"ADDI! Do not ignore me"
That was my intent. Clearly he wasn't picking up on that. I had walked away from him. He was pissing me off. Playing games with my head. Making me think he actually wanted something with me. When all he really wanted to do was flirt like I was one the whores I'm sure he's brought home before. I had no intention of speaking to him. I couldn't do it anymore. As soon as everything with Dominic was all said and done, I was gone. I didn't care if Daniel was still out there looking for me. Running from him was better than staying here being played and teased. Adrian knew what he did to me and he didn't care. He just kept playing his damn game, making me fall for him.
I continued walking down the darkened hallway, and up the stairs when I heard his hasty footsteps close behind.
"Addi, where the hell do you think your going?"
I stopped where I stood. My teeth gritted in frustration. "I said. Home." I continued walking up the stairs when I heard his footsteps become faster, catching up with me. Before I knew it I felt a grip on my arm tugging me back to face him. The grib wasn't gentle, it wasn't caring. It was bruisingly strong. It flooded my mind with memories of Daniel, of Franco. The past tortures that I had to endure. The bruises that were left on my body. The scars I now carried, both externally and internally. The emotions that coursed through my veins whenever I looked at my broken, used and ugly body. The constant fear of losing my life. All of it came rushing back.
"Addi, do not walk away from me like that." His tone made everything worse. It was demanding, harsh, aggravated.
My face turned hard. My arm still in his grasp. I quickly yanked my arm from the pads of his fingers before they caused any more harm to my fragile skin. If I wanted my life to change, it was going to start now. I wasn't going to be the fraile girl I was before. I was going to stand up for myself.
"NO, you out of all people, don't get to touch me like that. Don't get to speak to me like that."
"No, don't bella me. You will never lay a hand on me like that ever again, do you understand? Nor will you speak to me like that again."
His eyes burdened with sadness after the words left my tongue. He knew he screwed up. But I didn't care. I knew what I deserved and none of this was it.
Before I turned around to finish my journey to the car, one last thing came to mind.
"And for the record. I am not one of your damn girls you can toy around with. I am not one of the whores you've brought home in the past. You cannot toy with my feelings, you cannot toy with my damn emotions. Got it?" My finger was pointed inches from his face drilling in my statement. His adam's apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed forcefully like my words stung him. Good, they should. "Now, if you don't mind. I'd like to go home."
I finished my walk towards the car never taking a look back. I didn't want to see his face. I wanted to go home and crawl into bed and forget about today. Really what I wanted was to go back to avoiding him and pretending like he didn't exist.
I immediately got into the car, placing my seat belt on and crossed my arms over my chest. I rested my forehead against the window and closed my eyes as I felt his presence enter shortly followed by the sound of his door shutting.
"Don't Adrian. Just-just take me home please." Frustration and anger turned into grief as tears beckoned at the corner of my eyes waiting to stream down my cheeks. My lips quivered the harder I held back all the emotions.
We drove like that for a while, in pure silence. My eyes remained shut the majority of the time. But the twist and turns of the vehicle didn't feel like the normal ones Alex would take to go home from the safe house. My eyes shot open at the realization.
"This isn't the way home Adrian."
"Noooopee." He flatley exaggerated the 'ope'.
"Where are you taking me?"
"Addi, it's almost six in the morning. When was the last time you ate?"
"I'm not hungry."
I wasn't even going to fight him. There was no use. I had no energy. I wanted to crawl in a dark corner of the world and stay there until I was ready to come out in the daylight again. I hadn't even realized that we pulled up to some fast food chain that I had never been to before.
Rolling down the window I heard Adrian politely say, "Hi uhh, can I have two number twos, nope. Nope. Yeah, that's fine. Thank you."
"I told you I wasn't hungry."
"Said every girl ever... Addilynn Artell I know you better than you think I do"
I mean, he wasn't wrong. Maybe I was just a little hungry. But I didn't want to admit it to him.
"Can you please just take me home."
Something seemed off. I just wanted to go home. But he kept drawing us closer to the city. And he kept his responses as short as possible.
