M A R C E L L A
She didn’t know whether she should ditch the gun or not. It was clearly dangerous in her hands. It was an impulsive decision to knee him in the groin and shoot him, but she did, indeed, shoot him.
She shot someone. Shit, what the fuck was she thinking? She just wanted to get away. She didn’t want to seriously hurt the guy. She might have killed him. If he bled out where she left him, she would have killed a man.
Should she go back? That would be idiotic, but she couldn’t let him die, right? He probably wouldn’t die. He had probably been shot numerous times, so he most likely had a procedure in place for it. He would be fine, right?
The panic was starting to rise in her chest, weighing on her heart and slowing her down. Her chest was constricted, breathing becoming harder and harder to physically do. Was this what a panic attack felt like? Her head felt like it was pushed under water and couldn’t swim. Everything became cloudy as she balanced herself on the brick wall of some random building in some random alleyway.
What did you have to do when having a panic attack? Did you have to go to the hospital? Was it a thing that you could just ride out?
She never intended on using that gun. It was a ‘just in case’ gun. This was the case supposedly. This was what she feared she would need it for. But even still, she hadn’t been prepared, at all, for handling the gun.
He was right. He told her she didn’t have the stomach to do it, and she didn’t to make that outright choice. It was an impulsive decision. She simply pressed her finger on the trigger without a second thought, and now she was running through all the thoughts she should have had.
But would she have done anything differently? It was her only move to escape, and she would do anything to escape, including shooting someone. Was she also prepared to kill someone? If she had to for her freedom, would she have killed the bounty hunter?
These were all questions that freaked her out more. Either she had the stomach for it, and she was just like her monster of a father, or she didn’t have the stomach for it and that was her weakness and could possibly lead to her downfall.
And she didn’t have a plan now. She had clothes and an identity and everything she could need on the run in that car. And she had to ditch it back there. What was her next move? She couldn’t contact Milo or Lucia, she knew that would be where the human hound would look first, that was if he was still alive. No, she needed to figure this out on her own.
How did he find her even? Maybe if she were in the car with him right now, she could get an answer to that. It wouldn’t have been over. It wouldn’t be over if she just got in the car, not until he got her to that club. She could still run.
She didn’t have to run now. She could make sure he wasn’t dead. She couldn’t live with herself if he were, but she couldn’t live with the uncertainty either. But if he was perfectly fine, she had just turned herself into him. That wouldn’t be smart at all. She was meant to be his match, a bounty he wouldn’t be able to catch. And she wasn’t about to make it easy on him.
She realized her mistake. A mistake that could cost her. She didn’t kill her conscience. She didn’t kill her compassion. She didn’t kill all the things that made her human and separated her from her father. But with them, they were all liable in sending her back to New York, back into the arms of that sleezebag Dante.
She was going to kill it now. She was going to run. She was going to make it difficult for him to find her if he was still alive. She was going to be unpredictable, just like that kiss and just like the gunshot. Those were the times she had successfully gotten away. And she was going to model the rest of her run in the outside world on unpredictability.
It was night now, the end of another day. She had made it three weeks. If the human hound was still alive, he was slow to get to her. She had been hiding out on the streets, getting by on foot and by various buses as much as possible to put even more distance from her and home.
Pickpocketing was about as criminal as she got. She wouldn’t ever go as far as to shoot someone again. And to make sure, she ditched the gun. She knew that was risky, but it couldn’t be tied back to her, no matter who found it. She hadn’t even been worried about the police before. She didn’t plan on breaking the law. But, to beat a criminal, one had to become a criminal.
“Hey there, baby,” a guy said as he approached her with a posse behind him. His words were slurred, and his walk was clumsy. They were drunk out of their minds, which wasn’t what Mari was particularly accustomed to at home.
They were in a dark alley with no one else around. That alone made her immediately more cautious. And she had been told that drunken idiots could be dangerous, especially to females traveling alone.
She stepped back, distancing herself from the group slowly. She didn’t want her paranoid nature to go noticed just yet, not until she was close enough to the end of the alley to get away if needs be.
“Where you going, darling?” another one of them asked with a lazy smirk, stepping forward. They all stunk of booze and pot they were smoking. She had smelt it enough in some of the meetings to know. The guys always needed something. Not her father though, he always kept a clear mind. Just some whiskey to ease him. No one liked Alessandro when he was on edge.
“You running away, baby? We can make you feel good. Come with us. You want to smoke some weed and we can have a little fun?” the first guy questioned slyly. He inched closer to her and Mari took a giant step back. “Don’t run away.” His tone was patronizing, like he was talking to a fucking baby. It infuriated Mari, but the feeling was cancelled out by her anxiety and fear of the situation. She wasn’t a strong girl, and she knew she couldn’t block their advances if they decided to try something. “What’s your name?”
She stayed silent, further backing up, her breath shaky and unstable in fear. They looked persistent. They looked as though they could attack her despite her screams.
When her arm managed to get caught by his large hand, wrapping around her skin, she began to scream and shout. She had lived a sheltered life. She wasn’t warned about the threats of the real world. She didn’t think she had to with the plan she had in place. She wouldn’t have been walking around the streets late at night with a car. She wouldn’t be such an easy target.
Perhaps she should have kept that gun. It would have been messy, and she would have the police on her, but maybe the threat of a gun would have got them to back up and leave. And if they didn’t, she would have shot them.
Despite all her doubts about it, she would have shot him. She was certain in this very moment.
“Get the fuck off me!” The smell of his cologne mixed with the alcohol invaded her senses, stinging her eyes with the pure strength of it. She would have choked if her mouth wasn’t so dried up. Her throat felt scratched as she swallowed. She let out a whimper as she was tossed up against the wall roughly. They had her caged in with no way out.
“I’d like to put something in that filthy mouth of yours, little slut,” he hissed, his breath fanning her face. Her face scrunched up at the smell, but she had bigger issues to worry about in that moment.
Tears threatened to streak down her face, but she didn’t want to show them weakness. If Alessandro taught her anything, it was not to show weakness to her enemy. That was why she shot the human hound. He believed she couldn’t do it. And she proved him wrong, proved that it wasn’t a weakness, proved that she was willing to do whatever it took. But then she ditched the gun. Why did she ditch the gun? It was because she was weak.
“Do what I say, you bitch,” he grumbled, one hand pushing her to the wall, another working off his belt. It took him some time, but Mari couldn’t even use it. Her mind was racing, like her heart. She couldn’t even formulate one idea. Maybe his mere breath had made her drunk. She just couldn’t think. How was she going to get out of this?
But she didn’t have to think. She didn’t need a plan. She was saved.
The guy was ripped off her harshly, his face smashed by a merciless fist and body thrown to the rough ground. It was then she saw the other guys, all rolling around on their sides, blood oozing from their noses.
And then she saw him. Her savior. A man. The man she had shot merely a few weeks ago. And he was fine. He was healthy. And he was clearly physically fit. The man who was hunting her had saved her.