Stolen By A Sinner: Chapter 11

Gabriel

After breakfast, where I was glad not to see Lara serve us, I settle in a chair to enjoy some tea with my grandmother.

“I hear you gave the woman a job,” my grandmother casually says before sipping on her beverage.

“It’s temporary,” I mutter.

Emre comes in and helps himself to tea. “What are we talking about?”

“About the woman,” Babaanne (grandma) informs him. “I’m curious as to why Gabriel gave her a job.”

Letting out a sigh, I ask, “Would you rather I kill her?”

Allah Allah.” She gives me a scowl. “Don’t make the food sour in my stomach.”

“It was the only other option,” I state.

“I suppose you couldn’t let her return to Mazur,” Babaanne agrees.

Letting out a sigh, I explain, “It’s just for the time being until I figure out what to do with her.”

“It might be a good thing. Nisa isn’t as young as she used to be and could use the help,” Babaanne agrees.

“I’ve instructed the woman to stay away from your side of the house so you won’t be bothered by her,” I inform my grandmother.

“Pfft.” She waves a hand. “I’ll have to meet her at some point.”

Not if I can help it.

“What’s her name?” she asks.

“Lara Nowak,” I answer. “She’s Polish.”

My grandmother nods, then murmurs, “Lara. Such a beautiful name.”

With the tea finished, I get up and excuse myself, so I can catch up with the news. It’s my Saturday routine before I head over to one of the clubs.

I walk to my private living room on the west side of the house, and when I pass by the sitting room, I hear Nisa say, “Slow down, Lara Hanim! You don’t have to clean the entire house in an hour.”

“Sorry, Nisa Hanim,” Lara murmurs respectfully.

Stopping, I turn back to glance inside the sitting room. Lara’s polishing the ever-loving shit out of the coffee table.

Nisa places her hand over Lara’s, then gives her a compassionate look. “Slow down. There’s plenty of time, and you’re still healing. We don’t want your wounds opening up.”

Emotion washes over Lara’s face, and for a moment, it looks like she might actually cry, but then Nisa says, “It’s okay. You’ll learn everything soon enough, but you don’t have to work yourself to death. Okay?”

“Okay.” The single word sounds small and vulnerable, and it does something weird to my heart.

Jesus, the woman must’ve worked her ass off in fear that Mazur would kill her for the slightest thing.

Shaking my head, I walk to the living room and settle into my comfortable recliner. I switch on the TV and select CNN, then pick up my tablet so I can read my newspapers.

I get to relax for an hour before Nisa and Lara walk into the living room. “Do you want us to come back later, Gabriel Bey?”

I shake my head. “No, go ahead.”

They start to clean the room, and when I hear Lara whisper ‘sorry’ for the third time, I glance up. I stare at her, which probably isn’t helping her nerves. She peeks in my direction, and catching me looking at her, she lowers her eyes and starts to dust the ornaments on the mantlepiece as if her life depends on it.

“Slow down,” Nisa whispers.

“Sorry.”

Before I can stop myself, I mutter, “Are you going to apologize for breathing?”

Lara’s eyes snap to mine, and a visible tremor hits her. “If that’s what you want, sir.”

Jesus.

My temper flares instantly. I get up, dropping the tablet on the side table. “If I hear you say sorry one more time, there will be hell to pay. Understand?”

Confusion and fear flutter over her features. “Yes, sir.”

Stalking out of the living room, I figure I’ll get more rest at the club and make my way out of the house.

Since she bumped into me, Lara has an uncanny way of annoying the shit out of me.

 


 

It’s already past nine pm. Sitting at a table, where I have a clear view of the floor, I watch men and women illegally gamble their riches away.

It’s all about the money. They could gamble ten million and only win a hundred thousand back, and still, they’ll leave here feeling like they actually won something.

As long as it lines my pockets, I don’t care.

I watch as a senator bets two million, and a businessman matches it.

