Chapter 15 - Before The Game
"Another Vodka, Beauty,” Dimitri asked, and Hayley brought over another drink to the Russian. Her eyes would occasionally flash to the men in the VIP booths in particular Luca.
The bar was starting to wind down, it was about 5am and most of the girls were finishing up and heading out the back to get ready and go home for the day. Hayley was cleaning down the bar, as Ben headed off.
She could feel him approach the bar, she could smell his cologne a mile away. She looked up from the bar she was vigorously cleaning to look into his chocolate eyes with a wide smile.
“Breakfast?” he asked casually, and she nodded. “I’ll meet you at the back door,” he answered before he answered the phone in Italian and then walked away.
Hayley was the last girl in the dressing room, the rest had gone even Ava she said she was heading off with someone. Hayley quickly changed and noticed Siobhan was standing behind, scaring her half to death.
"Shit, Siobhan, you scared me.” Hayley laughed as she zipped up her jacket.
“You’re being foolish Hayley,” Siobhan spoke firmly at the young girl she saved and now had to protect from her godson.
“What?” Hayley was confused by Siobhan’s words.
Siobhan knew what was happening. She wasn’t blind and she was sure as hell not stupid. She could see the sparkle in her eyes, the looks she had given Luca. Siobhan knew Hayley would refuse to take over Paris because she will think she has some love for Luca and he feels the same.
“You are not going to accept the job in Paris are you?” Siobhan’s words were stern as Hayley sighed.
“I appreciate the offer, but I am not ready, I mean I ca-”
But Siobhan cut her off.
"Bullshit Hayley, you are more than capable, and you know it,” Siobhan sighed violently before she spoke again. “Luca is not a good man, damn I love him like a son. But, that doesn’t mean shit. He can’t love, can’t be happy and he can’t let his mafia boss exterior down.”
“I know all this Siobhan.” Hayley laughed, shaking her head before she walked past her boss, who took her arm as she was shoulder to shoulder with Hayley as the pair looked at one another.
“I know you do. But never forget who and what he is, he will hurt you before his family,” Siobhan then let go of Hayley. ”Please, don’t say no. Not yet anyway, the offer is open until Adrien leaves and he will be here a little longer to help with planning. Just keep this an option, a way out if you need it.”
Hayley nodded. There was nothing more to say. Of course, being a manager was a great opportunity for her, but she was starting to feel again, which she never dreamed would happen to her. She smiled at Siobhan before leaving the dressing room.
Siobhan knew Hayley was lost to the Marcello curse, the want of a Marcello man. She was angry because there was nothing Siobhan could do but watch history repeat itself.
Hayley didn’t mention Siobhan’s little visit as she sat in the car that was being driven by Frankie, did Luca know how to drive?
“We are going to my mammas for breakfast Hayley, she does amazing food as you well know,” Frankie said looking at Hayley through the mirror.
“It’s it a bit early though?” Hayley noticed it was only 5:30 am, Luca and Frankie laughed.
“Nah, she is up all the time this early making food, cleaning and sorting out the family,” Frankie explained, and Luca slid his hand into hers and squeezed it, Hayley smiled up at Luca.
Frankie was right Maria was up and she beamed at Hayley’s entrance and greeted her like she was her own child with a kiss and a hug. She offered everyone a cappuccino while she began cooking.
“Uncle Frankie!” Little Sam beamed as he ran into the kitchen followed by a very tired looking Sofia who went to grab herself a coffee before sitting next to Hayley.
“Hello little man, you been good for mamma?” He asked as he slipped the little boy on his lap and drank his cappuccino with his free hand, Sam nodded, and Sofia scoffed.
“Good my ass.” Hayley heard Sofia mutter beside her, and Hayley laughed as Sofia chucked back her coffee.
Sal walked into the kitchen followed by Mia who said hello and goodbye taking a cappuccino in a travel mug explaining she had to go to the wholesalers. A few of Frankie’s cousins walked in through the door, they apparently came and joined the family for breakfast before heading off to their various jobs.
Hayley loved being amongst this family, they spoke English but occasionally spoke to each other in Italian, even little Sam had a good grasp of both languages.
She silently sat and listened as Luca asked Frankie about the new drivers and security he was training, and Frankie said they were coming along and were working tonight.
