Into the Darkness (Book 1)

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I had arrived back at home not to long ago, impatiently waiting for the rest of my guys to show up. For some fucking reason they never seem to be on time.

I paced back and forth in the kitchen, my arms crossed over my chest. No mirror was nearby, but I didn't need to look at my reflection to know that my mouth was hard, my eyebrows furrowed close together making wrinkles bunch up at the bridge of my nose and my eyes were black as night, making me look more sinister than usual. I could feel my jaw muscles twitch as I clenched my teeth together in utter annoyance. Was it so fucking hard for them to do what they were fucking told for once? And was it so fucking hard to show up on goddamn time?

I didn't know if I was livid at their lack of responsibility, or if I was overly worked up knowing I was hours away from danger with the possibility that I could be leaving Addi without my safety. Either way, it ended up with me wanting to ring their necks and slam their fucking head into concrete hoping it would knock some sense into each of them.

Minutes passed that seemed like hours. All I could do was continue to pace back and forth wearing a line of my path into the tile floor under my feet. I tried sitting. I tried keeping my mind occupied with other work related issues like calculating numbers and setting up weapon shipments for next week. Hell, I even called most of the business I owned hoping they had royally fucked up in some way or another so I could have someone or something I could take my agitation out on. But the pit that twisted my stomach into knots seemed to keep pulling my focus away from everything else to the hell that lurked for me hours from now.

My arms soon uncrossed from themselves finding their way to the granite counter tops. My palms pressed down on the frigid surface in attempt to hold my body weight as my back leaned forward transferring weight to my arms. My head hung low looking down at my feet that for the first time in minutes held still. An unexpected loud sigh escaped my lips making me realize I had been breathing to rapidly, reminding myself to calm down. My eyes still held malevolence to them and I knew the minute they walked through that door that ominus look would be relocated onto their faces.

Seconds after that thought ran across my mind I heard the familiar beeping of the keypad lock along with the deadbolt being shifted to the left leaving the door completely unlocked. Muffled sounds of laughter seeped through the cracks that seperated the door to its frame. How the fuck are they laughing right now. They're fucking thirty minutes late. We have serious fucking business to attend to and here they are, laughing it the fuck up without a goddamn care in the fucking world. They may have been my men, they may have been my brothers but they were about to be reminded that any disobedience no matter how small held dire consequences. Fucking unbelievable bastards.

My head shifted back up as I heard the door swing open. There was Alex standing right in my line of sight; Adam, Riccardo, and the others straight behind him. They held smiles on their faces that soon fell when they noticed the aggravated expression that still contorted my face. My hands released from the countertop pushing my weight back into a proper standing position. I held my shoulders back and eyed each of them down. I saw Alex swallow forcing the fear back down his throat. He may have been my baby brother, but he knew when I was fucking livid that I didn't care if he was blood, I would beat his ass if I needed to.

"My fucking office, NOW." I glared through Alex passing my eyes over to Adam and Riccardo, making it known that I meant my words to more than just one person. Their eyes sank to the ground and their heads hung heavy. They were attempting to be subordinate, submitting to my authority as if one wrong look in my direction would end with a bullet where it didn't belong. They sulked their way down the stairs to my office. Two of them sat in the chairs in front of my desk, Adam-the third, sat on the couch in the corner bent over with his elbows on his knees knowing to stay out of my way. I followed in behind them stopping in my tracks as the doorway to where this all started stood reminding me I wasn't wear I truly wanted to be, next to her.

"You sorry bastards better have a damn good excuse for being fucking late." My feet moved under me without control again as my mind fell ill to flashbacks of her face resting in my bed. It was like my body was in autopilot mode. I had no control whatsoever. My mind focused on her, focused on that damn door as my body turned itself back towards the guys moving my line of sight back to their faces in attempt to remind my brain that there was still work to be done.

"Really Adrian? How about you tell us where you were all day while we fucking waited for you." Alex was the first to speak up. He always had a habit of challenging me and I knew it was coming. I knew with my response he wouldn't drop it. He knew where I was. I saw it in his eyes. His voice may have been stern but his eyes looked back at me with curiosity almost tugging his face into a sly smirk, but he hid it well.

"Where I was is none of your fucking concern Alex."

"Huh. Funny how neither you nor Addi showed up for breakfast this morning like usual. Also funny that neither of you were in your rooms when we checked on you guys." There. That was the challenging Alex I knew. That fucking prick.

I didn't even give him that satisfaction of responding back to him. He was acting like a child and normally I would treat him back like such but there was matters to attend to and a shit show to get out of the way so she could be safe and I could finally claim what was mine, her.

"What did you assholes find out?" Adam finally stood up holding a manila envelope coming up to my desk and dropping it in front of my hands that had braced themselves on the edge forcing me to lean over much like my stance in the kitchen.

"His normal routine, every tuesday like fucking clockwork. Poker night at some undisclosed location which is no longer undisclosed. Followed by a few hours at a high end strip joint downtown... whe-"

I cut him off. "Details Adam. I want the damn details not just the fucking basics. Anyone with two eyes could fucking see his normal routine. He doesn't make it that hard to figure it out."

