#RunningWilde Ch. 49 | Love Gun (Part II) (FULL VERSION)
Can't control these wild things
Can't you see you're drowning?
Tryna tame a wild beast, I'm a wild beach
Days of trials and nights of unrest finally forced Ava and Aiden to succumb to slumber, putting them under as if they’d been drugged by the sweet high of uninterrupted dreams, holding them close as they lay entangled in the sky, holding onto each other.
Hours later, a brisk knock on the wall and clearing of a throat jolted Aiden upright. Impulse found him with his hand under the mattress one moment, and his gun in his hand aimed at The Maid the next. His teeth were clenched tightly together, and his bare chest heaved and sank as he emitted harshly audible breaths.
She stiffened and held up her hands, “Mr Michaels?”
He blinked sleep from his eyes and inspected his surroundings with dark scrutiny before he decided that it was safe enough to lower the gun. Instead of slipping it back under the mattress, he put it in his lap. “My apologies,” his tone was gruff, “What is it?”
The Maid lowered her hands but edged slightly back into the entry way, “We’re an hour away from Montego Bay, sir. The captain asked that you and Mrs Michaels get ready to prepare for landing.”
He looked down at Ava, naked and lost to her dreams, next to him. He pulled the duvet higher to cover her body and exhaled slowly. The heavy thudding in his chest gradually softened and slowed.
“I’ll get your breakfast ready.”
“Thank you,” he said more personably, “We’ll be right there.”
The Maid nodded sharply and exited faster than she’d entered.
Aiden dropped his head in his hands and exhaled again, louder this time, “Fucking ‘ell, bruv,” he murmured into his chest. He placed his gun on the bedside table and snuggled back down in the bed. He wrapped his arms around Ava, buried his face in the elegant curve of her neck and breathed her in. His heartbeat returned to normal. He kissed her behind her ear, then her cheek, “Wake up, Ava-Marie.”
She groaned and turned her face into the pillow.
He hummed a slow warm smile and kissed below the clasp of her collar, at nape of her neck, “We’re landing in Mo’ Bay soon. I need to talk you through a few things before we do.”
She arched her brow and peeked at him lazily with one eye, “Already?”
“Yes. Come on,” he got up, pulled back the covers and playfully spanked her still rosy bottom. She opened both eyes and smirked at him. “Meet for breakfast in ten.”
Freshly showered and wrapped in black satin robes, Aiden and Ava took their positions around the dining table, with Aiden at the head and Ava sat on his left, her back straight, fingers locked together and muscles tensed as the Maid silently laid out stacks of pancakes, fruits, syrup, herbal tea and black coffee. It wasn’t until the Maid wheeled her cart out that she finally loosened. She smiled softly at Aiden, “So what did you want to talk to me about?”
He didn’t smile back but held his hand out for her plate, “You need to relax around them,” he said sternly, “The family especially, or at least to appear as if you are. Rigidness shows fear. Relaxed is sure of itself. Relaxed is powerful.”
“People can only intimidate you if you allow them to. In times like that, it is imperative that you remember who you are.”
She dropped her head, “I’m even not sure who that is right now.”
“You are Heaven Michaels.” He said her name in a way that carried a different sort of weight than her original one did. Like it made her a different person altogether. Ava-Marie Lockewood, daughter of a nightclub giant, had the kind of power that could get her invited to the most elite parties and reservations at the finest restaurants. But Heaven Michaels…she was the daughter of a king pin. The wife of a drug lord. Heaven Michaels had stolen a car and burned a man alive.
She sank back in the chair and unlocked her fingers.
“Better. How many pancakes do you want?”
“Are they vegan?” she asked eyeing the steaming pile of thick fluffy golden discs and suddenly realised how hungry she was.
He rolled his eyes “Yes, Ava-Marie.”
He deposited four on her plate, “Next lesson; let your first answer be your only answer. Indecisiveness is not the trait of a leader. You may only change it when the information presented to you is altered. It’s okay to take time to mull things over to be sure of your decisions. But if you must think about what decision to make, take no longer than thirty seconds. Fruit?”
