ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.
A strange smell drifted under Gabe’s nose, making him frown, head twitched for a second before his consciousness came to him slowly. As if pulled from a dark abyss, he slowly began to recognize sounds. As if he was in the middle of a market place he heard shouting, laughing, honking of horns. Confused, he forced his dry eyes to open and see light for what felt like the first time.
He took a deep breath, observing the ceiling that held cracks and stains of who knows what. He turned over slightly to see a window that had no glass panes. He didn’t have to lean far to peer out the open window that overlooked a narrow alleyway where many street vendors sold their various fruits and vegetables. The air was hot and muggy, with no AC to relieve the humidity. He sat up slowly, trying to remember how he got here and…where the hell was here?
Listening to the language coming from the street below, it was definitely Spanish. Tropical weather. Spanish as a main language with a unique dialect… He was still on the Western Hemisphere but where exactly?
And how did he… Hospital…Cody! He quickly got out of bed to look around for a phone then paused. The room was bare. Nothing but the bed and a tiny bathroom across from him. The dark green paint inside the room looked chipped and cracked. An older building.
His mind raced remembering what happened after getting to the hospital… Coffee. Val. He hadn’t drank any so how? How did she drug him?
He always knew that woman was dangerous, but he never would’ve thought she would turn against him. He slammed his fist into the wall, before he turned to the door about to open it.
But it opened without him.
“Hello, Cousin. I hear you’re awake.” A mocking voice entered before the door swung open fully. Standing in the doorway was the last person in the world he wanted to see. His cousin, Bilal Sadik, the only person in the world that Gabriel was weary of more than his mother. And his mother was the only one who could keep this violent man in check. Bilal was a murderer — an assassin who loved his job a little too much. At first glimpse, a person would think that lean frame and bad boy appearance was attractive. But the longer a person stayed in his radius, the more uncomfortable they’d feel. His presence was like a coiled snake ready to strike at any second.
Though he and Bilal didn’t grow up together, he could be considered a brother since Donya had raised the younger man after Bilal’s mother lost her mind and tried to kill her children after killing the father. Bilal was eight, and at the time Gabe was eighteen. He wasn’t sure if it was mental illness that ran in that family or that fact he barely survived his mother’s attack, but Bilal’s mental state remained at the edge of psychotic since being adopted by Donya. Bilal was the reason Gabe constantly trained himself to grow stronger in several martial arts so that he could at least be on Bilal’s level if the man should ever try to kill him. But unfortunately, Bilal was faster because of his younger age and slimmer profile.
“From that look, I can guess you weren’t expecting me.” The man shrugged his narrow shoulders.
“Where is…” Gabe cleared his dry throat before finishing, “Cody?”
“You care?” The man asked lifting a striped eyebrow. To look more intimidating, Bilal scarred his own eyebrows to leave two stripes in the left one and one stripe in the right.
“Of course.” Gabe answered.
The man chuckled. “You sure have an…unusual way of showing it, cousin, because it seems you fucked up.” Those light brown eyes held no humor as he laughed. “You had the girl, but lost her.”
Gabe stopped breathing. “Lost…”
“You not only pissed off your lady love, but you pissed off her grandmother. She ordered me to keep you away from Cody. And you know me, I follow orders.”
“No one can keep me away from-“ He tried to rush the man and grab his shirt, but before he could get close he found himself on his back and the man held a gun to his forehead.
“How does it feel to be powerless?” The man asked, the little traces of humor gone.
Gabe just stared up at the man wishing to rip him apart.
“You might be stronger, but I’m faster. As long as I don’t lower my guard, I will always be one step ahead of you. How does it feel, Lloyd? Having no control.” That Turkish accent thickened with each word.
“I get it. I fucked up. I shouldn’t have said and done what I did. I regret it. Now where is Cody?”
Loud laughter filled the small space.
Gabe shoved the gun away from his head and jumped to his feet in one fluid move.
Bilal only stepped back to give him room. “You think apologizing will make this all better? Cousin, you don’t know your mother well. When she wants to punish someone, she fucking makes their life hell.”
Gabe closed his eyes as he realized what kind of shit he was in.
“Now, you’re getting it. Other than that marriage she pushed on you, this is the only other time I’ve ever seen her punish you.”
Because Gabe learned early never to get on his mother’s bad side. He was young, maybe five or six, when he’d seen his mother ordered someone’s torture and that person was tortured before his eyes. He’d never seen his mother get her hands dirty directly, but she had plenty of blood on them regardless. That was the nature of their world. He accepted and respected it.
“I can’t believe she’s doing this to me… We only had one fight,” Gabe said through clinched teeth, wondering if Cody was lashing out at him by going to his mother. That didn’t seem like Cody’s style at all.
“You don’t think your mother knows about all the other shit you did to Cody?”
Gabe closed his eyes and remembered, he was dealing with his mother and not Cody. While he could keep Cody in the dark most of the time, he could never hide anything from his mother.
“And it might have only been one fight, but from what I know of your daughter, she’s swallowed a lot of her complaints in order to keep the peace between you.”
