Chapter 29 - Two Cars, Two Choices
Hayley had no problems with remembering her night. From the second she put on that feathered mask her world had changed, and yet again it was because of Luca Marcello.
She ran her hands through her hair as she looked around his now familiar room, her clothes were lying scattered on the floor. She could hear her mobile ringing in the mess. Leaping out of his huge bed she rummaged to find her mobile while beginning to get dressed.
“Hello?” She answered the phone to her boss Siobhan, all the while trying to put her clothes on.
“Hey, I’ve got your plane tickets here for an 8 pm flight tonight to Paris.” Hayley’s stomach dropped, and she stopped getting dressed.
She had forgotten she had begged for Siobhan to send her to Paris, she had forgotten how she wanted to be far away from Luca and New York. The world stopped as she -in her underwear- just stood looking at her reflection in the vanity mirror above his dresser.
This was fate intervening, giving her a choice. Here she was trapped by the detective, trapped by her want for Luca and trapped by her own bad decisions.
“A driver will pick you up at 6 pm.”
Hayley stood frozen as she listened to Siobhan’s plan. But her heart pounded. She was on a red alert, the detective would know if she flew out of the country. He would get her back. The warning of him rang her ears. He already knew about her plans.
“I’ve changed my mind,” She stopped Siobhan mid-conversation. “I will pay for-”
“Hayley, I think you should go.” Siobhan’s words were firm. She pressed her lips together.
“I am sorry, I want to stay. Sorry I have to go.” She quickly ended her call. But Siobhan was relentless texting her, leaving voice messages saying a car will pick her up at 6 pm she had until then to really think about it.
He watched as she gave him a weak smile before she began to get changed. He stood watching as she moved fluidly around his room.
“You okay?” He asked her as she put on her jeans, she nodded.
She didn’t look okay. His mind thought of his notorious godmother, she must have heard Hayley had come back with him, she probably warned her off, again.
“I’ve got to go.” Hayley wanted to go home, think and evaluate what the detective had asked of her. Could she risk trying to leave?
He knew something was wrong and he had to find out what, he took her shoulders gently. The touch was shocking as it was so gentle.
“Changed your mind?” He quizzed her, she sighed and shook her head. She didn’t want to change her mind, in fact, she craved the month-long offer he offered her. She sighed as he cupped her face and his thumb gently skimmed her face, causing her to shiver slightly.
“It’s all your choice Hayley,” his voice was alluring, husky and made her core ache. “I’m not going to make you stay.” He wished he could, he wished he could keep her under lock and key, safe in his home.
“I know,” she beamed up at him. “I want to stay.”
That was the truth, she did. As mad as it sounded she wanted to live with him, be his girl even if he could only promise her a month.
“I’ve also got a shift tonight,” she lied. “I also have to get my things, if you want me here.” She explained, he smiled slightly at the idea of her sharing his home.
“Frankie will give you a ride to your apartment,” Luca instructed, and Hayley just nodded in agreement. Luca pulled her face closer to his and gently let his mouth find hers.
Hayley closed her eyes as their lips touched. She imagined for a second, he was a regular guy, with no Mafia ties and no criminal connections. She carefully pulled away and opened her eyes to look into his, before he let his hand fall from her face and took a deep breath.
“Let’s go find Frankie then.” He spoke before he turned on his heel and Hayley followed him before leaving his home to go back to hers.
Luca marched through The Dublin where he had been told Siobhan was hiding, doing accounts apparently. Siobhan looked up at the door swung open and she sighed as she watched her Godson enter the office.
“Luca, I’m sure I taught you to knock before entering a room.” She sighed as she removed her glasses and looked at Luca who laughed to himself.
“What do you want, Luca?” She asked him as she got up and walked to the filing cabinet with her files.
“I’m going to take Hayley for dinner tonight, so I’ve come to get her the night off.” Luca watched as Siobhan froze with her back to him, she sighed heavily before pushing the metal draw in violently and then turned around to face him.
