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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.]
The solid stream of almost boiling water filled every inch of the bathroom as Nataliya used it to soothe her aching body with its powerful jets. It was 3:30 am by the time she managed to slip into the bed with a small groan of pain as the pain slowly started to return, the last hour Nataliya had been perched on the window seat staring down at the glittering lights below her, her knees held close to her chest as the tears fell. Never would she let anyone see her cry. She was trapped here, held prisoner and forced to live a life that surely be her demise. [i At least then she could join her mother and brother.] Wiping her tear stained cheeks Nataliya knew that her father was wiping away every record of Natalie Richard's existence, but what about her job, surely some people would ask questions.
Closing her stinging eyes Nataliya was out like a light in an instant, her mind finally letting her body get the rest she so desperately needed, who knew what that man had it store for tomorrow. As the sun rose up above the buildings Nataliya's room lit up through the open curtains as she rolled over yet again. All night she had tossed and turned trying to get comfortable and find a position that wasn't going to cause her to cry out in pain. Ivan sure had worked her over but the main worry for Nataliya was the fact that bruise above her eye was so tender to even touch it had even darkened over night. [i Thanks a lot Lukas.]
A loud booming voice raising the woman from her light sleep with a slight fright as her eyes blinked rapidly to adjust to the new morning around her. There he was standing over her yelling at her to get up and dressed.[i If only he knew how hard it was to even breathe properly.] Without another word spoken he spun on his heel and made his way out. [i Asshole.] Swinging her legs over the side of the bed Nataliya took a few moments to herself and gauge what kind of mood she was in and it wasn't going to be another pretty day. The pain she was in and the fact she was still held prisoner here had turned her mood sour in an instant. [i She sure as hell wasn't going to let this go easily.]
Nataliya set off towards the walk in closet in search of some fitting attire as she gathered her locks into a simple long ponytail. She knew Lukas was waiting for her and with each passing minute his patience was growing thinner. It wasn't until Nataliya walked through the doors towards Lukas twenty-five minutes later did a grin cross her lips, her body dressed in a simple black tank top and matching pants. Lukas' index finger pointing to each of her tasks immediately and his voice matched that of his face, not amused. [i Go through these. Make it to my standards, and I’ll let you go early..] Nataliya's eyebrow raised immediately in response and she bit back with some venom of her own, he had struck a nerve [b "Early huh? And go where Lukas?, I'm fucking stuck here!"] her temper had flared and her voice crying out pained as Nataliya marched off towards the large combat mannequin and immediately let loose.
Every muscle in her exhausted body firing back up and so did the pain as she refused to hold back. Everything that had happened in the last twelve hours fuelling her to keep going. Nataliya didn't want to fit back into this world but after the first extension of her fist coming into contact with the latex mannequin sent a surge of memories to her brain, it was all second nature. [i This was still all so familiar to her.] Nataliya gave her all to each task and as each was completed Nataliya couldn't help a [b "Fuck you"] break the silence between them, each task Lukas had set out for his new apprentice was designed to give him and idea of what areas needed improvement right up until it came to her favourite. [i The knives.] As her slender fingers ran over the smooth metal of the brand new knives sitting on the table in front of her. Her eyes shifting to look at Lukas' his arms still crossed over his chest and a cigarette hanging loosely from his lips, wiping the sweat from her forehead Nataliya picked up a knife and twirled it around her fingers with ease. [b "You're very trusting to put a knife back in my hands so soon Zmeya"] her voice alight anger as the rage still coursed through her body. With one effortless extension of her arm the knife left Nataliya's hand and hit its target dead on until it came to the final one.
On the lower levels the rumour of Ivan's heir returning had been sent into overdrive by one of the housekeepers. The newer men wanting to put a face to a name to see if this woman was everything the veterans had foretold. But it wouldn't be long until the rumour hit the streets and the element of surprise Ivan had over the Sicilians was gone, they were moving in and without an heir his position was vulnerable. [i The mysterious Renkov daughter had returned.]