Soon enough the smell of food was spiralling under my nose. My stomach gurgled in response without warning. Okay, maybe I was more than a little hungry. The car smelled like burgers and fries. It left my mouth drooling, begging just for one taste.
"Adrian DeLuca, Mr. Mafia himself eats fast food?" the words flew off my tongue before I could catch myself. Apparently my mind was having a hard time remembering that I didn't wish to speak to him.
"Occasionally yes, I do."
"You may as well eat now, it won't be hot by the time we get home."
"We aren't going home bella."
"Excuse me?" I knew something was up. Apparently, just like he knew me better than I thought, I knew him better than he expected. "I told you I wanted to go home."
"And I'm telling you we aren't going home."
"Than where are we going?"
"My loft, in the city."
"Uhhh, why?" I was skeptical. I didn't want to be alone with him in an unfamiliar place.
"I'll explain once we're there over dinner, or is it breakfast now? Either way." he said shaking his head.
I couldn't even formulate a response. How many places did he own? And why was this the first time I was hearing of it. My nerves began to shake and my stomach tightened at the thought of being alone with him.
His loft was a few minutes away. The city surround us with tall buildings made of glass in every direction lighting up the dark morning sky dimming out the stars. Adrian quickly pulled the car into an underground garage of one of the metallicy glass buildings parking the car next to an array of other cars in every model and color imaginable. Adrian opened the door of the car grabbing the contents of what was supposed to be our dinner/breakfast. It was perfectly acceptable to have burgers for breakfast right?
I hopped out of the SUV slamming the door shut behind me.
"Come on bella." His voice echoed off the pristine white walls and grey floors bouncing off the support beams. He was already steps ahead of me as I sat gawking at all the cars and taking notice of my surrounds.
Adrian was patiently waiting by an elevator already opened waiting for us to program its next stop. I hurried my steps to catch up to him, almost eager to see what the loft was like if the garage was this exquisite.
Once in the elevator Adrian pushed the button written with the number 20 on it, presumably the top floor. The ride up was quiet much like the car ride, but with seemingly less tension. Maybe because the ride was shorter or maybe there was something unspoken between us that had calmed the tension from earlier. I hadn't forgot about what he did. I didn't forget or yet forgive him for grabbing my arm and speaking to me the way Daniel once did. I didn't forgive him for toying with my feelings yet either. It was going to take a lot more than cheap take out food and an apology from him in order for him to get back in my good graces.
The silent ride ended abruptly opening the elevator doors to a simple lengthened hallway. One guard stood outside of an unlabeled door. He looked like the perfect stereotype of a bodyguard. The black suit, white button down shirt underneath, black tie, clear earpiece spiralling down to a clip on his shirt, arms folded over clutching his wrist with the opposite hand. No sun glasses though, probably because we were in doors. He was a handsome man however. He stood erect with perfect posture looking straight ahead. He only spoke once as we neared him with a quick head nod and a 'Good morning Sir'. Otherwise there was no smile. He was voided of all emotions. It was almost eerie how statuesque he was. Clearly he had been trained to speak only when spoken to.
Adrian rattled his keys in his hand finding the right one to slip into the lock. After the click of the deadbolt he swung the door open. The entryway lead straight into a kitchen on our left hand side. A beautiful island placed perfectly, only a meer few feet away from the rest of the kitchen counter with three chairs on the opposite site. Unlike our country home that was fitted with everything black, grey and white, this kitchen was made of neutral colors. Beautiful dark brown granite countertops that sparkled when the light hit is just right. Lighter wooden base and cupboards held the spotless granite up. Three steps lead down from kitchen into a beautiful living room with two white couches cornered together resting upon the perfectly untouched wood floor. A glass table set perfectly in the middle of the two couches which sat in the perfect position to look out the massive wall of windows towering over the majestic city full of lights.
I quickly slipped my shoes off at the entryway and edged my way towards the view. Never in my life had a witnessed a view like this. It was breathtaking. I felt like a kid at christmas.
"Like the view bella?"
"Adrian... its- its outstanding." I said exhaling a breath. My hand over my chest like my body was trying to keep my heart from leaping out.