Idiots.

One of the waitresses bumps into a patron. “Sorry.”

It’s funny how that word doesn’t bother me now, whereas earlier, it pissed me off.

Lara is only twenty-two, and growing up in Mazur’s house must’ve been hell.

I might be known for being quiet, demanding, and never giving second chances, but I’m not heartless. I just don’t like the fact that I’m stuck with her. The moment I let her go, she could run right back to Mazur. The last thing I want is that man knowing anything about me.

Although, he’d probably kill her.

Or not.

Fuck if I know.

Hopefully, Lara turns out to be an asset.

I pull a disgruntled face when I realize I’ll have to discuss her wages with her. I’m definitely not looking forward to that.

My gaze lands on Emre. Lifting an arm, I signal to him to come over to my table.

“The place is packed,” he says as he takes a seat.

“It’s always packed.” Taking hold of the tumbler of whiskey, I watch the liquid slosh as I pick it up. “I’m heading home. I need to discuss Lara’s wages with her.”

Emre turns his attention away from the floor to look at me. “How much are you going to pay her?”

“Fuck knows. Can you remember what wage Babaanne started Nisa Hanim on?”

The corner of his mouth lifts in a smirk. “How do you expect me to remember? I was in diapers when Nisa Hanim started working for us.”

Locking eyes with my cousin, I tilt my head. “True.”

“I have a question.” When I nod, he asks, “Why did you employ Lara if she clearly annoys you?”

“It’s the whole vulnerable-innocent vibe she’s giving off,” I mutter. “I’m starting to think it’s why Mazur couldn’t kill her. I sure as fuck couldn’t when she was down on her knees in front of me.”

Emre’s smile grows, a mischievous gleam entering his eyes. “Look at you getting all soft because of a woman.”

“Fuck off,” I growl. Having had enough of this conversation, I finish my drink and get up from the chair. “Take care of things here.”

“Always.”

While Mirac drives me home, I deliberate about Lara’s wages. She’s not a permanent employee yet, so I’m not going to pay her what I pay my other staff.

When Mirac stops the car in front of the house, I get out and take the steps up to the front door.

While she’s on probation, I’ll pay her two thousand dollars a month. If she proves to be of any worth, I’ll increase it.

Walking through the west wing, I cross paths with Nisa and ask, “Is Lara in her room?”

Evet.” Before I can walk away, she adds, “Even though she’s still healing, she worked hard today.”

I nod, then head in the direction of Lara’s bedroom. I only knock once before opening the door.

Lara’s sitting at the table in front of the window, her hair half braided. She startles, darts up, and winches with pain from the sudden movement.

Like earlier, she folds her hands in front of her and lowers her head.

“I’ve decided your wages will be two thousand for the next three months. Give me your banking details.”

Shocked, she lifts her eyes to meet mine. “Banking details, sir?”

I’ve only been five minutes in her presence, and already annoyance is creeping up my spine. “Your bank account number. What is it?”

Looking confused and scared, she shakes her head. “I don’t have a bank account.”

Unexpectedly compassion slithers into my heart like a fucking thief in the night, only making me feel more irritated.

My mind races to ignore the unwelcome emotion and to come up with a quick solution that won’t inconvenience me, but then I remember she said her personal documents are still at Mazur’s house. “I’ll have one of my men bring your belongings. Murat will take you to open an account.”

“Yes, sir.” She hesitates, her tongue darting out to wet her lips, then she looks at me as if I just promised her the fucking world and whispers, “Thank you, sir.”

I’ve been thanked millions of times but never have the words hit as hard as they do now. My heart constricts, and as I stare at the woman that’s become my problem, I feel another wave of intense compassion.

Jesus, this is the last thing I need.

I stalk out of the room, yanking the door shut behind me, thinking things must’ve been seriously fucked up at Mazur’s place if the woman is so damn thankful even though I practically kidnapped her.

She’s just another employee.

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