Clark parked the car in front of Brisco, an old inn in the outskirts of Moscow. The street was abandoned and it’s almost like a ghost town here.
“This is the Voronin territory.”
I looked at Clark, raising a brow.
“You know them?”
“One of the families in the east. They’re a small group but this year they’re aggressive in doubling their numbers,” Clark explained.
“Because it’s the war of the heirs,” I murmured.
Looking at the time, I found out that we only have 10 more minutes to save Valery to those bastards. I quickly took the seat belt off and was about to get out of the car to run inside the inn where my best friend was but Clark caught my hand. He pulled me back inside and I gasped out loud from how strong his simple tug was.
“What are you doing?” he asked, nonchalant.
I glared at him.
“Saving Valery!” I barked.
“And what do you think you can do to save Valery?”
I froze. Clark was right, what am I even gonna do charging to the enemy’s lair. I don’t know how to fight, hell I don’t even know how to hold a gun.
I stared at my hands and trembled.
I’m useless in the kind of world. I really am not fit to become a Mafia leader.
But what could I do?
To save Valery, what should I do?!
“Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it for you.”
Remembering Clark’s words, I nodded to myself.
If I wanted to save Valery, I have to act that I’m going to be the next boss of the Orlov family.
Calming myself, I looked at Clark. Grabbing the collar of his shirt, I pulled him close to me, staring deep into those blue eyes of his.
“We’ll save Valery and we’ll bring her back alive,” I ordered Clark who was surprised, “you have to make sure that those people will pay for what they did to Valery.”
He saw the fire in my eyes and he smiled in excitement.
“Okay, boss. But you have to come with me.”
I backed away from him.
“Let’s consider this as part of your training.”
Walking inside the inn, with Clark in front of me, was nerve-wracking compared to taking an exam and waiting for the result. No, this was far more different than something trivial as that.
I clutched Clark’s back as I looked right to left to check if there’s someone who’s going to see us.
Because if that were to happen, I’m sure Clark and I would be dead.
I was trembling like a little kitten while Clark was just casually traversing through the dark corridor, as if this was nothing to him.
Seeing him kill those people guarding the entrance of the inn, I still couldn’t get it out of my head.
I stared at Clark, thinking that this man was the real deal.
But even so I’m still in love with him.
I’m such an idiot. Why am I thinking about these kind of things when my friend was in obvious peril.
I needed to concentrate.
Valery’s life’s in danger because of me.
“C-Clark,” I softly called his name.
“What?” he asked.
We continued walking down the hallway with no sign of the enemy.
“Shouldn’t we call Isaac? I mean…there’s no way you can handle them just by yourself,” I suggested.
Clark stopped and so did I.
“If you know who my parents are, you won’t doubt my skills, boss,” he said, smirking at me. “You don’t have to worry. You don’t need Isaac.”
My eyes widened at him.
Clark turned to the corridor to his right and when we peeked, we saw two guys guarding one of the doors. They were smoking cigarettes while talking out loud with each other.
My heart skipped a couple of beats.
“W-what should we do?”
Clark smiled at me.
“Watch and learn, Drew.”
I gaped in awe, not believing what I have just witnessed. Clark managed to take down everyone in a short span of time, shooting bullets to their heads. He doesn’t give them the opportunity to react, it was as if he’s a robot who calculated everything that could happen in the next minute or so. To see him action, I kept asking myself if he’s really just a bodyguard.
“It’s finished,” Clark said, looking at me.
I was standing by the door, watching him do his job. He wiped the blood on his cheek with the back of his hand, tucking his gun inside his coat to hide it.
The smell of death lingered in the air it was nauseating. I couldn’t dare look at the dead bodies on the floor because I’m sure I would puke my innards out if I see their fresh corpses.
Clark walked over to the person who was the only one left alive. He was trembling in fear, looking at Clark with sweat dripping down his face.
“W-wait! How much do you want?! I can pay you, I have a lot of money!” the man begged, kneeling in front of Clark.
I cringed when Clark kicked him on the face, sending him flying inches away from where he was a moment ago. He cried out in pain, holding his bloody nose.
“I’m not interested with your money,” Clark said, his eyes screaming in anger as he approached the man who was crawling away from him.
His desperation to live was heartbreaking but I couldn’t find myself to stop Clark.
“To think that you kidnapped Valery in cliche style. You call yourselves mobsters?” Clark spat in disgust, stepping on the guy’s head.
The man was reaching out for Clark, crying hysterically for forgiveness. His sobs filled the whole room and it was making it hard for me to look at him.
Clark stepped even harder, drawing out more blood from the man’s already broken nose.
“Tell me what I want right now. Where’s Valery?”
With quivering arms, he pointed at the steel cabinet. It was in the far end of the room. I ran to it and opened the doors but it was shut tight. I began to frantically knock the cabinet. I was afraid to see Valery inside, dead.
No, she’ can’t be.
I turned to Clark, tears streaming down my cheeks.
“Clark! Open this now!”
“Move and I’ll decapitate you, you understand?” Clark threatened to the man before taking his foot off of him to walk to where I was.
