Her Empire, His Dominion

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Chapter Seventeen

There had always been an unusual stab in her back anytime Sapphire tried to sleep peacefully. Since the day she boarded a flight to Russia, she hadn’t known what a good night’s sleep felt like again. It was the only recurring problem of being in the Trevoga mansion.

Perhaps it was her father’s sins preventing her from a peaceful night of rest, or maybe she simply needed to change her mattress. But Sapphire had had enough of sleepless nights and heavy make-up to hide her dark circles. It was becoming far too unbearable. Groaning, Sapphire rolled on her side and grabbed her phone. It had been the third time since she went to bed that she was waking up.

The time read 3:23 a.m. It was like a cycle, and she was already used to it. The good thing was that she managed to improve over time, as she usually fell asleep again far quicker than when she had just arrived. The bad thing was the bugging anticipation of waking up one more time before her alarm actually went off in the morning.

A sigh escaped her lips as she rested the phone back on the nightstand, rolling on her other side to go back to sleep. Her eyes were closed, but fatigue would not come. Still, she kept hoping that soon enough, she would fall asleep again without realizing it.

But just as she dozed off, Sapphire heard a quiet creak from the other side of the door, jolting her back awake. She cursed under her breath when she thought that it might just be someone getting a late-night cup of water, and thus, she tried to fall asleep again. Then there was the sound again, and she rolled on her right-side to glance at the bedroom door through the darkness. The hall lights shone beneath the door crack, and she noticed a shadow standing directly behind it.

She got alert. Memories of her clocks being changed in the middle of the night resurfaced as she watched the person. She decided that she had two options. She could either wait until they broke in again or confront them straight up.
She grew even more concerned as it all sank in. Sapphire chewed on her lip, very much awake, as the knob on her door rattled a bit. She wasn’t scared—foolishly so—only a bit curious. If the person on the other side of the door managed to break in and see her awake, then they’d leave after probably making up an excuse. But Sapphire thought that if she caught them red-handed in the act, she could get them out of the mansion once and for all.
So, Sapphire pulled her covers over her shoulders, laid on her side and closed her eyes. Her sense of hearing almost seemed heightened as her entire being trembled in anticipation. The quiet squeak of her door told her that it was opening, meaning that the intruder managed to pick her lock and get through.

The footsteps were light, yet they sounded heavy to her ears. They sounded as if they belonged to a man. A woman’s feet would’ve been almost impossible to hear if she was trying hard enough. Sapphire stiffened as she felt the bed dip with her, but she kept her breathing levelled to give the impression that she was asleep. Cold, calloused fingers brushed her hair away from her ear, and it took everything in her not to shiver at the touch.

“You were always such a beauty,” a male’s voice whispered, and Sapphire’s eyes snapped open when she recognized who it was.

Luka.

Luckily, her back was turned to him, so he didn’t see. Sapphire didn’t feel surprised, but she was confused. She knew Luka hated her, and she wasn’t surprised that he would do something maniacal, like break into her room in the middle of the night. But something that Elisa said on the morning of the clock incident became fresh. Elisa had told Sapphire that she and Luka had no motive to do something as childish as mess with her clocks, and at the time, she seemed right. But then again, does someone need to have a motive to ruin another one’s day? Probably not.

“No wonder you have Valentin so wrapped around your finger,” he added, much softer. His fingers left her ear and roamed the length of her arm.
Sapphire bit on her lip until she tasted blood, only because she didn’t want to move.

“Too bad you’re a stuck up, toxic bitch, or even I’d be after you too.” He chuckled humorlessly and retrieved her fingers. Sapphire almost relaxed until she heard his following words. “Well, you’re going to die anyway. So why not soothe this tiny curiosity?”

Almost instantly, Luka was hovering over a wide-eyed Sapphire after he grabbed her shoulder and pushed her onto her back. They stared at each other in shock for a while. Luka had anticipated that Sapphire would only be waking up from sleep, but the alertness he was met with proved that Sapphire had been awake for a while.

Sapphire, on the other hand, couldn’t find the will to move. It all happened so fast, and his final words were replaying in her head over and over. ‘So why not soothe the curiosity’.

What the hell did that even mean? Sapphire knew too much, yet she didn’t entirely believe it until he smirked at her. Perhaps it was that tiny sliver of hope that she had in Luka’s humanity that caused her not to believe it completely. But, the disappointment wasn’t a shocker.

“Good,” he drawled sinisterly, “you’re awake. I was sent here to actually kill you, but I can have a little fun first.”

