Her Empire, His Dominion

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Chapter Eight

Valentin and Luka’s argument was heated. Sapphire could tell by the way Luka stomped from his boss’s office, his face blazing red and his fists clenched. He didn’t even spare her a glance as she stepped past him into the office.

On the other hand, Valentin was calm and collected, leaning in his big, black leather chair as he fiddled with a pen. His eyes swept down the length of Sapphire’s body as she entered. She was better dressed now compared to this morning. He still remembered every curve and freckle on her smooth skin clearly, as if it had been implanted in his head.

Now, she wore a white tank top with a grey blazer over it, which matched her baggy trousers and white heels. Her hair was also pulled in a high ponytail which brought out her features more, with a light layer of makeup hiding the dark circles under her eyes and red lipstick staining her lips. The final touch consisted of her long hoop earrings, making her look womanlier and bossier.

Satisfied with her attire, Valentin straightened in his chair and gestured to the empty beat before his desk for her to sit.

It was only minutes after five in the afternoon. Sapphire had been out all day. She rested her purse in her lap since she didn’t bother stopping by her room first before meeting Valentin. Luckily for her, whatever meeting he and Luka had ended right on time.

“I have been expecting you,” he said calmly, though his eyes were swimming in turmoil.

“Have you now?”

Valentin cleared his throat as he leant back, seeing that there was something she wanted to say.

“What had your underboss so worked up?” she asked, folding her long leg over the other.

Valentin saw the teasing in her eyes since it was evident that she was the main topic of their argument. “I was just reminding him of my policy about hurting women.”

“Are you suggesting that you care about women?” Sapphire gave out a bellowing laugh. “This is from the man who traffics young girls across the world monthly.”

Valentin clicked his tongue on the roof of his mouth as he shook his head with a light chuckle. “That was your father, Sapphire. I shut that down from the minute I took over.” It was obvious that his words shocked Sapphire, and Valentin found it pleasing. “If you did your research properly, you would’ve known. I only traffic drugs and weapons. That is where my profit comes from.”

“Ah, as well as extortion and all the violence your men are torturing the residents with. Have you not seen the news?” Sapphire’s voice dripped with annoyance, and Valentin was growing annoyed again.

“Believe it or not, Ms Nieto, I do not wish for my operations to be public. Hence, I am working on that.”

She raised an eyebrow at him. “Are you?” She noticed how Valentin’s jaw ticked, and his grip on the pen tightened. Still, she didn’t flinch.

“Is your sole purpose here is to discriminate and tell me that how I run my business is wrong?” he asked with his voice rising a bit.

“Precisely, yes. I would also like to show you a better way of running this mafia. I don’t want to fight you, Valentin. But if it comes to that, you know I would win.”

Valentin bellowed out a genuine hearty laugh, and Sapphire raised her eyebrows at the sound. “Even if I keep my hands at my side, you won’t win me. And I already told you, I do not support violence against women.”

“I do not mean physically,” she bit out. “But if I should call this entire mafia to order, you know most of the men would follow me. What will you do? Kill them all?”

All traces of humour were gone again as he glared at the woman. She had a lot of nerve to threaten him like this. Valentin was still infuriated by her little speech this morning, where she spoke to him as if he had no authority whatsoever. It had angered him for a few hours, and even when he spotted her leaving the house, his rage remained.

No one, not even his father, has ever spoken to him like this woman has. He hated it, but she was all that had been on his mind all day, trying to figure her out. How could she be so tiny and composed, yet held such bravery and courage, that she would speak to the most powerful man in the country as if he was of little importance?

“I wouldn’t kill them. That would be foolish of me. But killing you, that could do just the trick.” He spoke so calmly as if her life was of no relevance.

Sapphire scoffed. “Kill me? As if you would dare.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” he taunted, bringing his hand to his gun that was tucked away in his waistband. “It would make my life so much easier.”

Smirking, Sapphire unwrapped her legs and rose from the chair, planting her purse on his desk, at which he glared. Then, she rounded the table to where he sat. He spun in his chair as he watched her in anticipation. Valentin couldn’t believe his surprise when she made a bold move of grabbing his gun from his waistband, which she examined as if it was a mystery in itself.

