Detained: Chapter 57

FRANKIE

Song- Just Pretend, Bad Omens. 

I wake up in the middle of the night to find Zara downstairs in the kitchen, sipping coffee at the dining table, staring at her engagement ring placed in front of her.

Just seeing it off her finger again has my heart racing.

“Zara, baby. What are you doing?” I ask, edging closer to her.

“Just thinking,” she mutters, not looking up at me.

“About?” I ask softly, stepping behind her chair and holding onto the back.

“Us.”

I blow out a breath. Fuck.

“I need more than that, Zara.”

She slides the diamond ring further away from her.

I can feel my jaw ticking with frustration. So, I lean over and retrieve it, my fingers brushing against her left hand as I carefully place it back where it belongs.

She flattens her palm onto the smooth wood, and she sighs.

“Was any of it real?” she asks.

“Excuse me?”

She bows her head and sniffles.

I can’t move. I don’t know if I can breathe.

“I’m useless to you now.”

I swiftly spin her chair around to face me, then fall to my knees, clutching onto her thighs. “Zara, tell me what’s going on in your head. I need you to let me in.”

She chews on her trembling lower lip as she focuses on some distant place over my head. “You wanted me for a baby. I can’t even give you that.”

“Is that honestly what you believe, Zara?” I try to keep the bubbling anger out of my voice. She’s grieving. She’s been through more than I can imagine. I can’t lose my temper with her, but I also can’t lose her.

I gently intertwine my fingers with hers.

“You don’t think I love you? You think my fucking chest doesn’t burn every time I’m near you? That I’m not completely and utterly obsessed with you? That I don’t have an overwhelming need to protect you, where not a single thing else matters to me more than you?”

“I-I don’t know anymore, Frankie. I just feel lost and so fucking useless. I’m not what you need. Maybe I’m not the woman you should have by your side.”

My hand runs through my hair as I shake my head in disbelief, unable to comprehend what I’m hearing. I need to get it through to her before it’s too late.

How I live purely for this woman.

“Zara, you are the strongest woman I’ve ever met. You’re far stronger than me.”

“You said love is a weakness,” she whispers. I tip her chin up, forcing her to look at me. The sound of my pounding blood is drowning out everything else.

“I was wrong. Not ours. Ours is my fucking strength, baby. I love you.”

She fights back welling tears.

“Tell me you don’t love me, Zara. I dare you.” I pin her with a glare.

It’s the only way I can snap her out of this. She needs me to help get her emotions under control the only way I know how.

“Nothing? You still have nothing to say?”

I’ve never known this woman to be stuck for words.

“What, you want me to prove it? Show you how completely and utterly committed I am to you and us for the rest of our lives? Is that what it will take for you to wear my damn ring?”

Filled with frustration, I storm around the breakfast bar, grab a knife, and place it over the gas fire to heat it up.

“Frankie! What the hell are you doing?”

Frantically, she rushes towards me, her sole focus being on taking it out of my hand. I swiftly snatch it away from her grasp.

“You want my commitment, you want me to prove my love, well here it fucking is.”

I take a slow, deliberate step towards her.

“And you have the nerve to tell me I don’t fucking love you.”

“I didn’t say that.”

She grabs my wrist, but I pull away. Taking off my top over my head and tossing it on the floor.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Her voice raises an octave.

I look down at my bare chest and push the tip of the hot blade on my pec. Blood drips as I start carving the letter ‘Z’ into my skin.

She grabs at my arm. “Stop it! Look, I get it. You love me, I believe you.”

I reach the last line of the letter, ignoring the stinging of my flesh. “Now. Tell me I don’t love you. I dare you.”

She looks down at the blood dripping off my knife and back up to me.

This is the man she needs right now.

I swipe the fresh drop up with the tip of my finger.

“I just carved your initial into my skin. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.”

I stalk towards her and open up her legs. Sliding between them, I trace an ‘F’ across her chest with my blood.

Her mouth gapes open, but now she’s looking at me how she should.

With love in her eyes.

I drop down onto one knee, grabbing her left hand. “Marry me, Zara. I’m down on my knees for you. I love you. Marry me.”

She taps her chin, pretending to be deep in thought, before she bursts out into laughter and my heart nearly explodes.

“I can’t even hold it in. Yes, a million times, yes.”

I jump to my feet and swoop her up into my arms and kiss her like my whole life depends on it.