With that, Luka clamped one hand over Sapphire’s mouth while he used the other to hold her down. Her eyes widened even more as her hands and feet flared, seeming that her nerves had finally woken up from their state of paralysis. She acknowledged that Luka said he was ‘sent’, so she knew it must’ve been Elisa. But she also knew too well that Elisa didn’t tell him to ‘have fun’ first.

She tried to pry him from her as he slithered his tongue down the length of her neck, but he wouldn’t budge. She then remembered that this was Luka, who lifted weights every morning and night. The man could probably lift a whale. So outfighting him would be useless. Sapphire knew that she’d have to outsmart him instead.

First, she bit down on his palm, causing him to hiss and pull away. He glared down at her as he rubbed his hand on the pillow before landing a stinging strike on Sapphire’s cheek.

“Get off of me,” Sapphire growled, not even flinching at the slap.

Luka’s eyes grew impossibly darker as he wrapped his long, cold fingers around Sapphire’s neck. Little did he know that this was precisely what Sapphire wanted. She wanted him to shift just a little, so she could have perfect access to his groin. He was almost straddling her, so with one hard jerk, she drove her knee upwards, connecting it instantly with the sensitive area. He groaned in agony as he rolled off her, and Sapphire wasted no time in bolting from the bed, grabbing her lamp instantly and bashing it across his head.

Luka hissed again, holding his groin with one hand and his head with the other. Sapphire grabbed her phone and shoved her feet in her bed slippers, ready to make a run for it. But she paused unwillingly as she spotted a bucket of water beside her bed, along with a metal bat lying next to it.

How was Luka planning on killing her with water and a bat? Almost instantly, as if answering her question, a deep rumble of thunder shook her windows, and her eyes followed instinctively to her attached balcony that had remained wet most nights due to the rain.

Of course. It was the perfect strategy to get away with murder—making it look like an accident.

Raw rage bloomed in her chest as she swerved around to her bed again, but to her utmost devastation, Luka wasn’t there. Sapphire searched for him in slow, cautious circles through the dim light that shone from under her door and from the moon using her windows. She could almost hear him breathing, so she knew he wasn’t far away.

Her heart slammed against her chest furiously as she waited for something. . . anything!

But then there it was. A blow to the back of her head had her staggering. Luckily, it wasn’t the metal bat but what felt like a book instead. Sapphire fell on her hands and knees but immediately grabbed the bat beside her bed and swung it behind her. Luka groaned as it connected with his head. He was bleeding, and with the new blow to his nose, it spurred blood as well.
But Sapphire didn’t stop there. With all the strength she could muster, she stabled herself on her feet again and swung the bat towards Luka once more, this time connecting it to the side of his head.

He plummeted to the floor, but Sapphire showed no mercy. With groan after groan, she hit every part of his body that he hadn’t tried to cover with his hands. She couldn’t understand the anger inside of her. It was the wild audacity he had to even consider murdering her and cover it up and the disgusting belief that he could take advantage of her before doing so.

It made her sick, and it was the sole reason why she didn’t stop hitting him until he remained curled up against her floor with his hands covering his head and face. Sapphire tried to catch her breath as she dropped the bat on the floor beside him. She felt no compassion. In fact, Sapphire was proud of what she did.

That didn’t stop her warm, fresh tears, though. Perhaps it was the anger or the slight fright that caused her waterworks. Maybe it was the fact that she could’ve been killed if she hadn’t been awake. Or maybe it was the slight hurt to know that someone actually despised her enough to plot her murder.

Whatever it was, or maybe it was all of them, Sapphire didn’t think about it too much. She was sure that she wouldn’t let Luka go free, but she needed some air. She grabbed her phone and coat before dashing through the door.
Luka hadn’t worked alone, and it wouldn’t take long for Elisa to know their plan had failed. She might even try to run. To take precautions, Sapphire returned to her room and grabbed her bedroom key. Through her tears, she could still see Luka lying on the floor, and she wasted no time in calling the only number she could think of.

“Moscow Police Department. Please state your emergency.”

“Yes, hi. My name is Sapphire Gordon—I mean, Sapphire Nieto. I am at home, and someone just tried to kill me,” she rushed out as she dashed down the long corridor, looking over her shoulders ever so often.

“Okay, Miss Nieto, is your attacker still inside your home? What is your exact location? I will send a team out right now,” the woman’s calm voice assured. She had a way with her words that oddly soothed and reassured Sapphire without sounding like she didn’t care.

“Um, yes. They are still here. . . I managed to knock the male out, but the female is still inside.”

