“He has a lot going on right now with that guy who came here.” I fold my arms. “I don’t want to bother him.”
She side eyes me. “I can’t take you down without his permission, Patrona.”
I frown a bit. “Patrona?” I look her over. “Boss? Why are you calling me that?”
“It’s what we are to call you now. Seeing as you are with Draco, and he wants you safe, you are our boss now too, I guess.” Her lips press. “The lady boss.”
“Oh.” I pull my gaze away, scoffing. “Kinda weird.”
She chuckles, and then says, “So, Patrona, forgive me, but I cannot take you down there. I listen to you, but I obey the Jefe’s orders first.”
I look away as we get closer to the dining room. “Okay. I understand.”
When I make it inside the dining room, Mrs. Molina is sitting in her chair, knitting. I don’t see Draco, but I can hear him talking nearby. Maybe the kitchen. I take my usual seat while Patanza stands guard at the door.
Mrs. Molina pauses on her knitting, looking up at me. “You look better,” she says lightly, her smile forced.
“I feel better.” I return the smile.
“Good,” she breathes. “A quick recovery is something Lion always had. He never dwelled on things for too long. I see you get that trait from him.”
I focus on my red fingernails, doing my best not to smile. “I guess.”
She leans over the table a bit, running her eyes all over me. “Has he . . . been good to you since . . . well, you know?”
“He’s not punishing me, so that’s a start.” But if he knew the kind of plan I was hatching right now, I’m sure he’d toss me in a cell and chop my arms off, too.
She sits back, barely nodding. She doesn’t say much more, not that she can continue. Draco is coming from the kitchen to take his seat now. The butlers follow after him, setting hot plates down in front of us.
When they are gone, Mrs. Molina picks up her fork. “Where is your cousin?” she inquires with a soft voice.
Draco doesn’t look at her as he cuts into his pork. “Don’t worry about it, Mamá.”
“You know you can’t kill him. He saved your life once. You owe him.”
“I don’t owe him a damn thing after all the shit he’s caused.” Draco’s hand tightens around the handle of his knife. He snatches a bite off his fork and finally looks at her. “He has to go, Mamá. It’s that simple. He’s causing too much confusion and too many problems. If he doesn’t, it makes me look weak, and everyone knows I’m far from it. I don’t need anyone thinking I’m going soft. He stole from me, and for all I know he might have come here to kill me first. I won’t allow that to happen.”
She stares at him until her eyes well up. “You can’t kill him, Draco. What kind of man would you be to kill your own blood?”
“I killed my uncle and another cousin of mine for stabbing me in the back and thinking they could get away with it. It’s business, and they know it. He knows it, and has ever since I took over, but it didn’t stop him from stealing from me. I don’t take threats from anyone. I am the threat.” His tone is clipped. I watch them stare at one another—she with her lips pressed, he as he chews thoroughly.
I decide to break the silent, thick tension. “Draco, I think I’m ready,” I murmur in English.
And he instantly looks up at me, those brown eyes sparking. “Ready for what?” But I’m sure he already knows.
“To go to the cells. To see them.”
Mrs. Molina’s shoulders tense up.
“To do what?” He watches my eyes.
“You know what,” I tell him.
“Why now? Why today?”
I shrug. “I’m tired of thinking about it. I need to get it over with.” He doesn’t seem very convinced, so I continue. “I just want to forget about what he did to me. And I want them gone as soon as possible. It would make me feel safer here.”
He looks me over once before focusing on his food. “Fine. Tomorrow morning after breakfast.” He cuts into his meat again. “But I hope you’re sure.”
“I am,” I murmur.
But I know I’m not. I don’t know how I’ll get around Draco while I’m in there, but I’ll think of something. I’ll make up an excuse. I always find a way.
I enter the prisoner’s bedroom I was in before and walk to the bathroom, locking the door behind me, and then stand on the toilet seat before climbing onto the tank.
The ends of my feet hang over the edge, but I grip the windowsill and look out. I see the shed there. There are six men guarding it, all of them strapped with guns and swathed in black and gray camouflage pants.