I arrived back at my cabin room. While walking back here, I’ve been thinking about what Isaac said.
“I can’t take my eyes off of you, Drew,” Isaac said, holding my arm and pulling me even closer to him.
I know I shouldn’t put a lot of thought about it. I mean, he’s probably just saying it because he’s my bodyguard.
I smiled, convincing myself that it wasn’t a big deal. Scampering to my bed, I took my shoes off, threw it on the floor and lied back on the bed to sleep.
I really did want to party with Clark and the others but it would only end up in disaster if I drink alcohol.
It’s true that I could stay without drink but what’s the fun in that?
I’m sure everyone’s having fun, even without me.
I pulled the covers over me and tried hard not to cry about it.
Why am I so pathetic?
I hate myself.
I woke up to a feeling of someone’s arm on me. My eyes adjusted to the bright sunshine, realizing that Clark was sleeping beside me, naked.
I repeat, naked.
Clark was naked, sleeping beside me, an arm on my chest while sleeping.
I was about to panic and wake him up but after seeing him sleeping peacefully, as if it’s the only sleep he could get in a week, I stayed still.
I brushed the hair on his forehead, smiling as he purred upon my touch.
I bet he had a good time yesterday with his friends and sister.
I’m so jealous. I wanted to come with him too.
Scowling, I retreated my hand away from Clark. It wouldn’t be good if he knew that I’m attracted to him. I silently got off of the bed, careful not to wake him up. But before I could go, a hand suddenly grabbed mine, stopping me from getting up.
I looked back and saw Clark stirring awake. His eyelids fluttered open, looking at me with half-asleep gaze.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
Hearing that deep and raspy voice, I blushed. It sounded so sexy!
“U-uh…to the bathroom,” I replied.
Clark let go of my hand. He got up and yawned.
I stood up, brushing my hair so that I could at least look decent in front of Clark.
“How was last night?” I asked.
Clark rolled his eyes and answered, “not good.”
“Diana’s a fucking mess when she drinks. Isaac took care of her after she passed out.”
I thought for a moment.
“Are they staying in the ship too?”
Clark got up and I quickly snapped my head away from him when I saw him only wearing his boxers.
“No, they’re in a hotel in the island. They’re gonna go back to the city tomorrow,” he answered.
“Oh, so they’re not with us,” I said, a little bit disappointed.
I was kind of hoping to talk to Diana. She looked like she’s fun to have conversations with.
We got dressed and went to the dining hall to eat breakfast. My camera was in my hands since I was hoping to take more pictures before going back home.
Clark looked irritated and it’s probably because he only got little sleep.
Valery greeted Clark and I the moment she saw us. Waving a hand, she beckoned us to their table, where Oleg and Alyona were sitting with her.
The siblings both have dark bags under their eyes. Oleg looked like he wanted to sleep and Valery, as always, was energetic.
“Good morning!” she greeted.
I sat beside her and smiled.
“Good morning,” I greeted back.
“It sucks that we’re going back today,” Alyona commented, pouting. “Oh, by the way! You need to give me the best picture you got, okay?” she reminded. Eyeing me, she added, “that goes for you too, Drew.”
I was surprised.
“But I’m not a part of the Photography club,” I retorted.
Valery brushed me off and said, “you’ve been taking a lot of pictures too, right? It will be a waste if you don’t submit it for the contest.”
I grinned, nodding my head at her.
To be honest, I wanted to join the contest too but because I’m not a part of the Photography club, I couldn’t. I’m lucky that Alyona’s nice even if she knew about the gay issue about me, she remained a friend.
We began eating and everyone was silent. I focused myself in the food while constantly checking the photos I have in my camera. I was already thinking what photo to submit.
While browsing, I saw the picture I took of Clark in the cave. It wasn’t anything special, for some people but for me, it’s a proof that I’m with the person I liked.
Even if he doesn’t see me that way…
But wait, why did he sleep beside me last night?
I looked at Clark to ask him my question but seeing that irritated face while eating, I decided not to.
I turned my camera off.
I didn’t wanna go back home.
Since Isaac’s not back yet, another man from Clark’s group picked us up, driving us back to the house. The ride back home was exhausting. Even if it was just a short trip from the docks, I was still tired. Maybe because of the trip and all but I just feel sleepy all the way back home.
“Is my dad still in Italy…?” I asked Clark who was sitting beside me on the back seat of the car.
“Yeah. The meeting with Hiro’s taking a while, he’s probably being stubborn, as usual,” Clark said.
I blinked at him.
“The leader of the Italians.”
“Oh. You know him?”
Clark looked out of the window, never answering my question. That left me pondering if Clark was connected with any other Mafia groups in the world.
“So you’re going to enter the contest?”