“How do you know that?” Gabe frowned not believing Cody told him. She didn’t even know Bilal…did she?
Bilal didn’t answer and just stared at him knowingly before he said, “Your mother give me a little memento before I came here.” He pulled out a voice recorder. He pressed a button on it and a soft aged voice came forward.
“Hello, Lloyd.” His mother’s words began. “Over the years, I’ve turned a blind eye to your selfishness when it comes to my granddaughters. You neglected Molly. You alienated Cody from nearly everyone.”
Gabe closed his eyes knowing he should feel ashamed and yet that emotion barely touched him. Yes, he treated Molly as a duty, an obligation instead of a daughter, but he never mistreated her. They even became something close to friends after she found out about the relationship he had with Cody. Although that friendship turned to shit the moment Molly believed he was abusing Cody over the last eight months. And he admitted, he took the pregnancy badly, but Cody was his. No one else’s. His. And pride gave no room for apologies.
His mother’s voice continued over the recording. “When a woman is pregnant, she’s at her most vulnerable — physically, mentally, emotionally. But the fact you used that to attack her over and over, to the point she nearly lost my great-grandbabies. I will not tolerate it.”
“I’m sure you know what comes next.”
He did. If his mother wasn’t a crime lord, she’d make the perfect judge and jury.
“First, your crime. You alienated her. Manipulated her. Insulted her. And coerced her to abandon her friends and her family.”
Each word acted like a knife cutting into Gabe’s mind. His mother knew about the compromise he made with Cody. Did Cody tell her? Or had she been spying?
“How dare you try to keep my granddaughter from seeing me? How dare you after I finally got a relationship with her!” His mother’s voice rose just slightly. Just enough to know how mad she was. “And you had the nerve to call her an incubator? I wanted to shoot you in the head.”
Gabe stared at the recorder in shock. He did say that didn’t he? But he was so scared of losing her to Bailey and his family he nearly lost his mind. The words came before he could stop himself. Pain finally touched his heart as he remembered the horrified look on Cody’s face. She looked like she wanted to scream and cry… He did that to her after he had sworn, he’d never hurt her again. In that moment, he knew he was a lowlife asshole.
He remembered the anger on Mario’s face before the man hit him in the jaw nearly breaking it. Mario was like a brother to him. The man never hit anyone out of anger only duty, because he had excellent self-control. But that was the first time the man ever raised a hand in anger. “You proved today, you don’t deserve her. Or me. I quietly watched as you ignored her phone calls. I patiently tried to counsel you about a woman’s emotional state when they’re pregnant because I have first-hand knowledge, but you ignored my words and pretended nothing mattered more than your fucking ego. So clearly you don’t need me. I’m done with you,” The man had said before resigning to go work for Val. He knew in that moment he had crossed a line. He might have been insecure, but he shouldn’t have lashed out like that. But instead of apologizing he distanced himself to keep from saying anything else that would hurt Cody.
“Second, your punishment. Since you want to separate me from my granddaughter, I’m beating you to the punch. I’m separating her from you and showing you what if feels like to be powerless and helpless.” Her voice hissed. “And I hope you struggle and try to escape so that Bilal kicks your sorry ass.” The recording ended.
“So what are the terms of my punishment?” Gabe asked knowing it wasn’t going to be easy.
“Learn what it feels like to be under someone else’s control. You want food, I have your money. You want shelter, you have to stay where I stay. If you want to escape from me, I’ll beat the shit out of you and handcuff you. You want a phone call? You have to wait until I feel like giving you my phone.”
With every word spoken, Gabe’s muscles tensed more and more. Though he stood taller and stronger than Bilal, it was nearly impossible to overpower the agile man. His mother had calculated well.
Gabe closed his eyes as he recounted one of his encounters with Cody. It was right before she got artificially inseminated.
“Three years?” Cody looked upset.
“Yes. You want me to put up with this pregnancy, you can’t see them for three years. I’m the only one you get to be with in those years.” His words were colder than he meant them to be, but it wasn’t even close to how he felt having to submit to this shit.
“Not even talks over the phone?” She asked curling up on the bed, holding her knees.
“Those are my terms. If you want to do this. You do it my way.”
Cody remained silent for a long time looking at him with a helplessness that nearly made him give in a little. But when he thought about having to share her even more, he decided to harden his resolve.
Finally, she nodded. “Ok.”
Gabe didn’t think much about those encounters where he made her surrender to him because he had gotten his way each time without a major fight from her. She never seemed sad or angry afterwards because they still watched the games in peace, they slept together, they still talked. But had those incidents really bothered her? Did she not want to see him anymore? Clearly his mother wouldn’t keep Cody from seeing him if her granddaughter requested to see him… So had Cody agreed? Separation? Gabe clinched his fist in refusal. He wouldn’t let Cody slip through his fingers. He couldn’t let her go. “How long for the punishment?”
“However long it takes.” Bilal shrugged. “Because it seems, cousin…” Bilal chuckled putting the recorder in his pocket. Then he said words that made Gabe’s heart stop. “Your lady love, doesn’t want to see you.”