In the Company of Killers

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Chapter: 017

Dylan

There might be over fifty people on the top floor of this luxurious establishment. In my opinion, I could risk going to jail for homicide if it would mean I don’t have to see this infuriating man ever again.

He sat there like a king, rocked back in his seat, a glass of liquor propped on his knee. He was enjoying seeing me squirm. That much was evident in the roguish flicker in his eyes and the small smirk on his lips. He was enjoying this a fucking lot.

I was the kind of girl who can yap your ear of on any day, stranger or no. But put me up on a stage in front of a crowd and I’ll freeze up like a deer in headlights. It’s something about standing in front of piercing gazes all honed in on you, that makes my skin prickle uncomfortably.

“Do I hear five thousand?” My jaw drops.

“Ten thousand!”

“Twelve.”

“Fifteen.”

“Twenty-five.”

All around me, men and women are shouting bids across the stage and even though the cheapskate in me is blanching, my inner hooker is flattered at the amount of money these guys were willing to throw away just for a date with me. It’s almost unbelievable.

“Fifty! We have fifty...” the announcer gabbled and my eyes shot towards the old fart with a cane, and several gold teeth in his mouth grinning at me. Oh, Fuck no. “Going once...”

“Seventy thousand dollars!” I was scared to look because I knew who’d called out that outrageously large number but I looked anyway. Fucking Rossi. The same man who couldn’t take a fucking hint. “Going once...”

Panic swelled in my chest and my eyes darted to Enzo with a desperation I wasn’t ashamed of. He merely cocked his head to the side, forefinger tracing his upper lip with a look saying how bad do you need me right now.

My look said, if you let Rossi win, when I get home I’m blending your dick. Don’t play with me.

His eyes crinkled with amusement.

“Going twice...”

Enzo!

“Sol--”

“One hundred thousand.”

The crowd gasps.

Rossi sputtered.

I exhaled in relief.

“Sold! To Mr. Corretti We have a new record,” The announcer exclaimed excitedly. “Ms Alvarez you’re a lucky woman.”

Lucky. I don’t think luck had anything to do with it. Because staring into the Devil’s eyes, all it said now was, are you ready to dance, puppet?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

We took the stairs on our way out this time. That elevator ride on the way up here was a one-time thing for me. My anxiety won’t allow me the joy a second time. Enzo hasn’t said a word to me since he paid one hundred thousand to take me out.

I’m still dizzy thinking about how much money that was. I know it was going to a charity and hooray for that but it was still a lot to just throw around. I shouldn’t be surprised though. The Corretti’s are more loaded than the President, they can afford to spend that kind of money.

The night air had a chill to it that raced up my arms and my bareback in this not-so-modest dress. Enzo nodded to the Valet and he raced to bring around our cars. But to my surprise and confusion, Nino, Malachai and Vince broke off from the group before Timmy could arrive (I don’t know if that’s the Valet’s name. He just looks like a Timmy).

They went around the building and disappeared without a word.

I threw Enzo a look over my shoulder as he fingered the cuffs on his suit absently. “Where are they going?”

“To finish some business.”

My eyes narrowed. I looked over and Emilia to see if she knew anything and she shrugged. Liked I guess. She didn’t know anything either. Seems Enzo enjoys keeping the women in his company in the dark. “What kind of business?”

His smile was wolfish, “The illegal kind, of course.”

I searched his eyes, looking for something that could give up what he sent the boys after but he closed off the moment I started poking. His robot mask strapped on tight.

The Valet came over with the car then and Emilia slipped in but before Enzo could reach for the door I stopped him, slamming the door and stepping in front of the door.

“You do realize that you just blew a hundred thousand on a date with me, right?”

“Really? And here I thought it was all a dream,” he said sarcastically.

I don’t like him. I really don’t. “I’m curious, were you born an asshole or did you take lessons?”

“And if I did? You gonna write them a bad review on Yelp?”

I give him a dry look. “I’m not going on a date with you, Enzo.”

He cocked an eyebrow, mockingly. “Who said anything about a date?”

“Then why’d you help me with Rossi? I’m sure it’s not out of the goodness of your heart.”

“Maybe I just don’t like sharing what’s mine,” he drawled in a low timbre that resonated all the way to my center. I shivered and I saw his tongue wet his bottom lip when he caught it. He was playing with me, that I know but it didn’t stop my body from responding to every move he made.

I tilted my chin up to stare into his eyes defiantly despite the tingle erupting all over my body under his gaze. “You don’t own me.”

He took a step closer, despite the fact we’d been close since the start of this conversation. Now, we were breathing each other’s air. He gripped my chin, his callous fingertips digging into my flesh in a warning. “In case I sound repetitive, need I remind you of our little chat at the party. The moment your file landed on my desk, you were mine. You better let it stick in that pretty head of yours quick before things get very unpleasant for you.” The dangerous twinkle in his eyes told me he meant every word.

“Get your hands off of me,” I gritted out. His smile was malicious.

“What’s the magic word.”

"Now.”

He chuckled, but it was dark and humorless. “Any other man talked to me the way you do, I’d have mailed his tongues to his wife.”

“Lucky me then.”

“Lucky you.” He agreed.

“You asked me why I saved you?” His thumb brushed over my bottom lip and his eyes followed it, darkening. “It’s simple.” His voice was low and his breath warm against my cheek. “You’re now in my debt. And when I come to collect, and baby, I will collect. Things will get very interesting between us.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

His threat followed me into the next day. I have several unfinished assignments for my classes and I couldn’t concentrate enough to finish one.

I was in his debt and owing a man like him, could cost you your life. I know several bodies in the Mississippi River can attest to that. I needed to get out before he got his chance to collect. To do what I’ve been thinking of doing since I first got here. Run and hide far far away.

I can’t get sucked into Enzo and his world again. I paid a hard price getting out of it in the form of my dead best friend and I refuse to lose anybody else. Soon, I’ll have nobody else to lose if the cancer eating away at my Abuelita’s insides have anything to say about it. No, I am here for a reason and the sooner that sticks in my head, the sooner I can get out of here. But that’s becoming harder to do than I’d like.

This man was an undiagnosed psychopath, but I was getting all tingly with a brush of his fingertips against my skin. What does that make me?

My texts books are sprawled out around me on the living couch. I’m in the process of studying when my skin prickle with an uncomfortable awareness. Enzo had his arms propped on the back of the couch, caging me in from behind. I could feel his dominating presence like a bad omen in the back of my neck.

“Turn it up,” he commanded.

I blinked.

The tingling is back.

Slowly I shake the fog out of my head as I reached for the remote beside me. I turn up the volume for the tv.

A news anchor stood in front of an abandoned warehouse, talking mechanically into a mic. My eyebrows furrowed as the camera shifted perspective and the air left me in one stun puff. Tied to three long spikes protruding several feet from the dilapidated building were three men I instantly recognized. Not because they were my long-lost best friends from Mexico but because we’d merely conversed several hours ago but according to the report... is dead.

Sancho and his goons.

All the blood drained out of me.

Tentatively, my head slowly peeked over my shoulder, up at Enzo but he wasn’t watching me. His eyes were on the tv. Sharp and controlled.

There was no doubt in my mind Enzo organized this murder. It was too much of a coincidence that we bumped into them at last night’s event like that... No, this wasn’t a coincidence. This was a call for war.

“Authorities are saying this was the work of gang violence and haven’t come up with any leads so far. But investigations are still pending...”

Without a word, Enzo rose to his full height and left the room all while my stomach reeled.

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