[b "This is the one thing I never left behind..."] her voice soft as her eyes fixated on the shining metal as it caught the light twirling around each finger. Aleks was the one who had taught his sister in the beginning and it was the one piece of him she still carried with her. [b "You ever treat me like I am beneath you again and I will put you in your place Pachiaveli"] she was exhausted already, her body not recovered and Nataliya turned around and headed for the door but her voice had all the authority it needed. [b "I will train when I am goddamn ready not when you call on me, I am not your lap dog, you are mine"] her accent shining through as Nataliya turned back to Lukas from the door way and let the knife loose from her hand, embedding itself in the wall barely an inch from Lukas' ear. [b "Go find me some coffee"] she called out down the hallway as she headed back to the sanctuary of her room. [i I just want to go back to my old life.]
Lukas was just waiting, holding her there against the wall until she admitted her defeat. As soon as he claimed victory, he would remove himself from her presence and clean up after the day it had been. He was almost certain there was nothing she could do to turn the tides of the battle back in her favor. [i Damn, was he wrong.] Lukas watched as a grin spread like wildfire on her face, instigating an instant peak of interest. What the hell was she smiling about? Nataliya smiling like the Cheshire Cat with his arm pressed against her neck certainly made Lukas apprehensive. She had a plan. Before he could reinforce his strength or ask her what she was doing, Nataliya revealed her motives. The voice came out raspy, but it wasn’t loud. Each syllable was pronounced in a seductive whisper, enticing him with a memory, a very pleasant memory, that they once shared together. It was eight years ago at the least, but the night was of fiery passion and risk, and Lukas never really forgot it.
Nataliya seemingly hadn’t either. She was stroking his ego and his manhood at the same time, complimenting his skills in the sack and eliciting a lustful movie behind his harsh eyes. Lukas instinctively loosened his grip on her, eyes searching her own and following her fingertips as they brushed over her smooth skin. Nataliya Renkov was tantalizingly sexy, and she was teasing him. Lukas has always been attracted to her, and that was clear with the nights they’d shared. He hadn’t lost that attraction. Lukas tried to stay stoic and unmoved, but she knew what she was doing to him. Her seductive words relayed more memories of his loud they were and how he’d explored every inch of her body, despite what her father may do to him if he found out.
Lukas couldn’t stop the natural reaction of what forming as her fingertips then ran over the tattooed star on his ski. The action was so gentle in contrast to the violence and roughness of the both of them and the life they were stuck in. It was [i intoxicating.] Finally, she ended it by slipping away satisfactorily. Her last words hit him hard, [i “I hope not because it will never happen again.”] Damn, way to hammer the nail in the coffin, Nataliya. He needed to be stronger. He didn’t need a weakness. He was the Zmeya, so he shouldn’t let anything faze him. [i But Nataliya Renkov did...] catching the arrogant smile and watching intently as she stripped her body free of her top, revealing more skin to be touched, kissed, and loved, Lukas cursed to himself. Yeah, this situation would be a problem. Running a hand over the tattoo she touched, Lukas called after her, [b “Don’t be so sure of that. We start early tomorrow.”] He worded, taking his leave quickly.
Lukas indulged in a hot shower and slept then changed for the next day of training. Heading to her door, Lukas didn’t even bother to knock. He had a key made for himself, so he helped himself in. Yelling, he demanded her, [b “Wake up. Time for training. Don’t make me wait, or I’ll give you more push ups.”] He spoke, striding out to the fitness room where he had shooting targets set up, knife throwing, hand to hand combat with punching bags, and several work out equipment. He wanted to work her hard, especially since she beat him the other night. [i Payback’s a bitch, Nataliya.]
As soon as she arrived, he would simply point at them all and lean back against the wall. [b “Go through these. Make it to my standards, and I’ll let you go early.”] The Pachiaveli was sure she hadn’t used most of this stuff in years. Time to see what she was really made of.
