Beauty and the Beast - Page 24

“I didn’t fall,” he replied with a snort. “I just slightly slipped when I was getting out of the shower and twisted my ankle. So I’m stuck to this damn thing till I heal.”

The phone in the living room started ringing, and Laura jumped up from the chair she was sitting on, and went to answer it.

I leaned forward and encased my father in a gentle hug. I could smell the sickness inside him and it brought fresh tears to my eyes. I never wanted to pull away from him. I wished I could take the sickness inside my own body and fight it myself, but I couldn’t.

“There, there,” he said softly. “Don’t cry, little Skye. It’s all going to be alright.”

“Just fight, Dad. Fight hard for me. I still need you. If you die, I’ll be all alone in the world. Don’t let the disease win,” I sobbed.

“I’m fighting it, honey. I’m fighting it as hard as I can.”

I could hear Laura’s footsteps in the corridor so I kissed him on the cheek and straightened.

“Why did you call Laura a piranha?”

“Because she’s vicious,” he said, but I could tell from his tone that he didn’t mean it and had just been lashing out. “She hasn’t shut up about the fall yet, constantly insisting for me to call on her help at all times.”

“You need to be nicer to her, Dad.”

“I know,” he said, just as Laura walked into the kitchen.

“Who was it?” Dad asked.

“The hospital,” she replied, but something in her tone made me look at her.

“What is it?” I asked worriedly.

She looked at me in a daze. “They’re sending an ambulance to take your father in. Apparently, it’s all arranged. A team of specialists are going to examine him and they are going to undertake the treatment for him immediately. I asked them who was going to pay for everything, but they said all the expenses would be covered by an insurance company. Do you know what’s going on, Skye?”

“Yes, it must have been my friend who arranged it all. He said he was going to help, but I didn’t expect him to be so swift.”

“Who is this man?” Dad asked.

I turned to him. “He is that man I told you about earlier who said he would help. Get better soon and you can meet him and thank him yourself for his help.”

Both Dad and Laura seemed struck dumb and I knew Luca’s driver was waiting two houses down.

“I have to go now, but I’ll call tomorrow and be back in a couple of days.”

“You’re leaving already?” he asked, immensely disappointed. “Why don’t you stay here for a few days?”

“Soon, Dad," I said and lowered my face to place one last kiss on his forehead. “Very soon.”Chapter 15LucaIt was late evening when I arrived back in Boston.

I wasn’t feeling good. Blood had been shed today. I didn’t do wet work, but I might as well have. It was to my orders my men maimed and murdered. Out there somewhere in the burning depths of hell there was another stain on my wall of sin. Sometimes I dreamed of that wall. I dreamt I was washing it. Meticulously, washing, but as soon as I finished the ugly stain returned.

But it was not that, that bothered me now.

It was a feeling inside my body. A feeling that there must be something better than this. The wealth, the power, the control, the respect, the never-ending parade of women, the dignity of my position, all of it felt like nothing. Dust in my mouth. There was no happiness in my heart.

I was numb.

At times like this I wished I could become as blasé as my father about the dog-eat-dog world we lived in. “What are you crying about? He’d kill you in a heartbeat if the shoe was on the other foot,” he used to say when I was a lot younger, when he was a tiger and I was only a cub. Now he was toothless and I was the capo del capo of our world.

As Cullinan and I drove home through the familiar roads out of the city, the girl came into my mind.

Instantly, I felt my cock twitch with anticipation. The doctor had given her the all clear. Yes, it would be good to sink myself into her heat. Make the heavy feeling go away. I suspected it would only be a temporary release, but even that fleeting moment without the weight of this dread would be welcome. I glanced at my watch. It was much later than I’d expected to be back for dinner, but if she had obeyed the instructions I’d left with Melania, she should be waiting in the dining room for me.

As soon as the car stopped, I ran up the stairs. As usual one of my men had already been alerted and he stood at the front door, ready to open it for me. I went into the house and headed straight for the dining room. At first glance I thought she had disobeyed me and not waited for me, but then I realized she was there.


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