“Run!” Elia screams as weave through the halls.
Gunshots can be heard everywhere, windows are shattering as smoke bombs are thrown into the mansion and the sound of a helicopter overhead sends my mind into panic mode.
This is Santa Ana all over again but worse.
These men are here to destroy, rape and kill. Whereas Roberto wanted to push Dylan into a corner, these men wanted him and everyone he cares about dead.
I slap my hand over my mouth stifling a scream as a gas bomb scatters the window beside me, causing me to step back in fright.
The smoke stings my eyes but I push forward, following Elia’s voice as she cries out to me. I run through the smoke, colliding with her and she grabs my hand, hauling me down the hall.
My vision is blurry and my eyes water, causing me to blink rapidly. I stumble blindly, Elia my eyes as we take a sharp corner, my side hitting the wall hard.
I grunt out in pain and Elia yells out an apology before throwing open a room and slamming the door shut. She releases my hands and I hear her rustling about, drawers slamming and things being thrown on the floor.
My eyes start to clear from the blurriness and I gasp as I see Elia cocking a black handgun. She looks over at me, her eyes hard and cold. Holding out her hand, she gestures for me to take it and I waste no time, the direness of the situation steeping in.
She cocks a silver one before making her way towards a door and peeking into the hall. Closing the door softly, she turns to me, her eyes serious.
“We need to leave this room and make our way to the panic room,” she says keeping eye contact with me. “You remember where it is right?”
I nod remembering the day Jasper gave me a tour of important places in the mansion.
“Good. We are going there together but if we are separated or something happens to me, I need to know you will make it there. Do not stop to help me. You run. Am I clear?” she asks, placing her hand on my shoulder and my heart hammers in my chest.
I hesitate not wanting to leave her behind. She hardens her gaze and grips my shoulder tighter.
“If I fall, save yourself,” she says with finality. “You have a future before you… I…”
Her eyes sadden and I whimper pulling her into a hug. She hugs me back, tears wetting my cheeks and I pull back to gaze at her tearful face.
“Please…” she pleads and I nod my head reluctantly.
She smiles sadly before pulling away from me and checking the hall. When she notices the coast is clear, she pulls me with her, weaving through said halls cautiously.
This side of the mansion has gotten silent but if you listen carefully, you can hear the fight occurring in other sections. We move as silently as possible, staying to the wall, guns gripped in our hands ready for anyth-
I cry out as a man swings through the window beside me; shattering it on impact and kicking me into the wall. The impact knocks the air out of my lungs but I don’t lose hold of my weapon… it’s the difference between life and death.
Pain resonates from my side through my body and I cup my stomach, praying that hit didn’t harm my baby. The sound of a gunshot echoes through the hall and I open my squinted eyes to see the man hanging from his rope, dead.
“Someone may have heard that! We need to move!”
Next thing I know, I’m pulled from the ground and I find myself stumbling over my feet, navigating the halls with Elia. Footsteps and loud voices travel through the hall behind us, getting louder by the second.
“Shit,” I hear Elia hiss before taking a sharp turn, pulling me into a room and as quietly as possible locking the door.
I don’t recognize the room we are in but the dust clinging to the historic furniture tells me it hasn’t been used in years. Looking around frantically, Elia murmurs under her breath, sweat clinging to her forehead.
My heart is hammering against my chest and my dress clings to my sweaty body. The thudding of the men’s footsteps get louder and I find myself panting as the gravity of the situation weighs me down.
“Yes!” Elia whisper-yells and I see here run towards a stool, carrying towards a wall…with a vent!
Rushing over I hold the stool steady as she stands on it and almost jumps for joy when the covering comes off easily. She crawls down placing the cover on the ground before looking at me.
She didn’t need to say it, I saw it in her eyes. I needed to go first.
I open my mouth to protest but she sends me a look that causes the words to die on my tongue.
“Get into the vent and make your way to Dylan’s office,” she says as she pushes me onto the stool, holding it steady.
