 LEMON :iconstarryxskies:starryxskies 224 135
Literature
Baby italy twins x reader
Looking around in one of the many playpens I saw many of the little cuties happily playing together. I heard a happy chorus of baby babble as a little boy with light brown and a strange curl on his left side came crawling up to me, I couldn't help but smile and lift him up into my arms "hello there little one how are you?" I got a squel of laughter in return though yet the baby kept hid eyes closed the whole time, was he blind?
All the sudden I felt something hit my face as I let out a small cry of pain from the impact. Another block went flying past me as well as I finally saw the culprit, a dark brown haired baby with a curl on his right side. This baby had many similarities with the baby I was holding but the other little boy looked to be out for blood and I happened to be his target. 
The angry baby picked up another block but before he could throw it two familiar large hands picked him up from behind. "Hey theirs no reason to be throwing blocks at my wife like that. You shoul
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Hydrangea by Midoromi Hydrangea :iconmidoromi:Midoromi 24 28 Romano by 11thpavilion Romano :icon11thpavilion:11thpavilion 4 0

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No doubt about it, Leather and Lace is the hardest vignette I've written to date. It's required a lot of confrontation of many painful memories...but it's been worthwhile, and I'm really happy with the resolution I've found.
Lovers forever
Face to face
My city your mountain
Stay with me, stay


No sooner had they awoken from their nap than Romano and (Reader) found themselves back in their apartment preparing themselves pappardelle arrabbiata. (Reader) had insisted she try her hand at making something simple for dinner, and Romano only agreed because he was so exhausted. There were not enough naps in the world to help him overcome the fatigue of nearly losing her, and anyone else preparing food was always welcome. Throughout (Reader)’s time at the stove, Romano wrapped his arms around her waist, insisting he was only there to “make sure she didn’t Americanize the pasta when he wasn’t looking.” Any other time, (Reader) would have been annoyed, but that day (Reader) allowed herself to laugh and kiss him on the cheek. Neither of them could bring themselves to say it, but they knew the real reason Romano was there.

Per favore, non lasciarmi, tesoro. Tu sei il mio cuore. La mia anima. Il mio tutto. Non so come potrei continuare a vivere se tu non fossi in giro. (Please do not leave me, treasure/darling. You are my heart. My soul. My everything. I do not know how I could go on living if you were not around.)

“Take the pasta off the water right when it’s al dente,” Romano said, “then put it back in the saucepan after you drain it. It’ll finish cooking inside the sauce and soak up the flavor.”


“So that’s what makes the sauce so powerful in restaurants.”

“You’re fucking right it does, especially with arrabbiata.”

Arrabbiata?”

“It means angry in Italian. It’s from the Lazio region in Rome and it’s spicy as hell if done right.”

Romano always put his heart into food, even if it was only through instructing another person. Picking arrabbiata sauce was the closest he could come to expressing any lingering rage he had at (Reader). Though they seemed to have mostly recovered from their fight, Romano was still angry at how easily (Reader) shut him out. How she had the habit of shutting him out the moment she got even the tiniest bit frightened, leaving him to fear he would be abandoned again. A part of Romano still wanted to scream at (Reader) until he couldn’t breathe, but he knew that would only drive her further from his arms. If it wasn’t memories from the temper of her ex-boyfriends, then it would be the constant waking terror of her mother’s volatile mood that would make her run. (Reader) would see the violent figures of her life coming back in Romano’s yelling, and procure the abandonment he was desperate to avoid. Arrabbiata proved to be the next best thing because the sauce could do all of the screaming he had to keep to himself.

Of course, there was also a benefit for (Reader) in Romano releasing il suo rabbia (his anger) in the spice of arrabbiata.

“Fuck yes!” (Reader) exclaimed, “I never get to have spicy food at home. Mom screams at me if I even think about putting spices on my food.”

“Well, that’s one thing you’ll never have to worry about here, (Reader). You can have all the spices you want.”

At least this way when I’m fucking pissed off at you, I can use it to make you happy instead of scaring you off like I have with other girls. Poi di nuovo ... nessuno di loro era forte come te, (Reader). Anche provare ad amare qualcuno - soprattutto un uomo - dopo quello che quel fottuto maiale Joel ha fatto a te? Sei una delle persone più coraggiose che abbia mai incontrato ... e farò tutto il possibile per prendermi cura di te. (Then again ... none of them were as strong as you, (Reader). Even trying to love someone - especially a man - after what that fucking pig Joel did to you? You're one of the bravest people I've ever met ... and I'll do everything I can to take care of you.)

It was a promise Romano first made to himself the first time (Reader)’s fiore opened for him, and one that he reiterated when something tightened his bond with her. Of course…that promise was never easy when taking care of (Reader) required that Romano be vulnerable. Rarely did he ever talk about the details surrounding multiple abandonments, and almost nobody knew about the content of his nightmares. Not even Antonio, the man he called a father figure, knew about the horrors buried inside of Romano’s mind. Mainly because Antonio was to blame for a good number of the abandonment issues Romano had in the first place. If Romano had not been pained enough by the favoritism of his grandfather and Roderick trading him away, Antonio trying to trade him for his brother was enough to break his heart. (Reader) knew about the separation of the brothers and Antonio attempting to trade Romano, but she never heard the ugliest of details. For all that Romano hated reliving them in conversation, (Reader) needed to understand them if he was going to take care of her. Their relationship was never going to work if he could not share that same vulnerability and courage (Reader) showed in telling him about her exes, especially Joel.

“Ve, fratello, (brother) are you making arrabbia--” Feliciano said before cutting himself off, “SORELLA! (sister) I’m so glad to see you here with fratello! Oh, you don’t know how happy it makes me to see you two together, and that photo Mabel sent me of you two was so cute!”

“Photo?” Romano exclaimed as (Reader) finished up the pasta.

“Mabel took a picture of us while we were napping,” (Reader) explained, “She sent it to me and Feli shortly after. Not sure why she didn’t send it to you though.”

Romano scoffed, unhappy that his brother had returned from conference calls with the boss earlier than expected.

How the fuck am I supposed to talk to (Reader) when Buttcrotch is here? He’s going to cry over everything and make it all about him, and we’ll have to comfort him and it’ll be so fucking annoying.

“Hey, Roma,” (Reader) interjected, sensing Romano’s frustration at Feliciano’s arrival, “How about we take the pasta into your room?”

“Are you two talking about something private?” Feliciano asked, “Cause I can go see Ludbug if you two need to be alone.”

“Go be with that fucking potato bas—”

“We’re fine,” (Reader) said, slopping an extra helping of pappardelle onto her plate. Before Romano could object, she stabbed their dinner with a fork and grabbed his right hand, dragging him from the kitchen to his bedroom.

“I got an extra helping of dinner so we could share,” she continued while sliding onto Romano’s bed.

“Why did you drag me back here?” Romano groaned, “Buttcrotch said he would go.”


“I don’t like kicking him out of the apartment every time we have to have a difficult discussion.”

Romano huffed, thinking it was another instance of someone thinking of Feliciano first until (Reader) continued, “Besides…I thought you’d be more comfortable in bed. Easier to snuggle and all that.”

With a sigh, Romano crawled into bed, nestling himself as close to (Reader) as possible. Much as he wanted to have dinner with an arm around her shoulders, Romano found utensils difficult when using his left hand, and putting (Reader) on his left side was out of the question.

Few things are as cruel as deliberately sitting on the deafened side of a person with unilateral hearing loss, especially amidst a painful but necessary discussion. Forcing (Reader) to strain for his words would have added futile difficulties to the conversation, and Romano needed any break he could get. Telling (Reader) about his nightmares would be one of the hardest things Romano had to do since meeting her four months earlier.

“Just hold me, ragazza,” (girl/girlfriend) Romano sighed, “I don’t care if you’re only holding my hand or whatever…”

“Sure.”

Although holding hands was out of the question when eating dinner, (Reader) settled for gently squeezing his lower arm. Romano smiled before whispering a gentle, “grazie.” (Thank you)

Both of them started taking bites of the pasta, and while they were satisfied by the meal, Romano and (Reader) thought of ways it could be improved.

Not bad for an American’s first attempt at real pasta…but she took the pasta out of the water too late. It’s too pasty, and it didn't absorb the sauce as well as it could. I’ll have to give her a better lesson on pasta timing when we’re both feeling better.

