Chapter 3. What's Left Of Me
“Why are you pacing?” Angel asked. He didn’t look up from his paperwork as he spoke.
I was in his study, pacing back and forth in front of his desk. I had my arms crossed over my chest. “Gee, Angel, I’m not sure. Maybe, it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been here a week!” I shouted and threw my arms in the air. I placed them on my waist as I glowered down at him.
“What reason do you have to leave?” Angel challenged. He placed his pen down and looked up at me. He intertwined his fingers and placed his hands on the top of his head.
“I’d like my friends to see that I’m okay,” I started.
“You just got off the phone with that one girl like an hour ago,” he muttered. “She knows you’re fine.”
“I have school!” I growled. “I’ve been getting excellent grades for a year now. I’m in law school!”
“Oh good, I could use a new lawyer. One of them quit on me,” he said sarcastically.
“Oh my god, could you like stop being a dickhead for five minutes?”
He slammed his hands down on his desk and stood up. He towered over me, and it was intimidating. “Five minutes? I gave you much more than five minutes of me not being a dick, Mia! I’m losing my fucking patience with you!” Angel spat.
I stared at him too shocked to speak.
He came around the desk and stood in front of me. “Your father called me and told me the three of you were in trouble, while I was in the middle of an important meeting. I dropped everything, got in one of my helicopters, and flew to Goleta to save the three of you. And for what? I mean, it’s not like I didn’t warn all of you what could happen. I told your father and you that I couldn’t protect you there, but you left anyway. Didn’t you?!”
I couldn’t answer him. I couldn’t find my voice. I had never seen this side of Angel. It was terrifying. I swallowed hard.
“Then I reach your parents’ house, and there is blood all over the damn place. They were in pieces, Mia. They died in the most brutal fucking way. I’ve never seen something so inhumane. I was scared that they already got you, but I came looking for you. I find you, and you couldn’t step aside for two minutes to just ask me why I came for you? All because of your precious boyfriend? Didn’t want him to know about your past life?!” Angel shouted. “Did you really think I came all that way for nothing?!”
I opened my mouth to speak as tears built in my eyes, but Angel wouldn't let me.
“You think this is some kind of fucking game? If you leave, they will find you, and you will die. Is that what you want? It’s not if they find you, Mia, it is when they find you! When they find you, you will be in a box along with your mom and dad. You can’t hide from them,” he roared.
I flinched and looked away from him. Angel’s anger was flowing freely. He didn’t give me a chance to speak even if I could have.
“Stop being so fucking ridiculous, Mia. I’m trying to save you, but please, if you want to die, then leave. I don’t owe you anything. So big fucking deal, I told you one lie. I never lied about anything else, you knew me better than anyone. I was always so closed off to other people apart from a few, and you were one of the few.”
"Angel—" I started.
His nose was just an inch from mine. “I saved your fucking parents once already, who hated me, by the way. The reason they were in that position is because your dad was set on proving to you that I wasn’t worthy of you. Then when he realized I wasn’t half as bad as the mafia, he gave me his blessing to date you, but it was too late. That fucking car you were driving around, guess who paid for it? It sure as fuck wasn’t your dad!”
The air escaped my lungs. My heart pounded violently against my ribs. “Oh my god,” I murmured. My dad never told me any of this.
Angel laughed humorlessly. “Did you really think that your father had that kind of money? That the police department was really paying him for leaving?” Angel laughed again and shook his head.
Tears flowed down my cheeks as I lowered my eyes to the floor.
“Get real, Mia. I’ve been taking care of your ass since I met you, but that doesn’t fucking matter because I lied to you. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my girlfriend, who I was fucking crazy about, that I was the prince of the Latin Kings. I never cheated on you. I never hurt you...but none of that mattered to you. I told you one lie, and you all but chopped my nuts off. I mean hell, you might as well have done that too.” His gaze pierced mine. “You want to leave? Go.”
