Una Nuova Famiglia Ch. 03

Ass

Sitting, completely nude and tied to a chair, his mouth covered with silver gray tape, was a man. Raegan guessed he was probably in his late 30s. He had dirty blond hair, pale white skin…tears coursed down his cheeks and blood streamed from various lacerations and bruises. Someone had beaten him…badly. Raegan quickly turned her back to him, her heart slamming against her rib cage. She could feel her stomach churning uneasily. Karin was standing beside her, watching carefully.

“Wh-what—?” She didn’t understand why she was here and the words wouldn’t form in her head. She could feel the bile rising in her throat at the sound of the man’s whimpers.

“This is the cop that turned Diana, one of our own, against us,” Karin offered. “Today, he’s going to die.”

Raegan’s head was spinning. Surely she had not heard the words correctly. She closed her eyes. This had to be a mistake.

“We thought it was time to see who you really were Raegan Vincent, considering you want to join our little family.”

The words reverberated in her head. We? Did Shane know about this? Shane wanted her to do this?

“Y-you want me to watch you kill a cop?” Raegan choked out, the words barely a whisper.

Karin smiled, “almost.” She retrieved a small black gun from a nearby table. “We want you to kill him.”

Raegan took a few steps back and encountered what felt like a wall of muscle. She turned to take in a tall, dark chocolate brown woman with an incredibly large, well-developed, muscular form. The woman stared down at her, her dark eyes impenetrable. Raegan swallowed, turning to look at Karin again and then turning to take in the whimpering man. Raegan shook her head, but Karin spoke before she could.

“You see, we figured a cop wouldn’t kill another cop. So, if you kill this piece of shit, you’re not a cop, right? Then we can relax.”

Raegan was shaking her head vehemently, her eyes closed tight. She attempted to back out of the room again but was, once again, blocked by the female wall of muscle.

“I-I can’t.” She whispered, tears filling her eyes. Her entire body began to tremble violently and she felt the beginnings of panic.

Karin’s smile did not provide any comfort, “you don’t have a choice Raegan.”

Thoughts were racing through Raegan’s mind as her stomach continued to churn. Was this a joke? A test? She met Karin’s eyes. They did not suggest either. Shane wanted her to kill someone? A police officer? This could not be. Shane, who did not want to sign her death warrant, wanted her to take a life? She shook her head again. She was certain she would pass out.

“No. I can’t. Where’s Shane? I need—”

She’d never had anyone cock a gun and point one at her before. The sound echoed through her and brought a cold sweat to her already chilled skin. She closed her eyes again, squeezing them shut tightly, shaking her head from side to side. She could not do this. She would not do this.

“Perhaps a visit to your mother could be arranged if you need to know I’m not fucking around. Do it Raegan.”

Raegan’s disbelief transformed into absolute dread. Karin slapped the gun into her hand. Raegan stared down at it. She could no longer comprehend where she was, what she was doing. This was not happening. Her mother? Had she now endangered the lives of her family, her friends?

“NOW!”

The shrill sound startled her. She dropped the gun. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t” she repeated numbly, backing away from the gun.

Karin turned to Ronnie. She barked an address at her and told her to bring back a souvenir. With an increasing sense of alarm, Raegan listened to the sound of her mother’s address as it fell from Karin’s lips. Raegan watched as the silent wall of muscle headed toward the exit.

“Wait.”

The sound was barely a whisper. Ronnie kept walking.

“Wait!”

Raegan didn’t know where she found her voice. She thought it had been lost, along with her grip on reality. But the woman stopped. Raegan stared down at the gun still lying on the floor. This had to be a test. The gun was probably empty. Yes, that was it. Nodding her head, comforted by her own rationalizations, she quickly picked up the gun and walked over to the bound man. She ignored his muffled pleas, placing the gun to his forehead and quickly pulling the trigger before she lost the nerve. She squeezed once, twice, and kept squeezing until the chamber clicked empty. Her mind held on to the idea that this was some type of test. Her mind refused to hear the loud pops as the gun discharged. Her nose refused to smell the acrid odor left behind. Her eyes refused to see the blood as it splattered onto the floor and walls. She refused to acknowledge the man’s body as it slumped forward.

