“Everyone under my roof, besides the guard, was to show up for breakfast on time, but they eat their fill, however much they wanted, and they enjoy it. Being late, to me, is unacceptable, because I was always on time, even for one of the worst days of my life.”
He finally looks at me. “I may have been harsh to you at first about breakfast, but I swore to myself after that day that I would never let anyone disrespect me in my own home like that again. You follow my rules, and life is easy. Go against them, and it's you that makes it hard for yourself."
"Is that why Thiago hates you?" I ask.
"I’d say he hardly hates me," he chuckles. "He was more than relieved to see his father carried out and disposed of. His father was abusive and ignorant. He didn’t give a damn about his son. My mother was relieved as well, though she'd never admit to something like that. She was glad, and, I think, even slightly proud of me. Thiago is just confused now. He thinks he's smarter than I am. He has his talents, but running a cartel on his own is not one of them. I'm certain he'll come around and know where he really belongs. He knows what happens to those who betray me."
"Wow, Draco I—I’m sorry. I didn’t know—"
"There's not much you can say about it, Gianna. Don’t try and speak on it. You wanted to know the truth and you got it, so please, let's eat breakfast, and then we can discuss swimming. I will give you whatever you want, just as long as you can follow the rules I already have set." He steps toward me, tilting my chin. "Okay?"
"Okay," I whisper.
He plants a small kiss on my lips and then leads the way out of the room with my hand in his. But before he shuts the door and locks it, I catch sight of another painting that I missed, one that is above the bookcase in the far corner.
On it is a Caucasian man with a gun pointed at a Hispanic man sitting in a chair. They’re in a public place. A restaurant with a bar.
I realize right away who the people are.
It’s Toni, killing Draco’s father.
An image burned into Draco’s memory bank, one that will never, ever go away.
As usual, we ate a large breakfast in the dining room. Mrs. Molina was there, and she seemed more upbeat than usual. I couldn’t figure out why, until I saw Thiago walking around the mansion.
He wasn’t cuffed or being dragged around. He was roaming at his own free will, with two guards trailing him.
Seeing him was strange. His face was bruised, lip busted, and nose broken, most likely from Draco’s wrath. I felt him look into the dining room as we ate. He stared right at Draco for a split second, and Draco glared right back. Of course Thiago pulled his gaze away first.
Their silent battle was interesting.
“I have some business to handle,” Draco announces when we’re back in his bedroom. “I’m not sure how long I’ll be.”
“Okay.” I sighed, sitting on the bottom edge of the bed. “I’m sure I can find something to do to occupy myself.”
“What do you like to do?” he asks, like he’s really curious. “Your hobbies?”
“I used to write a lot. Most times just in my journal. I made up my own romance stories here and there. They were all so sappy and cheesy.” I shrug, taking off my earrings. “I kind of miss it—writing, I mean.”
“There is a library downstairs, across from my galería. There are a lot of books in there, though most of them are in Spanish. My mother loves to read. She used to spend all her time there. She hasn’t been in there in a while, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind you using it. There’s paper, pens—whatever you might need to write.”
“What about a laptop or a computer? I typed a lot, too. I liked seeing the words on screen and then printing it off. Made it feel kind of real.” I flash a small smile.
His jaw slightly ticks. “If I give you a laptop, it won’t have any sort of connection to the internet.” His voice is gruff and firm. “Anyone could hack the system and find out where I am. I’ve been in and out of this home for years with no problems. Never been caught here because I keep most technology at bay. I don’t trust computers.”
“I don’t need the internet to write,” I laugh, even more so because I’m sure that’s not the only reason why he doesn’t want me to have a connection to the Internet. It would be way too easy for me to just log into some form of social media and post where I am—who I am. To snap photos to show proof and have someone come for me.