Angry pasta? Romano thinks this is spicy enough to be angry pasta? He's either going to have to up the red pepper flakes, mix in more cayenne powder, or at least let a habanero sit in there for a few minutes before it’s pissed off pasta to me.


Neither one was really disgusted or disappointed when thinking of ways to improve the pasta…instead, they were both excited for the next time they would cook together. The thought of a next time was more than enough to make even a McDonald’s hamburger sound delicious. Romano cracked a half-smile it, and a small blush tinted his cheeks while (Reader) squeezed his arm. For someone who was facing the terror of opening his heart, mustering even half a smile was a large gesture. (Reader) knew it just from looking into his eyes, the storms in which were quelled by her touch.

“I…I haven’t forgotten what I said back at Mabel’s apartment,” (Reader) started, “I still want to talk about why you thought I was going to leave…especially because of that nightmare you had, and how outrageously jealous you got over Bonnie on Sunday.”

“I…I…I wish I had better words to explain.”.

“Try your best, and if you need help, I’m here.”

Squeezing his arm again, (Reader) leaned over to kiss Romano on the cheek.

“Actually…wait a minute,” (Reader) said, leaving Romano to wonder what she was going to do until she grabbed the pasta plate and put it on his nightstand. Romano was about to complain when he felt (Reader)’s arms snake around his torso, pulling him close to her chest. Resting his head on her shoulder, Romano wrapped both of his arms around her waist, squeezing her as tight as he could without making her sick.

“I know you're not a fan of cold pasta,” she continued, “but something tells me this will make it easier for you to talk.”

Grazie, ragazza.” (Thank you, girl/girlfriend)

Unlike (Reader), Romano found that having someone touch him made it easier for him to open up about his most painful memories. Feeling (Reader)’s body against his was a strong ground into the present, and a reminder that she was not leaving him anytime soon. As long as he could feel her delicate frame and her small yet strong hands, Romano was safe, no matter what memory he discussed.

“I don’t understand why you’re with me,” Romano whimpered, “I really don’t…and every time I see you talking to someone else, it drives me crazy…because you’re one of the best parts of my life, and if you talk to someone else, how do I know you won't trade me away like Roderick or that jerk bastard Spain?”

“Because that's not who I am,” (Reader) said, “If I’m with you, it’s because I want to be with you. I don’t believe in leaving someone for another person because it’s disrespectful for everyone involved. I know Bonnie and I got a little heavy at the mall, and I’m sorry for how that came across…but please believe me when I say she and I have nothing to talk about outside of Sephora. It may seem like we have a lot in common, but aside from liking girls and makeup, there's nothing else. With you, we may be different, but we've got a lot to share with each other. I wouldn't trade you away for anybody else, not only because it’s a desecration of character, but also because I like you. Why would I want to trade away someone I like?”

“That jerk bastard Antonio said the same thing before trying to trade me away for my brother…locking me up in his giant fucking house all day with no food and no fucking bathroom. Yelling at me when he came home and I couldn’t fucking clean because I was shaking, starving, and covered in my own piss.”

“What? You never told me it was that bad. I knew Antonio tried to trade you away, but you never mentioned anything else.”

“It was fucking awful, (Reader). I still have nightmares about it.”

“Is that what you were dreaming about the night before The Balance Clinic?”

Romano nodded, several tears falling from his eyes onto (Reader)’s dress. Between words, Romano’s voice cracked and was interrupted by hiccups.

“I could feel all of it like it was, happening all over again. My throat felt as sore as it did screaming and, crying for anybody in that house. All of those ugly paintings came back, with paint, globs that looked like melting faces, and the doors that led to, nowhere. Those stupid fucking dresses he made me wear, and how easily I'd trip over them, and how much they'd fucking itch…and how much my shoes buckled and hurt my feet after I’d piss on them—”

“OH FUCK!” (Reader) exclaimed.

“I know…it was really fucking bad.”

“It's not just that, Roma. I royally fucked up and I didn't even realize it! I’m so sorry!”

“For what?”

“For barfing on your shoes and then shutting you out! I can’t believe I didn't put two and two together sooner."

I should have guessed something must have triggered Romano for him to be that clumsy with his mouth. He has abandonment nightmares the night before The Balance Clinic, and I have to make them worse by being clumsy and loose with doctor regulations. That's why he was so upset when I threw up. I accidentally recreated a scenario from his worst memories and made him feel like he was going to be abandoned again.

“Putting what together, (Reader)? I don't understand."


“Romano, you know what a trigger is, right?”

“You mean on a gun, or do you mean those bullshit things social justice warriors say when they want to shut down a discussion about something they don’t like?”

“…no. A trigger is a specific term used for when something brings back a really bad memory from the past and makes you feel like you're reliving it, or like a bad thing from the past is about to happen again. Triggers can include anything, depending on the memories of the person who is having the flashbacks. I wasn't even thinking about it…but you were having nightmares about ruined clothes when you couldn't control your bodily functions when Antonio tried to abandon you…and then I ruin your clothes because I lost control of my stomach right after hardcore flirting that really bothered you. I didn’t realize how many triggers I set off by getting sick…and if I had known, I wouldn't have shut you out like that…”

“Is that what happened to you when you got scared I was going to hurt you or leave you for being sick?"

(Reader) nodded and said, “I just don't use the word “trigger” unless I have a chance to explain it in a specific context. The term has been co-opted by so many people that it’s too difficult unless you have a good setup.”

“Like you explaining to me why my nightmares could cause me to lose my temper.”

“Yeah…but that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to lose your temper, or say the awful things you said, or do anything really bad.”

“I know that! I wouldn't ever deliberately try to hurt you! What kind of person do you—”

Cutting himself off, Romano looked into (Reader)’s terrified eyes.

That's right. All of the bullshit excuses Joel made up for behaving badly...and all the times someone’s done something similar to her at home. It must be a trigger for her if she does not clarify that abuse is never okay.

“Right,” Romano said, “I wasn’t even thinking about that. Mi dispiace, bambolina.” (I'm sorry, baby doll).

Grazie, caro. (Thank you, dear) Umm…mi…dis…piace…um…what’s “too” in Italian?"

“I think you want to say Dispiace anche a me (I'm sorry too)…but I appreciate you trying to say it in my language.”

“Sure…I really am sorry, Roma. I’m sorry I didn't know about your nightmares sooner, and wasn't careful when it came to your triggers.”

“It's okay, (Reader). You didn't know. I know you wouldn’t have done it if you did…you’re so defensive when it comes to illness, I doubt you'd ever forgive yourself if you deliberately hurt someone that way.”

“Especially if it were you,” (Reader) said while petting his hair.

Romano let out a small moan and shuddered, burying his face into the crook of (Reader)'s neck. Unbeknownst to (Reader), stroking Romano's scalp would send tingles across his body, relaxing him into a state of bliss halfway between lust and limerence. These feelings were only further intensified by his love for (Reader), which grew with every passing minute they spent together. (Reader) smiled to herself as Romano’s skin turned as pink as his shirt and his curl formed into a heart. Though she may not have been able to see the curl itself, its twisting tickled her ears and her neck, teasing her with its developing shape.

“I don't want to hurt you at all, baby. I want to know about your triggers and bad dreams and fears so that I can help you feel better, like you've been doing for me."

Reaching out across her body, Romano gently took (Reader)’s right hand into his left, grabbing it tightly while interlacing their fingers.

“It always hurts to see you flirt with other people, if that helps. I have nightmares about you and the other person…especially that Bonnie, where I’ll see you making out with them and saying the only reason you're with me is because I have a dick…how do I know I’m enough if you flirt with other girls…they have something I obviously don't have and never will…how do I know if I’m enough for you if you need women too?”

That's why people have fantasies, Roma. I get that satisfaction from imagining other women, and save the rest for when we're together. No need to look for it with other people when you've got the strength of your own heart and mind. A little bit of fantasy goes a long way, and is really good for appreciating what's real. Of course, I'll have to tell you that on a day when you're not so emotionally fragile.

“I've told you before, Roma, it makes no difference to me if you're a man, woman, or another gender…I just follow the chemistry and my heart. Now, it just so happens Bonnie is a girl and we have good chemistry, and it just so happens that you're a boy and I’m with you. If the sexes were reversed, nothing would change. It’ll never matter to me what gender you are or what body parts you have. You're enough because you’re you.”

(Reader) bit the sides of her cheeks to keep herself from saying, “Whether you were a boy or a girl, I'd still love you, Romano.”

