Holy crap, it's been two years since this story has seen any action. If by some miracle you still even remember that this existed and aren't too pissed at me to just ignore this chapter, then be all means, please read it and enjoy!
Chapter Twenty Five: Mr. Wilkes' Demise
Mob Guy shook his head. "Romano really is a bigger fool then I thought."
My eyes narrowed. "He is not a fool."
"Ms. Montgomery, it is always the little things that trip up a man in this business. I consider Romano a fool for bringing you in on his secrets in the first place and then an even bigger fool for not training you in any way to keep his secrets safe afterwards."
I wanted to defend Antony but I could see the drawbacks of arguing with this man in my current position. I decided silence was my best course of action and, for once, I actually took it. Unfortunately, my throat wasn't in the best condition so as soon as I stopped talking long enough for it to protest, it did so with a gusto. I burst into a fit of convulsive coughing. I had to have been talking for at least five hours. I didn't know about other people but I wasn't cut out for these marathons.
Mob Guy waited silently for me to finish with my little outbreak. When my body finally decided it was finished, he cocked his head. "I can see that you've reached your limits today. I'll leave you after you conclude with Mr. Wilkes. Were any of your dates with Emo worth my attention?"
I thought about it, weighing in the importance of buying myself more time and pissing him off by wasting his time. Finally I shook my head in the negative. Best not to piss him off right now while my jaw was still throbbing. "Not really."
"You are not lying to me?" Mob Guy asked me with narrowed eyes.
My eyes widened, "No! Emo was sweet and funny and romantic on all of our dates but that was it. Just a regular guy. I never had any clue that he was more than a construction worker until Antony told me afterwards."
Mob Guy stared hard at me before finally nodding slowly. "Very well. Tell me of Mr. Wilkes' demise and I will leave you for the day."
My heart beat hard against my ribcage, making it hard for me to breath for a few seconds. This was what I was dreading. This was why I hadn't wanted to talk about Emo. Nearly two years later I still couldn't justify what had happened. I didn't think I ever would.
"I've always been curious about the mystery surrounding Mr. Wilkes," Mob Guy filled in the silence, "Quite unusual, I must admit. No one in my far reaching connections could tell me who even pulled the trigger." His predator eyes sharpened as they met mine. "You know who killed Mr. Wilkes, don't you, Lana?"
I couldn't hold his gaze but instead looked down at his black leather shoes. Handmade Italian, no doubt. Mob Guy seemed the kind of man that wouldn't settle for less than perfection.
"And?" His single word pierced the air like a gunshot.
My mind pushed the name onto my tongue, telling me that I had to say it or he would punish me again. It was hard though. Two years later and it was still so hard.
"Ms. Montgomery." Mob Guy's tone brooked no opposition.
"Antony," I finally managed to whisper.
"Antony killed Emo."
I couldn't help but moan when Emo nipped at a particularly sensitive spot on my neck. He was too good at this whole turning-me-into-a-pile-of-mush-with-a-simple-kiss thing. Although there was nothing simple about his hand inside my bra or our horizontal position on the couch.
Emo nipped at me again before he groaned and dropped his head on my shoulder. "You drive me insane, woman."
"Ditto," I gasped, pulling his head back up so I could kiss him hard.
Emo deepened the kiss then groaned again. He pulled away from me and moved his hand out of my bra. "That's it. I can't take anymore."
"What?" My brain wasn't working quite right so I wasn't quite sure what he was doing.
"I stay here any longer and things are going to go a lot further than you want," Emo told me, levering himself off of me only to come back down and kiss me ruthlessly. "Yet," he amended roughly.
My fingers laced into his hair of their own accord as I kissed him back. The man had lips made from dreams and the talent to back them up. I wasn't stupid, I knew I had a good thing here and damn if I was going to give it up just yet.
Emo made a noise deep in his throat before his hands found mine and he gently pulled them out of his hair. "Don't do that unless you're willing to tell me where your bedroom is," he growled out.