She dropped the gun to the floor, staring at a gaping hole in the man’s forehead, watching blood trickle down his nose to his chin. She could not control the bile rising and threw up on his slumped form. She Betturkey was dizzy, her vision hazy. She wondered if this is what it felt like before someone fainted. Karin grabbed her arm roughly and led her from the room. She threw up again in the elevator. They were in the limousine minutes later.

*

When they arrived at their destination, Raegan’s hands were still shaking. Her now empty stomach convulsed with dry heaves. Her eyes had been closed for the entire trip. She could see nothing but the image of that man’s head as parts of his flesh were forcefully separated from it. She could smell nothing but that horrible, horrible odor. She didn’t move when the car door opened.

“Raegan?”

It was Shane’s voice. Shane. The woman she loved. The woman who had asked her to kill a man?

“What happened?” Shane demanded.

Karin was standing behind her. She didn’t answer immediately.

“What the fuck happened?” Shane snapped again.

“I had her do the cop.”

Shane straightened to her full height and slowly turned to face Karin. Karin swallowed as she watched that brow rise just slightly.

“What did you say?” The voice was calm, cool, but the look in those eyes was absolutely terrifying.

“Shane,” Karin rushed ahead, “it was the only way to be sure.”

Silence hung between them. Karin wasn’t certain how long it lasted, but it seemed to stretch on for an eternity. And then, suddenly, before she could blink again, she was staring down the barrel of Shane’s Glock. And Shane’s hand, unlike Raegan’s, was absolutely steady as she pointed the weapon.

“Shane,” Karin swallowed. She had seen Shane pull her weapon often enough to know she’d use it. “You pay me to watch your back. I-I had to be sure. Th-this was the only way.”

Shane was silent. She continued to stare at her friend…her employee…her family. She could feel an icy calm steal over her, a frost spreading through her veins, her eyes glazing over with a rage she hadn’t felt since her mother’s death. She didn’t see her long time companion…she saw an enemy. Someone who had hurt someone she cared about.

Then she was aware of a warm, trembling hand covering hers, forcing the gun downward. She barely registered that Raegan now stood beside her, but she disarmed the weapon a moment later, her eyes never leaving Karin’s face. She then turned abruptly and moved past Ronnie and Damien to enter the house, slamming the front door behind her.

Karin swallowed, her throat dry and tight. She looked at Raegan and nodded slightly.

“Thanks.”

Raegan looked past her at Shane’s disappearing form. “I didn’t do it for you, I did it for her. And now that I know Shane had nothing to do with me killing that man, you stay away from me before I ask her to kill you as a personal favor to me.”

She turned and followed a path of stones leading to the back of the house.

The exterior of the three-story house was actually quite lovely once Raegan calmed down enough to take it in. It was a recently built colonial. It looked huge, although she had not been inside yet. There was a beautifully crafted iron gate surrounding the entire property. Raegan didn’t have a clue how large the grounds were, probably three or four acres. The garden, where she had been sitting for over an hour, was lovely. Tall, expertly trimmed, lush hedges and semi-nude trees dancing in the brisk December winds. But she was unable to close her eyes and enjoy the serenity. She was afraid of what she might see behind those closed lids. She wondered if she would ever be able to close her eyes again. She had killed a man. A cop. She had taken a life. She was a murderer. A cold-blooded killer. She shivered, but not from the cold. She could feel a chill within herself, permanently imbedded in her flesh and bones.

She stared at the faint, dark smudges on her fingers. Just like in the movies. She shook her head. How could she look at herself in the mirror? Did it matter that she may have just saved her mother’s life? Possibly Reese’s life or her sister’s? Would Reese ever look at her the same again? And what about the 7th graders she taught? Could she stand before them as a role model, a guide, an upstanding citizen?

She was hardly aware that someone was sitting beside her on the bench. She took her in quickly, the darkness of her skin, dark like her own, and the tall, hefty, well-muscled, frame. Karin had called her Ronnie.

“So, welcome to the family.”

The sarcasm in her deep voice did not warrant a response and so Raegan did not offer one.

“Why did you stop Shane?”

Raegan had asked herself the same question a thousand times in the last hour. She had come up with an answer although it wouldn’t help her sleep at night. “I didn’t want another death on my hands. Besides, she was just doing her job, protecting Shane.”

