“Don’t,” he says, his voice so quiet, so incredibly quiet. “Don’t you dare.”
I feel so lost and helpless. Tears spring to my eyes at the injustice of it. Why won’t anyone at least tell me what I’m supposed to have done?
“How long have you been sleeping with Salvatore Castellanos?”
I stare at him, completely fucking blank. “Who?”
Anger flashes across his face again and he stalks away, then back, grabbing the bars like he wants to rip them out of the floor. “Lie again, Meg. Fucking lie to me again and see what happens.”
The tears that have been burning behind my eyes suddenly spill over, my face crumbling. I sink to the floor, hugging my knees to my chest, and I don’t speak, since apparently I can only get myself into more trouble.
When he accepts I’m not going to answer him, he continues, his tone still low and silky smooth. “He didn’t mind you fucking me?” he asks, running his hand down one of the cool, hard bars. “He didn’t mind my cock inside you again and again? It was worth it to him? See, you chose wrong. I wouldn’t let someone else fuck you for control of the whole world, let alone half of this goddamn city.”
I bury my face in my hands again, somehow ashamed despite having no idea what he’s talking about. I don’t even know who this person I’m supposedly fucking is—obviously a Castellanos family member, but I’ve never even heard of him.
“I’ll hand it to you, though. You may be fucking suicidally stupid, but you are a better liar than I thought. I thought you were a pretty shitty liar. You sure showed me.”
Shaking my head, not bothering to look up, I say, “I’m not sleeping with anyone but you, Mateo. I would never—”
I jump as a phone is suddenly hurled across the room, at the wall behind him. It cracks and falls to the floor. He glares at me, awaiting a response.
It’s not even my phone. It’s not even the same kind. I don’t understand why he’s glaring at me, expecting some sort of recognition.
“I can’t stop thinking about you, about your laugh, your hands, your mouth. I want to feel your plump lips around my cock again. Sure you can’t get away tonight?”
I stare at Mateo, awaiting an explanation.
“You, to him. Dinner tonight was excruciating. I miss you so much. I can’t wait until this is over.”
My blood runs cold, finally getting what he’s saying. My eyes drop to the ground, to the cell phone, and I can’t breathe.
“Should I keep going? I read a lot of them, and they’re burned into my fucking brain now.”
I swallow, trying to get my bearings. This man, this suspicious, untrusting man who killed the last woman who betrayed him… thinks I’ve cheated on him. “Mateo… I didn’t send that message.”
“Then who did, Meg?” he asks simply.
Bracing my head in my hands, I shake my head, feeling like I’m going crazy. “I don’t know. I don’t understand what’s going on.”
“Adrian’s right, though—why would you ask for him? Mia would’ve been significantly easier to trick. I don’t think she would recognize him on sight, but Adrian? Of course Adrian does.”
“I didn’t ask for Adrian, I just asked for a ride. And I don’t know what—” I stop, a sudden sick feeling coming over me as I recall the man from the restaurant. “What does this Salvatore guy look like?”
Mateo’s face curls up in disgust, and he doesn’t bother answering.
“Dark hair, gray eyes?”
“Did it scare you, hearing Beth’s story? Did it scare you when you realized how similar it was? He’s only using you, you know. He knows there’s no way you leave me now, which means he gives so few fucks about your life that he was willing to sacrifice you if you got caught, and for what? What did you tell him that was so important today, Meg?”
“Oh, my god,” I whisper to myself, trying to breathe.
“Last night.” Violently kicking the phone across the floor, he says, “I need to see you immediately. It’s important. Find a way.”
“Mateo, some guy talked to me at the Chinese restaurant, I—I had no idea who he was. It was some random weirdo hitting on me, I thought. I told him I was taken and to leave me alone, that’s all. If it was this Salvatore person, I can’t explain that. The phone?” I shake my head, wishing I could open up my mind and let him peek inside. “I have no idea… Someone’s setting me up.”
“Who would set you up, Meg?” he asks, like he actually pities me for such a ridiculous excuse.
“I don’t know, but that’s not even my phone. You know it’s not, you bought me my phone.”
“The fucking hilarious part is I’m supposed to be Mr. Suspicious, right? And I didn’t for a fucking minute think you were the leak. It didn’t even cross my mind. Maybe I’m the fucking idiot.”