Luca loved how effortlessly Hayley slipped into his world like she was always there. He liked how she was with Frankie’s family, how she oozed confidence and had the family adores her. He knew keeping her close was dangerous, but he couldn’t walk away from her.
After breakfast he took her hand and led her to the SUV they had come in, Frankie jumped in the front and she and Luca went to the back.
“Join me for dinner tonight, I spied the rota I know you are off.” Luca wanted to spend as much time with her as he could, she could choose to leave with Adrien he had no idea what her plans were but he wanted to be with her when he could.
“Stalker tendencies Luca?” Hayley laughed, as he placed his hand on her knee and gently squeezed it.
“Only for you,” he admitted, and her heart fluttered. “Ric will pick you up at 7pm.” He said, and she nodded.
“A little safety information.” Luca sighed he had to do this, she was going to be in one of his heavy SUV’s she needed to know how to protect herself, just in case.
“Like Frankie has told you these cars are heavy, there are weapons everywhere, under the seats, in the seats, trunk I mean everywhere. If you need to, protect yourself first. Also if I am unable to make it I will always let you know personally, I will always call, never text.”
Luca’s voice was firm, the realisation of how dangerous his world and he was. Yet, she didn’t run from him. Crazy girl.
At her apartment, he kissed her goodbye before speeding off. She went to sleep before getting ready for her date with Luca Marcello.
The wine was great, it was the only company Hayley was getting tonight. The restaurant’s clock above the dark wood bar ticked, minutes passed and soon she had been sitting for over an hour.
Her phone lay on the table beside the wine glass, the restaurant was quiet, a couple in the corner, a table of four middle-aged women sitting at the window. The restaurant was one of Luca’s, it had an old rustic Italian feel-of course.
Hayley’s fingers drummed the table impatiently, as she took a long swig of the expensive wine the host had gotten for her, apparently it is a personal favourite of ‘Mr Marcello.’ The host passed her table, and she caught the older man’s attention.
“Yes, Miss?” He said with professionalism and warmth.
“Has Mr Marcello called the restaurant, or do you know when he is arriving?” She asked, he shook his head. Hayley sighed, what was he playing at?
“I’m sorry Miss, only heard from Mr Marcello at lunchtime to confirm the table. I am sure he won’t be long, another glass of wine?”
Hayley fiercely shook my head, she was a little embarrassed and a little pissed. He hadn’t called to say he would be late and if he had forgotten well that was worse.
“No, thank you,” She grabbed her bag and rummaged for her purse. “I’ve had enough of waiting for him!” She huffed in honesty, she wasn’t going to be here when he did eventually show.
“Miss, I will just put the wine on Mr Marcello’s bill.” He explained to Hayley who nodded, she could see the sympathy in his eyes, she could have broken down in that instant.
“I’ll get your jacket.” He smiled warmly and left her before returning almost instantly.
Hayley placed her phone in her jacket pocket as the host held it out for her and then helped to put it on. Hayley thanked him and then left the restaurant.
She was about to hail down a taxi when she recognised the black SUV car that pulled in. A young man jumped out of the driver’s side.
“Miss Tate!” He called out to her, the man looked younger than Hayley. She looked at the car, it had one of Luca’s trademark licence plates.
“Hayley, please.” She corrected, and he laughed with a warm young smile. Seriously, he couldn’t be old enough to drive.
“Yeah, sorry,” he spoke as he approached her. “Frankie said you prefer to be called Hayley, it’s just the boss called you Miss Tate and he was pretty, erm graphic with how you are to be treated.”
Hayley rolled my eyes, poor guy first night on the job and already Luca had threatened God knows what. Hayley shook her head causing her loose curls to bounce
“The boss is held up, business,” He shrugged, this didn’t surprise her. “He instructed me to pick you up and drive you home and he will see you there.”
Hayley just shrugged as she walked to the huge SUV. The young guy ran ahead and opened the door of the back passenger and then he slipped into the driver’s side.
Hayley put her head on the headrest. She was still fuming with Luca. All he had to do was call, he could have let her know he was busy. Perhaps he couldn’t?
It was then she remembered he said he would always let her know if he couldn’t make it, he would never forget anything. Maybe he couldn’t call, maybe whatever business he had was too dangerous? Her heart began to race, was he in danger?