“Blueberries and bananas.”
She watched him spoon the fruit on top of her stack and wished she’d also asked for strawberries but thought better of it for the time being. They would be landing in Jamaica in less than an hour and he was clearly preparing her to step into her official role as his other half. His wife, Heaven Michaels.
‘What would Mrs Michaels do?’, she wondered. In order to achieve the position she truly gunned for, it made sense that she should behave as if she were truly his wife, and not like they were just a just bunch of documents Mighty forged to protect her identity and a bargain bound by lust.
“Tea or coffee?” she reached for his cup.
He arched his brow and the corners of his stern mouth, lifted, “What are you doing?”
“Serving my husband.” She met his bemused gaze, “Tea or coffee?”
She’d never referred to him as her husband before. Aiden watched her for a moment. “Coffee. Black. No sugar.” He went back to her plate, “Syrup?”
“Yes please. I like it_”
“Drizzled all over in a social media worthy fashion. Yes, dear wife,” his eyes flicked up at her from under his lashes and his voice came huskier, “I know what you like.”
She shifted in her seat, her body comparable to the syrup he poured -sticky, sweet and ready to be devoured. She watched him as he expertly arranged it across her plate, the way he’d observed her do back at his safe house the first time they had breakfast together.
“Is it to your liking?”
She took her eyes off him and looked at the plate, her teeth holding her smile from becoming too wide, “You really do pay attention to everything.”
“Yes. I advise you to start doing the same. It’s important that you know how to take care of yourself. I won’t always be with you.”
“Oh? Where will you be?” she poured his coffee.
“Taking care of the side of the business that you shall have no part in,” he said firmly.
She put the cafetière down, “That’s not the deal we made.”
“I said I’d teach you, Ava-Marie, and I will.”
“How will I know if your lessons have taken effect if you don’t allow me to make use of them?”
“The opportunity will arise. You may not be so eager to participate when it does. Until then, I’m not purposely going to put you in harms way.”
“I won’t have you coddling me, Aiden.”
“You won’t have me?” he arched his brow. He leant in closer to her, “You think you’re bad now, yeah?” Brixton was present in his manner and she was unsure how to respond. The lilting stop-start of his South London tongue had a way of making his words more threatening. She edged back in her seat but lifted her chin. He came closer still, his voice low, gruff and ghetto, “Don’t think coz you jacked some old man and set an already dying man on fire, that you’re about this life. If a man like me ran up on you, ready to dun your dance, what are you, miss sheltered rich girl, gonna do about it?”
She clenched her jaw and glared at him.
“That’s the whole point of you teaching me, Aiden!” she snapped back, vaulting herself into his face. “What do you think I made this deal with you for? To sit at home and play housewife?”
He closed his eyes and inhaled heavily through his nose. When he opened his eyes, they were hardened lumps of coal and his pistol was pressed against her temple.
“Do something then!” He waited but she didn’t move or attempt to speak. He slipped the gun back into the small hidden compartment under the table. “If I say you ain’t gonna be a part of it, you ain’t a part of it.”
He kissed his teeth and sat back, “Keepin’ you alive is not fuckin’ coddling you. Eat your pancakes.”
They sat in the main lounge, dressed in their Mafia blacks, strapped in and tense faced as the jet bounced against the tarmac of Montego Bay airport and taxied to the private drop off point. Ava’s eyes were fixed on the window as she took in the lushness of the bountiful West Indian island. They had finally arrived in Jamaica and she could not quite come to terms with the fact that she and Aiden were international felons on the run, and that they had done it successfully. She looked to her partner in crime and he too was focused on the new world outside of their window, but there was something else in his face that worried her. She was sure it wasn’t his irritation with her over breakfast, because they’d abandoned it halfway to relieve their frustrations on one another. She’d left him a bite mark on his shoulder, and he’d left her with a tender scalp.
Aiden eyes searched the tarmac and his brow furrowed. With a swipe of his hand, he unbuckled himself and stood up before the plane had even come to a stop. “Stay here.”
