Chapter 6. Free To Leave
When I woke up the next morning, Angel was gone. Last night after he snapped at me, I came upstairs, and he was already asleep. No doubt, he was still angry with me. I wasn’t sure how long I could keep this up. I should just leave.
A couple of the maids stared at me as I walked into the kitchen. When I looked up at them, they quickly dropped their gaze. They rushed out of the kitchen, whispering.
I slammed the cupboard shut and set the coffee cup on the counter harder than necessary. Could they make it anymore obvious that they were talking about me?
School was done for the summer. I had managed to get all my assignments in online. I was lucky they didn’t fail me. I sat down at the island and scrolled through my social media as I sipped my coffee.
A little red alert flashed at the top of the screen, showing that I had a message. I opened my messages. My lips parted in surprise. It was Zayden.
A part of me wanted to write him back. But what do I say? Obviously, I don’t tell him that I went back to my ex-boyfriend. Am I supposed to just say I had to move in with him for a while? That’s ridiculous, of course.
One of the maids came back into the kitchen, interrupting my thought process. She looked at me shyly and quickly walked toward the sink.
“I’m sorry, do you have something that you’d like to say to me?” I asked in irritation.
“I’m sorry, miss. We weren’t trying to be rude, and I don’t want to pry. I’m sure that would upset the boss,” she murmured. She turned back to doing the dishes. She was obviously worried that I would get her fired.
It’s not as if I have that type of influence over Angel, even if I wanted to get her fired.
“No, please, I’d love to hear it,” I said.
She sighed and turned to face me as she dried her hands. “We just didn’t expect you to be here. Mister Garcia called a truce with the Mexican Mafia early this morning then left for San Francisco. That was who you were running from?” She asked.
“Oh,” I breathed. “Yes, of course. I wasn’t aware that Angel did that. He had me... pardoned?”
“Yes, miss. I’m sorry. Of course, it’s completely yours and mister Garcia’s business.”
“Thank you for letting me know,” I said softly.
“You’re welcome,” she said. She bowed her head respectfully and excused herself.
I no longer needed to be here? Am I free to leave? My stomach turned at the thought. What if I don’t want to leave? I finished my coffee and poured another cup. I took the cup with me as I walked into the foyer. I looked around at all the different pictures of the Garcia family.
I headed down the hallway. My fingers trailed along the wall. I stopped at a picture of Angel.
A weak smile spread across my face as I took in his beautiful face. I sauntered down the hallway, looking around, trying to memorize it. I stepped down into the study. I ran my fingers along the back bookshelf. I circled around the room as if I was trying to capture every bit of it.
When I reached his desk, I sat down. My fingers brushed along the wood. When I looked down, I noticed a paper with my parents’ names on it. I held it up to read it.
It was a payment arrangement for their funeral. Did he pay for my parents’ funeral? The date of their funeral was set for tomorrow. When was he going to tell me this? I looked through the papers. He spent far more than the average person would have for burial. He set it to have the funeral done in Los Angeles.
Tears built up in my eyes. Why would he do this? Surely, dad still had enough in his bank account when Angel gave him that check. What happens with that?
Just as I was about to set the papers back down on the desk, I stopped. There was a picture on top of another stack of documents. Not just any photo. It was a picture of Angel and me. I held it up to look at it.
The tears started falling faster down my cheeks. My chest rose and fell quickly from the silent sobs. I laid the papers and picture back down. I buried my face in my hands. Guilt poured through my veins, burning me.
I can’t stay here. I can’t keep hurting him anymore. I wanted to be with him, and I was sure he knew it. He didn’t trust me not to leave.
After everything that had happened since I got back here, I knew that I could handle the mafia stuff. I understood that it was dangerous and crazy. But I cared so much about him, that the mafia stuff didn’t seem to matter.
I apologized my little heart out. I kissed him like I never stopped loving him because I didn’t stop. I didn’t know what else to say to him to make him forgive me.
I knew my attitude and my mistake the other night didn’t help either. He had me pardoned from the Mexican Mafia, so he didn’t have to deal with my shit anymore. There was no reason to stay. I had no right to be in this house.
I dialed Cecilia’s number. I listened intently as the phone rang. Part of me didn’t want her to answer. My heart broke a little when she answered.
“Hello?” Cecilia asked.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey, what’s up?” She asked.
“Is there any way you could come get me?”
“Um,” she hummed. It took her a moment to respond. “I can, but it wouldn’t be until later. I thought you couldn’t leave?”
“He made a deal with them,” I said and sighed.
“Oh,” she said. “Okay, well, that’s good, right?”
“Yeah, I guess,” I muttered.
“I could have Zayden come get you,” she said. “He could get there quicker than I could.”
“No,” I said sharply. “No, I don’t want to see Zayden.”
“Um, okay, sure. I could maybe be there around eleven o’clock?” She asked. “Unless tomorrow works better?”
“No, eleven is good, thank you.”
“Okay. See you, then,” she said.
I considered packing some of the clothes, but they weren’t exactly mine. It isn’t like I brought them with me. They were a bit elegant. Maybe Angel could give them to his sister. The phone wasn’t even mine. Nothing here belonged to me.
