I return to my flat with Lucca to pick up everything I’ll need. I glance anxiously out of the window the whole time, paranoid that someone is following us. Fabio has really messed with my head.
Sleeping in bed next to Lucca every night is both heaven and torture. He is so tempting, I can’t resist. My body is sore for the whole of the next day after we loved each other all night.
Lucca insists on driving me to and from work whenever he can, which is most days. He has a busy schedule, but being the boss, he can shuffle things around a little.
‘I’ll be home soon, baby,’ I tell Lucca over the phone, I have it pinned between my cheek and my shoulder as I grab my things to leave.
’Okay, hurry up gattina, I want you in my arms,′ he says softly, using the voice only I get to hear.
It makes me feel so special that I get to see a side of him that no one else does.
I wave bye to Martina and exit the shop. I spot the range rover across the street, waiting for me. A quick glance in the front tells me that Draco is driving me today.
I hike my handbag higher on my shoulder and climb into the passenger seat, still fussing on my phone.
‘Hey Draco,’ I say, without looking up from my screen.
I gasp when two hands grab me from behind, shoving a cloth into my mouth. I try to kick and scratch their hands, but they’re too strong. I can’t reach their faces, pressure points, or anything from this angle.
The cold, metallic barrel of a gun presses against my throat and I instantly stop moving. They tie the gag to keep me from screaming and have my hands in a hold I cannot break out of.
I whip my head to the side and look at my attacker over my shoulder. My eyes are wide with fear as they tie my wrists together.
They are not familiar in the slightest, and they don’t look Italian. Their hair is too light and they are not tanned. Their eyes are harsh and black.
I struggle against their hold, but when they raise their guns again, I freeze up.
I glance at Draco to see that he’s actually unconscious. The sunglasses he’s wearing hid his state from my view out of the car.
The attacker turns to another man, sat in the back seat as well. They say something and I recognise the language as one of the Slavic languages, perhaps Polish, Latvian or Russian?
I catch the word net, meaning no. That’s all I know of Russian, but it’s enough to identify the ethnicities of my attackers.
It’s no surprise they want me, I know they’re Lucca’s enemies.
An SUV pulls up next to our car and the two men drag me out and straight into their car. There is barely anyone on the street, no one notices the exchange.
The car takes off at speed, with me shoved in the back. The two men tie my ankles together and one of them punches me, knocking me out instantly.
I wake a few minutes later, only to have a chloroform-soaked cloth shoved under my nose. The all-too-familiar, sweet smell instantly forms a headache and my eyes droop once more.
My left eye and my head are throbbing when I come to.
I groan and move my limbs, trying to assess the damage inflicted on my body. I blink a couple of times and shift my body. It feels heavy and stiff.
The cloth is still in my mouth, I spit it out, onto the ground.
I’m in some sort of warehouse, lying on the concrete floor. I bring myself up to a sitting position, which isn’t easy with my hands still tied together. My back is sore from lying on the ground and goosebumps rise on my arms, it’s cold in here.
The scraping noise of metal against metal rings out, and a door opens at the far end of the hanger. The two Russians men from the car enter and stalk towards me.
My tongue darts out to wet my lips, my mouth feels dry.
‘What’s going on? Who are you?’ I ask, my voice is hoarse and sounds nothing like my own.
They don’t answer, but they grab me by my forearms and lift me to my feet. I try to wriggle free from their grips, but the chloroform has taken it out of me and my limbs feel heavy.
They drag me out to a van and push me into the back of it. I catch myself before I face-plant the floor. It takes a lot of energy to lift myself up until I’m sitting with my back to the wall.
I feel someone’s eyes on me and I look at the front seats. Titio and Fabio are sat in the front, smirking at me through the gap between the chairs.
Fuck, they’ve teamed up with the Russians.
Lucca is going to kill them.
One of the Russians gets into the driver’s seat, making Fabio and Titio jump and shuffle along their seats, away from him.
