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[i “Anyone would think you cared.”] Yeah, well that was the reason he didn’t let just anyone see it. His words were true though. He [i was] proud of her, and she surprised him. Nataliya took it seriously, and she remembered parts of their training. Lukas was just about to go before her gaze lingered and captivated him for a second long enough to brush her fingers over his. A small jolt of electricity courses through his veins at the touch, and his eyes followed her removal down the tunnel halls to the infirmary. What the hell was she doing? She was supposed to hate him for dragging her into the underground world she never wanted to be in. Now, she’d touched him two times within the past two days? And the touches were gentle... What exactly did she want him to do? Was she testing him to see if he had weaknesses?
The Zmeya could say nothing more as a star pendant was placed into his hand, the one she’d worn during the fight. It was torn off, so the clasp was broken, but the snake knew just what it meant. It was the symbol of her mother, a gift given to her before her death. Nataliya would hold it sacred, and Ivan sent men wearing the same symbol for her to best although the far outnumbered her. He was essentially reprimanding her for leaving in the midst of tragedy, claiming her mother would not be proud of her. It was certainly harsh.
With a small nod to the doctor of respect, the man knowing and treating Lukas well over the past few years, the snake retreated to the lounge. He’d hidden the pendant in his pocket, but Iliya was gone. Ivan was off drinking and laughing with elites, and Lukas knew he’d say something he regretted if he tried to join them. Ivan would explain the results in time, but there was no doubting he’d go to terrorize his daughter before he did. It was all a show of dominance, proving he reigned supreme and that Nataliya should have lost her life for running the way she did.
As Lukas left, he heard a loud noise of breaking in a nearby room that should have been empty. With one swift move, he removed his gun and pushed the door open before bolstering the weapon. Crossing his arms, Lukas eyes the parts of the broken phone before his steely gray eyes met Iliya’s. [b “Trying to hide something are we? Only makes sense with you missing all the action so long. And here I was thinking you were a good match for Nataliya. But one thing I know for certain is that power hungry douchebags like you never fucking change.”] With a deep glare, Lukas slammed the door shut and went to having Iliya followed by men he trusted that would blend in. Lukas needed to know more about the man before it was too late.
Nataliya was still recovering a while. He felt stupid as hell, but he did something out of the ordinary. Something the Zmeya would never do otherwise. Several days following the attack when Nataliya was healing up again, Lukas entered her infirmary room with a small knock on the outside of her door. [b “Hey, Sleeping Beauty. You know you look like hell.”] It was Lukas’ way to taunt her and mess around as he stepped closer slowly. He didn’t even really know why he felt obligated to do this, but he just did. Holding out the pendant with a new chain he paid for wrapped around it and the clasp fixed, Lukas spoke, [b “Missing this?”]
Like the rat he was lliya excused himself in silence as Lukas' back was turned and everyones attention was drawn in by the specticle of the successful re-initiation of that blonde bitch. Closing the door quietly behind him IIiya slipped his phone out of his pocket and made his way down the maze of hallways looking for a secluded corner as he dialled the number into his phone and brought it to his ear.
Nataliya's lungs desperately trying to take in as much as possible and her muscles burning with exhaustion but she couldn't help a smile curl onto her lips as she was lifted up of the ground and her arm swung over the mans shoulders for support as they made their way out towards the infirmary on the third floor, another man walking along side them doing his best for a patchup job. But at the sight of their underboss they stopped dead in thier tracks. Nataliya lifted her head up to meet the towering gaze of Lukas, she knew he was there the scent of his cologne gave it away. Despite her utter exhaustion Nataliya couldn't help her smile remaining on her swollen lips as his praise seemed to lift an emence imaginary weight off her shoulders. [i He was proud, maybe he is human after all.] Her voice croaky [b "Anyone would think you cared"] she joked and her gaze lingered longer than it should have, Nataliya let her fingers intertwine his if only for a moment before she was ushered away to an infirmary bed for rest, recovery and fluids.
The older doctor nodding to Lukas in respect held out the woman's pendant that had been torn off during the event before placing it into the mans hand as he hurried off with a smile. He of all people knew the significance of the snake himself to come down from his tower and sing praise for the woman he now had to clean up and make as presentable as possible in the coming days before Ivan made his visit and made Nataliya aware of the outcome of his disgusting excuse of an initiation. It was flat out abuse.
lliya groaned in annoyance as he redialed the number and slipped through another door and into a small study just as the phone was picked up on the other end. Starting at the slightly ajar door on the opposite side of the room. [i Fuck, this will have to do] his voice hushed as he tried to hurry the phone call along. He didnt have much time. [b " That little whore isnt going to go down easily Emilio, she wants nothing to do with me, How do you expect this to work? you fucking lied to me you piece of shit..."] his temper flaring as he slamed his palm against the wall [b " I need the others taken care of soon before I get to her or the deal is off, at this point I will personally pay 3 million to whichever one of your men can take the head of that fucking pathetic old dog they call a boss"] his voice almost a growl before throwing it against the wall Watching the pieces fall to the ground. [b "Fucking Italians"]
Smoke filled the room as many rich supporters of the Renkov family drank and laughed and ate. Ivan knew exactly how and when he needed to turn something into a party. Everyone wanted to see exactly how Nataliya Renkov handles potentially the most difficult initiation of all time. Men would pay fortunes just to be in the crowd. Lukas knew all this too well as he puffed his own cigarette, adding little clouds of smoke to the room that was already dimly lit to create a mood of relaxation and luxury. Music drifted from the stage, the musicians emitting smooth sounds that soothes the ears and stimulated attention. When Ivan entered the room with Iliya, everyone stood at attention. Staring holes into Iliya as he passed, Lukas nodded respectfully to the head Renkov as he recognized him with a hand to his shoulder. Soon enough, the stone cold man was revealing how Nataliya would be punished and pushed completely to her limits due to her disobedience for years. [i Get ready, Nataliya... I told you this wouldn’t be a walk in the park.]
The Zmeya himself tilted his head again as Ivan dryly complimented his work of dragging Nataliya into the family and essentially keeping her prisoner. The training was just something to try and get her ready for the beating waiting during initiation. A part of him wanted to go down there and fight off the huge men surely to surround her soon enough, but he knew he’d trained her as well as possible. Lukas wouldn’t tell anyone, but he’d given her a few of the techniques he only knew... the ones that set him apart from any other. Many men would kill for the opportunity. Lukas didn’t sit. He stood, just before the glass, ensuring Nataliya could see him if she looked up. He wanted her to know that he was [i there] if nothing else. Also, he kept a good distance between himself and Iliya before he beat the ever living hell out of the man.
Keeping his calculating eyes on the scene before him, Lukas continued silently puffing his cigarette. Nataliya looked so scared when she was thrust into the walls that the glass lounge looked over. She was trying desperately to find any way out. Slightly clenching his jaw, Lukas knew it was sealed tight. She would only get out after she proved herself or nearly died trying. Soon enough, the trained men in masks surrounded her. Lukas surveyed their scene, picturing each move he’d take to take each of them out. He knew he’d taught Nataliya for the moment.. What would she do?
