I shove my hands in the pockets of my leather jacket and start walking over to her. “Where the fuck have you been?” I demand.
She has her head down, staring at the ground. The snow falls on her hair but melts instantly.
“Haven?” I snap, coming up to her. “I’ve been out here freezing my ass off.” Gripping her chin, I force her to look up at me, and her light brown tear-filled eyes meet mine.
“I’m sorry.” Her perfectly white teeth chatter.
“Hey.” I open my jacket and pull her body flush with mine immediately. “What happened?” I rub my hands along her back, trying to warm her up. Her body trembles against mine. “Did something happen at school?” I wonder.
She’s a senior this year in college. And that thought terrifies me. We haven’t discussed what she will do after graduation. I’ve never had a choice. The family business is what I live for. It’s what I was made for. But her? She could do anything. Go anywhere. The thought of her moving on and walking away from me is paralyzing, but inevitable. Especially since I have no choice but to leave her.
She shakes her head and grips my shirt. “I just need you.”
My chest swells at her words. I love how much she loves me, how much she needs me, but I know she’s lying. “Tell me. What’s wrong? I’ll take care of it.”
I know her father does work with mine. He’s in with the Mafia, and it scares the shit out of me. I’ve seen what they can do. Hell, I’ve done it. I wish I could shield her from what I know waits around the corner because she doesn’t deserve this life. The bloody bodies and blackmail. Maybe her leaving Nevada could be the best thing for her. Maybe me leaving her is the best thing for her.
She pulls back, her dark eyes look up into mine, and a single tear runs down her face. “I love you,” she whispers brokenly.
Reaching up, I cup her cold cheek. “I love you, Haven.”
“Run away with me.”
She pulls away from my arms, and I allow it, too stunned by her words. “Run away with me.” She takes my hands, and a smile graces her gorgeous face. “Please, Luca? I know where my father has a lot of money stashed. I can get it, and we can run away. We can change our names and move to an island where no one will ever find us. Just you and me.” She releases me and places her hands flat on my chest.
I remove them and take a step back from her. Her face falls and so does my stomach as I say. “I can’t.”
“You have to. I overheard …” She stops herself. Her eyes widen for the briefest second, and she licks her lips, wrapping her arms around herself.
My jaw tightens. “What did you hear?”
She bites her bottom lip nervously.
“Haven?” I snap, gripping her shoulders. “What did you hear?”
She sniffs. “Your dad was here. And I overheard him telling mine that he’s sending you on a job.”
“You’re going to Italy,” she cries, breaking her silence. “He’s sending you away, Luca. He’s going to make you …” She trails off, staring up at me. Her face morphs from panic, to pain, and then to anger. “You know,” she whispers. “What … when …?” She shakes her head.
I run a hand down my face. “I …”
“Were you going to tell me?” she shouts, shoving my chest.
I didn’t want her to find out this way. “Haven …”
“He’s going to get you killed!” she screams, her fists hitting my chest. “Don’t you see that? You’re not like them, Luca.”
But I am. She doesn’t know about half the shit I’ve done or the people I’ve killed. When she’s around, I always hide the dark and evil side that comes so naturally to me. She makes me think that I can be better. That maybe, just maybe, I don’t have to be a monster.
“Please.” She grips my jacket. “Please don’t go.”
“Pick me,” she cries, and my chest tightens. If only it were that easy. “Please, run away with me. I’ll give up everything for you, Luca. I’m asking you to do the same.” She drops to her knees as if her legs can no longer hold her up.
I drop to mine as well and pull her small body onto my lap. I close my eyes and hold her. They pop open the moment she shifts to straddle me. Her freezing hands go to either side of my face, but I don’t even flinch. The desperation in her eyes chills me to the bone. “I love you. We can do this. I know we can. We deserve this chance, Luca. To be free and live our lives together. Like we’ve discussed so many times.”