She was nervous.
It was understandable. She threw away every common sense that she had, and fucked a gangster. Not just any gangster, but their leader. The leader who had traumatized her and her brother. She should feel some kind of remorse. She should hate herself for not thinking with her mind.
But she didn't care. She was not guilty. She was just nervous. How would she react now? What would she say to him? Were they a couple now?
No, just shut up.
When she walked into the warehouse, she felt like everyone knew what had transpired between them, and she was suddenly nervous again, suddenly wanted to flee because she didn't think she could handle all the look she would receive. Despite the advice, she told herself while staring herself in the mirror, that she could do it. She could face everyone.
Fucking Vicious had felt good. No, it was insanely good, and Nova thought if she had always been doing it wrong, or maybe it had been the men, but Vicious, Vicious had made her reach into the stars. He made her crave him. She felt so addicted to his touches and his kisses, and damn, he was good. She almost felt jealous because he had to have been with so many women to become skilled as a lover.
With that thought, she had felt mad, but when he pulled her against him and buried his head in her collarbone, she knew he was not leaving anytime soon. She knew he was the kind of man who fucks another woman and leaves her to succumb to her cold bed. But Vicious stayed, and Nova panicked. The sex didn't mean anything. It couldn't, and it was that panic that sent her to kick him out, and he had left her house right before stealing a heart-wrenching kiss from her lips.
—Which came back to the present. She shouldn't feel guilty about sleeping with him. There was nothing wrong. Everyone does it. And as the seconds ticked by, she was getting more and more nervous, and she needed something to soothe her.
She knew where to find him. She didn't even need to read the text he had sent her this morning about needing to see her. Okay, maybe she might have read bits of it and couldn't find it in herself to continue.
As the door handle moved, she gripped her shorts and took a deep breath. When the door opened, and he walked out, it wasn't him. The man who called himself Rocco arched his brow when he saw her standing outside the door before he tipped his head down and swept past her. Nova was left to stare at his back before she looked at the door again.
Someone cleared his throat from behind. She turned, and then she was seeing him, fresh out of the shower. His hair was dripping wet, and droplets of water kept falling down his face, and Nova had this brief moment where she wanted to catch the droplets and taste them on her tongue, to see if it would taste like the rest of him had tasted last night. But she still had enough control over herself to instantly placate a neutral expression on her face.
"H...hey," she said, and she should have known her voice wouldn't agree with her decision. And judging by the smirk on his face, he already knew. Vicious gave a lengthy look at her, his gaze lingering on her high heels before following her legs, and where the length of her denim shorts had stopped and the black off-shoulder crop top.
She hadn't known what the hell she was doing and why she decided to dress like this today. Was she trying to send a message that there was nothing between them, or inviting him to take her clothes off again? She knew she's fucked up, and her gist was up. Vicious knew she dressed up for him, and he wasn't ashamed to bask in that knowledge. The jackass.
A smile blossomed on his lips while he stated with apparent cheerfulness, "You ain't gonna go shy on me now, are you? I like my women with a little bit of fire in them." And he wouldn't let her look away from him. He was quick to slip a finger under her chin and directed her gaze back to his.
"Nova," he teased back. She glared at him because she hated that he was throwing last night on her face without even saying a word. This had to be her punishment for sleeping with a man that wasn't good for her in any way. His hand settled on her back. "Come on, let's go in before you melt on the ground."
She was already melting with his hand on her back and the sudden urge to lean into him. She wanted him to touch her again, and when she moved to touch him, he was already opening the door and guiding her inside.
She hated herself.
No one told her the bane of her existence was going to be here, but Nova knew dealing with Vicious included dealing with Mario. She didn't need to hate every moment she spent in his presence. He was not worth her thoughts or her anger.
"We're bringing in outsiders to the meeting now?"
Just like right now, he was trying to rile her up. He considered her an outsider. Fine with her. As if she wanted to be part of this meeting, but leaving right now was only going to make Mario think he's won.
