Wildfire

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20.

ADELAIDE

“I need to finish packing, if you’re done distracting me now.” I said, trying to busy myself to distract from the fact that Luca just said he’d be my boyfriend.

Luca?

MY boyfriend?!

BOYFRIEND??

I could feel my heart still beating like crazy throughout my body from the nerves, and my hands still shook as I folded the shirts I had just thrown on the bed, not sure at all what to pack.

“I’m not done. I’ve got nothing else to do but be right here, making you adorably nervous.” He said as he pushed himself further into my back, molding himself to me. Just when I thought my heart couldn’t race any faster.

“Y-You don’t me me nervous. I just want to finish packing.” I said shakily, my voice betraying me and giving me away.

Dammit. He did make me nervous and knew it. Stop playing right into his hand

“No? So me kissing you like this — ” He said as he moved my hair over my shoulder and kissed my neck again, finding all of my most sensitive places, causing me to moan softly and go weak in the knees, “Doesn’t make you nervous?” He said in my ear.

It wasn’t exactly nervous I was feeling.

It was more I wanted him to just take me now. I needed to feel him against me, touching me everywhere he could. My core throbbed and I had to squeeze my legs together to try to make it stop, but it seemed to only be making it worse.

“N-No.” I said shakily, still absent mindedly folding clothes and stuffing them into my bag, not caring now how neat they were. My mind was a million miles away from that.

“Good. There’s more places I’m going to kiss you then. Just dirtier kisses.” He said in my ear just before he placed a kiss below it.

My knees just about gave out as heat crept back into my face and I felt my panties starting to dampen. I bit back a moan, biting into my lip hard to keep it from coming out.

God only knew what he meant by that, but I had a pretty good idea. I had learned enough from Edie and my sisters over the years, from the numerous boys Edie dated and ones she didn’t date but spent the night with on many occasions. My sisters had even sneakily saw boys from other families on occasion, only telling each other in complete confidence we wouldn’t tell our parents. I was inexperienced but not stupid.

“That requires you getting me in your bed and I’m not going to just say yes just because you’re my... my...“, I stumbled again, struggling to say it. It was so new, so foreign. So not something I’d ever thought Luca would be.

“You’re going to have to learn to say it, Princess. I’m your boyfriend. You’re all mine.” He said reaching the fabric I was holding in my hands, balling it up over and over as I struggled to concentrate on folding it as my mind was elsewhere, more focused on what he was saying.

“Something tells me I won’t have a hard time getting you in bed, Princess. We are sharing mine tonight, as well as every night, since there’s none to spare where I can keep my eye on you. I’m also not passing up the opportunity to see you in this.” He said, holding up the fabric he took from my hands to reveal my nightie with its low cut neckline and barely there fabric. I get hot while sleeping and they’re the only things that kept me cool.

I gulped and tried to steady my nerves. Sure, I had slept in his bed with him last night but I was drunk and had passed out quickly. Other than my sisters and occasionally Edie during sleepovers, I hadn’t shared a bed with a guy, especially not one like Luca who wanted to do more than sleep in that bed.

I snatched my nightie out of his hands and shoved it in the bag, mildly embarrassed he’d seen it. I was under the impression I’d have my own room, with my own bed, and wouldn’t have to worry about him seeing in my most revealing item of clothing. Or really, lack thereof. He huffed out a laugh as he wrapped his arm around my waist, holding me tight against him, and laid his head on my shoulder, his beard once again tickling my neck. A shudder ran down my whole body and I prayed he hadn’t noticed.

“You’ve been my — boyfriend — for less than 10 minutes.” I breathed out, trying to control the shakiness in my voice.

“And I’ve already made you practically melt in your panties, Princess.” He said quietly in my ear. “I can feel you squeezing your legs together.”

Fuck

Of course he fucking can

Embarrassment ran through me, which it shouldn’t have at this point seeing as I had already let him in my panties not two nights ago.

Just then there was another knock at the door. Luca pulled away from me as I turned around, him leaning on my bed post but his whole body tensed as I called “Come in!” for whoever was on the other side.