“You see, Mr Dominik, you won’t do that because you are not prepared for the chaos that will follow,” she said, feigning innocence. “Most, if not all, of your workers have heard of my arrival. You kill me now, and they will rebel against you in rage.”

Valentin shook in anger as he glared at the woman from through narrowed slits. He wanted so much to wipe that smirk from her face and extinguish the gleam in her eyes. If she thought she could win him, then she had another thing coming.

“It—”

“Even if you make it seem like an accident,” she cut him off as if expecting what he’d say next. “I am pretty certain that they are not fools. I die, and this business goes down with me.” She whispered the last part as she brought her face closer to his before dropping the gun in his lap again. She didn’t believe his eyes could’ve gotten any darker, but their light grey colour was now stormy and black as if he’d erupt in his rage for the taunting woman.

She casually strolled back to her seat, feeling Valentin’s eyes on her every second as she moved. Once she faced him again, he didn’t seem as irritated as before, but the evident cloud of defeat still hovered over his head.

Wanting desperately to wipe the smile from her face, Valentin spoke again. “And you? Why won’t you kill me?” She opened her mouth to speak, but he continued before she got the chance. “Oh, that’s right. You won’t kill me for the exact same reason. I have loyal men as much as you do, and even though you have come here and stirred trouble for me and my business, it is still mine, and whether you admit it or not, you do need me.”

“See, that is exactly my point, Valentin. I am not ashamed to say your help is greatly needed.” The words burnt her tongue like fire itself, but Sapphire swallowed her pride. “And if you had listened to me from the very beginning, this hatred you feel towards me wouldn’t have been necessary.”

“I do not hate you, Sapphire. I am highly annoyed by you. And what would you expect of me if one of Nieto’s children barged into my home and business and demanded I hand it over? After all that I’ve built!” His voice was raised again, and it was then that Sapphire caught a hint of understanding in his messed-up logic.

As much as he was causing turmoil for the country’s economy and residents, and as cold and soulless as he was, he still was the one who built whatever he had today. It was a bit unfair of her to demand it all.

Sapphire cleared her throat and dropped her gaze before answering. “For your information, my half brother has no shares in my father’s business or wealth. It was all left to me. I am the only one you should be worried about.”

Valentin didn’t speak. He simply watched her as if waiting for her point.

“And my only concern with how you run your business is the things you do wrong.”

“This is a mafia,” he bit out. “For the last time, there is no ‘by the books’ way to run it. Having a conscience like yours would never survive here.”

“I agree that everything won’t be…legal. But you can work morally, Valentin. And until you do that, I am not leaving. Sorry—not sorry.”

He studied her even more. In some sense, he understood her approach, but she simply didn’t understand that there was no way he could ‘do better’, not that he wanted to. But she did say something that caught his interest. She suggested leaving.

“So, what do you propose?” he finally asked, guessing that the faster she believes she is getting her way, the sooner she’ll leave.

He just knew that she didn’t seem like the person to root up her entire life, leave the people she had in America to run a mafia. If he had known that she wanted to leave, he would’ve accepted her terms temporarily from yesterday. By then, the uproar in the country would be dealt with, and she will have no reason to return.

He smiled to himself at the thought. It was this simple. All he needed to do was have her believe she had her way, then she would turn away and never return to antagonize him.

“We work together as co-bosses. Yesterday I said I wanted it all, but now I am willing to suggest that we work together. As long as you are somewhat tolerable.”

Valentin nibbled on his bottom lip as he thought it over. “What if you shadow Luka, just to see how things work around here. You may make whatever suggestions you have, but I will make the final decision.”

“I will not shadow your underboss.” Her eyes had the blaze again—the same flare Valentin has seen so many times in the short time she has been here. “We work together, or I call this entire mafia to my order and only mine. I can figure it out without you.”

Valentin smiled. “You don’t give up, don’t you?”

“You have a lot to learn about me, Mr Dominik,” she said as she stood, swinging the purse over her shoulder. “Now, do we have a deal?” She thrust her palm over the desk in front of him.
His gaze lingered on her manicured nails for a while before lifting them back to meet her expectant eyes.

Just a few months, he thought to himself. Just a few months, and this would be over. So, with all the willpower he could muster, Valentin met his rough, large hands with hers, sealing her fantasized deal.


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