Dante: Solace Betrayal
I spend the day working, although my mind can’t focus on it. How could it? Emmi went with Gunner into that room, and every part of me wants to go and check she is okay. I can’t though, it would be like saying I don’t trust him. If it got too much, surely, she would walk out? But I can’t stop the worry, the fact it is nearly midnight, and there has been no sound. She isn’t meant to do this. I was expecting a woman who was weak, afraid, and hiding away.
She walked in that room with Gunner like it was nothing. Like watching him carve a guy to death is fun. Sure, it is, but she isn’t meant to feel that way. Adelia hated it. She told our father repeatedly that she would never stand by and watch as he hurts a man. She would scream and freak out if it happened in front of her.
Not Emmi, though. No, she is in there and has been for hours. She hasn’t tried escaping for a quick break. I’m trying to find a reason, an excuse or anything to make her look weak. To keep her pushed out because letting her in and her getting hurt will kill us all. I don’t want Adelia’s story again, but I can feel history starting to repeat itself, but with Emmi this time.
“Anything?” I look up to where Bear and Zane stand, shaking my head.
“Maybe I should look in?” I am worried he could do one thing, and then she will never want to speak to us or leave her room. While I would love it, it is wrong.
“Gunner knows the rules. He won’t fuck her,” Zane points out.
“It isn’t him fucking her I’m worried about.” He’s crazy. That’s why I’m worried.
“He won’t do that either. Look, he may be a giant lunatic, but he’s a cuddly monster deep down, Dante. He likes pain, he finds pleasure in giving pain, but even he wouldn’t try anything that crazy on her before he was sure she would like it and could handle it.”
Bear is right. I’m used to Gunner’s women, the kind who love edge play, knife play, fire play, all those things that are painful and could easily cause death. Gunner loves doing that to the women he’s fucking, so who can blame me for being so damn worried he has her tied up in there and is hurting her? “I’m going to check.” I can see it in my head, her screaming to get free and him laughing, thinking it’s fun.
“No need. I logged in and checked. She was sat intently watching him torture the guy. That was about half an hour ago,” Zane speaks up, and we both look at him.
He logged into the system and checked, which means he didn’t trust Gunner either, so it wasn’t just me?
“You two have some fucking faith. She isn’t a woman brought here for him to torture and get info from or to kill. We rarely do that to women. She isn’t a woman who has come and begged him to fuck her while cutting her. It’s Emmi. He won’t.” Bear looks at us, and I know he’s right. Gunner wouldn’t do it without her asking. I hear the door open, and we all turn to look down the hall.
My eyes are on Gunner as he carries Emmi through to his room. We all glance between each other, confused. Why the hell was he carrying her, and what the hell had happened?
“Maybe just tired? It is nearly midnight,” Bear points out, and I know what he’s thinking. That we’re overreacting, we’re thinking the worst and we shouldn’t, but with everything, well, we’re bound to think the worst. I sit and wait. Gunner will come out soon and update me to tell me if there is any new information. Anything at all, and then I will be able to tell what he did if he did anything.
“Drink?” I turn and look at Zane as he holds out the glass. I take it and sit down on the sofa, nursing it until five minutes later when Gunner walks through all smiles and cheery. Too cheery.
“Got some info from my toy.” He grabs himself a drink and sits down.
“Later. What happened in there with Emmi?” I ask. Maybe I’m being too blunt?
“We played with my toy, he fell asleep, so I played with her. She begged me to fuck her, but I refused. She’s fine. Go check if you don’t believe me,” Gunner says.
“It’s fine. I was just wondering, since you carried her out.” Okay, that’s a lie. I was freaking out that he’d hurt her.
“She was just worn out from the fun. I didn’t touch her in any way to cause harm or pain. I will wait for her to ask. Now, do you want the info or not?” He looks at me, and I watch as Bear and Zane sit down. I don’t blame them. His face then said everything, and it isn’t good.