Ronnie didn’t say a word. The two women sat in silence for a short while.

“Shane Betturkey Giriş asked me to check on you.”

Raegan nodded, but remained silent.

“You know, you’re not killer.”

The words startled Raegan and she turned to stare at the aloof woman sitting beside her. “How can you say that? I just shot a man in cold blood.”

“No jury would see it that way. You had no choice.”

“Strangely enough I’m not comforted by those words.” Raegan snapped. She knew this woman was trying to help, but she didn’t care. She needed to lash out at someone.

“You should be.”

She watched as Ronnie stood and disappeared into the house through a rear door. She shook her head. She was living in a nightmare. She wanted to go home and crawl beneath the covers, make this all go away with a tumbler filled with alcohol and a few sleeping pills. She stood, taking the same path she had followed earlier and making her way back to the front of the house. She took in the grand, white columns and wondered why she could not appreciate the beauty of them. She made her way to one of the parked cars, Shane’s silver Mercedes, and held her breath as she tried the door. It opened. The keys were in the ignition. She realized she had no clue how to get home, but she knew she could not remain here for another moment. Right now this house, and the woman in it, meant nothing to her but death.

*

She ignored the phone when it rang Saturday morning. The machine let her know it was Reese calling, not Shane. She wondered if Shane even realized she’d left. Of course Shane knew. Shane knew everything. She turned over, glad for the softness of the flannel pajamas against her skin, happy she was lying in her own bed. She still felt groggy. It had taken her over three hours to find her way home from the Long Island suburb, and then she had taken three sleeping pills and a shot of vodka to ensure she would not dream. She was pretty sure she never wanted to dream again. She had sobbed herself to sleep and her throat was dry and raw. Her stomach growled angrily and she realized she had not eaten since lunch yesterday…and whatever she’d had for lunch she had vomited onto the dead man. The dead police officer.

Why had no one come to arrest her? She deserved to spend her life in jail. In fact, last night she had decided she would shower, dress and turn herself in at the nearest police station. Of course the confession would be interesting. She had no idea who she had killed and she had no idea where his body was. Oh, and she had no motive. But she knew what he looked like. The images of his desperate blue eyes, the unruly dirty blonde hair and the pale white flesh were forever stamped on her brain. Surely that was enough detail. Surely someone would recognize him and confirm her story. He was a cop for God’s sake. Surely his family had reported him missing by now. She wouldn’t say why she’d done it and she would refuse a lawyer. She deserved the death penalty.

Her mind made up, she took a long, hot shower, ate half a bagel and some yogurt, and dressed in jeans and her favorite sweater. It was the last time she would ever wear her own clothes. She wrote letters to her mother, her sister and Reese. She apologized for the embarrassment she would cause them. She assured them she had no choice. She asked them to apologize to the man’s family for her. After addressing and stamping the envelopes, she grabbed an insulated denim jacket and opened the door to her apartment. She looked around at her apartment for the last time and closed the door behind her…and walked blindly into the wall of solid muscle. She took a step back and stared up into Ronnie’s dark, chiseled face, wondering how long the woman had been camped outside her door. From the look of her clothing, she’d been there all night.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

Ronnie did not move a muscle. Raegan attempted to go around her but Ronnie blocked her path once again.

“Shane’s on her way.”

“So what? I don’t want to see her or you. The car keys on the table.”

“She doesn’t give a fuck about the car. You’re going to turn yourself in, right?”

Raegan remained silent. She wanted to deny it but she couldn’t force the lie from her lips. She decided it was none of their business and tried to walk around Ronnie once again. Ronnie seized her arm.

“Let go of me Ronnie, I mean it.”

Ronnie raised a brow, “I could snap your neck right now. I suggest you go back inside and wait for Shane.”

“I’m a prisoner in my own apartment now?” Raegan demanded.

“You were going to be a prisoner in some way today, why not in the comfort of your own home?”

Raegan snatched her arm from Ronnie’s grip, biting her tongue. She would talk to Shane. They had no right to do this. She would never mention their names. She would never have given them Shane. She loved Shane, she knew that without a doubt. She would never hurt the woman she loved. It was herself she detested. Her weakness. Her inability to stand strong when faced with adversity. Surely that meant she was a danger to Shane. If the FBI threatened her family, would she turn on Shane? She was better off in prison…or dead.

