In The Shadows

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Ch. 7: Deal With Devil

“I don’t care if she’s your daughter, she’s clearly not what she said she is.”

They all stood in front of me. The Russian mafia had their guns on me whilst my family had theirs on them. My hands were tied behind the chair they forced me to sit on. They weren’t smart enough to tie my feet or pat me to check if I had weapons but they weren’t stupid enough to had me in handcuffs. It was a zip lock around my wrists which were a bitch to get out to rather than rope or metal.

My father stood toe to toe with the Russian mafia boss, Roman, anger written in his face. I felt bad, knowing that he just saw a glimpse on who I really was. They had seen me tackle the green-eyed man who was so called Light because he always worked where there was sun, where anyone could see him but nobody has ever identified him nor known him except for his co-workers. Like me.

And I was the one that blew a hole in his head in front of my family.

“It doesn’t matter. Cazzo!” He was definitely steaming angry. Spitting out curses in Italian meant that he had surpassed the level of patience that I always viewed him to have—which was higher than Heaven. “This is my daughter who saved your life you stupido. Get her out of damn chair and get your men’s guns away from her face!”

Even when angry, he still protects me and views me as his princess.

“Dad…”

“Be quiet, mija,” mom, for the first time, didn’t hiss or snap. She sounded as if she was so conflicted that I almost broke down then and there. Her eyes gazed at me, red hair scrambled on her face, very different from the way she always kept her hair tidy and presentable.

I’m not going to be the only person they’ll send, Midnight.

If what he said was true, it meant that the seven were after us. It meant that when they get here, even my family wasn’t safe. No number of men or fire power is going to stop them from doing the job. It’s what we were trained to do. To be highly trained, undetectable killers where everyone would think a shadow killed them. Not a person. And he just showed me how easily it was to pass the vetting process my family has or he might have easily killed one of the guards. It just goes to show that if he can easily replace one, then what’s to say that the others won’t?

I can’t be here. He can’t be here.

“She is to stay where she is,” Roman hissed, glaring at him. “I have acquired your help and you gave your word. Just because she’s your daughter does not mean that she is exempted from the people who are trying to kill—”

“Enough!” I spoke out loud, making the opposing mafia raise their guns slightly to me, their hands on their grips tight. My family were staring at me with bewildered eyes for the nth consecutive time. I’ve already known that once they find out who I was, they would react like this and they would never be comfortable with it because they were so used to seeing the mafia princess of the family be—well, act like a princess. Protected and spoiled. “We’re just sitting ducks here while the two of you continue fighting and keep measuring how far you can piss.”

“Mija, I said—”

“I know what you said mom,” I interjected once more, facing Roman directly in the eyes. His eyes held something besides anger in them. There was… recognition. As if he knew already who I was or had suspected and was only confirming his thoughts, as if he had something that he knew of me that I didn’t know.

My eyes narrowed at him. If there was one thing I learned in this business, I knew how cruel and manipulative people can be. It’s a fucking good thing that assassins were better at this manipulative shit business than anybody else. He knew exactly what he was doing that night.

He had wanted me to expose myself. And I played right through his fingers.

He may be young and underestimated by a lot of people, but he was smart. He was calculating.

But there was something missing about the puzzle he seemed to solve. I knew the first time that he didn’t know who I was. I had learned how to hide my identity to my family. The personality I show them naturally is always there when I step foot in this house. There was no reason that he could know—Sapphire and I’s personal phones were as much as encrypted as the work phone. She programmed it exactly to be like that where if one would get the other phone and be able to break into it, they would never be able to do it the same to the other by using the phone they have.

In many ways, she was a nerd. Though she always hated to be called like that, the woman basically embodied it once you talk about technology and Google-based ads are practically ruining our lives. She doesn’t let anybody else see that part of her. It was only me that knew of it. Sure, our top boss too but the man always knew everything about everyone that it was creepy nor was it surprising.

She was incredibly smart. Maybe even smarter than the man in front of me.

I blew out a breath, relief washing through me. “That fucking bitch.”

“Who?” My brother asked, cocking a brow.

Ignoring him, I continued to glare at the golden-eyed man. “She told you where you could find help, didn’t she?”

“She only said to come to the Sandrova-Lorenzo family,” he answered nonchalantly like he didn’t care. But he did. I could see how the grip on his gun was still tight. He didn’t trust me.

Good, neither did I with him. “Of course, she did. She knew I wouldn’t expose myself. Exposing myself meant that I was signing my death certificate. It’s what this life was supposed to be. Not that it matters now considering I’ll be considered dead in a few hours if I could help it.”

“Alessia, what the hell are you talking about?” My father questioned, eyes wide full of those that he wanted to know from me.

My gaze softened when it landed on him. I was indeed a daddy’s girl. There was no doubt about that. “Dad, I’m sorry you had to find out this way. I never wanted you guys to know. You can’t but then this happened.”

“Know what?” Uncle Ales’ voice boomed, frustration clear in his face as he kept a gun at the man with the brown hair and green highlights—Levi.