“Ms Nieto, can you get to the front door? Do you have a neighbour you can stay with until help arrives? I still need your location, mam.”

Sapphire shook her head as she rounded the corner. “Oh right. My location—” She stopped abruptly as she bounced into something wet and hard, causing her phone to fall to the ground.

She flinched back out of sudden fright since her guard was raised to the roof. But as she looked up, she relaxed instantly, and if on reflex, she threw herself into Valentin’s arms.

“You’re back,” she mumbled in his chest with fresh tears soaking his already damp shirt.

It had been the second time Sapphire hugged him, and Valentin wasted no time this time in hugging her back. In all his years as Mafia boss, he had faced more than one situation where he almost fell off the edge. But oddly, the relief he felt of seeing that Sapphire was alive was unexplainable.

He buried his nose in her hair as his eyes closed on instincts. His grip grew tighter and tighter as she silently sobbed in his chest. She was safe. That was the only thing he had to keep repeating over and over in his head, as the past four and a half hours had been torturous for him, thinking and wondering if she was alive.

After he left the restaurant, he was at the airport in record time. The pilot was off before he could even take his seat. The flight back was the most torturous, and though he knew his pilot could not go any faster than he already was, he felt like he was losing precious time.

The minute he was out of the craft, he was already in a car with his feet on the gas pedal. There was a light drizzle, but luckily the entire country was asleep, so he could speed through red lights all the way home. Valentin couldn’t explain his urge to save Sapphire. The instant the cook called him and told him about Sapphire, something in him shifted. And though he didn’t want to admit it out loud, he recognized the emotion: fear.
It had been years since he felt it—probably in his teenage years, but it was a feeling that couldn’t be forgotten. Tonight, almost thirteen years later, a woman he had known for only a month caused him to feel fear like never before.

Why? Because the single thought of showing up and seeing Sapphire dead on the floor, or being rolled outside in a body bag evoked something in him that he simply could not shake.

But now, having her in his arms silently crying was the most heavenly feeling he had felt in ages. She was safe. She was alive. And from the looks of it, luckily or bravely so.

“Valentin. . .,” she mumbled as she pulled away a bit. Disappointment rose in his chest as their embrace broke, but it was soon replaced with admiration as he stared in Sapphire’s green, sparkling eyes.

“It’s okay,” he said softly as he brushed his thumb across her wet cheek. “You’re safe.”

It was almost as if he was convincing himself rather than her. It still felt surreal to be holding her like this. He had spent far too many hours picturing her dead.

“You’re safe,” he repeated. But then Sapphire’s lips curved downwards, and her eyes sprung even more water as she shook her head furiously.

“I’m not. I’m not safe, Valentin. Help me, please.”

“I’m right here,” he assured desperately. “You don’t have to worry about Luka and Elisa anymore.” But to no avail, Sapphire wasn’t convinced. She cried even louder.

“No, Valentin! You’re on a plane. Wake up!”

“What?” he mumbled as Sapphire slipped away. Panic rose in his chest as she grew blurry—her green eyes crying a flood that pooled around his feet.

“Wake up, Valentin! Wake up!”

As if she wasn’t even there, Sapphire faded in thin air, and suddenly Valentin was in his plane, writhing in his seat as his flight attendant stood before him.

“No, no, no, no!” He pulled on his hair as he jumped from his seat and glanced around eagerly at where he was.

“Valentin—I mean, sir, we are landing. I thought I should wake you up but please remain seated,” the young woman said. But Valentin didn’t hear a word she said. He peered through the window, barely seeing anything as raindrops splashed against the windows furiously.

He shook his head in disbelief. “No, it couldn’t have been a dream,” he said to himself. “I couldn’t have imagined that she was. . . safe.” Defeated and heartbroken, Valentin fell back in his seat as the plane bounced against the runway.

He didn’t even notice when he had fallen asleep. He was so eager to get home that he didn’t think it was even possible. How did he even manage to imagine details of Sapphire so.... vividly? How could he have dreamt about her escaping?

Sophie had told him quite enough when he was speeding to the airport. She told him all she overheard about Luka and Elisa’s plan. They were planning on making it look like an accident, especially since there was heavy rain tonight. Could his subconscious really have made up a scenario so realistic to trick him into staying asleep? He read once somewhere that the brain would cook up any dream or fake reality that would keep an exhausted person sleeping, as long as their minds were relaxed enough. It was only doing its job, but Valentin wished his brain hadn’t tricked him so wickedly.
He hated that he dreamt that Luka almost had his way with her. It was a sick thought. But just like the entire dream, it was only a phantom of his subconscious. He had seen the way Luka looked at Sapphire. He hated her, but he desired her too.

