“Do you swear?” I ask. “Because if I find a way to get you out, I have to be sure. He will threaten me for it, maybe even punish me, but he won’t kill me. That I know for sure.”
“What makes you so sure?” he grumbles.
“Because my father promised me to him a long time ago. Another reason he hates Toni.”
Ronaldo scoffs, dropping the back of his head on the wall. “I just want to be free, Gia. I want to live my life. I don’t care about Toni or Draco Molina. I will run to the ends of the earth if I have to. I will hide for as long as I need to. I don’t care as long as I get the fuck out of here. I won’t tell anyone where the hell I’ve been or anything. I just want to be free. I’m tired of being tortured for something I didn’t even do. Can’t you see what that motherfucker has done to me? He won’t stop until there is nothing left of me but my head. I can’t take anymore. I’m being punished for nothing, and he’s so fucking paranoid that he doesn’t believe me. He probably knows it too, that I don’t know shit about what’s going on, but he doesn’t care. He wants someone to take his anger out on.”
“He has every right to be paranoid,” I whisper, recalling that conversation with Thiago, how sure of himself he was. And now me. Down here with a man he believes is another enemy.
I run my fingers through my hair, glancing over my shoulder at the steps behind me, and then focusing on the shelves above. There is a kettle up there, a hand shovel, and a large pair of pliers.
Holy shit. Perfect.
I stand up and hurry for the pliers, taking them down by the handles and going back for him.
“I’m risking my life by doing this,” I murmur, bringing them down and squeezing one of the chains. It pops and I hear Ronaldo release a ragged breath of relief. “But no matter what Draco thinks, I believe you. Daddy trusted you to look after Draco for a reason. I’m going to stick with my gut and believe it’s because he knows you wouldn’t have betrayed him . . . not like Toni did. Plus Daddy obviously didn’t want Draco dead. He was keeping tabs on him for a reason . . . until he died.”
He scowls. “I’m nothing like Trigger Toni. He betrays anyone he meets. It’s why I never wanted to work for him.”
“You have a smart-ass mouth like him.”
“There’s a party going on tonight. Most of the guards are drinking so they’ll be slacking a little. I can’t help you get out of here. You’re on your own with that. I will do my best to keep Draco occupied. There’s a library right across the hallway. You can get out through the window. None of the guards should bother you tonight but you have to be gone by morning if you want to make it out alive.”
“You’re putting your head on a platter for me,” he says.
“Yeah.” I grunt, squeezing the handles. “A thank you would be nice.”
His mouth twitches when I pop the last chain. “Thank you.”
There is something about his gratitude that makes the heart I thought had frozen solid, fill with warmth again. I don’t know why, but I believe him. I really do. I don’t think he has anything to do with this Hernandez person. Toni never mentioned anyone by that name while I was with him and neither did Daddy.
Draco is just so consumed by his own paranoia that he feels he can’t trust anyone that even spent time in the same room as this person. I guess I don’t blame him. He didn’t become who he is overnight. He worked for his title. He has to be cautious. But sometimes being too cautious and too prideful can make a person foolish and reckless. It can cause innocent people to lose their lives.
“You defy him, and he likes that,” Ronaldo says when I put the pliers back. He shakes his body a little, loosening his joints and allowing the rest of the chains to fall off. There are red marks on his skin, chain patterns. “It’s why you’re in the position you’re in now.”
“He’s making up for his wrongs. I’m only being myself,” I tell him, picking the lantern up.
He grins. “Are you? Or is everything so normal and boring right now that you’re hoping he actually does something to you when he finds out what you’ve done? He’s spoiling you. Pampering you. He fucks you good, I’m sure. I can tell by the way you speak about him. So highly, like you owe him or something. But you want the old him back. The brutal one. The one that tossed you around and made a fool out of you. That’s the kind of man you want—the kind of man you crave so that you can have a reason to fight back or even kill him if it comes down to it. You’re just too afraid to accept that godawful truth.”