He's not ready to hear “I love you.” He’ll have a nervous breakdown if I tell him right now. I’ll wait until things have cooled down a bit, or maybe until Christmas so I can tell him somewhere really pretty in a place he'll never forget. God, with how scared he is of me leaving him though, I have to tell him…whether I tell him first or immediately after...and do it with something really fancy and nice so he knows I mean it.

“That hasn't been enough for a lot of people before," Romano groaned.

“Well…I'm not a lot of people, Roma. You said you’re my bastardo (bastard) of a ragazzo (boy/boyfriend) …well…sono la tua ragazza pazza (I'm your crazy girl/girlfriend)…and I have a whole laundry list of reasons why you're more than just enough…your gender having nothing to do with them. I’m not going to abandon you for someone else or trade you away like Roderick and Antonio, and I don't want your brother more than you…there's a reason why I’m sorella, and it's not because Feli's gay. Me and him?”

Doing her best impression of Feliciano, (Reader) shrieked, “Yucky!”

For the first time in his entire life, Romano actually found something in Feliciano's sympathy problem hilarious. Full-bellied laughter vibrated against (Reader)'s skin as she squeezed Romano tightly, rocking him in her arms. Romano responded by kissing (Reader)'s neck all the way up to her cheeks, giggling with her until their lips intertwined. Therein their laughter was seized by an overwhelming desire to hold the other one close, only breaking the kiss for (Reader) to add one last comment.

“Me and Feli? Yucky. Me and you? Lovely.”

What followed (Reader)'s comment was a passionate night that made arrabbiata seem nothing short of frigid.

I need you to love me
I need you today
Give to me your leather
Take from me, my lace


After The Balance Clinic on Monday, (Reader) swore she would never eat Nutella again…at least, until Romano surprised her for breakfast two days later. It was not hard to change (Reader)'s mind by presenting her with Nutella toast served with cappuccino covered in cinnamon and chocolate. Alongside the toast were small dishes of chopped strawberries lightly coated in powdered sugar, prepared in such a way that they could be eaten alone or on the toast itself. The single rose Romano brought to (Reader) now sat in a towering vase, its red petals beaming against the gray view of November weather. Both (Reader) and Romano were huddled under blankets, barely able to keep themselves from shivering and intermittently cursing the impending winter. Aside from breakfast and blankets, the main thing keeping them warm was the agreements they were making to work with each other’s painful memories. Neither one of them ever wanted to have a fight that involved icing the other out again, and the best means of prevention was communication.

“So we agree, no flirting with others when we're together," (Reader) said.

“Right,” Romano replied, “And definitely no flirting that involves any direct references to sex, even when there are puns all over the place.”

“Got it, and you won't get mad if I flirt with girls.”

“Only if you don't get mad if I do.”

“But we keep it at flirting, and keep it superficial…nothing else."

“Nothing else.”

I wouldn't fucking think of touching another girl, (Reader). Not as long as we're together, and you welcome me into il tuo fiore e il tuo cuore.

“Oh, and one more thing,” Romano said, “We do our best to tell each other what's in our heads and what's happened to us. No secrets.”

“No secrets, and no icing each other out.”

Romano put one hand around (Reader)'s waist and pulled her into a kiss. (Reader) could not help smiling, her heart fluttering as she tasted the chocolate and cappuccino on Romano's breath. Twirling his hair in her fingers, (Reader) giggled in between kisses and gasped when Romano ran his fingers up her spine. Just before Romano could deepen their kiss with his tongue, he and (Reader) found themselves interrupted by a perturbed Feliciano.

“I'm happy you two made up,” Feliciano started, “but could you at least cool it at the breakfast table? I’ve already walked in on you two doing it at least three times in a month, and I know so much more than I ever needed to about my brother's dick thanks to you, (Reader).”

“Karmic retribution, Feli,” (Reader) chortled, “karmic retribution for demanding I help you make pasta in "the shape of Ludwig's anatomy.”

“Ugh," Romano coughed, “You want karmic retribution? You'll get your karmic retribution for Monday if you mention that potato bastard's anatomy again!”

Feliciano and (Reader) laughed, happy that things had mostly returned to normal.

“Want to join us?” (Reader) asked, “There's still cappuccino and toast in the kitchen.”

“Just please don't start doing it at the table.”

Romano was about to snap at Feliciano when (Reader) squeezed his arm and shook her head. Rolling his eyes, Romano sank back into his chair, only agreeing to be quiet because (Reader) asked. It was an unspoken request that they have breakfast like a family, squabbles and all, and Romano was happy to oblige, if only to keep (Reader) happy. It did not hurt as well that she rewarded Romano with a kiss on the nose, which caused him to ferociously blush and Feliciano to laugh at his cheeks upon returning to the breakfast table.

“You look like un bambino piccolo (a small child/little baby) with your cheeks all red like that," Feliciano exclaimed.

“Well, he is my baby after all,” (Reader) said, giving him another kiss. Romano folded his arms, trying to play it cool yet failing as his face made fire engines look pale.

“And he's really fucking cute," she continued.

Only because it's you, (Reader). Only because it's you do I tolerate this embarrassing bullshit.


Though he would never let himself admit it, Romano overjoyed with what he saw at the breakfast table. (Reader) smothering him with kisses and laughing alongside his brother made Romano feel as though he had a real family. To him, it was the beginning of a glimpse at happily ever after, where fights were overcome with affection and trust, bringing him and (Reader) closer together. Where each boundary overcome made simple moments much sweeter, giving him a here and now so beautiful he wanted to cry. Chewing his lips, Romano stayed silent, pretending he was still embarrassed by (Reader) and Feliciano, even though he couldn't be happier with the joy they brought into his life.

(Reader), on the other hand, had no problem showing her happiness, even if it came through unusual signs. Excessive laughter at the breakfast table, and smothering Romano with kisses. Teasing Romano with reminders that he was cute, and refusing to let him forget it. Putting on elaborate makeup, yet enjoying every second of Romano smearing her lipstick over both of their faces. Sorrow that he had to leave for his work for the boss, yet enthrallment at their planned evening in the art museum, sketching their favorite paintings and helping improve the other's technique. All of it came through with every kiss and every look (Reader) gave Romano, eagerly speaking her hope for all the memories they would build, good and bad.

The Balance Clinic was originally designed to procure balance through insights into vestibular disorders, but it moved beyond its purpose by creating equilibrium for (Reader) and Romano. What started out as an ugly fight turned into a mutual understanding that gave Romano and (Reader) plenty of room for a beautiful future. Balance was restored by listening to the other's story, and allowing pain and forgiveness to coexist. No matter how much they had been hurt in the unexpected fight, (Reader) and Romano learned all too well that such pain could not hold weight against the thought of losing each other. With a gentle kiss after breakfast, (Reader) and Romano found themselves intertwined by heartfelt yet unspoken words.

No fear or fight is worth as much as you.

Take from me my lace
Take from me my lace

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I need you to love me
I need you today
Give to me your leather
Take from me my lace


CONTENT ADVISORY: Sexual coercion, pregnancy scare, disability slurs, disability fetishizing

In spite of having intact hearing, all Romano could think to say was “C-c-che cosa? (What) Did I hear that right?”

“Yes…”

“B-b-b-but isn’t that…”

“If you’re about to say what I think you’re about to say then DON’T FUCKING SAY IT!” (Reader) screamed, sending both cats running across the room.

Beneath his shirt, Romano was covered in beads of sweat. It was rare to hear (Reader) yell for any reason, and usually such came from an ugly fight with her mother. The scream (Reader) emitted to silence Romano, however, put those fights to shame. (Reader)’s voice was a mixture of rage, fear, and spike-laden armor ready for battle. One wrong word, and Romano knew he would be lucky if she spoke to him again after a week. Not that Romano could have spoken if given half the chance. There were few abuses worse than hitting a woman, but if he correctly understood what had happened to (Reader), she had been unlucky enough to encounter them.

There’s no fucking excuse for any piece of shit doing that. I spent almost all of my life without sex, and I never once felt the need to do that to a woman. No fucking excuse at all.

“I don’t like talking about Joel,” (Reader) said, “You already know a fair amount. You know he and I dated before I knew what ableism was, or why I constantly felt inferior to everybody else.  You know I was confused about school because I was getting B’s and C’s in my Seven Sister College Classes yet getting high grades during my Ivy League guest classes…and being around Joel was the only thing that made sense. He had ADHD and had been shuffled around for his illness and had parents that did not accept him or understand what he was going trough mental health wise, and he was the only person who really seemed…to get it…but…he came with a price…”

Romano thought back to the day he and (Reader) first kissed, and how upset she became after learning he was a virgin. It wasn’t his virginity that upset (Reader) as much as realizing she showed him her breasts before she knew.

