In the Company of Killers

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Chapter: 004

Dylan

The air was crisp and smelt of wood and pine from the trees surrounding the mansion. All New Yorkian nature. Well, what little the Coretti’s bought of it to boost their mansion’s aesthetic. I tilted my face up into the early morning sun basking in the heat. I’d borrowed a pair of running shoes and some gear from Emilia, she wasn’t too happy about that but who the fuck cares. I wasn’t too happy with those assholes kidnapping me so she and her entire family could suck it.

I bent down to tie my laces when suddenly the pounding of footfalls caught my attention and I glanced over my shoulder.

It was Malachai, shirtless and glistening in running tracks. Apparently, he hadn’t seen me because the next second he was colliding with my back as we both tumbled down in a mess of limbs and broken headphones.

“Motherfucker!” He winced out, rubbing his ass and holding his side sorely. “I think my ass bone just punctured one of my organs.”

I pried my leg out from under him. Cursing out as a light pain traveled up my leg. “And I think you broke my kneecaps.”

He gave me what I assume was an unimpressed look, he was in pain so it just looked like he was sneering. “If you’re trying to one-up me, sunshine. I think lungs beat kneecaps any day.”

I rolled my eyes and murmured, “But it sure doesn’t beat your idiocy.”

“Ouch, sunshine,” He said holding his hand over his heart. “That one actually hurt. And to think, I thought you were falling for me just now.”

“Har, har,” I said sarcastically at the double meaning and he grinned, standing up and dusting the dirt from his tracks before he offered me his hand. I took it without thinking and he helped me to my feet.

I winced a little when I had to stand on the injured leg. Malachai looked down at my feet, eyebrows furrowed in concern. “Can you walk?”

“Yeah,” I nodded. “It’s not that bad. The pains actually fading.” He held me up until I could finally stand on my own and the pain dwindled to a light throb.

A quiet fell between us until I looked up to find him looking at me with a perplexed look on his face. “What?” I asked, uncomfortable with all the staring.

He narrowed his eyes. “What are you doing out here? I might be wrong, but didn’t Enzo say you weren’t allowed to leave the house?”

Shit. I’ve been caught.

“Uh... I- I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“No,” he dragged out. “I specifically remember him saying you weren’t to leave the house... Maybe I should just call him and find out.” His hand lowered to his pocket and I panicked. I might not be afraid of the others but Enzo terrified me. After what happened in his office yesterday, he showed me he wasn’t afraid to hurt me to get what he wanted and I wasn’t up to test his control so early in our ‘relationship’.

I put up both my hands in surrender, not missing the twinkle of mirth in Malachai’s eyes. The little fucker was enjoying this. “Okay, how about this,” I say and he cocked an eyebrow.

“Oh, this is about to be good...”

I gritted my teeth. “How about you don’t tell Bossman I was out and I don’t tell him you ran me over.”

He snorted. “I didn’t run you over, sunshine. I tripped lightly over you and may or may not have broken your knee.”

“That’s not what Bossman’s gonna hear,” I sing-songed and Malachai narrowed his eyes, his amusement dropping with his smile.

“What do you mean, Dylan?”

I grinned wickedly. “Oh, nothing. Just the part of the story where you backed into me with a car, almost killing the one person he needs to get who he’s searching for.”

“He won’t believe you,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Oh, yeah?” I challenged. “There are no cameras on this side of the house and there’s a security jeep right over there. It won’t take much for me to whip up a story and get your ass in trouble too, sunshine.” I threw his nickname back at him to piss him off and it seemed as though it was working. “Just so you know, I was the lead in Romeo and Juliet in high school, that means I can cry on cue.”

He stared at me, almost like he didn’t believe me and I held his gaze in return. It was a battle of wills until he cursed out. “Damn you’re one evil bitch.”

“That’s so sweet of you to say.” I put out a hand expectantly. “So... do we have a deal.”

He shook his head, his amusement returning and to my surprise, admiration glinted there too. He clasps my hand in his warm one and smiled at me. “I think we’re gonna be good friends, sunshine.”

I looked at him strangely. “Never made a friend out of blackmail before but what the hell. Welcome to the dark side, Malachai.”

“No, sunshine,” Malachai said, eyes glinting darkly. “You haven’t been there until now.”

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

We jogged silently beside each other. Each in our own heads. I found myself getting comfortable with Malachai already and I wasn’t a fan of that fact. He reminded me a lot of my brother. They were both light-hearted and arrogant but had this energy that spoke volumes of just how dangerous they were if you were to get on their bad side.

I miss my brother but I shouldn’t be seeing him in Malachai. That’ll only make me like him and I shouldn’t like him because he’s one of them. And that’s a big no-no in the Kidnapper-Captive Chronicles.

Fine, I thought, after I kick his ass in this race, I’ll ignore him for the rest of my stay.

I jammed my elbow into Malachai’s side. He swore as we bolted towards the back door of the mansion, leading into the kitchen.