“Let’s hear it.” We all sit and listen, and all I can feel is disgust. Paul’s plan was worse than we had first thought. Hearing how he had over ten men agree to rape and hurt Emmi over the course of a weekend has me sickened. I can see it being Adelia. How bad would we have been then? If she had that fate and we didn’t save her? Although I feel like she is a target, we saved Emmi, and now I don’t blame her parents for locking her up and not letting her see much.
None of us knows what to say. Sure, we have enemies who try to hurt us and cause a war between the two cities. Paul, though, is like the work of the devil.
“How did she take it?” I ask. She was in the room and heard the whole plan.
“She seemed calm, considering. She was hurt seeing a name on the list though, the Dean guy. Apparently, she knows him. So anyway, we changed the game, and I agreed that if she agreed, I would let him live, only his little speech made her stab him and tell me to kill him.”
“She stabbed him?” I look at him, shocked. I expected her to freak out, cry, call him some names and walk out.
“Up close and personal as well, she walked straight up to him. She isn’t as soft and fragile as you think, Dante. She comes across fierce, just lost from not having freedom,” Gunner explains. His smile changes, but I can’t tell why. “By the way, you know they had cameras in her bedroom?”
We all turn, shocked. Why would they need to?
“And her bathroom.” He finishes his drink as we simply stare at him. None of us knows what to say, the bedroom was bad, but the bathroom? She wasn’t lying about not having privacy. I didn’t even consider putting cameras in her room. “Which brought around a new conversation. She had never touched herself or had an orgasm before.”
“What?” I laugh slightly, “Gunner, she’s twenty-four, of course, she has.” He’s a fool for believing her.
“Think about it. How could she? She told me she didn’t feel comfortable doing it at home with the cameras. When she tried hooking up with guys outside, someone always stopped her. Why would she lie?” he asks, looking at me.
I don’t know why she would, but it seems almost impossible. She is beautiful, how is it possible she is twenty-four and never experienced that before? I let the idea run through my head, but I can’t see why she would lie.
“Slowly, I am beginning to hate the Solace family more and more,” Zane mutters, and I glance towards him, shocked. “What? Ian was their fucking family! Families are meant to be there, help each other, not restrict to the point they ruin the first twenty-four years of a woman's life.”
“Zane, calm the fuck down.” Unfortunately, we can’t change what happened in the past.
“Longer if you consider the fact they refused to back out of the deal and expect her to marry one of us,” Bear adds. “Arranged marriage, sure she gets to pick one of us but still arranged, so that’s a whole life of restricting her.”
I stare at him, shaking my head.
“See, I didn’t even think of that shit!” Zane bangs his hands on the table.
“Go on, Zane. Gunner will go with you.” He needs to calm down.
“I’m fine.” He glares at me, and I laugh. “I just think they need to be taught a lesson. You heard Gunner; Dean had an affair with her mum. There is no way her mum doesn’t know she was close to Dean. So, what's to say she wasn’t in on it?”
“Woah! Zane don’t start a war on ‘what if’s’! I mean it. We don’t know her mum knew. We can’t assume she did and just start a war.” There is no reason to start a war. How they treat their family is on them, we can’t interfere.
“What if I told you I had proof?”
We all turn and look at Zane. He can’t have proof. Her brother and mum wouldn’t have known. Why would they want the cities to go to war together? Why wouldn’t her family push it forward and give her the extra money?
“I was speaking to a guy. Apparently, Candice and Jamie know that eventually, the two cities will go to war. Her idea is bringing up the past in a traumatic way will make us not think straight. Act on impulse and such. They had hoped we would rush in and get ourselves killed. Dean, he told me. He wasn’t there because Paul asked. He was there because he heard Candice mention it, and he wanted to try to save Emmi.”
“Nothing we can do. Again, it’s their family. We wouldn’t agree if they came here to start a war over how we reacted to our own family.” I need to be the sane one since Zane has lost it tonight. This explains why he went quiet after a phone call.
“Even if I tell you the plan is still going ahead, just without the plane part?”
