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Silent Lies: Chapter 19

Drago

I trail my hand along the soft skin of Sienna’s back and thread my fingers into her hair. She stirs a little, pressing her face into the crook of my neck. We had sex three times last night, but having her naked body plastered to mine keeps my cock perpetually semi-hard. Any slight brush of her delectable curves across my groin, and I’m instantly ready to go. For a moment, I consider waking her for another round, but then change my mind and keep massaging her scalp. She needs to rest. Instead, I use my free hand to grab my phone off the nightstand.

Last night, my wife sent me a bunch of messages, but there was too much shit going on, so I read only the first three and never had the chance to respond. At the time, they came across as trivial, but as I scan over the message thread now, I realize it was anything but.

22:23 Sienna: I need to go buy some cosmetics tomorrow.

23:39 Sienna: You should take Zeus to the vet. I think he has an ear infection.

23:48 Sienna: Found the shoes you got me. You need a better hiding place.

23:57 Sienna: I think I’d like to go to your club again.

00:06 Sienna: [Selfie with Zeus. Both are sprawled on the bed.]

00:09 Sienna: What about my driving lessons? You promised!!

00:12 Sienna: Is there another wedding we can crash sometime soon? I could dance on the table for you again.

00:16 Sienna: [Another selfie with Zeus on the bed.]

I notice a peculiar thing when I skim the contents. The first several messages are statements that don’t ask for a reply. But she probably did expect me to text her back. When I didn’t, she sent the photo of her and Zeus. And Sienna knows very well I don’t allow my dogs in the bedroom. If I had seen that image last night, I would have demanded she get Zeus off the bed and out of the room. She sent that specific photo on purpose, but when I still did not respond, she switched to asking questions.

She knew we were about to get into a confrontation with the Romanians, but none of her messages showed any interest in that. Just seemingly random nonsense. But they weren’t nonsense, were they? It’s never “what you see is what you get” where my wife is concerned. I have to ignore the shit she says and the way she acts. Dig deeper to find the truth.

Statements, then the photo, and then the questions. Attempts to get a reaction from me?

She was worried about me but didn’t want to show it.

I lower my head until my mouth is right next to her ear. “You are like a damn Rubik’s Cube, Sienna. I can spend days trying different moves to find the right pattern.”

She mumbles something and presses even closer against my body. Untangling my fingers from her hair, I take her chin and tilt her head up.

“Tell me, my glittery spy, has anyone ever managed to solve the puzzle?”

She blinks sleepily and scrunches her nose at me. “What the hell are you rambling about?”

“I’m talking about your text messages. Your crazy clothes and ridiculous footwear choices. Your smiles.”

She raises an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with my smiles?”

“The wider they are, the sadder your eyes get.”

Her body tenses, but it only lasts for a second. In the next breath, her lips curve into another of those false grins.

“Are you trying to psychoanalyze me, Drago?” She juts her chin at me. “I’ve had enough shrink sessions to last me a lifetime, so please, kindly fuck off.”

Shrink sessions? I wrap my arm around her, keeping her close. “Why?”

“It’s personal,” she snaps and shoves at my chest. “Let me go.”

“Why, Sienna?”

“I tried to kill myself!” she yells into my face. “There. Happy? Now, let me go!”

Dread explodes inside my chest, then spreads, consuming my entire body. I can’t move as I stare at my wife while she beats upon my breastbone with her fists, trying to make me release my hold. I should let her go. She obviously wants to be alone, but I can’t. The mere idea of her not existing makes me want to set the whole fucking world on fire. There is no world without her in it. Not for me.

“Sienna.” I sweep away a lock of hair that has fallen over her face.

Sienna tries to swat at my fingers, but when she fails, she sinks her teeth into the side of my hand.

“Feeling better, now?” I ask.

She glares at me through tangled strands and mumbles something I can’t decipher. I doubt anyone could when her mouth is full the way it’s now.

“Chomp harder if it’ll help.”

A tear rolls down her cheek. She lets me go, leaving a sizable indent in my flesh. I cup her face with my palms and wipe away her tears with my thumbs. “What made you do that, baby?” She knows I’m not asking about the bite.

“When my sister was abducted, it was my fault.”

“How so?”

“Luna and I planned to go out that night, but she canceled at the last moment. Asya was never into hanging out in bars, but I convinced her to come with me since Luna couldn’t. She didn’t want to go, but I kept pressing until she caved. We snuck out.” She closes her eyes and continues. “Met a guy there. He was funny and made us laugh a lot. When I told Asya we should head home, she said she’d like to stay a while longer.”

Sienna’s eyes open as more tears stream down her cheeks. I brush them away, but they just keep on coming.

“I had pilates the following morning, you see, so I left my sister alone with a man she didn’t know and went home. I climbed into my bed, under the warm covers, and went to sleep while my sister was raped on the cold snow outside of that bar. She suffered while I overslept. I never even went to the damn class.”

