Val left me in New York until a stranger, who happened to be his security, came to get me. He decided to go on his own without a word but surely I would pay for this later. He was angry and had every reason, but even through this I would hope he would see my point, though I knew that was wishful thinking.
I screwed up.
I arrived home nearly five hours after Val did in his private jet, I knew this because the moment I walked through the door I could hear yelling from inside of Val’s office. It was him and I pitied the person who was on the receiving end of his anger at this moment. I had no idea what was being said because all I knew was it was Italian and his tone was anger.
I never had time to take in the tension in the atmosphere before Amico ran to my feet and I picked him up, cradling him in my arms for my own comfort. He was clearly started by the endless yelling and I felt responsible for making him feel better.
The sound of a door being creaked open caught my attention and down the hall I could see light coming from Val’s office. Taking a deep breath, I watched as he stepped out with a look of pure terror on his face. He was on a rampage and I was going to be right in his sight.
Instead of noticing me, he walked straight past me and motioned for Rafe who had been behind him to follow. I felt responsible for this because I was. Even after everything, I didn’t want to cause pain to Val, I didn’t want to be the reason that him or his family were put in danger.
Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more stupid, I proved myself wrong by following Val into the family room after placing Amico on the floor. I continued to follow Val, insisting that he talk to me, “I know I screwed up, but can you please hear me out?”
Again, he did nothing more than ignore me. Rafe didn’t even bother to look at me either and it was made clear that everyone was now against me. I knew at the beginning of this that it would only end badly for me and I was right.
“Val!” I spoke louder as I grabbed his arm, attempting to stop him.
Everything after that moment happened so quickly. Val reacted terribly to me gripping onto his arm and the next thing I knew I was pinned against the wall with his forearm against my throat so I couldn’t talk and barely breathe.
“Do not touch me with those filthy, deceitful hands,” He spoke through his teeth, his face mere centimeters away from mine while his dark eyes didn’t seem to blink even for a second, “I will kill you... You’re lucky that I haven’t already.”
I struggled to breathe, my chest heaving as I placed my hands over Val’s, trying to pry his arm away from my throat. My air was being taken from my body and even in this moment, I blamed myself. Regardless of everything that has happen, never did I want to inflict pain on Val or his loved ones. I didn’t want to be the person who couldn’t be trusted or was the cause of someone’s demise.
“I made the mistake of expecting too much from you,” Val stared at me, his eyes were so dark that I could practically see the dark hole known as his soul, “I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a Vasiliev.”
Finally, he removed his arm from my throat and I instantly placed my hands on my throat, trembling from the recent encounter. I had felt like until this moment Val and I were making progress, and now I could feel it slipping away faster than we achieved it.
Val looked towards Rafe, “Get Gustavo to bring her upstairs. She is to be watched 24/7.”
“Yes sir,” Rafe nodded his head and turned to me. I didn’t fight him as he led me out of the room, it was pointless to try. Rafe had always been the sensible one, he was the only person here who didn’t seem to look at me like some family reject or as a job. I understood that his job was to listen to Val, but somewhere inside of him he had to listen to me. At least I hoped.
“Rafe...” I spoke his name quietly as we walked out of the living room, “I can’t imagine what Val has said, it’s true but I swear to god I wasn’t trying to help her... I had no idea what to--”
“I’m not sure why you feel like I’m on your side or that I would want to listen to anything you say, Elaina.” Rafe interrupted me which had taken me off guard, “Need I remind you that my loyalties lie with Val, unlike yours, of course.”
“I am loyal,” I argued, unsure why I was so desperate to get these people to believe me. They have been nothing but rotten to me. I felt like that may have been why I was so desperate to get them to hear me out, I was nothing like them and I wasn’t going to be seen that way.
“Elaina. Stop talking.”
Rafe led me to the top of the basement stairs, opening the door to the dungeon beneath and calling out to Gustavo, “’Stavo, you’re on babysitting duty.”
As badly as I wanted to comment on the babysitting duty comment, I didn’t. I realized how I seemed like an inconvenience to these monsters and I couldn’t fight it.
“What the fuck?!” Gustavo replied from the basement, his tone irritated as footsteps were heard. It wasn’t until he was half way up the steps that I could see his silhouette, then finally his face. Once he reached the top of the steps, he shot Rafe a glare, “I’m not a babysitter. Fuck that, you can tell Val to find one of his minions for that job.”
“I’d rather not,” Rafe answered, “I have to get going. If you have an issue, bring it up with Val yourself.”
As Rafe walked away I could hear Gustavo mumbling under his breath. Once he looked at me, I realized why I didn’t like this guy, he was terrifying and unlike Val, he didn’t have a reason to be nice to me, or try at least.
“You really stirred up some shit, didn’t you?” He chuckled lightly, a chuckle that sent chills down my spine, “How does it feel knowing this is your last day on Earth?”
I furrowed my eyebrows at his comment, unsure what he meant, “My what?”
“Oh, my bad. I guess Val hasn’t told you yet...” Gustavo murmured, his eyes glancing down the steps before he managed to look back at me. There was a dark smirk playing on his lips and I wanted Rafe to come back. I wanted Val. Anyone but this maniac. “Since you’re stuck with me, I guess you’ll get a sneak peak at what’s in store for you.”
I shook my head, taking a step back and prepared to make a run for it until Gustavo’s arm snaked around my waist, “No! Let me go!”
“Don’t squirm, sweetheart. It’ll just make things harder,” I could hear the pleasure in his tone. He had me mortified and he loved the idea of me being afraid of him.
