Breaking down to her had given me the strength to go through the last two months with my mind intact. But right now, I wasn’t’ ready to tell her about Luca. I didn’t have it right in my mind.
“Katie, can we talk in a couple of hours?”
Her tone was immediately wary. “Where the hell are you? He hasn’t released you yet, has he?”
I let out a heavy sigh. I didn’t want to have this conversation just yet.
“Katie, please. Can I call you back?”
“No, you cannot, Skye Morrison. I swear I will go to the police,” she yelled into the receiver. “Right this moment. And don’t you dare think that I’m kidding.”
“Oh, Katie!” I muttered. “Why are you so dramatic?”
“Dramatic? Me?” she screeched. “Are you even aware what kind of dangerous position you are in?”
I took a deep breath, but before I could say anything she launched into a tirade.
“I can’t stop you and don’t blame you for making risky decisions for your father’s sake,” she said. “But you promised not to keep me in the dark. That bastard is dangerous, Skye, and you promised to always let me know what’s going on. Did he extend the prison sentence again?”
“No,” I replied quietly. “I… uh… got into a different deal.”
She went silent for a few seconds. “What do you mean?" she breathed.
My voice was smaller than I wanted it to be, but I couldn’t help it. “With another man. Um… he is going to pay for everything, Katie. All of Dad’s medical bills. Until Dad is completely better.”
“Please don’t make me feel worse than I already do.”
“Then why did you freaking agree to something like that again?”
Tears burned my eyes. I couldn’t speak. I knew everybody else thought I was a whore, but I couldn’t bear it if Katie began to think that too.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized in a creaky voice, and I knew she was trying to hold back from crying too. “I just… I want you safe and free again.”
“I want that for me too,” I mumbled. “But I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to have Dad made completely better. If I hadn’t taken this deal all those times with Salvatore it would have been for nothing. Do you understand me?”
“No, I can’t understand you, Skye. And if your dad knew he wouldn’t understand why you would agree to be the mistress of another slime ball either.”
“He’s not a slime ball…” I glanced at the crumpled sheaf of papers sitting on the bedside table. “And I have a signed legal contract this time. Thirty days and not a day more.”
“What about Salvatore then?” She had to spit his name out. She was that furious and disgusted by him.
“He agreed to walk away.”
“The man who offered me this deal last night is Luca Messana.”
“No!” she exploded so loudly, I had to hold the phone away from my ear. “My God. You better be kidding me?”
“I’m not,” I said quietly.
I could hear a rustling sound. I guessed she was sitting down.
“God, I feel almost dizzy,” she said faintly. “How?”
“He saw me at the party and decided he wanted me.”
“Just like that?” she said in disbelief.
I sighed. “Just like that. When you are insanely rich, you can buy people for your amusement.”
“Are you okay?” she breathed.
“Of course, I am. I’d tell you if I wasn’t.”
“No, you wouldn’t. You’d go to hell and back for your father without a single word of complaint.”
My smile was sad because she was absolutely right. “Things are a little better this time around though.”
I sighed and took a seat on the bed, my eyes fixed on a far-away spot outside the window.
“He’s…” I hesitated. All the words in my head seemed too simple and inadequate to describe his appearance, or the dark and magnetic power that extruded from his eyes, his face, his body. In the morning light he almost seemed unreal. Like a dream or a nightmare. Perhaps the shadows had played tricks on my mind and when I saw him in the starkness of daylight, he would look like an ordinary human being.
“He’s what?” Katie nudged impatiently.
But as if on cue, there was a knock on my door. My heart fluttered inside my rib cage at the sound, and I turned around to look at the door.
“I’ve gotta go. There’s someone at the door,” I whispered into the phone. “I’ll call you later.”
“Please keep me updated, Skye,” Katie said urgently. “I need to know that you’re fine at all times. And maybe send me an address?”
“Later babe,” I said and ended the call.
I pulled open the door and found a uniformed young maid standing politely outside. Her hazel eyes were friendly, and her chestnut brown hair combed away from her face, and secured with pins.
“Good morning, Miss,” she said with a small smile. “I’m Mary Jane. Breakfast is ready. Would you like to come down for some or I can bring a tray up for you?”