Wildfire

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13.

ADELAIDE

Edie had gone through at least ten outfit changes before settling on a short, strappy gold dress I had that I don’t think I had even worn. I don’t think I even knew I had it, that’s how many dresses Hannah and Chelsea had given me over the years.

“If Owen could see me now, he’d be sorry he ever gave me up.” She said slipping on a pair of my heels, making her legs look miles long, admiring herself in the mirror. I laughed at how hung up she was on him, and a Katsaros at that. You’d think with how much she despised Luca on my behalf she’d want nothing to do with them. Must be that Katsaros charm.

“That dress would make any guy weak in the knees, I may have to borrow that when you’re done.” She said looking at me as I slipped on my black heels, walking to the bathroom to add a few beachy curls to my hair and do my makeup.

“I accidentally sent a picture of me in it to Luca and about died of embarrassment in the dressing room.” I turned to tell her, remembering how embarrassed I truly was. I could still kick myself for that. I saw her throw her head back and laugh, she always laughed at my embarrassment. Nothing bothered Edie and I was slightly envious.

“I’m sorry but that’s so funny, that’s totally something that would happen to only you.” I could hear her still laughing, probably envisioning my face when I had realized what I’d done.

“How are we planning to get out of this house unseen?” I asked, curling my hair and trying to not burn myself. Since it was already so curly from not doing anything with it all day it wouldn’t take me long but I still always managed to burn a finger or two every single time.

The house was surrounded by a fenced perimeter, with only one entrance and exit at the gate at the end of the driveway. Not to mention the motion detectors everywhere. There was a guard at the gate at the end of the property we had to try to sneak past too. I mean we could climb the fence but in these dresses? There was no way.

“You worry too much. We’re going to put on those black sweatshirts you have, go through your balcony window and down around the side yard, and high tail it to my car. No one’s ever going to know. Just duck down in the backseat and no one will see you, they’ll just think I’m leaving for the night.” She said like it was nothing, like she had done it every day.

Somehow I didn’t believe it would be that easy.

What if Luca came looking for me and I wasn’t here?

If I turned on a movie on my TV, he possibly would never know, it would just sound like we were watching a movie and not actually up to something like he thought.

“If you say so.” I said working on my makeup, keeping it simple again. It’d be so dark in the club no one would really see it. And I wasn’t really looking for the attention anyways now that Luca actually seemed like he wanted to give me some.

Really, Addy? Pining for Luca’s attention now?

“It’ll be easy, stop worrying.” Edie said fixing her hair in the mirror next to me and then slipping a sweatshirt over her dress. If we put the hoods up and carried our heels, it might just work.

Maybe.

“Let me turn something on the TV in case Luca comes nosing around, make it seem like we’re in here.” I said going to my TV and flipping through the channels, deciding on some cheesy Hallmark type movie. He’d believe that, two girls watching a sappy love movie. If men didn’t have to use their brains too hard, you could sneak anything by them. I just hoped Luca was one of them.

“Ready?” Edie said as she tossed me another black hoodie I had and I slipped it over myself, slipping my heels off and grabbing my small cross body purse.

“Ready.” I said as we walked out onto my balcony, keeping the light off to make it as dark as possible.

Edie led the way, ducking beneath windows as we crept along the edge of my house, being as careful as we could of the ground to not trip over anything or make any noise. The bare earth under the windows where my mother had wildflowers planted every season was unusually cold this time of year, freezing my feet as we crept along, making me feel like I’d trip any second with how numb they were. As we rounded the side of the house, I could see Edie’s car in the distance. We’d made it this far without being noticed, if we could make it there we’d be home free. She stopped in front of me, still crouched down as to not make herself as noticeable and looked around, making sure there were no security guards on the grounds anywhere near the car or where we were hiding.