I bit on my lower lip, thinking. It had been a month. I still really like the man. He was going to leave now because he remembered that I was the type to take things slow, even if I had forgotten that little moral matter. Emo had jumped through all my hoops with flying colors. Was I ready to give him his prize?
Emo was watching me worry my lip with an intensity that gave me the shivers. He groaned yet again then stood up. "I must already be insane," he muttered. "Insanity is the only reason for me to leave you."
Screw it, I thought. My innate feminine fears of Emo leaving in the middle of the night were stupid and unwarranted; I knew from that statement that he wouldn't do that to me. Antony was gone for the weekend on a job; no one was here to interrupt us. If I was really going to do this, now would be the best time. I wanted it, he wanted it. What the hell was I waiting for?
I knocked Emo's hand away when he reached down to button his jeans back up. I hooked my fingers through his belt loops then stood up, getting as close to him as humanly possible.
"My bedroom is upstairs. First door on the left," I murmured against his perfect lips.
The look on his face when I lead him by his waistband towards the stairs was nearly prize enough.
"Uh," I broke off, more than a little uncomfortable. "Do you want to hear about the sex?"
Mob Guy's mouth twitched. "If you wish to tell me, I have no objections."
I blushed. "Uh, no thanks. And don't worry, it's not like you're missing anything."
Mob Guy's eyebrow rose. I could feel my face growing hotter in proportion to how high that eyebrow got.
"I mean, you're missing something but not anything, you know, vital. To the story, I mean." I cut myself off before I could make an even bigger fool of myself.
His mouth twitched again. I was amusing him. "Continue to the next pertinent part, Ms. Montgomery."
I woke up slowly, not quite sure why I was even waking at all. I was comfortable, warm, and drowsy. I shifted in my bed then stopped in surprise when my arm met warm resistance.
My eyes popped open to see Emo sleeping on his back beside me, one arm thrown above his head in obvious satisfaction.
I pulled myself up on my elbows and leaned in to kiss the closest piece of his skin I could reach. I didn't get very far when a hand wrapped around my lower leg and jerked me backwards. My mouth so I could scream my brains out but another hand covered the entire lower half of my face. I could barely breathe, much less yell.
The hand removed itself from my ankle onto to wrap around my waist and pull me up off the bed onto my feet. It was like I wasn't even struggling, the way the intruder effortlessly contained me.
"Stop it, Cara," a voice breathed into my ear.
My entire body stiffened as I jerked my head around to try and see if Antony was really this stupid. I could only see a silhouette of a larger man's head in the dark but I'd know that head anywhere. Yeah, he was this stupid.
"Don't talk," Antony barely whispered. "Go to my room and lock the door. Don't open it for anyone but me."
My eyes narrowed. I felt Antony push something into my hands while he shook his head. "Don't ask questions. Go." The quietness of his voice didn't soften the command in his tone.
What the heck was going on? I opened my mouth in direct disobedience of his last order so I could voice my confusion. Antony didn't like that. He lifted me clean off the ground with his one arm still wrapped around my waist and took me to the bedroom door in three steps.
"I'll explain later." Antony hissed into my ear. "Do what I say now."
He set me back on the ground and took his hands off me. I looked back up at Antony to get some kind of clue but it was too dark to see what was going on on his face.
He pushed me forward a few steps towards the stairs, the unspoken command obvious. I finally kicked into action and obeyed him, moving down the stairs as quietly as I was capable of.
That had been animal-Antony back there, the side of Antony that came out only when there was some seriously bad stuff being talked about. And he had never pulled me out of bed in the middle of the night like this either. All of the clues added up to some sort of spy thing that I had no idea about but should probably get out of the way for.
I stepped into Antony's bedroom and shut the door behind me but didn't lock it. Emo was still up there. Antony was going to do the same scary commando wake up routine with Emo so he would be coming downstairs too in just a moment and I had to let him in. Talk about embarrassing. Of course it had to be the first night that Emo sleeps over that Antony lets his super spy work come home with him. I didn't know how I was going to explain this to Emo.
