Anxiety races through my blood. I don’t like this insecurity. I never should’ve gotten myself into this shit.
Fuck it. It’s not going to happen. I’m not doing it. I’ll hold on to her until they come back. But I’m not doing this shit. It’s not what I did for my famila. This is fucked up and wrong.
The thoughts fly through my head, but I know better.
If I tell Petrov no, I’m a dead man.
I need to figure something out. The Valettis didn’t look so keen on doing business. Not this kind of business, anyway. Maybe I can get in with them. My gut churns. Would they take in the nephew of a rat? I can hear it now. The disrespect. The dismissal. No one takes in the last member of a tainted name. I’m on my own and that means I’m at the mercy of these fucks.
I climb the stairs and listen for her footsteps. For Ava Ivanov’s footsteps. She was practically royalty. Untouchable. And now she’s in chains and being sold as a slave. Passed around. She’s so fucking scared. I know she’s trying not to show it. She’s doing everything she can to obey and disappear into the background. I can sense it though, deep down.
There are so many scars on her body. Multiple small scratches over her hip and her shoulders. There are bruises of all different colors on her thighs and arms. A silvery bite mark on her shoulder. The sight of it infuriates me. Worse is the large cut on the nape of her neck. The metal dug in and rubbed her skin raw. It has to have been like that for a while to look so fucking bad.
I need to stay calm and think of this as just another job until I can get through it.
I stop at the top of the stairs. I look to the left and there’s a small hallway with a large door at the end. To the right is a hallway with more doors. The left has the largest room, so we’ll stay there.
I don’t care what they say about the chains being gone. I know they’re going to be pissed about it. I don’t give a fuck though. I’m not doing that shit. She’s in my care, so she’s mine for now. I’ll do what I want with her. A shudder runs through my body and I’m sickened by the thought that ran through my mind. She’s gorgeous, but it’s wrong to imagine her as mine.
I open the door and walk into a fairly barren room with a decently sized bed and a dresser. The closet doors are open and the closets are empty. The room is light and airy, with a soft pale blue paint on the walls and a grey bedspread. There are black and white abstract paintings scattered around the walls of the room. It’s not too bad for a safe house. There’s a door to the right and I’d guess that’s the bathroom. Good. She’ll have everything she needs in here.
I start thinking about how I have to go and get supplies, and then I curse under my breath. I’ve got nothing to make sure she stays put. I just cut off the chains and it’s not like I have anything on me to make sure she stays here. If I was her I’d take off the second I could. And if she does that, I’m fucked.
Fuck! How did I already mess this shit up? I sigh heavily and walk farther into the room. There’s gotta be something in here. Maybe I can use the closet. I can put something in front of the door. My heart sinks in my chest. I don’t want to do that. That’s so fucking shitty. But I have to make sure she doesn’t leave.
I don’t know how to do this shit. I turn around and run a hand down my face as I shut my eyes briefly in exasperation. “Ava?”
“Yes?” she answers quickly. When I open my eyes, her light blues stare back at me. Thank fuck. I couldn’t stand her looking at nothing, avoiding my gaze and looking as though she’s trying to fade from existence. I’m glad she listened.
“How does this normally work for you?” I ask, and cross my arms across my chest. I don’t really give a shit that I’m asking her. I’m sure as hell not calling up one of those sick fucks and asking them. I know a bit about this. I’m not proud to know, but I do. I can be her caretaker for a few days. I can do that. But I’m not fucking training women. Breaking them into submission. That shit’s not for me. I don’t want any part of that. But for now, I have to deal with Ava.
I’m not giving her the upper hand and giving her an option to take off. I can’t let that shit happen. I can’t piss off Petrov by losing her, even if I fucking hate what he’s doing. I’ll figure this shit out. If worse comes to worst, there’s the option of the closet.
Her mouth opens, but then closes quickly. Her eyes dart to the floor and then back to my face. Her fingers wrap around each other nervously. “I’m not sure how to answer,” she says in a calm voice that doesn’t match the anxiety she’s showing at all. Fear and apprehension wash off of her in waves.