Chapter 23 - Goodbye Mr Marcello
Hayley woke alone in his huge super king-size bed. She took a deep breath as her mind re-lived last night; the shot that was fired, killing Artem, Luca telling her what an awful person he was, and then locking her in his room.
She slowly slipped out of the bed and meticulously buttoned up the shirt that she was wearing walking to the en-suite bathroom.
Her mind wandered back to last night how she confessed to speaking Russian, how angry he was with the man who he thought was a traitor.
She let out a shaky breath as she used a fluffy grey towel to dry her face, she let him conquer her again. She had to focus, she allowed herself one night, one more time.
She sat at the dresser in the bedroom and used the comb to try and calm her hair, her eyes were focused on the feather headband he still had on the dresser. It surprised her that he still had the headband she wore for his 1920′s party.
She had no idea where in this huge house Mr Marcello was, so she began to pace the huge hallway until she came to the staircase. She heard a familiar voice speaking fluent Italian, he was on the phone.
Frankie smiled up at the brunette beauty as she walked down the stairs in one of his boss’ shirts. Frankie quickly hung up on the caller before looking back at Hayley as her foot hit the ground floor.
“The boss is in the kitchen.” He indicated to the kitchen before he put his phone in his pocket and opened the front door and left the house.
“Hayley?” Her heart skipped as she heard his familiar voice, she walked into the room she knew was the kitchen. She sighed as she admired him, he was wearing one of his shirts, no tie and the sleeves rolled up and the collar open.
“I hope you are hungry?” He said as he placed some plates on the kitchen worktop. He couldn’t help but be stunned by Hayley. She was gorgeous, even in one of his shirts.
“You cook?” She asked him as she walked up to the kitchen stool and watched him walk back to the stove where something smelling delicious was cooking.
“Not often, but I am talented in more ways than one.” He laughed as he put two tall glasses on the worktop in front of Hayley and went to the fridge for the jug of iced water and poured each of them a glass. He placed the jug down and watched as she took a delicate drink.
“Siobhan taught me everything I know. My mother was an amazing cook and Siobhan said she would have taught me and Marco how to cook.” He explained as he went back to the stove.
“Marco?” Hayley asked as she placed down her glass, she heard him sigh.
“My younger brother.” Hayley had no idea he had a brother, she had only ever seen him with Nic and Frankie. Surely, Marco would be his right-hand man.
“Does Marco help with your... Business?” Hayley said, struggling to find the right words to say, Luca chuckled lowly as he thought of his brother.
“Marco.” He spoke as he placed the risotto on the plates, before turning to retrieve the baked salmon from the oven and placed a portion on each plate, before taking the stool opposite Hayley.
“Marco, he helps with my legitimate clubs.” He answered before tucking into his food, Hayley followed.
“Is he not part of the...” She struggled to find the right word, and he watched as her brows furrowed.
"Family, we are a family,” Luca answered, and he watched her pale face flush a light red and her eyes fell from him to the plate in front of her.
“No, he’s not, well,” Luca sighed again. “He should be, he should be my right-hand man. But, he wasn’t cut out for this life. Not that he’s not a hard man, he is. But he likes the money, not the hard work that comes with it.” Luca explained.
Hayley’s heart raced, hard work? He meant the killing, the burying of bodies that he confessed to doing so easily.
“So, my cousin Nic stepped up. I see Nic as a brother, Frankie also has been just as loyal to me.” Luca explained before he took a sip of his icy water.
“Why do you do it?” She asked, he looked from his water and slowly placed the glass on the countertop, his eyes never left hers and she kept hers on him. She was nervous as he looked at her, his eyes were dark.
“Why does anyone do anything? Why do you work as a bar girl in an underground club?” He quizzed, and Hayley shook her head.
“It’s not the same. I have no choice Luca, I have to work there.” He chuckled lowly at her words.