“I shouldn’t have taken off my, err, your shirt off without asking about it first…I forced my body on you before you were ready.” That’s why she got so upset. I thought it was fucking strange that she flipped out that much, but…if…if that’s how…no wonder she’s been so careful about consent and making sure I said everything was okay.

“How…how did it happen?” Romano tentatively asked.

“Before I tell you, Roma, you need to understand something really important,” (Reader) sniffled, “Being a disabled girl is really hard in the dating world. Nearly every adult tells you, from the time you’re old enough to date, that you’ll be fucking lucky if anybody wants to take on “a burden” like you. You should “be grateful” that anyone would want to touch you at all, no matter how bad it is…and oh, if you have the option of hiding your illness to attract a good man, but you don’t, then you brought a bad man on yourself. You should just “rise above” and “not let your illness define you” because “you’ll be damaged goods” or “you’ll settle for damaged goods” if you do that.”

Damaged goods. Romano winced at the words, having remembered (Reader)’s mother say that about him a week before (Reader) became his girlfriend. Hearing such a horrible statement from (Reader)’s mother was enough to make him throw up in a storm drain. A biological mother—supposedly the parent who loved her children from the moment of conception—telling him would have driven Romano to suicide even as a little boy.

“You can imagine then,” (Reader) continued, “Why I felt so much pressure to cooperate with his every need and whim. If I didn’t, I would be out the rarity of a partner who seemed to stick around in spite of my illnesses and let me be open about them…so you can imagine how I felt when he talked about his last girlfriend before me, who was also sick. She was “disgusting” because she had a belly full of yeast because of an immune system condition, lay still during sex instead of giving some reaction that he was doing a “good job”, and she was too sick to have sex as often as he wanted. That’s not all the reasons he gave for her being “disgusting”, and the more he talked about her, the more I felt I had to perform for him as he wanted…”

“What happened that made you think you were pregnant? Did he force you to do it without a condom?”

“Not exactly…It started when I got spring flu and it made me sick for two months. Ears, sinuses, chest…all of it got infected and it took two antibiotics to get everything better. The asthma really knocked me on my ass with the infections, and having sex seemed next to impossible. Joel seemed patient about sex at first, but he started to get really pissed off at  he was starting to get really impatient at week six. That’s when he really started telling me stories about his “disgusting” ex and sex…and I knew if I did not have sex with him the moment I felt even a little bit better, he would get really angry. My God, Joel could be scary if he got angry. I once said he was being a coward in an argument but changed my words because I could feel his temper flaring. If it wasn’t a bad temper, it would be either abandoning me for being too sick or cheating on me with any girl he could find…”

Romano put a hand on his head, feeling as though he was about to faint. Perhaps it was because he was a nation or had lived among very select people, but Romano never heard of a man behaving so abominably towards a woman in his centuries of nationhood.

“To avoid his temper, I tripled my suppository dose of yeast infection meds and went back to performing, right on his sex schedule. What I didn’t know was that…yeast infection meds dissolve condoms…and the pill becomes ineffective with antibiotics…I waited for a week with baited breath until I got my period during my brother’s graduation. My parents were too preoccupied with my brother after he started projectile vomiting from smoking a congratulatory cigar, but my extended family knew something was up when I got really sick too for no obvious reason. My aunt asked me, “(Reader), are you pregnant?” and I told her, “No, just the opposite. I found out I wasn’t pregnant a few moments ago and got sick from being so overwhelmed.””

“Did Joel ever know?”

“No. I never told Joel because I knew he’d throw a fit and tell me the whole thing was my fault, though his temper was frightening as fuck and he refused to let up when I didn’t want to have sex. Joel broke up with me a few weeks later, insisting I was “bad in bed” because I was too sick keep up with his needs.”

Small threads in Mabel’s sheets came apart as a red-faced Romano tightened his grip, fighting every muscle in his body that longed to break something. The salsa jars sitting in Mabel’s recycling bin. Every window in the apartment complex. Anything that was deemed garbage by another person, yet still would have been satisfying to shatter into smithereens. Breaking something that had long served its purpose was the only thing Romano could think of doing to control his desire to hunt down this ‘Joel’ person and feed him to Sicilian mob bosses. There was no fate better fitting a man who treated women as though their main purpose was to service him. Nothing in the world could ever justify treating a woman like a sex object while completely overlooking her needs and desires. Thinking about men treating women that way already infuriated Romano from an abstract point of view. To consider that someone had acted that way towards la sua amata (Reader) (his beloved (Reader)) made Romano angry enough to start a war.

Scopare i suoi parenti morti. Quella testa di cazzo vai a morire ammazzato o prendila una barca en culo con i remi aperti.” (Fuck his dead relatives. That dickhead is going to die murdered or take a boat up his ass with the oars open).

Settling for the worst of Neapolitan and Roman curses was the most Romano could do within the limited resources he had available. (Reader)’s eyes widened at the rage seizing Romano’s essence, leaving her fearful of how he would behave. Romano may have been speaking too fast for her to decipher any Italian, but she could tell he had been seized by rage…and until she knew why, he was deemed dangerous.

“I’m not mad at you, (Reader),” Romano said, “I just wish I could kill that figlio di puttana (son of a bitch/whore) for what he did to you. It’s, it’s disgusting! How could anyone use another person’s sickness as an excuse to push people around?”

(Reader) sighed with relief, grateful that Romano’s anger was driven by ableism, rather than anything she could have done. Tears hovered behind her eyes, but (Reader) still felt too defensive to let them fall. Aside from when she cared for him after a suicide attempt and select Ménière’s attacks, (Reader) had never cried in front of Romano. The worst of her weeping was saved for Feliciano and Mabel, who had seen her through so much that vulnerability was nothing new. Letting down that wall in front of Romano frightened (Reader), knowing full well that once her floodgates opened, there was no going back. Bit by bit, (Reader) gave herself permission to open up…but crying remained dammed by years of defenses brought by dating amidst ableism.

“The dating is world is ugly if you’re a sick girl,” (Reader) replied, “I know I told you about Beach and how he bailed after I got a Ménière’s attack during a party because he felt like I was ‘too much.’ Then there was Alfred, who wanted to date me shortly after, but mainly because he only dates sick girls because he likes to play the part of ‘their hero.’ I mean, I know he has a hero complex in general and it has nothing to do with me…but it still made me feel really disgusting, like I was just some man’s exotic little fuck toy for being sick, or just another box to tick off on a list.”

“List?”

“Some guys keep a list of the girls they’ve fucked. Their ethnicities, their sexualities, their height, if their pussy is tight…and of course, whether or not their sick. If I wasn’t careful, I was just going to be another checkbox.”

In a deep mock-macho voice, (Reader) continued, “Huh-hey man, look at me, I fucked a deaf girl.”

Returning to her normal voice, she finished, “And that’s how I would be checked off too. Guys like Alfred care more about being fake heroes and checking off lists, not about the differences between being deaf and being hard of hearing.”

Italian men may flirt with women for sport, but Romano could never imagine anyone in his country treating women so crassly. Every woman was a bella with attributes, characteristics, and features to be appreciated, not some trophy to collect in a man’s quest to fuck his way around the world. The thought of treating women that horribly compounded Romano’s rage with an overpowering wave of nausea.

“Of course…there are the guys who are like my parents, insisting that being sick is something to be hidden because it keeps people from ‘seeing the person’ and instead ‘seeing the illness’, as if I can’t be sick and a person at the same time. Arthur was like that—no surprise that my parents absolutely loved him and were saddened when we broke up. He insisted that I act like ‘a lady’, and part of that was wanting me to hide my illness.  Ever since he lost his colonies, Arthur likes to find partners he sees as projects rather than people, and I don’t want to be somebody’s project just because I’m sick…but yeah…that’s dating with chronic illness if you’re a girl. Checklists. Guys who bail when they can’t handle it. Guys looking for fixer-uppers to make themselves feel good. Guys who use illness to coerce girls into doing whatever it is they want…and that’s not including the number of times I’ve gotten the r-bomb.”

“R-bomb?”

