T H I R T Y - T H R E E
A thick white envelope was dropped on the dining table before me as I spoon paused mid-air. Gazing up, I saw Viktor unbuttoning his charcoal grey suit as he took the seat at the head of the table to my left.
I waited for him to explain further, my brows lifting in question, but Viktor being himself, completely ignored. He smoothly motioned a manservant, who hurried over and began to serve him dinner.
Frowning, I picked up the envelope and unfolded the paper, completely uninterested at this point. But the moment words like DNA, probability, and paternity floated before my eyes, my brain couldn’t move past them.
A fucking ninety-nine percent match.
“How the hell did you get Ralph’s DNA?” I looked up quizzically at Viktor.
Less than twelve hours ago, we had managed to find Ralph, that too in a condition that probably required him to be hospitalized for more than a week. And DNA tests couldn’t be done that quickly.
“I had Aurora get his hairbrush sent to the lab,” he answered with his eyes fixed upon the streak he was slicing.
Completely losing the appetite in a split second, I shoved the plate aside as someone came over and whisked it away while my gaze on hooked on the paper in my hand.
This changed everything.
I wanted to hate Lilliana with every fiber of my being and to believe that she didn’t deserve an ounce of mercy for what she did. But this—the DNA test—changed everything.
She was playing, and she got played.
How does it still justify breaking my trust? It doesn’t. In one moment, she made my world complete, and in the other, she kicked it off the axis. It seemed like she was channeling her inner monster to compete with mine.
And she won.
Lilliana was as beautiful as she was venomous—like the Medusa.
“You do realize that it changes everything now,” Viktor told me, placing down his knife and fork to interrupt my reverie.
Yeah, tell me about it.
I shrugged. “It changes nothing for me. You’re the Boss, and it’s your call what you want to do with her.”
“Wasn’t I the boss of you when I told you to get your dick wet somewhere else?”
I snickered and crumpled the paper aside. “Fuck off, Viktor,” I said mildly. “It’s late, and Mia must be waiting for you.”
The mention of his wife sobered him into making a normal conversation. “I know what you want, Dominic,” he said confidently but in a considerate tone. “You want to see her suffer. Admit it.”
“There is nothing to admit. I do want to see her suffer.” The measure of inexplicable pain I went through for her betrayal and deception was beyond I could comprehend. “But now, as Ralph’s daughter...” I trailed off. “Does Ralph know, by the way?”
Viktor wiped the corner of his mouth with the napkin. “Marco said that he would break it to him slowly when he’s stable. For now, we’d let him rest. He’s anyway mad about Dante, so Lilliana’s news would be too overwhelming.”
I nodded in agreement. “What do we do with Dante?”
“I can come up with a lot of ideas,” Viktor mused. “But nobody hates him more than Dad and Ralph. So, I will let the old men decide his fate.”
We smiled in unison—sardonic and pure evil.
Dad and Ralph might have aged, believers of old school torture methods, but nonetheless, they were as ruthless as we brothers were, and ancient tortures were even legendary.
Viktor pushed back his chair and slowly rose. “You should pay her a visit. After all, it was her given information that led us to Ralph.”
That scheming, sly woman. Until the fucking end, she negotiated like she has leverage. But that wasn’t the reason I’d see her.
“I was going to pay her a visit anyway,” I told him, abandoning the chai, and promised, “And, Lilliana is going to regret that dearly.”
And before Viktor could utter a word, I had already walked out.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Time was a torture in itself.
I didn’t know how many days had it been since I was shoved into this room and cuffed to the bed, but it seemed like ages. I was tired and tormented, mentally, forced to stare at the enclosed walls around me—like the white torture used by the CIA.
Surprisingly, I was well-fed and hydrated, but they were smart enough to shuffle the meals so as not to provide me with a hint of the time and day.
Each time, there would be a different servant, accompanied by two armed men, making sure they wouldn’t utter a word or try to start a conversation with me. Although, after some time, I did give up, I was restless and frantic.
Nerves churned me inside out as I waited—and waited indefinitely—for someone to come in.
I had almost dozed off when the sharp clank of the door resonated, and my eyes flashed open. The demure servant walked in with a tray of food, with two men on her heels, as she silently deposited it on the bed and left. Routinely, one of the guards proceeded to uncuff my right hand, and I took his opportunity to jab my thumb into the socket of his eyes.
“Fuck!” He screamed, and with a lightning bolt, the other hand gripped my unbound hand, trying to pin me against the bed.
“Call the Boss!” The man holding me down, dictated, while the other held a hand over his injured eyes. I couldn’t have the opportunity to do any lasting damage, but I knew, it was enough for the moment.
Enough for me to have someone—anyone—rush in and tell me what the fuck is going on.
It was a stupid move, like all the other choices in my life, but it was a necessary evil.
I was a few hours away from slipping into insanity. So, better be stupid than insane—I thought.
“What the hell!” The guard struggled, so did I, kicking him away.
“What is going on here?”
At the voice, at that low, powerful timbre that echoed through the walls, my world came to a halt. My eyes flew to Dominic’s in mere moments and hooked.