“Don’t ever doubt my utter devotion to you, Zara. It’s real, it always has been, and it is never going anywhere. No matter what, we are in this together.”

“I’m sorry, Frankie.”

“No. I don’t want that. Whatever grief you have, whatever emotions they may be, let me have them. I can handle it. Just never, ever doubt me. That’s all I ask, angel.”

“You do deserve better than me, Frankie. I won’t do that again.”

Maybe we both needed this to realize what is important beyond anything else.

Us.

“I love you, Frankie. More than life, I’m just so angry and hurt, I took it out on you. I want to blame myself, to punish myself for losing-”

“I know, baby. I know. We don’t punish ourselves, we destroy the ones who did this to us. When we’re ready.”

I press my lips over hers. For one night, I think this is enough.

“Now let’s get some sleep and we can talk tomorrow. I just want you in my arms, with that ring on your finger for tonight.”

“I’d like that, Frankie.”

“Good girl,” I whisper, kissing her again.


Squeezing Zara’s hand as we walk into our new home for the foreseeable. When I say home, I mean mansion, complete with two separate wings. Everyone is here in the safe house, and I still have my space.

We need to all be together. We are stronger this way. That is the only way we can all get through this. We have all lost someone.

And we all are seeking our revenge.

As we enter into the hallway, I can hear the chattering coming from the dining room, so I lead us in.

In reality, all I want to do is look after Zara. She is a shell of herself, both physically and mentally.

She sees herself as a failure and I can’t make her understand how, if anything, she is the opposite. To me, she embodies strength where it truly matters.

She hasn’t let me down. This isn’t her fault. I won’t stop until she believes me. My girl is still in there somewhere, I know it.

I saw a glimpse of it last night. It’s just going to take some time. Time we don’t have.

“Uncle Frankie!” Rosa squeals and runs into my arms.

I hold her tight. I have a lot of making up to do with this girl.

As I raise my eyes, I notice Luca standing to the side, intently watching his wife. I give him a nod.

“Hello, little thorn.” I rustle her hair, and she whines, pulling away with a big grin on her face. It’s the Rosa I remember.

Luca walks over and wraps an arm around her shoulder, holding his other hand out to me.

“Well, look at you two all tanned and in love,” I say to Luca. His laughter fills the room as he shakes his head.

When I link my fingers through Zara’s, their eyes widen in surprise.

“I think it’s about time you two met my fiancé, Zara.”

“What!! Frankie! Why didn’t you say anything?” Rosa hugs Zara, who winces but smiles through the pain.

“Frankie fucking Falcone. In love. I can’t believe it.” Luca assesses Zara, before holding out his hand to her with a genuine smile. “I’m Luca Russo.”

She shakes his hand firmly.

“Oh, I know. I’m Zara, O’Reilly.” She emphasizes her last name.

It’s quite entertaining watching the recognition wash over Luca’s face.

“Oh fuck,” he coughs out.

He turns to me. “Please tell me you didn’t kidnap her.”

Zara laughs. “No, I’m here out of my own free will.”

I shoot a glare to Grayson, who is sitting next to Enzo at the dining table.

“See? Did you hear that?”

He shakes his head and chuckles. “You might have paid her to say that!”

The room erupts into laughter. I pull Zara into my side and press a kiss to the top of her head. “We’re going to head upstairs. Let me know when our meeting with Mikhail is arranged.”

“We need to speak to you, Uncle Frankie.” Rosa looks up at Luca with a smile on her face. She’s glowing.

I swallow past the lump in my throat. I have a feeling I know what she’s going to say, and I can’t let them say this in front of Zara.

Hell, I don’t know if I can hear it right now.

I look over to Grayson and tilt my head to Zara, who cuddles into my side. Silently, Grayson gets up and steps around the table.

‘We can all catch up over dinner later,’ he says, casting a meaningful glance at Luca.

Luca’s eyes bounce from me to Zara and he catches on, silently offering his apologies to me.

Cupping her elbow, I encourage her to follow. “Come on, baby, let’s get settled.”

“Okay,” she whispers, her voice hoarse.

“What do you want us to do with Alex? Enzo’s team have secured the girls, they’re safe.” Jax says as he leans back in his chair with a beer in his hand.

Zara looks up at me, her eyes alight. “He’s here?”

“For now, yes.”

She needs time to heal before she learns the truth. Yet, even now, I can hear her mind ticking.


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