• 14 •
X E N A
A total of two chains littered the ground, one for every brief response I got.
Vincenzo had leaned back against the chair, an expression of indifference making the angular lines of his jaw look much sharper. Though I suspected that it was to mask his lightheadedness from the blood loss.
Till now, all I got out from him was that Vetrov was dead, the new Bratva was out for blood, mine to be specific. But again, I had that effect on people. The second thing that was new to me was that the Bratva has now been divided into two parts since the people weren’t pleased with the man who killed Vetrov. Cue there being two Pakhans. God, what a headache.
At least only one of the two mobs wanted me dead. Fun.
“Did you send your men after me? Or was it only the new Bratva’s men?” It was my third time questioning something along the lines of this, and he had deflected them all. Smartly, too. “Do not make me ask again,” I warned, my voice lowering to convey my solemnity, knife twirling.
I prided myself on having a perfect aim. Two seconds from my part and my knife would be jutting out from his heart. Or one of his kidneys, I suppose, if I were feeling charitable.
He was quiet for a moment, mulling on whether to give me a straightforward answer or not. I took that time to meticulously read the brief streaks of emotions that decided to paint his face for a fraction of a second. Or what he wanted me to see.
He leaned back against the chair leisurely. “I did.”
He sent his men after me.
All the puzzle pieces that were finally beginning to join together broke apart— quick and sudden, scattering all over the place. “Why did you?” I rose a brow, masking my conflicting fervour. We both knew that he would have to give me more than two measly words for the third set of chains to come off.
And maybe, a large portion of my brain, the one that enjoyed his misery a little too much, hoped he wouldn’t reply.
Dragging out his death to my benefit seemed only benefiting, for all the attacks I had to put up with.
What was in it for him? I heavily doubted that he needed the money.
“I was going along with the trend.” The trend of killing me. That sounded fun. He crossed his newly freed arms— a red, blaring sign of defensiveness. My eyes sparkled at the knowledge. So, there was something else. Just as his head caught up with his movement, he faked a very convincing wince, before straightening his forearms.
Lies, lies, lies.
Most people blamed it on the tequila. Vincenzo blamed it on the bullet.
I called bullshit. If I’d learnt anything about the moody capo today, it was how he was a manipulative bastard— be it with twisting conversations or with steering a person to drive a knife into their own fucking heart. The perfect term for him would be a puppeteer. A person who controlled another in a clever or unscrupulous way.
He may act like his own doings were mishaps, nothing but accidents, but it was all under pretence. Each and every one of his moves was planned carefully, calculatedly, before he worked on them.
Which made me think over if any of today’s agenda went according to his plan. The thought left a bitter taste in my mouth.
I didn’t play into his hands. He played into mine.
Now I just had to believe those words.
“Do you ever get tired of lying?” The words came out sharper than I expected.
My tone had him raise a perfect brow. “Do you ever get tired of pretending to be a cold-hearted bitch?”
Aha. There it was— my breaking point.
I didn’t realise when I stood up, or when I walked over, but suddenly I was there right in front of him. Crouching on my heels, inches away from his face. He’s so close, that I could see straight into the depth of his grey eyes flecked with the blend of charcoal and white and every hue of grey— the intensity holding me captive.
My blade dug into his throat, but his eyes never moved away from mine. He did however stiffen when the cool metal brushed his carotid artery, skimming down to his blood veins.
Both of us were aware of the fact that one hurried move of mine, and Capo wouldn’t live to see another day. He would bleed, and oh, because he would do it so well, trying to compose his face into a cool and collected mask, when we both knew that ‘collected’ was the last thing he would be feeling.
“This room has been with me through everything.” I casted a pleasant glance around my torture chamber. “All the blood, the sweat. And the cries.” Couldn’t forget those even if I wanted to. A light puncture of the knife at the base of a minor vein had him shudder lightly. “They were always refreshing.” Vincent held himself still. I continued good-naturedly. “But I’ve got to say— it’s a clash between blood and tears for me. They’re both so…” Searching for the perfect word, I looked straight into Vincenzo’s dark gaze, murmuring “exquisite. Would you like to know about the last person who was in this room with me?” I loved recalling certain memories. They always managed to brighten my mood.