[i We're just getting started.] That statement would have caused Nataliya to drop to her knees in sheer agony and exhaustion, she hadn't had a moment to herself since she arrived back at her apartment where she was ambushed and knocked out cold. Every muscle screaming in agony, her bruised and battered face throbbing. Hell, the most time she had to herself were that precious few minutes Ivan left his daughter writhing in pain on the carpet below him before pouring himself another vodka and another verbal onslaught started. [i What would your mother god rest her soul think of your actions?] All Nataliya wanted to do was have a long hot shower and a good nights sleep to wake up and find this all a nightmare. [i Keep dreaming girly.]
The sight of Lukas' stumbling slightly did give the blonde a small quick shot of adrenaline, knowing he definitely did underestimate her, something he should never do again if he wanted to keep her here and that pretty head of his attached to his body. Nataliya was a good actress, she was taught well by her mother, her words would never be forgotten "say whatever you need to and make them happy and gain the desired outcome, smile always and never forget your strengths but most of all outsmart everyone who ever doubts you."
Nataliya never forgot her strengths her speed, intelligence and that smile. That smile could grant her every wish if used in the right surrounds. [i Play up to whatever you need to but remain just out of reach. The unobtainable, An enigma.]
Nataliya's eyes drawn in by the crashing of a second vase today and the blue porcelain spreading out all over the dark carpeted floors beneath them. Lukas had his desired effect, her caught her off guard. [i Clever man.] His well toned arms shoved Nataliya against the solid wall with the speed of a truck causing the woman's breath out of her as she coughed just in time for Lukas' inked forarm to pin her harshly against the wall his large weight minimizing any movement Nataliya could get letting out a hiss of pain as it shot through her body.
[i You've forggotten who I am] That was a fair call, Nataliya had forgotten but most of all she let hr arrogance blind her. The blonde hadn't forgotten who he was just what he was capable of. Although she had seen so much of his work on the news the public still had no idea who this man was. Her eyes slowly raising up to the meet the eyes of the man towering over her, his breath warm with a slight tang of Scotch still remaining, the smell of his aftershave had changed from all those years ago when she would have invited Lukas to be this close to her. But times had certainly changed, they both had and Nataliya sure as hell wasn't that sweet little girl Lukas had bedded in secret, afraid of what would happen if either Ivan or Aleks had found out. No one had any idea how much her facade had been built. [i Within lies a very fucked up little kitten.]
Her eyes refusing to leave those of Lukas' she was almost overwhelmed by having his man so close to her, she could feel his toned body against hers, the heat he was producing and that spark slowly turning into a fire behind his eyes. Finally catching her breath Nataliya let a slight grin emerge on her lips, sure in her dishevelled state her charm wouldn't win him over completely but she had to try something to get away from his man. Her voice slightly raspy but never reaching above a effortlessly seductive whisper as her smile widened at the memory [b " Remember the last time we were like this, up against this very wall i believe.."]
Her eyes searching his own as she felt his forearm loosen around her throat slightly, his mind had drifted ever so slightly straightening up herself and loosening her hand to let her fingers lightly caress the skin of his exposed collar bone, the buttons on the carpet somewhere removed no doubt by their struggle as she continued [b " I'm surprised no one heard us that night, i needed your hands over every inch of me, you definitely taught me something new and never has anyone set my body on fire like you"] a glimmer of resistance flashed through Lukas' eyes, she was sure this wasn't going to work but she had to try, maybe this was his one weakness. [i Seduction] The heat from his chiseled form increasing as Nataliya's fingers traced the lines of the star he had tattooed there [b "I know you remember that night.]
