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“Isn’t it a bit cliché?” Celia inquired after Bruce had thrown her phone back on her lap. The phone now carried a new message in it, Bruce’s attempt to use Celia as bait for Ax. “Abducting the love interest of the main character just to get him to come to you and fall into your trap.” They both knew that no matter how cliché it truly was, it would work.

Ax would come for her, no matter what.

And that frightened the Hell out of her.

In a way, It reminded her a bit of Orpheus and his need to find and bring Eurydice back home but she didn’t truly dare compare Orpheus to Ax, knowing that if compared, the demigod would be found lacking. It wasn’t appropriate. You see, even though most versions of the story suggested that Orpheus was so passionately in love with Eurydice that he couldn’t stand to live without her that he visited Hades just so he could have her back in his arms, for others it wasn’t the whole truth.

What a load of crap, Nathan would say, if anyone asked him.

Nathan supported the idea that Orpheus was nothing but a stubborn child that couldn’t accept that his toy had been taken away. In Plato’s Symposium, he is characterised as a coward whose love was not true, seeing as he wouldn’t die for it but, instead chose to make a fool of the Fates.

So no, no one should ever compare Ax to that creature, not even her.

“It stops being a cliché when he is coming to also save his unborn child.” She didn’t ask how he knew about the baby, there was no point in it, she figured out pretty quickly that he had her followed.

But he saw her eyes.

He recognised the fear and fed on it.

“He doesn’t know, does he?” Bruce smiled at her, his cold eyes patronising. It reminded of the way her father would look at her after Jay’s death, the times when he could stand to be in her presence and look into her eyes, anyway. The same eyes that he had given to her, eyes that graced his own face.

She used to think that her father was the most handsome man in the world, she worshipped the ground he walked upon, admired everything he did. One wouldn’t be exaggerating if he claimed that she thought of him as her God. Yet, apparently, it seems that even Gods fall from grace.

And when they fall, you can feel the crash in your bones and as they scream in pure agony all you can hear is an annoying buzzing for they are nothing to you anymore.

“Are you going to keep me here all day?” She ignored his previous question but silence was an answer all on its own. A fake yawn sneaked out of her mouth, her busted lip stretching painfully.

“Why? Don’t you enjoy my company?” She cocked a dark eyebrow at him but said nothing, her silence was enough once again.

“Tell them to stop staring and whispering about me, maybe then I won’t complain about your company.” The prospects were sitting around her, whispering like a pack of schoolboys about her and Ax. They were nothing more than kids but their gazes felt intrusive. They stared at her covered body as if it were a treat and they were lion cubs ready for their turn to sink their teeth into the soft flesh after the Pride leader had his fill. “In fact, tell them to get out.” A flash of anger surrounding Bruce’s eyes and Celia knew she had made a big mistake.

Never command a man like that again, you know better than that. The voice that whispered in her head wasn’t hers, she couldn’t identify it and yet, she found comfort in it. You’re a smart one, I know you are just like I know you’ll listen.

“Please.” She added, her voice turning softer and her eyes falling to the floor as if she was ashamed she had dared to raise her voice. “Unless you don’t want to be left alone with me. Then by all means, keep the minions here.” The streak of fire hadn’t left her, it was still inside her biding its time.

“Out.” One word and their feet hit the floor, strolling out of the room, disappointment flooding their senses. “But if I hear one more word from you, girl, Ax be damned, I’m going to make them clean your brains from this fucking floor.”

It wasn’t fair that they wouldn’t get to play with the young woman.

It wasn’t fair that Ax was getting such a special treatment from the Prez even though he hadn’t been a part of the M.C for five years while they had to do every chore in the book to earn their cuts. There was always someone who needed something, some old motherfucker who couldn’t get his own beer or didn’t have the time to wash his bike or wanted to break someone’s nose but didn’t want to get his hands dirty.

There was always someone who made their lives Hell.

But, let’s be honest here, they deserved it.

Once the children dragged their feet out of the main room Celia stretched like a cat, wincing slightly as her hands felt the metal of the handcuffs sinking painfully into her wrists. “You’re not going to kill me.” She proclaimed arrogantly, in a tone she had caught Nathan speak whenever he wanted to show to his students who was superior.

“Why not?” Bruce took the bait, knowing that she was biding her time until Ax arrived.

“You don’t want to upset Ax even further.” That sentence was one of the biggest understaments of the century. Ax wasn’t simply upset or hurt, you see, he was fucking furious and that fury only burned brighter as the moments passed. “Besides, you sealed your fate when you shot Mick. There’s no point in you killing me.”

“Maybe I just want to drag as many people as I can to Hell with me.” Celia was beginning to see that flair for the dramatics Ax had mentioned.

The black haired woman chose not to open her mouth for a few seconds, which was a wise move considering she had nothing to say other than sarcastic comments and reasonable doubts about the existence of the afterlife.