I sniffled. I knew Angel was right, and I wanted to tell him he was right. I wanted to tell him how sorry I was, but I couldn’t say it. A lump in my throat was stopping me from speaking.
He grabbed my arm. He pulled me out of the study and into the foyer. “You want to fucking leave so bad?” He let go of me, giving me a shove toward the door, but not enough to hurt me. “Leave, Mia, but don’t come back. If you think it’s so fucking important to go out and about and socialize over your own safety, then do it. But you will not do it under my fucking roof. I won’t watch you die. I can’t...” he trailed off. “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out,” he sneered. The anger from his face started to dissipate. For the first time, I saw some flicker of emotion in his eyes.
“Angel...” I trailed off as I tried to swallow the lump in my throat.
“I’m done forcing you to stay. You got that? But if you go against my rules, you will leave. I don’t want someone coming back to my house telling me they found your body in a god damn ditch somewhere. They have people all over the city, Mia. The second you step out of this house, I can’t guarantee your safety.” He stared at me for a long moment before he turned around and stalked back down the hallway.
Tears built in my eyes and fell down my cheeks. I sniffled and spun around.
Andersen was in front of me, holding a box of tissues.
“Thanks, Andersen,” I murmured. I took a kleenex from him and wiped the tears away that escaped.
“Miss?” Andersen murmured. “May I be frank with you?”
“Please,” I said softly.
“I have known Angel all of his life. He takes things similar to the way his father does. He becomes very closed off after suffering much mental anguish,” Andersen said softly. “The only one who can fix him is you. I think Angel is trying very hard to protect you, but he won’t fight for you if you continue to be angry with him.”
My lips parted. I couldn't speak.
“Sometimes we make mistakes even with those we care very much about,” Andersen said. “Haven’t you ever said or did something to someone that you wished you could take back? Not because you got caught, but because you regretted hurting them?”
“Thanks, Andersen,” I whispered and nodded.
“You’re welcome,” he said. Andersen turned away and strolled toward the kitchen.
I headed upstairs to Angel’s bedroom. I crawled into his bed and stared at the ceiling as I thought about what Angel and Andersen said.
Of course, I should have known about the money, but I didn’t. My father lied about it to me. I assumed he lied to me because he knew I wouldn’t have accepted the car if it came from Angel. I cringed at the thought of my parents being killed brutally. That was one thing I wished Angel would have left out. I couldn’t get the image out of my mind.
Some part of me realized how childish and idiotic I was being. Angel was only trying to protect me. However, I couldn’t live my life in fear forever.
My new cell phone rang, which Angel bought for me. He told me the phone was safe. I answered it.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hey, how’s it going?” Cecilia asked. “Did you talk to him? Are you coming back soon?”
“We fought,” I muttered. “I’m not coming back. I hope I can see you again, eventually. We could have a girls’ day or something. I can’t leave, though. I can’t explain why.”
“Seriously, Mia? You’re freaking me out. I mean, this guy shows up like the fucking terminator threatens to shoot us. He shot Zayden. Now you’re telling me you two fought and he won’t let you leave? Tell me exactly why I shouldn’t call the cops? Is he psychotic? Abusive?”
“No, it’s nothing like that. He’s just sort of trying to keep me safe—”
A hand suddenly grabbed my phone and hung up.
I gasped and turned around. “Angel,” I growled.
“What did I tell you about telling people what I am?” He growled.
“I didn’t,” I said and shook my head fiercely. I stumbled backward.
He gave me a disbelieving look.
“Look, even if I had, Cecilia would never tell anyone. Besides, what am I supposed to say to her, Angel? You don’t want her to call the cops, but you won’t let me tell her anything. I was just trying to tell her that you were keeping me safe. If you would let her just come here and maybe hang out for a couple of days so she could see—”
“I don’t fucking want your friends at my house, Mia. I don’t know them!” He pinched the bridge of his nose and inhaled deeply.
“It would only be Cecilia,” I murmured.
“Oh? And not your little boyfriend too?” He challenged.