She slammed her apartment door behind her, dropping down onto the sofa to fume. She would not be treated like a prisoner in her own home! She had every right to turn herself in! Shane didn’t love her. If she had, she would have come to her last night, wouldn’t she? She would have at least called. She would have comforted her in some way. Instead, she’d sent her bulldog.

She heard a key slide into the lock of her front door over three hours later. She was well past angry now. Not only had Shane ordered someone to keep her prisoner in her own home, but she had kept her waiting for hours! She stood as the door opened and Shane entered the apartment, decreasing the size of it with her broad frame. She was dressed in a black cashmere sweater, black jeans, and black Timberlands. Her hair had been combed out and pulled back into a bun. Raegan realized she had never seen Shane without cornrows. The sight was both startling…and beautiful. She could feel the anger seeping from her pores with record speed. Her eyes filled with tears. She wanted to run to Shane, beg Shane to hold her and make this all go away. But that would not work this time. She had not lost her job, she’d taken a man’s life. She stood silent and withdrawn, her arms wrapped around herself like a protective shield. Shane made her way to the sofa, her intense hazel-green eyes fixed steadily on Raegan. Raegan stood her ground, refusing to look away. They stared at one another in silence.

“I hate that this shit happened,” Shane started, her voice reserved, “but now I need to tell you some things.”

She licked her lips and Raegan realized it was the first time she had seen Shane even a little nervous.

“My mother did not die of cancer when I was in junior high school. Two men broke into our place when I was 14. They were looking for my father. When they realized he was not there, they tied us up, raped us and then slit my mother’s throat. She died before the ambulance arrived. And, before my father returned, I had one of my father’s friends find the men and I killed them, personally, with this” she pulled the Glock from her shoulder holster and laid it on the sofa beside a muscular thigh. “My father insisted I finish school, but he knew I could survive in his world after that. I took over for him when he was killed a few years ago.”

Raegan slowly sank to the carpet, her eyes never leaving Shane’s face. She could feel her stomach churning yet again and was glad she had only eaten a little this morning. Her heart ached at the thought of those men…at the thought of a fourteen-year-old raped and then forced to watch her mother bleed to death.

“When I took over for my father, I inherited strip clubs, casinos, restaurants, a trucking company. Connections with a few gangs in New York.” Shane paused for a moment. “I keep my family and friends close and I take care of them. I didn’t ask for this life, but it’s my life and I’ve never wanted for anything,” she paused again, her eyes settling on Raegan, “until now.”

Raegan’s breath caught in her chest. She felt the sting of salty tears rolling down her cheeks.

“I did not want this life for you,” Shane struggled past her anger, stood and paced, sat again. Silence hung between them. Finally she continued, “but now you have to choose. I am willing to share my life with you Raegan. But you would be part of my world, part of my family.”

Shane paused once again. “If you can’t do that, I won’t let you go to prison. I would face the death penalty, but I’d turn myself in, clear your name and give you back your life. This is the choice you have to make. You can share my life or turn yourself in. Either way, we do it together.”

Raegan was speechless. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, wiping the tears from her cheeks. She felt as if she was being buried alive under an avalanche. She didn’t want to make either of those choices. Live the life of a criminal or allow Shane to be executed? She shook her head, opening her eyes. Shane continued to watch her.

“What if I asked you to walk away?”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

Shane sighed, frustrated, “I have too many lives depending on me Raegan. I can’t just walk away. Not now.”

“How long before you could? Five years? Ten?”

Shane hesitated before answering, “maybe.”

Raegan crawled to her, kneeling between her jean clad thighs. “And if I agreed to be with you, would you promise to do everything you could to get out of the life? Before it takes your life like it took your parents? Before it takes my life?”

She watched Shane’s shoulders relax as if a burden had been lifted from them. She wondered if Shane thought she would truly have let her turn herself in. She reached up and Shane met her halfway. Their lips meshed, Shane hungrily tasting of her in a mind-numbing kiss. When they parted, she was stunned by Shane’s next words.

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