“Zane, enough! Stop, seriously. We’re barely together these days after Adelia. A war right now would kill us all!” Maybe I shouldn’t shout, but he has slipped over the edge, and he wants war without thinking.
“What’s going on?” We all turn hearing Emmi’s voice.
“Nothing, Princess, go back to bed,” Zane snaps at her.
“Oi, dick!” He turns and looks at me. Hell, he called her Princess!
“Sorry, Emmi, just a disagreement, that’s all. Nothing to bother yourself with,” Zane smiles at her. “So, the answer is, no?” He turns to me now.
“The answer is no. Especially not while you’re this bad. You’re normally the calm and sane one, Zane, and right now, you’re not. So no, and when you wake up fully, you will be glad I said no.” We can’t start a war.
“I’m going out.” I watch as he walks out, Gunner quickly following. Emmi stands, looking at us, confused.
“Did I do something wrong?” She’s worried, and while I want to tell her everything, I can’t. She shouldn’t know the truth about her family.
“Everything is fine, little lamb. Zane is just having a bad night and wants to start wars with everyone to cause a fight. It isn’t you. Get some sleep,” Bear explains, but she still stands there looking worried. I want to ask why she’s so worried, but I don’t want to get sucked in.
“I get it.” Her words are quiet as she turns and walks off.
“She was crying.” Bear looks at me.
“Right? Women cry.” I am not doing this.
“They do. You’re right, Dante. The whole ‘I get it’ though means she thinks it is to do with her, though. How the fuck did tonight end like this?” He laughs slightly, finishing his drink. “I’m getting to bed. We will all need our sleep for Zane if he doesn’t calm down when he gets back.” He walks off, leaving me sitting alone. Five minutes pass in silence, and I know I need to see Zane, make sure he is okay and not starting a damn war.
“I’m ready.” I look up seeing Emmi standing with a bag.
“What? What for?” Did I miss something?
“Gunner had explained to me you guys have a place in a hotel where you normally take women to keep them out of your personal lives. You’re all arguing over me been here, so I am happy to go there.” She stands waiting, looking strong and determined, yet at the same time, she looks about ready to break down.
“No, sugar, we weren’t arguing over you. You’re fine here, honestly.” I shake my head. Why am I fighting it? It’s a good idea. It keeps her away from me.
“You don’t want me here, Dante. You’ve hardly spoken to me. You leave the room if we’re alone together.”
She isn’t wrong. “That is my issue, sugar. Stay, honestly. No one wants you to leave.”
“You do, though.” She looks at me, waiting.
I want to say I do, but it will start a war when she refuses to stay here. I also don’t want her there alone and at risk, with everything we just found out. “I don’t want you to leave. I just need time to adjust to there being a woman in the house. Get some sleep, Emmi. Everything is fine, I promise. So go unpack.” I watch as she nods and walks off.
Everything is a mess. They want her here. I don’t. She doesn’t want to be here, but she is safer here than anywhere else now with the information we have. I turn, hearing the door. “What happened?” I jump up, seeing Gunner and Zane walk in. He has done something.
“Nothing. We were nearly at the club, and he felt like a jerk for shouting at her, so he wanted to come back and check she is okay.” Gunner walks off, and I look towards Zane. He’s never come back before when he’s left to fight. Not like this, anyway.
“She was crying, tried to leave, saying we don’t want her here. I told her she was staying, so she’s back in her room.” She is fine, here, and safe.
“That’s it? She was crying, and you just left her?” There is the real Zane.
“Yep. So, if you want to check on her, feel free.” I walk to my room, not wanting to argue. Maybe him spending time with her will help him calm down again? She’s good for him, and it will be good for him to have someone who can calm him down without fighting.
Emmi: Spoken Truths
I feel like crap. Sure, Dante tells me that the argument wasn’t over me, but I heard my name. I don’t fit in anywhere or belong anywhere. After finishing putting my clothes back, I strip and climb into bed. My eyes are fixed on the ceiling, and I can’t help but wonder how different my life would have been if I was a man.
I turn, hearing Zane. I watch as he walks towards me, sitting on the bed.