"If you have a problem," Vicious spoke up as he pulled out a chair for her, and all eight eyes in the room were carefully watching their every move. "You can walk straight out, and I'll fill you in later."
But it looked like Mario didn't want to leave the room for her when he doesn't budge from his seat. Screw was waving at her, and she just realized that he had been waving ever since she came in, and she had been so invested in Mario that she didn't acknowledge him, so she felt like shit now. Nova waved back at him, and he grinned, then watched as Mario kicked the chair he was sitting on with a glare.
She rolled her eyes and sat.
Vicious discussed moving his products in the meeting, and she realized these people were the ones he trusted. Besides Mario and Screw, the other two men were Danny and Riley. Nova didn't understand why she was part of this meeting, but she couldn't lie and say she didn't like seeing Vicious in his gang leader mode. The way he discussed all the possible routes they could take, and the way he pointed at the map, with the long fingers that had just explored inside her last night. He talked about creating another diversion and to throw everyone off their scent. The way he mentioned the policeman he had on his payroll would lead the fake diversion, and how his truck would get in and out fast before they realized it was nothing.
She found that she was listening so well, even though she was not engaging in anything, but watching these men plot their perfect plan out made her admire how dedicated they were towards this business. It was something she couldn't ever get used to because she knew they were wasting their lives here when they could be using their skills and brains someplace it could be appreciated.
By the time they finished, she was alarmed when Vicious turned to her and asked for her input. With wide eyes, she stammered and had nothing to say, so she told him she liked his plan, and it seemed to be the wrong thing to say because Mario snorted, but Nova didn't think she had said something wrong. It was already too late since she could see the grin Danny and Riley were hiding from their faces before they left the room, and she guessed they thought she was not qualified for this job or didn't have the intelligence to come up with something else.
It burned her cheeks, and Nova didn't get up from her seat until she knew everyone besides Vicious had left the room. She was backing her chair and rising to confront the man who had embarrassed her, and she was not even sure if he had done it on purpose or not.
"I can't believe you'd do that to me!" She walked over to where he was and stayed still, facing him.
"I did nothing," he defended and quietly closed the distance between them. Light as a feather, his fingertips trailed their way up to her hand before gently resting on her wrist, and their eyes met again.
"What are you doing?" Her panicked voice matched the rhythm of her heart.
"What does it look like I'm doing," he asked in a breath. There was silence before he whispered, "I'm going to kiss you now."
His confession, along with his fingers burning her wrist and his lips so close was making her press into him before she realized. "I thought this was going to be a one-time thing," she admitted the thought that crossed her mind the whole night and this morning. Vicious wanted her, and he got her, so why would he come back for more? She was not hot or sexy, and she didn't know any dirty or pick up line.
Vicious slowly raised his right hand to her face again, gently brushing the strand out of her face. "It could, but then, why should it be? I'm a man who sees something he likes and doesn't jump around it. I want you, Nova. Not for one time or two, or even three. I want you for as long as you would have me."
"But, your friends..."
His fingers slipped to the back of her head. "What do you want?" he challenged, letting his gaze stayed with hers. "Me, or what others think? This—" He bent his face closer to hers, and he's breathing so loud, eyes locked with hers as he pressed their faces together like he wanted to mold them into one. "which you can't deny exists, or running away from it?"
She knew they had a deep connection, and they were attracted to each other. Nova couldn't even deny it or hate it for that matter. She exhaled and half-closed her eyes. She felt him everywhere and everywhere he was not, and Vicious was offering her everything's he got, and she wasn't a fool to look away. Her head came closer until her lips brushed his temple and slid down on his face, getting a slight groan from him.
"Is that a yes?" with a voice hoarse and filled with the desire they felt for each other. He pressed light kisses in the crook of her neck, his hand moving in a soft caress along her body from her hips to the curve of her breast.
A knock came through the door. "Yo, Vic. We gotta go."
He doesn't let her move away from him. He slowly moved his head, his lips sliding along her cheeks, and the line of her jaw before his mouth gently brushed her lips, his tongue darting out once in a while to tease her.