Her lower lip trembles as she speaks, and her hands shake. I want to tell her that she can stop, that she doesn’t have to say anything more if it’s hurting her so much. Watching my sunny, sparkling wife break apart in front of my eyes is like a knife through the chest. But I keep silent, knowing she needs to let it all out.

“For months, we didn’t know if Asya was alive or dead. Arturo couldn’t find her. The whole of Cosa Nostra searched for her, without result. I spent weeks sitting on the porch, hoping she would miraculously come through the gate, until one day, I realized she probably never will.”

Sienna takes a deep breath. “I went up to her room, took the sleeping pills the doctor had prescribed me, and climbed into Asya’s bed. I just wanted to sleep.”

“Jesus, baby.” I lean forward and place a kiss on her forehead. The longing to hold her to me and envelop her with all my might is overwhelming, but I wouldn’t be able to see her as she speaks. “How many did you take?”

“Whatever was left in the bottle. Arturo found me and rushed me to the ER.”

I wrap my arms around Sienna and crush her to my chest, holding her tightly. It doesn’t feel like enough. I move my hand to her hair and tuck her face into the crook of my neck.

“Promise me,” I choke out.

Sienna mumbles something into my neck, a “what” most likely.

“Promise me you’ll never do anything like that again.”

Her palm travels up my chest and neck and stops at my jaw. She sits up on my stomach and grips my chin in her fingers as she leans forward.

“I promise. But I want one in return.”

“All right.”

“You won’t get yourself killed, Drago.” She squeezes my chin. “Please.”

I move a strand of hair off her face and trace the shape of her lips with the tip of my finger. As I do, it dawns on me that she’s purposefully facing me with her mouth in line with my eyes. “Why? Just a while ago you told me you don’t like me.”

Her lips widen into a smile under my touch. “You have exceptional taste in women’s shoes.”

“Are you ever going to stop this charade, Sienna? You can just tell me the truth. It won’t be the end of the world.”

“What truth?” She laughs.

“That you’re in love with me.”

The smile vanishes off her face, and her body goes still. “You’re delusional.”

“No, I don’t think I am.”

She lets go of my face and leans away, getting ready to run.

Not happening. I wrap my arm around her and roll us, pinning her on the bed with my body.

“Let me go!” she snaps.

I move my hand along her hip, between her legs, and press my fingers onto her pussy. Sienna’s eyes flare.

“I realized something recently,” I say as I slowly circle her clit, applying a bit more pressure with every stroke. “It really turns me on when you’re angry.”

She pins me with a murderous stare. I move my finger between her folds and slide it inside her heat.

“Do you want to know why?” I ask as I add another finger. “Because I know that’s the real you, mila moya.”

Sienna’s breath hitches. I stretch her slightly, then curl my fingers up, finding her hidden spot, and press a little harder. She closes her eyes and moans as her body trembles.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing her like this. Unguarded. Without pretense. Mine. She might lie with her words, but her body always tells me the truth. I remove my fingers and position myself at her entrance, slipping only the tip of my cock inside. Sienna’s eyes snap open, searing into mine. Her green-painted nails dig into the skin of my arms.

“It’s okay, baby.” I lower my head until our foreheads touch as I slowly slide into her. “I’m in love with you, too.”

A strangled gasp leaves her lips as she takes all of me in. Her eyes stare into mine from beneath her dark half-lowered lashes and wisps of hair that have fallen over her face. It’s as if she is still trying to hide from me. I reach out and sweep the silky locks away, then caress the satin-like skin of her cheek with the tips of my fingers.

“No more hiding from me,” I say as I pull out and immediately slam back into her. “Do we have a deal?”

For a moment, sheer panic crosses Sienna’s face. I bury my fingers in her hair and pin her with my gaze. “I love every side of you, mila moya. I love you when you laugh, but I also love you when you’re sad. I love you angry—pissed off and determined.” Dipping my head even lower, I growl, “I even fucking adore when you threaten to shoot me.”

“You’re crazy.” She laughs while a single tear slides down her cheek.

“Trust me, there isn’t a sexier sight than my wife pointing a gun at me while wearing a gold tutu and fur slippers.”

My next thrust makes her pant. I quicken my pace, pounding into her and making the headboard bang into the wall along with my movements. “Promise me that you’ll try.”

“I promise.”

 

Sienna

 

Hard, fast knocking breaks the silence of the night. I open my eyes and sit up in bed. The room is completely engulfed in darkness, not even moonlight pierces the gloom. The door screeches open—the sound so much louder than it should be. A figure of a man stands in the doorway. I can’t see his features, only his shape outlined by the light spilling from the hallway.

“Sienna,” the man says. My brother’s voice.

“Arturo? What are you doing here?”

He opens the door wider, and the strip of yellow light falls onto Drago’s side of the bed. It’s empty.