The way she speaks it is as if she’s not coming with me.
“Take two rights, a left and then another right. When you’re in the office, there is a trap door under the desk, it’ll lead you to the panic room.”
“Two rights, a left and a right,” she interrupts pushing my ass, gesturing for me to get in the damn vent. “I will hold them off. You get to safety!”
The footsteps become louder and my heart jumps into my throat.
“Go!” Elia yells and my lip trembles. “Please!”
Wasting no time, I push myself into the vent, fisting the gun. The vent closes and I start to panic. Elia!
Biting my lip, I withhold a sob before moving forward. I move along slowly and silently, trying not to draw attention to myself.
“Two rights, a left and a right,” I whisper to myself like a mantra as I come upon my first three-way.
I follow her instruction having to stop short as men move about below me, shooting and I nearly screamed when a shot went through the board inches away from my head.
Shakily, I continue to venture, my fear rising when I have yet to come across Dylan, Jasper, Raphael, or anyone from his mafia.
Please be okay…
“Two rights, a-and two l-lefts,” I murmur my nerves fried as I look at the vents before me. “N-No, it was two rights, a left and straight…”
I’m a shivering mess and tears are rolling down my cheeks. Deep down I know that wasn’t what Elia told me and I start to panic. Simple directions and I can’t remember them!
I wipe the tears away with the back of my hand that holds the gun. Looking at the vents in front of me, I go left. The vents are cold, the harsh air rising cold bumps on my already shivering body. I pause clamping my eyes shut as I hear gunshots, my lips quivering.
Taking a deep breath, I look through the louvered covering, risking a glance at the men below me. I have to cup my mouth withholding the urge to vomit.
Dylan’s men laid dead, shot multiple times in the chest, the head and eyes… I count seven, all younger than me, practically kids.
I bite back the tears and sobs watching as two men suited in black, step into the room, kicking the bodies looking for survivors.
“Hanno trovato la ragazza di Silvestre?” One of the men asks, his finger firmly hovering on the trigger of his gun.
“No, stanno ancora cercando,” the other replies, a mess of blonde hair on his head.
They’re looking for me… my body starts to shake and I have to force myself to not make a single sound.
“Dobbiamo trovarla. Spostati, la stanza è libera,” the trigger happy man says before exiting the room, blondie behind him,
I don’t wait. I start moving, heading straight ahead when I hit another tributary of vents. The sound of gunshots and fighting become louder, not helping me to relax in the slightest.
I come to an opening in the vent to my right. I listen and look for any men but it’s empty.
Wasting no time, I push the cover careful not to release it. I slowly manoeuvred it into the vent before positioning my body and making my way into the room. My feet hit the wooden floor, which thankfully doesn’t creak. Looking around, my stomach drops when I notice this isn’t Dylan’s Office.
It looks like one of the unused guestrooms Jasper mentioned.
Grasping my short hair, my teeth start to chatter. “Shit-”
My curse is cut off as I hear footsteps approaching. I rush towards the first thing my eyes landed on. The wardrobe. I close the door just as the room door is opened and I shake, my tear ducts producing a new batch of tears.
In the darkness of the wardrobe, I hear their shoes squeak as they move on the floor. The squeaking gets closer and I slap a hand over my mouth, trying to quiet my harsh breathing.
The air in here is stale and I feel the dusty coats brushing against my skin but I refuse to acknowledge them. Instead, I grip my gun, ready to fight if it comes to it.
“Come out girl. We won’t hurt you,” a rough voice says and my eyes widen.
They know I’m here?
“Lei è qui?” a second voice asks, both moving closer to my hiding spot.
“Non lo so, ma lei non lo sa, se è davvero qui,” the first man replies and I relax. He’s calling a bluff.
“Grande idea,” the second man states. “Come out girl and we will bring you to our boss unharmed… Maybe he’ll let you go.”
How stupid do these guys think I a-?
I scream rips from my throat as a rat jumps in my face and I tumble from the wardrobe onto the floor, throwing the filthy rodent off me. As it scammers off under the bed, I hiss as someone steps on my hand and I look up to find two guns pointed at me.