"Good, the view is just as beautiful from your room, especially when it's sunset."
I turned back around in one swift motion towards Adrian as he was unpacking the food from the carry out bag.
"What do you mean, my room?"
"Well, I didn't expect for us to sleep in the same room tonight, or this morning. However you want to look at it."
I was at a loss for words again. He was good at doing that to me.
"Come here. Come eat." He motioned for me to come sit down, pushing the food near the edge where the wooden stools stood.
God I was starving. I hadn't even realized that the last time I ate was dinner the night previously before going to train with Alex. The smell of the food only made the hunger pains worse. I sat on the wooden chain across the island from Adrian. He pushed one of the burgers further towards me still wrapped in paper. I didn't even care how ugly this was about to make me look, but this burger wasn't going to last long. I took such a large bite the only thing that could come out of my mouth was a moan from the pure pleasure of the food hitting my soul.
All I heard was a chuckle as I opened my eyes while I finished chewing. "I thought you weren't hungry, gorgeous."
Stop, stop calling me all your little names, I thought. Every time he did it I lost myself to him piece by piece. Even when I was livid with him, my heart raced.
"I may have lied a little."
"Mhhhmmm. That's what I thought." He responded taking a rather large bite out of the burger himself, follow by a few fries.
A comfortable silence fell between us again as I shoved as many fries into my mouth as I could fit letting out another moan each time I felt all the deliciousness hit my stomach.
"Can I ask you a question Addi?"
"I mean you're going to ask anyway, so you might as well." I said between chewing covering my mouth with my hands to limit the exposure of Adrian seeing chewed up food pocketed in my cheek.
"You already knew how to use a gun. When? Why?"
I knew this was going to come eventually. But I wasn't prepared for it right now.
"A few weeks after I ran from Daniel. You know why."
"How did you learn it so quickly? Who taught you?"
"Adrian, I just want to enjoy our dinner. I don't want to talk about this" But it was already too late. I had lost my appetite thinking about this again. I dropped the bruger down on the paper wrapper and stood up preparing myself to leave.
"Please bella, just talk to me." His eyes were full of emotions. Towards me or the situation I was unsure. But they held sadness, regret, and concern. Once again he drew me into his grip without raising a finger.
Balancing myself with my hands on the counter I sat back down on the stool. "It was a few weeks after I ran. I had a friend in the PD. Daniel had more resources in the PD than I had. It's one of the reason's I never turned him in. No one cared. They let him get by with whatever he wanted with nothing more than a minor slap on the wrist or they would just simple look away as he would beat me, rape me, torture me claiming it was all because he loved me. He would tell them I was being overdramatic, or make up some other piss poor excuse to how I got all my injuries. But one person on the force saw through all the bullshit. As soon as I ran I went to him for help. He was the only person I could go to. He hide me away for a few weeks, taking me out to his parents land to teach me the basics of shooting. I picked up on it quickly. Soon I was proficient enough and I was able to hold my own against a man that worked for the police in our shoot out competitions we would have. We eventually moved to basic self defense if I were ever attacked and didnt have a weapon. That's where I learned everything from. He was the first person to make me feel safe and like I could, maybe someday, defeat Daniel. Until I came home from running an errand at night and found him lying on the floor with a bullet between his eyes surrounded by blood."
"Don't. Just don't Adrian. Saying sorry means nothing. There I told you. Now if you don't mind I'd like to go to bed" I stood up again scraping the wooden stool against the hardwood floor. I had no idea where my room was, but I was sure I would find it eventually.
"Wait, Addi..." his voice laced with sorrow. He begged. He actually begged. His voice was soft and quiet. He was pleading with me not only with his voice but with his body language, his eyes. So I waited.
"I need to tell you something." I stayed silent waiting for him to continue. "Tomorrow, this evening I guess. We're going after Dominic. We've been planning it for awhile. I didn't want you to worry, but I need you to know."
"Wait, wait, wait." I said holding my hand up signalling him to stop talking. My eyes closed at the twing of a headache I was getting from his words. "What do you mean you're going after Dominic?"
