E I G H T E E N
“FUCK, FUCK!” Someone from the front seat kept yelling as shots fired from every direction.
“Call for backup!” Mia yelled from beside me, still ducking under the seat.
“SIGNALS ARE JAMMED!” The man, Luca, yelled in between the shots he fired.
Meanwhile, new rounds of muffled shots resonated, and they sounded impossibly close. Even though the glass of the window was bulletproof, it could have been easily penetrated by firing multiple times. And the fact that the car wasn’t moving, the target was easy for any lower grade assassins.
“Shit!” Mia ducked her head further as shards of glass crashed around us.
“MA’AM, GET OUT! I WILL COVER FOR YOU!” Luca screamed, and by now, he was already out of the car, firing shots and dodging bullets.
Heart thudding, Mia and I got out of the car as Luca, along with the driver, kept firing incessant round of shots while we sheltered against a wall. We were outnumbered, judging by the bullets shot at us.
Mia fired a few rounds, even managed to get one down, but her hands were undoubtedly shaking. It was a miracle altogether that she could use a firearm, but at the moment, I was fucking relieved.
“SHIT!” We hissed together as a bullet pierced through Luca, putting him down.
“Can you shoot?” Mia asked, but before I could answer, she shoved the Glock into my hands, barking, “Cover for me; I need to get to Luca.”
“Are you mad?” I screamed, dragging her back to safety. “You will get yourself killed!”
“I am not going to let him bleed out because of me,” she snarled. “Keep firing until I get to him.”
With that, she took off her heels and ran towards his frailing, bleeding body as I kept firing. I knew it was hopeless; we were running out of ammo, the guards outnumbered, and it was a matter of time before they’d get to us. The Romano family had cultivated enemies over the years, and Mia was going to be the collateral damage.
And I was stuck in the wrong place at the wrong fucking time.
Steering my head into action, I kept aiming and firing but only managed to get down two of the assailants. I was about to get to the third one, except another bastard got to me first, and shot. A sharp pain pierced through my left bicep as the gun dropped from my hand. “Fuck!“
Years I mastered with a Glock, knowing one day it would come handy, but taking a bullet was another ball game altogether. Defenseless, I looked at Mia’s way and saw two armed men approaching her.
The whole scenario started getting clearer slowly. The assailants had clear shots of Mia, yet they didn’t fire; meaning they wanted her alive—captive. On the other hand, most of the rounds were aimed in my direction. These men—they were professionals; either cartel or any crime family, for I quickly recognized the pattern. When you take a captive, you don’t leave behind your dirty mess.
“RUN!” I mouthed at her, hoping she’d at least try to save her life, but she didn’t budge an inch, pressing onto the wound of the fallen man.
It would be a matter of mere seconds before they’d get to her.
Out of nowhere, loud, erratic sounds of automatic firing of rifles rung out as I peered at the sight. Two men who were approaching Mia fell with a thump on the ground. Bullets lodged into their skulls, backs, and legs.
Next, everything happened so fast that it was becoming blur through the haze of pain as I staggered. My eyes were stuck on a figure, dressed in black, from head to toe, carrying a fully automatic rifle as she fired on every person in her line of sight.
Despite masked, it was easy to recognize a womanly figure for the concave of her curvaceous waist, massive cleavage, and those shapely jeans-clad legs. Mother-fucking hell! She was firing ruthlessly at everyone within her line of sight, and with such precision, the event was nerve-racking.
I watched her changing magazines of her rifle with the way women apply lipstick—with style and boldness.
Firing shots in rapid succession and managing to get all the assailants down, within a couple of minutes, she stomped her way towards Mia. I was losing too much blood to figure out everything else, plopping against the wall, and sighed. This was finally over.
Ragged breath started strangling in my lungs, pumping more air.
“Oh, my God,” Mia whispered, coming beside me. “You are shot. Let me see.” I felt her hand pressing into my wounded hand as she bent over, helping me get to my feet. The wound wasn’t fatal, I perceived, but the pain was excruciating.
“WE NEED TO MOVE. QUICK!” The mysteriously dangerous girl yelled at Mia. She came over, pausing to look at my face, before sneering back at her. “Tell me she is not who I think she is.”
Wait, how did she know me?
Mia glared back. “Long story. Let’s get her to the hospital first.”
I couldn’t see her face, but she was pissed. Reluctantly, she helped me into the backup car and climbed into the driver’s seat with Mia bunched up beside her. One hand on the wheel, the woman clutched a 9mm Semi-Auto gun with the other. The SUV drove faster as she pushed the gas pedal down with all of her strength.