With one sweep of her knee, Nataliya took one man out cold. A small smile lifted his lips, a certainly rare sight. He was proud of her. It didn’t last. The other men took advantage of her standing on one knee, slamming her to the wall and taking turns punching and kicking her. She fought back as hard as any woman of her size could, but Ivan didn’t exactly give her a chance. He was testing her pain, and he was showing her a message that she wouldn’t leave the mafia again. He wanted to know just how she reacted to the situation, and he wanted to showcase his daughter’s skills. Waves after waves of men came to face her, some even carrying weapons. Nataliya was bloodied and bruised, but she never went down... Until she couldn’t fight any longer.
Lukas held up a hand, signaling Ivan to stop the simulation. Throwing his cigarette to the side, he spoke finally. [b “That’s enough, Ivan. She can’t take much more. You’ve been harder on her than anyone else.”] Ivan shut it off, but he stood and took a long, intimidating gaze at Lukas. [i “You wouldn’t understand. She deserves this. She deserves worse. Don’t test me Zmeya.”] Lukas bit his tongue, simply leaving the room as others cashed in on bets and got drunk and high to no end. Ivan took the opportunity to get cheap deals, and Iliya was nowhere to be found. Lukas got out easily. He’d been through an initiation, and it was one of the worst nights of his life. Lukas easily got through guards with his title and ranks, meeting the men before Nataliya was taken away. They’d done a quick examination and controlled most of the bleeding as well as given her medication for the pain already. The Zmeya knew it wouldn’t do much, especially in her condition.
Snapping, the men left, and he caught up to Nataliya before she exited the room. [b “You fought like a true Renkov out there. I’m proud.”] The words were huge coming from him. Lukas didn’t remember the last time he even complimented anyone much less told them he was proud. But he was. Nataliya didn’t give up until exhaustion and pain took over. He admired that. In many ways, she reminded him of himself.
As the hours drifted by Nataliya didnt dare emerge from the safely of her suite especially after her moment that she had with Lukas. She didnt trust herself around that man and judging by the unrestrained look he had given her Lukas was feeling the same strain to keep his composure, Especially with lilya's constant belittling and condescending behaviour. His eyes always watching her. [i His property] Natalya was the key to gaining the biggest stronghold in the United States and once her usefulness had worn off, what use was she?
Sure IIiya enjoyed watching her, physically she was incredible but the second those lips parted out came exactly what he despised. An outspoken, smart, determined and utterly strong willed woman. [i Never the matter, he would just have to break her in, show her who really had the power ] Never would lliya Bykov be second best to a woman, A woman who didnt know her place. It wasnt until he saw Lukas and Nataliya in the sparring room did he understand her "training" Silly little woman playing at men's business. [i She had no place nor right to partake in such unflattering activities] As soon as the ink was dry on their marriage licence she would be locked away, caged and remain something to be looked at not heard. As for his father in law, Ivan wasn't the only one with officials on the payroll. But the men he hadnt counted on were Gregor, ever watchful and loyal and that fucking snake, just the thought of Lukas sent the man into a boiling rage.
[i Behead the snake, Kill the guard dog]
Wiping the sweat from her forehead before rolling up her yoga matt Nataliya took a deep calming breath as another wave of anxiety Washed over her at the thought of the unknown events she would be enduring in just over an hour. Clearly no one trusted her as she knew while all the others were off tending to business and preparations she had someone outside her door around the clock. [i Fuck, they would have scouts everywhere waiting for her to make a move... She was just going to have to wait it out] Nataliya had heard a few Whispers of what she could possibly expect but the blonde Knew better than to believe the stories of housekeepers, that was until she had heard Gregor talking to her father's lawyer about what Aleks had to go through which caused a knot in the pit of her stomach. Nataliya wasnt by any means naive , she was the defiant one too head strong like her father. She knew what she was about to go through would be the tougest initiaton of anyone in recent history, especially taking such an elite roll rather then working their way up the ranks. Ivan was going to make an example out of her, release eight long years of build up anger and frustration.
Her fingers still tingling from the fire on lukas' skin as Nataliya tied her long locks into a ponytail before lacing up her old black combat boots with her eyes on the man standing in the doorway arms crossed over his chest his eyes focused on her every move. [b "время идти Наталья"] [i Time to go Nataliya] his voice low as she stood up and straightened her clothing. Practical and black her favorite color.
Making her way out the man's grip on his pistol as he followed closely behind, eyes like a Hawk. There was an eeire silence as she passed many people who just nodded at her. [i Did they know what was about to happen?] Her fingers reaching up to touch her mothers large ruby star pendant to ground herself as she stepped into the elevator with her armed guard. In the last two weeks Nataliya had gone from living in fear of this place to actually kind of enjoying it but there was still her greatest need to fly free. She didnt want to be tied down and caged but since the day she had decided to try and make the best of her situation she felt more alive more of her true self and her confidence sky rocketted. Despite her anxiety she was excited to be put to the test as a weapon and that sparkle of pure determination in her eyes. Gone was Natalie, Gone was the American.
Ivan and IIiya was the last to enter the lavish room filled with the smell of cigars, cologne and an array of different liquors. The men all dressed to the nines as he unbuttoned his jacket. As he entered Ivan placed his hand on Lukas' shoulder in silent recognition before walking past to find his seat. [b "Gentlemen, this will be no normal test. Nataliya will be pushed to her limits to prove her loyalty to the family after her disobediance"] taking a sip from his glass Ivan nodded at Gregor who switched on the large tv to another sparring room with Nataliya looking around anxiously for an exit. [b " Before begin Thank you to Zmeya for bringing back our dearest Nataliya into the family and her intensive training, for her safety and ours we will observe her from here"] his lips curving into a dry smile.
Nataliya's hands fumbling over the walls trying to find an exit in a silent state of panic her heart slamming against her chest as the hidden door opened a 6 men wearing Masks entered and all but one lining themselves around the room arms patienty behind their backs at ease. Nataliya didnt have time to think as the first onslaught began in an instant. [i Who were these guys, they meant business] Ivan's eyes intently watching the screen as he watched his newly bought Mercenaries earn thier keep. Nataliya knew she was going to have to pace herself she had a long night ahead. [i These guys could take a hit] The red star stitched on their bicep caught Nataliya's eye sending her rage alright as her knee connected to the face of the man sending a loud snap through the silent room her father was in. She knew what that patch meant, He was sending her a message, there was no way she was coming out of this walking. He wanted her to suffer.
