An awaiting silence fell over that was secretly chewing my ears out begging me to break it. The question was hanging in the air convincing me to halt my contemplation. But his unwavering gaze on me obstructed my thought process to an extent where I was just staring.
The question was if I am ready to put my life on the line for his ridiculous plan. It was assaying me and my inclination. It was transparent yet I could see just a slim chance to turn the table in my favor.
When I stepped inside this beautified hell, I was prepared for whatever was coming my way. As Michael had said, I may lose my life someday amidst this mission anyway. It could be foreseen or not. I may die cruelly or accept the bullet with an acquiescence.
I stand up and push the chair a little bit taking time for some dramatic effect before facing him. Taking a step towards his direction I crushed the hesitation underneath my shoes mustering confidence. “Glad that you asked even when you have planned it out already.”
The corner of his lips quirked slightly affirming my interpretation.
“What I will say doesn’t matter. Does it?” I prod. “You are still going to do it anyway. But it would be polite if you let me hear on how you plan to do it.” My voice was just a whisper in an attempt to make him overstretch his senses.
A low chuckle left his mouth almost like he expected me to discern his earlier insinuation. He watched me intently as if he was trying to read my blank face close-up for any possible quark left open. But I remained calm not letting him enter my mind.
He will only see what I want him to see.
It was ironic how we both were staring at each other, seemingly piercing the other with our gaze while hiding our own secrets.
His lips parts slightly, enough for me to see how he rolls the tongue inside his cheeks. “Fair enough.”
“You already know the way but follow me.” He turns around throwing the mockery in my pocket.
Walking ahead, he lead me to the hallway where I was panicking moments ago apprehending that I will get caught. I was good enough for an actress but at this point, my face was undeniably frowning at his back.
Stefano walked leisurely but the loyal confidence he worn didn’t let go of him even for a second. He didn’t even care to glance behind to see if I was following or not. He was blatantly sure I will. It almost provoked my egoistic self to stop and watch him turn for once.
But I simply followed his steps while watching the rare gentleman pushing open the door for me.
He stepped aside and let me in.
Once the door was closed I looked around to realise it was not a secret office or a large bedroom with a king size bed as I expected.
It was just a study albeit a very spacious one. In a mansion like this, I bet the storage room would be spacious too.
The large wooden table was facing the door with chair on each side. A wooden shelf behind the table was holding bunch of books in an organised section. And the closed shelves just below seemed to hide some important stuffs.
Naturally, a person is more interested in what is hidden disregarding what lies in front. A common mistake.
“Sit Down.” He gestures to the chair beside me.
I looked at him but he wasn’t paying any attention here rather picking out something from the table drawer.
I was scouring the room stealthily when he very calmly asked a question. “Do you know who I am Myra?” But there was nothing calm about it.
Any word I say had to be careful and filtered. I took my time and pulled an amused smile. “You mean do I know the infamous talk of the town?”
“Then I’d have framed it as what have you heard of me.” He states shutting me for a second. “I asked if you know who I am Myra?” He reiterates for me without a hint of impatience giving me his entire attention for the minute.
“I know you run the Mafia.” I admit. “You have power over people. You do illegal things. You are.. ofcourse, rich. And knowing someone is a broad term. No, I don’t know you Stefano Romano.” I look straight into his eyes before saying the next sentence. “But I’d like to.”
His stolid face expresses a slight change for my liking. He lazily walks around and hovers over my chair pinning me between his strong arms. His breath was stroking my ear with a warm sensation as he leaned.
“You already know a lot beautiful.” I felt a chill down my spine fathoming the meaning behind his words. My foggy brain found thinking a burden when he was so close.
What did that mean?
I could feel his eyes on me when he tilt his head. His gaze was hovering over my face like a mystery he was trying to solve. It was as if he was trying to put the puzzles together to sharpen the blur picture.
Even when I had shut down all the windows I felt like he was the silhouette observing me naked through the tinted glasses causing havoc to rupture inside me.
His left hand moved from the back of my chair only to tuck the stray strands behind my ear. “You know more than enough.” His voice was so soft and calm but there was nothing soothing about it.
It was so hard to comprehend the exact meaning when he was around. And yet when I do there was no relaxing. It only broke the complexity to an unwanted nerve wrecking, simple meaning. By now my heart was leaping to my throat.
I turned my head slightly to face him only to find his eyes dancing getting entertained by my lack of power. He did get inside my head. How does someone do that.
“Well, you will learn some things today Myra.” His fingers brushed my cheekbones begetting a jolt of heat to rush into my system. I very much disliked it.
He looked anything but a portrayal of the malicious devil.
Standing tall, he walked around to occupy his chair. I was still controlling my breathing to slow down. I could not be so sensitive in his proximity. My head was a puddle of incoherent warnings yet I was so deaf to understand it.
“Before you learn any information I’d like you to know what you are getting into.” He states becoming all formal.
“To know something confidential means you are risking your life in it.”
Yeah, tell me about it.
He starts telling me the things I already know. Starting with what is a Mafia, then how it works, their universal rules and brutal punishments.