"Vicious?" There was another soft knock to the door.
"Answer him," Nova whispered breathlessly. If she doesn't want to face another embarrassment, Vicious needed to say something before Rocco thought something had happened to him.
"Coming!" Vicious yelled out for him, and when she tried to move her head away, he tightened his grip over her hair, locking her head in his direction. "You gonna wait for me here, yeah? It won't be long. One hour tops." His left hand cupped her chin, and he let his thumb gently rub over her lips as he thoughtfully watched her.
"Okay, but if you don't come back, I'm leaving."
He smirked. "You ain't gonna stand here and lie to me, muneca."
She was astonished by his cockiness, but that aside, how long had it been since he's called her that? She couldn't remember. "I haven't heard you call me that in a while."
"Maybe I'm bitter cause you stopped calling me Ghost."
That, she laughed at. It had been a struggle to go from calling him Ghost to Vicious. "You need to go, Vicious." She pressed her palms against his chest, not fighting off the smile on her face.
His eyes intensely searched her face. "So quick to send me away. My feelings would have been hurt if I didn't know..." His lips came right next to her ear, his cheek leaning against hers. "you want me to fuck you good the same way I fucked you last night." His hand cupped her crotch.
Nova gasped what she had to swallow when he buried his face in her neck and sank his teeth in the soft flesh. She gripped his shoulders when his tongue and teeth feasted on her flesh as she bent her head back to give him more access.
Her hands left his shoulders to grab his head, lifting him to press her lips against his, invading his mouth with her tongue and teeth. Vicious turned her around and backed her against the wall as he pressed back his mouth on hers, and she let out a soft moan under the warmth of his lips, overwhelmed by the feeling of his tongue swirling around hers.
She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him at her and clinging to him at the same time as the kiss started to become hot and passionate, leaving her unsteady on her legs as she was losing herself in it. He grabbed her by the neck and pulled her away from the wall, walking them backward until her ass hit the table
Still kissing her deeply, he quickly grabbed her hips and lifted her, bringing her back to sit on the desk. She spread her thighs to make space for him, and he wrapped his arms around her, his hands exploring every curve of her body while she ran her own hands all over his back, enjoying the feeling of his muscles rolling underneath his shirt.
"You two better not be going at it right now. I eat on that table!" Screw's bellowed voice broke them apart.
With heated gazes and swollen lips, they stared at one another. Vicious exhaled and went in to press his forehead against her, trying to catch his breath the same way she was trying to catch hers. She couldn't believe they almost went too far in the meeting room.
Her breath was broken when she managed to say, "They're waiting for you."
She felt him swallow, but he remained still until she gathered her fingers inside his hair and tugged his head back. Vicious emitted a moan of disapproval, then sighed before gracing her with a perfect smile that made her heart raced.
"Wait for me." With that, he dropped a light kiss on her shoulder and her neck before he turned around and left.
With both Vicious and Screw gone, Nova refused to submit herself into an hour of isolation. To show these people that she wasn't bothered about them, and the fact that the friendly faces she knew weren't around, she decided to leave the meeting room.
They were bowling, and instead of pins, they were using empty beer bottles. She noticed some of them looking at her when she reached the room they hung out in and sat in an empty stool. Their game went on for a while, and no one bothered to talk to her. She didn't bother to talk to anyone.
They switched places, she watched. They laughed; she watched them. She started to wonder when Vicious would be back, and when she checked the time, it had only been thirty minutes. Another thirty, and she would be out of here.
Someone tapped her on the shoulder and gave her a soda. She doesn't know his name, but he smiled at her and walked away. It was surreal, but some part of her felt warm that at least one of Vicious' men didn't hate her. When they ordered pizza, they gave her two slices, even though they didn't say anything to her. They never say anything.
Part of her was curious whether Vicious had something to do with it, but knowing him for months now, she knew he doesn't make his men do something they wouldn't like. The sweet gesture came straight from them.