Moving herself ever so gently to a position of slipping away [b "You will never forget that night will you Lukas, I hope not because it will never happen again."] her voice gained some grit and with that Nataliya slipped herself out from Lukas' vice grip with an arrogant smile leaving him motionless as she started to walk away towards her bathroom. [i Still got it.] [b "You can leave now"] her voice now the complete opposite of only a few moments ago as she stripped off her shirt with a now visible boot print against her ribs before disappearing behind the wall without a glance backwards. [i Mouse 2 Cat 0]
Lukas tried not to roll his eyes when she said something about “no more tonight.” He knew better than that. Was she really foolish enough to think the Zmeya would lower his hands just because she made some statement about not wanting to fight. Lukas saw the look in her eyes, the calculating and intelligent gaze. She wanted to hit him for what he did. The Pachiaveli was the reason she was dragged out of her home and taken back here, her most hated place. [i Life isn’t always pretty as a mafia boss’s daughter, Nataliya.]
Russian language came back from her tongue, and he just smirked. [i Real cute... nice touch.] Of course, Lukas understood every word. He’d called her princess because he knew she’d hate it. Violence bubbled up to the surface with her actions and behaviors. Lukas was baiting her. It would actually be quite interesting seeing what she came up with to fight him. He had the upper hand on strength, but she was quicker on her feet. Had she been working out or practicing her skills? He doubted it, but her body was still lean enough to probably mean she got some exercise in. Lukas hadn’t hesitated to memorize the layout of this room too the instant he sat down. He hadn’t said anything because he was mapping everything out. He knew his exits, and he knew what he’d do if someone entered. It was all reasons he was known as the Zmeya.
But he underestimated her. Lukas knee she was quicker, so he went in first. If he could catch her by surprise, this wouldn’t be much of a fight. As his closed fist moved back and forward with a force aimed at her jaw, Nataliya quickly ducked and kicked his knee hard. Groaning, Lukas staggered, nearly falling onto it. [b “Fuck...”] He muttered, gritting his teeth through the pain. [i “You’ve slowed down old man.”] Her words were arrogant and matched with a wink that he wanted to prove wrong as soon as possible. Lukas wouldn’t stand for this. She was going down.
[b “We’re just getting started.”] Lukas muttered, pretending he was disabled from the hit to his knee a little longer before springing forward, taking a jab step to her right before knocking over a decorative vase. If successful, her attention would turn to the noise where he would quickly shove her up against the wall, forearm pressed against her neck and body pressed against hers to avoid any knee jabs. Breathing hotly against her, Lukas spoke, [b “You’ve forgotten who I am.”]
[i We make you a Renkov again...] those words sending a wave of dread and fear down her spine and seemed to store away in the very core of her being. There was no way Nataliya could ever forget her true identity but after eight long years of suppressing everything about herself she once knew and forging a new path for herself a life she chose, she was ripped from that now comfortable life and thrown back into the chaotic darkness she had tried to evade for so long. Over that period of time Nataliya couldn't bare to turn off the news or walk away from any newspaper that had the Renkov name splashed over the headlines. Court cases, near misses, the signature star shaped coin left as a calling card from their hit-men. Anything that involved them even at one point the small but fiery war between them and the new Mexican cartel about the drug trade. She hated herself for it but Nataliya couldn't turn away.
Her bloodshot eyes tracking every move Lukas made and the way his lips curved around his words, the strong line of his jaw and even though his body was mostly covered Nataliya knew he pure muscle, every inch earned through hard work and dedication. Snapping back into reality her fingers still massaging her wrists and a small smile curved on her swollen lips. [i I know you, remember...] If only he did, he may have known the old Nataliya and yes some habits were heard to break for her but not all were left behind. She had been spending an hour or so each day at the gym focusing on maintaining and improving on those natural abilities she had. For fitness, for stress release but most of all Nataliya knew one day they would come, she had to be prepared. Never before had she managed to drop Lukas to his knees so that in itself was a huge win on her behalf. [i Mouse 1 : Cat 0]
Ivan had always told her as a child [b " You are my little kitten Nataliya but never forget kittens have claws too"] [i Oh how those words came back to bite him...] Every muscle in the woman's body screaming in agony, the bruise above her eye darkening over time as the blood came to the surface but against her body's wishes Nataliya stood up trying to keep her expression neutral. She was her own worst enemy. Lukas knew just how to push her buttons, that hadn't changed but he had and she sure as hell wasnt the same person she used to be. Nataliya's eyebrow arched in question as the grin on Lukas' mouth widened, his fists raised ready to rumble. Nataliya kept her position straight her eyes fixated on the man in front of her, her body begging the woman to just stop.[b "No more tonight please."] her voice tired. Lukas knew she wouldn't back down and that was her weakness, she was so easy to draw in but containing her was a separate battle all in itself. [b "Зовите меня снова принцессой, и в последний раз у вас будет язык"] it still astounded the woman that she retained her proficiency in the language. [i Call me princess again and it will be the last time you have a tongue] an even the violence in her statement came as a shock, her facade cracking after only a short time, she could have to fight a lot longer for them to realise she isn't the girl they need then she could go back to being a nobody.