“God, Angel! Zayden wasn’t my boyfriend,” I said and shoved him backward. “The night you showed up,” I said calmer. “I told him we could go on a double date with Cecilia and her boyfriend, but you showed up in the nick of time like you always do. After a year of not seeing anyone, I was finally trying to move on and get over you. Every damn time I try, you seem to magically appear,” I said and shook my head.
“Why are you still here? I told you to leave,” he muttered.
I crossed my arms over my chest and stalked toward him. I stood on my toes and stared into his eyes as I spoke. “I’m not going anywhere, at least, not without you.”
He clenched his jaw and leaned away from me. “F-fine. You know what, I can’t amuse you for the next few days. I’m going to be in and out of the mansion. Tell your little girlfriend, you two can have a slumber party, but don’t you dare go anywhere.”
“Fine,” I said and smiled. I leaned in and pecked his cheek.
He looked taken aback for a moment, but then he rolled his eyes and stormed out of his bedroom. Angel had an attitude more often than not.
The sky was dark. I brought the bottle of liquor to my lips and took a sip. I was standing on the balcony that faced over the backyard, which was just off Angel’s bedroom. My long thin white satin robe blew out behind me from the breeze.
Cecilia agreed to come and stay. I lied and told her I must have lost service earlier.
Angel had been busy all day. I had nothing to distract me from thinking about my parents. I wanted so badly to pick my phone up and call them. I wanted to ask them what I should do, but I couldn’t. As the liquor went down, I could practically hear their voices. Maybe it’s not the liquor. Maybe, you are going insane.
I set the bottle down and gripped tightly onto the concrete railing that wrapped around the balcony. I stared down at my hands.
Another set of hands appeared beside mine. I knew it was Angel. The way he smelt was so mouth-watering, only Angel ever appealed to me that way. His chest pressed against my back. The warmth of his body sent a shiver down my spine.
“Angel,” I murmured.
“It’s a bit chilly to be out here in just this,” Angel said. He gripped a handful of my white satin nightgown and matching robe.
It was instinctive to rest my head back against his shoulder. I arched my neck back to look at him.
“Are you drunk?” Angel asked.
“Maybe, a wee bit,” I mumbled.
“Hmm, then perhaps it’s time for bed?”
“No, I don’t think so,” I murmured. I turned around to face him.
He now saw the revealing gown that the woman bought me when they went shopping for my things. Almost all of the pajamas they bought me were revealing and satin or silk. He gritted his teeth and looked away from me.
I grabbed his face between my hands and forced him to look at me.
“Mia,” he started, but instead of letting him finish, I pressed my lips to his.
I clung to him. I needed him because he was suddenly all I had left. My parents were gone, and here I was, fighting with the one person who has taken care of me for two years. I wrapped my arms around his neck.
His tongue slipped into my mouth as he wrapped his arms around my waist. His hand traced my curves.
A moan escaped me.
Suddenly, his hands disappeared. He grabbed my face between his hands and pulled me back, breaking the kiss. His chest rose and fell quickly against mine.
“Mia,” he breathed. “We can’t do this.”
“Why?” I asked. My bottom lip jutted out slightly. I was being ridiculous, but I was too drunk to care.
“Well, for starters, you’re drunk. I don’t think I can get past the fact that you have been gone a year. This isn’t what you want. You left, remember? Do you remember why you left? Are you just suddenly over it?” He asked.
“I wish you didn’t lie to me, but I understand why now. I should have listened to what you were saying, but I was too angry to see reason,” I slurred.
“I can’t take you back, then you walk out on me again, Mia,” he muttered. “I can barely handle you being here and sleeping next to you every night. I think if we got back together and you left, it would kill me...” he trailed off. “What’s left of me, and it’s not much. You took most of me with you the first time.”
“For whatever it’s worth, I left most of me back here with you,” I murmured. I stood on my toes and pecked Angel’s cheek before rushing past him. I crawled into bed and shut my light off.
I felt the bed shift as he climbed into bed with me. He stayed as far from me as the bed would allow as he did every night.