I release a startled scream, pushing Dylan away from me before whipping my head about looking for the owner of that voice... that feminine voice.
“Who’s there?” I call out, eyes flickering around the empty living and kitchen area.
“Oh, dear... Was I interrupting something?” her voice asks, resonating around the cabin. “Dylan, I thought we specified no puttanas in our cabin?”
Puttana... Who is she calling a whore? And ‘our’ cabin?
“She’s not a puttana ... and this is an emergency visit not one of convenience. All my compounds are under watch.” Dylan states gruffly after picking up himself off the floor, that I had pushed him on.
“Who are you talking to and where is she?” I ask pointedly, glaring at Dylan wanting answers.
I’m so confused that I’ve even started to wonder if this place is haunted or something...
“I own this cabin sweetheart, at least my husband and I do... As for where I am... I’m not in the cabin at the moment. I’ve just tapped into its security feed, speaking through the speakers.” the voice answers again. “Now, I’d like you to get your pretty little ass off my counter.”
I hop down immediately, red in the face. How did she know where I am? Are there cameras in here? I wonder, looking around frantically for the devices when her words finally sink in. She said she and her husband owned this cabin. Didn’t Dylan say it was his safe house? Does that mean he’s marri—?
“So... who is she and why is she here, Dylan?” the woman asks cutting off my thoughts.
“I thought you could see us...” Dylan says leaning onto the counter, his eyes locked on me studying my expression. “You should recognize her.”
“The video fe... isn’t picking... but I’m able to... up your heat signatures... that’s... I know you were planning... scar... marble counters,” she responds her voice breaking up, static hurting my ears.
“We can’t hear you,” Dylan replies. “You’re breaking up.”
“Coming... up... the cabin... Bad... nal... See you... oon,” and with that, the voice completely disappeared.
I stand there, watching Dylan as he watches me. My thoughts are running wild thinking of the possibility... Is Dylan married? I remember when we were at the restaurant and Mr. Jenson asked him if there was anyone special in his life. He said no but now I wonder if he was he lying.
“What’s on your mind, Ana?” he asks, sharp eyes locked on me. “Confusion is written all over your face. Tell me.”
I swallow the lump in my throat, blurting out the question on my mind. “Are you married?”
Dylan’s face scrunches up in confusion. “What? Why would you think I’m married?”
“The voice... She said she owes this cabin with her husband,” I explain, watching his reaction. “Isn’t this your safe house? Wouldn’t that mean she was referring to you? I mean I understand if you’ve moved on to someone else but I don’t understand why you’d try and play me. Unless of course, she’s not your wife in the biblical sense but just for a business deal. Which I’d understand but this... us. It would be wrong, you’re a married man... another woman’s man.”
I ramble a bit, twisting my fingers and as the words wife and married past my lips, the disgust placed on them does not go unnoticed by Dylan. Understanding dawns on his face as I had rambled and his lips lift in amusement.
“I’m not married Ana... I’m a single man who one hundred percent wants to make us work,” he smirks stepping closer to me.
Shit, I had said us... Giving him the idea that I was thinking about being with him... given I am but he didn’t need to know that. Plus he hadn’t answered my question and that is one of the main determinants in this situation.
He’s directly in front of me now, those sparkling eyes gazing down at me with a genuine smile on his face. I feel my body relax as my heart thuds violently in my chest. He looks so handsome...
“Do you want there to be an us?” he asks as his hands move up to cup my face, tilting my head back.
My insides scream yes but I bite my lip holding down the reply. There are too many things we need to discuss before we give us a try.
“Why did you leave me?” I ask once more, my eyes boring into his. “I need to know before there can be an us again Dylan. Tell me.”
His eyes close and his jaw clenches, his hands moving from my face to grip the countertop behind me. He’s silent for a while, breathing heavily.
At first, I thought he wouldn’t answer but his lips part to utter a reply. “He had photos of us... Intimate photos, Ana...”
I wait for him to continue but he doesn’t.
“Who had photos of us?” I ask, caressing his arms. “Dylan, please... I need to know.”
He opens his eyes, sighing.
“My father... he had sent one of his men to watch us... us being both me and you and your family,” he stated raising his hands to run through his hair. “Charles had always had your family under the radar since the day he was denied custody of me. He’s been scheming and planning ways to get me back and on my eighteenth birthday he finally succeeded.”
“What did he do?” I ask, frowning at the distraught look on his face.
“Originally he planned to have you all die and by default, he’d be the one to get custody of me... but he’d be the obvious suspect. Next, he thought of kidnapping me... but that too would’ve placed him under suspicion. So, he decided to wait... Wait until I was old enough to no longer need a legal guardian,” he said with a humourless smile and a shake of his head before clenching his jaw. “He threatened me... He had found out about us and threatened that if I didn’t comply with his wishes, he’d kill you. He said and I fucking quote ’Killing the entire family would cause suspicion but if Blake’s bambina somehow happens to meet in an accident... It’ll be written off... after all accidents do happen’.”