“Impossible.” Siobhan shook her head, she watched as Luca’s face darkened.
“Surely Ben can cover the bar, a lot of my men will be out on jobs tonight, so the club should be quieter,” Luca explained, but Siobhan shook her head before she spoke.
“It’s impossible because she’s leaving, Luca. At least she should. ” She spoke softly as she walked around the table, so she was leaning on the desk and looking at her seating godson.
His face was fury mixed with confusion. She watched as he sighed and sat back on the chair and shook his head. He remained calm.
“What do you mean she is leaving?” Luca asked Siobhan.
“She’s leaving New York, I have a driver picking her up at six tonight, Luca.” Luca was furious as he listened to her. He clenched his fists as he listened to his Godmother tell him she had arranged to send Hayley away.
“How long have you been planning this?” He asked, he tried to keep his voice calm and level.
“She asked me not that long ago, I have arranged everything. She only found out this morning when I called her.” Luca exhaled furiously, that was what she was talking about on the phone, she had lied to him and so had Siobhan.
“Although she was fighting it, I hope you haven’t planted some dream that you can’t follow through on Luca.” Siobhan wanted her little bird safe, away from her Godson.
“I’m trying to protect her Siobhan.” Siobhan said nothing and watched as he turned to face her, she took a deep breath and listened to him. He knew deep down he had to tell Siobhan.
“Bullshit, Luca!” She was furious he was holding her heart in his violent hands. “She will be safer away from all this Mafia shit.”
“You don’t fucking understand.” He hissed.
“Then make me understand because right now putting her on that plane myself seems the best solution.”
“Lorenzo Borroni,” Siobhan froze at that man’s name. “Sent me a very clear message, remember the night he took us?” Siobhan nodded slowly as she remembered Luca and Frankie explained about the ‘game’ of roulette they played.
“He sent me the final bullet, with her name on it.”
He watched as her eyes went wild, oh she was about to go nuclear on him. He braced himself for that. What he wasn’t expecting was the silence.
He watched as Siobhan moved back so she was leaning on the office desk. Luca remained focused on her, as she said nothing and did nothing. Suddenly, she knew Lorenzo would move heaven and earth to kill her.
“I can’t protect her in Paris, Siobhan,” she was going to speak but he never let her, he just kept talking. “Borroni has marked her as dead, he won’t let a little thing like another country stop him.” Luca shook his head.
“Your Dad has managed to stay alive, in Italy.” She added, he nodded at her answer before he spoke again.
“Yes, my padre also has hundreds of men, 24/7 security cameras and tracking,” Luca thought of the millions they spent on keeping his father safe in Italy. “She is my responsibility, I put her in this situation and I will protect her, here.” Luca’s tone was dark and filled with authority.
He looked at Siobhan, whose face was hard, but said nothing. In his mind this conversation was over, so he turned on his heel and went to the door again.
“So that’s it,” He heard Siobhan just as his hand reached the door handle, he sighed as he stopped but didn’t turn to face her. “You protect her, play the hero?” He wasn’t a hero he thought but said nothing.
“Then what? You fix the Borroni problem, you keep her close for what a month or two? You will what? Give her your bed, flowers, dinners? And then what Luca? Are you going to drop her?” She yelled.
Luca was done talking to her, he was done so he opened the door, but Siobhan spoke again.
“She should get on that plane.” Her voice was harsh, but he never turned back; he slammed the door as he left the office. Siobhan let out a shaky breath, he wanted Hayley, whether he admitted it or not and she had to make sure Hayley left New York.
*My driver will pick you up at 6pm. Make the right choice.* Hayley looked at the message from her boss.
Her heart raced as she dropped her phone in her bag but began packing the rest of her things. Her mind, the fear in her was telling her to go to Paris and never come back. But, she was a coward. She was petrified of the detective putting her in prison or sending her home to the mercy of her family.
However, her stomach churned staying means she was working to help bring down a mob boss, a mob boss she was infatuated with.
The doorbell to the apartment sang, bringing her out of her thoughts.