My heart rate skyrocketed.
“Let the gun go, girl,” a man with obsidian eyes and brown hair says, applying more pressure to my hand.
I cry out, my fingers releasing the gun and he kicks it away with his foot.
“Good girl,” he says eying me and I shiver in disgust at the predatory look in his eyes.
“Cazzo, è sexy. Nessuna meraviglia che Silvestre la tenesse nascosta. Pensi davvero che la sua figa sia d’oro?” the other, lanky man with grey eyes and blonde hair jokes.
I gulp, my fear rising as they watch me like a sack of meat. His words cause me to panic and I start to tremble, looking for a way to get out of this situation.
“Non lo so ... C’è solo un modo per scoprirlo,” the first man states and bile rises to my throat. “Sono sicuro che al capo non dispiacerà se ci divertiremo ... Dopotutto, morirà.”
He smiles at me and I shake my head, struggling against his foot that now presses against my chest. No! No! No!
“Hold this,” he says to the other guy, handing him the handgun.
“No!” I scream as he starts to stoop down, trying to get a hold of my hands.
“Get off me!” I cry, punching him, kicking at him but he only grins, commenting on how feisty I am.
He manages to manoeuvre himself on top of me and I cry out kicking at his legs, trying to nail the fucker in the crotch.
“Fuck!” he yells as I clock him on the nose with my elbow and I hear the slap before I actually feel it.
My ears ring but that doesn’t stop me from fighting. I trash about not allowing him to get a stronghold on me. I cry and scream, fighting… and then my salvation comes.
Two shots, straight to the head.
Both men falling dead.
I kick his filthy body off me, scurrying back as my chest rocks with sobs. I feel arms grab me pulling me to my feet and I cry, recognizing their voice but too shocked to look away from the two disgusting men.
“Ana, baby girl,’ he calls, spinning me around and I crash into him, crying.
I sob, hiccupping as the gravity of what could’ve happened crashed into me. Dylan whispers soothing words to me but I can’t stop crying. Not even when I hear footsteps coming closer.
Dylan tenses in alert, pulling me away from him before pushing me on and over the bed. I fall to the ground, the sound of gunshots echoing in the room. I watch from under the bed as Dylan’s feet move about, bodies dropping.
When the last body drops, I’ve stopped crying but my body is still shaken. I rise to my knees, looking over the bed to see Dylan changing the cartridge of his gun.
I rise to wobbly legs before running towards my man. His grey suit pants and white shirt are drenched in blood but that doesn’t stop me from moulding my body against his.
“D-Dylan!” I cry as his arms wrap around me.
“It’s okay baby girl…” he whispers in my ear, kissing my temple not caring about the splash of blood on my face. “I made those fuckers pay and their boss is next.”
I go to reply but I’m nearly thrown off my feet as the mansion shakes, rattled by an explosion. Dylan keeps me upright, cursing under his breath.
He looks up at me with those blue-green eyes and see it, the darkness I wanted to keep him from, trickling in by the second.
“I need to get you to the panic room,” he grunts out, pulling me into the hall. “They have the place surrounded. The best plan would have you secured until we kill these fuckers.”
Taking a sharp left, he shoots the men advancing towards us before running, pulling me along with him. We meet up on multiple men on the way, some Dylan’s, others the enemy. Dylan cuts down the enemy without batting an eye while yelling orders to his men to advance to the main living room where the fight is.
“Elia is still in the halls,” I cry, my heart contracting as Dylan pulls me down a familiar corridor, the one to his office.
“She can take care of herself, Ana,” he states not looking at me but observing the environment.
“This isn’t her first takeover. She can handle herself,” he says once more, his voice stern and I can tell he wants me to drop it.
We reach his office door and Dylan pulls me to his side, opening the door before entering gun raised.
“Cristiano! Indiana’s n-” someone yells and I run into the room the heaviness on my chest lightening.