Over step the line? What the hell, Nataliya? Iliya overstepped so many lines so quickly, and what did he have to worry about? Lukas Pachiaveli was the Zmeya, and he would make a scene or make it known he did not like Iliya if he so wished. How could anyone like the man? He was dripping with betrayal and always hungry for power. If anyone asked around about Iliya, they would always get warnings to stay away from him or something of the sort. Lukas would know. He’d been studying up on the man since Ivan let his name slip from his mouth. Iliya did not have one shred of honor or respect. Lukas was still heaving when Nataliya spoke in the charming way she had over him.
[i “Is that all I am to you? I thought I meant more to you Lukas, what a silly girl I am.”] There was something so sultry laced in her words, and it almost felt like fire when she kissed his cheek. Nataliya knew she meant more to him than just a last name. Part of him had vowed that he’d never let Aleks down again, and that meant that he would protect Nataliya. Also, they’d shared several nights together. How could he simply feel nothing after all of that? Lukas didn’t remember the last time she kissed him, but it felt so right... even if it was just on his cheek. Nataliya’s hand was pressed onto his skin, and there was waves of tension just waiting to drown them both... Lukas didn’t want to know what Ivan would do if he saw them in that moment. Lukas gave her a look that was full of exactly what he pictured doing to her as she stepped so close and finally left in the tempting way she always had.
She just exited as if nothing fazed her. Nataliya was as headstrong as anyone. Of course, she wouldn’t listen to him. She was latched onto proving she was not just the daughter of Ivan Renkov. She wanted people to have reason to fear her, just like the Zmeya had. He was proud of her. She was changing, and he could see it unraveling in front of his eyes. She was becoming more of her true self and not the fake identity of Natalie that she strode around in. Nataliya’s skin was tougher than that... and she didn’t even mind standing up to the Zmeya himself. [i Bold move Nataliya... but why don’t you stand up to your father and Iliya?] Lukas still couldn’t count on the fact that she would stay in one place and not run. Nataliya was trying to play him for a fool, and it wouldn’t so damn easy. He couldn’t let it be. If she was planning to run by tricking him, she would have to think up something else.
Before long, Ivan called him up to his office again, and Lukas knew what that meant. Taking a quick few puffs of a cigarette, he finally closed himself in steel as it ascended. He knew it was about Iliya. [i Tattletale.] With a roll of eyes as the silver box opened, he adjusted his jacket and stepped in to Ivan’s office. As predicted, the pathetic man was inside complaining about things and certainly asking for the head of the Zmeya. As soon as he was called inside, Lukas didn’t say anything when he was instructed to explain himself. Ivan knee better. The Pachiaveli would be deliberately clear what he felt, most likely running off Iliya in the process and his huge money bags and cheap haircut. Turning to look straight into Iliya’s eyes, Lukas lazily puffed on his cigarette again before speaking. [b “Now isn’t that a lovely thought, Mr. Renkov. Hear that Iliya? Watch yourself. Wouldn’t want to make enemies in high places.”] Lukas then stepped forward, placing a hand sarcastically on Iliya’s shoulder with an iron grip.
Moving forward, he acted as though he were apologizing as his hot, angry breath trailed over the man’s ear, [b “Don’t you dare think for one fucking minute that I don’t know exactly who you are and what you’re doing. Stay away from Nataliya or I’ll make you regret it. I don’t know if you’ve heard... my bite is much worse than my bark and when a snake bites its fatal.”] Finally pulling away, Lukas nodded to Ivan. [b “See you tonight boss.”] He spoke and then went to dress in the nicest of suits he had, spritzing expensive cologne and spending hours to make himself look the best possible mentor and bodyguard.
He would be lead to a room with plush couches and chairs for the elite to watch Nataliya perform in her initiation. There were several phrases, but he’d stay the entire time. Lukas was her bodyguard and mentor. He trained her well, even if she didn’t like it most of the time. The Zmeya never let her off the hook, always pushing her to practice and perfect. She was talented naturally, but he knew she must be nervous. Nataliya would be tested at the end if her oath to the Renkov family was unwavering. If she said no, then Lukas didn’t want to know what Ivan would do. She ran away enough before, but it was time to step up to her legacy. Would she accept it?
Lukas stood there in silence, his always stoic expression plastered on. On the inside, he couldn’t wait to see Nataliya return to her rightful home. And he wanted to see exactly how she chose to do things. Nataliya Renkov would be a sight to behold. He knew that the instant he saw her.
For one of the very few times in her life Nataliya was left lost for words as the two large men in front of her finally came face to face, her green eyes scanning the scene before her and silently her money was on Lukas but there was still the air of the unknown around the newly imported Iliya. The anger radiating from Lukas each time Iliya was close by was scorching, sure Iliya said some stuff that Nataliya wasn't happy with but he wasn't the worst person in the world, but as much as she was utterly against spending any more time with him than necessary,she held him at arms length. [i Just like mama taught me, never be available, never give them what they want.]
Nataliya couldn't even find her voice to protest as Lukas grabbed Iliya's hand and twisted it painfully to the right. Yes, Lukas shouldn't have put his hands on the other man but in that moment Nataliya didn't care, she was seeing just as much red as her trainer. [i Arrogant ass] It all passed in a flash and they attracted too much attention for Nataliya's liking as he raced down the hallways,past some of the men and finally into the solitude of his room despite her protests and the loud abuse that filled the air as they fled. [i If that rat thinks he can lay a single finger on his woman and himself and have no repercussions he had another thing coming ]
It wasn't until Lukas' gaze met her own did Nataliya see just how volatile he really was. [i The look of a killer] it wasn't often the man lost it but at this moment Nataliya was completely blindsided. It all happened so fast, this was defiantly not the end of it, the war had just begun. Lukas' flustered voice filled the room as a growl, his breathing rapid almost reprimanding the woman for something she had well under her control. Lukas still hadn't learnt she was smarter than most people gave her credit for. Letting her arms fall to her side Nataliya just lifted her eyebrow questioningly awaiting the verbal assault to cease. [i I thought I taught you better than that...You’re the fucking only daughter of Ivan Renkov. If anything, we all bow down to you to whatever you say! Even the damn Zmeya is at your feet. When are you going to realise that?] that was it he struck a nerve. But that wasn't the only thing that had caught her attention a wave of curiosity shot through her body as she replayed those words [i Zmeya is at your feet...] that sounded too good to Natailya 's ears. His body close to hers, she could feel the heat from his exposed him and finally she got a closer look at his decorated skin before bringing her soft eyes to meet his. She wasn't angry maybe just a Little but she would harbour it. Reaching her hands up Nataliya let one rest on the side of his neck and the other gently on his stubble covered cheek, her eyes glued to his, Her body barely an inch away from his own and the flaming tension between threatening to break free. Nataliya kept her composure, his skin soft beneath her fingers. [b " I am careful with him, but you need to be careful you don't overstep the line"] her eyes searching his as her visibly calmed down slightly and a soft sales smile formed on her lips.