Rummaging through her jacket pocket she began to search for her phone, but it wasn’t there. She knew, in fact, she could swear blind she put her phone in the pocket of her jacket, right before the host put her jacket on her. She felt sick at the thought of the kind, warm host stealing her phone.
Her stomach churned, something felt off. Her phone taken in the restaurant, Luca not calling to cancel, and now a new driver?
Hayley gently slipped her clutch bag off the seat, the driver looked at her in the mirror, she sighed dramatically and went to retrieve the bag.
She remembered Luca telling her how his cars had guns, weapons under the front seats. Hayley used her hand to check, no weapons. She picked up the bag and sat upright. She moved quietly to the door and subtly tried to open it, it was locked.
She could feel her heart racing, her palms sweating as she let go of the handle and clutched her bag. She noticed slashes on the back of the seats, had this driver removed the guns? This was bad, she could feel it.
The driver stopped, looking straight out the windscreen she knew this was not Luca’s home or her own. The driver said nothing, he did nothing.
Hayley looked at the warehouse in front of the car, and the odd person outside of it. She knew Luca was crazy and he was a Mobster. But deep down she knew Luca would never tell his men to bring her here, did Luca even have a warehouse?
“This is a trap, isn’t it?” Her voice was weak, and her heart was racing, he never said anything. Hayley was just about to lunge over the seat and grab him, but the passenger door opened.
“Hello, Miss Tate.” A man spoke in a deep rough voice.
He roughly grabbed her wrists and pulled Hayley out of the car. She struggled, with all her might she struggled against him. She was kicking, thrashing and trying in vain to get him to loosen his hard grip. She heard a couple of men laughing, but the one holding her didn’t laugh.
“Smettila di ridere e di aiutarmi, idioti.” The one holding Hayley growled through gritted teeth.
(Stop laughing, and help me you idiots.)
One man tried to approach her legs, as he went to grab her legs, she kicked him hard in the face, she felt quite proud of herself as he fell to one knee.
“Little bitch!” He hissed as he held his nose.
Hayley continued to fight with the other man, who now had her tight around the waist. She tried standing on his feet, another guy tried to grab her legs-again- but she kept missing him as he went to kick him too.
Suddenly a loud bang filled the air, Hayley didn’t scream but did stop struggling. She was panting as the man didn’t loosen his drip. Hayley looked ahead, and all the guys looked at the man who had fired the shot.
He was dressed as smartly as Luca does, he had tanned skinned and dark hair. He wore trendy stubble and a trendy hairstyle. She would have said he was about Luca’s age. His eyes were a vibrant green colour and they were intent on Hayley.
“Un lavoro, e non puoi farlo” His voice was harsh as he looked between the guys, something told Hayley he was in charge. Her heart was racing. The fact he spoke Italian made her even more nervous than if he spoke English.
(You had one job, and you can’t get that right)
He walked closer to the woman that was fighting against his men, she looked nervous, but he could see she was trying not to show fear or weakness.
She watched as he got closer to her, and he smiled darkly and then returned his gaze back to Hayley.
“You are the famous Hayley.” His tone was bright, and his smile showed his perfect teeth, Hayley said nothing just looked at his green eyes.
He gripped her pretty face; her eyes were a spectacular colour of blue. He tilted her head to look at her beauty, Luca was a lucky son of a bitch if the rumours were true. Plus, she had balls, he liked that.
“Posso capire perché gli piace.” He chuckled and some of the men around them laughed as Hayley roughly pulled her chin out of his hand.
(I can see why he likes her.)
“Who the hell are you?” She was being reckless and stupid but she wanted to come across as fearless, even when the fear was making her tremble.
His smile never wavered even though she had back-talked him.
“All in good time, Darling,” he said his tone was still light and his smile huge. “First though, this is going to hurt, Darling.” He laughed, as he furrowed his eyebrows but kept his smile.
Suddenly he raised his hand and stabbed Hayley in the neck, well it was more of a pinch. But with the force he did it, it hurt like hell. She never screamed, she didn’t even wince even though it hurt, when he moved his hand she grabbed her neck, protectively.
“Son of a bi...” But her words slowed, her legs began to turn to jelly. She never fell, as she still had that man’s grip on her waist. The world around her went blurry, and he was talking again, perhaps in Italian, but it was so jumbled it could have been English, then her eyelids closed and Hayley was forced into darkness.