The thing that Antony had stuffed in my hands when he had dragged me out of bed was my bathrobe. I shook it out then put it on. I had put on a t-shirt and underpants before I had fallen asleep because I so wasn't the kind of girl to fall asleep naked even after having blow-your-brains-out cataclysmically awesome sex. Still, if this place was under attack or whatever the heck was going on right now, I didn't want people to know I didn't have pants on.
There was the tell-tale creak of someone coming down the stairs. That would be Emo, probably totally freaked out by meeting my roommate in the most awkward way possible. I went to Antony's bedroom door and peeked out. It was the middle of the night and thus ridiculously dark but my eyes had adjusted enough that I could make out a figure on the stairs. Wait, there were two figures, both large and male. Antony was coming down behind Emo, a few steps behind him, but there was something about his stance and his movements that made all of the warning alarms in my head go off. Still, I couldn't see well enough in the dark so I kept my mouth shut and watched.
Antony and Emo both came down the stairs and I finally had a better view of them. I waited for Emo to take the three steps towards the bedroom but it didn't happen. In fact, he stopped altogether. It was then that I noticed that Emo had his hands up in the air, like a child that had been caught during a game of cops and robbers. My internal warning bells were shrieking but confusion was still the predominant emotion in my repertoire right now. I looked over at Antony to try and gain some much-needed enlightenment and my stomach dropped.
I could see now what had been so off about Antony's stance when he'd been coming down the stairs.
He had a gun pointed at Emo's back.
My heart thumped so hard against my ribs I was sure they would crack under the pressure. I didn't comprehend, couldn't comprehend, the scene that was playing out in front of my eyes like a bad action movie. My best friend was pointing a gun at my boyfriend. Nothing in my life could possibly have prepared me for such a circumstance, so I relied on instinct and acted on impulse. I hit Antony's bedroom light switch on and opened the door all the way.
"Lana, shut the door!" Antony barked in the hardest tone I'd ever heard.
It was like he hadn't even spoken, for all the attention I paid to him. My body was running on pure terror. Terror for Emo, for myself, even for Antony although it appeared this was all his fault.
"What are you doing!" I squeaked out like Minnie Mouse.
I moved to step out of the doorframe and there was a flurry of movement right in front of me. Emo unfroze from his stance and burst into action, grabbing me by the arm and pulling me towards him. I stumbled forward, thrown off-balance. Emo caught me and dragged me into his body as he pivoted and turned so he was facing Antony. Before I knew what was going on, Emo had an arm wrapped around my middle and a hand on my throat. He was huddled against my back, trying to hide as much of his body with my own, his own human shield.
"Wha –" I didn't finish the word because Emo cut me off, and his words chilled me to the bone.
"I'll kill her."
My stomach dropped again, and I had to fight to keep my legs from giving out. I didn't understand what was going on. Why did Antony have a gun? Why was Emo using me like this? What was happening?
"No you won't," Antony said. Antony was stone. His face showed no emotion, his voice was cold, and his hands were steady wrapped around that gun that was now pointed at me. "You've done everything you can to distance yourself from your father's business. You're not going to start taking after him now. Let her go."
"You know! You know I've got nothing to do with anything that bastard does. Why are you doing this then?" Emo's voice was laced with desperation, as was his hand that was slowly tightening around my neck. The rational part of my mind knew that I should be struggling, fighting, doing something, but my body wasn't obeying any instructions. It appeared that my fight nor flight instinct had been replaced with a deer in the headlight instinct. I was frozen with fright. How useless.
"I don't want to shoot you, Wilkes, but if you don't let her go that's going to be the outcome. Let go of Lana." Antony was the proverbial calm in the storm. He was all stoic tranquility, and the realization that there was nothing that I wanted more than to be hiding behind him right now struck me like a bullet through the brain. Now if only I could keep that bullet a simile and not a reality.