I glanced back at Clark, nodding.
“Yeah. It’s a waste if I don’t.”
“The next leader of the Orlov group, instead of becoming one is much interested in photography,” Clark mocked.
I puffed my cheeks in irritation.
“I don’t want to become the leader,” I said.
Clark looked back at me and I got the chills, seeing those cold eyes staring down at me,
“You will be the next leader whether you want it or not.”
“I told you, I don’t want to.”
His eyes narrowed and I backed away from fear. Nevertheless, I held my gaze with him, staring back at those blue eyes.
“Then what do you want to be?”
“I wanna be a photographer,” I answered, my voice strained, “but,” my shoulders dropped and I sighed, “I have no choice but to accept the position.”
Clark looked surprised from what I said.
“In this kind of world, it’s either you die or you hide away for the rest of the life to get out of the Mafia,” I mumbled, “and I’m scared of entering that world…because I know a lot of bad things will happen and I don’t want that,” I finished.
I looked down my hands and it was trembling. I’ve seen a glimpse of what world my family belonged to and it scarred me.
“I don’t think…I can ever do those kind of things my dad do.”
“You’re reminding me of someone I know.”
I blinked at him.
Clark leaned back on the seat and crossed his arms and legs.
“Your dad gave me the task of training you how to become like him,” Clark informed. “You don’t have to be scared, boss,” he said, smirking at me, “as long as you got me behind you, you’ll be the strongest heir.”
“Just do what I tell you to do.”
Two days have passed since the cruise happened. Dad didn’t know what happened and I’m thankful that Isaac and Clark kept silence about my little escapade behind his back. It was Thursday morning when Alyona approached me to talk about the photography contest.
“So the winner of ViewFrame contest will be flying to New York for the exhibit. Of course, there’s also money involved and the photo will be featured in ViewFrame’s magazines,” Alyona explained while handing me the flyer.
“Thanks,” I said. “I know I’m not a part of the photography club but thanks for inviting me to the contest.”
Alyona winked at me.
“I know if someone has an eye for photography and clearly, you have one,” she said.
I flushed, feeling a little proud about myself.
“Once the seniors graduated, you can join the club,” Alyona said. “There will be new spots for students to enter it. You’re friends with Val and Oleg, they can secure a spot for you.”
Remembering what Clark told me, I gave her a sad smile.
“Yeah, that will be awesome.”
The school bell rang, signaling everyone that lunch was over and it’s time to go back to the classrooms. Alyona and I bid good bye to each other and I hurried back to my room to attend my next class.
The teacher entered the room and began teaching. Clark was no where to be find which was weird. Maybe he had some business to attend to.
Meanwhile, I busied myself thinking about the contest. I wonder what photo to submit.
Afternoon classes was finished and it was finally time to go home. I was expecting Isaac to be waiting for me but instead of him, it was Clark who accompanied me back to the house.
“Hey,” I awkwardly greeted when we saw each other outside the school building. “You didn’t attend your afternoon class.”
Walking to the parking lot, Clark said, “I need to deal with some stuff. Diana’s staying at my house and it was rowdy as fuck to have her.”
I giggled. I could picture Diana in Clark’s house and knowing her personality, it would have been a mess.
“You’re close to your sister, aren’t you?” I commented.
“If you grew up having no one but your family, it’s not surprising for us to be this close,” Clark absently said.
I got curious.
“What do you mean?”
We stopped in front of Clark’s car. I watched him unlock the doors and he was the first one to get in. I followed soon, sitting beside the driver’s seat.
“I’m hungry, you wanna go eat something?” he suggested.
My heart skipped a beat from his invitation.
Okay, that sounded a little bit enthusiastic.
Clark eerily smirked.
I was uncomfortable the moment we entered this place. I was expecting Clark would bring me to a family restaurant but instead, he parked in front of a shady-looking building. There were people who looked like they’re from the mob, loitering around the place, smoking cigarettes and talking to each other.
I walked closer to Clark as we rode the elevator. It was rusty and dingy and I was scared that it might fall apart. Fortunately, it didn’t.
“W-where are we going?” I asked Clark.
He was casually smoking a cigarette.
“A place where we can eat.”
“This place has a restaurant?”
Clark turned to me and grinned.
“Yeah, for people like us.”
The elevators door opened and we got out. The corridor was dimly lit and there were some people leaning against the wall. I gasped after seeing a couple making out as we passed down the hall.
What’s this place?
Clark stopped in front of a red door. Two large men were guarding the door and upon seeing Clark, they bowed their heads at him and opened the door.
I followed him closely, getting scared at how the two guys gave me a nasty look. Ignoring them, I walked behind Clark and was awed the moment I entered the room.
