Back Into Darkness

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Chapter 8: We all have our demons

“Non posso crederci che c’ha fottuto così (I can’t believe he fucked us like that),” one of the men say as I enter the room, placing the food in front of each of the men. They are having a close meeting dinner, with only ten men there, Enzo at the head of the table. I can feel his eyes watching every move I make but I keep my eyes away from everyone’s, focusing on my job.

“Da quando è morto suo fratello (ever since his brother died),” another comments. I think I’m serving them because they think I can’t understand, or they just don’t care. Enzo never asked me, so I’m not lying.

“Uccisero (killed),” Enzo corrects, making all of them look his way. I just keep my eyes on the food. Who are they talking about? “Moretti è stato ucciso (Moretti was killed).” I close my eyes when I knew they would widen at the name. Moretti? I act normal, finishing up. But Enzo grabs my hand and pulls me onto him.

“Scopare il suo più tardi, fratello (fuck her later, brother)," Luca chuckles and Enzo gives him a glare, squeezing me in his arms before letting me go. I take the tray out with me into the kitchens and inhale and exhale, holding onto the sink.

"You okay?" Sofia asks and I give her a small nod before helping her clean up the kitchens. "Do you have anyone you miss?" she asks to start up conversation.

"No, not really," I reply. "You?"

"My parents work in a restaurant owned by the Calabrias. I worked there too, until the brothers came in during one of my shifts and they liked me. So I work here now."

"What about your parents?" I ask.

"They're fine. They are still working there. My parents tried to avoid putting me on the shifts when the Calabrias came in. But that day, they were surprised and I was already out on the floor. They tried to stop them from taking me but I was already gone."

"I'm sorry," I mutter.

"It's not all bad. I get a bed, food, a roof over my head. I don't have to worry about problems like getting a good paying job. I'm twenty-six. I would be living in a crappy apartment with a dickhead boyfriend who does nothing, too tired to kick his ass out the door," she says with a small chuckle. "How old are you?"

"I'm twenty." She raises her eyebrows at me but then nods.

"You want to go to college?"

"I never went to high school."

"Why?"

"My dad. He didn't let me. He liked control and he was very protective of me," I answer, folding over some more items of clothing.

"He's not missing you now?"

"No, he's dead."

"I'm sorry, Belle. That must be hard," she replies, looking at me with sad and sympathetic eyes. I just nod and look back down to the folded clothes. It's not hard. Not at all. I'm free of that burden. But it doesn't help me now. It might hinder me in the future.

"You two. You can go now," Marissa orders, shooing us away from the laundry room. We walk together, hurrying up the stairs, so that none of the guys stop us, and down to the staff quarters. All the girls' rooms are all next to each other and are connected so Sofia comes into mine, sitting on my bed and brushing her hair. I sit down next to her, sighing and changing into bed clothes.

"How did you get those scars?" she asks, studying my back and torso before I can put the tank top on. I slide it on my body to cover me and let my hair out from the ponytail.

"I lived in a rough neighborhood," I reply nonchalantly. She just nods sympathetically.

After a while, she heads to her room and I clamber into the bed, under the sheets. My eyelids begin to feel heavy as I curl up, and soon I drift asleep...

"I have secrets," I whisper to Enzo as he kisses my cheek. We lay in each others arms, feeding off the warmth of each other.

"We all do," Enzo replies, his hands cupping my ass as he normally does and receiving a groan from me. "I'll always want you, gattina."

"You won't want me after I tell you." He smashes his lips onto mine, backing me up against the wall and placing his hands under my thighs to sit me around his hips. I feel his hard erection pressing into me, making me wetter.

"I want to take you," he says and plunges into my heat, making me cry out, but not in pain, in pleasure. He's so big that he fills me up entirely, almost making me feel as though I'll snap in two but he feels to perfect inside of me. He starts to move, thrusting into me in a slow deep motion. He hits all the right spots, making me throw my head back in ecstasy. "You want me?"

"Yes," I breathe out, pressing myself into him more to get him deeper in me. I moan into his neck, grabbing onto both his shoulders for dear life. As I reach my climax that I've never felt before, I shatter around him and he catches me in his arms. He lays me down on his bed and lulls me to sleep...

I had a sex dream about Enzo? Oh my God. Oh my God. He's a monster, I shouldn't be thinking like this. He kidnapped me. They all rape girls. They're just like every guy I've ever been with. Enzo is no different. But the other girls were surprised he hadn't done anything yet. He's just groped me a few times, but in a possessive fierce way that turned me on. There is something wrong with me if I'm attracted to a man like him, the type of man who has used and abused me my entire life. I must be sick in the head.

It's bright and early, when no one will be up, so I dress in my usual outfit and creep downstairs. Once I get to the kitchens, I start cleaning down the surfaces again, an anxiety habit I can get. It was quite a good one in all those apartments I lived in because they were filthy and remained that way due to its environment. The wind would blow in leaves, rats would leave droppings, there would be leaks in the pipes.

I scrub until my arms ache but I still persist, cleaning an already spotless surface. The anxiety takes hold of me, my heart racing at the speed of light, my breathing becoming short and shallow, my gut reeling in a dull ache. I attempt to take longer breaths but it makes me panic even more when I find I can't.

All of a sudden, I feel someone's hands take mine and the voice tells me to breathe. He breathes with me, in and out, but his presence only makes me more panicked. I realize it's Ranger and it doesn't help this attack. So I start my list.

"Cupcakes with the perfect frosting... piano music circling the air... the orange sky of a sunrise..." I begin to hum, singing my song and closing my eyes. As I continue to hum, I feel my breathing resume to a more normal state, I feel myself relax a little more and I open to my eyes to see a concerned Ranger. Is that fake?

"What happened?" he asks, lifting me up with ease and setting me on the counter. Even though the counter is fairly high up, I reach his height as I perch on it. My legs dangle over the side and I stare into my lap, pretending there is something interesting about my small hands.

"It was a panic attack," I mutter. "I'm fine."

"Okay, why is the kitchen so clean? Why are you cleaning the kitchen this early? I watched you for half an hour scrubbing one spot very intensely."

"Why were you watching me?" I retort, glancing up at him to see his reaction. He sighs and leans on my perfectly cleaned counter.

"You're an interesting girl, Belle. I'll give you that," he states, shaking his head at me. "This place looks like no one has ever touched it before. Not even kitchens should be this clean."

"There's no such thing as over-cleaning something," I tell him.

"After seeing this, I disagree." He looks over at me and his eyes fix on my face. He lifts my chin up and winces as he examines my jaw. "He wasn't happy?"

"I passed his test."

"I know. I'm sorry. He's only done it a few times. And all of them chose to leave."

"Where are they now?" I questions. He chuckles humorlessly before giving me a 'you know' look. They're dead. Because they couldn't be trusted. "I knew it was a test. He knows I knew."

"Yeah, but I don't think he cares. He never expects anyone to pass the test."

"Then why does he do it? When he thinks no one will pass?"

"I've been working for him for a long time. He takes a liking to someone, and he fears attachment, so he convinces himself that they'll just be loyal to him, that they'll pass the test if they are good enough. Of course, no one is ever good enough. Deep down, he knows no one would choose to stay here. But it gives him an excuse to force himself to be rid of them. Until you, I guess." He stares at me, narrowing his eyes. "I shouldn't have told you that."

"But you did," I comment. So the monster is deeper than I thought he would be. I guess we all have our demons. It doesn't change the fact that one of mine is him. Enzo is a demon. My current one. I shouldn't be having sex dreams about him. He's the enemy.

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