Clark pushed me to the side and held the handles. I saw veins began to bulge from his arms as he forced the doors to open. He manged to tore it down, revealing an unconscious Valery lying inside the cabinet. Her hands and feet were tied with chains, her hair was a mess, her clothes were ripped apart, and she was bleeding in the head.
My heart tightened in pain.
She got hurt because of me.
Because of who and what I am.
She’s the only person in this world that accepted me for who I am.
Clark was about to reach out Valery to get her out of the cabinet but halted when he noticed me walking to the man who was still cowering in fear on the floor.
“Why did you do this?” I asked, my voice shaking in remorse.
I clenched my fists and glared at him.
“She has nothing to do with this! Why did you have to hurt her?!”
I kicked him back on the floor, pouncing on him as I punched him on the face.
I’m fuming in anger. I wanted to hurt the people who did this to Valery.
“Why?! Why?! Why?!”
My knuckles hurt while punching the man who was begging for mercy but I couldn’t stop. I was so angry, I wanted to let it all out.
I stopped after hearing Clark calling out my name. Turning around to face him, I sobbed even louder, harder, like I wanted the whole world to know what I’m feeling right now. I didn’t care if Clark sees me as a coward, crybaby idiot.
I just couldn’t stop the pain.
Clark pulled me up, hugging me close to his chest. And when he did that, I cried even more.
“It’s okay, Drew. Val’s alright. She’s alive. It’s okay,” he cooed, kissing the top of my head while caressing my back to comfort me.
I hated this world for being too cruel.
I hated it.
Someone shook my shoulder, waking me up from my slumber. Looking around, I realized I was inside Clark’s car.
“Let’s get you fixed up,” he said, slipping off of his seat belt.
It was dark outside and I wasn’t sure where we were. I hear the back door opening and I turned around to see Clark carrying the still unconscious Valery out of the vehicle. His coat was covering her tattered body.
I began to well up again, seeing her all beaten up. Clark gently pulled her out, carrying her bridal style while shutting the car door close. I got out as well and followed him to what seemed like a small clinic in the middle of nowhere.
“W-where are we?” I asked as I rubbed my arms.
The air was chilly and the jacket I was wearing wasn’t helping much to keep me warm.
“Valery’s dad is a doctor. This is his place,” Clark answered.
There was a bright signage from afar and I read it.
Boikov Clinic. Open 24/7.
Attending Doctor: Dr. Maxim Boikov M.D | Surgeon
Maxim Boikov. So he’s Valery’s father? I haven’t seen any of Valery and Oleg’s parents. They seemed to be the type to be workaholic, just like mine.
There was a gray Audi car outside the parking lot and I reckoned it belonged to the doctor. It was a quiet clinic, far away from society. I wonder who comes in here anyway?
The 1-storey building was brightly lit. Clark and I entered the place and a nurse with brunette hair tied in a bun greeted us. She appeared to be quite an old lady but damn, she’s beautiful.
And she looked like…Valery…?
“What in the world?” she gasped out loud when she saw us coming inside. “Valery?!”
“She was kidnapped,” Clark shortly informed.
Clark rolled her eyes at the woman.
“Just call Maxim and patch her up. I stopped the bleeding in her head but she needs first aid, now.”
The woman began to panic, telling Clark to put Valery inside one of the rooms. I followed him, worried about Valery’s current state.
A few seconds after the woman disappear, she came back together with a man, probably as tall as Clark, wearing a doctor’s robe. I’m guessing he’s the same age as his nurse and he really looked like an older version of Oleg.
There was a bored look in his eyes. He turned to Clark who shrugged his shoulders.
“Val got caught up with my business. Sorry.”
The doctor, who I assumed was Maxim, walked towards the bed to check Valery.
“I need space,” Maxim announced, looking at everyone in the room.
The lady ushered Clark and I out of the room as they tended the wounded Valery. We sat on the bench in the lobby, patiently waiting for them to finish.
“Valery will be fine, right?” I asked Clark. “S-she’s not…she’s not gonna…”
Clark ruffled my hair and smiled reassuringly at me.
“Maxim’s gonna make sure his daughter’s gonna be okay.”
I stared at him and pondered. So he’s really Valery’s father. He’s not what I expected him to be. Based from those piercing eyes of his, it wouldn’t surprise me if he belonged to the Mafia.
Half an hour passed and I was feeling sleepy. I kept falling asleep but I tried not to. I wanted to make sure Valery’s out of the woods before I doze off.
Clark put an arm around my shoulder. He pulled me close to him and my head bumped against his hard chest.
“Sleep,” he ordered. “I’ll wake you up.”
I guess I was exhausted. Feeling Clark’s warmth immediately sent me to dreamland. It felt so good to be hugged, especially by the guy who you had fallen in love with. His buff body pressing against mine was like heaven, his smell that’s engulfing me, it was more than I could ask for.
I woke up hearing distant voices. My eyes fluttered open and I saw the lady nurse talking to Clark. She saw me wake up and smiled immediately at me.
