I swallow, but it’s hard to do. My throat is so dry.
He takes another step forward, gripping the back of my neck. The gun pushes down harder on my forehead, enough to leave an imprint behind. His forefinger tightens around the trigger.
“Draco, please,” I beg. He’s so close to pulling it. “I didn’t do this to betray you! I promised I would help him!”
“I don’t give a fuck about your promises, Gianna. They’re fucking worthless.”
“But what if you’re wrong about him? What if he really only wanted to be free? Free from you and this place! It’s what I wanted before, too, and I wouldn’t have told. I would have just run and never looked back.”
“I’m not wrong. I know a fucking con artist and liar when I see one. But that’s the thing about you—you’re so blind to all of it. Hell, you fell for the man who murdered your own father. Of course you’ll fall for the next man’s bullshit, too. Especially one related to him.”
He squeezes my neck until it hurts. I wince and cry out a little, but my eyes don’t move from the trigger. He continues squeezing down. More. More. More.
“Draco!” I plead. “You said you wouldn’t kill me.”
He fastens his jaw and squeezes the trigger all the way down. I flinch, expecting a loud noise and some bright light to follow, but there’s nothing. Only a solid, hard click.
He pulled the trigger, but the safety is on.
The safety . . .
Jerking away, he shoves me down on the edge of the bed and steps forward. “You feel that? I know you do, because I can see it so fucking clearly. Fear. That fear in your eyes still brings me joy,” he rasps, towering over me. “I said I wouldn’t kill you—that I can’t kill you—because I respected your father too much. I won’t. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t hurt you.” He grabs my hair and tugs on it, getting in my face, making me whimper. “I am going to hurt you so fucking much you’ll hate me again, Gianna. I’m going to teach you that fucking me over and going behind my fucking back gets you nowhere! I tried with you, I really did.” He pulls away, holding the gun up in the air. “But don’t think you’re safe with me by any means. No,” he laughs, a sinister one I haven’t heard since I was first brought here. “I’ll be back, and you better be fucking ready, because I am done being fucking lenient with you. By the end of the night, you will worship, obey, and submit to me. You will be mine all over again. No more fucking freedom for you.”
And with those words, he’s walking out of the room, storming down the hallway.
Though he’s gone, the atmosphere is still thick with tension. Sweat has beaded up on my forehead, my palms clammy. I look down, realizing my hands are shaking, my breath is erratic, and my legs are wobbling like mad.
I am terrified all over again.
Of him. Of what he’ll do to me.
And . . . deep down . . . I’m glad to feel this way.
Glad, because I can’t like him. I don’t want to like him. I don’t want his charm to win me over. I don’t want him to ever trust me, because I don’t ever want to trust him. I can’t trust a man like him.
I need to hate him again. I need the fight. I needed a reason to kindle my fire inside, and he’s going to hand it right to me.
El Jefe vs. La Patrona.
I guess the question now is, who will win?
Anxiety has swarmed me. Though I’m on edge, I go downstairs for breakfast, on time and dressed accordingly. The dining room is back to its original setting, clear of everything, including plates and silverware, which is strange.
I walk to my seat and sit, waiting to hear Draco come strolling in at any given second. There is less than one minute left until 8:00. I pull my chair in, and as I wait, I hear footsteps coming.
I look to the right, toward the doors. But it’s not Draco I see. It’s Thiago. He strolls right into the dining room, with a white T-shirt and dark-blue jeans. His dark, beady eyes sparkle from the sunlight filtering in through the window, and of course they are focused on me.
I watch him come closer and closer, finally taking the seat right beside me. Swallowing thickly, I cross my legs and shift to the left, as if it will get me further away from him.
It doesn’t. I still smell him. I feel him there, staring like some deranged animal.
“Stop looking at me,” I snap without meeting his eyes.
His laugh is throaty and slightly obnoxious.
“He’ll kill you if he sees you sitting beside me,” I mutter beneath my breath.