“Elia,” I say as I engulf her in a hug, pulling back as I hear her wince.
Her skin is bruised and her clothes are drenched in blood. She has cuts and scrapes but nothing too bad from what I can see.
“Indiana! I said two rights, a left and a right!” she scolds looking me over.
“I forgot, I was scared-”
“Look we don’t have time for this,” Dylan interrupts locking the door to his office. “You both need to get to the panic room, now!”
Elia nods, pulling away from me to kneel at the office desk but I move towards Dylan.
One look in my eyes and he knows what I want to say. The fear evident on my face.
“I’ll be careful, neonata,” he soothes pulling me to him and I hug him tightly not wanting to let go.
“Please come back to me…” I plead looking into his eyes. I take his free placing it on my stomach, our eyes never breaking contact. “…to us.”
His eyes glisten and I nod answering his unasked question.
I groan when his lips mine for a sweet and passionate kiss that causes my toes to curl in my flats. I hold on to him, his warmth seeping through my clothing. Your lips clashing, our souls merging, igniting. The love I feel for him laid bare for all to see.
My lips tingle as he pulls away and I feel the tears start to roll down my cheeks.
“Come back to us…” I whisper against him lips before pecking those delectable lips again. “I love you.”
His eyes stare into my soul, promising me what his mouth won’t and I nod before pulling him away from him.
“I love you, too… all three of you.”
“Try to breathe Indiana,” Elia says as I sit in the confined space also known as the panic room.
The room is stocked with perishable food in cupboards, a small kitchenette and a single bed. There’s a door to the left that leads to the toilet and shower. It also has no windows but working vents and a giant, high tech, thick iron door.
We’ve been here for ten minutes and I can’t seem to calm down.
What if Dylan is dead? Jasper? Raphael? Even, Adonis… I start to tremble at the thought.
“They’ll be fine Indiana, cálmate,” Elia tries to soothe me but I can’t calm down, not until Dylan is back with me, safe and sound.
“Dylan needs to survive…” I mumble trying to settle my hammering heart. “He needs to be there for me…”
Elia watches as I rise to my feet with worried eyes. “He’ll be-”
“He needs to here for his baby… for our daughter…” I cry as I pace the room, going out of my mind. “She can’t lose hi-”
“Baby? Daughter?” I hear Elia ask and I stop to look at her. Her eyes are wide and a smile slips onto her lips. “I have a granddaughter?”
I smile, with tears in my puffy eyes. “Yes. She’s eight and the sweetest little girl you’ll ever meet.”
Her eyes twinkle and my chest aches at the thought of Diana never seeing her dad again.
“…and that’s why Dylan needs to come back to us…” I say as I start acing again, running a hand through my hair. “We need him… she needs hi-”
My words get lodge in my throat as I find myself staring down the barrel of a gun. Confusion surrounds my mind.
Elia stands before me, a malicious grin on her face. That sweet look in her eyes gone. A cold, calculative one replacing it.
“E-Elia,” I start to say, my voice breaking. “W-What are you-?”
“For 27 years, I laid with that bastard,” she laughs, her finger hovering over the trigger. “Do you know what that does to a woman, Indiana? Do you?!”
I shake my head, my lip trembling.
“Losing a baby? Being blamed for it? Being cheated on?” her lips curve into a snarl. “It fucks with your head, you know?”
My body has seemed to go into shock as I find myself unable to move. This woman that I trusted turns out to be nothing but a wolf in sheep clothing. That warmness she always gives off is gone and I shiver at the cold emitting from her.
“Then I met a guy. Someone with a plan to make him pay,” she giggles looking at me with crazy eyes. “Years of planning brought us here my dear…Originally, you were to be kidnapped as a message to Cristiano but given the recent developments …you’re no longer needed. Your daughter will suffice.”
Her finger flexes on the trigger and my stomach drops. I find myself moving before my brain can process it.
I don’t know what happens next, I can’t tell you.
…because I didn’t even hear the shot before everything went black.