One thing was certain: Nathaniel Russ had taught her well.

She focused on the pain in her wrists and the red spots of blood that danced across the delicate skin of her arms. Her bottom lip was bruised and bloody but she couldn’t deal with that at the moment so she did the next best thing. She played with her feet for a while, tapping them to the rhythm of “Americano” by Sophia Loren. Bruce didn’t exactly enjoy the noise she was making, it reminded him too much of the time when Chris wouldn’t leave his side as a toddler when Mick had to go to school. One day, it had been too much and he had locked the brat in his bedroom before he went to find some of the club whores.

“Stop tapping your feet.” He dragged another wooden chair close to her and straddled it. “You’re acting like a child and honestly, beside the pretty face I don’t see the appeal.”

Me neither, mate. Why would anyone have two kids with you? Willingly? She thought the words but did not utter them. “You don’t have to see it, it’s the law of attraction, it’s the reason why people don’t fall in love with every face they see.” She said instead.

Bruce raised his eyebrows but said nothing.

Her hazel eyes danced across the room, her fear growing and growing, never daring to stop. Her spine tingled from pure unfiltered terror as she eyed red stains on top of the marble flooring. “Why did you kill Mick?” She inquired after a few moments of defeaning silence.

“He knew the rules. He was already dead before I pulled the trigger.” That was the most honest Bruce had ever been and would ever be. “I didn’t want to do it, believe it or not, but I had no other choice. He signed his death sentence the day he first met with that idiot, Cortada Jr.”

“Bullshit.” She was really close at starting to tap her feet again. Perhaps, she could hum instead.

“What do you wish to hear, little girl? That it was all planned? That I was just looking for a convenient excuse to kill him?”

“The truth. I want to hear the fucking truth.” She proclaimed, never melting her icy exterior. Never showing she was afraid. “In fact, isn’t this the part where you tell me your evil masterplan?”

The fucker just nodded.

“I orchestrated the whole damn thing.” A smile snaked its way on his face, his white teeth gleaming under the artificial yellow light. “When those little fuckers thought they were two steps ahead of me, I had already reached the finishing line. I trained them into what they are, or should I say were?” Celia was certain that he was being rhetorical and was not actually trying to cause any more harm, not yet, at least. “Doesn’t matter. What matters is that I gave Lover boy a few chances to walk away but he ignored them. Fucking Hell, I know that somewhere inside him he knew it had been me.” A flash of anger came from within the man, as if he genuinely wanted Ax to stop playing with fire.

As if he genuinely cared.

Not Mick, not his own flesh and blood but Ax. Huh.

“What exactly did you do?” Celia saw through the mask he was using to gain her sympathy. She knew men like him, they carried no real sorrow in their bones, they were monsters.

For a very long time, she had thought that Ax was the monster in her story but she realised now that she had been sorely mistaken. Bruce was the real monster. While you could stare at Ax’s eyes for hours trying to catch a glimpse of the beast, you just had to be in the same room as Bruce to feel the coldness that surrounded him.

This man had killed his child and he could kill her if the thought tickled his fancy, so why the Hell was she provoking him, acting like a temperamental teenager who couldn’t not throw a fit every two minutes?

“I made a prospect mess with the brakes of Eros’ car, now, mind you, I knew that he most likely wasn’t going to die, can’t say the same about Mick. I mean a bullet to the chest isn’t exactly a scratch.” He shrugged, his body leaning forward, almost hugging the chair’s back to his chest. “And my personal favourite was making that little stuck up cocksucker drug you.” The air evaporated from her lungs.

Celia opened her mouth, gaping at him, the words stuck somewhere in that place between her throat and her tongue. She closed her mouth and opened it again but it didn’t matter, Bruce didn’t let her speak. “It was purely coincidental, I assure you. I heard them talk one night about what happened to that girl Mick was so Hell bent on protecting and well, it’s easy to find a lowlife who fits the description around here.”

“You motherfucker.” She murmured under her breath.

“To make this even better, the little fucker had a thing for you, so that sweetened the deal a bit.” The smile became even bigger, even more sickening. “My ultimate goal was for Ax to find you the next day, after the little fucker had done his part, but his interruption was also a good plot twist, I certainly enjoyed hearing about it.”

“You’re sick.” A bitter chuckle escaped from her chapped lips, her saliva did nothing to soothe them. How long had it been since she had drank water? Too damn long.

“And you’re dramatic.” He contradicted, forcing his chair to move a couple of centimetres closer to her bound body. “Don’t you know it’s all fair in love and war?” He stood up from his chair, needing the air of superiority the contradiction provided, and bowed his head so that his lips where pressed against the shell of her ear. Celia shivered in disgust but stood her ground. “And we are most definitely at war, little girl.”