"Well if you would fucking shut the fuck up even though I know you love the sound of your own damn voice I could than fucking continue with what I was about to say. Or if you want to be fucking stubborn like always read what's in the envelope"

"Continue." It was all I had to say. It's not like he didn't have a point.

"The strip club is where we hit. He takes minimal guards, maybe fours of them. Spends about a half hour on the floor searching for his next victim but he always ends up picking the same damn girl. Goes by the name Scarlett. Dark burgundy hair-real fucking creative with her name, tattoos down her arms, one hell of a body. From there he spends the rest of the night getting drunk in one of the back rooms fucking her. That's where we get him."

"I need a little more than that. This has to be damn fucking perfect."

"What else do you need to know, boss" Riccardo one of my cousins stepped in.

"The guards, I want them taken out. I want to know their positions."

"From what our sources say, he'll have one outside the door of the room him and Scarlett are in, two to the back entrance and one at the front." Adam stated frankly.

"Good. Riccardo, think you Raf, Antonio, Chris and Alex can take them out quietly?"

"Absolutely boss."

"Adam, I want you with me." Adam just simple nodded towards my direction. He was always pretty docile and quiet but more so than usual tonight. I had wondered if he had been thinking of Addi too. He had come quite close to her in the last few months. She always seemed to bring a smile to his statuesque face. It was something I hadn't seen since childhood. She had begun to bring him out of his shell. It was a nice change. As for Alex. Well those two, Addi and him, seemed to be inseparable since day one. I would have thought that Amelia and her would get along and be joined at the hip and not that they weren't close. But the bond that Alex and Addi shared was something else entirely. It was like she had given him the playful sister that he had always wanted instead of the mostly stone cold one he had been given by birth. It was one of the reasons why I wanted Alex to go with the rest of the guys. Taking out the security detail was the easy task. What was going to happen in the four walls of the back room of the strip club, that was going to be anything but. Plus, that bastard was mine. I wanted him for myself. I wanted to see the live in his eyes drain out. I wanted to be the one to tell her, to tell Addi he was gone. There was only one thing left to do now, and that was wait.

"Go get everything ready. I'll meet at the safe house. We leave at 2200."

At their dismissal from the room they all walked by, trudging up the stairs back to the main room of the house leaving me alone with my thoughts and that damn fucking door behind me. I plopped down in the chair behind my desk, briskly spinning my body around to face the reminder of her. My fingers interlaced with each other placing my hands into my lap. My body leaned back into the chair making it tilt on its hinges. The room that lay just feet below me hadn't been used since her. I hadn't wanted it used. In a way, preserving the memory of her, of how it all started for me. It didn't dawn on me until now but I was in love with her even then. Even when she was bloodied and bruised, beaten and tortured. Even when she was broken, I loved her. At least my heart did. My mind had to catch up a little bit though seeing as love wasn't an emotion I was all too familiar with. Those emotions only got stronger the more she flourished, the more she settled into this life, the more she put the pieces of her fragmented life back together. She had become this strong woman I would have never guessed was possible. I saw a fighter, a damn fucking brilliant fighter. I saw her for her. And every damn day, I fell more and more in love with her without even realizing I was falling straight on my ass.

I abruptly stood up from the chair to stand in front of the door. My hands dug into my pocket grabbing for the familiar gingle of the keys that rattled away from my fingers. I finally laced my fingers around the chain pulling it out of the fabric of my suit. The right key found its place in the lock turning out of instinct. A sigh came out of my mouth. Why the fuck was I doing this? Why was I about to go down there?

But it was fuel. It was fuel to the ember that had begun to burn the minute I pulled her out of this hell. The place, this place was going to ignite every emotion, every instinct. It was going to kick me into overdrive. It was going to remind me what the hell I was fighting for. It was going to remind me that I had someone I had to get back to when this was all said and done.

I walked to the bottom of the stairs feeling dread course through my body. She's not down here, she' not down here. She's safe at the loft. Stop being a fucking baby. After a little more self talk I pushed the door open letting the light spill over the concrete floors causing shadows to arise in the cracks and divots. Blood stained the floor in splatted marks directly under where she hung. The whole room smelt like bodily fluids mixed with a hefty dose of dirt. The chains from her shackles sitting on the floor where I left them, taunting me. Reminding me what I had left back at the loft just hours ago. Chucks of what I assumed to be shriveled up skin lay scattered around the room. My hands settled to my side. Pain radiated from the palms of my hands where my nails had begun to dig into my skin from the pure rage the sight had given me. That fucking sick bastard. How could he do this to her? I swear to God, if I ever run into Franco again, he's a dead fucking man.

The whole room tugged at my heartstrings. It made me long for her. I needed to feel her in my embrace. I needed to feel her skin against mine. Her lips pressed against my lips. To feel her fingers intertwine in my hair pulling me closer to her after finally giving in to every damn desire we both had been feeling but were too stubborn to admit. How I wanted to do more, to stay longer, to stay forever. I planned on it. But only after tonight. If I even had forever. If I did I was going to make sure that I got to spend it with her.

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