• 10 •
X E N A
The door slammed shut behind me, yet Caleb didn’t even squirm. His eyes were dead locked to the ceiling, not surprised in the least by my sudden presence. He was expecting me.
Disbelief at his laidback attitude turned my voice sharp. “No stories in your favour? And here I was, looking forward to see you pleading for your life.”
“Would you believe me if I did?” He asked.
I wasn’t expecting that. What I expected was a reason. Or an excuse. Why did he betray the Mafia? Was he an undercover all this time? How much information did he tattle to the Italian Capo’s? And when I had Vincenzo on gunpoint, why did he take my side and shoot the two other men with Axel?
“No.” I replied truthfully.
He nodded absently. “I thought as much.”
It was bizarre for me to watch Caleb not even a little shaken up for the consequences of his act. It drove me insane. “Why did you do it then?”
After what seemed like ages, his gaze of focus turned towards me. He looked… defeated. “I don’t like sob stories.”
I don’t either.
“What if it’s your only way out?”
He never answered.
I would never admit it out loud, but I had considered Caleb a friend, knowing him for over eight years. Saving each other’s asses from my father, making him hack our celebrity crushes for fun. His betrayal did hurt. And cast another metal door, shielding my heart.
My father’s words once again rung true. ’Don’t let anyone in. People lie and people betray and not one person stays. Everyone disappoints in the end. It is always you for yourself. It is always you who is going to be there for yourself. You and your gun. It’s always better to fucking shoot the lot of ‘em.’
I brought my gun out. “Since when have you been spying for them?” Removing the safety, I aimed it at Caleb’s head. Regret burned heavy in my throat but I pushed it deep inside, along with the rest of my morals.
I was at the edge of my sanity, anyways. So, what’s a little more?
“I-“ He started, stopping. His eyes lowered to the ground.
Ice ignited in my veins and I felt my mask go up. The cold fucking bitch who did not blink twice at hammering a person’s knees. “I would appreciate an answer before the bullet reaches your end, Caleb.” An indifferent brow rose at his incoherent stutters.
“It was just your location.” He hesitantly met my gaze. “I swear it to you.”
Neither his eyebrow or finger twitched. He looked earnest enough. And if I knew anything about him, it was the fact that he couldn’t lie to save his life.
Provided he was honest in the last eight years.
Unless, it was all an act.
The bitter remark left me before I could think better of it. “Go swear to someone who cares about your words.” His flinch didn’t help my turmoil. “Who contacted you asking for my location?” Seeing the hesitance clear in his eyes, I clenched my jaw. The gun inched higher. “Do you really want to try me right now?”
“A hacker of their Familia. The malware was too hard to break in, and by the time I did, he had altered the log files. I couldn’t trace him further. He was...” His voice sounded amazed. “He was bloody brilliant.”
The sudden knock at the door had both of us turning to the door. Axel stood at the door with his arms crossed. “Sleeping beauty is awake.”
I chuckled lowly, reluctantly tucking my gun in the holster. “Who kissed him awake?”
“Probably the seepage of that room. Pretty sure there are five variations of moulds hanging around there too.”
I rolled my eyes. “It’s supposed to give prison cell vibes.’ The irony, really. “It’s all in the aesthetic.”
The matching grimaces on their faces made me want to laugh. I cleared my throat, thinking it over.
“Bring him to the basement. Send in ten men if you have to. But,” My eyes narrowed. “Do not under any circumstances underestimate him. He is one of the Capo’s for a reason.” I studied Axel’s serious expression, all tones of humour gone.
He nodded grimly. “I understand, Xena. What about his men?”
My hands turned to fists at the thought of the other two men. One of who’s bullet strayed the skin off my left arm. I knocked his boss’s head with my barrel for that alone, and shot him in the exact same place as mine.
Except, his bitch missed.
“Let them enjoy our… ah, hospitality a little longer.” A smirk tugged at my lip. Let them see how generous I was to those who hurt me. “Don’t finish them off. We don’t want a war on our hands just yet.”
A man of many words, that assassin was.
I sighed before turning back to Caleb. “I don’t have the energy to deal with you. Create your whatever number fake identity and never show me your face again. Or else I swear it to you that I will end you. No fucking regrets.”
Standing there a moment, I stared at my friend’s face, if he ever was one. Then I turned and walked away.
Everyone disappoints in the end.
The elevator opened as I walked out, my 6-inch platform heels clicking against the marble. Running a hand through my messy hair, I shook them up, taking a moment for myself. To get my act together. Closing my eyes, I counted to ten. I wouldn’t let myself conjure Caleb’s face.
Fucking shrink’s methods never work.
Putting on, yet another mask, I took a step in the room. Staying in the shadows, I examined Capo from my place. Even chained to the chair, he looked like he commanded the room. Always in control.
His pant suit hugged his tightened thighs almost uncomfortably, the top three buttons of his white shirt strewn open. He looked like he was sculpted. I was temporarily distracted by the hard ridges of his muscles, and the start of ink.
I shook my head, unsuccessfully trying to empty out the sinful images appearing in my head.
His head lifted lazily at the sound of my platform heels, like my presence bored him. Rude. But his eyes didn’t stray from me, as they held my own captive.
I continued my stride as if his piercing eyes didn’t bother me.
Fuck me, they did. But I would be damned if I showed it.
“For a ruthless femme fatale, you sure were quick to let your guard down,” I mocked the Capo’s earlier words. And then looked at him, in front of me, in…well, chains. I shouldn’t have laughed as hard as I did.
A dark look cascaded down his face, but he granted me no reply.
Dragging a wooden seat right opposite to him, I grinned maliciously. “Basic courtesy. I’d tell you to sit down, but,” I motioned to his chained frame as an answer.
“You are hilarious.” He deadpanned, a muscle in his jaw twitching.
I smiled. “As is your existence.”
The turn of his lips wasn’t just taunting. It was downright sinister. And I would be lying if I didn’t like the way I was pushing his buttons.
“Before proceeding, I’d like to say that these walls are soundproof. So,” I elongated the word with a twisted smile. “There is no need to… hold back.”
I had the pleasure of seeing his eyes widen by a fraction, before I grabbed his chin between my thumb and forefinger, pressing down, hard, on his bruised jaw.
His sharp exhale of pain exhilarated me, as I watched him. His every wince, every unsuccessful attempt at repressing the pain amused me. My other hand tightened further on his gunshot wound in response, leaning back to admire his face.
The darkest shade of greys stared back at me, muted and unfeeling. His beauty never ceased to hold me speechless. With a sharp-edged jaw and messy dark hair, he was pretty much the finest looking man I had ever encountered. His lashes were long and curled, brushing his high cheekbones, as he glared coldly, breathing sharply.
I really loved pushing his buttons.
And his wounds.
“I know you want answers.” He gritted out, clenching his jaw.
Giving him a moment to breathe, I loosened my grip. “Look who’s a smart nut,” It was my turn to stare at him blankly.
He didn’t bother responding to my blatant insult.
The next sentence left him in such a rush, I was left questioning if what I heard was true or not.
“The Russian Bratva has declared war against the American Mafia.”
I stilled for a moment, absorbing the words in. “What? Why?”
He smiled through the pain, and in that moment, I saw the shadows dance in his eyes. The shadows of dark, raw amusement at having upped me, yet again.
“Why do you think so?” His lips tilted at the corners.
“It’s you. Sei sempre tu, diavola.”
HEY! how are you liking this story so far? thank you so much for the continued support. ily mosquitoes.
don't forget to like and leave a review, if you haven't. thank you!