Stretching her neck Nataliya knew the first blow was critical, she was weighing up her options but impatient Lukas couldn't wait he shuffled forward first and Nataliya knew that was her chance. She closed the space between them and in an instant as Lukas' closed fist rocketed towards her face, Nataliya dropped her weight onto her left leg and right her foot came into heavy contact with that of his knee with a heavy thud with grin emerging on her lips as she caught sight of Lukas behind her the weight shifted off slightly.[i That hurt.] Standing up and facing back towards the man Nataliya knew this wasn't going to be over quickly as she cracked her knuckles. [b " You've slowed down old man"] Nataliya gave Lukas an arrogant wink, another weakness for her arrogance. Sure Lukas had put time into becoming stronger but Nataliya had always been faster and Aleks the best of both of them. The thought swimming in Ivan's mind [i Luka's failed protecting his son, what if he failed with his daughter too?]
Lukas just relaxed into the plush couch in her large and luxurious suite, not saying anything. If she was trying to get a rise out of him, it wouldn’t be so easy. Her father seemingly taught her a lesson as she wasn’t leaping at him just by seeing his face. [i At least this time she didn’t have any knives to use anywhere.] Lukas has made sure of that the instant he arrived. He removed every knife from the kitchen, considering he’d be coming over quite often to train her and babysit her. If he could prevent it, the Zmeya really would not like to be stabbed again for the sixth time now... [i Or was it in the double digits?] He’d been hurt too many times in too many ways to count, but he had thick skin. If he removed his shirt, there would be several scars and burns and imperfections all over his sculpted chest and inked skin. They told a story, both the scars and tattoos weaving as one to make him the Zmeya he was.
She was obviously in pain, rubbing her wrists and aching muscles. [i Yeah, I’m not giving you a massage.] He knew he’d have to tell her what Ivan asked of him, and he knew she would despise it. However, she’d had years of freedom. Likely, she had her dose of the modern world by now. It was time she returned to her roots. [i Time to get dirty, blondie.] Lukas would have to work on her hard if she was already giving up. Nataliya was a natural, and he just needed to draw it out. [i Whatever that took.]
With her hair pulled up and her long neck showing so tantalizingly, Lukas curses himself. She was still sexy as fuck. Maybe the hottest woman he’d ever seen... But he was professional. Rising from the couch finally, Lukas stood closer to her at the edge of the bed. [b “Get up. Your father made me your very personal lap dog. That means I’m your bodyguard. We train. We work hard. We make you a Renkov again. And you never have to deal with me so much again. Deal?”] He spoke short and bluntly, his eyes trailing down her face. [b “And don’t even think for one second that you can trick me and escape. I know you, remember? That makes me the cat and you the mouse. So get up.”]
He offered, stepping back a few paces and then brought his fists to his face. [b “Come at me, princess.”] He sarcastically worded that last bit, challenging her. He wanted to see exactly how her hand to hand combat was and what they needed to work on. What better way than to fight her himself? She seemed really willing anyway, and his presence seemed to bring out a natural response from her. [b “Or are you scared?”] He grinned, egging her on.
[i What are you made of, Nat?]