“I have the same problem, Hayley,” the silence ripped through the room, he could see Hayley wasn’t convinced. “This life I lead wasn’t a fucking choice,” he said shaking his head, Hayley could feel her heart race in her chest, “not for me, not for Nic.”
“How? Surely you could have just stopped, and walked away.” He shook his head as she spoke, she had no idea what she was talking about, she had no idea how his world worked.
“You can’t just walk away from this life, my father, his father they all started this and I have to continue. If I walked away hundreds of men would lose income. Places I protect would fall victim to enemies who would kill and destroy. I do this for them.” He thought of the burden his father passed to him. Hayley shook her head.
“But what about you Luca?” She asked. He shook his head, this world wasn’t just about him.
“What about me? Look around you, Hayley.” He put his hands out, Hayley did take a look around. She knew his home, the expensive suits, the designer décor. From the outside a very wealthy, successful man.
“I have everything I need, everything I want.”
“But at what cost?” Her heavy eyes locked on to his as he watched her shake her head. “The deaths, the drugs, the violence? The risk of what death? Arrest? Is it really worth all of that?”
Hayley knew she was walking a rocky road, but she wanted to know a part of her had to know.
“Men like me won’t live forever, I remember you also don’t believe in living forever.” Luca’s mind was reminded of how Hayley drank from a glass that Luca implied was poisonous, how she held a loaded gun to her temple. Hayley stood up shaking her head.
“Men like you?” Her words were fierce as she spoke, he could see the sadness in her eyes. “Men like you get everything you deserve, Luca.” She hissed.
Luca got off his stool and before she could react he had his hands on her shoulders, he wanted to kiss her, he also wanted to violently shake her. She had no right to question him, test him. Yet, he enjoyed it, he enjoyed any type of communication from this woman.
“You never had a problem when you lay with me last night Hayley.” He reminded her as he held her. She tried to wriggle from his grasp, even though she knew it was no good.
“I gave you last night, but never again,” she hissed back, it pained her. “Last night, you killed a man and locked me in a room. You told me how evil you are, how fucked-up you are.” The tears were stinging her eyes as she spoke. “It’s my turn to walk away from you, from us.”
“There was never an us.” He countered, and she violently ripped her arms from his grasp, nodding slowly.
“You’re right, I’m not yours. Remember?” She shouted as she marched out of the kitchen and up to the bedroom.
"Fuck.” He muttered under his breath. He wanted to chase her, begging her to stay. Yet, he also had the part of him that wanted to tie her to a chair in his lock-up and make her apologise.
“Boss,” Nic said as he walked into the kitchen shutting the door.
Nic had seen everything unfold on the camera. His heart tore a little for the beauty that had seemingly captivated Luca, but she was foolish, Luca couldn’t love. No, Luca wouldn’t love.
“This better be fucking important.” He shouted at his cousin as his thoughts went to Hayley who was upstairs and by the sounds of it trashing his bedroom.
He then watched his cousin walk to the counter and placed a small box on the countertop, Luca followed him.
“This is important.” Luca watched as Nic opened the box, Luca recognised the item in the brown box, his eyes went to Nic who was watching his boss.
The bullet was from a revolver, old school. Luca went and picked up the bullet and noticed it had a carving on the side. He was furious, no he was beyond furious as he read the name. ”HAYLEY.”
“It came with a note.” Nic held out the note, Luca took it with his free hand. He recognised the handwriting of Lorenzo Borroni.
Your friend left her bullet behind from our little game, shame we never finished. I’m sure we will get another opportunity.
This was a threat; a threat Luca couldn’t tolerate. Luca put the bullet in the box and handed it back to Nic along with the note.
“She is never to find out,” Luca instructed, Nic nodded.
“I have to figure this out,” Luca had no clue where to go with this. “Make sure she gets home safely.” He walked to the hallway, he heard a slam of something and prayed he would have a home to come back to, then he left the house.
Luca Marcello was an arsehole. Hayley was furious, she was hurt, and she was ready to kill him. Yes, she had promised herself to reap what she sowed from bedding Luca last night.
