I won't be lonely
And you won't be silent
And we will be dancing
The way that we're wanting each other to be
If you could commit to
Making me happy
And stay with me in this
Stay with me in this
What do you do when you're in enemy territory, surrounded by said enemies, without the closest thing you have to a hero there to defend you?
Heaven laid in that stark room for hours, unmoving, watching the dust motes glitter and fall to the ground in the thin strip of light that sliced across the floor from beneath the door, breathing in the stale air of her breath, sweat and bed linen, afraid to make a noise that might alert Aiden's Diamond Mafia family of her consciousness lest they enter. She was afraid of being more trapped with them than she already was, and the thought of one of them shut in this stark room with her, with its high ceilings, windowless walls and no Aiden on hand to come to her rescue should she decide to scream for help made her bones rigid. She'd heard Aiden leave this morning; he hadn't bothered to check in on her or left her any instructions as to what she was meant to do or how she was to conduct herself in his absence. He'd left her all alone to fend for herself with people who trusted her even less than they trusted their boss's irrational keeping of her. He clearly trusted that they weren't stupid enough to disobey him, no matter how badly they wanted to.
It had been close to terrifying last night, sat in the meeting room with Aiden, surrounded by Mighty, Stone and...Dougie. Just the thought of his maniacal Cheshire cat smile made the marrow in her stiff bones freeze up and a metaphorical chill up her spine made her teeth chatter. Aiden had become her safe place in that room of drug dealers, killers and thieves, and knowing what she knew of him so far, Aiden being the one who calmed her nerves said a lot about the kind of danger she was in. He was the worst of them all.
Heaven planned to stay in that stark room with the stale air, high ceilings and windowless walls until Aiden returned, but as the minutes and hours ticked by she became restless, hungry and desperately in need of the bathroom. When she could take it no more she stood and dressed herself in a pair of leggings and a sweatshirt, then dragged a brush through her tufts of knotted candyfloss hair and slicked it up into a soft afro puff.
Upon opening the door Heaven came face to face with one of the Mafia maids, uniformed in the body hugging black catsuit, slicked back no-nonsense ponytail, eyes hidden behind dark glasses and the ever stoic expression which concealed any semblance of true emotion. It bothered her that Aiden employed these women; they were like sexy robot assassins in human flesh. She'd only ever seen two to three of them at any given time, and though they all looked the same, they never were. They varied slightly in skin tone, height and build, and unless you paid attention, the way Heaven paid attention, you would never know that there were more of them than the ones that were around you at the time. This one was just as intimidating as the rest. She wondered how many of them Aiden had, why he ordered them to dress this way, why they never spoke...and why they were all female. Heaven knew as much about gang life as what she'd seen in the movies and from BBC and Channel 4 documentaries and it was abundantly clear to her that the Diamond Mafia didn't operate the same way. For a crew that came up from Brixton they were quite eccentric in their way, more like super villains than street thugs, but then she supposed that it was probably their eccentricity that had catapulted them up the underworld's food chain. The maids though...they looked like walking fetishes, but not ones to be taken lightly.
She began to wonder...did Aiden like these women? She studied the maid a little harder. Yes, they looked deadly, she had no doubt that they were, but that was a dominant trait, which wouldn't work for someone as overbearing as Aiden...but they followed his orders like a submissive would, and they were annoyingly easy on the eyes. Something about their deadliness reminded her of Ash and it made her dislike them even more, because if they reminded her of his dead lover, did they remind him too? Once again she found herself feeling threatened by another female; another sensation that hadn't struck Heaven until Aiden came along.
She wished he didn't matter to her so much.
She cleared her throat and squared her shoulders so as not to look as afraid or threatened as she felt. "Hi." The maid said nothing. The only indication that Heaven had her attention was the slight inclination of her head as if she was awaiting an order. "I need to use the bathroom."
The maid led her down the corridor. As she walked past one of the other maids stationed along the compound hallway, this one about two inches shorter with broader shoulders, she whispered something to her so quiet that Heaven couldn't make out what she sounded like. Now it bothered her how mysterious they were; it only added to their assassin allure. The second maid turned towards Aiden's room.
When Heaven remerged from the bathroom Trish was waiting for her with maid number one with a false accommodating smile, which she guessed was meant to set her at ease. It had the opposite effect. She kept her hand on the door knob and rocked back on her heel, leaving enough room to slam it shut should she need to.
"Are you hungry?" The pleasantness of Trish's tone was more convincing than her face.
