I quickly threw on a pair of dark washed jeans, a simple light grey t-shirt and black zip-up athletic sweatshirt. I had no idea where Adrian was going to be taking me this late at night, or early morning, however you wanted to look at it. So I dressed as simply as I could. I fixed my messy bun letting some loose waves of caramel hair fall down my neck out of the bun. I slipped on a pair of tennis shoes and rushed downstairs to meet him.
Adrian was patiently waiting by the front door for me. His hands fiddling with his phone texting someone or emailing, or whatever the hell he does on that thing. His back slightly hunched over and his biceps twitching with each small move of his fingers on his phone. He had changed into jeans and a black button down with his sleeves rolled up showing his bulging veins on his forearms. The first button of the shirt undone showing just enough skin to make your mind wander. Without looking at anything else besides his damn phone he spoke up.
“Ah, yeah I guess. Are you going to tell me where you’re taking me?”
“Ahh, nope” He mimicked my tone.
We walked towards the SUVs parked in the driveway, with Adrian walking slightly in front of me. I couldn’t help but scan over his whole body from top to bottom. God his body. If I didn’t already crave all of him, this only made it worse. Every step he took when he walked seeped with confidence. It was a nice change to see him in more relaxed clothing instead of his normal formal suits. No matter what he wore everything was fitted nicely to show off his perfect physec and muscles.
The only time he only tore his eyes off his phone was when we reached the parked SUV. He quickly walked over to he passenger side door, slipping the phone into his pocket and quickly opening the door motioning for me to get in.
“Ms. Artell…” He said holding out a hand for me to grab in hopes of helping me into the vehicle.
“Really Adrian? Now you want to be all nice and gentlemanly. Bite me.” I responded glaring at him stepping up into the vehicle by myself. Did I mean to sound so harsh? No. But at the same time I was still going to pretend I was pissed off at him and part of me was still a little hurt with how he handled everything. Being pissed off at him, or at least pretending to, was the only thing distracting me from ripping his clothes off where he stood.
The car ride was filled with silence. His eyes focused on the road. For the first time leaving the house we hadn’t brought any guards with us. It made me a little nervous knowing Dominic could attack at any minute.
I tried my hardest not to look over at him driving. But my mind fell back to him every second it had the chance to. The hair on my arms and my neck rose as I thought back to earlier. His lips so close to my skin. His hand sliding up my leg while breathing heavily towards my neck. Holding back my moans. Wanting to feel his hands touch every square inch of my body. His soft, deep voice whispering commands into my ear. How badly I wanted him sitting behind me with his arms wrapped around me, claiming me as his. I needed him to make a damn move. I was starting to lose my mind. I wasn’t sure how long we could keep denying that there was something between us. I guess I should say, I don’t know how long he was going to keep denying that there was something between us. There was. From the first moment he put his arms around me in the basement. I was terrified out of my mind at any touch but after the initial shock of him trying to help me I felt it. I didn’t shut out his touch like I did with Franco’s when I let the dark take over so I didn’t feel anything. No, the spark I felt when Adrian wrapped the blanket around me and lifted me up. The comfort I felt. The safety. I knew from that moment I was going to be safe with him. I felt the longing in his arms. The electricity. All from his one stupid touch. When he’s near me my heart feels like it’s going to leap out of my chest. He doesn’t smile often, but when he does I swear the whole world stops around us. I don’t mean just the small devilish smirks he occasionally gives when he knows he’s teasing me. No, I mean a genuine smile; a genuine laugh. He is always handsome. But damn it when he smiles, when he laughs I just know. I know I would do anything for him. I would do anything for him to have that smile. I would do anything to keep him in my life.
Maybe Amelia was right. Maybe I was in love with him. I didn’t really have any good references. My parents had an okay marriage, my aunt was never married, my first relationship sucked, and I hadn’t been in once since for fear that that is what every relationship was going to be like. I knew Daniel was out there looking for me. I couldn’t bring someone else into that mess. I also really didn’t have any knowledge of what love is like or how you feel when you love someone. But I knew I cared about Adrian. I knew I needed this man in my life. I knew that I wanted to keep him in my life no matter the consequences. I knew from the very beginning he was going to change my life.
