Damn. Even my taste buds are numb.
By the time I’ve chewed the first slow bite and forced it down, Draco has dismissed Diego and is walking to his chair. He sits down, pulls his chair in, and then picks up his water.
“He’s watching over them?” I ask.
“Why are they still alive?” I ask, and I know he hears the agitation on my breath.
He picks up a napkin to wipe above his lips. “They won’t be for long.”
“Draco, you said you would get rid of them. You said you would make them pay.”
“And I will.”
“Putting them in those cells means they are still breathing.”
He places his napkin down. “Are you ready to cut those breaths short then?”
“W-what?” I stammer.
“You heard me,” he murmurs, picking up his fork and knife and cutting into his steak and eggs. “Are you ready to end them?”
I blink rapidly. “You are the one who’s supposed to make them pay.”
“And I will, but not before letting you take out your aggressions first.”
“I have none,” I state, looking away.
“That’s bullshit, and you know it. You’re still in denial. Still trying to block it out. But when it finally sinks in—when that rage ignites you—you’ll know. I will know.”
I watch him closely as he takes a bite of the steak. I don’t say anything, though. Because I am upset—no, I’m more than upset.
I want them gone, yes, but I didn’t think I’d have to use my own hands to do it. I thought he’d make me watch again, like he did with Kevin. I would have been okay with that.
“You can take your time,” he tells me. “There is no rush.” He reaches forward and tips my chin. “But when it happens, niñita, I will be there. I will make you feel like you again, only much stronger.” He drops his fork and strokes the apple of my cheek. “My beautiful niñita. Look what they’ve done to you.” His nostrils flare, and he points his gaze to my lips. “It is taking everything in me not to draw my gun, go down there, and shoot them until the shed is full of blood and bullets.”
I drop my gaze.
He pulls away.
I look elsewhere. “Where’s Mrs. Molina?” I inquire, ignoring the sudden spark growing between us.
“She didn’t want to see you today.”
I whip my head up with a frown. “What? Why not?”
“She heard what happened to you.” He pauses, only for a brief second. “My mother has the tendency to allow her guilt to eat her alive. She didn’t sleep all night, but I hope she’s making up for it right now.”
His face changes. It’s softer. His eyes dart down, focused on the bowl of sliced fruit. “It’s not just you she doesn’t want to see. It’s me, too. I disappointed her.” He eats faster, trying to ignore his remorse.
“I told her I wouldn’t let anything happen to you after I didn’t let you eat those three days. She made me promise, and just like that,” he snaps his fingers, “the promise was broken. She’s a little more than upset.”
His unhappiness is clear, but not too much. He hates revealing any type of emotion. He pushes out of his chair and stands up, straightening his back.
“Eat and be sure to go back to my room. I’ll have one of the maids send over some of the clothes and toiletries from the room you were staying in before. You won’t be going back to it anymore.”
He starts to walk around me, but I catch his hand. My mouth opens, but then clamps shut. I don’t know what to say. What should I tell him to try and ease some of that guilt?
“Thank you, Draco,” I finally say.
He stares down, confused. “I don’t deserve your gratitude right now, Gianna.”
“You’re trying,” I murmur.
“Trying isn’t enough.”
“What’s done is done.” I shrug one shoulder, but he yanks his hand away. “From here, we move forward.”
“Fuck that. This is not over,” he growls, and then he stalks out of the dining room. Patanza shows up as he’s storming out, and he murmurs something to her before taking off.
She looks at me, but her expression is unreadable. She has a rifle in hand, the black strap across her body. She has on gloves and what looks like a bulletproof vest beneath her T-shirt. It’s the most I’ve seen her wear around here.
She watches me for a brief moment, then jerks her gaze away and steps to the side, focusing ahead.
That’s three times in a row today.
None of them have looked at me for longer than a few seconds.
Was this an order from Draco? Maybe he’s onto all of them. Maybe he doesn’t trust any of his men now. I didn’t realize it before, but he has the house heavily guarded today.
There’s a guard in the kitchen where the butlers are when I peer up. I see him standing there with his arms in front of him, guns in each holder.