IT’S BEEN TWOdays since Val woke up. I’m still not allowed to go home, let alone leave the basement. Though, that’s probably due to my failed escape attempts.
At the beginning of my stay here, I had been given a room on the second floor. There was a guard outside the door to the room, not wanting to hurt him, I opted to go out the window. I didn’t have any rope so I tied the bed sheets together and hooked them to the leg of the bed. It wasn’t long enough for me to reach the ground, but it got me close enough to be able to jump without hurting myself. Once on the ground I took off running. I got about halfway to the large stone wall before I was surrounded by ATVs. Luca joined them in a golf cart a minute later. He escorted me back to the house. This time I was given a room on the ground floor. The windows were barred and too narrow to escape through.
I contained my eagerness to escape for three days. My plan was to convince them that I wasn’t going to attempt to run again. On the third night, when I thought it late enough for everyone to be in bed, I picked the lock on the door. Opening it as quietly as I could, I surprised the guard by jumping on his back and quickly locking my arms around his neck in a choke-hold. He took a minute to lose consciousness. The moment he did, I took off running again. This time, I only made it as far as the back deck before the flood lights became spotlights.
Three men came rushing out of the house, I put up a fight. I had gotten several good kicks and punches in before I was forced to the ground. Once the handcuffs locked into place. I knew my fight was over again. Little did I know, I wouldn’t get the chance to try again.
This time I didn’t get placed in a bedroom. I was given a closet with a mat on the floor with a single pillow and scratchy blanket. There was no window and no door handle on the inside of the closet. To use the bathroom or be let out of the closet, I had to knock on the door. It was humiliating.
I tried to use it to fuel the fire within me, but all that did was piss me off more since I didn’t have a proper outlet for my emotions anymore. It has been weeks since I fought or sparred anyone. Hell, I would settle for a punching bag or a treadmill if it meant I could burn off some of the excess energy I had.
I’ve still been tending to Val. Though I try to time it to coincide with his frequent naps. He has made a few attempts to talk to me when he rouses, but I quickly make an excuse to leave. I also don’t make eye contact and have been leaving my hair down to create a curtain between us when I need to be close. He hasn’t mentioned our past, or made any indication that he recognizes me.
Luca knows my true identity. He knows who I once was to Val. Surprisingly he hasn’t mentioned anything to him. I’m not sure what he’s waiting for. If he’s waiting for me to say something, he will be waiting forever. I need to leave. Being with Val isn’t safe for him. I was warned years ago. I won’t let him be hurt. Not if I can help it. I still love him. Even though it’s been years since we saw each other last. Even though he’s probably moved on a hundred times over the years. Even if he never knew I loved him. I never told him. I was afraid. My parents were the last ones I told I love you to.
I should have told Val. I should have grabbed onto every opportunity to be with him when I had the chance.
It’s too late for us.
I’ve been staring at the wall for an hour. I’m beginning to lose my mind. It’s too quiet here. I have too much time to think. Time to fret. My nerves are shot. I need a fight, or someone to spar with. Hell, I’ve done two hundred push-ups and sit-ups this morning already just to burn off some of my feelings.
I had hoped Killian would have found me by now. Or maybe he has, but can’t get to me. He wouldn’t attack the Caruso compound to get me. He’s not suicidal. I’d call him if I were allowed. They took my phone, my bag. I have no way to contact anyone in the outside world.
The only escape attempt I’ve been able to conjure that has a fraction of a possibility of working is to set a fire down here. The alarms would go off and they would scramble to get Val to safety. While preoccupied with him and putting the fire out, I could make my escape.
The plan has a dozen ways it could fail. Maybe even more like a hundred ways. And with even one of those alleged failures resulting in Val getting hurt, I won’t risk it. So here I’ll sit. Here I’ll stay. Slowly going insane.
A knock at the door tells me it must be lunch time. I don't bother to tell them to come in. They'll do it anyway.
Like predicted, the door opens. It’s Livianna only she’s not carrying a tray this time. I've come to realize that she had an uncanny ability to read when someone is lying. She's also super sweet and theirs an aura about her that relaxes you. Makes you want to tell her your deepest darkest secrets. It’s obnoxious.
I know that's why they've been sending her to feed me. They want me to talk. I won't. I've spent years being quiet. “Hey Doc. You want to take a walk? Get out of this room.”
I don't verbalize an answer. I act as nonchalant as I can as I get up from the make-shift bed, and follow her out the door. She doesn't lead me to the stairs, but rather the other way. Deeper into the belly of the basement. I've done it before. When I first got here and had more freedom, I explored all the rooms without locked doors.
She leads me to the kitchenette at the end of the hall. The doors along the hallway are usually shut and locked. I've checked. Multiple times. A few times I've gotten glimpses of the rooms. One is an armory. Another is the indoor gun range. There is a room with a dozen monitors or so. I'm guessing security.
Just before the kitchenette, a new door is open today. I can hear grunts and the familiar sounds of weights clanging. It's a gym. Fuck yes.
I immediately stop. Liv notices. “You want to go in?” She asks. “There's treadmills along the back wall if you want to use one.”
The treadmill isn’t what I have my eye on. It’s the boxing ring that’s dead center in the room. I don’t bother replying to Liv before making my way to the ring. A massive man stands in the middle of the ring. His back is to us. He’s about the same size as the last guy I fought in the underground.
Another guy enters the ring. They tap gloves then circle each other for a moment. I recognize the big guy. It’s Massimo, Livianna’s boyfriend. I watch as the two men throw a series of well choreographed punches and kicks. Massimo is quick for his size. Not highly flexible though. Taking out his legs a couple times and having his body weight crash to the ground a few times will slow him down. Then a take down should be easy.
I tear my eyes from the men. I’ve seen enough for the moment. Moving to the bench, I find the tape and go to work wrapping my hands. Livianna comes up beside me. Asking me what I'm doing. And am I seriously considering getting in the ring with one of the guys.
“Yep.” I reply.
The guys around the room have crowed around the ring. They begin to cheer.
With my hands ready to go, I return my focus to the match. Just as I thought. Massimo wins.
I whip off my t-shirt. Thank goodness they gave me some leggings and sports bras to wear. They might see my scars, but who cares. The shirt is too confining to fight in, and I need this adrenaline rush.