My father strode in, his eyes immediately shooting to Luca — a look of disgust on his face. It didn’t matter that Luca and Demetrios had been here for weeks at a time or that they’d been in each other’s company for as long as they had, he still would never like, or tolerate, the Katsaros. He tolerated Luca even less because he was to marry his youngest daughter, up until now against her will.

Do I still want to marry Luca?

Has he even thought anymore about marrying me since it’s now in two months?

“I see you two have finally made peace momentarily for you to understand the severity of the situation.” My father said glancing at the bag behind me on the bed with my small pile of clothes remaining.

Even with me leaving my home and a threat on my life, my father still couldn’t stop his tone of indifference towards me. I wondered in that moment if Luca’s parents were the same towards him — indifferent, absent, secretive, critical.

I knew my mother would never be able to break down her own walls to show any true emotion of me leaving, them being too painful to face as she grieved still all these years for her lost friend. The only sign of affection she thought was appropriate after all these years was her ability to criticize about me, from the way I looked to the way I dressed, to how I even carried myself around Luca. Occasionally like at Hannah’s engagement dinner would I get physical contact and a fake smile, but even then it was still cold and distant. The motherly instincts were not there with my mother towards me and never would be.

It would be better that she stayed away before I left.

“Luca was just making sure I had everything I need before we leave.” I said quietly, not trying to fuel the tension I could feel between Luca and my father. It was uncomfortable to say the least, having the man that was essentially taking me away from my family in order for his to gain something over mine and my father who wanted nothing to do with him and deeply regretting the decision he had made.

“I’d like to speak to my daughter alone before you take her from my home and safety, if you don’t mind.” My father’s gaze cut back to Luca, cold and imposing. My father was not asking him to leave, he was telling him to in so many words. I could feel the tension rolling off Luca in waves before he moved to my side and leaned down to my ear.

“You’re in control.” He said before placing a kiss on my temple, turning to walk out my door. My father’s eyes followed him until he reached the door, shutting it softly.

My father’s gaze turned back to me, the tension only
lessening a bit.

“Remember who they are and he is, Adelaide.” He said, a tone of disgust poorly hidden.

His distrust and hatred for the Katsaros had never faltered, it had only increased with time the more he came to understand that Luca and Demetrios wouldn’t release me from the contract. He would be losing me and losing part of his empire with no way to stop it.

“I know who they are. And I know who Luca is.” I said, trying to keep my tone and voice as neutral as possible.

“Luca Katsaros is not the husband I would have picked for you, or either of your sisters. He’s a dangerous man and you’ll be wise to remember that while you’re under his protection. He may wear a mask around you but I know who he, and his father, truly are.” He said as he began pacing my room, casually looking at the art, posters, and pictures on my walls. I hadn’t moved since Luca left, but had crossed my arms over my chest, keeping my hands tightly grasped around my arms as I followed my father with my eyes.

I knew what he was trying to do. He was trying to ensure that that wedge that had between Luca and I since the signing of the contract all those years ago remained in place, with no threat of dislodging. No threat of an actual relationship or marriage. Just the duty of two families forced together under dier circumstances that one had no say in.

“Then you shouldn’t have signed the contract giving me to him if you were so worried about how dangerous he and his family are.” I said lowly. This conversation had been had many times before with my father trying to emphasize the point that the Katsaros were a dangerous family and one wrong step could be the downfall of everything. I could see my father’s face twist into anger at my comment and then see him try to calm himself down before he lashed out.

This also wouldn’t have been the first time I reminded him of his decision to sign the contract. Or the choice he made leading to the creation of the contract.

“You know what the consequences are if I hadn’t. You know I would have paid with my life and possibly this whole families. You, your sisters, and your mother. How would that have been any better for you to know that the Katsaros can and would have killed you for what I did? Would you have not done the same to save your family?” He stopped pacing to look at me, pain and anguish burning through his eyes as he raised his voice. I could only stare back at him.

‘You’re in control.’