[b " I am well aware I am his only daughter, I have known for quite some time Lukas no one ever lets me forget that fact, but is that all I am to you? I thought I meant more to you Lukas, what a silly girl I am"] reaching up to place a soft kiss on the man's cheek Natailya removed her hands and headed towards the door, her head held high but what Lukas didn't see was the quiver in her bottom lip. Old buried feelings were being uncovered, but this time it was different. [b " I am better than just being someone's daughter, I am better than him..."] her voice trailed off as she shut the door behind her before heading down the hall to the elevator. [i She had a plan but no one trusted her enough to let her do her own thing]
Taking in a deep calming breath Nataliya entered the steel box, just get their trust back Nataliya, she reminded herself build up your resources and skills then disappear into the night when they least expect it. She had a plan she just had to wait for the right time. Yes the last two weeks had been fun, getting to know herself again and what she was capable of and how much things had changed but for the Renkov daughter it was only temporary, although the small dull pain she felt in her heart that the thought of leaving had given her a cause for concern as she retreated to her suite in silence.
Pacing Ivan's office Iliya had his hands balled into fists as his pace spead up, his voice in an unclear mumble before her turned to Ivan still fuming [b " Who the Fuck does he think he is?! I want his god damn head Renkov, he dare touch me, we had a deal"] slamming his hands on Ivan's desk in anger the big man didn't flinch as he pulled out his phone and dialed a number, it rang for a few seconds before he hung up the smoke from his cigar filling the room as he watched the man in front of him with a grin spread across his face and he leant back further in his leather chair. Iliya couldn't contain his anger which he didn't know would be his ultimate downfall. His face red with fury as he looked down his nose at Ivan [b "Put your dog on a leash, Nataliya is mine"] his voice almost a growl as there was a loud knock on the wooden door. Ivan's voice booming over Iliya's outbursts [b " Идите сюда змея"] [i Get in here Zmeya] standing up and fixing his suit Ivan's eyes watching the two men come face to face but mainly for some of his own amusement [b " Explain yourself Pachiaveli"] but he didn't even wait for a response he just continued despite the loud protests from the other man. Ivan silently held his hand up to silence him [b " Ensure everything is good for tonight, i want her to do this on her own, prove her loyalty to the family"] Ivan let a slight smile play on his lips as he turned to Iliya [b "Control yourself Bykov, don't forget who's calling the shots and Lukas here will call the shots in my absence as he sees fit."] He growled and folded his arms across his chest [i Tonight had yo go off without a hitch. Nataliya had to be perfect.]
Lukas didn’t spend much time away from Nataliya since Ivan left her alone with Iliya. While some of the senior men attempted to talk with him on issues they wanted the Zmeya’s opinion on or maybe issues only he could handle. No one doubted Lukas Pachiaveli’s talents. While it wasn’t always so undoubted, Lukas clawed his way back, death after death that he caused. When Aleks does, a select few investigated everything he did, sure Lukas was on a power hunt and killed the Renkov himself. Ivan would have roasted him alive if he found any trace of the Pachiaveli to his heir’s death, but the man soon became necessary. No one else knew more about the inner workings of the Renkov mafia than Lukas. The man had spent years alongside Aleks as his best friend and bodyguard, working around secret meetings and being asked to accompany Aleks in high stakes missions. Everyone was lost when Aleks died. Before the Renkov family fell into shambles, Lukas stood up as someone to look up to. He proved his innocence, and he more than proved his worth. Some even believed the conspiracy theory that Lukas was Ivan’s bastard son.
Lukas had almost singlehandedly destroyed empires that challenged the Renkov’s, and it wouldn’t be the last time he did. Plus, Lukas was gifted with the talent of observation. When Ivan first slipped up and told him Iliya was in the works to marry his daughter and produce an heir, Lukas found everything he could about the man. He was about as crooked as the state of the Renkov family itself. Iliya was rich to no end, but his wealth came from backstabbing, lying, and manipulating. Iliya was a big man, tall and sturdy. He could intimidate others if needed. Not to mention that he had money to back it up. The lame excuse for a man worked his magic by first getting close to Ivan Renkov by bailing him out of a few close calls. Soon enough, Ivan was indebted and in gratitude to Iliya, seeing gold everywhere he walked. Lukas knew better than to be smitten by the prospect of wealth. However, in all honesty, Lukas had taken offense to the idea. Iliya only came around after Nataliya left, but Lukas was always there. They’d lost Aleks, and the Pachiaveli assumed his role in that shaded his reputation in Ivan’s eyes somewhat.
Nonetheless, he played the part of second in command. He spoke with the top drug dealers, arms dealers, hit men, and money launderers from around the world. Some deals would be struck up in the coming days. It was a huge night for the mafia, but Lukas was admittedly not himself. One eye was always trained on the vixen he was supposed to give his life to protect. He would do just that, even if Ivan trusted Iliya. [i Because the Zmeya sure as hell didn’t.”]
The night went by with toasts and laughs and smiles. Lukas wasn’t sure, but it looked like none of the attempts Iliya made to charm Nataliya were working. The night faded into weeks of training where the male never let her off easily. He pushed her with sparring and target practice as hard as they could possibly go. She showed progress every day, becoming faster and stronger. But he’d be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy it. Nataliya was quick on her feet, and she had a natural ability to fight unlike many others, causing him to enjoy sparring. Lukas even let out some laughs at the end of their spars. He and Nataliya had inevitably become closer. Lukas would never hate her... Not after their history. If Lukas was a cold blooded monster, he was also loyal to a T to those he cared for. He would be heartless if he had no care at all for Nataliya’s well-being after they went through grieving her brother and his best friend together. Nothing brought people closer together than tragedy.
Nataliya was a bad ass. She shattered every goal Lukas set for her, and they were always high achieving ones. She was more confident and happier, all of it not going unnoticed by Lukas. Lukas wiped off the sweat from his brow and let out a slight laugh. Tonight was Nataliya’s initiation. She would be officially returned to the Renkov family as Ivan’s secret weapon... if she agreed to it all. [b “That depends on you, Nat.”] Lukas was wearing a wife beater that showed off all his tattoos and sculpted figure that he constantly worked on. Lukas had a routine he almost never broke. He wanted to be at the top of his game at all times, becoming a machine of ultimate destruction. [i The Zmeya.]
Squirting some water in his mouth, Lukas was about to give her some advice when none other than Iliya stepped inside. His lips went into a thin line, eyes narrowing. Lukas threw his towel down angrily, hearing Iliya’s direct jab at him. Tension was obvious all over his jaw and shoulders. He wanted nothing more than to slam the man up against the wall and beat him to no end, but Lukas knew better. Ivan would literally rip his head off. Iliya was someone he’d have to deal with in alternate ways. Lukas knew he didn’t need to explain how he was in no way low company. The Pachiaveli was second in command and a known killing machine, the Zmeya.he didn’t appreciate the jabs at his person, attempting to make him slip up. Lukas knew better... [i But damn was it hard to hold his tongue.]