"I didn't do anything," Emo said, his voice rising in proportion to his increasing panic, "I'm clean. Just let me go. I don't have anything to do with my idiot father. Let me go. I don't know anything."
"Let go of Lana." Antony repeated.
"You're not going to let me go, are you?" Emo's hand tightened convulsively around my neck. I choked a little, my terror level somehow managing to rise again, even though I had been certain that it wasn't possible for me to be more afraid than I already was. The bullet to the brain scenario wasn't going to be a concern if Emo's hand tightened any further on my windpipe. I wanted Antony.
"Let go of Lana."
"I didn't fucking do anything!" Emo's tirade ended in a shout, and then he was suddenly moving again.
Emo let go of me and pushed me forward as hard as he could. I felt the business end of Antony's gun press painfully into my right shoulder as I fell into Antony. Antony caught me, stumbling backwards a step, then he cursed and dropped me. I was still so off balance that I just crumbled hard onto the ground. Antony had followed Emo as he took the extra time he'd bought himself and ran into the kitchen. I couldn't see what was going on because of the wall separating the kitchen from the living room, but I could hear them. Emo was still shouting his panicked declarations, then there was a loud crack that could only be someone falling through the wooden table. Next thing I knew, the air was split by two sharp bangs, so close together they could have been one, then there was another muffled thump.
It was the blasts that finally cut through my inability to act. I knew those were gunshots. I knew that the fight was over now. I knew that one of those men was dead. I knew it. I just prayed it wasn't Antony.
I forced myself to find my footing while my heart was in my throat. Antony couldn't be dead. That just wasn't possible. Antony couldn't die.
I ran into the kitchen and took in the scene. Antony was standing in the middle of our obliterated table. He was bleeding on his arm, but he wasn't dead. Emo, on the other hand, couldn't say the same. Emo couldn't say anything. His body had fallen behind the kitchen island, I couldn't see anything of him but his feet sticking out to the right, but I didn't have to see the bullet holes or growing pool of blood to know that they were both there. I didn't know why this had happened, why Antony had pulled a gun on Emo, why Emo had panicked so much, why he had attacked me then tried to run away. I didn't know anything, but I did know Emo was dead.
Antony caught sight of me and cursed. His long steps ate up the ground between the two of us, then he was there, hugging me close, blocking my view of Emo's feet that were so still.
Antony was saying something. I could feel his chest vibrating as he spoke, could hear his voice as he said the words, but my mind didn't comprehend the meaning of his words. It was just noise to me. I was pulled back, and then Antony's face filled my vision. The stoic animal-Antony that had done all this was gone. My Antony was here now, I could see his concern for me etched into his features. His hands tightened on my upper arms and he shook me once, trying to get something from me, I knew he wanted something from me but I didn't understand what it was.
I didn't understand anything. Nothing at all, except that Emo was dead.
Next thing I knew, Antony had lifted me off my feet and was cradling me in his arms. Some part of me knew to be afraid of this, to lift my arms and wrap them around Antony so that I wouldn't fall, but I couldn't do it. My body was going numb, it was starting to cut off the messaging system between my body and my brain. Still, Antony wanted something from me.
I watched, becoming more detached by the second, as my hand reached up and settled on Antony's chest, right by his heart. Antony stopped moving and looked down at me. I looked up at him, saw his pursed lips and eyes that held too much emotion for me, and licked my lips so I could say something. Anything. The words pushed themselves up from my throat, forced my tongue to make the appropriate movements to get them out. My mind wanted one last thought to be expressed, then it would give into my body's demands for numbness.
"I don't understand."
So, all I really have to say is thank you to so many people that have written me throughout the years (literally!) and expressed their confidence that I would update again when even I had given up hope. Your compliments and encouragement are definitely what got me going again, so thank you thank you thank you! This is my most action-packed chapter to date, I hope that you enjoyed it!