Chapter 2 - On the Mend
It had been several days since the shooting, but already his gunshot wounds had begun to show signs that they were rapidly healing.
The Mafia Boss lay with his back angled upward on the thin operating chair of the small, dark room. He was surrounded by different operating tools and bandages spread out on sterile surfaces.
His dark brown eyes were almost pitch black now and filled with seething rage as he stared unblinking out through the singular window of the room, to a dull view of the neighbouring docks.
A short and skinny doctor in his sixties busily worked around him, preparing sterile dressings and making sure to properly sterilise everything he used before and after in an effort to prevent the possibility of infection.
The last thing he wanted to be responsible for was causing the infamous Mafia Boss to get a serious infection!
Although fearful, the doctor continued to focus on what he was doing, rather than who he was doing it to.
Two more men stood off to the side of the room with their arms clasped together in front of them as they watched in silence. They were both well-built and wearing tailored suits and shiny shoes.
“Now try to relax here Mr. Mancini...” the doctor suddenly suggested, “...this may hurt.”
He then reached down to grasp at the bandage currently covering one of Dimitri’s bullet wounds, soaked with dried blood that had now sealed itself onto his skin.
“Just get it done.”
Dimitri’s voice was almost an octave lower than it normally was, as he continued to stare silently, showing no emotion whatsoever.
He almost looked possessed, with dark rings underneath both eyes.
The doctor slowly peeled the bandage from his patient’s skin and discarded it off to the side with the other one. He was changing the second wound’s dressing after already cleaning and redressing the first.
Two bullet wounds, one lucky enough to have missed any of his vital organs and the second having only pierced his left lung. They had managed to get him into surgery soon after, just before the Police arrived at the mansion that night.
The fact that Dimitri was still alive had been more of a shock to the doctor than anyone else when he had first been presented with the Mafia Boss several days ago after their forced retreat from his mansion.
But since that night Dimitri had come out of the whole situation completely different... darker... more focused than ever before. He had only one thing on his mind and he wouldn’t rest until he had achieved it...
“Boss...” came the familiar voice of Gabrielle as he slowly limped into the room through the now open doorway, a steel cane in his right hand ‘clicking’ against the floor.
“We found her.”
With that the henchman placed the paper face up onto the table beside Dimitri, watching as his boss reached out to grasp at it and lifted it up to read the headline sprawled across the front of it.
‘Billionaire’s Latest Fling - Who is she?’
Dimitri began to read the article now, his eyes were roaming from side to side as the room continued to remain respectfully silent while he did so…
‘Adam Cunningham, known billionaire and future heir to the Cunningham fortune was recently sighted leading a mystery girl out of the local airport. The two appeared rather intimate with one another, including a shared kiss earlier on inside the terminal before their abrupt departure via one of the company’s town cars. Our sources believe this to be his long-rumoured fiancé, but we have yet to confirm this...’
The newspaper in his hands suddenly crunched up as his fingers constricted into balled fists.
There, right in the middle of the page were several pictures of his Scarlett with him! Including one where the two were locking lips, their arms wrapped around one another in an intimate position.
Dimitri grunted as he threw the paper off to the side angrily, his lip lifted into a furious expression as his now narrowed eyes stared downwards.
His chest heaved in and out rapidly and the doctor stepped back with concern, having just finished fixing the final dressing onto Dimitri’s tattooed chest.
When he spoke his voice was deep and void of emotion, though you could hear his fight to control his inner rage from spilling out.
“Start surveillance and have her followed... I want our eyes on her day and night, twenty-four seven. I want to know her daily routine, where she goes to buy her milk, how she gets to her job, what she said to the Police about that night, everything... is that understood?”
Gabrielle nodded as he replied, “I’m on it, Boss.”
“Oh, and Gabrielle...” Dimitri added, reaching out and grasping at his shirt to redress himself.
His second in command turned back around with a raised brow as he waited for Dimitri to continue.
“I have one more thing I need you to do…”
Scarlett could still feel her poor heart racing, pummelling her ribcage from deep inside her chest as she stared out through the tinted window at the busy city passing them by.
The large bouquet of crimson roses sat on her lap and her right hand sat on the chair beside her as endless thoughts continued to preoccupy her.