“Val!” I called out once Gustavo began to carry me towards the basement door. I attempted to grab onto the walls or railings, anything that could keep me away from him but his strength was too much to handle and my hands continued to get pulled away from anything I tried to hold onto.
I hated the basement. Nothing good happened down here, only bad. I knew that being down here wasn’t a good thing and after what Gustavo said, I became more worried of what was going to happen.
It seemed like I was a feather in Gustavo’s arms and it wasn’t until he set me back on my feet that I could see what was going on down here, what was surrounding me. There was a medical stretcher that looked highly uncomfortable and beside it stood a tall machine that had liquid visible through the glass and an IV hooked up to it.
“What is this?” I regretfully asked him, I was afraid to hear the answer.
“You really pissed Val off,” Gustavo responded before walking over to the stretcher, “He don’t take traitors well, Elaina. You should know what happens when someone betrays him.”
“But I didn’t...”
“You did. And you need to own that. Stefano is missing and you’re partly to blame,” Gustavo rubbed the information in my face, though I had no idea that Stefano was missing until now, “You’re dead to him. And in a few hours, you’ll be dead to everyone else.”
I stared at Gustavo for a moment before looking back at the IV - they were going to kill me.
“Like hell will I just stand here and let you touch me!” I practically shouted at him, getting my bold behavior from the fear that was coursing throughout my body.
Gustavo opened his mouth to speak but didn’t say a word. Instead his eyes focused behind me and he raised his eyebrows, “Shall you explain further?”
Quickly, I turned around and almost fell into Val’s arms. He stood tall over me, looking down at me like I was less than. I hadn’t even heard him come in, but there was something in his eyes that left me with more questions.
“No need,” Val said simply, “We’re not going forward with it.”
Gustavo seemed genuinely disappointed, flailing his arms slightly, “Really? Is her pussy that good that you don’t want to give it up just yet?”
I felt my heart sink slightly, hating nothing more than being talked about like I were an object, especially in such a sexual manner.
Val kept his eyes on me, but spoke to Gustavo, “Go upstairs. Elaina and I need to talk.”
I was the one trying to talk to him fifteen minutes ago, and now after his best friend scared the shit out of me, that’s when he decided that it was a good time to talk.
“You are fucking whipped. Do not let some woman blur your vision. We have always made decisions based on what the smart move was, not based on emotions.”
“Get the fuck upstairs, Stavo. I will not ask you again!” Val finally looked at Gustavo, his teeth clenched while his eyes burned with fury. If I were Gustavo, I wouldn’t mess with Val when he’s in this mood.
Gustavo must have had the same idea because even through his frustration, he didn’t dare argue any further. Instead, he made his way up the stairs and slammed the door the moment he reached the top of the steps.
Val and I stood in silence which felt tense. Clearly, Val had something to say and truthfully, so did I. Based on what I had just heard, he had been planning on killing me. But why the sudden change of heart?
“Is it true?” My voice was soft, a part of me broken by this. I knew he was a monster, but he always had made it clear that killing me wasn’t an option. Ever. “You’re going to kill me?”
Val didn’t seem the slightest bit phased by my question, he answered me without a hint of compassion in his tone, “Yes. I had every intention on eliminating you from my life.”
I looked away from Val, my eyes burning at his response. Until now, I felt protected by him, no matter how much I hated him I believed in his values and his oath to keep me safe, and now he wanted me gone, too.
“I don’t trust easily, if at all. I made the mistake of trusting you, as my wife, to be loyal to me and you chose to be loyal to the enemy,” His response was bland but even in the short few words he spoke, I could hear the pain in his tone. He had truly trusted me, and I failed him.
“I was not loyal to the enemy, Val. I was trying to figu--”
“You not telling me, is you choosing them!” Val’s eyes grew wide and in the corner of my eye I could see his hands rolling into fists, but he didn’t move them from his side. “If you were loyal, you would have told me the night you found out. Which leads me to believe that you were considering flipping sides.”
The only thing I could manage to do was shake my head and plead that he would understand in some way, but that wouldn’t happen and the look in Val’s eyes made that extremely clear to me.
“Then why did you tell Gustavo that is wasn’t going forward? You’re making it clear that you want me gone.”
“I do,” He agreed, “I can’t trust you and I eliminate those I can’t trust. However, some things have come to my attention and I have no other choice but to keep you around.”
I knitted my eyebrows together, having no clue what could have developed since New York City. Nothing that I was aware of, at least. Val seemed sure, though. He seemed positive that something drastic occurred that changed his mind, but whatever that was left me clueless.
“During the flight to New York, I’m sure you remember getting tired and falling asleep,” He added. I remembered quite clearly, the flight was short but I was exhausted, “While you were asleep, I took a sample of your blood. You see, Coilin has a habit of eliminating his enemies silently. For years, anyone in his way that he could get his hands on have died slowly and silently. When given the opportunity, he spikes their drink or food with a poison called Arsenic. It’s generally a powder so it doesn’t break down as fast as most other poisons.”
“There’s no way you took a sample of my blood while I was sleeping, I would have known.”
It was my best argument, but even then Val didn’t bother to explain, he only proceeded, “I found out from an ally that Coilin had this quiet method, so clearly I was concerned about you as any husband would be. So I sent your sample to the doctor immediately, receiving the results back today.”
My heart began to thud inside of my chest as the realization hit me. I was poisoned. This was it for me, I was going to die. “Oh... Oh my god... I’m dying...”
“No, Elaina. You aren’t dying because you weren’t poisoned...” Val added, “However, high levels of hCG was found in your blood.”
“I can’t kill you Elaina,” He seemed distressed but for the first time during this conversation, a hint of compassion was seen in his eyes, “I can’t kill you because you’re pregnant with my child.”