All I had to do was wait for Cecilia to get here. I grabbed the outfit that I came here in and headed into the bathroom. I stripped down and got into the shower. I washed up quickly and got back out.
When I was done getting dressed, I headed downstairs. I went into the study and copied down the address and the time of my parents’ memorial service. I would drive back tomorrow for the services. I scanned through the books on the bookshelf until I found one that held my interest. I would have to do something to pass the time.
My phone rang. It was fifteen minutes to eleven. “Hello?” I asked.
“Hey, I’m outside.”
“Okay, I’ll be out in a few minutes,” I told her. I had written a letter to Angel just letting him know I didn’t want to be a bother anymore and that Cecilia picked me up. I placed the folded letter on his desk, which had his name on it. I left the phone he had bought me beside the letter. I stood up and headed for the door.
Andersen was in the foyer dusting off a large picture.
I approached him quietly. “Andersen?”
He turned around. “Yes, Mia?”
“I’m leaving. I left Angel a note on his desk. Please be sure he gets it,” I said.
“Or you could just tell him yourself, of course,” Andersen said as he gazed behind me.
I looked at him, confused. He’s behind me, isn’t he? I turned around slowly. I swallowed hard as I took in Angel’s beautiful face.
Angel was standing in the doorway, staring at us. He slowly shut the door behind him. “Mia,” he murmured.
The way my name seemed to roll so easily off his tongue sent a shiver down my spine. I always loved how he said my name in his deep husky voice.
“Hey,” I breathed.
“Can I talk to you for a moment?” Angel asked, gesturing toward the hall.
“Yes,” I said and cleared my throat. I quickly strode down the hallway. I listened to Angel’s footsteps behind me. I noticed when Angel was upset; his footsteps were louder. His steps weren’t at all heavy.
Isn’t that all men, though? Will he be angry with me for trying to leave without saying goodbye? Maybe he doesn’t care. Perhaps he just wants to inform me of the funeral.
Angel followed me into the study. He walked past me to his desk. He sat at the edge of his desk. He stared at me for an immeasurable moment.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
His question threw me off guard. “W-what do you mean? I’m going back to school. I mean...” I trailed off. “You made a truce with the mafia, didn’t you?”
“How did you know that?”
“The maids,” I said. I didn’t want to say which one. I didn’t want her to get into trouble.
Anger filled his features, but he controlled it. He crossed his arms over his chest and looked down at his feet. “That kind of pisses me off.”
“I’m sorry. The maids were acting weird this morning when I came down, and I sort of pushed at them to tell me. It isn’t their fault.”
He sighed. “I wanted to be the one to tell you. It wasn’t their place at all. I intended to tell you when I got home tonight. I can see you can’t wait to get the hell out of here,” he muttered. His gaze locked with mine again.
“W-what?” I choked. I pointed a finger at my chest. “Me? Angel, I thought you wanted me gone. Before, you told me you wanted them dead and didn’t want to pay a ransom or make a deal with them on my behalf. I thought you did this to get rid of me. I don’t want to hurt you anymore. You’ve been angry with me since I got here.”
He raised his chin a fraction. “I paid them off to leave you alone and gave them some guns. I decided to ignore my pride for once. Your safety is far more important than my ego. I was being an ass. I should have made the deal, to begin with. I’m not angry at you, Mia. I just...” he trailed off. “I wish you wouldn’t have gone out the other night. I wish you would have listened to me. I know what I’m doing. If I tell you it isn’t safe for you to leave here, you can believe it. I grew up in this shit, I know what I am doing.”
“I know, I’m sorry. Okay? I don’t want to cause you any more problems. Thank you for everything. You saved me. I can’t ever repay you for that,” I murmured. “I know about the funeral services too. Why did you do that? I’m sure my dad still had some funds left.”
“A lawyer will be contacting you about the funds in your dad’s bank account. It’s a pretty good amount yet. I want you to use it to take care of yourself,” he said.
I started to argue, but he stopped me.
“Don’t argue with me. It’ll help you get through school. Your parents aren’t around to help you anymore. So, just do me a favor and let me do this last favor for you,” he said.
Tears built in my eyes. I dashed toward him and threw my arms around his neck. The sobs were so heavy they made my entire body shake.
He sighed and wrapped his arms around my waist. He buried his face in the crook of my neck. He inhaled deeply.
I clung to him, knowing it would be the last time I would see him. I hated the thought. I hated the pain it caused me. If I could rewind, I never would have left. I sniffled and slowly pulled back.
My gaze locked with his. “Take care of yourself,” I murmured.
“Yeah, you too,” he murmured. His expression was torn. I could see the tears that he fought back.
I leaned in and pressed my lips to his cheek. “Bye, Angel.” I turned around and headed for the door.
“Bye, Mia,” he said softly before I closed the door.
I ran as my feet would carry me down the hallway. My blood raced through my veins. My heart fluttered chaotically in my chest.
Cecilia looked at me, confused. “A few minutes?”
“Sorry,” I muttered as I shut the door.
“Are you sure about this?” Cecilia asked as she took in my pained expression.
“Drive.” It was all I could manage to get out. I’m not sure of anything. The only thing I was sure about was that boy destroyed me. I was going to have to learn to live without him all over again.