“Retarded. It’s the worst disability slur out there, to the point where four years ago, Obama signed a law into effect that banned and erased the word from legal documents, replacing it instead with the phrase ‘intellectual disability.’ Rosa’s Law, it’s called. The only reason people still use the r-bomb is because disabled individuals are all lumped together and treated as though we’re animals, not people.”

Romano closed his eyes, trying his hardest to lessen the impact of the sting in (Reader)’s words. It wasn't that he didn’t believe or understand what she was saying…no, he understood her words all too well from the painful memory of Roderick and Antonio shuffling him around. All he wanted was to pour his heart out to (Reader), and tell her the dirtiest details of his flashbacks and nightmares. To Romano’s surprise, he was rendered silent by his concern for (Reader), whose head was rested her head on her knees and gazed at him through glassy eyes. (Reader) would have carried the burden of his memories as though it was her own, instead of focusing on healing the pain caused by so many of her exes—especially that bastardo Joel. Having entrusted him with such a painful story, Romano had enough security to know (Reader) was not leaving him anytime soon.  Nobody would tell someone a story that painful with the intention of abandoning them moments later. Any fears Romano had about abandonment or rejection could wait at least until (Reader) was certain she felt safe with him again.

Vieni qui,” (come here) Romano said, gesturing to his lap, “Come here. I’ve got you.”

(Reader) wanted to crawl into his arms yet found herself frozen by their fight from twenty four hours earlier. Was he going to make the same promise, only to yell at her again if she accidentally ruined something else of his? Did “I’ve got you” really mean anything from Romano, or from anybody who displayed ableist behavior regardless of intentions? Even if Romano meant those words today, would he mean them later if they had another fight?

There’s only one way you’re going to know for sure.

Tentatively, (Reader) inched towards Romano, trepidation making her every movement fragile as crystal. Romano nodded, keeping his arms open until (Reader) was within his reach, at which point he quickly seized her and pulled her to his chest. The moment Romano’s hands touched (Reader)’s body, all of her dams shattered and black tidal waves gushed from her eyes, swirling her mascara with blush, shadow, and foundation. Romano winced as he held (Reader) close, his ears stinging from the volume of her wails. Never in his life had he heard anyone cry as violently as (Reader)…but never before had he met a person who spent so much of her life mistreated for a factor that was far beyond her control. For all Romano wanted to cry alongside (Reader) for both of their broken hearts, he knew now was the time for him to be strong. If (Reader) was going to heal and trust him again, she had to receive care for her trauma first.

“Hey,” Romano lulled, petting her hair, “I’m sorry for how I acted after you got sick the other day. I’m sorry I yelled at you and made you feel like it was your fault that you got sick. It was really fucking shitty of me…and I hope I’m doing the right things to make it better. Tell me if I’m not, and I’ll do it.”

“Please don’t leave me because I’m sick,” (Reader) blurted out, “Please don’t leave me because I ruined your shoes, or get vertigo attacks at bad times, or have to be taken to the doctor a lot, or can’t always have sex because I’m sick.”

“Me? Leave you?”

Romano tilted (Reader)’s face towards his, gently resting his fingers under her chin.

“You’re one of the best things to ever happen to me. How could I ever leave you? I mean, I’m  not thrilled about my shoes…or my pants…and now my shirt…”

“Oh shit,” (Reader) exclaimed, looking at the large makeup stains across the pink fabric.

“It’s all right, tesoro. (treasure/darling) I learned how to get makeup out of fabric after that first time you were in my bed. It’s not fun to do…but it’s just part of what comes with you. Same thing for you being sick. It’s not fun…but you’re so amazing it hardly means a fucking thing. I can always get new clothes or new shoes…but I can’t get another you. Don’t fucking worry about me leaving you because I’m not going anywhere.”

“You promise?”

Io prometto.” (I promise)

Beneath tears and puddling makeup, (Reader) sniffled into a tiny smile. Reaching over to Mabel’s nightstand for tissues, Romano cleaned makeup-stained streaks off of (Reader)’s skin before covering her face in gentle kisses. Gradually, (Reader)’s tears faded into quiet giggles as  each one tickled her cheeks and were only silenced when her lips interlocked with Romano’s. Tracing spirals across her back, Romano held (Reader) in the closest embrace he could muster, wanting to reassure (Reader) that he would never let her go. The only reason Romano broke the kiss was that Camila and Georgina took both him and (Reader) by surprise by crawling into their laps.

“Hey,” (Reader) said while petting Camila, “Did you sense that I was in trouble? Did you two come along just to rescue me?”

Romano snorted, holding out his hand for Georgina to head butt.

“You know…for all the bastardos out there who treat animals like shit, don’t forget there are people like us too…I mean, a lot of people don’t like cats and treat them like shit…and for all I call this one…uh…Georgia?”

“Georgina.”

“Georgina. For all I call Georgina an asshole, she’s not a bad animal. She’s just an obnoxiously grumpy fuzzball made of nails and teeth.”

“A tiny little hellbeast,” (Reader) inferred.

“But she doe—FUCK YOU!”


Romano yelped as Georgina’s head butting turned into a scratch and a hiss.

“Oooh…she really got you, didn’t she?”

“Yes,” Romano growled, “She did.”

(Reader) wanted to lean across Romano’s lap for a tissue, but found herself unable to do so with Camila in her lap. Rolling his eyes, Romano grabbed a tissue instead and gave it to (Reader) to dab across his wounds.

“We’re going to have to wash this out later,” (Reader) said, “I don’t want to get up just yet.”

“That’s fine, ragazza (girl/girlfriend)…but what was I saying before that stronzo (asshole) sliced me open?”

“Something about cats being treated like shit and thinking Georgina’s name was Georgia?”

“Right…yeah…cats get treated like shit, but even when they’re assholes…doesn’t mean you should treat them like shit. I mean, yeah, Georgina’s a “tiny little hellbeast” as you call her…but it doesn’t mean I’m going to treat her like shit for it. I’ll call her an asshole and leave her alone—same as I would with any other fucker who was getting in my way for no good reason.”

“Yeah…and I guess it can be hard to forget that, even with the Georginas, there can be little angels like Camila too.”

Camila smiled and gave (Reader) an extra purr. One last sniffle, and (Reader)’s tears had been completely dried by Romano and the cats. Resting his head on her right shoulder, Romano put his left arm around (Reader) while petting Camila with his right hand. Together, they gazed at Camila as though she were their baby, and Camila lapped up every bit of attention she could get. Chirping, purring, and mewing, she rolled across (Reader)’s thighs, eager for either of them to touch her belly.

“I’m sorry I shut down on you like that, Roma,” (Reader) said, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about this a lot sooner, and struggle to open up about matters like these.”

“Don’t be sorry. You take all the time you need to open up about things like this. Just tell me if I’m doing something wrong or right, and please be patient with me when I’m learning about ableism. I still don’t entirely understand it, and I need you to be as understanding as you’ve been for the past few months.”


“Of course. I shouldn’t have slipped like that with you. I know you have a harder time learning, and in my own panic, I forgot you’re sick too. That, I am most definitely sorry about, and I’ll do better to remember it in the future…no matter what’s happening between us. I don’t want to punish you for something that’s not your fault.”

Grazie, (thank you) (Reader).”

Between the scent of Romano’s skin and the sensation of Camila purring on her lap, (Reader) could not help feeling soporific. With a great yawn, she found her eyelids becoming heavy and fought to keep them open until Romano insisted, “If you need to sleep, tesoro, (treasure/darling) then sleep.”

“I just…I feel like there’s still a lot to talk about though…I mean…what about you and you being worried that I was going to leave? We both got sidetracked when you were getting frustrated because I didn’t want you to touch me and then I told you about Joel and all the ableism of my boyfriends…”

“Shhhh,” Romano insisted, “talking won’t do you a lot of good if you’re tired, now won’t it?”

(Reader) paused before nodding. Perhaps denying herself sleep when she was tired was not far off from skipping her asthma medication when she couldn’t breathe.

“Go to sleep, (Reader). I’ll be here when you wake up. We can go back to the apartment once Mabel gets home, and I’ll make you dinner and we can have the night we should have had last night. You know, lots of southern Italian dishes, maybe some bad TV or a football game, or drawing together.”

“Mhmm…sounds…really…nice…”

(Reader) closed her eyes, hypnotized into sleep as Romano stroked her hair and rocked her gently in his arms. Partially for her own comfort and partially for his own feelings, Romano took (Reader)’s hearing aid out of her right ear.