But when words rolled out his tongue, I couldn’t help but just look at him, partially listening. One of my senses outdoing the other.
Honestly, I was not expecting this. Not on the first day at least. I thought I would be kept unaware of the Mafia world but Stefano telling me all these came as a surprise.
This man, really is not afraid of anything.
Taking the file that he earlier took out from the drawer, he pushes it towards me. “Open it.”
I scrutinize the cover for a second. He looks at me and gives a nudge.
“Open it.” He says again.
The front page was blank except James Walsh written in bold. The photograph of the very repugnant man in a plain shirt and trousers near an expensive car was stapled on the next page.
“James Walsh. Irish Mafia Associate.” He says what my eyes read under the picture.
I turn the page and read further to find that James is actually an Associate. An associate works for a particular organisation helping them reach out and participate more in the illegal business.
James’s brother who was killed more than a week ago on the charge of found guilty for harrasment had a name, Tony Walsh.
May god show no mercy upon his soul. Amen.
And another interesting fact was that James works for the Irish Mafia, Kenneth O’Sullivan. Well, that’s something interesting for starters.
“So, what is this?” I start. “I mean…”
“James is on a run after he made a foolish move to sell our stuffs which was on a hold.” Stefano states before lighting a cigarette.
There was a long silence until I voiced my question. “When?”
“A month ago.” He took a pause as I attentively waited for him to continue. “You don’t need to know everything but there was a business agreement with the Irish Mafia and it didn’t turn out well.”
“Well, as in?” I cut in.
“Kenneth sent James and Tony here to settle it. But it was clearly a bluff which we already knew. So what you had to see there earlier, that man had it coming.” The flashback of the night came fast forward.
Tony Walsh inappropriately touching Eva.
Me slapping him.
Stefano asking me to leave.
Eva pulling me through the door as Tony got shot point blank.
It was an eventful night.
I registered the information Stefano just added while ruffling through the file and closing it.
“So what now?”
“I just want you to take care of Esme. The cook will be on leave so you may be required in the kitchen.” He says.
“Your life is at risk the moment you start working here. It is your right to know because you may be attacked whenever and wherever.” He continues. “My men will be guarding you on every step. So there is nothing to worry about. And I expect complete co-operation from you. Do not be a trouble.” I did not digest well the subtle hint of warning laced in his tone.
“That really eased me out. Thanks.” I reply sarcastically. “I am sure your men will take a bullet for me, huh?” I scoff.
Instead of shutting me up with a stern reply, he takes the file from me and puts it in the drawer before locking it as I watch him with alert. In the enemy’s den you can never be sure when he takes a gun out of the drawer and fires a bullet at you.
My eyes were locked on his hand under the table and an abnormal tension settled in the air. I moved my eyes to find him looking at me and his gaze was clearly penetrating the inside of me which unknowingly made me a little nervous. Honestly, a little more than just nervous.
“Yes.” He admits.
It took me a moment to realise what he meant by that. And to help me further, he continues. “You will be responsible for Esme’s health and her baby. And she is a very important person to me. And moreover, we need you in order to find Walsh.”
“I don’t say things around for the sake of it, Myra. When I say something, I mean it. So when I say my men will guard you, it means they will even take a bullet for you. Because from this point, you are important.”
I nod in reflex as he finished. That was the most I heard him speak today.
Questions were flooding in my mind but I was not sure which one I want to know more.
“How long will it take?”
“We will know once we locate him.” He answers flatly.
I purse my lip and nod again.
“I need you to sign this paper.”
A paper with few clauses in limited words printed in an organised manner was kept in front of me with a pen by its side.
I read through each of the clauses carefully and slowly.
1. The worker can not leave the job unless allowed so by the employer.
2. The safety of the worker comes first and is the responsibility of the employer.
3. In case of any unruly mishap or circumstances, the employer must be immediately informed without any delay.
4. The worker must put the owner’s need foremost. And must be present whenever required without any excuse.
I re-read it again.
If I sign the papers, it will mean evidence. Stefano didn’t seem to be someone who will employ anyone, more importantly, employ any stranger working within his residence for more than half a day. Given how Tony and James were treated, tracked and with one down, I needed to be very very careful.
Signing for the mission itself meant signing ten folds of such documents. But that didn’t mean I can’t be careful.
“That’s a lot to take.” I say pensively. “I am not sure if I should sign just yet.”
“I see.” He replies unhurriedly dragging a puff of the cigarette resting between his lips and leaning back on the recliner.
He puffs out a cloud of smoke on his side and flicks the ash on the tray before meeting my gaze. “You have till tomorrow’s time, that is if you want to take this job.”
“Well, if I do show up tomorrow I will sign it.” I say.
A smirk slowly crept on his face making him look devilish. “I will see how I can help.”
I nod although I didn’t understand what he meant by that. The dominance in the room was suffocating me already. “I’d like to leave now.”
“My driver will drop you.” He says before I leave the room.
Belated Happy New Year Sweeties!
Hope you all are having a nice time.
I’ve been an ass lately but honestly, I was so out of zone from writing after post-lockdown college happened. But I hope I get back on track ASAP.
Don’t forget me please 🙁