As soon as Nataliya took Iliya’s hand, Lukas nearly destroyed the man then and there. [i Dress like a lady!? Do you want to lose your fucking head?] Lukas eyed all the ways he could pain the man, all his pressure points... Lukas had to say something to Ivan or Nataliya... he needed to warn her and arm her. How could Ivan want this man as his son in law? The jerk believed a wife was only seen and used. Nataliya Renkov was worth much more than that. The Zmeya watched Nataliya’s face as pure fury washed over it. In that instant, seeing her hating every bit of it, he acted. Stepping forward, Lukas grabbed Iliya’s hand with enough pressure to cause some pain. His dark eyes stared like black intimidating holes right into Iliya’s, [b “She can dress like a lady after her initiation. I’m sure you’ll be there?”]
Lukas didn’t wait for a response. Taking hold of Nataliya’s hand, Lukas pushed past Iliya and didn’t stop walking until they got somewhere private, his room. Pulling Nataliya in and closing the door behind him, the man looked straight into her eyes. [b “Be careful with him. I thought I taught you better. If you hate even touching him, then rebel! Why the hell would you just let him run over you? You’re the fucking only daughter of Ivan Renkov. If anything, we all bow down to you to whatever you say! Even the damn Zmeya is at your feet. When are you going to realize that!?”]
Lukas was angry. Nataliya wasn’t understanding her importance, and it drove him crazy. Why would she just accept such a miserable life? His breathing was heavier, and he hadn’t realized how close he got to her. But hell, she needed to hear his words, even if they were harsh. Nataliya was the most important person in the entire place, save for maybe Ivan Renkov.
Nataliya had no idea what was in store for her that night, all she knew was her father was testing her ability to put on a face and charm anyone that meant anything to the family. Drug dealers, money launderers, arms dealers hell anyone that made a very good profit from or added to any of the Renkov inventory was there to see her. The myth she had become since the day she was born, sure Aleks was heir to the throne but to be the only daughter of a man who had built his own empire since coming to America and what an empire it had become, he was untouchable. [i She was something else entirely] Any man to be able to prove his worth to the family and marry in was set a place next to the king a lot of men had approached Ivan in the past about any possible suitors but he had sent them away without an answer.
That was until Iliya's uncle arrived from Moscow, heavily involved in prostitution and the drug trade with a lot of power behind them from the old country. [i This would cement him more power and backing from both countries if his plan worked ] But Ivan didn't get to his position by taking chances it was all cold analytical decisions. He knew forcing his girl into anything was a sure fire way to loose her, she would rebel and vanish just like before. [i Just like her fucking bitch of a mother.] Little did Nataliya know Iliya had done his homework on the blonde haired vixen. He had done everything in his power to learn what he could about the secretive Renkov daughter with the help of her father, her likes, dislikes anything he could use to his advantage. Too bad it was false outdated information.
The rest of that night for Nataliya flew by in a blur. Lots of smiles, handshakes and of course toasts to the health and good fortune of the Renkov empire. Iliya had tried his best at charming Nataliya, sure he was charming and handsome in his own way but he didn't hold a candle to the man that was following their every move. It gave Nataliya some comfort knowing Lukas was close by, sure she could have handled it if the need arose but the sheer size of Iliya he would have out powered her immediately. She had no idea who this man was, Ivan disappeared shortly after the introductions, Nataliya wasn't stupid, she would play the part until the plan came to light and whatever was meant to happen here was made known.
For the next two weeks Nataliya fell into a routine and her training was intensifying each time Lukas set her a goal she would easily smash it out of the park.She was actually enjoying herself. For the first time since returning Nataliya had a genuine smile and glint in her eye as both her and Lukas finished up their sparring session with a laugh from both of them as Nataliya lay down on the floor trying to catch her breath. [b " Hopefully tonight isn't that intensive"] she giggled as she looked up at Lukas. Tonight was the big test, her initiation back into the family if all went off without a hitch, Nataliya would be lying if she didn't say she was nervous but as long as she had Lukas by her side Nataliya knew she could take on the world.
Wiping the sweat from her blushed face with a towel as she sat up Nataliya kept her eyes trained on the usual stoic Lukas. Her voice quiet as she saw out of the corner of her eye Iliya stride into the gym towards them with a large grin on his face [b "Thank you for being patient with my training..."] she trailed off as Iliya opened his arms wide, Nataliya forced her lips into a smile as her moved her focus his loud voice filling the air [b " Beautiful girl, why do you lower yourself to such low company and activities"] his English still slightly broken as he finally acknowledged Lukas' presence before turning away [b " Come, I am taking you shopping to dress like the lady you should be"] Nataliya reluctantly took Iliya's hand and a wave of fury washed over her. [i Fuc k this guy] Iliya's mentality a woman should be seen and not heard, always dressed to impressed and not let their mouth be filled with anything but calm, positive and loving tones towards their man. [i He had his work cut out for him with Nataliya Galina Renkov]
Another puff of cigarette smoke came from his lips as things seemed to slow down just a moment. One hand stabilized the cigarette as the other gripped onto the railway lightly. Nightfall allowed the lights in the city to shine as brilliant as ever. There were some days Lukas admires beauty. He was a cold, Russian-blooded, killer, but he was still human. Lukas released a breath of tension. There was always pressure on his shoulder and always another target on him. When he wasn’t worrying about missions for Ivan and the Renkov mafia, he was worrying about keeping his head. Lukas was a despised yet important and powerful man. He was none other than second in command to one of the most wealthy and influential men in Los Angeles if not the entirety of California. He wasn’t a joke. [i But Nataliya was maybe more important than anything he could ever be.] Lukas had to deal with that. He was used to being the best, but Nataliya would always hold her last name over him. Gregor’s words were still lingering in his mind. Many of the mafia wanted a man on the throne, and they wanted the ruthless Lukas Pachiaveli. Nataliya, if she was smart, wouldn’t let her birth right fall to the side. Although, she wouldn’t have come back here if he hadn’t knocked her out and drug her.
Her presence changed everything. He’d splurged for some vodka that night. He wasn’t huge on drinking, knowing how much it could alter the senses and weaken a man. He wanted no weaknesses, but he could hold a few down. Standing so close to Nataliya, he recalled the times they’d shared together. It was usually always just physical chemistry and need. One that was unsatisfied by anyone but her. There was no denying that past, and she already explored that earlier when he had her pinned against the wall. He wouldn’t show that weakness again. If he wanted meaningless sex, Lukas could find Cat or almost any other woman he chose. His tattoos, power, body, infamous story, and mystery drew women all the time to him. [i Yeah, might need to do something about that tonight.] He thought, the instant Nataliya’s fingers came into contact with his hand just barely enough to show him that she was there. Lukas looked at her with a side glance, trying to gauge what she was doing. He thought she was angry with him, but the touch was so gentle. [i Nataliya Renkov will be the end of me.]
