“Y-You...won’t?” Vera stammered aloud, causing us to turn our heads at her.
“Absolutely.” Gabriella was defiant.
Anthony cackled loudly,” And what makes you think you have the power to do that?”
I watched as Dutch handed over a small bottle to his boss, who took it hastily before handing it back.
Wait, what was that he just swigged down? It couldn’t be alcohol.
She provided him with a smug smile, “Don’t worry, Vera. I won’t let them come near you again. I will cease this tonight.”
Gabriella seemed sure of her words that I nearly believed it myself. She had an all to familiar air of confidence that she’s holding onto tightly. The look on her once smooth face was now roguish and made her intense.
The looming buildings around us were gray against the sandy pavement we stood on. The wind gave a piercing howl as it twisted around the late October sky. The open-air may be cold, but down here - it was heated.
I’ve never met a girl like her.
The very one that had led me into therapy, again. I had been babbling about Gabriella, without even knowing who she was.
I’ve learned more about her unusual past in one hour than I did talking to her in the last few weeks - and I hadn’t thought what tonight would’ve held. I never expected in my wildest dream about the possible connection between her and this city’s Lucifer.
I have done shit in the past, but I have never landed in a situation like this. Not once did a girl with fiery hair, crystal ice eyes, and a sweet name ever cross my mind until I knocked into her. The way she acted, her personality, the way she made she held a dominant aura-
My arm felt a squeeze. I quickly looked down to see Vera’s hands-on both, mine and Gabriella’s. I gave her a small smile of reassurance.
I could tell how uncomfortable these people made her. Vera was further out of her comfort zone. She didn’t want this strained relationship with a man.
She was exceedingly young.
Now she’s realized her mistake, she should’ve never helped nor had taken an intimate step ahead without thinking of the consequences.
Jeez, I sounded like a mom for a second.
¹“Todo va a estar bien, Vera,” I consoled the trembling girl. I’ve known her for so long, me and her family had a history in Spain. I’m heck not going to let things burn up that easily.
If it were my sister in trouble, I doubt I’d stay calm like Troy is attempting. Gabriella had forced him to behave.
“I am going to test my second plan before my key. If this succeeds, then we can leave as free men.” I remembered Gabriella telling me through the phone when we were driving. Is this it?
“The code enjoined members to trade fairly, and that means that she is off-limits,” she pressed.
“That’s not going to work, sugar,” he goaded impassively. “Vera’s not related to you.”
“But how would you know that?” Gabriella poked.
“She never mentioned you,” he grinned evilly. “Nor do you have any connection with her till presently. I had a background check.”
“Of course, you did.” I heard Gabriella curse under her breath.
“Good move. But Vera’s still mine, forget about family, she’s under me.” She immediately retaliated after a solid minute of musing.
“Under you?” Troy queried in confusion. “What does that mean?”
“You can’t simply do that!” Anthony suddenly sneered loudly.
“I just did. I’m surprised you hadn’t done it earlier,” Gabriella snickered. “What made you wait? Now she’s run away.”
I was worried that the notorious Black would be our doom today, but now that I’ve seen both of them arguing, I felt like I was watching siblings squabble over a packet of chips.
I didn’t feel intimidated anymore by him than I was earlier, which would be an embarrassment to say out loud. Anthony has shown a part of him that he would’ve not exposed to others, or maybe it’s his drunken state.
We were in a secluded area, and I doubt there would be anyone lurking amidst the shades.
I observed him being uneasy around a girl more than half his age.
So far, I’ve managed to keep up but got lost in and out of some gang terms. I’ve been quite edgy earlier about this Under Boss guy or whatever his position was. That Cyrus sounded close to her.
I don’t even know why I’m acting like this.
But what I do know is that The Boss had managed to get under my skin, but I kept it cool. I was here to help. It’s Troy’s battle.
And Gabriella was his savior.
Anthony took a dangerous step forward with a forced growl causing both me and Troy to take a protective stance.
“It’s alright guys, leave him be,” she said boldly, eyes never left the possible threat in front. “I had a strong feeling she wasn’t branded as one of you yet as that would mean I would be standing here as a total idiot, including my reputation being at staked,” she defended herself.
His men were watching intently and looked unbothered to make a scene without their boss’s orders.
“I had expected you after tonight, seeing Ivan, and knew you weren’t far behind. But what I didn’t see coming is how crafty you are for someone you don’t even know,” he spluttered, face graved. No wonder he was calm earlier - he presumed she would give in to him. “Just give up already. What are you risking for her?”
“Because I know what emotions are flooding through her, and I fucking won’t just stand here and watch Vera tear apart!” she lashed out with hostility. I couldn’t believe what I heard. Things were spiraling out of hand, but I had to stay vigilant. I intend to ask her next time about the history of her with the Stygian Gorg.
“Just because we are on good terms doesn’t mean I can allow this to slide. I am nothing conniving. Neither will I abide by any outlaws on anything. I had gotten myself out of your filthy hands before and came out as something more than that.”
He became petulant when Gabriella continued,” 'Mareritt' was given to me, and I plan to use it wisely. You know clearly what that translates in the will.”
I was feeling overwhelmed by the suspense. It was an odd name and sounded foreign. What did her name mean?
“They had dragged me into this because of their stupid ego,” she revealed. “They weren’t a well-known gang back then. A bunch of dickheads who wanted to be on every citizen’s skin. Back then, it was Anthony’s father, who was the head.”
“Wilder Black.” I included for her.
The silent men in front of us tensed at his name. Wilder Black was a formerly notorious Mafia, hidden under the shield of his company. It produced millions through the illegal businesses and associates working under him. I guess his son took over.
“Anthony wanted to be like him, so he rounded his friends and began causing riots around the place. Including kidnapping women to strip them of their wealth.”
“It’s true, he thinks of me as a possession because of money!” blurted Vera when Anthony gave her a stern look, but she wasn’t having any of it. “You’re a conman.”
My heart squeezed in excitement as the thought that’s been probing me lunged out. “Was Wilder the one who gave you that name?” I asked slowly, and she looked at me with a nod. “Does it mean something?”
She darted her eyes back at Anthony, who had been eerily quiet.
Chills rose around my shoulder as we all turned bug-eyed. In the very pit of my stomach, that didn’t agree with anything I knew of the Gabriella I met on my first day. I didn’t probably want to know the details that occurred to have her earn it.
Just as the cold came, it was gone the next second when my phone ringed.
“Yes?” I asked as I answered whoever the caller was without checking.
“Ander, where are you?”
Crap...it was Dad!
I swiveled my head to the three people next to me and mouthed, “My father.”
Of course, Troy immediately came to my side and whispered,” What the fuck do we say?” like nothing had happened around us. “And isn’t he suppose to be hundreds of miles away from New York?”
I nearly panicked.
“Just shut up, I’ll handle it,” I whispered as my eyes darted all over the ground beneath, trying to think of something.
¹Todo va a estar bien - Everything will be fine