“Doesn’t he remind you of someone?” she commented, smirking knowingly at Clark who was standing in front of her.
“Ah, speaking of, your parents haven’t visited us yet,” she said, pouting at Clark. “That’s so rude. I know it’s not easy for them to come here but visiting us once in a while isn’t that too hard, right?”
Clark shrugged his shoulders.
“They’re busy with whatever business they’re doing.”
I stood up, cringing as I felt my lips stinging. I touched it and it was swollen. Ignoring the pain, I stared at the nurse.
“S-sorry for what happened to Valery. It’s my fault that she…”
She cut me off, tapping my shoulder in forgiveness.
“It’s okay. I know what happened and to be honest, I don’t blame you. It’s been a while since something like this happened to our family but you know, it’s not like it’s the first.”
I blinked at her, confused.
“She knows who you are,” Clark said but it didn’t help me understand what she meant.
Seeing my questioning look, he sighed.
“Alexandra and Maxim were once part of the Mafia back in the old days. They’re retired now,” he explained with a dead voice.
My eyes widened in pure shock.
“You were in the Mafia?!”
“It’s supposed to be a secret but it doesn’t matter anymore. People have forgotten who we are so we’re safe,” she said.
Clark snorted in mockery but didn’t say anything.
Alexandra neared me, observing my face in a close distant.
“So you’re Valery’s friend, huh? Of all the people she can be friends with, she just have to be with someone from the mob. Ironic, right, Clark?”
He didn’t answer her.
“Valery’s okay now. What she got are minor bruises. She’s gonna be fine after a couple of days,” Alexandra informed.
I sighed in relief, smiling.
“T-that’s good to hear.”
Maxim stepped out of the room where they took Valery in. He had a tired expression.
“Clark,” he called. “Who did this to her?”
I shuddered at the tone of his voice. Yep, he’s definitely from the Mafia.
“The Voronin group,” Clark replied. “They used Valery to lure Orlov out.”
Alexandra grinned and said, “but thanks to you, their plans were sabotaged.”
Alexandra and I turned to Maxim after hearing him say those words. My heart dropped in fear, snapping my head back at Clark who only smirked at him.
“You didn’t need to tell me that. I’m feeling pissed off already.”
“What they did to my daughter, make sure no one’s alive in their group.”
After making sure the Valery was alright, I bid Maxim and Alexandra goodbye. I apologized to Maxim to what I’ve done to his daughter but he only gave me a blank look before turning around to get back inside the clinic. Alexandra just waved a hand at me and got back inside as well.
“I think he hates me.”
“Well, you’re the reason why Valery got fucked up,” Clark said.
“I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.”
“Don’t worry. I’m going to kill them all.”
I gulped. Staring at Clark, I’m aware he was serious with what he said. I was a witness of how strong Clark but we’re talking about a Mafia family. Even if they’re small in numbers, they were still dangerous.
“Y-you can’t do that…y-you’re…”
I didn’t want Clark to get hurt.
Not him too.
We stopped in front of his car.
“They hurt Valery,” he said, staring at me, his eyes reflecting something sinister, “she’s your friend, isn’t she? Don’t you want to let those people feel the same pain Valery felt?”
I’m fuming in anger. I wanted to hurt the people who did this to Valery.
“I do,” I mumbled.
“In this world we’re living, everything has a consequence. If you’re weak, you won’t be able to protect the people you love.”
He tipped my chin with his fingers, running a thumb over my swollen lips.
“You say you don’t wanna be in the Mafia but you know that there’s no escape, right?”
I trembled from his touch.
I do know that.
“This won’t be the last time. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who wants you dead so it’s either you eat them first before you get eaten by your enemies,” Clark mumbled, his eyes staring directly into mine.
I couldn’t look away from him.
His gaze was so intense and with the way he was caressing my lip, I’m getting drowsy.
“You’re going to be the leader of the Orlov family and to be the leader, you need to be strong.”
I clenched my fists.
What Clark said was right.
There’s no escape from this life.
I’m stuck in here whether I like it or not.
“What do I need to do to become strong?”
A spark of light appeared in his eyes and he smirked in satisfaction.
“Just be with me and do anything I say. As long as you have me, you won’t lose this game.”
Later that night, I lied on my bed, thinking hard about what Clark said.
All my life, I’ve been escaping reality that I’m the heir of the Orlov family. I know what we do and it’s disgusting. My father torments people for the sake of money and power, he do bad things and sooner or later, I would do the same thing as well, whether I like it or not.
I’m not ready yet. I’m a coward, weak and a crybaby.
But with Clark…with Clark, maybe I could do it?
Instead of running away from reality, I should just accept it.
I hugged the pillow close to me, burying my face into it.
The sight of Valery getting hurt haunted me. If I were to become the leader of Mafia group, I would have to distant myself with innocent people, even if they have connections with the mob.
All those people who never judged me, who never bullied me, I have to disregard them.
All I need was Clark.
Touching my bottom lip, I remembered the sensation of his thumb running over it.