Lukas was about to say more when the doors opened, and Nataliya retracted her hand like it was burned on a hot stove. Turning at the sound of gravel and the smell of Cuban cigars, Lukas knew who it was without looking. He stayed there, his back to the man a moment to take in the view as he took another puff of his cigarette before turning to address his boss the instant he heard that snake’s name.. [i Iliya.] Lukas’ whole body stiffened, and tension locked his jaw. In almost no time, Ivan and his daughter left into the abyss of wealth and drink. Lukas leaned heavily against the wall, staying on the second floor as he surveyed the scene for the two-faced man. [i Fucking Iliya? Ivan still wants to marry her off to that bastard?] Lukas thought, considering the implications of such a union.
He was powerless to step in then, only waiting to observe the interaction. Lukas weaves his way through the crowd to a safe enough distance to hear what was going on. After all, he had an excuse to be close. He was her bodyguard. And he had to hear this. Ivan made it clear how significant Iliya was to the family. The man had a wallet that was potentially bigger than his ego, and he used it to get what he wanted. Securing a marriage with Nataliya Renkov would permanently install him into power. Lukas hated the plan with every fiber in his body. Who was to say that the man wouldn’t kill Nataliya the instant he married her? How could they trust his oath? Also, did Ivan really want his heir to share traits with the ugly fucker? It confused Lukas to no end.
While it should have made Lukas happy to know Ivan still wanted the Zmeya in control of the empire until an heir was made, there were still shivers sent up his spine. Lukas replaced his cigarette for another vodka, throwing it back as he sternly took in the scene before him. [i I’m watching you Iliya. What are you planning?]
Nataliya's eyes scanned the glittering lights below as she rested her hands on the railing, her mind drifting away in thought to the people below going about their normal lives. [i I'd give anything to go back to that] The silence between the cat and mouse deafening as Nataliya Watched out of the corner of her eye the flicker of light as Lukas Puffed on a cigarette and his free hand coming down to rest mere inches from hers. The woman's mind racing with thoughts. Could she go back to being Invisible? Why did she seem to blend back in so well? Why did she enjoy the rush of using her mind and body as a weapon so much? Why did they want her back?
Nataliya took in a deep breath and brought herself back to the hazy reality. [i slowdown on the vodka] her body heat increasing as Nataliya finally took in more details of the man next to her. He had put in extra hours at the gym, the evidence of more scars, definitely more tattoos but however much Lukas had changed and become a walking Adonis Nataliya Knew he wouldn't share his thoughts. Even their time together was mostly dominated by their physical Chemistry, they left emotion forgotten at the door much like their clothing if they remembered to remove it. There was no emotion between them. Russians don't like weakness. Lukas the ice cold calculated killer and Nataliya the fiery manipulative seductress.. [i One very dysfunctional team] A team that lvan in the coming weeks would put to the test. A re-initiation so to speak to test the loyalty of his daughter in returning to the fold and for lvan to gain some favour back with his most senior men who opposed Nataliya's return, they wanted a man on the throne, Lukas.
Her fingers moving closer before softly coming into contact with the inked skin of his hand caressing carefully as Nataliya Kept her gaze on the nightlife before them. Yes it was bold but in that moment Nataliya let her guard down. She was her with Lukas, a stunning view but maybe in another life that moment would have the norm. Maybe in another life they could have worked but god his skin felt good against her own. Nataliya had no idea on how that simple gentle gesture would impact the near future between them both. As the large glass door opened Nataliya ripped her hand away as her father took a few steps closer the Scent of Cigars filling the air [b "принцесса"] [i Princess] Nataliya Immediately turned to face the man with a smile on her face before closing the space between them [b "да отец"] [i Yes father] Ivan's arm wrapped around her waist as they made their way back towards the party [b "Я хочу, чтобы вы встретились с Ильей"] [i I want you to come meet Iliya] Nataliya turned back to glance at Lukas with a soft smile for an apology as her father spoke. She couldn't help notice Lukas stiffening up as the name left Ivan's mouth before disappearing back into the deafening surrounds.
[i Did Lukas know who he was?] little did Nataliya Know all of the Senior men Knew of Iliya. He was from old Soviet Money and the new favourite family associate. Tall, Blonde, handsome, rich and powerful. Lukas was present at their first dinner meeting where a liquored up Ivan Renkov let slip that if his disrespectful whore of a daughter came back to the family and were to marry he would want lliya as his son in law. [i Fuck What Nataliya thinks, this is business] Lukas was to take control of the empire until Iliya and Nataliya produce a son.
Of course he’d had to add in that last arrogant few words. Lukas couldn’t stop himself if he wanted to. Nothing he said held validity. He just said it to spite her. Lukas was used to saying whatever he wanted and no one taking offense or challenging him for it. Even if they did, he would... take care of the problem. Nataliya was different. He couldn’t just [i take care] of her. She was a Renkov, the only heir of Ivan Renkov since the death of Aleks. He’d grown up with her, and he’d known her for years upon years. He thought he did. She’d left for eight long years, and she certainly did not want to be here. Nataliya didn’t want this life, but you could never really get out of a mafia. Not even if you were the little girl of the mob boss himself. Most men would die for the antics Nataliya pulled, but she was special. Everyone knew that. Hell, the Zmeya, the second in command, was placed in protection of her. Nataliya Renkov was a diamond in this crowd among lots and lots of lumps of coal. Her dress only reminded him of that more as she bit back and went running back through the crowd again.
Gregor’s words ran through his mind over and over in their thick Russian accent. The man had a point. Many thought that the Zmeya would be their new leader should Ivan pass, but Nataliya was here now. While some has grown to respect the skills and many deadly talents of Lukas Pachiaveli, others still held onto tradition that the family name would always hold leadership of the mafia. Lukas had plenty of enemies too. Dimitri was just one of them. Lukas wasn’t exactly nice... in any way. He was a hit man. He was a very dangerous individual. He knew all the right pain points, and he knew just how to cover up crime. In that manner, the Pachiaveli wasn’t loved by all he met. Not to mention, some still blamed him for the death of Aleks Renkov since he’d been tasked with protecting him. Lukas regretted it every day, but he’d never tell anyone. He’d never bare his feelings and act vulnerable. Lukas never showed weakness.
But he couldn’t just let her go. Lukas learned once to never take things for granted, no matter how qualified the person he was protecting was. Nataliya could fight well enough, and they were training to improve those natural skills. Still, Lukas wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t keep his eye on her always. Even if she was angry at him and hated him, Lukas would give his life for the Renkov daughter if necessary to save her life. No matter how much he had to swallow his pride, he had to admit her importance. She outshined him, simply due to her last name. Plus Lukas never trusted that there wasn’t a mole in their ranks or some other enemy of the Renkovs waiting to take her out.
So, he slinked along behind her in the shadows as stealthily as possible. Soon enough, she was on the balcony, away from the loud music and the expectations and the people. Her form rested against the stone railing, taking in the cool air and the gorgeous lighted view that stretched for miles. Lukas stayed silent, sure she wouldn’t want to speak with him, but she knew he was there. She always knew. Cursing inwardly, Lukas finally stepped out from his shadows and leaned against the railing next to her.
