• 13 •
X E N A
I didn’t mean for my act to drop.
It just fucking happened.
Funny— my façade had never dropped once in years. It was almost like it had become a part of me whole. And then an infuriating Italian bastard comes along, gives his pretty little threats— and there my mask goes, depositing itself right by his fucking feet.
It was beyond my belief. I was angry at myself. Of course, I was. And maybe a little unsettled. How did a guise, that felt like it was a part of me, just collapse? Unusual things that I’ve never had any trouble maintaining seem to be happening around him. He was trouble for me, bringing unnecessary complications my way. That was enough for me to become wary of him.
And maybe made my respect for him inch fractionally. To accomplish something no one had.
No. I wouldn’t go there.
“Are you ready to talk now? Believe me, I could keep going on… and on.” Plucking another knife from my back pocket, I sighed, filing my nails lazily. The threat sounded low to even my own ears. Now that my mask had dropped once, I was struggling to fit it back into place.
“Who’s the current Bratva?”
My eyes flew to his, shocked at the audacity. And at the randomness of it all. “I thought we proved what happens when you answer my questions with questions quite recently if my memory serves well. Unless you’d like a repeat?” The shine of the knife gleamed.
He didn’t humour me, instead, his expression was indecipherable.
I liked it better when it was twisted in unrepressed pain. Fantasies, fantasies.
“Answer the question, Xena.”
The sharpness in his tone spiked my own need to spite him. But I was curious to see where he was going with this. “The Vetrov’s.”
“No.” He shook his head. His stoic features were aggravating me. I wanted to crack open his skull to know what was going on inside his head.
The impatience in my voice was clear. “What do you mean, no?”
“Vetrov was killed last year. Killed and dethroned.” Vincenzo watched me closely, processing the information.
I willed my features to look normal— and not like the world had tilted beneath my heels. I’d never felt gladder for the feel of the wooden table under my body. I didn’t think I would have been standing.
“I fail to see how that concerns me.” Hollow and fake.
A loud thwack resounded that moment. Both, Vincenzo and me turned collectively to the sound— the knife in my hand was buried till the hilt in the wood.
Vincenzo looked back at me, an amused brow raised. I could hear the silent ‘You were saying?’.
Jaws clenched, I pulled the knife out, turning it in my hold.
It did concern me. Vetrov’s death meant complications.
It took years to form treaties— and if Vincenzo was right and Vetrov’s body had been cold for a year and the new Bratva never approached us for a treaty… that clear as a day meant a fucking war.
It had been a solid year since they had started devising their plans. It was so obvious. Did my father already know about this? Why was I not made aware of this?
And the attacks on me had started as of lately, which could only mean…
“You never sent those men after me.” My crossed ankles tightened as I waited with bated breath. His answer— or lack of, thereof, made me question my observation. “Well? Did you?” I lessened the sharpness from my voice. I needed answers, and I was going to get them. Even if I had to sweet talk to him like he was a coddled pet, I would do it.
I cringed at the mental image. Ok no, so that was where I drew the line.
His blank bored into me, before moving down to the chains adorning his body.
Right. A chain for an answer.
But he wore them so well.
I observed him for a moment. I took in the heat in his smouldering eyes, the taut way he held himself back, the casual clench in his fists. And his gashes. Taking in the precious moments where he breathed at my mercy. I stood up.
My pace was purposeful, but full of authority, as I callously made my way toward him. His long lashes brushed his eyebrows and he studied me with dark eyes, almost probing a response from me.
Alas, I was not in the mood to give everyone what they wanted.
The bullet hole looked infected. Not quite of a sight for sore eyes. It was a miracle he hadn’t passed out yet.
In a moment’s hesitation, I pressed down my thumb harshly on it. His body shuddered under me, eyes flickering shut, and I would be fucking liar if his discomfort didn’t appease me.
“Never underestimate me again, Enzo. It might just be the last thing you do.” No conceited smile played at my lips, no tones of humour underneath.
He needed to know that I wasn’t playing around.
He nodded once, somewhat reluctantly. And then I smiled.
hey guys! okay, so i have an updating schedule for y'all. you can expect chapters from me every sunday. i know it's less, but i have my exams and this is the most i can manage.
also, thank you SO MUCH for all the nice comments you left in the last chapter. i really appreciate you <3
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