“I’m sorry for shouting at you. That was wrong. I was just having a bad day. I’m sorry, Emmi, I shouldn’t have done that.”
He doesn’t need to apologise. “It’s fine, I get it. Everything has changed. Everyone has been forced to accept things they don’t want.”
“I am happy with you being here, Emmi.” He smiles.
“You may be, but even I can tell Dante doesn’t want me here.” I don’t belong anywhere right now.
“This isn’t the woman who was in the room with Gunner. What's up? Something is wrong, and don’t say it’s because Dante doesn’t want you here.” He looks at me, waiting.
Hell, what is the issue with telling him? Nothing will change anyway. “Just thinking about everything. Since I was thirteen and heard my parents talk about the arrangement, I wanted to be anywhere but there. Just away from that city. I would for hours just sit with my eyes closed and dream I was somewhere else, anywhere else.” I take a breath and stay looking at my hands, but I can still feel his eyes on me. “I don’t feel like I belong. Not in my parent's city or this one. Everywhere I go, people see me as a burden. That’s why I was doing everything and anything to get away. I just wanted to find a place I did belong, a place where people wanted me and didn’t see me as a burden.” I know I’m seen as one.
“You’re not a burden.” His words are soft, but they make me laugh.
“Bullshit. I know my parents saw me as a burden. I heard it enough to know they saw me as nothing but a burden and a weight to carry. If I was a guy, everything would have been different.” I would have had freedom, real freedom. The only thing my mum can use me for is to gain information to take down these guys, but they seem less restrictive than her right now.
“No, don’t think that Emmi. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re a burden or anything. It’s just your parents.”
I look up at him and laugh. “Men can carry on ruling; men can bring down other men. Women are seen as weak, a target. No one really wants a daughter when they run a city. She’s a liability and a weakness. My parents didn’t want a girl, and neither did yours.”
He looks at me, annoyed. Shit. I didn’t mean that, but that is how it feels. His hand grasps my chin to make me look at him. “You’re wrong. Maybe that was your parents’ view, but it wasn’t my parents’. They had a plan. Adopt boys, then a few years later adopt a girl so she would have bigger brothers to look after her. Of course, my mum fell pregnant with Adelia, and they decided not to adopt any more kids, then she saw me and did. Adelia wasn’t a burden or unwanted. She was loved. Your parents just have a different view than most.” He looks at me and smiles.
“I just feel like Dante’s fighting me being here because he sees me as a burden. That you all do too, and he’s just expressing how everyone else feels.” If it’s true, I’ll leave. I’m happy to go, even if it means them locking me up in a hotel. It’s better than living somewhere with people who don’t want me around.
“Dante is having a hard time adjusting. We all had a shit start in life, Adelia’s death affected us all, but Dante was the worst. He was only eighteen when he found Adelia’s body.”
I feel awful, and like I will say something that will hurt them. “See, that is what I mean. I’m worried I’ll say something that upsets or hurts one of you because I don’t know anything. I don’t know what to say or not to say because everyone's lives are so private.” I don’t know anything at all. I had no idea Dante found her when he was so young. If I had, I would have understood sooner why he is so cold towards me.
“Okay, so let me tell you everything.” He moves, sitting next to me, his arm wrapped around me. “I’ll start with Adelia, since she’s our sister, and is in all our stories. She was wild, not like you, though. She didn’t fight or anything. She just loved freedom, loved sex, and loved men. She started dating a guy called Ian. Everything looked fine. Then I remember that one weekend, she was off. We couldn’t get her to talk. She wouldn’t. We spoke to Ian, and he told us some story about how she’d had a bad day at work and some guy kicked off. Of course, our father sorted that guy out.” He goes quiet for a moment, no doubt considering what to say next. “The weekend passed, and she didn’t want to see us. She would only see Ian. We accepted that. Our mother had died the year before, so being around us would have been hard. The next Monday, we were going to go to the grave. I told them I would collect Adelia on the way. Dante said no, and he would. Then he called crying, saying she was dead. She’d cut her wrists and left a note with ‘Ian’ written on it. That was all.”