Staring out into the abyss of lights and Los Angeles cityscape, Lukas finally spoke. [b “Don’t do that... Don’t walk off alone.”] Reaching into his jacket pocket, Lukas reached for a cigarette to light out of habit, his gray eyes full of everything he’d seen and done. As he moved to light the cigarette hanging from his lips, his sleeve of tattooed were slightly visible. He was serious though. There had to be rules before they lost everything that could ever make them powerful again. [i And her name was Nataliya Renkov.]
Nataliya knew her father left her side she had to fend for herself amongst these wolves all trying to gain favour with the family or test the woman and gain some information. [i Hell, What did she know? Nothing.] Little did she know It was all a test, his eyes watching her through the crowd whispering ideas and instructions to the man on his left who just kept nodding in response. Nataliya found herself smiling genuinely as she was embraced warmly by those who came up to her especially those she remembered as a little girl. [i Old Soviet blood runs deep.]
It was a shock to the woman's system about how smoothly her forgotten language rolled off her tongue as if no time had passed. A was a good confidence booster and Nataliya seemed to blend seamlessly into the role of heiress but little did she know the was another in contention for the crown she didn't want, the very man that she was under the watchful eye of.
That smile slid off Nataliya's face as Dimitri pushed his way through the crowd his voice just as greasy as his hair sending a shiver of disgust up her spine. [i Who the fuck was this creep] Must have been a drug dealer. Turning away to try and find an escape route her eyes scanned the crowd but her attention was brought back instantly by the sound of a pained quiet groan, Nataliya's attention was brought back to see Lukas' towering form shadowing the grease ball of a man. His arm twisted unnaturally behind him and Lukas' voice a low growl she couldn't understand. It wasn't to much longer after was the man scampering away back into the masses, she was speechless but that simple gesture of smoothing his hair had her full attention. [b Боже мой ] Just as she was about to mentally chastise herself but his arrogance broke the silence and yet here they were at odds yet again, this time his outburst completely uncalled for.
Fury quickly flashed across Nataliya's eyes and she narrowed her gaze on the man before her as she gathered some of the Material of her dress in her clenched fist. Taking in a deep Calming breath she let a soft smile curl on her red painted lips [b "The last thing I want is any man in this room, My standards will never lower Lukas, but I can safely guarantee that yours did since i left."] with that Nataliya spun on her heel and swayed her way through the crowd her gown shimmering under the lights without a backwards glance, she wouldn't give him the satisfaction.
The surrounds deafening as she made her way towards the doors to the balcony hoping for even the slightest gasp of fresh air. As Nataliya closed her eyes and enjoyed the crisp air and lent back against the Stone railing. Her brain an absolute mess, she felt strangely comfortable being back in the spotlight, What was going to happen to her old life? The hardest thing Nataliya had to do was be honest with herself. [i Ha! like that was going to happen. ] Opening one eye as she turned her head slightly towards the door [b "You can come out of the shadows, I'm not in the mood to fight.] her voice quiet as her mind kept itself occupied. What the fuck am I going to do? What do I really want?
Two Renkov eyes stared into two Pachiaveli eyes with a streak of ultimate defiance. Makeup did the trick to hide the ugly bruise above her temple and the bruises on her body. She wasn’t wearing the dress he suggested. Instead, she opted for a black and red satin gown and sky high stilettos. Lukas adjusted his Armani suit, his expensive cologne drafting through the hallway wherever he walked. Nataliya didn’t even look at him as he joined her in the elevator. Honestly, it was a victory to him. Her actions proved his were riling her up. Plus, she looked hot in anything she chose to wear. Nataliya was gifted genetically. [i Thanks to Ivan.]
As they were lowered into high expectations and large crowds, the Zmeya readied himself. He had to be charming yet silently powerful. However, all attention would soon be on Nataliya, the very reason the celebration was taking place. The beloved Renkov daughter was back home. Also, she needed a slap in the face or cold water or whatever. Nataliya Renkov needed to realize she wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. She might as well enjoy it.
Noticing Nataliya’s fake smile and pleading glance, the Pachiaveli just shook his head. She would endure as much as she needed to. Making eye contact with her, he gave her a ‘keep your chin up’ look and headed off to speak with one of the senior men about a hit coming up. [b “I’ll take care of it. The scene will look like nothing happened. Otherwise, you’ll get a money back guarantee courtesy of the Zmeya.”] The Pachiaveli bowed cockily and Gregor laughed heavily before stepping closer, [i “You know... now that the Renkov girl is back... doesn’t it throw a wrench in your claim to the Renkov throne of sorts? She has his blood, but you have his approval and ours.”] Ivan adjusted his suit jacket and then spoke quieter, [b “If that was my worry, then I would have done away with her when I had the chance and considered it a casualty of chance. Ivan will pick who he knows to be the rightful successor.”]
Lukas really wanted a smoke, but it would be socially unacceptable in the gathering of finely dressed individuals. As Gregor left, Lukas surveyed the scene. He was supposed to keep Nataliya safe after all too as part of his mission. Scanning for any bulges in dresses or suit jackets or any suspicious activity, the Pachiaveli finally began searching for the woman in particular, catty as ever. As he caught sight of her speaking to another man, Lukas stepped closer to delineate what they were saying. What was she doing? Was she trying to convince someone to help her escape? Unlikely... no one would go against Ivan or the Zmeya. Would they be stupid enough to?
As Lukas leaned against a marble pillar that was close to the two to hear, he crossed his arms. [i “Nataliya Renkov... as beautiful as ever. I’ve been wanting to verify the rumors they say... that the daughter of Ivan Renkov is the hottest in all of Los Angeles.”] Rolling his eyes, some kind of possessive nature and anger went off inside the Pachiaveli. He knew the man talking her up. Dimitri Soltonov was much too notorious for date raping women and fleeing on missions too early. How could he let her suffer in his presence any longer than she had to when he was her bodyguard?
Stepping forward, Lukas took hold of Dimitri’s hand and twisted it up painfully behind his back. Leaning in, Lukas whispered intimidatingly in his ear, something Nataliya couldn’t even hear most likely at the tone he used. [b “If you speak another word to Nataliya Renkov again, I will personally see you it that every limb is torn from your body painfully and then sent to those that care most about you... if there is anyone out there that does. And I’ll start where you think with... your dick.”] Color stained from Dimitri’s face as he scampered away, Lukas letting his arm go before he easily broke it.
Running a hand through his hair, the Pachiaveli made eye contact with Nataliya again. [b “He won’t bother you anytime soon. Besides, if you’re looking for men here you should really up your standards. Dimitri is the low of the low. Unless that’s what you’re into now.”]