Mateo spoke next with his gun also aimed at the rainbow buzz cut hair that couldn’t be mistaken to be from Nolan. “Alessia, keeping things from us exactly wasn’t the best plan so if you want to get out of those ties around your wrists, you better start talking because I’m pretty sure everyone is running out of patience.”

“Relax,” I told my family and the Russians. “If I wanted to hurt someone, I would have already. I’m just sitting in this chair to appease your nerves.”

With that, I raised my hands that were now zip ties free. Surprisingly, they remained composed. Not like the others who had tied me up and were dumbfounded to learn that I already had escaped before they even knew it. I still saw the way the opposing men had become more tense and more guarded whilst my family just stared at me, astonished that I was able to get out of zip ties.

I was able to get out of them a month after I joined Nightkiss.

“How in the actual fuck did you do that?” Enzo bellowed, his gun lowering from Abbas in amazement. “I can’t even get out of tape.”

He stopped asking questions and got angry at Mateo once he hit his little brother. “Not the fucking time, E.”

Enzo didn’t know it yet but he soon will be trained and tested on how long he can get himself out when he would be tied down. The men in the family had gone through it once they turned twenty, always reminding themselves that just because they were on power, does not mean that they were invincible. Though I should have been also trained, they didn’t. In fact, I wasn’t even supposed to know about it.

It was Caio who told me about it first. I had seen the red marks around his wrists one time and I had completely lost my shit, thinking he was getting abused by his then girlfriend. I was ready to rip the woman’s head off of her shoulders when he grabbed me to prevent me from leaving and made me sit as he talked to me about what dad and mom had been doing to him. To Fletcher, to Mateo, and to Dante—who I’m sure was already being trained now.

“Is she alive?” My voice had wavered. Sapphire would never let him come here if the situation wasn’t dire, nor would she ever reveal anything. We were taught to be robots, unfeeling of anything—especially pain. We were taught how to survive any torture that we would endure. If she had given up the place where I was, knowing that I would be here, it meant that something was different.

That something she was hiding from me.

Roman didn’t miss a beat when he answered me. “Yes.”

A breath I didn’t know I had been keeping in was released. It felt as if days of worrying to no end had put into a stop. It didn’t matter if she was badly beaten or sipping piña colada at a beach, it only mattered that she was alive. That placing my head on a pike hadn’t been for nothing.

“Can someone fucking tell us what is happening?!” It was my mother now who spoke, her voice icy and cold, one that could cut through a spine and paralyze someone.

“Alessia…”

That was my brother, his soft voice basically telling me the secret message he wanted me to know: to tell them everything. But I couldn’t. I had hidden the secret from their eyes for so long that if I told them everything, I knew that they would never forgive themselves and causing them that pain would make me not forgive myself.

I couldn’t let anything hinder me if I wanted to see Sapphire.

Glancing up towards my parents, I gave them a sad, broken smile. “Nightkiss. That’s what I am.”

That’s when it all went silent. You could hear a pin drop on the ground and the tension between all of us had gone thick, almost suffocating even. It was then I had noticed that Aunt Lina, who stood at the corner just observing us with wary eyes, looked like she was about to cry. Uncle Ales and the rest of my cousins were either cursing under their breaths or unbelieving of what I had said. My parents…

They looked as if they were deer caught in headlights and I was holding a hunting rifle at them with a finger on the trigger.

It took a moment until my dad started shaking his head. “No… no, no, no!”

Mom stepped closer, her hands on my face. As if she was afraid that the girl she had birthed was slowly fading away and she only wanted to hold onto it. “But you’re my daughter. My baby.”

I frowned, placing my own hands on top of hers. “I still am. Just because I’m an assassin doesn’t mean that I’m not your daughter,” my eyes met my fathers, his hands on his hair as if he’d gone mad. “or your princess. I’m still me and that’s all I can tell you because if I say anything more… well, all of this would have been stupid.”

Before any of them could speak, I stood in my full height, head held up high and masking all my emotions. Letting myself be vulnerable in front of my family was one thing but to let myself be like that the entire time they and the Russians are here was another thing.

Sighing, I gazed back at the boss of the most notorious Russian mafia. His lips pressed into a thin line, eyes cold and distrusting. Good. I didn’t trust him either but right now, if Sapphire had sent him to me, it meant that I would have to work with him and to at least try not to kill the man. “Any second we’re here is another second that my family is in danger. You’ve learned who I am now and I’m the only person that’ll keep your head stuck to your body. So, are we doing this or not?”

“Doing what?” One of his men, Brooks, asked. “Boss, doing what?”

“Working with her,” Roman spoke, his voice rougher than usual as his eyes never left mine. He was taller than me, sure, but he would have to try and work harder if he wanted me to be intimidated.

I may have been sheltered from the life of the mafia but I was thrown in the life of an assassin. Much deadlier than him.

“I’ll accept.” He then finished, holding his hand out of mine.

Cocking a brow at his warm hand, I stepped back. He dropped his hand.

And there we were—the two of us fighting against a group of assassins that would surely do nothing but put a bullet in our skulls or put a knife in our hearts if we’re lucky.

If we weren’t, I knew damn well drowning would be an option.

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