I look at him, shocked unable to wrap my head around this. Charles had been observing us for years... he’s been scheming ways of getting rid of us and right under our fucking noses he succeeded in taking Dylan away from us... from me.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I ask, hands caressing his face. “We could’ve helped... You wouldn’t have had to leave.”
“Ana, Charles would’ve stopped at nothing to have his heir. His wife only gave him girls and my mom the one he disregarded like she was a piece of shit gave him a boy. The boy your parents deny him access to. He’s a powerful man and I now know it more than anyone. He would’ve killed you right in front of my eyes if he had too.”
The truth in his eyes scares me. What has Charles done to him?
“I had to let you down as hard as I did. If you’d kept holding on to us, Charles would’ve always had something to hold against me,” he says pushing himself away from me. The pain I saw in his eyes before he pulled away, making my heart ache for him.
“But you never let go. You tried to contact him to get to me and he used it to his advantage. The mental torture I went thr—” he stops, shaking his head before turning towards me his mask back on. “Now it doesn’t matter. I’ll never make him hurt you... I’m stronger now and I know him... and Ferrez will pay forever touching you... he’s a dead man... Nothing is stopping us, we can finally be together, just you and I.”
I glance away from him at those words. It’s not just me and him anymore... there’s our daughter.
I jump a little when his fingers grasp my chin and he pulls back. I look up at him, hurt glistening in those captivating eyes.
“You don’t want this do you?” he grits out. “You can’t stand being with someone like me, can you?”
I’m taken aback by his question. That thought hadn’t even crossed my mind, but, looking at it now it should’ve. Dylan may be Diana’s father but do I want my daughter mixed up in all this? Look at what I’ve been through in the last two days...
Dylan nods taking my silence as an answer before walking away. Any normal person would’ve let him and all dangers that come with him go... but I find myself following after him.
I grab his arm stopping him in his tracks. His body stiffens but he doesn’t turn towards me.
“I do want this,” I say and his muscles relax under my hold. “…but your occupation... It’s dangerous and I have a lot more than myself to think of.” We have a lot more to think about...
I sigh, walking forward so I’m now facing him. I look up at him, hazel eyes holding his blue-green ones. “Dylan... you have a-”
“Honey, I’m home!”
Suddenly the door to the cabin is flung open and the person who steps into the room makes my eyes widen in disbelief.
Her eyes widen also in confusion as she stares at me. “Indie?”
Behind her there’s movement and a mess of dark curls emerge from the door, dropping grocery bags to the floor.
“Babe, what’s the matter?” he asks my aunt before looking upwards, his dark eyes gazing towards me.
His thick eyebrows scrunch up in confusion and his lips frown, curving his moustache accordingly. “Indiana? What are you doing here?”
I fail to reply, the shock keeping my lips almost sewn shut. He then looks over at Dylan, his eyes narrowing. “Why is she here, Dylan?”
“Circumstances that couldn’t be helped,” is his only response.
“What circumstances?” Uncle Dimitri asks calmly but within his eyes, there’s a storm raging.
“Something we can talk about after I get a drink,” Aunt Shan interjects tapping her husband’s shoulder before walking towards the kitchen.
“Indie, join me,” she calls and I look at the two men staring each other down before following my aunt.
“Here,” Aunt Shan as she hands me a glass of wine.
“Thanks,” I say taking a greedy sip before swishing it around in my mouth, allowing the taste to tantalize my taste buds.
She nods in acknowledgement before sitting beside me on the loveseat. Aunt Shan tucks her legs under her, spreading the skirt of her black, off the shoulder sundress over them.
“So, what are you here for?” she asks taking a sip of her wine, those dark eyes staring intently at me.
“Well, my ex-boyfriend who disappeared on me eight years ago finally shows up and turns out to be the head of a mafia. He starts perusing me and then I’m kidnapped by him. The place where I’m kept gets attacked and we barely make it out alive. My fiancé turns out to be the one who originally tried to kidnap me to get into Dylan’s business. Then there’s a confrontation between Dylan and Roberto that leaves Dylan wounded and one of his men dead while allowing Roberto to escape. With Roberto on the loose, I’m not safe hence, we’re here at a ‘safe house’,” I quickly sum up leaning against the love seat.
“Wow... that’s a lot...” she says placing her empty glass on the glass table. “You must be overwhelmed.”
“Yes it is a lot but I find myself coping fairly well... but now I’m confused. I’m wondering why Dylan has access to your cabin and why neither of you was surprised to see him?” I ask staring pointedly at her. “He’s been out of our lives for 8 years yet you spoke to him like you’ve been in contact over those years.”