A deep, loud rumble of thunder shook the craft as it came to a complete stop. The time on his watch read 4:09 a.m. All the negative thoughts swarmed his mind, but Valentin still moved like lightning itself. He was outside before the steps had completely reached the ground, almost granting him a sprained ankle.
As requested, his car was waiting on him. He could barely see through the heavy rain, and he was soaked by the time he entered the car. Just like in his dream, Valentin floored the gas pedal and swerved through the downpour.

He broke every red light and skidded around each corner, just like in his dream. He was aware that going one-eighty in a thunderstorm wasn’t the safest driving, but he didn’t care. He never took his feet from the pedal until he was at the gate.

The guards were already waiting for him, and the gate opened as he pulled up before it. Luckily, before he had managed to fall asleep on the plane, he informed his gatemen that they should expect him, but they shouldn’t say anything to Luka or Elisa.

The thought had occurred to Valentin that Sophie could have been lying because he couldn’t imagine that his own sister and underboss were capable of something like this. Surely, he knew neither of them liked Sapphire, but if he had known that they despised her this much, he wouldn’t have left without Sapphire. Hell, he wouldn’t have left at all!

He wanted to be angry at them. In fact, he wanted to rip them apart. But he couldn’t get past the immense fear of seeing Sapphire dead. Oh, how he hoped that his dream was real—that he’d enter and see her running in his arms. Or better, fast asleep in her bed.

If he could imagine her waking up, fighting Luka and escaping, there was a possibility that she could do it in real life. Right?

Valentin had never been a hopeful person. He didn’t believe in luck or fate. Nonetheless, he prayed that the universe would grant him this one wish for once in his life. Not even for his sake, but Sapphire was a wonderful woman. She had a heart of gold, and she didn’t deserve this.

If something happened to her. . . .

Finishing the thought was deemed impossible. Valentin didn’t even switch the car off as he dashed through the heavy rain bliny. Quickly punching in his code, he was around the foyer and up the stairs in a blink.

Everything was quiet. Tre was no crying, shouting or evidence of fighting. For a second, hope sparked in him, but then he was at the top of the staircase, and Sapphire hadn’t run in his arms yet. This wasn’t his dream, he realized. What happened in his fake reality might not be the case in real life.

Hasty feet tumbled down the dimly lit hallway of the third floor where Sapphire’s room sat. Her door was open, and his heart was already broken in a million pieces at the simple fact. Since the clock incident, Sapphire closed her door every night.

However, now, it was open.

He squeezed his eyes shut as the water dripped from his body and soaked the carpet. He could hear his own heart slamming against his ribcage as he pushed the door open.

It was dark. It was empty too, and that killed him the most.

He wanted to deny it, so he ran to her bathroom first, hoping that she was probably just relieving herself. But she wasn’t there. He checked her massive closet, thinking she might’ve gotten cold and wanted a sweater. Still, she wasn’t there either.

Valentin stood in the middle of Sapphire’s room, listening as the rain poured outside. His own fear screamed in his ears as he stared at the doors that led to the balcony. There could either be one of two truths beyond that door. He could either open it and find nothing but the cold rain and roaring thunder, deeming Sapphire safe and unharmed, or he could see her lying there—unmoving.

The suspense was too much to handle. His feet moved without his approval towards the balcony, and just like before, his hand trembled against the knob.

Alas, he pushed through and peered into the raging torrent. And through it all, he saw her.

“No,” Valentin whispered as he stepped into the rain once again. “NO! No, Sapphire!” He was by her side in a blink, holding a stiff, soaked body against his solid-hard chest.

“Wake up, Sapphire,” he pleaded, but even through the storm, he could see the scarlet pool beside him where her head previously sat. He shook his head furiously, not wanting to believe a second of it.

They did it. Luka and Elisa actually succeeded.

Sapphire’s face was peaceful—not a hint of a frown or evidence that she was in pain. Still, the entire situation killed Valentin. He kept mumbling her name, hoping that she would wake up.

But she didn’t, and he knew that he lost her before he could even have her.

He brushed her matted red hair from her face as the water from his nose fell on her pale cheeks. He had no idea if it was the rain or if they actually fell from his eyes.

With a deep heave, he lifted his head towards the sky as his head throbbed in pain and his heart melted in acidic, molten lava.

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The end..

Haha just kidding! Sorry for taking so long with the update. I rewrote this chapter like 4 times.

Enjoy the rest of the story!

<3
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