Yes, she had promised herself to allow one more night in his arms, but she never expected to feel this way. He was a murder, a criminal yet, she wanted him.
She wanted to be like the girls in those romance novels, the ones who tame the bad boy get him to change. Luca wouldn’t change and why should he? She was nothing special.
She sat amongst the room she had turned upside down in her anger, the decanter was smashed along with the tumblers, her beaded feather hairband was in bits on the floor, she had his bedding scattered, along with pillows.
She was angry because he made her lose herself, she was better than that. She pulled herself off the floor, wiping away the tears that had fallen and changed in the red corset she had worn last night, the shorts and her stockings. She slipped on her shoes and looked at herself. What had she become? This was not the woman she wanted to be.
“Hayley?” Nic called her name as he watched her reach for the front door.
Nic could see the pain in her eyes, but noticed beyond the windows was an old banger of a car pulling up in the estate.
“I called Ben to pick me up. Tell Luca to stay away from me.” She spoke as a tear slipped down her face and she opened the heavy door and walked down the steps to Ben who was waiting for her.
Ben drove back to the apartment and he said nothing to her, she excused herself and headed to her bedroom. He knew last night Luca had murdered someone in the club and it was pure luck that Ben had once delivered booze to Luca’s home that he knew where to go and fetch her. What he wanted to know, what did Luca Marcello want with someone like Hayley?
Hayley was back behind the bar, so was dressed in her royal blue corset and she acted like she hadn’t a care in the world. She acted like it wasn’t bothering her that Luca had Arianna on his lap, she pretended that it didn’t hurt that she couldn’t have the one person in New York she wanted.
“I saw the mess you created in my bedroom,” Luca’s voice was firm as Hayley moved a barrel in the cellar of the club, she looked at him harshly. “I have a mind to charge you for damages.” He said lowly, she shrugged.
She had to act tough like every time he spoke her heart didn’t miss a beat like her skin didn’t shiver at his touch and that his presence didn’t give her butterflies in her stomach.
“That’s fine Luca, you know full well I couldn’t afford the whiskey that was in the decanter let alone the carpet I destroyed, the glasses, the tumblers.”
She turned from him and she bent over giving him an amazing view of her ass, but he re-focused as she turned back to him.
“I was angry, but I’m not apologising.”
“I haven’t come here for an apology.” He said simply, then she shrugged indifferently.
“Why are you here? I’m trying to get on with my work.” She said harshly.
It annoyed him how she spoke to him. His mind went to the bullet that held her name, the bullet that was a warning to Luca that she had a hit on her and Borroni will try to hurt her. He wanted her to know that everything he was about to do was for her.
“Two reasons, firstly Artem.” He spoke with his usual firm voice, letting Hayley know he was still in charge.
“What about him?” She asked as she remembered the Russian speaking man who Luca had killed.
“You never spoke to him, you don’t know an Artem and you were never in that meeting room, understand?” He tried to lace his voice with the threat, but he found it difficult with Hayley. Yet, Hayley did hear it.
“Crystal.” She looked at him dead in the eyes, he was emotionless everything a mafia boss should be.
“Secondly, last night never happened. You are not a feather girl Hayley, and I am not your lover. I have one-night stands. I can’t be what you need, and you will never be what I need.”
It felt like he had stabbed her in the chest. She took a deep breath, fought back the tears she wanted to let fall and nodded.
“Of course, last night never happened.” The words came out like vinegar.
Luca nodded and went to turn on his heel to leave.
“By the way Mr Marcello,” he stopped and turned to face her. “I best say goodbye now then, I will be heading back to France far away from you as humanly possible. Thank you so much for reminding me why men are arseholes.”
Luca watched as she then turned to carry on changing the barrels, thankful he couldn’t see her tears. He knew her going to Paris was the best, she wasn’t his and she couldn’t be.
Hayley heard him leave without another word and she knew that was it, whatever it was with Luca Marcello it was over.