The ceiling was high, with disco lights hanging, reflecting hundreds of different colors all over the room. There was a jazz music playing through the speakers surrounding the walls and in the middle of the room was a center stage, a crowd surrounding it while drinking what seemed like booze. My eyes almost budged out of its sockets when I saw three naked women sensually dancing to the music.
“C-Clark!” I half-screamed, half-whispered. “Where are we and what are we doing here?”
A waiter approached Clark and he led us to a vacant table, at the far end of the room where we could still see the stage.
He gave us a menu but Clark had already told him what he wanted to eat. It took me a whole minute to pick mine but the waiter was kind enough to wait for me. After we ordered our food, Clark finished his cigarette and lit another stick.
“Seriously, what are we doing here?” I asked, worried that we might be in a dangerous place.
“It’s one of your father’s place,” Clark answered. “Technically, you’re the owner of this place.”
I know my father owned a lot of places in the city but I still couldn’t get used to the idea of being one of the powerful families in the country.
“Why did you bring me here?”
“Because you need to familiarize yourself in this kind of situation. You’re going to manage places like this in the future.”
I was worried, I wouldn’t deny that.
Looking to the right, my almost jumped out of my chest seeing a couple being intimate in the table next to us. The woman was already half-naked, sitting on top of the man’s lap while he was sucking her breasts.
I peeled my gaze off of them. Good thing the music was loud so that I wouldn’t hear the sound they were making.
Clark noticed my distress.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
My face was red and I was sweating.
I’m really not comfortable with this place.
Clark saw what was causing my anguish and he smirked. Leaning close to me, he whispered, “are you getting aroused with what you’re seeing?”
I held my ear, backing away from him while blushing hard.
I squeezed my legs together, telling myself not to look at anything anymore. Clark grinned and ruffled my hair.
“You’re not really good for my heart,” I whispered, looking down on my lap.
“The feeling is mutual.”
The next morning, I arrived at the school early than usual. Isaac brought me to school since Clark was staying in his house with his sister. There were only a few students and deciding that I could spend my free time going through the photos I took from the cruise, I went to the library.
There was no one inside but the doors were unlocked. I entered and sat in one of the tables near the windows.
While browsing the pictures in my camera, my phone vibrated inside my pocket. I took it out and there was a message from Valery.
After school, let’s go to Sweet Dreams Bakery! Okay?
I wanna eat macaroons. :D
I smiled. After what happened yesterday, I was glad that I could still live normally with my friends, hanging out with them and just having plain fun.
I sent her a text, telling her that I’m gonna come.
It was already the last class but I didn’t see Valery throughout the day. I texted her why she missed school but I never received any replies from her.
Few minutes later, class was over and everyone was getting ready to go home. I called her but she wasn’t answering.
I walked to Clark’s desk while holding my phone.
“Where’s Valery?” I asked.
He stood up, slinging his bag over his shoulder.
“She’s not answering my calls. She told me we’ll see each other after school but she’s not here.”
Clark shrugged his shoulders.
“Maybe she’s sick.”
I sighed. I’m getting worried about her.
“Let’s go to her house to check,” I suggested.
Clark made a face.
“Ugh, I don’t really wanna see -- ”
He stopped talking when my phone suddenly rang. It was from Valery and I quickly answered it to ask why she missed class.
But I froze, my heart almost stopping when I heard a man’s voice answering the call.
“If you still wanna see your little friend alive, you better come to Brisco. You have 30 minutes.”
“What did you do to Valery?!”
Ignoring my question, the man said, “you better hurry up, Orlov. She’s not looking alright.”
I gripped my phone tight and was about to curse at him but he already hang up the phone.
Clark raised a brow at me.
“Let me guess, someone got Valery.”
I trembled, clutching Clark’s shirt. Tears were forming in my eyes and I began to cry in front of him.
“W-what will I do?! They got Valery! W-why did they do that?!”
Clark looked at me with bored eyes.
“Because you’re from the Mafia and everyone close to you will be in danger because of who you are.”
No, no, please, not Valery. She’s my best friend, one of the few people who accepted who I really am.
If anything happens to her…I’m…I’m…
“What did they say?” Clark asked.
“T-they want me to come to…Brisco,” I answered in between my sobbing. “I can’t lose…Valery…she’s…”
She’s too important to me.
“Then what are you gonna do, boss?”
I’m scared. I don’t want to get hurt but the thought of Valery getting hurt because of scared me even more.
“I…I don’t know…”
“Are you forgetting something?”
I raised my head to look at Clark.
“Didn’t I tell you? As long as you have me, everything will be okay.”
He held my chin, his eyes staring into mine.
“Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it for you.”
Valery’s smiling face flashed in my mind.