He sat down again. He was glad that the gift had gone over well, and grinned at her reply. Talking to her was just so easy and he didn’t get easy very often. Maybe that wasn’t a good enough reason to fly nine hours from Germany, but he thought he had all the right to come and see his friend, regardless of what anyone else might think about that. "Oh God, don’t,” he said sarcastically, and frowned. "You won’t get rid of me, you’ll kill me."
Cece shifted once again on the couch before getting up and resuming her position on Lars lap. It was so dumb to spend her time worrying about what he might think and do, when he had been the one to bring up the visit, and he had been the one to kiss her first. So she sunk down on his lap again, bringing her hands together to make a gun with her fingers. "Pow pow," she said, moving her hands as if she was shooting him. "Now you’re dead anyways."
"Shut the fuck up," he laughs, but it’s one of those laughs, one of those dangerous laughs. “You know, I think you like it. If you didn’t make you wouldn’t be here.”
"Why the fuck would I like it?” Her voice rises in volume, and she’s angry, furious by the fact that the man she is so desperately in love with likes to smack her around as a hobby. It’s not fair.
It’s not like he hadn’t done this before. He’d never quite done this, done anything this extensive, this horrific before, but he was high up enough in the Bratva where he’d seem so seriously nasty shit. At the same time, he was high enough in the Bratva that he didn’t need to get his own hands dirty. There were people employed specifically for that, and most of them were still not as good as Isa was. She wasn’t one of them. She was, in name maybe, but in truth she was on a completely different level than they would ever be. They were good, but she was better. She put everything into this. He could tell as he looked around at what had once been nothing more than a stone room, she put everything into this. That’s why he stayed, or one of the reasons, at least. Because if she had done so much to let this happen, then something magical must have been going on down there. Magical, or psychopathic, whatever the case was, he was going to be there to witness it.
She seemed so happy there, too. She seemed so complete, in a way that he hadn’t seen her before or had seen her very rarely. Isa was at peace, and that was just such a strange thing to think about. Being at peace in a place like where they were, being at peace when a man was probably about to die in some of the most horrible ways that she could come up with. Luka wasn’t exactly at peace. But he wasn’t about to lose his lunch either. There was a time and place for everything, and the time and place now was that one interrogation. If that’s what this could be called. Luka knew that this was something that was going to be done one way or another, so someone might as well have some fun while they were doing it.
The feeling of Isa’s lips on his cheek was something he’d never get to use, and something he’d never take for granted, and Luka couldn’t help but grin a little as she pulled away from him. He hadn’t expected to have been so turned on by this whole thing. Not by the potential for blood and torture, but without a doubt by Isa, the way she was here. He was ready for anything and everything she might throw at him, just because she was the one doing it. Had anyone else asked him to join in on some torture session he would have probably less than respectfully declined. But not Isa. She had that type of hold over him, and tonight was the night that he didn’t mind that one bit. “So he has nothing to say?” he looked from Isa to the man in the chair. “Nothing important to tell us? Nothing that might—,” Luka shrugged, and took another step towards the table. “—save his life?”
It was time to be completely honest. This wasn’t time to shy away from blood, to turn your nose up and wax poetic about humanity and monsters and people that loved death but had no souls. It wasn’t time to hide your true nature—it was time to embrace it, and that’s exactly what Isa was doing. Although, Isa had never been one to hide. Never. Not once. In her younger years at school, she had always had a penchant for drawing particularly violent pictures that were filled with red, whereas other children drew pictures full of yellow suns and orange and pink flowers. It was when a young Isa had seen Dimitri put a bullet through a man’s that she had finally understood. In that moment, it had been as if the entire world had been opened up to her and laid at her feet. It was hers for the taking. The world was hers, and Isa had planned to burn it down and raise it back up in a city of ashes and blood. And she had. Isa had become a queen when everyone had expected her to be nothing more than a pawn. And now she had her king, her regal and soon to be deliciously bloody king, by her side. Nothing made her happier.
Nothing made her want to peel off her clothes and touch more than this situation right now. Quite frankly, everything about this damn roomed turned Isa on. Having the ability to pull screams and bones out of people made Isa wet in ways that no one could even imagine, and now, having Luka with her, made her feel like she would pass out if she didn’t get to do something soon. She wondered if Luka knew—if he could tell how and what she was feeling by the way she moved her body and the things she said. She wondered if he thought she was a monster for loving this, even though she didn’t care if he did. According to humanity and society’s standards, Isa was a monster. But Luka had looked into the face of the monster and proclaimed his love for it, and now here he was, following it into the darkness. And the monster was very, very glad.