Half a kilometer on the road, she took off her mask, allowing me to have a glimpse of her face. She was beautiful—but not in a delicate kind of way. I tried hard to remember if I knew of anyone related to the Romanos and came up empty. Even writhing in pain, I had an undeniable feeling that she was bad news. She was either a new enforcer of Viktor or someone I did not know of; the latter was more disturbing than the former.
“Who were they?” Mia asked her.
“I wish I knew,” she replied, taking a sharp right turn. “I tried calling you, but it didn’t connect. The same happened with Luca’s phone. So, I traced the GPS, got your last location, and drove here.”
Mia sighed, smiling softly at her. “Thank you.”
“You don’t have to say that to me, Mia.”
Mia turned around and asked concernedly. “Are you okay? We are only a few minutes away from the hospital,” she assured.
“I am fine. I will live,” I replied breathlessly, sweat beads coating my forehead. No one ever died because they got shot in the arm, but it sure as hell agonizing, to say the least.
“Don’t be so sure about it,” the dangerous one frowned at me, glancing in the rearview mirror. “If Viktor gets to you first, the little bullet in your arm would be the least of your concerns.”
“I am sorry,” I snarled, both in pain and annoyance, as I could not relent. “Do I know you?”
“No, so consider yourself lucky. But your luck might run out very soon.”
“I am confused. What the fuck are you talking about?” I asked over the phone, simultaneously increasing pressure on the accelerator.
“Just come to the DMV Hospital. Now!” The line went dead.
Swerving out into the street, I tried hard to maintain a cool head as I sped. The inadequate information Aurora barked into the phone was disturbing enough to throw me off my composure any day.
It was something like this. “Mia was ambushed, Lilliana is shot, and Luca is critical.” Who the fuck talks in such a cryptic manner? And what was the freaking connection?
The insane driving from one end of the city to the hospital took me twenty agonizing minutes. Immediately, I rushed to the third floor, knowing we always reserved it for family emergencies. And we happened to have a lot of such emergencies off lately. This third floor has a different security system, only accessible to selected people.
Stepping out of the elevator, I found Marco and Aurora sitting on the waiting chairs in the featureless corridor, on either of the farthest corners.
“What is going on?” I asked, my eyes darting between both of them.
“So, it happened like this,” Aurora began and went on narrating the whole incident. When she couldn’t contact Mia or Luca, her gut feeling led her to Mia’s last location, followed by opening fire in broad daylight in the streets of Chicago, and the small part about Lilliana getting shot in the arm.
“What did the doctor say about Luca?” I asked.
“He is in surgery,” Marco answered. “He took two shots and had lost a lot of blood. The doctors are doing everything they can.”
I raked a hand through my hair in frustration, my pulse racing like a mad horse. “What was Lilliana doing there?”
“You tell me.” A hardened voice snarled from behind my back. I didn’t need to turn around to recognize Viktor’s voice.
Viktor and I differed on several occasions ever since we were kids, but nothing ever drove a wedge between us until now—until Lilliana. Every moment of every day, he was trying to point out, or find a fault in her, blaming me for giving her benefit of the doubt, and trying to dump everything on me. Initially, I thought he was paranoiac or pessimistic, although now I couldn’t make any sense of it.
Frowning, I breathed hard to control my temper and shook my head slowly. “How’s Lilliana?” I asked Aurora.
“That room,” she replied, pointing towards my left. “She’s good, resting. The bullet went through, and the damage was minimal.”
Turning around, I met with Viktor’s glowering eyes; the blue fire burned brighter than ever. His anger was warranted, I knew, especially when Mia’s security was involved. And it wasn’t just anger alone—there was insecurity beneath the surface.
“You do realize that the shit has hit the roof, and Lilliana is the reason for it? It can’t be a coincidence, Dominic,” Viktor snarled slowly.
“What do you want me to do? Kill her?” I gritted through my teeth.
He stepped forward, growling into my face. “I want you to be a man for once, keep your dick inside your pants and think with the brain.”
My palms fisted at my sides and involuntarily reared back to throw a punch in his face before Marco wedged between us. “Okay, okay. I have news, and it’s bad.” He jumped in, putting enough distance between us, which would have been considered safe. “You both need to know about this.”
“What?” Viktor demanded irritatedly.
“It was an inside job. The guns used were stolen from our armory. And the network was also jammed from our system,” Marco broke the news and summarized the whole story in six fucking words. “One of our own betrayed us.”
Viktor and I shared a look of disbelief. In mafia business, there was no other sin bigger than selling your loyalty—for whatever reason that might have been. You live and die for the family you have sworn in.
“Find me the damn mole,” Viktor ordered Marco. “I will do the rest.”
“But before that,” I added. “Keep Aurora with Mia and Sammy; we can handle ourselves.”
Happy reading, guys, and don’t forget to drop in your comments for the chapter.
The next update is on: 18th October 2019.