M A R C E L L A
“John,” she breathed out. She had no clue why she was so surprised. This was exactly what she wanted. She hadn’t thought he would find her so soon. And she hadn’t expected his dark expression as he laid eyes on her.
He backed her into her motel room, his strides so long and forceful that she was practically sprinting backwards to keep up. She was pushed up against the wall by the time he was finished, his large body blocking her escape and his arms barring her sideways exits. His hands were on either side of her head, his breath like a fan from above her, blowing warm air. She tilted her chin upwards to look at his face and began chewing her lips as she saw the pain laced within them.
“Marcella.” He had rarely called her Marcella since the first time they had met. It was his serious voice. She was Mari to him, wasn’t she? His tone was lifeless, like he didn’t care about her at all.
“Don’t fucking speak, little girl,” he growled, the monster unleashed. Yet, somehow, it didn’t scare her. She knew he wouldn’t hurt her. He would never hurt her, not too much anyway. “I don’t want to hear a thing come out of that pretty little mouth.”
She expected him to say something since she wasn’t allowed to say anything herself. She was unsure of why she was being so obedient but the look in his eyes told her she should just keep her mouth shut.
He stared at her in silence, his dangerous glare boring into her with scorching heat.
“You know, I’ve been trying to wrack my brain around what happened. I underestimated your ability again. I just… I didn’t think you would go that far. I don’t know why I’m here but I’m here. So, tell me, Marcella, why did you sleep with me?” His tone was deadly, causing her to gulp. Her mouth felt dry, but she had to answer him. She had to tell him.
“Because…” He waited in heated anticipation for her to finish. “Because I wanted my first time to be with someone that I wanted it to be with. I wanted it to be my choice. I wanted someone I trusted, someone who wouldn’t hurt me.” His eyebrows furrowed in an instant.
“What?” She wondered what he was confused about. Was she supposed to clear something up? “I-I don’t… um…”
“I did have a plan. It was my plan to manipulate you and make you have feelings for me in the hopes you would let me go. But I didn’t sleep with you because it was part of it. I wouldn’t do that. The more I played the part of your girlfriend and the more pretended to like you and flirt with you, I fooled myself, I guess. I fell for it worse than you. Because I didn’t sleep with you for a plan. I slept with you because I love you,” she blurted out and her eyes immediately widened at what had just slipped from her lips.
She what? What was the last part of that? She loved him? Why hadn’t she figured out her feelings before she just told him that?
Now, she was panicking. She had told a heartless bounty hunter that she loved him. She was just a child in his eyes. Well, maybe not. But still, they had a massive age gap between them. And somehow, she loved him.
She loved him.
“What did you just say?” he asked, the anger draining from his face more every second.
“I…” She didn’t have the guts to say it again. “You heard what I said, John.” She didn’t enjoy being so vulnerable in front of him, but that didn’t matter as soon as he slammed his lips on hers.
All her doubts were sucked from her body. She melted into him and allowed herself to succumb to his strength. She didn’t even notice when she had been picked up and laid out onto the bed until she felt the soft mattress underneath her.
“Say it again,” he commanded against her lips. His dominance overwhelmed her, forcing her to give in to every order he gave.
“I love you, John,” she muttered. It satisfied him as he continued his attack on her lips, then to her jaw and her neck.
Soon both his and her body lacked clothes and they were in the throes of passion. The tense atmosphere between them had morphed into the musky air of sex and lust.
They were now lying on the bed, Mari splayed out on top of him and the sheets thrown lazily on top.
“I love you too, Mari,” he admitted, which startled her. Her eyes flickered up to his and he gave her a genuine smile. He loved her too.
“We’re back to Mari now? Does that mean I’m forgiven?”
“I’m impressed, little one. I didn’t even realize you were flirting with me and I fell for it. It’s impressive.”
“You’re impressed that I fooled you?” she taunted, and he just rolled his eyes and kissed the top of her head.
She wasn’t accustomed to affection, ever, in her entire life. Her father was never the affectionate father and she was never allowed to get close enough to anyone else. Now she was with John, who didn’t strike her as an affectionate guy. But here he was, kissing her, caring for her, loving her.
“Are we… together now?” she asked shyly. He chuckled at her bashfulness, sitting up with her still in his arms.
“Yes, we are.”
“I’ve never been in a relationship.”
“I know. And neither have I,” he declared which made her scoff. So, he was the sort of guy who played around with girls. “Not like that. I never had a connection with anyone strong enough to want a relationship. And I was always moving around anyway. Now, we would always be moving around.”
“Neither of us have jobs. I’m a dent on your record. You’ll have to hide from my father. We’ll have to hide from my father. What are we going to do?”
“I hadn’t thought that far yet,” John replied with a sigh.
“Neither of us had thought at all. Why are we both so impulsive?” she said with a light giggle. “I didn’t even know I loved you when I slept with you the first time. We need a plan.”
“I know you love plans, for a reason I don’t know because you don’t ever follow them. But sometimes we don’t even need a plan. We’ll travel the country, and we’ll hide. Once enough time has gone by and the heat’s died down, we could settle somewhere, get jobs.”
“Sound like a plan to me.”
“Then it’s a plan,” he confirmed with a grin. “Now we need to be on the move.” He slid out from underneath her and started to slide on his clothes. She clambered onto his back and kissed his cheek. Turning back to look at her, he gave her an authoritative expression.
“We can’t break just once?”
“We can get on the road and you can rest however much you want, princess. I know you need your beauty sleep,” he mocked. She whacked his chest playfully and pouted. “Get dressed. We’re leaving in five.”
She rolled her eyes and gave in.
Soon enough, they were strapped up in his car and John took off.
“I swear you have a new car every time I see you, yet you have the same music.”
“I like my music. You have a problem with it, sweetheart?” he asked with raised eyebrows as he glanced over at her.
“How did you find me?”
“Because you wanted me to,” he replied. She narrowed her eyes at him. “That car share thing. It was all a set up. You wanted me to track you to a little town just outside Indianapolis. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was you.”
“You got me,” she declared. “You know, I think I should tell you something.”
“What?” Now he seemed nervous about it.
“When you left me out there, I was walking to the closest town, but a car came. I hitched-hiked, and they kidnapped me.”
“They what?” he exclaimed, his eyes panicking in alarm.
“Well, they kidnapped me, and they knew my name. The name Marcella. Their boss had told them. I didn’t wait around to find out who it was. I pretended I was hurt, grabbed a knife and stabbed one of them and then I got away.”
“I have met them too, on the way to find you. They were running me off the road,” he told her. “That’s why we got on the road quickly.”
“Shit,” she cursed in frustration.
“Who do you think they work for? We’ve got plenty of enemies now.”
“It can’t be Manuel or Striker or the feds. They don’t know my name. And the guys avoided hurting me. It’s either Dante or Alessandro. They’re basically the same evil though,” Mari explained.
“If they were after me, they already know I stopped looking for you or I let you go. That puts us in an even worse position.”
“It doesn’t matter. We were going to run and disappear anyway. At least we’re together,” she said. She couldn’t remember the last time she was this hopeful. She had gotten both things she wanted. Her freedom and her love. And even though they were being chased by multiple enemies, she had never felt happier.