“I need to tell you something, Sienna.”

My lower lip trembles. No. “Get out!” I scream and leap off the bed, intending to run over and close the door, but my steps are sluggish like I’m treading through water. Everything is happening in slow motion.

“I need you to be strong now,” Arturo’s voice continues. It’s distorted somehow as if it’s coming from a deep dark pit. I still can’t see his face.

“Shut up! Shut! Up!” I yell as I force myself toward the door. Just a few more feet and I’ll reach it.

“I’m so sorry, Sienna.”

I freeze with my hand outstretched. My knees buckle and I hit the floor.

“Your husband is dead.”

Ringing fills my ears, getting stronger until I can’t take it anymore. I press my hands over my ears and scream.

“Sienna! Wake up!”

I blink. Drago is lying on top of me, holding my face between his palms.

“I had a nightmare,” I choke out.

“I could see that. What was it?”

There is so much concern in his eyes. I reach out to trace his furrowed eyebrows and stroke the tip of my finger down his nose to his tightly pressed mouth. My hand is trembling and my heart is beating at supersonic speed. I know it was just a dream, but I can’t shake off the terror.

“I dreamed that all my clothes and shoes turned white.” I tilt my chin and place a kiss on his lips. “It was awful.”

Drago narrows his eyes at me. It’s clear he doesn’t believe me. I thread my fingers through his hair and press my face to his chest, breathing in his scent.

“Sienna.”

Shaking my head, I squeeze him tighter. I don’t want to talk about it. He’s okay. That’s all I need.

He rolls us until our positions are reversed, with me atop him now. Tucking my face into the crook of his neck, he strokes the skin at my nape, just below my hairline.

“Was the dream about your sister?” he asks in a low voice while his fingers continue their soothing path. “I don’t dream about mine that often anymore. My . . . other sister. I’m not sure if it’s easier, or harder. Sometimes, it feels like I’m betraying her because I don’t think about her as often as I once did.”

His voice is so strained. It’s as if he’s forcing himself to actually speak the words aloud. Not wanting to talk about certain things is a very familiar concept to me, and it’s painfully clear that he’s doing this for my benefit.

I lift my head and look my husband right in his eyes. “It wasn’t your fault,” I whisper. “Tara told me what happened. You did all you could.”

“Did I? My brain says I did. But my heart won’t let me accept that truth. It never will.” He cups my cheek in his palm. “It doesn’t matter what everyone says. Doesn’t matter that it was someone else’s doing. The heart will always take the blame because it can’t understand that the love it feels wasn’t enough to save a loved one from harm. And that’s okay, as long as the brain understands it.”

A tear escapes my eye, sliding down my cheek as his words resonate deep within me. He gets it. I’m not sure if anyone else could.

“My brain understands,” I mutter, but then realize that his eyes are still focused on mine.

Tilting my head up a bit, I wait for his gaze to move lower, then repeat my reply.

Tiny wrinkles appear in the corners of Drago’s eyes as he smiles. He wipes my tear away with his thumb, then traces the outline of my lips. “Who told you?”

“I figured it out a few weeks ago.” I glide my fingers through his hair. “Why don’t you wear hearing aids?”

“I did. They helped when there was no background noise. But with sounds all around or several people speaking at the same time, every single thing got amplified. I thought my fucking head was going to explode. It’s the same when I’m surrounded by very loud sounds now.”

“But, you run a club. It doesn’t get any louder than that.” I stare at him, completely dumbfounded by the realization of what he experiences every day. “And the meals here, with everyone always speaking at the same time? How do you manage?”

“I guess, I have a really thick head.” He smirks.

My God, the level of concentration and focus he needs to maintain every single day is unfathomable. I bite my lower lip.

“Can you . . . hear me?”

Drago’s eyes slide to mine, our gazes clashing. From what Keva told me, he probably can’t, but I’m still hopeful.

“Only when you’re next to me. But at a distance, even at just a few feet away, then no,” he says, his smile vanishing. “I’m sorry, baby.”

“It’s okay.” I lean in to kiss him just as a loud knock sounds at the door.

“It’s probably Filip. I have to go.” Drago takes a nip of my lower lip, then reaches inside his nightstand drawer and pulls out a velvet pouch. “For your fish tank.”

I undo the thin string and empty the contents on the bed. A bunch of green-colored crystals, in a multitude of shapes and sizes, spill onto the white sheet. They glisten in the overhead light as it reflects off the brilliant surface of the glass stones.

“Oh my God! I have notebook stickers that look just like that, only smaller. These are so pretty! Like little green diamonds.” I squeal in delight and take one in my palm. “Did you get them at that crystal shop in Brooklyn?”

“Not exactly.”

“Will the color wash out if I put them in the fish tank?”

A deep rumbling sound of Drago’s laughter fills the room. “I’m pretty sure it won’t.”

 


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