While caught up in my thoughts again, Adrian pulled the SUV to a stop. My eyes shot open. I wasn’t aware that I had them closed. My head shot from side to side trying to figure out wer Adrian had taken me. We were back at the safe house.
“The safe house? Why the hell are we back here?”
“Guess you’ll have to see.” That damn smirk turned on the corners of his mouth. He quickly hopped out of the driver side, slamming the door. He made his way around to the passenger side door, fixing his shirt. Opening the door he held out his hand once more for me to take. I looked down towards it. A panic rose in my throat. I gulped down the air that I hadn’t realized I was holding in. Out of instinct and because I yearned for any kind of touch from him I placed my small delicate hand into his. “Come on, follow me bella.”
At least he was starting to call me bella again. I may not have known a ton of italian but I knew a few words here and there. I knew enough to know that bella means beautiful. He used to call me that, and only that, never by my full name. At least he called me that until we ended up ignoring each other for weeks after getting into a disagreement, if you what to call it that.
It didn’t occur to me how miserable I was without him the last few weeks. We lived in the same house, he provided for me. His room was right next to mine. But we ignored each other like we didn’t exist. I hated admitting how much I missed him. I hated how much I missed just seeing him. And right now, I hated how much I wanted him.
Adrian lead me down a few flights of stairs. It was the usual set of stairs that Alex and I would take to get down to the gym. But this time we went past that floor. Alex always warned me to never go down any further without permission. I never questioned him. I wasn’t exactly sure what their job entailed but I knew whatever it was some of it resided here out of my sight, held in secret quarters away from the world.
Shortly after descending down the unfamiliar stairs we stopped in front of dark hallway poorly lit with only a few ceiling lights. It was immaculately clean, but it felt cold. It felt dark. And not dark as in the sense of the lighting. It felt dark, like horrific things had been done behind the closed metal doors that stood on either side of the hall.
“You taking me somewhere to lock me up and kill me?” I said with a faint giggle. Even though this particular hall seemed to be straight out of a horror film, I knew Adrian would never cause me any harm.
“No, bella. I’m giving you what you want.”
“Excuse me?.” I was confused as to what he meant. Because what I want right now, is him. And to be back in bed in my pajamas. This dungeon of a floor was not where I wanted to be at the given moment.
“Come on bella. Follow me.” He smirked and offered his hand to me which I gladly took. His strong hand encapsulated mine, making it feel almost obsolete compared to his. His warmth radiated through my hand up to my arm, making me want to feel his touch everywhere else but my hands. He pulled me through the hall, leading the way ending at the last very last door to our left.
“You want to learn how to protect yourself, then I’m going to teach you.” unlocking the door with a key from his pocket he pushed the door open showing something I never expected to reside here. “Me bella, I will teach you. Not Alex, Not Adam, ME. You’re mine bella. And you were right. You deserve to know at least basic skills to protect yourself if I am unable to.” He said it possessively. It wasn’t like how Daniel would talk to me holding possession in his tone like I was an object for him to control. This was sweet and caring. He almost said it in a growl making my mind flood with all sorts of thoughts of him, thoughts I needed to get out of my head.
He grabbed my chin with his hand lifting my head to make eye contact with his beautiful, mesmerizing eyes. “LIsten to me bella. You are my weakness. Eventually people, people that want me dead, are going to figure that out. I need to know you can take care of yourself if I’m not there. Because some day I may not be.”
“Oh, Adrian. Don’t speak like that.” My eyes shifted from his down to his lips, taunting me. The thought of him being taken away from me ripped my heart in half. I barely even knew him. But he was my undoing.
“It’s the reality Addi, bella. This life, it’s not an if but when I get killed. You are a part of this family. You may not be blood, but my god Amelia loves you; Alex and Adam care enough about you to go behind my back when they knew I was wrong facing any consequence they would face. We will always protect you. From Daniel, from Dominic, from any threat that comes. Okay?”