Heaven opened her mouth to say no so she could go back to her room, but the amplified grumble of her stomach gave her away. "A little," she admitted.
"What would you like?"
"Granola and soy milk..." It sounded like a question, as if she was checking with them that it was okay to make any demands. It wasn't really what she fancied but she didn't want to make herself more of a nuisance than necessary. She'd gotten used to indulging in Aiden's specially prepared vegan breakfasts that he made for her back at his out-house, and now standing in the compound corridor, barricaded in the bathroom by Trish and the assassin made her appreciate his effort. She doubted that they were willing to go through the trouble he did, so a basic breakfast would have to suffice.
Trish nodded at the maid, approving Heaven's request. The maid nodded back and disappeared from sight. Trish turned back to Heaven, "Get dressed and I'll meet you in the kitchen," she said ushering her back into the bathroom. "There are towels in the airing cupboard and spare toothbrushes under the sink."
At last Heaven was alone again. She contemplated drawing herself a bath, but the deep oval tub didn't seem as enticing as it had the night she'd spent drunk and high, nestled between the thick firmness of Aiden's thighs. She doubted any bath she took after that would be as thrilling without him in it. It had been the first time she'd seen a naked man in real life and what a magnificent sight he was to behold. Her virginity had still been intact that night, but she recalled the way she'd wanted it not to be, how she'd whined, and purred, and begged him to take her then and there, but he'd waited until she was of sound mind and unmistakably willing to do so.
Ever the complicated gentleman.
Heaven opted for a shower and tried to draw it out as much as she could to delay being out in the open with Trish and god who knows else was wandering around. Forty-five minutes later she was escorted into the kitchen area by the maid apparently assigned to her for the day. With as many people that occupied the compound she expected it to feel more homely, but it was sleek and shiny, like a Stoneham showroom kitchen; it was as if no one lived there at all. This undisturbed theme resonated with the bathroom, with her room, the meeting room...the playroom. She had yet to see the rest of the compound but she imagined it was the same throughout. Should the Diamond Mafia choose to disappear from their beloved compound one day, they would always be prepared to leave without a trace. Heaven figured that doing what they did they'd had to be ready to leave at a moments notice.
There was a rectangular table at the far end with six chairs around it and two place settings. Trish occupied one, sipping coffee and nibbling on toast. A bowl of granola and a small jug of soy milk sat untouched next to her. Heaven walked barefoot across the cool slate grey tiled floor, her arms tucked tight against her sides careful not to touch the polished black surfaces and chrome fixtures.
Trish's false smile was back in place as Heaven took her seat next to her. "Would you like tea or coffee?" she asked like a rehearsed hostess. Heaven noticed the maid suddenly at her side awaiting her order.
"Tea, please -green if you have it," she replied quietly. She really did not want to ask for anything else. The more things she had, the longer she had to stay out in the open. The maid went to fix her a cup. Heaven fiddled with her fingers unsure of what to do next. Sensing her hesitancy Trish leant in with near enough a genuine smile and stage whispered, "You can start eating now."
With a nervous giggle Heaven tucked into the granola. It was easier to eat and keep her eyes on the bowl as its contents decreased than to force herself to make eye contact and small talk with the other red mouthed girl, but it couldn't last long; eventually her food would run out and try as she did to fill the other half of the silence with her tea drinking, it still came to a rapid end anyway. She hoped that Trish would be the one to break the silence; she'd been a tad chattier when she revamped her hair but within the confines of the compound her pleasantries were even more strained than they were before.
Heaven set her cup down, "Is Jamie asleep?" she forced herself to ask.
"He's with Aiden."
They fell back into silence.
The sound of the front door opening made Heaven's mood brighten like a summer morning in July. Though he wasn't her favourite person in the world, she found comfort in the thought of Aiden's return. She wasn't sure how much more of this forced girls brunch date she could take. The door shut and then there was no sound until Trish looked lazily up into the doorway of the kitchen and her posture became erect. Her eyes flickered to Heaven then back to the door.
Heaven stiffened, the marrow in her bones froze, a chill ran up her spine and she clenched her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering. It wasn't until the chair next to her scraped against the tiled floor that she even knew he was near.
Dougie sat in the chair the wrong way, his body positioned over the side so that he was facing her, glaring at her and smiling in his way.
"Dougie," Trish repeated his name with a warning lilt, praying that he wouldn't do anything reckless –like kill Heaven.
"Why's she with you? Where's A?"
"He'll be back in a minute," she hoped.
"So he's not here?"
