The Mafia And His AngelBy: Lylah James
“I…I am…my…” I stuttered, finding it hard to talk. Alberto and my father had many enemies. What if he was one of them?
“I won’t repeat myself, so you better start talking. You have thirty seconds,” the man said. He was losing patience. It was evident in the way his face twisted angrily with each word.
“Ayla. My name is Ayla,” I said in a rush, my voice raspy.
“Ayla,” he whispered, my name rolling off his tongue as if the word itself had been laced with molasses. His voice was deep and it vibrated throughout my body.
“Ayla,” he said again. I hated to admit it, but I liked how my name sounded when it came from him. I liked how he said it, almost gently.
Get yourself together, Ayla. This man is about to shoot you. Stupid, Ayla. Stupid. Focus.
“What is your last name, Ayla? And why are you here?” he asked, this time slowly as he continued to stare at me.
I sucked in a deep breath, trying to figure out how much I should tell him. His gaze never left mine, and when I didn’t answer quickly enough, he sat forward angrily.
“Now, Ayla. You are very lucky that I am being patient. But I won’t ask again.”
I nodded, but he continued.
“Let me introduce myself. I’m sure you’ve heard my name. Alessio Ivanshov,” the man stated, his tone low.
My body froze. I stared at the man sitting in front of me, speechless, as my body started to go numb. No. It couldn’t be.
My heart drummed in alarm as I stared into his unmoving, cold eyes. Oh God. Please, no. It couldn’t be him.
“Does it ring a bell?” he asked.
My stomach twisted painfully and my vision blurred. I felt myself stumbling forward. Quickly, I righted myself before my face met the floor.
Oh, it definitely rang a bell. Dread and horror filled me. I thought I ran away from dangerous men, but this man sitting in front of me was more dangerous than any of them. He was feared by all.
But most importantly, I was trapped because I was his biggest enemy. My family was his biggest enemy. The Italians. The Abandonato.
The Russians and the Italians had been enemies for so many decades. But the Ivanshov and Abandonato, their enmity ran deep.
And I was standing in front of the Boss, who would kill me mercilessly if he found out that I was an Abandonato.
I stared into Alessio’s eyes. I ran from a deadly man, and now I was awaiting my fate in front of another. A deadlier and more dangerous one.
I closed my eyes and tried to calm my breathing. Think, Ayla. You ran from one. You can do it again.
Opening my eyes, I met his gaze. My body still shaking with silent tremors, I stood up straighter.
“Ayla Blinov. My name is Ayla Blinov,” I said slowly. I wasn’t ready to die. I ran away because I wanted a better life so I could finally be myself. I wasn’t letting this man take away my newly found freedom.
So I lied.
I swallowed hard, and continued. “I have been living on the streets for a few months, and some men found me and wanted me to work at a brothel. I ran away and hid in your car. When your guards found me, I panicked, so I hid under your bed.”
The lie rushed out from me effortlessly. My heart was beating hard against my ribcage. This was a big risk, and I hoped, prayed, that he would believe me.
Alessio sat back and uncrossed his legs. “Hmmm,” he said, never shifting his gaze from me.
Both of us stayed silent for a few minutes, my body tensing more with each passing second. My stomach cramped in fear.
Alessio moved forward again, until his elbows were on his knees and his fingers were crossed together. That was when I noticed he didn’t have his gun with him anymore.
My gaze moved to his sides, and I saw his gun sat next to his hip, on the couch. I looked back at his face, and he kept staring at me, his gaze more intense.
Did he believe me? Alessio Ivanshov was a man with many secrets. Dark secrets. He was also very unpredictable. “I have a deal for you,” he said suddenly. I jumped at his voice, my body shuddering.
“You have three options,” he continued, as I stood in front of him trembling. “One: You work for me,” he said. His voice was monotone, so I wasn’t sure what he might be planning.
“Two: You go back to the streets, unsafe.” He paused as my body froze. “Three: Or I shoot you for trespassing,” he finished.