“Okay.” He was bringing tears to my eyes. I hadn’t felt like I was ever part of a family until now. I had mine ripped away from me at such a young age, I forgot what it was like to be cared about. Adrian never spoke to me like this. It made my heart want to explode with every feeling and emotion I had towards him. I needed him. I needed him like the oxygen I breathe. I couldn’t get enough of him.
“Come on.” His hand dropping down from my chin grabbing on to mine again and jerking his head to the side motioning me forward into the room.
I was in shock. I had no idea that he had this room hidden away in the corner of his safe house. In front of me stood a fully stocked armory and shooting range.
“Holy shit Adrian. How-Why?” I was having a hard time formulating words. I couldn’t wrap my head around this hidden treasure. In front of me was an entire shooting range. Multiple stalls painted grey. The back wall racked with guns of all sizes, along with ammo for every gun imaginable. It was intimidating to say the least.
While walking around the room gathering supplies Adrian attempted to respond to my incoherent question. “Well we need to make sure our merchandise is in pristine condition. That includes firing at least one weapon from each shipment. The last thing I would want is an all out war to break out because my guys sold some shittyweapons to the wrong people. So, we had this built into the safe house.” his voice lowered down into a whisper as crossing his arms and letting a smirk rise on his face before he spoke in my direction “Plus it’s a good stress relief when certain females at home piss you off.” He ended his statement with a wink towards me direction.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I haven’t pissed you off that badly, Just enough for you to ignore me for a few weeks.”
“Yeah, and that was me barely being pissed off. So let's not push it okay?” I let him finish setting up and grabbing items he must have thought were necessary for whatever he was about to have me do.
Come stand over here bella.” He motioned me over to the first shooting stall. He quickly set up the target on the clip and hit a button on the wall nearest him sending the target flying backward towards to back wall of the room. Soon enough Adrian was placing a glock on the counter in front of me and taking the one out from behind his back that he usually kept in his belt line.
“These are not toys bella. Got it? Honestly I really don’t want you even touching a gun unless you absolutely need to or if I’m around. I mean it” His voice became authoritative. It didn’t frighten me like it should have. It didn’t make me nervous. It made me… it made me...god damn it what the hell was I thinking. Just being around him made me lose track of my thoughts, made me at a loss for words.
“I want you to watch me carefully okay? I’m going to show you exactly how I want you to take it apart, load it, disarm it and shoot it. Do not do anything besides watch until I tell you to do so?”
“Mhmm.” I just politely nodded. Just like Alex was in for a surprise, Adrian was about to be in for one himself. I swayed my hips from side to side crossing my arms over my chest nodding my head frequently making him think that I was paying attention. But in reality I had only heard about three words from his mouth before my mind trailed off. I gazed over his body again. But everytime I did Amelia would come back in to my mind telling me to back off, telling me to not get involved. Damn it though, the way his eyes glared at me, at the gun was full of strength, lust, caring with a slight ting of anger. His biceps twitched under his long sleeves which he had rolled up further to his elbows shortly before he started his lesson. Out of habit I bit my lip sucking on it slightly to keep my urges at bay.
I couldn’t listen anymore, not that I ever really was. The minute he turned his back from me for even a second I grabbed the glock off the counter, slamming the magazine into place, cocking the chamber back, loading the barrel and disarming the safety. I held my stance. My feet shoulder length apart, my knees slightly bent. My finger just tickling the trigger begging for me to shoot. And I did all before Adrian turned around from whatever rant he was on about. I started to unload the whole magazine into the target, clustering all my shots in kill shot zones on the target. I quickly slide the chamber open, dropped the magazine into my hand and safetied the gun placing it back on the counter. I turned slightly to my right to look at Adrian. His jaw was practically on the floor. His eyes were mixed between pissed off, and like he wanted to rip my clothes off.
“I TOLD YOU TO NOT FUCKING TOUCH ANYTHING DAMN IT.”