She knew she was alone, Ben and Ava were out, so she went to answer it. She was not expecting to see Frankie standing there, his smile was infectious.
“Hello, Frankie.” She smiled at him a little surprised to see him.
“Hey,” he beamed a sparkling smile at Luca’s girl, he held out a garment bag towards her. She looked between the grey bag and Frankie. “The Don wants to take you for dinner tonight.” Hayley then looked back at the garment bag.
“He sent you a dress,” he held the dress bag closer to Hayley, and with a little sigh, she took it from him. “Ric will pick you up at 6 pm.” Then with a smile and a wink, he left her doorway, and Hayley was left holding the bag.
It was close to 6 pm as she stood with her holdall in her hand, she looked around the apartment and placed her letter for her flatmates on the coffee table, before leaving her apartment.
She stepped out into the cool air, as she expected there were two SUV’s on the road by the pavement. She recognised Siobhan’s driver, he drove her everywhere she needed to be, the other SUV had Ric standing having a smoke. It was like a fork in the road, two paths, two choices.
Luca looked at the clock just before 6:30 pm, he was sitting in his fine-dining restaurant. He had never waited on anyone in his life, yet here he was waiting for Hayley.
The waiter had brought him his favourite wine, it was now chilling in the metal ice bucket, but his eyes remained glued on the entrance.
He had no idea if she was going to show, if she was going to get on the plane and leave New York, it was a tense waiting game, one he has never been prepared to play.
“You came.” His tone was low as he admired the beauty who stood at his table, the dark emerald green dress looked amazing on her.
Hayley was breathing heavily as she looked at his brooding face in the dimly lit restaurant. She had a choice and she chose to come to him, like a moth she was drawn into him and she knew it would only lead her to get hurt.
“Of course, the dress, the driver, the restaurant,” Hayley said looking around the stylish place before letting her eyes find him again. “You went to so much trouble, I could hardly refuse.” She beamed.
He smiled lightly as he watched as the waiter pulled the chair out for her to sit down and she smiled up at him as he then poured her a glass of wine.
“I thought you would have taken Siobhan’s offer.” His eyes darkened, and he picked up the wine glass and put it to his mouth, Hayley stiffened as she watched him take a drink before putting the glass back down.
“She told me everything.” He spoke, her heart raced. What did he mean? He noticed she had stiffed, her eyes were curious, but he could see a little bit of fear behind their glittering gaze.
“She told me you were going to leave, go back to Paris. Why didn’t you?” He waited for her to answer him.
Hayley had no idea what to say, she didn’t have a reason why she didn’t get into that car, she could have gotten away and tried to hide from Luca and the cop/
But, something inside her couldn’t walk away, not yet. Luca watched as she lightly shrugged, shaking her head.
“I don’t know,” She said in all honesty. “Perhaps, something in me wants to give you the month we promised. Maybe, a part of me loves New York. Maybe.” She sighed before she said what she really wanted to say.
“No more running Hayley.” His words were firm, harsh. He couldn’t have Hayley doing a runner every five minutes. She was an immediate target to his enemy, she had to stay safe.
Hayley nodded, her heart raced, she would run she would have too. Luca sighed as he and Hayley were handed a menu from the waiter, who then quickly left.
“What to have.” He murmured to himself, as a way to change the conversation, Hayley smiled and looked down at her own menu.
They ordered some food and drank some wine. They spoke casually, keeping the topics light and general. Hayley was sitting with a Mafia boss, a man who killed yet as he laughed and spoke to her he was none of those things.
“So how old were you when you became the boss?” Hayley quizzed him as they tucked into their main course.
Luca eyes the beautiful brunette, he never spoke about his world, but her innocence was off-putting and innocence in his world got people killed. Yet, he wanted to keep her perfect naivety, but he wanted her to know him, even only a little.
“I was twenty-three, I’ve been in charge of the family here for six years.” He said simply.