Shit. I look at him. “I’m sorry. How old was she? What did your dad do?” I feel awful.
“She was just turning seventeen. Our father had kept us out of the business, out of everything bad or illegal. Our parents had always said not until we were over twenty-one. They wanted our childhoods and first few years innocent. My father did nothing. Losing our mother had already nearly killed him, and he couldn’t cope. We pretty much gave our souls to the devil that night when we hunted down Ian and everyone who was close to him.” He looks at me like he is contemplating saying something more. “Ian was your cousin Emmi. Now we’ve found out it was a plan from Paul, but the cities nearly went to war.”
My eyes narrow in thought, trying to recall Ian, then widen as I remember. “But he was old?”
Zane laughs slightly. “To you back then, yes. You would have been maybe thirteen, and he was twenty-seven. She was a mess after our mum, and Ian pulled her out of it, which was the only reason our dad didn’t stop it. Anyway, everything changed that night. We all failed to get the truth from her the weekend before. We all thought Ian was helping. So, we took over from our father, and within a few months, he killed himself.”
So much death in such a short time frame. They lost their mum, then their sister, and then their father.
“I get why Dante is scared for me to go near him.” I do. He lost those people he loved, and letting me in will be another threat, another person he can become attached to and lose. Another person to kill his brothers.
“Not just that. I think rather than telling you his story, though, I should start with mine.” I look at him confused as he moves away and begins to take off his clothes, his eyes averted as he sits back down.
“I was eight. Life had always been fine. I remember that day my parents had argued, which was usual, and she said he would take nothing. I was too young to understand, but now I do. That night I slept with my mum in her room. My dad said he couldn’t sleep with her, so he had my bed. I woke up to the house full of smoke and a fire at the bedroom door. We were trapped. I was screaming for my mum to save us, and she was trying. She was telling me over and over to remember I had strong arms. I didn’t understand what she meant as she was saying it.”
I look at him and feel awful. “Zane, you don’t need to tell me.” He doesn’t. It’s his life. I know why Dante is pushing me away, so I’ll be fine.
“I do, we all do, and they can shout at me tomorrow for it, but they do as well. So just listen. The fire was in the bedroom as she was trying to break the windows. Of course, when she did, the fire grew and began to burn us. She stood with her arms around me and tried to shield me. She had tied sheets together and thrown them out the window. She dangled me out and told me to climb down. I remember climbing down when I reached the bottom the neighbours were there. I was screaming for her, but she never came out. I was burnt from the fire. She died. Apparently, she was getting burnt that bad protecting me that she wouldn't have been able to move by the time she’d helped me out of the window. I found out years later that my dad had been having an affair and wanted the money, so he set fire to the carpet outside our room. Our mum adopted me, and after I found out the truth, my dad was killed.”
Wow. We sit in silence as I let it run through me. The whole fire, his mum saving him, all that was heart-breaking. Hearing how his dad had caused the fire on purpose was the worst part, though. “I’m sorry.” That’s all I can say. There’s nothing else to say.
“It’s in the past, and while I miss my real mum, I love the family I have now, and I wouldn’t have them it if it hadn’t happened. Gunner is easier. His parents died in a car crash when he was about a week old. He met his real sister for a bit, but that ended.”
“I know. He told me.” Well, not about his sister, but the rest.
“Bear is easy as well. He was two. His dad was nowhere and hadn’t ever been around. His mum died of an overdose.”
“And Dante?” I look at him, wondering if he should tell me because surely it will piss him off?
“Dante was four, I think. He had an older sister who was six. His parents were stringent and evil. Punishments went from no food for the full day to them being locked in a cupboard for hours without anything. It was that bad that the school got involved because his sister had lost so much weight. They were never hit, so it was written off as her acting up and being picky with food. Two months after the report was dropped, deciding she was just a picky child, she died from starvation. Of course, his parents said they’d tried saving her, but it was too late. Dante was found in a cupboard. Apparently, his parents said he was being punished for wasting food. They found out it was day four of his punishment. He had water and nothing else in the cupboard.”