Shortly after he tucked it into his pocket, Romano whispered to (Reader), “Sei amato, tesoro. Ti amo tanto.” (You are loved, treasure/darling. I love you so much).

Half an hour later, Mabel returned to her apartment, initially eager to collapse into her bed after physical therapy. Upon seeing her cats asleep with (Reader) and Romano, however, Mabel pulled her phone from her purse and took several pictures. With a smiley emoticon, she sent them to Feliciano, who was overjoyed by receiving her messages.

Feliciano: I’m so glad sorella and fratello decided to stay together! They’re so cute with all of your cats! I love them both so much, and I can’t wait until they start a family!

Closing down the messages, Mabel snickered at Feliciano’s overexcitement about (Reader) and Romano staying a couple. Four months of knowing each other and one month of an official relationship was far too early for them to think about building a family…or was it? Mabel only paused when she considered how close she and (Reader) had become in three years, alongside (Reader) and Feliciano in four. It did not take long for them to become family to each other…maybe it would be the same with (Reader) and Romano. Certainly, they made an adorable couple and looked even cuter cuddling with fur children.

Camila stayed asleep on (Reader)’s lap while Georgina curled up next to Romano’s butt, initially looking peaceful until seeing Mabel return. One glance at her mama and Georgina tried to pretend she didn’t like Romano at all, turning her nose up to him and walking away like he was nothing more than litter crumbs.

Mabel shook her head and whispered, “Georgina, you can’t fool me. I know you like Romano, whether you want to admit it or not. Come on, I’ll get you a treat for being so nice to him and (Reader) today. We’ll give them another few minutes before we wake them up.”

With a few more pushes of a button, Mabel sent the pictures to (Reader)’s phone with a quick message.

Mabel: For those days when you’re ready to run away because of bad experiences with ableist boyfriends.
Lovers forever
Face to face
My city, your mountain
Stay with me stay

CONTENT ADVISORY: Brief mention of coerced sex, suggested pregnancy

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, (Reader) laid out her makeup supplies and prepared herself for battle. Telling Romano about her ex boyfriends was not going to be easy, and (Reader) wanted to be fully decorated in her warpaint before he arrived. Naked3 stood at the ready atop the bathroom counter, its virgin shades of glowing pink waiting for the first swipe of the palette’s brush. (Reader)’s signature eyeliner stood at attention, alongside a thick pink tube of mascara and eyebrow pencil. Several tubes of primer were neatly laid out with brushes and sponges…and the infamous Orgasm that started the downward spiral. Swipe by swipe, brush by brush, (Reader) pulled herself away from the face of a ‘sick person’, characterized by swollen eyelids and a wan overtone to her skin. Confidence rushed beneath her skin as (Reader) crafting strength through actualizing her beauty ideal. Potential for tears felt meaningless compared to the rush (Reader) got from self-care and kinesthetic reassurance that she would be okay.

Mabel fed her cats and knocked on the bathroom door just before stepping out to physical therapy.

“Getting ready to head out?” (Reader) asked.

“Yeah,” Mabel replied, “Just wanted to wish you good luck.”

“Thanks.”

“Oh, and one more thing.”

Opening the bathroom door, Mabel stepped over to reader and gave her the tightest hug she could muster. (Reader) may have been eight inches taller and Mabel’s joints may have been weakened by Elhers-Danlos, but they could always pull themselves together for a tight hug.

“Thank you,” (Reader) whispered.

“You’re going to be all right,” Mabel said, “It may seem like bullshit, but I know you are.”

Breaking away from the hug, Mabel held onto (Reader)’s hand and continued, “You’ve been to rock bottom of relationships, and you’ve survived an ableist family for twenty three years. No matter what happens today, whether you and Romano work it out or not, you’ll get through this.”

“And what happens to my treatment if Romano and I can’t work it out?” (Reader) asked, “I don’t want to stay with him just to see the doctor.”

“I’ll take you. We’ll figure something out together. You won’t ever have to worry about healthcare again. I’ll take you, or Mom will cover your Uber fee, or something. Getting to a doctor shouldn’t play a part in whether or not you stay with Romano.”

Well…I guess no matter what happens, being with Romano will always be good in that it got more people to see the severity of my health situation.

“Okay…I’ll remember that.”

“If it helps, you look really pretty. You did a really good job on your makeup today.”

(Reader) smiled and said, “Thanks.”

“Sure. You’ve got this, no matter what happens.”

“Thanks.”

“All right, I’ve got to be off. Any longer and I’ll be late. Love you. Text me if you need anything.”

“Love you too, Mabel.”

One click of the door later and (Reader) was on her own, with only fifteen minutes to spare before Romano arrived. First order of business was to spritz herself with perfume and hide her makeup in Mabel’s bathroom drawer. Between the litter box next to the counter and Georgina’s bad temper, (Reader)’s makeup would be toast if she left it unprotected. Too many of Mabel’s toothbrushes were casualties to cat whims, and (Reader)’s makeup would be far more difficult to replace. Desperate to get out of her pajamas, (Reader) scrambled frantically through her clothes in Mabel’s closet, settling on a pair of black fleece tights and a coral chiffon dress. Putting on the last of her accessories and her hearing aid, (Reader) was startled by the abrupt vibrating of her phone.

“Hello,” (Reader) said, putting the call on speaker.

“Hey,” Romano said, “I’m at the front door. Could you let me in?”

“Uhh…sure, give me five minutes.”

With one last swipe of coral lipstick, (Reader) tentatively walked to the front door outside of Mabel’s apartment. Though not as caffeinated as they were upon first meeting, butterflies danced in (Reader)’s stomach when she saw Romano through the window. A small blush dusted his cheeks, further emphasized by the pale pink of his shirt. Typically coiffed and stylish, Romano’s hair lay in a half-wavy mess, his curl frizzing more than (Reader) had ever seen. Standing in profile, Romano was still holding his phone to his ear, waiting for (Reader) to say something.

“Roma,” (Reader) gently called as she opened the door. Slightly started, Romano turned around, running a hand through his hair.

Ciao, (Reader),” Romano puffed, trying his best to play it cool yet failing as a red rose in his hand.

“Are you okay?”

“Si…yeah…of course I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be okay?”

“It’s just that…you’re shaking, and I wanted to make sure you weren’t having a chorea attack.”

“Oh, no. No, I’m, I’m fine.”

“That’s good. I always worry about you when you have attacks, you know?”

She’s still worried about me?


On the surface, the most Romano could do was shuffle his feet and crack a slight smile. In his head, Romano was sighing with relief while imagining himself grabbing (Reader) and swinging her in circles.

“Yeah…um…I got this for you,” he said, holding out the rose.

(Reader) gently took it and held it close to her chest.

“Thank you.”

“Prego…it’s, it’s nothing, really. I know they’re your favorite.”

I guess it’s a good start if he still remembers my favorite flowers.

“I’m guessing you want to come inside?”

Si,” Romano replied, slightly shivering, “It’s fucking freezing out here.”

“Is there any reason you didn’t bring a jacket?” (Reader) asked as they walked into Mabel’s apartment.

“I didn’t have enough time…I fell asleep through my alarm, and I didn’t want to be late.”

With a chuckle, (Reader) shook her head. Romano frowned as (Reader) put his rose inside the closet.

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing personal,” she tried to reassure him, “I just don’t want to worry about the cats eating it.”

“Cats?”

As if to answer his question, Camila mewed to announce herself. Rubbing her face against his pants, she licked and chewed the fabric.

“Oh,” Romano said, glaring at Camila, “I see why you’d want to keep the rose from them…”

Camila yelped as Romano yanked his pants out of her mouth.

“These two are characters, to say the least. Mabel sofa’s out of commission for a while because Georgina pees on it all the time. If you want to take off your shoes, by the way, I strongly suggest putting them in the closet. Georgina can’t be trusted with anything.”

Immediately, Romano bolted over to the closet, hiding his socks and shoes under every piece of debris he could find. (Reader) chuckled as Georgina walked up behind a completely unaware Romano, who was taken by surprise when he put his foot in front of her face. Georgia hissed as she lunged at Romano’s leg with an open paw full of claws.

Gatto stupido,” (stupid cat) Romano cursed, “Vaffanculo, stronzo!” (Fuck you, asshole)

“There’s a reason why Mabel and I call her ‘Tiny Little Hellbeast’,” (Reader) said.

Romano rolled his eyes, further agitated by Georgina’s bad temper.

