T W O
L I L L I A N A
I yanked open the creaky door of the apartment that could very well be passed as a dirty storeroom by the definition in my dictionary.
“Things you do for revenge,” I muttered under my breath as I stepped inside.
The apartment was the smallest one I had ever stepped inside in my whole life. But there was something about this place—this city, actually—that drew me towards it. I had a strange feeling, both chilling and overwhelming at the same time when I had first landed here. The air smelled so familiar, so haunting...that for a second I had to hold my breath to stop myself from breathing in. Instead of filling my lungs, the air was suffocating me.
“You might need this,” Andrew said as held out the GLOCK for me.
Ever since I was fifteen and I had learned how to aim, there wasn’t a single day in my life that I didn’t carry a weapon. But I couldn’t afford to keep now until my plan was in motion.
“No, Andrew. It’s fine,” I refused.
“Dominic Romano won’t be without a weapon.”
“He’d know better than to shoot an unarmed girl who has just saved his life, won’t he?” I mock pouted.
Andrew smirked and tucked it inside. “He doesn’t even know what is coming for him.”
“Don’t underestimate him.” That statement was more of a warning for myself than to him.
I sat down on the couch and fired up the laptop. We couldn’t obviously have surveillance inside the Romano mansion, even setting up eyes outside the gates were too risky. And hence, whatever little intel we had gathered was from the men in and around the place.
“When the attack is taking place?”
“It’s tricky to say. They hardly leave the mansion without the heavy security. But only Dominic is arrogant enough to roam around one or two men, at the most.”
“Two days, max. If he doesn’t come out without the guards, we would have to draw him out.”
I couldn’t wait for too long. This attack was hardly what I could call a plan, but that was the only help my father was willing to provide.
Andrew looked up from the screen of his own laptop. “How would we draw him out?”
“They have a sister who doesn’t stay in the Romano estate,” I muttered, skimming through the pages.
He pulled out a file on his own laptop as he read out loud, “Meet Dr. Samantha Romano, 25, graduated top of her class and kind of a medical genius. Even though her family could very well bribe half the city, and she could have gotten the degree without sitting for the examination, she is actually pretty good for a doctor.”
“I know about Samantha Romano,” I snapped irritably. Did he really think I wouldn’t know about the only Romano, who wasn’t involved in the business? For the past few years, I had literally drilled inside my brain every little information I knew about these people.
“No, I mean—”
“One thing doesn’t match up, though. Viktor is obsessed with the security of his family. How come the sister lives alone? Not very close with the brothers?” My eyebrow rose slightly.
“Romanos are family oriented. Blood means a lot to them. So, the only explanation there could be is that the sister’s apartment is close to the hospital where she is currently completing her residency.”
“Huh. Her security isn’t very amped up, unlike the Romano brothers. So...” I thought for a moment, “...let’s say that...if there’s an unfortunate accident happens to the sister, do you think the brothers would rush by her side?”
Andrew cocked his brow for a moment and then smirked as I simply grinned.
“Wait for two more days and then get this plan B in motion. The longer I wait, the higher the stakes would become.”
“I will get it done.” Andrew slammed his laptop shut and pulled out a normal phone, handing it to me. “Your social security number is done. The rest of the information has also been added. We have put up every layer of security that we could on the server. If they do a background check, they would come up with nothing.”
“No. Keep some gaps.”
“Just do what I say.” Andrew nodded and took his leave.
I could very well say that he didn’t agree, but I knew Andrew would do what he was told. I had my reasons and I had no intention to share with anyone. Trust didn’t come naturally to me. In fact, this was one quality I probably shared with Dominic Romano.
This was the very reason I wanted to leave some ‘gaps’ when they would do the background check. So far what I have studied, Dominic was a dog with a bone. Until and unless everything was clear as a day to him, he wouldn’t rest. Pretty face and a good body would not be enough to grab the attention of a man like him. The plan was a double-edged sword, but I knew that if I could play it well, I could outsmart him.
*** [Twenty four hours later] ***
The burner phone rang in the middle of the night as I picked up.
“Dominic is out to meet his sister. No guards or security detail, nothing. We are getting ready for it whenever he would leave the apartment.” The voice on the other side informed.
“Great. I will be on the spot once you send me the location. And make sure you don’t kill him. Just do enough damage to knock him out. He is more useful to me alive,” I said and disconnected.