“So, you’d let a woman you’ve never met be raped, just to get back at Ax? Just to make him submit? Just to beat him in this “game” of yours?”

“Yes.” Not a moment of hesitation. “Everything I’ve done has been for that boy.”

“Then you don’t know him, at all. Even if that had happened, he wouldn’t have stopped.” She smiled, a smile of satisfaction this time as she eyed her stomach. “When Mick died, you fueled his rage, you awakened the monster.”


“So, you can’t awake a monster and not expect it to be hungry.”

“Fuck.” The black haired man exploded, his fist colliding with the wall next to Gabriel’s face. The other man didn’t move from his spot, didn’t flinch. “Fuck.” He repeated, the word stuck on his brain, imprinted on his lips.

The Italian was calm enough to stand in place silently staring at the mechanic. His suit’s jacket had been discarded hours ago and was now laying on the leather couch in Ax’s garage.

“Stop.” Gabriel told him softly, his mask in place. He had vowed never to let another member of his family die in a brutal manner, doing everything he could to make sure everyone had white hair and frail bones when they got lowered to the cold, hard ground.

Except from his uncle, that piece of shit could leave the earth in that exact moment and Gabriel wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

But this situation was fucking with his plan.

“You don’t understand.” Ax fumed, his wild eyes searching. “You don’t fucking understand I can’t fucking let him kill her. If he kills her then-” a punch interrupted his speech. Pain erupted from his bruised knuckles but all he felt was the anguish surrounding his soul, ready to tear him to pieces. “If he kills her, I have nothing left.” Hours ago, he would have done his damnest not to cry in front of the amber eyed man but he was now beyond caring. “Nothing.” He repeated as a lone tear slid down his cheekbone.

“He’s not going to kill her.” Gabriel reasoned but Ax wasn’t listening. “He wants to talk to you, he knows what you’ve been planning, cugino, of course he’s not going to kill her.” Gabriel could try to sell the idea that he remained unaffected by the recent events but his words of comfort were not only directed at Ax.

The black haired man’s anguish had managed to slip under the steel armour he never took off. Part of him wanted to confess the truth about what Celia had told him just in case something went horribly wrong but he couldn’t risk throwing him even more off his rocket.

So he just kept his mouth shut and planned his next move.

Ax said nothing, instead he kept on fuming. He hit the wall vigorously, his knuckles becoming raw, bloody but it wasn’t enough, he wasn’t hurting enough. “Listen to me.” Gabriel yelled suddenly, striding closer to the mechanic. He grabbed him by the neck of his grease stained t-shirt and slapped his across the face, needing to get some sense into him. “You are not helping anyone when you act like that just because of a fucking text. He’s playing with you and you’re falling for it like some little bitch.”

He pointed to the phone which lied broken on the floor, the screen or, well, whatever was left of it was completely black.

It didn’t matter, he read the message once but it had imprinted itself in his brain.

I have something of yours, come out and play and maybe you’ll get it back in one piece. I’m not promising anything, though, remember I break all of my toys. -Bruce.

“Get yourself together and think about where he has likely taken her.” Another slap and his blue eyes started focusing once more. The clouds disappeared and all that was left was a dark, stormy sky ready to destroy anything that found itself in its path.

The beast decided to get out of his cage again and if one was deadly silent it was almost like he could hear its chains rattling.

Oh good, a voice deep inside his head whispered, let him come out and play.

Heavy, uneven breaths were all that could be heard. “The clubhouse.” He said suddenly, a metaphorical light bulb flowing over his head. “He took her to the clubhouse.”

“So,” Gabriel let go of him, his eyes on his hands, or more specifically, to the stains resting on his hands. His upper lip curled up in disgust as he glared at the grease, thinking, perhaps, that it could disappear magically. “We go to that clubhouse and take her back.” He reached his back pocket and took out a 9″ millimetre. “Maybe we’ll need a couple more of these but, otherwise, it’s a pretty simple and clean job.”

“We won’t be needing any of these.” Ax said, his voice hard. “You were right, he wants me. Not you, not her, only me. That’s what he’s wanted from the fucking start.” Suddenly, it all started to make sense, even the things he didn’t want to admit to himself, didn’t even want to whisper to himself in fear that somehow the words would come out louder and harsher than he would intend them to.

All the plans he had orchestrated had been in vain, who would have thought?

For the first time in what seemed like eons, Alexander Vidal smiled. It was a malicious smile, nothing like the wolfish grins and the arrogant smirks Celia had grown used to and it was beautiful.

In fact, it was the most beautiful darkness could get.

You could get lost in Ax’s darkness, there was nothing more inviting or alluring.

Also, there was nothing holding it back, anymore.

He kept the smile on his face as he eyed Gabriel.“If he wants me, then he’ll fucking get me.”

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