After her exit and subsequence retreat to her room still fuming from Lukas' well everything. His voice, his stupid smile, his presence, that Killer smile but most of all the way he seemed to push her buttons so effortlessly and Nataliya couldn't help but bite. That is what frustrated her the most was that the woman rose to the occasion every damn time. [i How was it possible for him to still have this effect on her, If anything he had gotten better]
She had spent the better part of 30 minutes pacing the carpeted suite groaning in annoyance before running herself a large steaming bubble bath to soak away the fatigue and pain her body was feeling. But also some much needed time to collect her thoughts of the last 24 hours but more importantly map out a new game plan for herself. [i God, everything had changed so quickly and she sure as fuck Wasn't planning to stick around.]
After a long hot soak Nataliya could feel the loosening of her muscles as she wrapped herself in a white bathrobe and headed to her bedroom just as Lukas strided in flask in one hand, his others shoved into the pocket of his pants looking every part the Made man he was. The Armani suit and the few hundred dollar haircut. If is presence alone so soon didnt infuriate her Nataliya's Jaw would surely hit the floor. [i Боже мой] Although Lukas looked cool, calm and collected that fire burning behind his eyes and the slight tension in his jaw was all Nataliya needed to know he was livid and he took a step so close she could detect the mix of his cologne and the scotch on his breath.
[i There’s a party downstairs, and you’re the center of attention...you're coming] That was all the woman focused on as Lukas shoved the flask in her hands and walked towards the large Walk-in closet as Nataliya took a sniff of the contents and screwing her nose up at the offensive Oder before throwing the flask on the bed as Lukas' voice broke the silence once again. [i How the fuck dare he tell me what to wear.]
Deep down in the pit of her stomach Nataliya knew not to fight him for the moment, he was waiting and no doubt her father was growing just as impatient. [i Just do what you need to do to survive. Catch them off guard] The last thing she needed was more bruises. hurrying herself as much as she could Nataliya spend most of her time trying to find everything and applying layer after layer of make up to ensure that ugly bruise was masked. [i Perfect ]
As Nataliya fixed the strap on her gown before raising her gaze to meet that of Lukas. Another streak of defiance as she chose a completly different style to the one he demanded she wear. The flowing black and red embellished Satin gown shining under the lights as she walked, her stilettos clicking on the marble floors as she headed towards the elevator without looking back at Lukas. [i At least her father would be pleased for wearing the Renkov colors]
The silent elevator ride was one of building tension mainly other behalf as Nataliya prepared herself. She had to be on her best behaviour, the eyes of the entire underworld were going to be on her. Tucking a loose hair behind her ear that had fallen from her updo she leta deep sigh escape her lips and just as the doors opened to a massive round of applause, Nataliya plastered a bright smile on her lips but her words would be polar opposite [b "Dont leave done with these people for too long] she gave a quick pleading glance to Lukas before she stepped out of the metal box and into the embrace of her father and he placed a small Kiss on either of her cheeks [b " Good to see you papa"]
[i Happy families, If only they knew what he had done less than a day ago] Taking one last glance over her shoulder to look pleadingly at Lukas as Ivan Whisked his daughter off through the mass of guests as Lukas' attention was taken by that of a face she knew Gregor one of the most senior men. Countless people sharing their excitment at her return and to hear the plans Ivan for the future. [i Just smile Nataliya, you'll be fine.... Lukas help] He was the last person she wanted to see but at least he was familiar.
Nataliya’s temper was easy to flare up. Lukas didn’t really have to do much more than look at her for it to boil over the top. [i “And go where? In fucking stuck here.”] Lukas just crossed his arms, staying silent as he watched he take her frustrations out on the poor combat mannequin. Her stance was athletic, one foot in front of the other for stability. As she released her anger, the forces of her punches on the fake enemy caused it to spin around. The extension of her arms were nearly perfect. [i I knew it...] Nataliya never really lost it. He’d known that since their altercation in her room. Once she had finally beaten the mannequin to no end, her eyes found his in pure anger as she spoke, [b “Fuck you.”] Lukas just grinned again as she trudged fo the next station he set up. The Pachiaveli was watching every move to set up a plan for betterment in the future. Nataliya’s outburst was only helping her. Lukas would not go easy.
Her face almost lit up when she faces the knives. Nataliya was always gifted with them. Where Aleks was a beast with pistols and hand to hand combat, he didn’t hold a candle to Nataliya’s skills with a knife. It was part of the reason Lukas didn’t want her taking one out on him when he ambushed her and why he removed every knife from her suite. Nataliya was absolutely deadly with the blades. As her fingers ran smoothly over the cool metal, Lukas couldn’t help but think about the way her fingers trailed down her collarbone and then over his arm tattoo. Snapping out of it, Lukas finally reacted to her. [b “I would be replaced if you decided to end me here and now. Besides, you aren’t that cold, Princess.”] He worded that same word to her, knowing full well it may set her off. But he didn’t think she would kill just to escape... If she was plotting something, Ivan’s men far outnumbered her lonesome. She would be found again.
Lukas lit another cigarette as she continued playing with the knife, puffing our circles of smoke. Nataliya hit the dead center of the target with each one. Her form was like none he’d seen. [i Maybe I can learn from her...] Lukas took another long puff of his cigarette before checking the door. He’d threatened the others not to train today, so they had the whole room to themselves. He didn’t exactly trust Nataliya yet to not take a hostage or something of the sort. The Renkov daughter was an enigma that was for sure.
The instant Nataliya lifted the last blade into her fingers, it was clear it was meant for another target. Her threats were matched with an extremely precise knife throw that just barely kissed his skin. If she was just slightly off, the knife would have embedded into his temple. He may have died. It only frustrates him. [i No one calls the Zmeya a lap dog and asks him to find them coffee.] Removing the knife from the wall, Lukas turned and hurtled it to the target, not waiting to see where it thudded. He took his own turn beating the mannequin and shouting out his angers before cleaning up in his room. Showering the frustration away as the hot water ran over every inch of inked skin and muscle lines, Lukas spent time making himself look every part of second in command. He worked his hair, pulled on a tailored suit just for him and an expensive one at that... His shoes were shined and his style impeccable.
[i Now to deal with her...] Making his way confidently to her suite, the Pachiaveli didn’t knock. He just walked straight in, all the way to her bedroom. In one hand, he held a flask that he took a long sip of. Eyes flashing, he finally spoke as he stepped a little closer, [b “First. I am not your fucking lap dog, and I don’t care what your last name is you will listen to me. Second. Since you’re so damn combative today, I decided to do something for you. There’s a party downstairs, and you’re the center of attention. You’re coming, even if I have to drag you down there. And Third. Here’s your fucking coffee.”] Lukas hurtled the flask at her, full of scotch. Striding towards her closet, he eyed a particular number that was both short and tight. [b “Wear that one. Your ass and legs will look great in it.”] He spoke, retreating to the lobby before waiting on her. When she emerged, they would be thrust into a party of some of the most elite Renkov allies and partners. They had to be on their best behavior. [i If that was possible.]
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