The heavy footsteps of the two armed men escorting Nataliya towards her room echoed off the walls as they helped each other prop up the stumbling blonde as they made their way down the corridor on level 15. Nataliya's head spinning from pure exhaustion and the throbbing coming from her facial wounds and the singular blow to the ribs she received before her father demanded her to removed from his sight. [i Welcome home.]
Luckily for them news hadn't reached the rest of the family of Nataliya's return, the longer Ivan could keep it under wraps and ensure Nataliya's cooperation in the mean time would give a greater moral boost for the more senior men who were around for the better part of the last decade and a new beacon of hope to those who were still learning to navigate their lives through the underground of the city. But no doubt the rumour mill would surely be in full swing soon as the men were sure to notice the absence of the Zmeya on the streets.
As the men reached the door one gave a nod of his bald head as a sign of respect [b "Zmeya..."] It wasn't often that the right hand was ever waiting on someone, let alone not being out on the street fixing an issue that needed his attention to detail, it was a rare occasion indeed. His leather bound fingers entering the access code, allowing the other to enter the room and seat the blonde on the end of her bed and walking out hastily without a word. Nataliya let out a quiet groan as a sharp pain shot out from her ribs and her eyes took in her new surroundings. Her eyes still threatening to spill with tears as the events of the last few hours still had trouble sinking in to her overloaded mind. [i This was definitely the last place she ever wanted to be, the cage had returned.]
She knew the man was still stationed outside her door but what more harm could come from a few minutes to herself to try and regain even the slightest bit of composure. Running her slender fingers through her knotted hair Nataliya made herself a little more comfortable on the bed as she threw her blonde locks up into a matted pony tail. Her eyes trailing towards the open entry way the woman sighed as her hands fell back to her lap and she began rubbing the indentations she metal handcuffs had made against her skin. [b "I'm not going to start another fight with you right now Zmeya."] Her muscles screaming in agony, her mind and appearance absolutely fried. [i They had won for now.]
As much as Natailiya would never admit it out loud, they were a lot more prepared for her backlash than she had ever expected. Her bloodshot eyes locked onto Lukas as he entered the large suite, finally getting a better look at the man he had grown into. His large form now even more defined than ever, every inch a true testament to how much this way of life meant to him and dedication to his craft. Nothing much had changed about Lukas' from what she could see but with the addition of a few new scars and pieces of artwork etched into his skin. Nataliya knew this man was definitely more of a man than ever in every way possible, just one look from him and those steely gray eyes had her heart slamming against her chest. [i Handsome devil.]
Licking the dried blood from her lip Nataliya kept her eyes fixated on the male as he surveyed the room and perched himself down on the two seater sofa, completely at ease with himself and his surroundings. One leg crossed over the other, his ankle resting on his opposite knee and his arm outstretched over the back of the couch not a word escaping his mouth. Nataliya didn't dare move from her position but she was the first to break eye contact [b "Good to see you've become my fathers favourite new lap dog, must be a good change from hanging out with the rats."] Her voice low but there was no mistaking the venom in her voice as the once repulsive accent she had was now back as if not a beat was missed. But much to Nat's surprise he didn't respond, his eyes her cold, his face expressionless. The act was up Nataliya's American life was over and she was way too exhausted to keep up the facade. [i God it had been a long few hours, but never did Nataliya think she'd ever been in a room again with Lukas Pachiaveli.]
Lukas didn’t really want to stay for the happy “reunion” of father and daughter. Ivan fathered his name and his wealth for a reason. Nataliya our all of it in peril. The Zmeya man was more confused at why he hadn’t forced his little ray of sunshine to stay. Wouldn’t that have been an easier option? Perhaps there was something to Ivan that wasn’t so evil. Lukas would be a fool to doubt Ivan’s love for his children. He’d been alongside the man at the death of Aleks, and, although he didn’t show grief outwardly, Lukas has learned to pick up on clues that it devastated him. When Nataliya left, he had no reason not to take a step down from his work, but, just as the Pachiaveli had done, he thrust himself into the mafia completely. Who knows? Maybe Nataliya was smart to leave.