“Was your dad in charge before you?” She quizzed him, and he nodded. Then it hit her, his dad was probably dead.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, he looked at her, his eyebrows furrowed, but she continued to talk. “I know what it’s like to lose a parent.”
Luca had worked it out and chuckled a little.
“Hayley, I also know what it’s like to lose a parent,” he smiled. “But, I have only lost one, my mother. My father is safe in Italy.” Hayley looked at him puzzled.
“To take over the boss just has to step down, my father did sort of,” Luca explained. “He still runs things, mainly from the safety of Italy.”
“You said safe too often.” Hayley pointed out.
“I did,” Luca smiled at the beauty, nothing got past her. “My father is a Mafia boss, he has enemies. I’m not going to lie, he did terrible things, and in Italy, he is safer than here in New York. He is a dead man, he can never come back here.” Luca explained.
“Are you a dead man?” Hayley asked before she thought about it, but her stomach clenched waiting for his answer.
“Everyday,” He shrugged so casually. “I wake up, I shower, shave and wear my best clothing. I wake up knowing that today could be my last day. A Mafia man is living on borrowed time, we are never to live forever.”
The words hurt her more than it should have done. He was living by a mantra taught to him by his Uncle Stefano, Nic’s dad.
Stefano had taught both the youngsters that they are not going to grow old, that men like them don’t live forever, and it was a mantra he lived by, religiously.
Hayley thought of everything, how casually he pulled the trigger of the gun in the game of Roulette with Borroni. How he sat calmly when Artem and Nic pulled guns on her when she came in the room, she could have been an assassin and he never budged.
“You don’t fear anything?” She held back the emotions inside of her. He shook his head at her. “You never flinched when you pointed a gun to your head, or when I broke into the office with Artem.”
“Not true,” he countered in a low voice, and his eyes locked on to her. “I fear you getting hurt.”
The words took Hayley by surprise. “The game of roulette I didn’t flinch because I wanted the shot to hit me, not you.” Hayley went to speak but he spoke again.
“I am brave enough to die, but not brave enough to live with being the reason you are killed. In that situation, you were and are an innocent. That bullet was meant for me, Borroni knows that.” He said fiercely.
“Sorry to interrupt, Hayley.” Nic’s voice startled Hayley a little as he walked past her and whispered low into Luca’s ear, Hayley watched as his face hardened.
Nic walked away from the table, and Luca caught the attention of the waiter and paid him discreetly, before looking at Hayley.
“I’ve got to go, business,” Hayley nodded as Luca spoke. “Ric, will take you back to the house, get some sleep.” He stood up and held out his hand and she took it, he held her hand as he led her out to the street. There were three big SUV’s waiting by the sidewalk.
Ric was leaning against the front one, Hayley noticed Frankie, Nic, Tony and Dom standing around the other two. Luca instructed Ric to take Hayley to his home as he opened the door of the back to get her inside.
Hayley began to get into the heavy SUV, but Luca gripped her hand tightly making her look back at him. It was impulsive, but he wanted this. He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her, it was passionate, it was him claiming her.
He wanted to promise to keep her safe, he wanted to promise her everything, but he knew he couldn’t ever make that promise. He pulled back, and gently let her go.
“I’ll see you later, goodnight baby.” He whispered, her heart sang as he called her baby again like he did when he protected her against the reality of Artem’s murder.
“Bye, Luca.” She whispered back before she got into the car and Ric pulled away when she was safely inside.
She checked her phone to find Siobhan had frantically messaged and called her, she skipped to the last text message her boss had sent her.
*Fine! You guys want to play house, fine! But don’t come to me when it all falls apart!*
Hayley wouldn’t go crying to anyone. She gently touched her tingling lips; his kiss was possessive, and she loved it.
Siobhan was right this would end in tears, it was inevitable. He was dark, cruel and evil. He lived for his dark side, for his ruthlessness. Hayley wasn’t sure whether to be scared of him or want him.
But, when it did all come crashing down whose side was she on? Luca the criminal? Or the right side, with the arsehole detective?