“So…I guess we should sit down?” (Reader) tentatively asked.

“Where? I don’t see much of a kitchen and the sofa’s covered in cat piss.”

“There’s always the dining room table, even if it’s small…and Mabel said we could sit on her bed, as long as there was no funny business.”

“The bed,” Romano blurted out, his tongue moving faster than his mind.

Nice going, jackass. What did you think was going to happen if you said ‘the bed’? You and (Reader) would start making love and everything would be okay? She barely even wants to look at you. Fare l'amore non aiuterà nulla ora. Sarai fottutamente fortunato se vorrà baciarti o tenere la tua mano dopo quello che hai fatto.
(Making love won't help anything right now. You'll be fucking lucky if she wants to kiss you or hold your hand after what you've done).

Romano reached out to hold (Reader)’s hand as they walked into Mabel’s room, but she abruptly pulled it away.

“I can’t have you touch me right now, Roma,” (Reader) said, “I need to be able to focus…and I won’t be able to if you’re touching me.”

“Oh,” Romano replied, his shoulders hunching over. (Reader) could have smacked him across the face, and it would have hurt far less than watching her pull away. At least if she slapped him, their skin would touch.

Tentatively, both of them sat on the edge of the bed, staring at their feet. (Reader) placed both of her hands in her lap, wringing them while fiddling with her bracelets. It was all she could do to keep herself from stroking Romano’s hair or pulling him into her arms. Four months had not dimmed the intoxicating spark Romano lit under (Reader)’s skin, and she feared being lit aflame would overpower her sensibility. Maintaining emotional composure was not her strongest suit in the face of addressing ableism and exes. One ignited spark, and (Reader) feared she would accidentally forgive behaviors she should have deemed unforgivable. Only after seeing Romano’s reaction for herself could (Reader) decide if he had earned forgiveness—a gift (Reader) rarely gave to others. Time had taught her that absolving ableist behavior would only result in being fooled twice.

“I…I guess I should start,” Romano said, “I’m the reason everything happened in the first place.”

“No,” (Reader) said, shaking her head, “It wasn’t entirely you.”

“Don’t give me the pity bullshit, (Reader). You’re better than that.”

“It’s not pity, Roma, it’s the truth.”

“Yeah? Well what could have happened to make you change your mind because until a few hours ago, you wouldn’t even send me a text.”

“There’s…there’s a lot I haven’t told you…”

“Again?” Romano exclaimed, “Again? How many times are you going to—”

(Reader)’s shoulders tensed with a sharp inhale, and Romano caught himself before exclaiming something he would regret. The expression across (Reader)’s body was more than enough to warn him of trouble if he was not more careful with his mouth.

“I get so fucking pissed,” he continued, “when you hide things, or disregard doctor’s advisories, or shut me out without telling me what I did wrong. It’s not fair, (Reader). It’s not fucking fair because it makes you hurt, and I don’t know what the fuck I did wrong, and if I don’t know what’s wrong, I don’t know how to fix it.”

“Do you even know what it is you’re trying to fix?”

“No, I don’t. I only know what Buttcrotch told me and I don’t know if that’s right or not because you’re not saying it…and I don’t even know if you’re going to.”

“Well, what did Feli tell you?” (Reader) asked, turning towards him, “I want to hear you say it. Straight in your own words.”

Romano swallowed, fearful of the blaze inside (Reader)’s eyes, further sharpened by the darkness of her black liner. How could this woman who seemed to love him look at him with the glare of a prosecutor? Was (Reader) the same woman who bathed him two months earlier when he was depressed and offered him comfort that life was worth living? Who was this accusatory person that bristled under the touch of his hand? Where had his sweet (Reader) gone…or was this who she was all along, and he was too enraptured by her body and mind to see it?

“I…I was told that…what I said…that whole thing about saying it was your fault that you’re sick because you’re careless was ableist…”

(Reader) nodded, her eyes softening beneath the eyeliner’s edge.

“…which…I don’t, understand, (Reader). I don’t understand why it’s wrong to say you wouldn’t be sick if you followed a doctor’s directions.”

“You make it sound like I’ve done something to deserve it,” (Reader) snapped, “Like all the other people who say sickness is the result of your bad deeds, or your parents’ bad deeds, or bad karma running through a family…like ‘if you hadn’t been such a bad girl, you wouldn’t have thrown up and made everybody mad at you.’”

“Well, I’m not everybody, okay? I’m your southern Italian bastardo of a ragazzo (boy/boyfriend) who would do almost anything to make you smile. I don’t care if you’ve done something ‘bad’, (Reader), and I know the consequences of doing bad things. The worst you get from doing something bad is a guilty conscience that won’t leave you the fuck alone, a tainted reputation, lost trust, and sometimes grudges and wars, not being sick. There’s nothing you as a person could do to ever deserve being sick. Never. Only rotten genes or injuries, or some disgusting parasite or bacteria or virus could ever do that.”

The Naked3 eyeshadow glimmered as (Reader) closed her eyes, sharply inhaling as her shoulders dropped. A small flush bloomed across her skin to replace the thorny gray defenses (Reader) maintained since the previous day’s fight. How easy it was to forget the identity of a loved one when faced with the possibility of trauma repeating itself. How hard it was to open oneself to love when the heart is still covered with open sores, weeping in agony as they struggled to heal. How confusing it was to live with the contradiction of wanting to protect the heart to close its wounds, yet realizing the heart must stay open if healing were to occur. (Reader) looked into Romano’s face, this time seeing her own contradictions in lieu of his; her mixture of woman and child both needing to be loved after abuse in ableism and romance. Golden rays in Romano’s hazel storms called to (Reader), her heart longing to reach for his hand while her mind standing in attention to hear more of his words.

“I know you can’t get sick from doing bad things,” Romano said, “and I know your parents have told you that for your entire life because of the fucking Protestant Work Ethic, and I’m sorry you had to be exposed to fucking Protestants at all…but I’m not sorry for getting upset when you ignore instructions that could make you feel better. I’m allowed to be angry when I see you hurting or sicker than you need to be, especially since you’re pretty fucking sick even when you do follow a doctor’s directions. I hate it because you don’t deserve to be sick, or have to watch yourself to make sure you don’t get sick, you know? If…if there’s anything you deserve, it’s the whole fucking world. Pretty flowers. Nice makeup. Fancy perfumes and dresses. A big house in a place that makes you happy with great food every night. All the colors and theaters and drawings and paintings, and what have you. Not being sick.”

And maybe a better fucking boyfriend, or girlfriend, or whatever-friend…not some bastardo like me who doesn’t even get what is and isn’t ableist.

Gripping at Mabel’s petal pink sheets, (Reader) swallowed a lump of spit, hardly able to bring herself to look at Romano. Her breathing became jagged and Romano stepped off the bed to retrieve her inhaler from Mabel’s nightstand.

“Take a puff of Albuterol,” Romano insisted, “I know you can sometimes have asthma attacks if you’re too agitated.”

“I don’t need it now,” (Reader) choked, “That’s only for if I start—”

“It’s to help prevent asthma attacks too, ragazza.” (girl/girlfriend)

“I don’t like using it, Roma. It makes my heart race and it makes me jittery, and I’m already jittery enough as is.”

Per favore, tesoro. (Please, darling/treasure) Please…take your damn inhaler. I fucking hate begging…but dammit, (Reader), I’m begging you. Please, take your medication. Io prometto (I promise), if your heart gets sick later, I’ll drive you to the hospital and pay whatever fees they give because I’m the one who asked you to take the damn drug and then make you whatever you want and let you yell at me all afternoon…but…please.”

With a rickety sigh, (Reader) took two puffs of albuterol, which calmed her breath within a matter of minutes. Camila and Georgina stared at (Reader) and Romano intently, watching their every move. Georgina gave Romano a vicious glare while Camila jumped on the bed with a small mew, insisting (Reader) and Romano pay her some attention.

“Therapy cat mode,” (Reader) said, “She only does it when she thinks someone’s in trouble.”

“See?” Romano exclaimed, “Even the fucking cat knows it’s stupid to go without your medication and ignore the doctor.”

(Reader) giggled slightly as Camila head-butted her elbow, rubbing her cheeks against its edge.

“There’s the ragazza (girl/girlfriend) I like to see,” Romano said, watching (Reader) pet a purring Camila as she crawled onto (Reader)’s lap. Romano reached out to pet Camila and hopefully interlace his fingers with (Reader)’s, but found his hopes dashed as she swiftly pushed away his hands.