“Okay, we’re going to make a run for it. No one’s out. Get in the backseat and stay down.” She whispered just loud enough for me to hear. My heart was beating so loudly in my chest I’m surprised I had heard her. If we didn’t make it to the car unseen, I feared what Luca, or my father, would do knowing that we were sneaking off. There would be no hiding this one with ‘we were just taking a walk!’ like we had done so often in the past when we had been caught out of the house late at night.

“Ready… and… GO!” She whispered louder, taking off at a sprint. I followed closely behind, too scared to look around to make sure no one saw us. I threw the door open and flung myself into the backseat, ducking down on the ground behind the driver’s seat, Edie slamming and locking the door quickly. She burst into laughter.

“I can’t believe that worked!” She squealed, starting her car and taking off towards the end of the driveway.

“Stay down.” She said quickly, and I assumed we were approaching the gate where there was a guard stationed to monitor who had been coming and leaving the property. My father had spared no expense ensuring our safety after last night. He just hadn’t thought to make sure he had guards patrolling the whole property as Edie and I had just made it out without being seen.

Edie’s car rolled to a slow stop and my heart pounded in my chest as I ducked down, waiting for the sound of the gate opening. I waited for what seemed like forever. Shit, we must have been caught. Then I heard it, the rumble of the gate as it slid to one side and I felt the car slowly rolling and then picking up speed as we made it onto the main road.

“And just like that, you’ve successfully snuck past Luca.” Edie said from the front seat. I poked my head up and crawled up to the front seat, taking off my hoodie and sliding my heels back on.

“It worked, it really worked! You’re a genius!” I said letting out a laugh. I can’t believe we had actually done it, and without anyone noticing. My phone wasn’t blowing up with calls or texts asking where I was which meant we were free for the night as long as Luca didn’t bother to check in on me.

Fingers crossed he wouldn’t

Edie drove us to the club with the radio blaring music to get us in the mood and threw the car into park, ripping off her hoodie and fixing her hair in the mirror as we got there. Anxiety all of a sudden rolled in my stomach that we had actually made it but I pushed it back down. We’d have fun and I deserved one night of fun. Luca would never know.

We got into the club no problem, we’d been here plenty of times before and the bouncer knew us. As we walked in, the music was so loud and heavy I could feel the bass through my entire body, mimicking my heartbeat as we had snuck out of the house. I scanned the club quickly, looking for anyone who would know me and possibly give it away to Luca that I was here but thankfully no one stuck out. Edie dragged me to the bar, ordering a round of shots for us as we danced to the music, finally relaxing some that we had made it. Only worry I had now was how the hell we were getting back home.

“See? You worried for nothing!” She said, trying to talk louder than the music. I smiled and rolled my eyes.

“Yeah, yeah. Night’s not over!” I said as I grabbed one of the shots and downed it like it was nothing, relishing the burn down my throat. My nerves had finally seemed to calm as we danced and drank more, forgetting that I wasn’t even supposed to be off the property. I had just let it all slip away.

I don’t know how much time had passed or how many drinks I had but at this point it was all but forgotten what had made me so anxious. My upcoming marriage and the scare with Damien Moretti wasn’t even a blip on the radar as Edie and I danced, somehow making it up to the DJ stand to pick songs and dance wildly. The club was packed, there was barely any room to move so how we made it up there I didn’t even know. Edie had probably flirted with one of the DJs, turning on the charm so they’d let us up there where there was more room and less sweaty people touching us.

“I’m having so much fun!” I yelled at Edie as a new song came on, the bass thumping even louder. We had started laughing at God knows what, barely stopping to dance around. It was if we didn’t have a care in the world.

“Let’s get more drinks!” Edie yelled back over the music, grabbing my hand to help fight through the crowd.

We made it to the bar and Edie ordered us another round of shots while I scanned the room again. There were more people now than when we first came in so it was a little harder to pick out faces. It didn’t help that I was quickly becoming drunk out of my mind, the faces melding together.

“I hope Luca lets you keep coming out after you’re married. If not, he’s going to have me to deal with!” Edie said, slamming back another shot. I grabbed another one, throwing it back like water at this point. The room was spinning slightly, but I ignored it, not ready to call it a night yet.