"Exactly as it sounds. He's tormented my family long before you showed up. And now he's out to take you and do god knows what with you. I told you, you are apart of this family whether you like it or not. I won't let him come for you."
"Adrian...no." My stomach cramped. I knew how dangerous this was. I knew what they were risking doing this. I could feel my blood pressure rising at the thought of him getting killed, at Alex or Adam getting killed.. They were risking more than just their lives, but the lives of all the guys involved with Adrian and his family. I knew Dominic was going to have to be taken care of eventually, but I didn't think that the day was going to come this soon.
Adrian quickly rushed over to my side after witnessing my face turn red as heat evaporated out of my pores. My breath quickened as I began to hyperventilate.
"No, no, no. Adrian please." I didn't care about what happened earlier. I couldn't lose him. I couldn't lose anyone else I cared about. I couldn't lose Alex, or Adam or Amelia. They were the closest thing I had to family. I couldn't think clearly. This was a suicide mission.
Adrian grabbed my shoulders trying to shake me out of my panic. His words muffled in my ears as he repeated my name. All I could hear was the faint 'look at me Addi'. But I couldn't. The room was spinning and turning fuzzy. Tear welled in my eyes and rapidly poured down my face. When grabbing my shoulders didn't do the job he instinctively grabbed my face. His two hands engulfing my cheeks much like they did when my hands were in his.
"Addi, baby. Look at me. Breath." My eyes found his locking on. "Baby, it's going to be okay." Baby? Was he calling me baby? That was all I could focus on.
Through hiccups and sobs I managed the broken sentence that had been running through my mind. "I... can't- I can't... lose... I can't lose you. I can't- I can't lose Alex and.... Adam" Any tear that I had been holding back came flooding onto my face.
"Babygirl, look at me. You will not lose me or Alex and Adam okay? I'll make sure of it." I took one last look at him taking in every feature. His eyes turned back to the soft Adrian I had gotten to know. His thumbs were padding over my cheeks trying to give me comfort and wiping the constant tears as they fell. His lips turned up into a faint smile trying his best to not look terrified out of his mind for the day to come. I could see through it though. He was just as scared as I was.
When we had had enough time to soak in each other his hands gently lifted off my face and found the back of my head and the small of my back pulling my into his chest. His chin rested lightly on top of my head shushing my cries.
"Shhh, babygirl. You're okay."
His cooes confused me. Maybe his flirting earlier wasn't really him toying with my feelings. Calling me baby and babygirl made me feel like his and only his. Being wrapped in his arms brought back every single feeling I had for him. I was in love with this man. The thought of losing him made my world crash around me.
My loud sobs turned soft in the comfort of his chest. His shirt had become soaked with the tears that continually flowed through me. Only small sniffles could be heard now as my breathing steadied to make the pace of his. His heartbeat calming my own. How was he so calm at a time like this when he knew he was going to be facing death later that night?
He pulled me away from the comfort of his body to grab ahold of my face again.
"Baby I need you to promise me something okay?"
"O-okay." was the best I could manage through sniffling.
"I need you to stay here for a few days. Until this all blows over. I will come back for you, do you hear me? But until I do, or until Alex or Adam does, you are not to leave this loft. If something happens to us, Dominic will be out looking for you and the first place he'll look is at the house. Only a few people know about this loft. Promise me you'll stay here."
I looked up at his. My eyes dilating at the sight of him. My tears instantly halting thinking about his lips pressed against mine. I wondered if this was going to be the last time that I saw him, heard his voice, felt his touch. I leaned into his hand on my cheek placing mine over his interlacing my fingers with his. I closed my eyes trying to take in every last sensation of him that I could.
"Promise me bella."
"I promise." I whispered.
"I need you to promise me one other things." There was a long pause. I opened my eyes to see faint tears welling in his eyes. "I need you to promise me that if anything happens to me you will stick by Alex's and Adam's side until you are safe. If that means a lifetime, that means a lifetime. They know to take care of you, no matter the cost. I can't live knowing you aren't safe. Promise me this Addi."
I looked up at him as his eyes fell to the ground tears brushing against his own cheek. My hand grabbed ahold of his face now, wiping the tears away from his beautiful face.