Sitting up, I kneaded the back of my neck, trying to relieve the building pressure within me. “This is for you. This is for what they did to you,” I whispered to myself, closing my eyes and seeking the strength to walk through the fire.
For the rest of the night, I was wide awake. The first step of this plan was the most crucial one. One mistake and I’d end up losing everything, even my life. And I could not afford to lose having come so far and so close.
Hours later, when I finally received the location point, I drove as fast as I could. Not because I couldn’t let him die, but I didn’t want his death to be so simple. Not just Dominic but every last Romano alive.
My car was parked far away from Dominic’s vehicle which had already slammed into some goddamn tree and flipped over. Any normal person would have been dead, but Dominic Romano wasn’t normal, I knew. Striding a little closer against a tree, I saw him slithering out of the car—bloodied and limping—with the gun in his hand.
“Crawl, baby, crawl,” I muttered under my breath as I watched him struggling to get out of the car. The gunshots kept booming every few seconds.
And when he was at a safe distance, I pulled out the phone, dialing. “Lose the car now.”
Within seconds of disconnecting the call, the car blew up. For a second, my hearing impaired as the black smoke filled my vision. And when I was finally good to do, I placed the mask around my mouth and strode closer.
As expected, Dominic passed out due to the impact of the blast and bleeding wounds on his body. Pulling out the syringe, I pushed it into his veins quickly to make sure he’d make it to my place alive.
By this time, Andrew came up right beside me with the same mask that covered his face. “How long we do have before he comes to his senses?”
“Long enough for the ride,” I said, getting up and glaring at him. “You did more damage than necessary.”
Andrew scowled. “He just doesn’t know when to give up.”
“Get him to the apartment and pray to God that he lives. Or I swear, I’d kill you,” I hissed. It wasn’t a threat, even he knew that. Sure, I liked Andrew, but not more than the ruthless purpose of my life. Not more than the retribution I craved.
Standing there, all by myself, I kept breathing through the nose until I calmed down. It was said that paranoia was the first stage of insanity and I could really feel myself being dragged to the edge of madness. Planning to strike your enemy was one thing, the execution was another. And I was already losing my nerves even before the battle had begun.
By the time Dominic was laid on the bed of that small apartment, I knew the witch hunt for him had already begun by his brother, Viktor. It would be a matter of a few days before he rakes through every street, lane, and corner for his younger brother—his own blood. Romanos were sick motherfuckers except when it came to their own flesh and blood. Family was their biggest strength and–I vowed–the family would be the death of them.
Blood for blood, I reminded myself for the umpteenth time.
Wiping his hands with a towel, Andrew said, “We gave him some painkillers. He should be fine for a few days. You need to change his bandages every day.”
I nodded, but my eyes were glued to Dominic’s injured body. “Leave. And don’t try to contact until I do.”
Without another word, he left as I heard the soft slam of the door. Walking over to the bed, it took every ounce of self–control not to strangle the life out of him. But at the same time, it was so satisfying to know how his days—the family’s days—were numbered.
Dragging my long nails through the scars on his forehead as the blood trail in its wake, I understood what every other woman saw in him. Bruised and injured, disheveled hair with his clothes bloodied—even in that condition—Dominic Romano would put the models in GQ magazines to shame. If I wasn’t wired to hate him ever since the day I drew my first breath, maybe I would have felt a slight tinge of sympathy for his condition.
The keyword is: maybe.
Closing my eyes, I heaved a long sigh.
And just like every other time, the same face flashed right in front of me. The same face that was both my strength and weakness. I could feel it...the scent, the warmth, the pain, the burn...everything. It was so vivid, so painful like it was searing my skin.
“Maybe it’s this city, this shithole of the place where everything began twenty-one years ago,” I told myself.
Removing my fingers from his bloodied skin, I whispered one last time, “And this is the very place where it will end. The beginning of the end for every last Romano.”
If you have read “The Monster’s Addiction”, you would relate this to Chapter 41, titled “The Beginning of an End.” The accident...it was never about Mia or the crisis that had unfolded. It was much, much deeper than what it seemed. So, long before Vittelo came into the picture, it was the Moretti Crime Family coming after the Romano men.
And if you thought that was a major crisis the Romano family had faced back then—well, brace yourself—because the shit’s about to get real and a blood-war is coming for them.