“I mean no disrespect but we have business to attend to, and you’re distracting,” Grady grunts.
“Baby, please don’t.” Jared comes up behind me.
“Don’t fucking touch me right now!” I shout, and turn back to Grady.
“You want me gone? Fine. I’m gone, then. Have a nice fucking life, you two.” I glare at the two of them.
“Erica, don’t you dare walk out of here,” Jared intones.
“Let her go, Jared; she’s not made for this life.”
“Fuck you, Grady,” I say, and storm out with Jared hot on my heels.
“Erica, stop!” He shouts over the music and follows me outside.
I fall on my knees when a sob catches my throat. Jared wraps his arms around my waist and I push back, landing on my ass. His face is filled with remorse while I sob uncontrollably on the ground.
He kneels before me and I see his eyes glistening. “Baby, please don’t make me choose. I have work to do that you don’t understand. It’s private business I can’t discuss, but you have to trust me that I’ll be okay and always come back to you.”
“Jared, I love you so much; please, I need you in my life. I just want you out. Don’t you see that you could be more than this?” I wave towards the bar and stand. He follows.
I gulp when he doesn’t answer and then stand up, turning around to walk away.
“You can’t be out here alone.” I spin around.
“Why not? What is it that you’re hiding from me now?” I croak.
“Now that the Italians and Irish are out we have been taking up all their business for years, and it’s been stressful to say the least. We were left with a mess of shit to clean up. You need to keep quiet when I tell you things. I’m breaking all the rules as it is.”
“So you are now involved even more than before. When is this going to end? Isn’t there something else you can do?”
“This is all I know, baby. You have to understand that I was made for this life, and I will protect you with everything I am.”
“Am I in danger again? Are we in danger?” I ask him, afraid of his response.
“There was a threat against our club late last night, so that’s why I want you here where it’s safe. I need you to come inside and stay with me at all times.”
“Jared, you have got to be kidding me,” I groan.
“Listen, we have it under control. Grady made some calls, but for now it’s just a waiting game. Everything is a mess and there are deals that have to be sealed, so I need you to trust me.”
“This is not the life I want,” I explain.
“I’m sorry it’s not what you want, but this is who I am so you either deal with it or not.” His tone turns frustrated and angry.
“Fuck this.” I turn around, storming off into the woods.
“Stop!” he shouts, but I caught him off guard when I fled. I just want to be alone and away from them all.
I run as fast as my feet will carry me as I hear him calling my name in the still forest.
I plop down near a tree and quietly sit there, hiding. I just want him to leave me alone so I can think. This is all too much for me. The almost pregnancy, hearing him and Grady talk about me, and then knowing he’s way in over his head with the mafia.
“Erica!” he shouts, and I squeeze my eyes shut, listening to his frantic voice. The last thing I want to do is hurt him, but I have to do what’s right for me for once and that’s leaving.
Where the fuck is she? I’m running through the woods, scared out of my mind because I can’t find her. She doesn’t realize that her life could be in danger. If anyone is seeking revenge against us right now they will ultimately go to our women, knowing that’s where it will hurt us the most. I know I should get out of this, and what she doesn’t know is that I plan on it after this all blows over. But I would have to disappear because you can’t just up and leave the mafia. You are made and that’s it. There is noway out but death, and I plan on living. I will take my girl and get the fuck out of here eventually, but I just have to make it look like I’m all in. And if that’s making it look like I want to stay, then that’s what I’ll do. The only real way is to fake my death, and I know that.