Heaven's hands started to tremble. She gripped the teacup with both of them in an attempt to disguise her terror, but the little liquid that sat in the bottom rippled, giving her away and answering Dougie's question.
His smile widened. "Would you like a top up?"
Heaven wanted to believe that he was talking to Trish but he was still staring directly at her, looking more menacing than usual with his baseball cap on and his hood up, his white teeth gleaming from within the shadows. She shook her head, staring into the rippling tea water at the bottom of the cup, wishing she could dive in and swim far, far away from him.
"You're scaring her," Trish said tightly, annoyed but, Heaven detected, slightly amused.
"Am I?" he asked Heaven. Trish's amusement irritated her, but Dougie's scared her half to death. The things that made him happy generally didn't bode well for the source of his entertainment.
"Yes, now stop it. If you're bored go and do something."
He continued to smile and stare, unmoved by his little sister's mild hostility. Trish had a temper and this wasn't it. If she was really that concerned about what would happen to 'the Lockewood girl', she could make Dougie leave her alone, but she didn't.
Heaven knew that it was up to her to remove herself from the looming threat that was Dougie Monroe. "Well, I'm done so I'm gonna go." She hurriedly pushed her heels against the floor to slide her chair away from the table.
Her feeble escape was abruptly interrupted by Dougie's hand slamming against the back of it. "Stay," he purred. Maybe it was supposed to sound like and invitation, like, 'No, don't be silly. Stay here, talk with me,' but it sounded more like a 'Don't you dare move.'
Heaven placed her trembling hands on top of her thigh and waited with baited breath.
"You," he looked at Trish, "Leave."
"I don't care what Aiden said."
Trish attempted to stare down her big brother. He shouldn't defy Aiden's orders and he knew it, especially when it came to the Lockewood girl. Trish hated it as much as he did; Heaven was the daughter of the man who'd killed Keegan. She didn't understand how Aiden could stand to look at her, let alone let her live when the only purpose she served was to remind him of what he'd lost. That's what the rest of them felt when they saw her –loss. But he'd saved her, and Aiden was particular about who he saved. Trish knew better than to defy Aiden when things were personal, but her big brother, with his calculating smile and his unnerving stare that peeked out from under the peak of his black baseball cap, felt like more of a threat than Aiden at that moment, though had Aiden been standing there she'd have felt a lot differently.
They all would.
"Fine, but don't hurt her. Aiden left her with me and if anything happens to her you know who he's gonna blame, so don't fuck about," she snapped. Dougie's smile changed and his eyes became less formidable. Where Keegan had needed monitoring, Trish had been the opposite and was the one who looked out for everyone –she had a reputation as the 'little mum' of the crew. She touched Heaven's shoulder, "If he so much as breathes on you, you call me. I mean it."
Heaven's eyes widened and she wanted to scream, 'Then why leave me with him?' but her fear of Dougie had a chokehold on her throat and all she could do was release a raspy panicked sound.
Trish looked back at her brother, "You have five minutes." She marched out of the kitchen, her fluffy heeled slippers click-clacked against the floor, the sharp sound growing quieter as she until there was silence.
Heaven's eyes were stuck in the empty doorway, too afraid to turn back and acknowledge that she had been left alone with the quite smiling man.
He stopped smiling and folded his hands in his lap, "What's going on between you and Aiden?"
Heat flushed her neck, "Why are you asking me that?" she replied too embarrassed to confirm what everyone already knew.
Dougie grabbed the front legs of her chair and swung her around to face him. Her first instinct was to make a run for it but his quick hand shot out again, blocking her escape path. "Sit. Down."
She settled back into her seat.
"What are you doing with Aiden?"
"I'm doing as I'm told," she trembled, pressing her body against the back of the chair as if the millimetres of space she regained would make any substantial difference. She was still alone, sat face to face with Dougie Monroe. The negatives outweighed the positives.
"Because you want to or because you think you have to?"
She wasn't sure how to answer that. It wasn't like things were black and white when it came to her and Aiden. It was more a kaleidoscopic grey area; some brighter spots tinged with everything that was wrong with them, and some darker spots blessed by everything that was right. They were fifty shades of grey, a roiling storm cloud ever on the brink of bursting, a film noir made reality. What was she supposed to say? What was the right answer? Was there even a right answer? If it was because she wanted to, she was bad. If it was because she had to, he was bad, but when they were together, really together, just the two of them, they were good. They were spectacular. She blinked. "I...I don't know."
"Let me make this simpler for you; you don't have to, so if you don't mean it, stop it or I will," he leant in closer, "Permanently."