M A R C E L L A
Once he had surely gone to sleep as his light snores entered her ears, she jumped into action. She knew what she was doing. She lulled him into a false sense of security and then she would escape. That was her plan from the beginning. She told herself she wouldn’t run anymore, but the opportunity presented itself.
Despite getting shot the previous day, she was not going to let it slow her down. Sure, physically, it naturally would. But mentally, she always had her mind planted on her ultimate goal. Running.
She still didn’t have a plan after escaping, but there was nothing she could do. She would just hide, buy some more time. She was not going back without a fight. She would kick and scream whilst he dragged her across the floor if that was what it took.
She detached his arm gently from her body and sat up cautiously. She was aware that she wasn’t quite at her physical peak. Her shoulder screamed like a son of a bitch at every movement she made. But she would fight through it.
John would never expect her to run after all that had happened. And she knew that the unexpected was the best way to escape with John. He never saw her coming. Every single time she escaped, even if it was just for a few minutes, was when she took him by surprise. There were plenty of moves he didn’t see coming. But every time she took him by surprise, he was wiser to her thought process. However, no one in their right mind would try to escape whilst recovering from a gunshot wound. That was insane, even for her.
She convinced him she was completely out of it so that he would fall asleep too rather than watching her so intently. She hadn’t moved away from him either, not that she truly wanted to. She enjoyed the comfort of his arms, not that it was going to stop her.
Stealthily, she tiptoed towards the door, biting down on her lip to stop her from squealing in pain. She slipped on her ragged shoes that were placed next to his, twisted the door handle and exited the room.
The hallways were quiet asides from the occasional faint grunt she could make out from down the hall. She was in no fit state to travel down the stairs, it would take longer than waiting for the elevator. She had no idea what the plan was, what she would do when she got in the car and drove off. She had taken his jacket to keep herself warm and also because his keys were stuffed into his pocket.
She would drive until night came and went. She would drive until her eyes tired and forced her to take rest. She would drive despite an empty stomach or a killing pain in her shoulder. She would fight this time.
It had been months since she left. She wondered what her father was thinking. Was he proud? She doubted it. She was being troublesome for him. Dante wanted her and a man like that didn’t just wait around. The longer she ran, the harder it would be for her when she returned home. Both men would punish her without mercy. She had run. She had made them wait. She had disrespected both of them. And she would suffer for it.
She couldn’t go back alive. She just… couldn’t.
She stepped into the elevator and released a huge sigh of relief as the doors began to close. Hopefully, it would be a long while before John woke up so she could have a head start.
But she spoke too soon. Before the doors could fully close, a hand caught it, wedging it open. And she met with John’s amused and sly face. He entered in an instant and pushed her up against the wall, pinning her there with his hands either side of her head and his body pushed up against hers. He bent his neck to get to her level, and he flicked her chin up so their eyes could meet.
“Now where do you think you’re going, little girl?” he asked darkly. Her words caught in her throat and her chest was heaving. Her lower lip maneuvered into a pout, hoping her youth could save her. “Not gonna work this time, princess.”
Their eyes locked in an unbreakable bond. She could feel his body heat radiating from his chest and onto her. She was wearing his clothes, which smelled like him. And now she was right up against him, inhaling the air he breathed like it was her drug.
She couldn’t quite explain it. The bond that drew them together. Perhaps that was why her plans always failed. They had some unearthly connection with one another so that they always found their way back to each other. Whilst that helped John, it only threatened Mari. She didn’t need any further complications in her life, and the growing feelings she felt brewing inside had to be stamped out.
“I was close,” she muttered, a daring glint in her eyes. He smirked slightly and pulled back from her. Swiftly, he picked up her hand and dragged her back into their room.
“You were close. But I’m too good for you.” She stuck her tongue out at him in a childish manner and fell back onto the bed. He climbed on after her, sitting next to her with their shoulders touching. She was unsure whether it was just because he wanted to touch her or that he figured always having skin to skin contact would make it harder for her to get away.
She knew it was most probably the latter.
“It was stupid of me to think that after the little girl got shot in the fucking shoulder, she wouldn’t even attempt running, at least for a week,” John said with a scoff. “I’m impressed, you know. You got shot for the first time and you’re still fighting.”
“You expected me to give up?” she asked with a small smile as she faced him. It was only then when she realized their faces were so close.
“I expect things and you do the opposite. You would think I had learned that by now,” he told her mindlessly.
“Haven’t you?” she questioned rather curiously. She had shown her hand again and again yet still played the same cards. And somehow, they kept working. The element of foolish surprise held him only in anticipation for her next move, and he couldn’t stay any steps ahead of her that way.
It was difficult to keep score in this game they were playing. It was hard to tell who was winning. The fact that John had her in his grasps didn’t mean he had already won. It didn’t even mean he had the edge. She was still very much in the game and the scales could tip either way. But she had no idea who it was leaning toward.
She guessed the decider was whether her plan was working, whether she was having any effect on him at all. What would the answer be?
“You’re a curious thing,” he muttered, eyes glued to her own.
“Why? Because I surprise you?”
“Because you confuse me,” he answered.
“They’re the same thing,” she argued, furrowing her brows.
“On the contrary, I’ve learned that you can surprise me. And I’m learning that. But your mind, your mind is something I can’t quite get a handle on. I always think I’m beginning to understand and then you confuse me by your actions immediately following it. What is your plan this time? I know you’re making one after that little attempt out there. You’re always making plans. Give up,” he suggested. She raised a single eyebrow at him smugly and smirked.
“You’re telling me to give up because you think you’re going to lose.”
“No, I’m telling you to give up because I think we both will.” His statement confused her, which was evident on her face, but he didn’t elaborate.
How could they both lose? What did he mean? Was she having an effect on him? And if so, what sort of effect? She began to fear it wasn’t the kind she wanted. She knew he cared for her in some way, but there were two types of caring: in a friend and family sort of way or a lover’s way. One way would name her the victor and the other, that might not affect her situation at all. She couldn’t say with any certainty.
“In a week, we’ll start moving again. For now, we’ll rest up here, allow you a little while to heal and regroup.”
“A week? We’re stopping for a week?” she questioned.
“Yes. I don’t want you doing anything stupid so we’ll stay here for a time where I can control you. You’ll stay in this room or right next to me at all times. That way I can be sure you won’t be diving out of cars or getting shot whilst you’re still healing.”
She giggled at his words. He wanted to lock her in a room just so she wouldn’t hurt herself by doing something stupid. She was difficult to control, and if he hadn’t learnt that by now, he would be in for one hell of a surprise.