“He will or I won’t fuck him.” I said and burst out laughing, causing Edie to go into a fit of laughter.

I laughed even harder at the thought of actually being married. All these years Luca and I had fought, taking it all out on each other, trying our hardest to get the contract void and here we were to be married in two months time. In two months I’d be Adelaide Katsaros. In less than a week I’d be moving out and into his home, no doubt sharing his room and his bed. In even less time than that I had spent some time in that bed, letting him roam my body as I knowingly asked him to distract me in the hopes he’d tell me he liked me, which he did. My core tightened quickly at the thought of being in his bed with him again and I knew it was the alcohol taking over. Or maybe it was me, anticipating. I’d finally having him to myself, that jealousy I had felt earlier cooling off.

“Oh my God that’s so funny.” Edie said trying to breathe through her laughing fit and struggling, “He has no clue what he’s marrying! He’s going to be miserable with how much you fight!”

We laughed for a few more minutes, bursting out into another fit if we looked at each other, before we tried to work our way back to the DJ stand. It was like walking through honey, our feet were moving but we weren’t getting anywhere. I knew it was because of how much we drank and how packed it was, guys grabbing us left and right as we fought them off, having absolutely no interest. It seemed like both of us had had our sights set on someone else, not giving even a thought to stopping to dance or talk to those guys.

None of these guys would EVER compare to Luca

Fuck, he was so good looking and strong and –

“A few more songs and we’ll go! Promise!” Edie yelled at me as we finally made our way up, but I didn’t care as I started dancing to the music again, moving with the beat and focusing on keeping my drinks down. From up here I looked at all the faces as I danced, trying to pick out any I knew. Just when I thought I was in the clear, a face over at the bar stood out to me. I could feel my face go white as I felt myself quickly sobering up.

Luca was leaning against the bar, sipping on a drink, as he looked at me like I was about to be very sorry. He was wearing that same fitting suit he wore when I saw him earlier today, his hair a little more disheveled, probably from the struggle of getting in here.

I quickly spun around to look at Edie, her not even paying attention as she danced wildly. I needed to get her attention and leave before Luca got his hands on me. I knew I was completely done for.

“Edie! Luca’s here!” I screamed at her, grabbing her arm, startling her enough to stop dancing and turn to look at me, a confused look on her face like why did I stop her from dancing until it dawned on her. She sobered up as quick as me when she put it together, her eyes growing wide and her just as pale as me.

“Oh fuck!” She said, grabbing me and basically jumping off the DJ stand, trying to rip us through the crowds.

My heart was pounding, and the alcohol was now hitting me even harder than before, making it hard to stay steady on my feet as we tried to make it to the back of the club where the exit was, praying we could slip out before Luca caught up. It was next to impossible as the crowd just seemed to be getting thicker and thicker, like they knew what we had done and wanted me to face Luca.

It dawned on me pretty quick as we fought the crowd that there’s no way we could leave and get back home before Luca and claim he had imagined it. Both of us were so drunk it wasn’t even funny and couldn’t drive, and we had no one we could call without giving it away that we had snuck out. There’s no way I could get an Uber any faster either, they’d pull up to the house and the guards would know, alerting my father. Then I’d really be done for.

Luca was the only way back. My stomach dropped as I came to a stop, pulling back against Edie. I took a few panicked deep breaths before I thought I’d puke. I didn’t know what freaked me more – the fact that he found me or that he found me and now knew that I snuck out when he told me not to.

“We can’t, we’ll never get a ride back in time and we already saw us, he saw me. He knows I snuck out!” I desperately yelled over the music as I felt an arm slide around my waist and one slide up around my neck, a hand spreading wide around my throat as if to keep me locked in place, that arm resting against my chest, caging me in against a chest that felt all too familiar. My knees went weak and I felt like I’d fall on to the floor if I wasn’t being held up tightly.

He’d found me.

“He knows a lot more than you think he does, Princess.”

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