I didn’t give him a chance to answer. “In fact, he sat exactly where you are right now. Same place, same position. But with a lot more chains,” I glanced at the chains I removed pitifully. “Got to say, you pull the whole hostage look better though.” Scruffy jaws, messed up hair, bloody trails down his face. He looked… vengeful. And so fucking bloody, that it drove my senses mad.
“So, yes. Let’s talk about how I pretended” A sound left his throat as I made my blade go in deeper, tauntingly, “to love driving two screwdrivers right through his fucking eyes, and how I pretended to enjoy hammering his knees out. And the way I pretended to relish plucking his nails out— straight from the nail bed.”
To Vincenzo’s credit, he didn’t even wince at the vivid imagery I painted for him.
“Damn,” I mock sighed, looking at him with wide-eyed. The specks of hue in his eyes swirled, tempting the darkness in mine. “I do a whole lot of pretending.” Blood trails ran down his neck, crimson and fresh, and I swiped my thumb over it, spreading the colour in fascination. Fuck, I was twisted, but… my eyes fell to his blood on my hands.
The only sound that accompanied my words were the heavy pounds of footsteps. I recognized them all too well. I stood up, turning my back to him.
“What?” My attention was at the door. I gave it three seconds tops before the door got kicked open.
“You’re a part of an experiment.”
My head turned as the meaning of his words kicked in, a question hot on my lips, when the door bust open, and in walked my father.
A raging scowl lit his face as his eyes took in the scene before him.
I straightened in my place, walking a few paces to him. “Fa—Don.” My voice was strange.
No one missed my slip-up.
If I wasn’t so attuned to Vincenzo’s body— every move of his, from a blink of his eye to an irritated tick of his jaw— I would have missed it. His fingers twitched on the handles.
A voice cut me out before I could draw any further assumptions.
“A word, Xena?” It wasn’t a question, so I don’t know why he bothered framing it as one.
My eyes moved to his, and I jutted my jaw slightly, walking out of the basement.
He joined me in an adjoining room some minutes later. Judging from his even worse expression, he and the Capo must have had a little chat.
As pleasant as two people who… abhorred the existence of the other conversed, anyway.
Father didn’t waste time exchanging any pleasantries. “What exactly are you planning on doing here?” The gruffness in his voice startled me. I knew he wasn’t in a good mood, not after a bad phone call in the morning. After that, I had no time to brief him up— being holed up in the basement with my kidnappee.
And now that I had my own questions from him about the Bratva, I could feel my own anger tighten in my throat. I stifled it down.
“You wanted the Cosa Nostra dead. I’m starting with him.” I thought it was obvious.
I didn’t say the last words aloud.
My father’s voice was admonishing. “No.”
“No?” I repeated, not understanding.
He shook his head, a look of disappointment clear on his face. “I want the brotherhood destroyed. Not just killed. Surely I’ve taught you the difference?” His anger was evident by the newfound scowl plastered on his lips.
He expected an answer, I provided him none.
His voice rose. “I wanted you to find the cracks in their ruling, and then make it crumble straight from the fissure. He is the walking, talking reason your mother is dead. I’d thought you’d be perfect for the job.” The ’but clearly you’re not’ part was silent, but intended. I heard it loud and clear.
I repressed the flinch at the coldness of his words. But at the end of the day, he was right. I was too busy finding certain acts of his redeemable. Hell, what was I even doing?
Glancing back down at Vincent’s blood on me, I couldn’t explain how angry it made me. I was losing sight of my goal. And I was fucking livid that my father was right.
“It’s a good thing I had a backup plan in mind.”
My jaw tightened. The don had doubted my capability, and I had proved him right, right, right. “What sort of backup?”
He didn’t answer. His face was unreadable.
His next words were expected, but it didn’t make it any better.
“Fifteen strikes for your incompetency, and then I expect you to join us in the basement.”
He nodded once, distracted, and I was dismissed.
my blood k!nk is trembling💀
ps- i know the basement scene has been there for 3-4 chapters, and that’s bc it’s meant to be read altogether to get all the bloodthirsty emotions, yk? for a published book, it would all be included in one chapter. but since it’s an online platform, i’m breaking it into parts, and 1600 word chapters. i hope it doesn’t seem too dragging.
lmk what you think about this chapter!
thank you for all your comments, likes and reviews🖤 have a great day.