My aunt presses her lips together before sighing and taking my hands in hers. “You’re right Indie... We’ve been in frequent contact with Dylan...”
I’m not surprised, but my heart plummets as the words leave her mouth. She knows of how I tried to contact him multiple times over the years, she knows of Diana and she’s been in contact with him for years never once telling me.
“Indiana it’s not what you think,” she quickly continues noticing the look of betrayal crossing my face. “Dimitri and I met Dylan two years after he left when we were on a mission.”
“Mission?” I ask my confusion increasing. “What mission?”
She closes her eyes with a clenched jaw before saying something that even with all I’ve been through in the last couple of days, floored me.
“Indie, Dimitri and I are assassini.”
She grips my hand tighter holding me with her glistening brown eyes. “When I was four my mother abandoned me being unable to provide for us both. She decided that her survival was more important than mine. I was left on the streets of Torrevieja the most dangerous crime city in Alicante, Spain. For two weeks I survived on my own and for a child in that city that was equivalent to a harsh couple of months. On my fourteenth day, I was kidnapped by a crime family looking for free labour. For fourteen years, I was worked, trained, beaten and even raped.”
A lone tear slips from her eye and I feel my heart clench in pain. “They weren’t worried about pregnancies though, by age 16 each female was forced into having a hysterectomy.”
“I’m so sorry...” I say caressing her hands. “You don’t need to explain anything to me...”
A humourless smile appears on her face but she sniffles, brushing away her tear before continuing. “I do... It’s nice to have someone other than Dimi to vent to. I haven’t told anyone else this, not even your mother... The less she knows about me the safer she is... but you are already deep in this shit.”
With that, she releases my hand to grab the bottle of wine, chugging it. She takes four large gulps before stopping and placing the bottle in her lap.
“Where was I?” she asks running her fingers through her brown hair, black roots peeking out. “Oh yes... I was eighteen when I was sent on my first mission. I nearly died. They fed me the wrong information and instead of there being ten men... there were twenty-five. I was so sure I was going to die that day but some idiot saved me. Dimitri was assigned to acquire the same thing I was and while I got the shit beaten out of me, he succeeded… The idiot just had to grow a conscience and save me. I was so damaged that I was ready to accept my death...”
A genuine smile now appears on her face as she clutches the bottle to her chest. “Dimitri took me back to his compound and in a week I made a decent recovery. It was there that I fell in love with that idiota. The guy that had saved me, bought my freedom from my torturers and the one who despite my broken pieces loved and treasured me.”
She sniffles wiping away tears and I feel my tears falling onto my cheeks.
“Dimitri was the bastard child of one of the biggest crime bosses in Spain. He didn’t hold any claim to the business but his father kept him in the business as an assassin. His mother was Sicilian and one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met... she died a year after I met her in a home raid. It was then Dimitri and I left that business... much to his father displeasure.”
She looks up at me leaning back. “When we’d met Dylan was when Dimitri’s half-brother called us in for a mission. The deal when we left Spain was that we’d pay off the debt on our heads and we’d agree to do three final missions whenever contacted. That was our third and final... When we’d seen him, he was hijacking our mission and ultimately executed it before we could. He’d been beaten near to de–badly though and we had to get him to safety. After that day, we’d kept him under our radar, contacting him when he was in the states or we were in Italy and ultimately he found refuge here in this cabin with us.”
Smiling, she looks at me then towards the backdoor where the men had disappeared to minutes after Aunt Shawn’s and Uncle Dimitri’s arrival.
“You kids have always been like my own to me... So when we found Dylan, a broken shell of who he was... I took him under my wing. Charlie’s goal was to break him especially using you...visiting us or getting updates from us about you was what kept Dylan sane. Charlie may have left a mark but the Dylan you see now is far better than what Charlie had in mind for him.”
“Does he know?” I ask minutes later after absorbing all she’s said. “You said you updated him about me... Does he know who Diana is?”
She looks at me with a sad smile before shaking her head. “It wasn’t my story to tell and that wouldn’t have helped him in the state he was in. It would’ve broken him.”
I swallow the lump in my throat. All these years, he tried to keep me safe. Here I was resenting him, cursing him and belittling him not knowing all he went through... all he’s done for me. My heart hurts for my aunt, for him... The things they’ve had to endure because of this cruel world. The things I’ve gone through, that my baby has gone through...
I move so fast it nearly knocking my aunt over as I hug her tightly crying. Crying for her, for Dylan and my baby...
Charlie... all this shit happened to Dylan, my baby and I because of him...Some evil in this world comes in the shape of people you expect to love you and for Dylan, it was his father. Now I have the chance to be there for him, to be his Dimitri... To love and treasure him despite his broken pieces...