Ivan’s deep growl and tone made it clear to Lukas that he wanted no part of the events happening in the room he briskly left. His mission was complete and a success. Nataliya Renkov was back where she always belonged. Lukas firmly believed that there was no amount of luxury penthouses or freedom to change her mind. She was a Renkov at heart and to her very soul. Within the short yet... enlightening amount of time he’d had with her in years, she reverted straight back to the girl he knew. [i Or thought he knew.] He and Nataliya, spending more time together with Lukas training and growing up as Aleks best friend and bodyguard, had found there was a sort of unmistakable physical chemistry that existed between them. Lukas would push her buttons, and she would challenge him. In time, there were a few nights every now and then that they acted on that chemistry, but it was always under closed doors and hushed tones. She’d grown and matured since then. He would be lying if there wasn’t a part of him that wanted to know just how different she was... how experienced.
It seemed like forever before the familiar number called his now replaced burner and alerted him to his new mission. The deep voice returned, unmistakably belonging to Ivan Renkov himself. [i “Pachiaveli. Good work on retrieving my daughter. But your mission is not over. You will only focus on her until I tell you otherwise. You will train her as I have trained you, and I expect the utmost quality. You will guide her and show her the ways we have changed. You will make sure she does not escape or do anything stupid. Most of all you will protect her. She is my daughter, even if she will not obey me. And if you fail... the wrath of Ivan Renkov will fall on your head.”] Ivan’s Russian accent was thick, and it was clear. Lukas hung up, trashing the burner after destroying it and sighed deeply. Now he was really a fucking babysitter?
Making his way to the floor Nataliya’s room would be on, Lukas leaned against the door, arms crossed and fingers tapping impatiently. Ivan’s men would take her here soon enough. It was potentially the nicest room in the place. She wouldn’t have any problem with it, or at least he thought. When she would arrive, Lukas would give her all she needed to know, and he would maybe scare her a little. After all, his head was on the line too.
Every muscle in the woman's body was screaming in agony from refusal to give up her struggle for freedom with the large man's weight pinning her to the ground. The very thought of her reception when they landed further pumped the adrenaline throughout her veins the pain all but forgotten for the moment, but without a doubt she would pay for it later. Her struggle similar to that of a wild Siberian tiger thrown into a metal cage. [i Fear, anger and the longing need to run free in the wild again.] I will not be tamed.
Her teeth clenched harder and the tension in Nataliya's Jaw was almost unbearable as the helicopter touched down smoothly on the roof of the tower. Lukas' Icey words sent another wave of dread down her spine. [i Home, this wasn't home by any means] As Nataliya's body was ripped up from the floor her wrists were bound behind her back with a pair of handcuffs in one swift movement Nataliya was escorted onto the helipad and towards the elevator door. Her head lowered slightly in defeat she took her last deep breath of freedom and everything seemed to move in slow motion, the rotor blades from the cooling helicopter echoing in her mind as the elevator came to a stop on level 18.
Swallowing the lump forming in her throat and the forming tears in her eyes Nataliya kept her head lowered in a sign of defeat as the pain started to come to the surface. The large Wooden doors before her opened slowly from inside as Nataliya's heels dug in resisting for a final time before a large hand forced her forward into the luxurious surroundings in silence before releasing their grip on the blonde.
Ivan's eyes locked to the skies outside as he awaited for his men to land
with his [i little dove]. Ivan let a sloppy grin curve on his lips as the helicopter landed. He knew Lukas wouldn't fail him, he had learnt from failure. The clear liquid in his glass doing little to stop his mind from running ahead of itself.