“Well maybe if you would have shut your damn mouth long enough for me to talk I could have told you that you didn’t need to run through the whole damn thing. But someone likes to hear the sound of his own damn voice.” I smirk. He didn’t seemed too amused however.
“Excuse me? I didn’t have to bring you here. I didn’t have to be gracious and teach you skills you may need some day. So if I were you I’d watch my damn mouth and show a little bit more respect.” His teeth became gritted and the look of desire for me vanished out of his eyes. It was completely replaced with rage and anger. Something I had never seen from him towards me. I flinched slightly when his voice raised. Something that he quickly picked up on and lowered his voice only slightly.
“Fine you want to be a hot shot.” He hit the button sending the target back to us and he quickly replaced it with a new one filled with twelve small circular targets, six on the top row, six on the bottom. “Reload. Get into your stance and shoot again. This time, you shoot where I tell you to aim. You don’t get to just free aim to wherever you damn well please on the target. You think you have the skills enough for this than you better fucking show me.” He said it challengingly and I did just that. I reloaded with another magazine from the counter, loaded the chamber, clicked the safety off and took my stance. I heard a slight chuckle from behind me. Ignoring his laugh I took my first shot where he directed me to do so, top left. It wasn’t a terrible shot but it wasn’t where I wanted it exactly. I patiently waited for his next direction.
“Next one Addi.” Shit he was using my name. It was his way of letting me know that he was pissed off at me and that he was in charge. My body flushed thinking about his authority. Part of me was terrified of him when he was angry and the other part of me wanted him to channel that into whatever tension there was between us.
I stood my ground, shifting my weight slightly forward again and shot the next target. I waited a second before shooting again at the third circle when I felt his hands wrap around my hips. The front of his body began to press against the back of mine. His hot breath wisping the hair by my ears as his face became closer to my neck. His mouth was dangerously close to my ear making my hairs stand on end. A shiver shot through my spine making my body tremble slightly. I could feel his cheeks move into a smile as soon as he could feel the heat radiating off of me at his touch. He knew full well what the hell he was doing to me.
“You’re standing all wrong, bella.” the words whispered into my ear almost so quiet and low I could barely make out the words. It sent another shiver down my spine. He bent my hips back towards him a little more forcing my butt to come into contact with his hips. Damn it, that didn’t help any of my thoughts. “Put your center of gravity a little more like this. Spread your legs a little further.” I followed his commands without question. “Good, bella. Now…” His arms trailed from the side of my hips tracing the curve of my waist, to end on top of my shoulders. Just when I thought the torture was done the pads of his fingers caressed down both of my arms. “Hold the gun a little bit more like this” still whispering I bit my lip as his hands encircled mine, positioning them just right. “Now bella, your trigger finger, the trigger should be in the first crease line of your finger. When you fire, squeeze, don’t pull.” His fingers traced back over my arms flowing down my back and landing right back on my hips.
I was starting to get annoyed. He wanted to teach me, train me. Yet here he was torturing me, teasing me. I was frustrated. I didn’t wait for anymore instructions from him. Instead I unloaded the magazine hitting my mark in each of the remaining circles. I quickly dropped the empty clip out, opening the chamber and dropped the glock back on the counter. I couldn’t be around him any longer. I was exhausted and thoroughly annoyed. I pushed my way past Adrian and headed back towards the door. All I could see was dark black. I felt myself sink deeper into the darkness the further I got pulled into his world. But it felt good, it felt right. My lips turned up into a smile as soon as I heard his voice.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” The old Addi would have cowered down to him, begged him to lower his voice; begged for his forgiveness. This Addi, well, this Addi really didn’t care at this point. The more annoyed I got, the more frustrated with him I got, the harder my feelings turned. He told me to speak to him with respect earlier. My smile from my lips as I turned my head over my shoulder with my back still facing him. If he wanted respect from me, he was going to start opening up to me and giving me the same respect in return. Until then, he got whatever I felt like giving. He wanted to be a tease, than two can play at that game.
“Home,” was all I said, walking through the doorway slamming the door behind me.