I’m in control. He isn’t going to scare me into submission, into fear of Luca

Luca should fear ME if anything

I knew I would have made the same choice to protect my family. And I knew this was the better choice. At least with this decision I was alive. Warring with Luca all these years would always have been worth it to save my family.

“This wasn’t what I came here to talk with you with.” My father let out a long sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers, closing his eyes as if he was trying to calm himself down. “You’re leaving sooner than expected and I wanted to ensure that you would be safe with the Katsaros. And remember that they aren’t a family you can mouth off with like you do so often in their company. I won’t be there to save you if you should say the wrong thing to Demetrios or Luca.”

Luca wouldn’t ever hurt me though

Would he?

After all the fights and spats I’d had with him over the years, some of them getting really ugly, Luca had never raised a hand to me. He’d never even touched me up until recently. He’d never threatened violence against me. My father had to be making this up to frighten me.

What did my father know about him that I didn’t?

“Luca won’t lay a finger on me.” I said coldly, knowing full well that he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t dare to even think it.

“Perhaps not. But that doesn’t mean the threat isn’t there from the others. And now with Moretti’s threat I want to make sure you understand how serious it is that you stay in the Katsaros home and don’t leave without Luca or other security. Until you take his last name, you won’t be safe.”

“If you know so much about what kind of man Luca is then you should know that he won’t let anything happen to me. I’m too valuable to his father and his family.” I said, staring at my father but not really seeing it. It was as if though I was looking through him.

It had been so hard to make a connection with my father all these years. Just like my mother, he remained cut off, cold, distant. And while I knew it was to keep my sisters and me safe from his world, it still hurt to know I didn’t have that relationship with them that I knew others had with their parents. My sisters and I had made those connections in each other, providing the support one another needed.

“I hope you know how much your mother and I love you. We would have done anything to stop this marriage, to spare you from this part of our lives.” My father said quietly, and for once it truly sounded like he meant it, like a small layer had been chipped away and light was shining through the wall.

In that moment I didn’t know what to do. I was thrown by the sudden admission of vulnerability, the sudden inflection in my father’s voice. Emotion swelled in my throat, making me feel as if I opened my mouth all that would come out is a broken sob. I stared at my father as a tear fell freely down my cheek.

“I know you would have. But it’s happening and no one can stop it.” I said quickly wiping the tear away. As much as I was still upset after all these years of feeling that I needed to be, that I needed to want out of this, the acceptance of my life and fate had settled in the last days.

My father moved towards me, pulling me into an embrace. I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around him and cry freely — cry for the choice I didn’t have, the life I’d never choose, the comfort I never had from my father until now, and from the frustration and anger Luca and I had placed upon each other for so long but I just stood there, my arms still crossed as tears continued to freely fall.

“Everything will be okay. We’ll find a way to get you out of this.” He said quietly, like those were the words I had been longing to hear.

Truthfully, they weren’t.

I wasn’t even sure my self I wanted out of this if I had the choice now. My head was a swirl of confusion.

Would Luca want out now? What would my life look like if I were able to choose my life now, choose who I marry, or don’t? Would Luca and I choose this life still?

Would we even choose each other?

I only shook my head in agreement to my father as he pulled away, once again creating distance between us like he had my whole life.

“I’m going to finish packing now.” I said furiously wiping the tears from my cheeks on my flannel sleeves, and shuffling the clothes around on my bed. “Will I be allowed to visit before Hannah’s wedding? Chelsea is coming back in a few days.” I attempted to change the subject.

“We’ll talk about it in a few days. I’ll be coming to the Katsaros in a few days time to finish plans with Demetrios.” My father said, skirting around it. I had a feeling the answer would be no and I’d be isolated at the Katsaros alone.

Great.

“I’ll leave you to finish packing. Your mother and I will see you downstairs before you leave.” My father looked at me, the vulnerability that had peeled through earlier now gone again, locked and sealed away. I gave him a weak smile and turned around, fussing with the pile of clothes on my bed as I heard the door close behind me.







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