Isa grinned over at Luka, noticing how he was, slowly but surely, stepping into the darkness with her. He was beginning to enjoy it, and as he spoke, Isa could see the Luka that she came home to fade away. He took a step toward the man wrapped in the chair, and Isa wasn’t seeing the Luka that cooked her breakfast when she was hungry and kissed when her emotions got the best of her. She saw the Luka that had command over the Russian-American Bratva; the Luka that held more power in his pinky than most men had in their entire bodies. Together, they made an unstoppable pair—as a king and queen should. Isa let out a laugh as she took a step forward of her own—a laugh that was cold and hollow, and spoke of all the terrible things that would happen before the night was over. “I don’t know,” she said in a tone that most adults used in conversation with children. “I don’t think he’ll talk easily—they never do—but that just means we get to have a little fun. Shall we start with the teeth?”
How many times had she made him smile? Had he smiled that first time, when Esther told him that she knew someone who could take over for her when she couldn’t do a job? Had he smiled when Isabella Tabanova came into the room, and held his attention, held everyone’s attention that ever laid eyes on her? Had he smiled when he learned the job was done, or after that second or third or fourth fuck? Had he smiled when she said she would marry him? Isa had brought so much joy into his life. No matter how much pain, and there was pain, there was always pain, there was joy to come directly after, joy that dwarfed all pain. That’s what he remembered. He remembered that she was his, and he was her’s and they were happy together. When he held her, pulled her into his arms, he knew that it was right. No matter what his mind told him, he knew that this was the right thing to do. She was his everything, and to leave her behind would be like leaving half of his heart in Russia. He couldn’t do that. Or at least, couldn’t do that and live another day afterwards.
He pressed his face into her neck, and breathed in. How long since he’d been able to do this? How long since he’d been able to take her into his arms like this, without any hesitation from either side? Too long. It was something he never wanted to have to repeat. Isa wasn’t normal, and some would say that Isa didn’t love, but Luka knew otherwise. He knew when he looked at her, and when she looked at him, he knew that she could love. Just not like other people loved; but when had Isa ever done anything that other people did? Luka worried for a while maybe he’d lose this battle; not even lose her, but in the beginning he worried maybe he’d lose himself in a haze of sex and sadism. Maybe he would forget who he was for her sake. It was a worry that wasn’t bad, but he had been wrong. They could never be the same. If they were the same, they wouldn’t work. They had to be balanced; they had to be each other’s perfect other half, or else they would crash and burn.
This wasn’t a crash and burn. This was a test. A test of their resilience. They had to make it through hardship after twenty years, they had to make it through hardship. And from what he could tell, they would. They’d make it out of this dark time. Her words were soft, and yet held so much power. She was right, all along. He had the power to do what needed to be done; he had always had the power. A slight smirk came onto his lips, one he never thought he’d see again, and Luka leaned in, just slightly, and kissed her on the mouth, a kiss that told Isa that he was going to take her home. He was going to bring her back to the life they both knew they were meant to have. Together. Forever. No matter who else came into their life, they would always have either other. Anything else would have just been wrong. “I’m taking you home,” he whispered, his lips barely parted from her own. “And you’re never leaving me again.”
For the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, everything felt right. Sitting here, being with Luka, being in his arms felt so fucking right. It felt more right than almost anything Isa had ever experienced, excluding sex and the feeling of having someone else’s blood on her skin. But this right; this was home. How could Isa have been so stupid as to think that she could just leave home without any repercussions? How could she think that she could just leave home and think that everything would work out after that? She knew why. It was because she had done it before. Unbeknownst to her, Isa had run away before. She had ran away from her childhood home, away from her mother’s love and her father’s cold gaze. Isa had ran from there without looking back and everything had turned out fine. But this was different. Luka was, and always had been different. Their souls were intertwined, and they were meant to be one. How could she possibly have thought that she could get away from that?
There were times when Isa wondered why Luka loved her. They weren’t often—because Isa wasn’t insecure in the slightest, and therefore did not dwell on those nonexistent insecurities—but sometimes she wondered. Sometimes it seemed like the only thing he had for her was anger and exasperation that was colored with hatred, and sometimes it was as if he loved her with the brightness of a thousand suns, and she didn’t understand why. She understood why, from an objective standpoint, but knowing Luka the way she did, it didn’t make much sense. He was emotional where she was not. He was caring and loving where she was not. He was everything she was not, and needed everything that she couldn’t and wouldn’t give him. And yet, he took what little she did give him. He took her inch and stretched it into a mile.
