Is this the way he came down when it was finally time to meet me? On that first day I ever saw him in the cells—when I so badly wanted to gut him right then and there?
Was he this confident? This sure of himself, that he would kill me too, if it came down to it?
“Never mind. It’s nothing,” I murmur with a swift shake of my head.
Before I know it, his men have come to a halt. They all stand aside and Draco finally releases my hand, lifting his head higher and walking forward.
“Ábrela,” he commands to one of them.
One of the guards opens the door rapidly. It squeals on its hinges and Draco strolls right in.
“Come, Gianna,” he calls over his shoulder. “The rest of you, stay out here,” he says to the guards in his native tongue.
I glance sideways at Patanza who has a serious mask on, but her eyes reveal all. She’s worried for me too. She’s not sure how I will handle it, and she has every right to be concerned.
This isn’t me. This isn’t me.
I’m not a killer.
That’s what I tell myself, but I’ve wanted to kill Draco ever since I heard his real name. I wanted Axe Man dead way before he ever stole my passion. And Bain—I wanted him gone a long, long time ago.
It’s not the same—to want it—as it is doing it. Doing it takes you to a whole new level of evil—an evil that you cannot come back from.
I know for a fact. Daddy used to tell me all the time.
“Murdering someone can change your entire life,” he’d said to me when I threatened to kill a boy who’d stolen my bike. I didn’t know what I was saying. All the murder talk I heard from Daddy’s mindless adult conversations made my mind a sponge. “Murdering someone is damning your soul to hell for all eternity. Unless you’re ready to face the fire and that dirty red devil, be a good girl and let it go. I’ll get you a new bike, sweet girl. Don’t worry about it.”
And he did buy me a new bike. That very same night. I also heard the boy was sent to the hospital after being severely beaten.
I’m not prepared to damn my soul to hell. I am a good person. I have a good heart. Right?
There are two cells, I notice.
One is empty. I don’t see any trace of Ronaldo.
The other has his captives. His betrayers. Francesca and Bain.
He opens the gate with a key, and when he steps in, I linger outside the gate. I can hardly tell it’s them. Francesca has on a blue dress that is now soiled with old blood and ripped at the hem. There is dry blood between her thighs, as if she’s been raped brutally or maybe she started her period and couldn’t prevent the leakage.
Of course she couldn’t. Her wrists are locked in cuffs that are built into the walls, as well as Bain’s.
He has no shirt on, wounds all over his chest as if he’s been whipped and cut by the sharpest knives around. They’re both dirty. Filthy. Bloody. I never thought I would see them so low.
I walk in behind Draco, and Francesca immediately starts to speak.
“Jefe, please!” she begs in Spanish. “This wasn’t my idea. None of it was. It was all them. I just wanted to be free! I wanted to go home!”
Draco presses forward, moving slowly toward her with measured steps.
Bain glares at him, but even harder at me.
I don’t avoid his eyes. As badly as I want to look away, I don’t. I want him to see that I’m the one at Draco’s side now. I was once a pawn in this game, but now I’m the one playing it.
“I promise you,” she whimpers when he stops in front of her. “I don’t love him. I love you, baby. Only you, you know that! I would never betray you. I only wanted out, and I knew you wouldn’t let me go because you care for me so much.”
Draco scoffs. “Care? Bitch, I don’t give a single fuck about you.”
She seems shocked to hear that. Her eyes stretch wider, her face going pale. Wow. Does she really think he loves her? Is she in that much denial?
“You’re angry now, and I get that. I do! But all I need is another chance. I—I can make this up. I can do better. I won’t harm her or you. I will be good. I promise!”
“Just shut up,” Draco mutters.
“Please, Jefe, please! I am meant for you! You know it! You bought me out of the kindness of your heart, and you never acted like you regretted it until she came along!”
“I said shut up, Francesca!”
“She may be prettier, but I can do you better. I can make up for what I’ve done. I can love you, but she can’t! You killed her husband! You ruined her life! Can’t you see she’s only using you to live, Draco! I would never do that to you because I need you!”