The sharp intake of air behind him indicated Mika had spotted the exact same words Elliot had.
“Ah cazzo, no. You don’t think she’s gone there do you?”
“I—don’t—?” Something happened inside Elliot then, something he’d never experienced before. He simply couldn’t process all the emotions storming through his head. The blind sense of fury he felt, at Luke for what he’d done, and at PJ, for even daring to track the fucker down. But what eclipsed everything was the hurt that came along next, the sharp cutting pain that was so deep, a part of him felt like it was dying.
How could she have shut him—them, out? After all they’d done for her, all they’d sacrificed to care for her? Both of them had given her everything, holding nothing back even though they had so much to lose. Beneath that, in the part of Elliot’s heart he still guarded fiercely, he felt fear, the same kind of crippling fear that had ruled his childhood.
“What if he hurts her, Dusha? Fuck!” Snatching his phone which was lying beside her coffee cup, Elliot took a shot of the screen because there was no way he could focus on details like the address they’d be driving to, or the bastard’s face he’d be smashing, if he even looked at her the wrong way.
“He wouldn’t. If she’s gone to his office, she’ll be safe. There’ll be people around, and it’s in public. He’d never risk doing anything to her.”
Still, Elliot couldn’t shake the feeling they were running out of time, all of them. If they lost her over this, if Luke said something or God help him, did anything that sent her back into the dark place she’d fallen into after his attack, he honestly didn’t know what he’d do. When Elliot said forever, he meant it, yet even he was starting to see that putting their life on hold for her was coming at a price.
Snatching his coat, he headed for the door with Mika right behind him.
“We could be wrong. She might have …”
Elliot felt the growl roaring up his throat before he could stop it. It was like he’d been catapulted back twenty years to a time when being hurt meant anger, and anger meant survival. He didn’t want to be that person anymore.
“We’re not and you know it. Why must she always fight us? Why?”
This time it was Mika’s turn to yell. “Because she doesn’t fucking know, Elliot! She doesn’t realize what she means to us. She still thinks she’s alone.”
The courtyard was empty and the alleyways too as they headed in silence towards the garage. Mika was right, they had no claim over her other than the fact that she owned their hearts and their future. All Elliot wanted was hers in return.
“I’m sorry.” He was. Mika was hurting too and being a cunt wasn’t going to get them across town any faster, or make the confrontation that had been coming for a long time now, any easier. “I’m scared that we’re going to lose her before we’ve even had a chance to really love her.”
Catching Elliot’s hand, Mika laced their fingers together, like he did every night.
“No. She’s ours, no one else’s. If she’s gone there, it’s for a reason, something she feels she needs to do. He took something from her, Dolcezza, and she’s gone to get it back, that’s all.”
When they reached the garage Elliot unlocked it, holding the door open while Mika got the truck out. It was a forty-minute drive to the business district where Luke’s office was and they had no idea what time she’d left. Elliot called India on the way, in case she knew anything. She didn’t. She was, however, absolutely stunned that PJ would even contemplate going to see Luke. Yet the more Elliot thought about it, the more he thought about her. Slowly, his own sense of shock and outrage faded, replaced by an odd kind of awe. His woman was strong and righteous, brave and determined. She would fight for her family and the men she loved, just as they would fight for her, and that made him proud. He was still going to bend her over his knee at some point in the near future and spank her ass until it was red, but that was for another day, one when she knew exactly who she belonged to, and how much they fucking cared.