They were so close now. They were so close, and when Luka kissed her, Isa felt like she could finally breathe again. His kiss was the last step that had been so necessary in pushing all of the broken shards together in order to resemble something that was as close to a human being as an imitation could get. Isa didn’t know whether she wanted to rip his clothes off and tell him to take her right there where she was, or if she’d rather press her lips to his once again and feel his body with hers, nice and slow. Both. Both were what she wanted. After being away from him for so long, both was what she needed. Isa smiled softly, looking down away from him as she spoke with a quiet voice. “I’ve. Missed you.” Her voice was halting and broken and not quite together, but that was okay, because Luka loved her anyways. He still loved her, and he was going to take her home and never let her go. And that was all that mattered.
"Terrible nickname for a terrible little girl who won’t get out of bed when her friend begs her."
"You are. So mean.”
"You’ll be fine. Trust me, trust me. You need sunlight and sunshine and all that bullshit, right? C’mon. Get up twinkle toes."
"Twinkle toes is a terrible nickname."
"Yeah, okay, but get this—-it’s eleven and it’s taco Tuesday. Lunch time!"
"But. But!!! Can’t you just get me takeout. I’m so, so, so tired I think I’ll die if I get out of bed.”
"Hey, baby girl. Wake up—-c’mon wake up, I didn’t break into your house just for you to keep sleeping. Also, did you know you have like no food at all in the fridge? We’ll have to do something about that. Come onnnn, kid, wake up!"
"Zoya. Whaaat are you doing? I’m tired!!!"
What was even happening between them? Only a second ago—or, alriht, maybe longer than a second ago—everything had been fine. Neither of them had given a fuck about anyone else, because no one else ever could get between them. Emmanuel knew he was being an asshole, but he was always an asshole. They were both assholes. And he didn’t know how to communicate any other way. Talking about feelings? Fuck that. Emmanuel wasn’t sure that he had any feelings, and hadn’t ever really asked, or cared, whether Phoe did. But not in an uncaring way. It just… never mattered. None of that matter. Until suddenly it did. And he didn’t get that. He wanted to ask what was wrong, but the fact was, he didn’t know how. “I don’t even fucking… get this.” He rubbed his face, and wanted to look at her, but didn’t. “Like what the fuck? What the fuck is any of this? Where is this coming from? If you don’t want me sleeping around, just say so. Your word’s that’s ever mattered… just fucking say so…”
Phoe was being so stupid. So fucking stupid, and the tiny, rational part of her brain knew that. But the other part, the angry, stubborn part that truly didn’t give a fuck—well, it didn’t give a fuck. She was just so mad at him for doing this in the first place. Phoe knew that she had no right to be, that she had no claim over him because she’d never mentioned that she wanted one. In fact, Phoe wasn’t even sure if she wanted one anymore. All she knew was that Emmanuel was the only person she had, and she hated the thought of him giving himself away to anyone that wasn’t her. It made her eyes burn with anger, and more than that, she wanted to turn over and smack the shit out of him for making her feel that way. but there was a chance that he’d hit her back, and she couldn’t deal with that. Not today. “Shut the fuck up,” she spat out at him, body tense and full of angry energy. “Just shut the fuck up god what part of ‘I don’t fucking care’ don’t you get? I don’t fucking care I literally do not fucking care just shut your stupid fucking care before I shut it for you.”
Did Silas loved Andi? He did, but he didn’t know it, and a lot of the time he didn’t act like it. What Silas knew he loved, and would always love, was getting high. That was something he didn’t think he could ever give up, and why should he want to? Drugs were the only thing he had that he knew he could count on. The feeling of Andi’s lips on his own was sweet, and familiar, and Silas wanted more and more of her, he realized as he ran his hands up the sides of her body, breaking away from the kiss to lean down and kiss her neck too.
Andi giggled as Silas kissed her, breathing out deeply as his lips moved down to her neck. Everything was starting to sink in now, and she was feeling so, so, so good. Everything was so pretty and perfect, and she began to thread her fingers through Silas’s hair, loving how silky and soft it felt in her hands. “Silas,” she breathed, leaning her head back so that he could kiss more of her. “You’re so…” she pulled lightly at a strand of hair, giggling again. “Pretty. So, so pretty.”