The room once again falls quiet, I thought my childhood was fucked up, but I’m guessing any of these guys would swap theirs for mine in a heartbeat and be glad for the restrictions and no freedom. Yet here I was complaining over stupid things.
“I’m sorry. I must look like a spoilt bitch. Complaining over no freedom and trying to run away from a family who had never done anything like that to me.” He just made me realise I should be grateful.
“Don’t you dare! You deserved your freedom, Emmi, and you aren’t spoilt or a bitch. You may not have been beaten, burned, abandoned, or watched someone die, but your childhood still wasn’t a real one. So, you have as much right to hate it as we do ours.”
I wish it was true, but I feel awful. I lost my dad, that was all. Hardly anything compared to these guys. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Dante will be angry that he told me everything.
“So, Dean, tell me about him.” He looks at me and smiles.
“He’s just a guy. He was one of the people in the city who disagreed with my parents’ plan. He seemed so utterly shocked by it and always said he could never do that to his daughter. He would sneak me into his garage, just to hide out there away from the guys who followed me to report back to my parents. It was a place to go and relax, free from everything. Of course, though, that was all lies and an act.” He was in on the plan to hurt me.
“It wasn’t. Look, I spoke to someone today and found out Dean knew yes, but he wasn’t doing it. For some reason, he agreed because he was going to try to stop it and protect you. Do you know when your mum had an affair?”
“No idea. I only found out from that guy. It wasn’t ever mentioned.” Maybe I should go see my mum and ask? It seems weird that Dean is trying to protect me when he’s nothing to do with me.
“Sleep, Emmi. It’s late, again.” He goes to move. My hand reaches out and grasps his.
“Stay. I’m not tired. We can talk.” I watch as he moves back, lying down on the bed. I cuddle against him, feeling his body tense slightly.
“Sorry, it wouldn’t be the first time that women found the burns disgusting.”
“Well, I don’t.” I cuddle closer.
We spend hours talking, and I find myself slowly falling asleep wrapped around him.
Waking periodically throughout the night, I feel myself smiling, which is strange. I don’t wake smiling often.
“What is your plan, Emmi?”
I open my eyes this time to see Zane peering down at me. “How do you mean?”
He laughs slightly. “With us. Choosing, everything. I am not saying rush and pick, just wondering if you have an idea about what you want to do?”
I wish I had a plan, but I don’t. “I don’t really know. I don’t want to rush into a serious relationship. I don’t want to pick between you guys right now. I like you all because you’re all so different. I know that’s wrong, though. I can’t expect any of you to touch me when I am happy for your brothers to as well.”
“If all you want is fun, then have fun. If you want fun away from us, then I will try to make them agree.” He smiles at me.
“You would do that? Even with everything else?” I don’t get why he would.
“Yes. If you really want fun and to experience everything around sex and not with us, then yes. You won’t ever feel like you can love us or be with one of us truly if you’re locked away and never allowed to explore things.”
I want to agree, but I also don’t. “That will mean everything stops, though, won’t it? You won’t touch me. Gunner won’t either. I don’t think Bear or Dante ever will, to be honest, which I am fine with.” I am, and I am not sure I want to try with others. I am pretty sure any of those guys I tried to have fun with before wouldn’t have taken their time. I have no doubt at all they would have just fucked me. But Gunner and Zane seem to care.
“Yes and no. For now, just see how things go. Don’t put yourself at risk, though, if I get them to agree, Emmi. No doing crazy shit or agreeing to go home with two guys.” He looks at me like he is having second thoughts to even considering giving me the freedom to explore.
“You’re having second thoughts now, aren’t you?” I laugh slightly
“No, just baffled Emmi. You should hate us, be fighting up on this. Not accepting it and certainly not letting us touch you.”