“What’s wrong?” Her hands fumbled at her buckle.
He pinned her shoulders to the seat and deepened his tone, “Heaven -stay. Here.” He held her gaze until she nodded and put her hands back on the armrest. He stalked into the cockpit, a vision of composure, soon undone when he yanked the door so hard that it smashed against the wall and the handle left a dent.
Mighty and Captain Loren jumped.
“Mr Michaels, you need to remain in your seat until we stop,” Loren scolded him, with less bass in his voice than he would use on his usual clientele.
Aiden black eyes burned holes in the back of his head.
Mighty knew that face well. He tensed, “Boss, what’s wrong?” Aiden grabbed the back of Loren’s chair and swung him around to face him and any small authority the captain held, filtered away with the colour in his face. Mighty quickly took hold of the steering. His eyes jumped between making sure the plane didn’t plough through the terminal and what was happening inches from him.
Aiden dropped to eye level and came in close to Loren’s face. “Where’s the car?” he spoke in a velvety tone in direct conflict with his demeanour.
Loren pressed himself against the back of the chair to salvage any possible distance between him and those cold, sharp, bottomless black eyes. His voice shook, “Mr Michaels, what are you_?”
Aiden jerked his face closer and swallowed the small space trembling captain had made. His breath was hot on his cheek, “The car, Captain; why is it not here?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged and shook his head too fast, “They running late? I don’t know.”
“My people don’t run late.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I really don’t kn_” Loren’s voice stopped short at the soft click and cool metal of Aiden’s gun pressed to his temple.
He slowly applied pressure in the soft dip of flesh on the side of his head, “Don’t tell me you don’t know again, Captain. I pay you way too much for you to not know things like this.”
Mighty brought the jet to a safe stop then scanned the airport to check that they weren’t in direct sight of anyone who may see a pilot with a gun to his head as a problem. “Boss, maybe we should take this somewhere more discreet?”
Loren got his space back as Aiden straightened up, only to loom over him, “Get up.” He marched the captain to the lounge with the gun at his back.
“Aiden?” Seeing Loren with a gun in his spine made Ava’s heart sink as the feeling of relief was pulled under by a familiar anxiousness. “What’s happening?”
“That’s what I’m going to find out. Loren, have a seat.” He pushed onto the sofa and soon his face was back in his. Loren sunk lower in the sofa. “Let me be clear; I like you captain, I do, but I’m going to count to three and if you lie to me again, I may not like you so much, you get my drift?” He waved his pistol in his face. “One.”
Beads of moisture formed at Loren’s temples and in his eyes. “Please don’t do this. I have a family. Please!” He looked at Ava and Mighty. Mighty’s face was stoic, so far removed from the goofy genius he’d been friendly with the entire journey, but Ava, she looked disturbed. “Help me.”
Ava gripped the arms of the chair and breathed slowly. This was hard to watch; he seemed like a good man and he was so clearly terrified…but he hadn’t answered the question. She forced a calmness steady her heartbeat in her throat, “Tell him what he wants to know, Captain.”
Aiden looked back at her. She nodded. He brought the captain’s face back to meet his glare with the tip of his gun, “Don’t look at her, look at me. Two.”
“Mr Michaels, please…” he clasped his hands together, “I’m begging you, please, don’t do this.”
Aiden felt himself shut down. It was as if his subconscious flipped a switch in his chest to turn his heart off. It made unfortunate situations like this simpler. To kill one’s enemy was pretty easy, but a man he considered a good person…there was nothing easy about it. But he’d promised Ava he would protect her and if Loren wouldn’t cooperate in helping him keep his promise, then he had to go. “Thre_”
“WAIT!” Mighty pointed at the window, “Wait, don’t shoot. There it is. The truck is here.”
A black Jeep rumbled down the tarmac and pulled up alongside them.
“Oh, thank god!” Loren breathed. He slumped in the chair and his body shook with tears, “Thank god.” Everyone in the room exhaled with him.
