Chosen By A Sinner: Chapter 26

Luca

The past three days have been absolute torture.

They stopped the medication keeping Mariya in an induced coma, and said she’d wake up when she’s ready.

It’s been eight hours already.

The only saving grace is that Uncle Alexei got Mariya moved to a private suite where a nurse watches her around the clock.

I haven’t left her side since she was brought to this room, my gaze constantly checking for any sign of movement.

If there’s a hell, this is what it will be like.

Wake up, amore mio.

I kiss the back of her left hand, then stare at her face again.

Viktor comes into the room. “Let’s talk outside. I’ve found something.”

Just as I rise to my feet, Mariya’s fingers twitch in mine. My eyes snap back to her face, and the relief of seeing her eyelashes flutter is so fucking intense that I sink back down in the chair.

“Sweetheart?” Aunt Bella coos.

I lean closer to Mariya. “Can you hear us?”

Slowly, she blinks. Her lips part, then her features contort with pain.

I dart back up and lean over her. “Mariya.”

She gasps, and tears start to sneak from her eyes. Her sight seems to focus on my face, then she groans, “Hurts.”

My head snaps to the nurse, who’s moved closer to check the vital signs on the machines. “Give her something.”

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Cotroni. You’ll feel relief soon,” the nurse assures Mariya.

My attention turns back to my wife’s face, and I watch as she becomes drowsy. Her eyes meet mine right before they close.

Fuck. The painkillers knocked her out.

“Sleep is the best thing for her,” the nurse reminds us.

Knowing there’s nothing I can do, I follow Viktor out into the hallway. “Please give me good news.”

“We’re dealing with two different syndicates.”

I frown at my friend. “What the hell?”

“It’s the reason we’ve been all over the place. Word is, whoever takes you down gets the seat of power for Europe.”

I give Viktor an incredulous look. “Are you kidding me?”

He shakes his head. “All of this is because of a fucking game between two gangs.”

A fucking game to see who can kill me first. What the ever-loving fuck?

“This is insane,” I mutter.

“At least now we know what we’re dealing with.” Viktor’s phone starts ringing, and when he checks it, he hands it to me. “For the love of God, talk to Nikolas. The man is worried about you.”

I take the device and answer, “It’s Luca.”

“How are you holding up?” He lets out a sigh. “Stupid question.” Then the head of the Greek mafia lays into me. “Why didn’t you call a meeting? The Priesthood is supposed to stand united during attacks. And why the fuck didn’t you tell me you got married?”

I wait for him to take a breath, then reply, “The wedding happened fast, and I haven’t had time to call a meeting.”

“I’ve called Liam and Gabriel. We’re all coming to LA.”

My heart warms, hearing they want to support me. Creating the Priesthood was one of the best things I’ve done in my life. At first, it was to maintain peace between the Greeks, the Irish, the Turkish, and us, but with time it became a brotherhood.

Not wanting them to travel while there’s no real plan in place, I say, “I have no idea how long it will take to deal with this problem, and I’m preoccupied with Mariya right now.”

“You don’t have to fucking keep us company. Just let us help you. You’ve been there for every single one of us. It’s time for us to stand united behind you.”

Knowing nothing I say will change Nikolas’ mind, I mutter, “Fine.”

“Luca, you’re the head of the Priesthood. If you fall, we all go down with you. We’ll see you tomorrow,” Nikolas says.

“Okay.” I take a deep breath. “Thanks. I appreciate the support.”

We end the call, and I hand the device back to Viktor, stating, “I should’ve made you the head of the Priesthood.”

He chuckles, then asks, “How long will Mariya be out for?”

I walk back into the room and check with the nurse, then tell Viktor, “Anything from four to eight hours.”

“That’s enough time to get you showered and fed. Let’s go.” I hesitate for a moment, and it has Viktor throwing his arm around my shoulders. “Come on. You’re going to need your strength.”

I spend the drive home checking all my messages, and the moment I walk into the apartment, it doesn’t feel like home.

That’s because your home is lying in a hospital bed.

“Shower while I fix you something to eat,” Viktor says.

I head upstairs, and walking into the closet, I stop and stare at Mariya’s clothes. I take hold of a silk blouse and press it to my face, so I can inhale her scent.

It has a calming effect on me.

I strip out of my suit, and walking into the bathroom, I open the faucets in the shower. When I step beneath the spray, I brace my hands on the tiled wall and bow my head so the water can hit the back of my neck, where the muscles are tightly coiled.

I close my eyes and let the memories of the three days I had with Mariya fill my thoughts.

Fuck, I’d give anything to have a fight with her right now because it would mean she didn’t get kidnapped and tortured.

It would mean she’s healthy and not in a fuck-ton of pain.

Christ, I wish I could turn back time.

My thoughts turn to the two gangs. The stupid fuckers have no idea what kind of hell they’ve unleashed on themselves.

Letting out a sigh, I wash my body. My actions are automatic as I go through my routine, my mind constantly jumping between Mariya and the gangs.

Once I’m dressed in a clean suit and I come down the stairs, Viktor points at a plate with grilled cheese sandwiches. “Eat up.”

“I see you also can’t cook for shit,” I taunt him. I take a seat at the island and pull the plate closer.

“Yeah, but I can take you out in seconds,” he mutters as he stares at his phone.

“What are you looking at?”

“Footage of Rosalie destroying her bedroom again.”

“How long do you plan on keeping her locked up?” Viktor knows I’m not happy with him taking the Sicilian girl. When he just shrugs, I ask, “You don’t think she’s suffered enough. We killed her family. Let her go.”

His eyes snap to mine. “And then what? Like you said, we wiped out her family. Rosalie has nowhere to go, Luca. I’m keeping her because I fucking care. I’m not about to throw her out on the street at the age of eighteen with nowhere to go. That would be fucking cruel. With time she’ll realize I’m only trying to help.”

“I don’t think that’s going to happen. Put yourself in her shoes. If someone took out your family, would you ever trust a single thing they do for you?”

“I’m done talking about this,” he growls.

We’ve had this conversation before, and it always ends with Viktor shutting it down.

Letting out a sigh, I eat the grilled cheese sandwiches just to fucking please him so I can get back to the hospital.

Viktor tucks his phone away, then locks eyes with me. “I just want to take care of her. Please leave it at that.”

I nod and finish the food. “Let’s go. I need to get back to my wife.”

When we step into the elevator, Viktor glances at me. “I’m glad you married Mariya.”

“Yeah?”

“She will need someone like you to get through this.”

“Someone like me?” I ask.

“Yeah, a man who never backs down from a challenge.”

I smile at my friend. “I don’t consider Mariya challenging.”

“I’m pretty sure you’re the only man alive who would say that,” he chuckles.

“I love her stubbornness.”

When the elevator doors slide open, Viktor pats me on the back. “Like I said, I’m glad she’s got you.”

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