“When I first saw Bear, I was freaking out inside. I’d never seen anything like that. Then I came here that night and had Dante shouting about me, saying I don’t belong here pretty much. The thing is, all of you, including Dante, treated me like me, not the Princess of Solace who has no life. You four were the first ones to give me freedom, which sounds crazy, but you did. Bear could have dragged me home or had someone else do it. He didn’t, which made me feel better. He went against my family’s rules for me.” I smile up at him. “You guys also have given me freedom in other ways. This place isn’t swarming with cameras. You don’t have a guy stood outside my room at night, just in case. My mum would have had me married today and forced me to marry the one she chooses. You guys are giving me time and a choice.” I like that. It’s a freedom I hardly got. Hell, I never had a choice in anything at home.
“Sometimes, freedom isn’t everything. I meant it, Emmi. If you want that freedom to experiment with guys, I will try to talk them around. I’m not saying we won’t kill him after or even stop him during or before, but I can try.” He smiles at me, and I have to laugh.
“So, who were you trying to go to war with?” I look at him, now realising it was a foolish question. One because why would he tell me anyway, and two, it made him crazy, the sort of crazy that isn’t good.
“Just business, that is all.” His words remind me of my mother.
“How does this work, or will it work?” I ask.
“What?” He looks at me curiously.
“Work, what you guys do. Will you always be stopping the conversation when I walk in, always keeping it hidden from me? How can I be expected to marry one of you, and you still change the conversation when I walk in?” It won’t work. I need to know about their businesses, everything.
“We will work it out. If you’re here for life, Emmi, we won’t hide things from you. Somethings we don’t know how you will take it, how you will handle it. Hell, somehow you managed to handle Gunner.” He looks at me like he has a thousand questions.
“I had to learn to defend myself, not from anyone bad, but those who tried to speak. I needed them to fear me, so I took up fighting. Daggers as well.” I smile at him, hoping it makes him realise seeing Gunner do that was a shock, yes, but I coped.
“Maybe you should go back to sleep. We have a lot to sort out going forward, and you will need sleep for it.” His words are soft. I don’t reply; instead, I cuddle against him, feeling myself falling asleep. Zane is right, though. I should be fighting them, hating them. Yet I can’t. How can I fight and hate someone who gives me privacy in my own home?
Sitting, I face Dean, unphased by Gunner twirling his dagger around.
“There is more to this than you’re saying. You fucked her mum, had an affair, fine, but you’re not with her mum anymore. So why protect Emmi?” I lean closer to him.
“Someone has to. No one else in the city was. No one else in the city was letting her have that quietness from the guards. I was there to ensure she was safe. She needed someone.” I know it’s true, but there is still something.
“You’re her mum's age. Are you sure this wasn’t you trying to get her into bed?” I do wonder if that is why? He shakes his head, looking sickened.
“Look! Either tell the fucking truth or you won’t ever speak again, and your tongue will be in a jar! You told Emmi you would never do that to your daughter, yet you don’t have one, so why act like you did?” Gunner moves closer with the dagger. I reach out to stop him.
“If I speak, I am as good as dead.” His words make the sickness rise inside me.
“So, you would rather be tortured until you scream it than just tell us and us kill you for it?” He is a fool.
“Not you, Solace! If I speak and anyone finds out the truth, I’m dead. She won’t let me walk around; she won’t let her kids find out the truth.”
Ah, he means Candice, Emmi’s mum.
“Whatever you tell me will not leave this room. No one, and I mean no one, will be told. You have my word.” I look at him, waiting.
“My affair with Candice lasted two years. It started about a year before she got pregnant and ended when the twins were just days old. Emmi is my daughter, which is why they were so happy and eager to agree to marry her off.”
I laugh. He is stupid to expect me to believe that. “Then Jamie is yours.” But he shakes his head.
“No, I know weird, but back then, I would fuck Candice, and twenty minutes later, he would. Hell, sometimes less. Not proud of it, but still, no one knows about the affair. Only me and Candice know that Emmi is my daughter, and now you two know too.”
“They’re twins.” How is that possible?