His jacket long since disguarded leaving the older man in a black shirt rolled up at the sleeves. [i This wasnt going to be pretty. ] Throwing back the remainder of his vodka Ivan set the crystal glass down on his desk as the doors opened and his eyes hardened at the sight of the handcuffed blonde and her dishevelled appearance. [i She put up a fight, that's my girl]
Taking in the sight as his men left in silence with a nod of respect the slaming of the heavy door behind them crashing through the silence which lasted for a few more minutes before Ivan made his way over ever so casually his eyes only breaking from his daughter to shoot a questioning look at Lukas before turning back to his girl and telling in a sharp breath as his Iron grip latched onto the females jaw forcing Nataliya to look at him. As he expected Nataliya didnt shy away from the fight instead ignitting that fire further by letting loose a ball of spit onto the gray haired man's cheek before he let go and wiped away with a wry smile as he turned towards Lukas [b " Leave us, I will talk to you later"] his voice almost a deep growl an in an instant his demeanor changed and Lukas headed towards the door. Ivan shifted all his weight and the back of his hand connecting with his daughter's face with a deafening crack sending her falling harshly to the floor as she hissed in pain and lvan took a few steps back and lent back against the front of his desk to get a better look at his daughter. [b "Неуважительная шлюха"] [i Disrespectful Whore] he muttered his lips wrapped around a cigarette as he light it, watching his little dove Writh in pain on the rug beneath them, No mercy not even to his only daughter.
He hadn’t planned on going no her that lovely black and blue bruise just over her eye. Hell, he hasn’t even planned on splitting her lip exactly, but she’d decided his actions for him. Would she have really [i stabbed] him? Was it really [i that] bad to return to the family for the first time in years? Lukas sat there, watching her slumped form in the leather chair of the private helicopter as they were flown the way back to Renkov headquarters. He hoped he hit her hard enough to knock her clean out the whole way, but lo and behold he wasn’t so lucky. [i Can a man just get a fucking break?] Lukas thought, but he worked to keep his face neutral. Expression and emotion was weakness in the world of mafia. He learned that the hard way... the [i hardest] way.
Rolling his eyes in annoyance as Nataliya groaned in awakening, blinking her eyes and taking in exactly where she was. [b “Morning, Sleeping Beauty you know you were out a... long while. Someone must have hit you hard.”] He spoke, just to spite her really. The Zmeya had attitude. Plus, he enjoyed giving her a hard time. Lukas never really understood why the hell she left everyone else to deal with the tragedy of her brothers death... Lukas was thrust into the spotlight of Ivan’s second hand, and he never got a break. He never got to grieve or show remorse unless in the utmost privacy. Lukas envied her that. She just up and left and got to feel what she wanted to feel or show what she wanted to show. There were no pressure of rules and performance and, hell, survival. Nataliya just waltzed straight out of te mafia family like Cinderella, and Ivan was forced to stretch his men out just to protect her. [i Pathetic.] They should’ve had those men... Nataliya should have never left.
Nataliya didn’t seem to hear him as her senses were returning, her hand going to her lip then her head as if appalled he had gotten violent. [i You pulled a knife on me, Nat.] Lukas just waited. He knew she’d jump at him or something to make one last stand. Nataliya was an enigma. She hadn’t changed that much certainly to make her a docile kitten, had she? When she leaped at him, he did nothing. Her hand came into solid contact with his cheek, and his head snapped to the sound. With the slightest grin as the sting subsided slowly, Lukas notes her cute little Russian retort. Licking his lips, Lukas just waited. He’d planned on this, so he had another man waiting. Nataliya was unpredictable, and she damn near hated him with every bone in her body after what he did, dragging her back home.
Simply nodding, Lukas eyed the struggling woman with her face pressed against the floor, and her hands held behind her back. This could’ve been so much easier... Leaning forward, the sting still slightly present on his cheek, Lukas cleared his throat. [b “Добро пожаловать домой.”] [i “Welcome home.”] Lukas just sat back, and they escorted Nataliya in and straight up to Ivan’s office. Lukas nodded at his men, taking over in holding her arms behind her back in a tight, iron grip. Walking behind her, he finally got her in the elevator and confirmed each security check. Then, they went upwards.
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