“Not if he kills you first.” When he says that, I pick up my head, meeting the dark orbs for eyes. “I heard what you did. He came looking for me. Fortunately, I had an alibi. I really had no clue there was even a guy without arms staying here.” He laughs again. “Why’d you do it? What did you get out of it?”
I pull my gaze away, refusing to answer.
“You’re smart but stupid,” he mutters. “Women.” Seconds later and Draco comes into the dining room, steps still heavy, shoulders tense. None of the guards are around. I’ve noticed they’re all pretty much gone, probably out looking for Henry.
“You eat and then you get the fuck out of my sight,” he growls as he takes his throne-like chair. For a second, I’m not sure if he’s talking to Thiago or me.
But when Thiago laughs and relaxes in his chair, I realize his statement was directed at me. The butlers stroll in with carts, placing dishes down in front of him and Thiago. Their plates are covered with fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and Argentinian sausage. But the plate in front of me is . . . not what I’m expecting.
It’s a sandwich. Peanut butter and strawberry jelly, to be exact.
Thiago takes sight of it and laughs so fucking hard I feel it twisting my core.
I peer up at Draco, who slides his gaze from Thiago to me. He grabs the handle of his coffee mug, bringing the rim up to his lips.
“What the hell is this?” I hiss, shoving the plate away.
“Eat,” he commands when he places the coffee mug down.
“No.” I twist in my chair when the butler that just poured Thiago’s coffee walks behind me. I grab his elbow and say in Spanish, “Bring me what they’re having.”
The butler looks from me to Draco, who cocks a stern brow, giving a simple threat with his eyes alone.
Nervously swallowing the lump in his throat, he gently pulls his elbow away and speeds to the kitchen. When a minute passes by, I realize he isn’t coming back.
“Eat,” Draco demands again. “Better this than nothing, right?”
I clench my jaw tight, focusing on his eyes.
“You will eat lightly today,” he declares when he picks up a piece of sausage.
His upper lip quirks, just barely, but he says nothing. Just bites into the sausage, holding my stare until I pull away.
“Shit. It’s fucking intense in here,” Thiago says through a mouth full of food. “Gia, want some?” he offers, sliding his plate over as if he really will give me some.
I blink at him, the way he mocks me with that sneer.
“Stop fucking around, Thiago. We have shit to do soon,” Draco grumbles in Spanish.
I push out of my chair. “I’ll be in the room.”
“Your room,” he says when I push the chair back in. Then he picks up the plate with the sandwich. “With your sandwich.” He holds it out, a silent demand that I take it with me. His eyes are hard and threatening, jaw flexing.
Enraged, I snatch the sandwich off the plate, pull the pieces of bread apart, and smash the slices face down on the table, smearing the jelly and peanut butter all over the wood.
“Fuck you and your fucking sandwich, Draco.”
I leave before he can retaliate. When I make it up the staircase, I’m truly surprised he hasn’t come hunting me down. I rush down the hallway and into the room I’d stayed in before.
The room for prisoners.
As I storm inside and look to my right, that’s when I spot the flowers on the dresser. These aren’t the chocolate cosmos I’ve grown accustomed to.
These flowers are a bright, stark blue, bold and resilient. The sun dances on the large dew-dropped petals, highlighting the white streaks between each crease as well as the black dots collected in the middle.
I stare at them longer than intended.
I’ve never seen anything like them before.
I step forward, noticing a note folded beneath the vase. Moving it aside, I pick up the letter and read the words. His words. His handwriting.
Know why they’re called that?
Because beneath all that beauty, there are thorns—large, sharp, vicious thorns. Some of them you can’t see because they are just as blue, blending in with the soft petals, which is why you have to be careful when picking them. If you aren’t cautious, they’ll stab you right where it fucking hurts, and yet you still can’t help but want to keep them.
Be in my galería at 10:00 p.m. Be on time or I swear you will regret it.
It’s back to this.
The punishments. The rage. The hate.
I release a ragged breath, pushing one of the petals of the flowers aside and spotting several thorns. They are sharp. Almost deadly. But I pull one out anyway and smell it.
It is sweet and strong and beautiful, but so sharp and vicious beneath the delicate petals.