“He made her get them tested. Emmi came back as mine. Jamie didn’t. I questioned it but found that it is possible. Rare, but possible.” He means it. I can see he does.
“So, while what you are telling us is the truth, why not just hand her over to you? They saw her as a burden, so why not just give her to you?” They didn’t want her. Why keep her?
“Because then people would know we had an affair. The only reason I survived was Candice made sure Eric didn’t kill me. Made me suffer, yes, tortured me, yes, and made me pay double, yes, but he left me alive. If they gave me Emmi, everyone would question why he let me live.”
We sit in silence for a moment, Gunner looking at me. I know he wants to play, but if he really is Emmi’s dad, we can’t kill him. She’d kill us for that.
“I said I had a daughter to make her feel comfortable. She was thirteen when she ran into my garage and tried hiding. So, I lied, told her I had a daughter, hid her, and said she hadn’t been there when her two guards came. She was scared of me, scared of trusting me, so I lied about having a daughter to try and make her feel safer.”
“You stay alive, but if I find out you lied about anything, I will be coming back.” Standing, I straighten my suit and walk out with Gunner following. “Home and breakfast.” We’d left early. I wanted him in the city early, so no one saw. Gunner simply nods and we drive back home.
Walking in, I already know we’re just in time for breakfast. I watch as Bear places the food on the table.
“Sit. We need to catch up before Emmi comes,” I say, and he nods.
We sit, and I tell Bear and Zane everything. I watch their shock and amusement; like me, they think it’s a joke at first, but then they realise the truth.
“So, he just left her?” Zane asks. He seems pissed off again.
“No, Zane! If the secret about the affair came out, she would be dead. She stayed alive because her dad didn’t want anyone to know about the affair. Dean seems fine, so no killing him. If he really is Emmi’s dad, it won’t end well if we do.”
“While we’re on the topic of Emmi, I think we need to give her some freedom.” I stare at Zane. Is he a fucking fool? “Listen before you reject it. She had only kissed guys, never anything else, alone or with anyone. She should get a chance to experience that.”
Wait. I stare at him as I realise what he is suggesting.
“No one else is touching her. If you lot agree, fine, but expect me to cut every single person open. All of them. I don’t care if they simply kiss her neck, I will kill them,” Gunner says with a glare.
“Asshole, we have lived, experienced sex with other women, why shouldn’t she get to with men?” Zane looks at us all, but his eyes seem to be more on Gunner.
“Because she is ours. Like anyone would touch her, anyway, knowing she belongs to us.” Gunner has a point there. Even if we said go ahead, they wouldn’t. They would know he’d likely to kill them.
“She isn’t ours, though. Not until she decides who she wants to marry. How can she decide that and know it is because she wants that one of us, and it isn’t just the pleasure making her think it is the right choice?” Zane’s words make me laugh. He and Gunner are the only ones who touched her. I haven’t and I won’t be.
“I stand by my statement. Anyone, and I mean anyone, and I kill them. So fine, let her have fun, but every dead body after is down to you.” Gunner stares at Zane.
“Well, that isn’t fair. You’re meant to share your toys, Gunner.” I hear Emmi’s voice and watch as she walks over to us.
“Toys aren’t for sharing.” Gunner looks over at her.
“You shared yours with me. Actually, you’re sharing me with your brothers.” She has a point there.
“Because we’re family, that is different. I won’t with anyone who isn’t family.” I turn and glare at him. She isn’t fucking family!
“I don’t want to. Zane mentioned it, and while part of me wants to say yes. I won’t. Right now, I just want to get used to living here,” Emmi says.
“I need to get work done.” I move to stand, and her hand grasps mine. Sharply, I pull away from her.
“Don’t touch me!”
“How am I meant to choose one of you four if you won’t let me near you? How am I meant to know if I like you more if I always get told no?” She looks at me, waiting.
“You have three. That is a good number. Choose between them.” I turn and walk off.
I spend the day hidden in the office, yet she is there in my mind, torturing me, teasing me. My cock is constantly hard, but I won’t touch her. I won’t give in to the need for her, not in that way.