“Damn, girl. The elbow! I felt it penetrate me.”

I spun around to face him outside the glass doors, still panting like crazy from the run. “So you could do it to girls but when we do it back to you, it’s a problem?”

“Oh?” Malachai said eyebrows wiggling suggestively. “That’s the kind of kinky shit you’re into, huh, Dylan? Penetrating boys?”

I shoved him away, my cheeks flaming but that only made him laugh harder. “Fuck you.”

“I will not allow you to defile me with your kinkiness, Alvarez! I am not that kind of man!” He told me waving a finger in my face as if he’s talking to a child.

I rolled my eyes, batting his finger away. “I know for a fact, you have more kink in you than I do in my right big toe.”

His eyes sparkled and he took a sensual step towards me. “Care to find out?”

That’s when I screamed. “Stranger Danger! Stranger Danger!”

His eyes widened and he was on me, his hand clamping over my mouth to shut me up. “Shh!” He whispered through his laughter. “You’ll wake the others up and we’ll both be screwed.”

I licked his hand causing him to jerk his hand back in disgust. I smiled broadly and skipped into the kitchen. It was really early still and so, I hadn’t seen any of the usual staff cooking breakfast. I went into the fridge grabbing two bottles of water and chucking one to Malachai who caught it skillfully. I took a refreshing sip, letting the cool liquid revive my fatigued muscles.

Malachai covered more ground than I usually did this morning. Even though I kept up with him fairly well, my muscles were screaming. It was more than I was used to and the sweat stains made it known too.

While I looked like a drenched cat, he looked like a sports model out for a morning stroll with barely any sweat at all.

I glared at his abs like they personally insulted me.

“See something you like, sunshine?” He taunted when he caught me looking.

“If I did, I wouldn’t be looking at you,” I snapped back.

“You’re gonna stain your heart with all those lies, sunshine.”

Little did he know.

“It’s already stained,” I murmured lowly.

I knew he caught that when I saw the haunted look passed over his face. And at that moment I knew he was like me. A lost soul that had a part of them taken from him— no, stolen. And there was no way we could get it back. We were souls wandering too far from redemption.

I emptied the water down my throat and went in for another one, trying to brush the overwhelming memories swiveling in my head. I needed to change the subject. I didn’t like that Malachai saw me vulnerable a little. That he saw a snippet of my darkness. I can’t allow that to happen because the moment I start letting people in, the moment they disappear from my life and I can’t go through that heartache again. It’s too soon.

“By the way,” I say, uncapping my water. “I totally won that one.”

“You cheated!” He accused rightly... because I did in fact cheat.

“Do you see a referee? No? Me neither. So it stands. I won and you owe me twenty bucks,” I declared, holding out my hand expectantly. He slapped my arm away.

“You tripped me like thirty times on our way here. In any rule book that constitutes cheating. Which means I don’t owe you the skin on my balls.”

I tsked, “You know what I think? I think you just don’t want to pay up.” I came around the counter so I was standing right in front of him. I patted him on his shoulder mockingly. “Fine, you can keep your money, cheap stake Mr. Krabbs. I know how it pains you to part with it.”

He scowled at me. “I am not cheap and I would pay you if you weren’t such a cheat.” I chuckled at the last part. “I won, admit it.”

My finger tapped against my jaw as I feign thinking it over. “Hmm...Sorry, I must not tell lies.”

He opened his mouth to say something but that’s when we heard heavy footsteps down the hall coming towards us and both our heads swiveled to the door. Malachai’s eyes widened.

I didn’t think twice. I ducked, tucked, and rolled behind the counter, biting my lip to prevent myself from cussing out after hitting my backbone on the leg of a stool. Malachai plopped himself on the stool I was hiding behind to conceal me, so I was unceremonially between his leg, his dick literally inches from my forehead.

The things you do to save your own ass.

The footsteps came closer. “What’s up, Enzo?” Malachi said chirpily, his legs swinging and all that shit. I punched his foot in warning when it came close to my face.

He didn’t like that because he actually kicked me back. Right in the arm before he stopped swinging his legs. I scowled. Fine, if you wanna play.

I punched him in his dick.

He groaned, stiffly. “Fucker!”

I smirked. Serve you right!

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I heard Enzo ask and I bit my fist to stop laughing.

“Nothing...” He got out painfully. “I... uh— I farted.”

I’m wheezing!

“Okay... well... don’t hurt yourself,” Enzo said after a long, uncertain pause.

Tears were falling down my cheeks from laughter and if I didn’t let it out soon I was going to combust.

“Anyway... I need you to check on one of my factories in Boston. I heard Doctor Ricci is getting creative with my shit, mixing things that shouldn’t be mixed. I need you to remind him that I don’t pay him to kill my customers with his Phineas and Ferb inventions. I want my shit straight, clean, and making me money.”

I saw Malachai nod from my periphery. “When do I leave?”

“Tonight.”

And just like that, all humor is drained out of me and I’m reminded of just the kind of people I’m held captive to.

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