“Not yet, Roma,” (Reader) said, “I’m not ready. I can’t have you touch me just yet…not until I’ve told you my side too.”

“Can I at least pet the cat?”

“Yes, you can pet Camila—just not me.”

Romano nodded and let Camila sniff his fingers. With a delicate chirp, she bowed her head, closing her eyes in delight while Romano scratched her ears. (Reader) felt Camila’s purrs rumbling her thighs, wondering how much they would jiggle if the purring grew louder. Both (Reader) and Romano relaxed around Camila, who was pleased as punch with the attention.

“It’s not going to be easy for me to forgive you,” (Reader) said, “I’ve been forgiving before, only to be made a fool later when the same thing happens again.”

“I can’t promise that I won’t say something ableist again by mistake, (Reader),” Romano said, “but I can promise it will never be intentional. I’m not the brightest person in the world, and I don’t always understand how differences in words—especially in English—can change an entire sentence. You’ve been really patient with me up until now…but I really hope you’ll stay patient…and stay…with…me…”

Georgina was scratching at the hall closet, desperate to spitefully mark Romano’s shoes until she heard sniffling coming from the bedroom. Narrowing her eyes, Georgina waltzed across the bedroom floor and sprang across Mabel’s sheets, eager to quell the sniffles.

“Hey!” Romano exclaimed as Georgina head butted his cheek, “Che cazzo, stronzo?” (What the fuck, asshole)

“Roma, haven’t you ever met a cat before?” (Reader) asked, “Georgina’s head butting you to try making you less sad. She does the same thing whenever Mabel’s upset.”

With an annoyed grunt, Romano wiped off the strands of fur sticking to his cheeks. Tears and cat fur were not necessarily the greatest combination. A small yelp escaped Romano’s lips when Georgina ceased her heat butting in favor of sleeping on his lap.

“You must be in really bad shape if she’s being nice to you.”

“You have no idea. I…I…I thought I lost you…I thought you were going to leave me…l-like everyone else…even before The Balance Clinic and then we had that fight and you wouldn’t speak to me…”

In spite of his best efforts to avoid full blown sobs, tears continued pouring down Romano’s cheeks, his own breath turning jagged as he fought his own body. Georgina produced a quiet purr in a feeble attempt to calm Romano’s upset.

“I get why you thought that after The Balance Clinic,” (Reader) said, “But what happened before that made you think I’d leave?”

“Bonnie the Sephora girl. You can tell me she’s just a crush all you want, but why did you talk about orgasms with her? Orgasms. Getting naked. Something being better than sex…”

(Reader) pointed to her face, widening her eyes and fluttering her lashes for emphasis.

“It’s all makeup names, Roma. Orgasm is the name of a blush—and an award winning one at that. The palette I got when she gave me a makeover was the third in Urban Decay’s Naked palette line. Better Than Sex is Too Face’s mascara. Sure, we were making extremely suggestive puns with the names…but you know me…you know how—”

Si, si, io so, ragazza. Non dirlo.” (Yes, yes, I know, girl/girlfriend. Don’t say it).

The tear stains on Romano’s cheeks were enough to keep (Reader) from "punnishing" him. Any other day, Romano would have groaned before silently giggling and jokingly calling her Il mio tesoro fastidioso (my troublemaking treasure/darling). It was the only time where (Reader) pushed Romano for anything after he said “no”, and the only time Romano refused something while trying to stifle his laughter.

“All right,” (Reader) said, turning her attention back to Camila, who purred while being stroked. Temptation to touch Romano was overwhelming, and if Mabel had not insisted on (Reader) telling him about her ableist boyfriends, (Reader) would have taken him into her arms. Fingers scratching around Camila’s ears would have gone through Romano’s hair, and (Reader) would have rocked him in her arms the moment he confessed fears of her leaving. Telling Romano about her exes, especially Joel, required (Reader) to be free of touch. Feeling the skin of another man would tie (Reader)’s tongue and cause her heart to beat so fast it threatened to have a violent crash.  (Reader) needed some touch though, and Camila was the safest being she could hold and stroke while opening herself further to Romano.

“Is that why you made that other awful comment?” (Reader) asked.

“What comment are you talking about now?” Romano groaned.

“You said something like…if flirting an illness I would still be in the hospital and it would still be my fault because I’m fucking careless with everything I do…”

Romano cringed into his left hand, wishing (Reader) would take her thickly lined eyes off of him. One day of abandonment panic had given Romano the chance to forget that said something that awful to (Reader). Just thinking about what he said made Romano feel like an ass, wishing he could go back twenty four hours and clean up his mouth.

No wonder you didn’t want to talk to me, (Reader). I fucking wouldn’t want to talk to me either. That was a fucking horrible thing for me to say, and I’m fucking sorry I ever said it. Vorrei tanto che tu sapessi quanto sia stato difficile per me dire come mi sento invece di esplodere in queste orribili frasi che non dovrebbero mai essere dette a nessuno. Non so cosa cazzo abbia che non va in me a volte. (I would like you to know how difficult it was for me to say how I feel instead of exploding in these horrible phrases that should never be said to anyone. I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me sometimes).

(Reader) could not tell what Romano was thinking verbatim, but the crimson grimace and his inability to look at her face were extremely telling of his embarrassment. Georgina sat purring peacefully, unaware of the shame engulfing her companion…or perhaps she knew and could only purr her sentiments of comfort.

“You don’t have to say if you don’t want to, but Roma…I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me what’s on your mind.”

“It would be a lot easier to tell you if I were holding your hand,” Romano pushed.

“I told you Romano,” (Reader) hissed, a small growl in her voice frightening the cats. “I don’t want you to touch me right now.”

“Why not? What the fucking hell is so wrong with me that you don’t want me to touch you?”

“I’ll get too scared to tell you what I’ve kept secret!”

“What kind of secret is so bad that you don’t want someone to touch you?”

“A secret that involves coerced sex that nearly ended with me getting pregnant!”

(To be continued in the next section...)
Would anybody here be interested in seeing illustrations for the RomanoxSick!Reader series?

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Chiara Lewes***
United States
I'm a proud Hetalian and outspoken spoonie with a desire to increase disability representation via Reader Inserts. Currently have chronic ear infections, hearing loss in my right ear, Vestibular Migraines*, anaphylactic allergies, depression, PTSD, ovarian cysts, hidradenitis suppurativa with subsequent arthritis, and EDNOS. All illnesses and instances of ableism in my xReader stories are taken straight from life.

My stories may not always say Sick!Reader in the title, but (Reader) will always have a chronic illness of some sort**. For all our illnesses affect our lives, we're more than the sad and/or inspiration porn caricatures seen in abled-driven stories. We are your classmates, teachers, friends, family, coworkers, lovers, bosses, employees, and so much more. Our lives are rich and colorful, even when we're taught they should be melancholy. We are everywhere and anywhere, and we will be seen.

I encourage everybody who reads my stories to add onto them with their own experiences and vantage points. Send me a Note if you plan to do so and give credit to me for the original plot and Hidekaz Himaruya for Hetalia itself.

*The pathophysiology of VM and Ménière's is poorly understood and the diagnostic criteria for both illnesses has significant overlap. The criteria used when I was first diagnosed in 2007 is now outdated. Unresponsiveness to Antivert was diagnostic material for VM in 2007, but it's since been discovered that not all cases of Ménière's are treated effectively with it. With the new criteria for the diagnostic process and my long standing history of infections, it is more likely that I have Ménière's instead of VM, but an ENT has yet to confirm. Read the RomanoXSick!Reader series for more information.

**100 points to the first person who figures out what (Reader) has in Wrong Impression.

***Hetalia fanfiction pen name.
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:iconsmilyimp:
smilyimp Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2018
Hello there =D
Thank you for the favs :blushes:
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:iconvideodreams:
VideoDreams Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2018
Hey, you nailed my perfect choice. I would always have a hot waiter if given those choices. Much as I write about Romano, England is definitely one of my favorites, especially since his tattoo is supposed to represent Liverpool, a.k.a. the home of my favorite band. <3
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:iconsmilyimp:
smilyimp Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2018
Hahahahaha, I'm glad you like the choice!!! :giggle:
The home of my favorite (Oh well, sometimes!) football team!!! ;P What band is it? :XD:
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:iconvideodreams:
VideoDreams Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2018
The Beatles. If you ask me, they are the best band in music history. <3
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