Everyone except Aiden.
“Loren, you are one lucky son of a gun,” Mighty smiled. He’d grown quite fond of the Captain on their flight over and thought it would be a shame for him to die…though he wasn’t sure that that wouldn’t happen as Aiden hadn’t removed the gun from his head.
Aiden watched the car.
No one got out.
He gripped his gun tighter and gestured to the Maid, “Take my wife to the bedroom. Stay low.” He reached into the back of his waistband and handed her a spare pistol, “Stay close to the emergency exit.”
Ava stood up, “Something bad is about to happen and your first instinct is to tuck me away?”
“My first instinct is to keep you safe.”
“I appreciate that, but I want to help.”
“You’re not ready to help. Go.”
He gritted his teeth but kept his velvet voice levelled, “Heaven, I don’t have time for this. The longer we drag this out, the quicker whoever is in that car figures out that something is wrong.”
“Which is exactly why you need me.” She manoeuvred around the Maid and zeroed in on Loren, who upon realising that the presence of the missing transport appearing hadn’t swayed his client at all, had stopped breathing again. Ava sat next to him. She placed her hand gently on his back.
“What do you think you’re doing?” the velvetiness in Aiden’s tone spiked.
She ignored him. “It’s okay, Captain. I know you’re afraid, I am too. I’m going to do my best to help you, like you asked. If you want to see your family again you must work with me, okay?” He didn’t respond but she knew he was listening. She looked up at Aiden, “Please, give us some space.”
“Are you out of your mind?” he growled.
“I’m not hiding.”
“Go with the Maid, NOW.”
She turned back to Loren, “You mentioned your family. You have two daughters, right?”
He nodded; his mouth too dry to reply coherently.
“Are they in danger?”
Loren averted his focus to his hands. His heartbeat was so loud in his ears that he was certain the Mafia could hear it too.
“Captain,” she softened her voice to a caress, rubbed his back and leaned in closer, “Is someone trying to hurt your daughters?”
He blinked at his hands.
She cupped his chin and turned his face to hers slowly. The tip of Aiden’s gun dragged along his temple to the back of his head. “It’s okay, you can tell me,” she shifted closer. “I know you know who I am, Captain.”
He nodded and whispered, “You’re the girl from the news. The Lockewood girl.”
Aiden growled low in his throat.
“Yes, and I want to help you and your daughters. I know what it’s like to lose my father over senseless violence. Don’t make them lose their father, Captain Loren, because believe me…” she swallowed, “It will tear them apart.” She grabbed his hands, “The only way we all get out of this alive is if we work together. I want to send you back to them, so will you work with me, Captain?”
“I want to, Mrs Michaels, but if I do, they die.” He pulled his hands out of hers.
She grabbed his shoulders, “We can protect them.”
“No, you can’t,” he brushed her off him like she carried a deadly plague, “You can’t. You don’t know these people. They’re powerful”
Ava lifted her chin, “We are powerful.”
“Not like them. I’m empathise with what happening to you, Mrs Michaels. You deserve better than this, but so do my girls. As much as I want to, I can’t help you.” Before she could stop him, Loren lurched up and pounded his fists against the small oval window, “HEELLLLLP!”
“So much for all your help,” Aiden muttered. He grabbed him by the back of his collar and hauled him to the ground. The heel of his gun handle flew down from above and cracked against the bridge of Loren’s nose. Loren howled and spluttered through the stream of blood that followed. “Shut up!”
“Fuck your girls! Do you know how much we had to go through to get here?” He swung the heel of his gun again. Loren’s face snapped to the right. “And you wanna fuck ME over? After all I’ve done for you and your girls?” He dropped the gun and socked him in the jaw. Blood splattered across the carpet. Loren spat out teeth. “Who are you working for?”
Tears marbled with the blood running down Loren’s face. He wheezed through his broken nose and groaned, “Please…”
Aiden hit him again, “Answer me.”