That action alone tells me that the Russians are running this show. Fabio and Titio were obviously desperate for revenge and couldn’t pull it off themselves.
I daren’t ask where we’re going, and I know I won’t get an answer.
We drive for quite a while, maybe twenty minutes. Maybe longer, I can’t tell.
Eventually, the van shudders to a stop and I hear the sounds of car engines cutting and doors slamming.
At the sound of Lucca’s voice, my heart picks up. I shift myself so that I’m on my knees, and I shuffle to the front of the van. I peek between the chairs, out of the window screen.
Lucca is stood about a few metres away, with his men next to him. The Russians are lined up in front of the van. Both sides are carrying the most terrifying guns, I’ve never seen anything like this before.
Inside the van, I can’t hear anything, but there’s a lot of muffled shouting.
Lucca looks livid, but I’m worried about him being here.
Suddenly, something is said and all hell breaks loose.
Both sides start shooting, with stray bullets hitting the van. I drop the floor and squeeze my eyes shut, preying that the bullets don’t hit me.
They easily cut through the metal like warm butter, filling the van with dust and pieces of debris. It lands on my back and I press my body closer to the floor.
Tears are running down my cheeks, making dust stick to my wet skin. I’ve never felt this scared in my life. It’s that kind of fear that is debilitating, it makes you forget how to concentrate, or even breathe.
I scream loudly when the back doors of the van are pulled open.
My eyes are still closed as I yell and kick at the person trying to grab my feet. It’s only when Lucca’s voice reaches my ears, that I stop fighting.
′Dolcezza, it’s me, you’re safe,′ his soft voice comforts me and I blurrily open my eyes.
I look at him, standing between my legs. His face is guilt-ridden but beautiful. His eyes are wild with adrenaline. He looks terrifying, but he doesn’t scare me in the slightest.
He’s a sight for sore eyes.
He gently pulls my ankles, sliding me to the edge of the van. Once I’m within arm’s reach, he grabs my shoulders and pulls me up. He wraps his arms around me, tucking me into his chest. I close my eyes and inhale his cologne. It calms me instantly.
He pulls back and hurriedly undoes the ties binding my hands.
’Are you alright, amore mio?′ He asks.
His eyes fall on my bruised face and they harden.
‘I’m going to make them pay,’ he mutters and helps me to my feet.
‘I’m alright, thank you,’ I mumble and lean against him for support.
Rocco approaches us. He gives me his usual nod in greeting, but I notice his expression is softer than usual.
‘What do you want me to do with them, Boss?’ He questions, gesturing over his shoulder with his thumb.
I glance over and my stomach lurches.
Two of the Russians are beaten to bloody pulps and are swaying on their knees between Val and Leonardo.
‘I’ll deal with them in a minute, let me get my girl in the car first,’ Lucca replies firmly.
He ushers me over to his range rover with his arms around me.
I don’t even care what he’s going to do to them, I just want to go home and get into bed. I’m exhausted.
‘Boss!’ Rocco shouts.
We both turn in his direction as he sprints towards us.
I don’t see the sniper.
Or the gun.
Or the bullet.
I only register Lucca’s body recoiling with the blow and him falling against me.
At first I don’t realise what has happened, but my hands instinctively reach out to catch him.
We sink to the floor together as Rocco reaches us. He takes out the sniper in two shots.
‘Lucca? Lucca?’ I call his name, my voice breaking with emotion.
His hands are over his stomach, where blood is pouring profusely, soaking his shirt.
‘No!’ I shout and put my hands over the wound, trying to stop the flow.
His dark eyes blink up at me, his face in shock. His lips move, but no words come out.
Rocco immediately starts calling someone, an ambulance, anyone.
The warm blood soaks my hands, dripping down my wrists and onto the ground.
′Mi sono innamorato di te,′ he whispers softly as his eyes close. (I fell in love with you)
‘No! Don’t leave me! Don’t you dare, Lucca!’ I cry out as tears stream endlessly down my face.
This can’t be happening.