Sensing her obvious concern, Adam reached out and took her hand, squeezing it warmly.
The simple gesture managed to pull her back to reality and she turned her head to the side to face him.
“Is everything alright?” he asked her calmly, even if he already knew the answer.
She forced a smile, one he detected right away.
“Yeah… everything’s fine.”
“Scarlett, you don’t have to lie to me. Come on now, I can see that something’s bothering you. Talk to me. I’m all ears.”
She appeared to consider his offer before replying.
“I’m sorry… it’s just…” she paused, letting out a long hard sigh.
“I guess I just got a little overwhelmed back there. It’s nothing to worry about. I’m fine, really.”
Pursing his lips tightly he nodded his head.
Their conversation was suddenly interrupted as a phone began ringing from the centre console between them.
Scarlett looked down at it with confusion, watching as Adam reached down to grasp at the receiver.
He lifted it up to his ear and sat back into his chair as he spoke.
There was a moment of silence as someone on the other end of the line spoke.
Adam turned his head to glance at Scarlett with his dazzling smile as he spoke again.
“Yes, the Waldorf Astoria… of course. And our dinner reservation’s been booked? Excellent. Thanks Charles.”
With that he hung up the phone and sat back again in silence.
Scarlett turned to face him; her left brow raised in obvious question as she pulled her hand out of his grasp, narrowing her hazel eyes at him.
“Care to fill me in?”
He simply grinned in response before replying.
“Not a chance.”
By the time the town car had arrived at the front of their hotel it was beginning to get dark outside.
The city lights had already come to life as bright headlights scattered the busy roads for several blocks in either direction.
Scarlett was helped out of the car and immediately felt Adam’s warm hand resting against the small of her back as they walked together through the grand entryway of the prestigious Hotel.
The driver, Charles, handed Scarlett’s suitcase to one of the hotel workers who in turn followed along behind the couple.
“So, the Waldorf Astoria hmm?” Scarlett asked with a smile as they entered the giant lobby.
“You don’t muck around… don’t you, Mr. Cunningham?”
He appeared puzzled by her question as he turned to frown at her.
“I could have stayed at any old hotel, or even a motel. I mean, this…” she gestured around them with her hand, “… it’s too much.”
His frown changed instantly back into his warm smile as he stopped, turning to face her and staring deeply into her eyes as she did the same.
“I want nothing but the best for the woman I love. Is that such a crime?”
His comment was deep, meaningful and had clearly come from the heart as he took both of her hands in his and rubbed the pad of his thumbs softly over the ridges of her knuckles.
“But I don’t need any of this…” the interjected with a smile, “I only need you.”
“And you have me. Besides…” he turned and began to pull her along with him by her hand as he continued to talk, “… at least here I know that you’ll be safe and well cared for.”
A middle-aged gentleman suddenly spoke, catching their attention as he strode across the lobby with a magnificent smile on his well-groomed face, his arms wide and welcoming.
“Ah, Mr. Cunningham. It is indeed a pleasure to see you again.”
Scarlett peered at his name badge as he came to stand in front of them and noticed the word ‘Manager’ inscribed on it.
He must be in charge around here, she decided.
“Terrance. Good to see you.” Adam greeted him with a firm handshake.
“I’d like to introduce you to Miss Scarlett Workman. She will be staying in the Penthouse Suite until further notice. I want you to ensure that she is well cared for and that all of her needs are seen to throughout her stay.”
“But of course…”
Terrance smiled and turned his attention now to Scarlett. He held out his pristine white gloved hand for her to take as he spoke.
“Miss Workman, a sheer delight.”
She too smiled as she took his hand and replied shyly.
“Thank you. It’s nice to meet you, Terrance.”
“We wish to be taken up to the room at once.” Adam prompted, his tone showing obvious authority as the Manager released Scarlett’s hand and faced him once again.
“Certainly. Everything has been prepared for your stay, Miss Workman. If I may escort you both?”
With that he began striding off toward the nearby lobby elevators, his shiny black polished shoes tapping with each of his confident steps across the polished marble floor.
Adam used his hand to rest against the small of her back and guide Scarlett along after the Manager as they began to make their way up to their room.