“STOP!” Ava clambered off of the couch and tugged Aiden’s shoulders, but it was like trying to move a statue. “FOR GOD’S SAKE, LOREN, ANSWER HIM!”
“Guyssss,” Mighty’s voice came low and wary. He stepped back from the window, “They’re getting out of the car.”
All the commotion stopped.
Aiden picked up his gun, “How many?”
“Three of them on the tarmac.”
Ava went to the window and saw three men arranging themselves around the jet.
“Heaven, get away from the window!”
She squinted, “I know the guy on the right…he works at the Rococo Lounge.” She looked back at Aiden, her eyes wide, “These are my father’s men.”
Mighty looked down at Loren, curled up and quivering at Aiden’s feet, holding his face as if he could push the blood back in. He frowned, “You’re working with The Syndicate?”
“Chris is never going to stop coming after me, is he?” she sank down into the chair.
“He won’t get you,” Aiden glared at the crying captain. He stooped and grabbed his face. It slipped between his finger as he tried to get a good grip. “We’ve been trying to get away from them for months. We finally make it out alive and then you…” he squeezed his jaw and pushed his fingers into the slippery blood-slicked hollows of Loren’s cheeks, “…You hand us over to them on a platter.”
“More of them are coming out of the car, boss.” Mighty’s voice went up an octave and he began to reach into hidden compartments above him that produced weapons that looked like they belonged in a James Bond flick.
“And there’s another truck pulling up,” the Maid added.
Aiden sneered at Loren, “You are never going to see them again.” He let go of Loren and pulled Ava to his side. “Heaven, look at me.” Her eyes were glazed over like ‘That’s So Raven’ mid-vision. They were directed at Aiden’s face, but he could tell that she wasn’t seeing him. “I know you want to help, but I won’t be able to focus on doing what I need to do if I’m worried about you. Go with the Maid and hide until I come back for you.”
She blinked out of her trance and frowned, “No!”
He cupped her face, “If we’re going to have any chance of getting out of this, you have to stop being so fucking stubborn and do as I say.”
“We’re outnumbered,” She gestured at the additional Syndicate soldiers as they dispersed from the second truck. “Chris made sure to send enough men to take us out. You and Mighty aren’t enough. You need me too. You have to let me help because if you don’t come back for me_”
He kissed her hard. “I will always come back for you. Now go.” He released her and that chilling feeling of not feeling him, felt colder than ever. “Mighty, come with me.”
Ava narrowed her eyes at Loren. They’d thought they were finally out of the woods, for the foreseeable future at least, but thanks to him, it turned out they’d never left it.
Before Aiden could fathom what was about to happen, she yanked a nearby fire extinguisher from the wall and drove it down onto Loren’s already softend skull…
All the while she screamed out her frustration, her sorrow, her rage and endless anxiety at the top of her lungs as blood and pulverized insides flecked with tiny pieces of shattered bone sprayed her new clothes, clean skin and hair and burrowed underneath her fresh manicure.
When she was done, she threw her blood slick weapon of choice at Aiden’s feet. Her heavy panting and the thud of it hitting the ground and rolling across the carpet was the only sound in the room. “I’ll go hide now.”
The Maid silently opened the partition and she stormed through it.
Mighty gawked after her retreating figure, “What the fuck was that?”
“My wife,” Aiden said. He looked at the remains of Loren’s smashed skull and kissed his teeth, “It would have been much cleaner to put a bullet through his head.”
“…That’s all you have to say? A, the Lockewood girl just smashed Captain Loren’s head in with a freakin’ fire extinguisher!”
“She’s a Michaels’ now.”
“I’ll say. She fucking nuts!”
Mighty’s surprise at her outburst was valid, she never would have done anything like that a few months ago. Aiden didn’t know if he liked it or not.
He frowned at him. “Let’s end this. Go get your shit.”
Thank you so much for your patience, my lovely luvs. I hope you enjoyed the chapter.
Let me know your thoughts:
What do you think of the direction of the characters or what do you think is going to happen between Ava and Aiden in future chapters?
Please leave a comment below.