"I need help!" was what made her look up as she swiveled her in the direction she heard the voice. Rocco and someone were carrying one of Vicious' men, who seemed to have been shot in the chest. Behind them, Screw appeared disheveled. Mario was right behind him. They looked like they had been through hell and back.
Nova rose before she realized, and with a shade of fear, she watched as they laid the injured guy on the pool table. She was moving towards them when Rocco grabbed her by the collar and pulled her towards the wounded guy.
"Mikey, save him," he pleaded, drenched in sweat and blood.
She gave him a panic look, and everyone stared at her. Rocco forced her forward, and Nova looked down at the gunshot wounds on his chest and arm. She doesn't know where to begin. She wanted to turn and ask Screw where Vicious was, but someone handed her a first aid kit while another tore Mikey's shirt, who was severely bleeding and about to lose consciousness.
The wound on his chest seemed to have punctured through his heart, and she tried to stop the bleeding nonetheless. She didn't tell them he wouldn't make it if he stayed here, and she also knew they wouldn't take him to the hospital. She's done this so many times on Vicious, but this was different. This, she knew, wouldn't end well. She was not a doctor, and she was certainly not a nurse, but he wasn't going to survive. He's already bled so much.
She looked at his face and wondered if he had a family, if someone out there would grieve over his loss, or if this gang was his family. She wondered how his life had been, and she wished she could save him, but she didn't say any of this. She told Rocco to put pressure on his arm while she treated his chest as best as she could, and shakingly, he did it until he couldn't, and someone had to step in to do it.
Nova managed to take the bullet out and stitched it, and while she was taking the one in his arm, someone alarmingly told her Mikey wasn't breathing. She tried as much as she could to revive him, but he was gone.
Her hands and shirt were covered in blood when she stepped back, turned, and left. She heads to the bathroom, where she spent at least two minutes staring at her bloody hands before she washed them, then washed her face. She stayed by the sink for a few minutes, breathing in air and exhaling it out.
Someone quietly knocked on the door.
She opened it and found Screw standing by the door. He hadn't bothered to fix himself up.
"You okay?" he asked as he leaned against the door.
She nodded, pressing her hand to her forehead before dropping it. "Yeah, I'm okay." She was far from being alright. She didn't think she would ever get used to someone dying in front of her, but this was part of Vicious' life. Death always knocked on their door, and she needed to accept that she would see more horror moving forward.
"Vicious..." she trailed off with tilted head, letting her unspoken question pass through her to Screw. She wanted to ask him what had happened, but she wanted to know if Vicious was fine. She knew he didn't go with Screw, Mario, and the rest, but Rocco came back with them, which meant they might have met up somewhere at some point.
"I got to tell you, I just..." He ran his fingers through his hair and expelled a frustrated breath. The anger he was trying to control was hovering on the surface; she could see that he was trying to control himself. When he leaned to her face, he lowered his voice, "They knew our plans. They knew where we were going, and they got the jump at us. We lost two men out there, and we can't even retrieve their bodies, and now, Mikey's gone, and so is everything."
There was a punch through her heart, and she gaped at him, letting the words sink into her. Oh, God. She was still reeling, trying to process the information.
"I think....we have a mole."
A mole? A mole among Vicious' gang. It was just what she needed. More people to suspect and blame her. It was bad enough that Grant already established a bad reputation among them, now they were going to think she was the mole. They only needed a valid reason to have her gone or worst, dead. This would certainly get the job done.
"Where's Vicious, then?" She needed to tell him that she wasn't the mole, and as much as what everyone liked to believe, she would never cheapen down to that level. She was better than that, and she would like to think Vicious thought that too, but it still wouldn't hurt to confirm.
"Come on." Screw jerked his head behind him, and she closed the door and followed him down the hallway.
He stopped in front of a door but didn't attempt to open it. She could hear crashing inside, something shattering and rage. Oh, the rage was too much. She felt it through the room. Her heart squeezed. She didn't want to go in. But she had to. That was the only reason why Screw brought her here, and there was the fact that she wanted to see him.
He left, letting her hover around the doorway before she gathered the courage to open the door and face him.