I didn’t—I couldn’t—blink. Not only I couldn’t afford to miss the fraction of a second of his sight but also because he looked enigmatic.
Dominic Romano in a tailored charcoal black slacks and a pale blue shirt, professionally tucked in around the waist while the sleeves were carefully rolled up, exposing the tensed cords of muscles underneath.
There’s always a glorious charm about a jeans-clad guy attired in shirt and slacks, I noted.
Dominic strode forward, coming to a halt a couple of feet away and spoke with his razor-sharp eyes fixated on me. “Open her cuffs and leave.”
The guards required no further command. The cuffs were snapped open, and for the first time in days, I was physically unbound. But the man before me needed no chains or ropes to make me his prisoner.
Dominic Romano, with his heavy silence and his glacial stare, has effortlessly pinned me in place.
When the guards scurried away and the door closed, I realized that my heart was beating wildly under the ribs.
Dazed at the sight of this charmingly cruel man, my fingers lifted on its own to stroke the chiseled features—just to feel if the moment was real.
It was real, though, but brutally real.
Dominic caught my wrist before I could touch, digging his fingers painfully into my skin like he was truly wanting to hurt me.
“You have every right to be mad at me,” I told him. “I...I didn’t know—”
“You didn’t know?” One sardonic eyebrow lifted followed by a mocking chuckle. “You were playing a game, Lilliana. You simply didn’t know the rules and your opponents. And you fell flat on your face.”
“I was going to leave Chicago, Dominic, even before Dante told me the truth. You have to believe me—I never meant any of this to happen.” I closed my eyes and the warmness trickled down my cheeks. “I never meant to fall in love with you,” I whispered.
Dominic dropped my wrists immediately. “Stop playing, Lilliana. The game’s over, and you have lost.”
I braved and palmed the side of his face. “I know the things I have lost.” The list was entirely too long. “Please, believe me when I say this—I am sorry,” I apologized earnestly.
“You want me to forgive you?” A twisted smirk appeared on his face.
Dominic nodded thoughtfully. He was uncharacteristically calm and well-gathered. “Dante told me things,” he began slowly. “Things which are too accurate to ignore.”
“What things?” I blurted out before he could finish.
“Things about us. The details of our nights, the first time and everything else,” he revealed. “Did you really think that a few fucks were going to earn my trust?” I kept shaking my head, biting into my quivering lips. “Or, did you think I was one of those men who boasted over popping cherries?” The veneer of civility began to slip off his face, and the roiling storm surfaced like black fury.
“No, I never...” I stammered cowardly, trying to recall my conversation with Dante. Even in my utterly devastating moment, I never shared a word with Dante—ever; so, he lied.
“Shh!” Dominic pressed a finger to my lips, snarling. “I know you are capable of a lot of things, Lilliana. You just don’t know about the things I am capable of.” He fisted my hair in one rapid action, pulling me against his chest.
“I don’t know what Dante told you, but he’s a lying asshole.”
With a painful yank, he let go of my hair and smiled wickedly. “He is a lying asshole,” he affirmed amusingly. “And he will be dealt with accordingly. But what about you? How are you going to make me forgive you?”
My throat clogged as if a knife was lodged into it. Dominic wasn’t remotely in himself.
“You have already given me your virginity to earn my trust.” He shrugged a shoulder like having a casual conversation. “What else can you do? How else can you beg to be forgiven, Lilliana?”
I might have broken the heart of Dominic Romano, but he ruined me in my most vulnerable moment. I laid down my heart and soul at his feet, only to have him humiliate me in the sickest of ways.
At that moment, I realized that the lines between right and wrong, sin and salvation, the virtue and vice were all blurred into the pitch blackness of my life.
I was a puppet for Dante for twenty-five years, and surely, Dominic knew that. So, I was not going to let him shame me for what wasn’t my fault in the first place.
I was in love with Dominic, but that doesn’t mean that I was going to let him quash the pride I had in me. No matter what I was, what I did—I still protected him to the best of my abilities.
“What? No words?” His fingers gripped my throat threateningly.
I steeled my spine, tipping up my chin defiantly even though the tears streamed down endlessly. “I am utterly sorry that I hurt you, Dominic, but I am not going to kneel and beg before you like you’re a freaking God.”
I might not have a family, a lover to claim as mine, or even a friend in the world but I was still my own woman.
Even if that man was Dominic Romano, I wouldn’t let him take away the last bit of self-esteem I have left.
He dragged me closer to his mouth, his lips skimming over mine. “No, sweetheart,” he hissed through his gritted teeth. “You are going to spread your legs for me because I am the freaking monster.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Sorry for the super late update, but I am happy I could finish writing it. Hopefully, you guys would like it. This Chapter is also unedited (maybe, I will edit tomorrow)—so, bear until then, please.
I know you guys are eager to know about the exact date for the next update, but I really don’t have one (SORRY!). Post-surgery, it is a little difficult to sit for long hours, but I will try and post it within 2-3 days.
Dom and Lil aren’t the easiest characters to love. They have their shares of mistakes and lackings, but that’s what made them the way they are - for good or bad.
Until the next update, a big hug to all of you for reading the story, loving the characters, and for all those lovely comments you have given. Thank you, my loves!