ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.
Val saw Matt’s fear in every move he made. How his body was always angled toward her to keep his attention on her. Even while he played the violin, his eyes always looked up at her. And because of that, she noticed his whole heart wasn’t in his music. Asahi and Ivan didn’t notice, but Val did. The sound wasn’t as rich and fulfilling as when he usually played.
Oh, little one, you’re not even fully developed and you’re already causing trouble… Val thought as Matt finished up the last song for the night.
When Val’s phone rang she immediately left Matt to speak to Asahi and Voronin while she went out into the hall to answer the phone. She kept the door cracked so that Matt could see her as she spoke. She didn’t want him to feel anymore anxious than he was. She didn’t move away from the door staying in Matt’s field of vision before she glance down at the caller ID that flashed Zaid Ussan.
She answered it but didn’t say anything.
“Vala, what is going on?” His soft voice came through to her calmly, but she felt the worry in his tone. Her uncle could fool others, but not her. “Why are you with that Ishikawa and not with the physician?” The way her uncle spoke, Ishikawa might as well be a derogatory word. And it kind of was to her. She didn’t tell Matt, because she didn’t want him to hate the man because of her past.
Ten years ago, while she was still married to Domenic, her ex-husband brought her to Japan for the first time. And it was the first time she met Asahi and his son Eiichi, the now current leader of the Ishikawa group of Osaka. That meeting ended with Eiichi buying a night with Val while Domenic watched. Though Asahi didn’t participate, that old pig knew and said nothing to stop it or discourage it. But she wasn’t surprised. Asahi was old school male chauvinist, not believing a woman was worth more than what was between her legs and the number of sons that could be born. The only reason the pig showed respect to her today was either his love for Matt’s music or his respect for Bellini-Sadik.
No, to be honest, she didn’t tell Matt because she knew her puppy would have Ivan kill off the Ishikawa’s if he knew.
Though she was a little uncomfortable staying in the man’s house, she was professional enough to separate her personal feelings from business. Being the second in command of Bellini-Sadik, she had to be careful with all these old families.
When Val never answered her uncle, he sighed. “For you to be out and about, you must be feeling better, however I still want you to get checked out just in case.” His accented voice paused. “When can you meet with the doctor?”
If she said in a week, that would be too long and would raise too much suspicion.
“You know who I’m with…” In other words she was telling the man not to make it a big deal so Ivan Voronin wouldn’t get suspicious. She thought over her words carefully to let him know she was out of danger and fine. “I’m no longer worried, but if you want to be assured… Maybe two days.”
Her uncle groaned. “Voronin… They have always been too much trouble…” But the Code didn’t allow them to just eliminate any and everyone no matter how troublesome or indecent they were. Otherwise, she would have killed off a lot of people by now. “You know I don’t like the eldest.” He didn’t like Ivan because Ivan was drooling over his only child, Khalid. Normally, her uncle wouldn’t care much about Ivan. Her uncle was already distressed about Khalid’s insatiable habits so adding Ivan to Khalid’s habits was adding fuel to a bonfire. “I know you have your own plans and your own mind, so do as you must, but make sure you see the doctor before you leave Osaka. Also… I don’t want a feud between Voronin and Ishikawa, because it could create problems for the Code’s network in that area. So avoid Eiichi if you can.” Her uncle understood how Matt would react if he found out. Her uncle must have several spies in Ishikawa if he was concerned about a feud.
“The father and son don’t communicate much, so it shouldn’t be a-“
“He’s been asking after you, Vala.”
That shocked her. “What?”
“Eiichi Ishikawa wanted to buy you from Domenic after that…incident. Not just another night, but permanent…ownership.”
Oh, no. Chills ran up Val’s back that turned into anger. “Those should’ve been the first words that came out of your mouth the moment you called me.” Her voice raised enough to get the attention of the guards and the men inside the room. She didn’t bother saying goodbye to her uncle when she hung up. She walked back to where Ivan, Matt, and Asahi watched her wearily.
“We need to go,” Val said but the edge in her voice made it clear it wasn’t up for negotiation. She wasn’t in the mood to pretend with Asahi anymore. She glanced at the old man who’s back straightened. What was he bracing himself for? Why did it look like he was guilty of something? The old gangster never felt guilty about anything. The moment the thought flickered in her mind, she stepped closer. This coward gave up his organization because he feared his son’s growing power and wanted to save his own life. What wouldn’t this fool do to keep his son happy? Would he sell her out to the son, thinking she was too much of a whore and not worthy of Matt? She wasn’t worthy of Matt, but who the hell cared? Matt loved her. No, this old yakuza wasn’t stupid enough to disrespect Bellini-Sadik or he would face Donya’s wrath. And while Donya might be inferior in the his eyes because she was a woman, no one in the underworld was foolish enough to believe she was weak. If anything, Donya had twice the backbone of any man because she had to prove herself over and over. That meant a lot of people was tortured and died by her hands.
No, Asahi wasn’t stupid enough to go against Val. But Eiichi might be. Though he grew powerful forces in Osaka, he was too ambitious and sometimes that meant paranoia. He might keep an eye on his father just to make sure his old enemy didn’t sneak up on him. With eyes on his father, those eyes would’ve noticed her arrival and someone might have reported that Val was in this house. If he was foolish enough to pursue her, he wouldn’t care about Ivan Voronin or Bellini-Sadik and he would come knocking.
“Val, what’s going on?” Matt asked, looking concerned even as he stood up to follow her.
Val stopped half-way between Matt and Asahi. She took Matt’s hand and said, “Thank you, for your hospitality, be we need to leave.” She bowed to Asahi, feigning respect, not wanting to alert Matt of how much she loathed this man.
Asahi just nodded once with a slight frown.
“Ivan, can I trouble you to get our bags? We’re headed straight to the airport.” She smiled up at the man.
“Of course.” Ivan pointed at one of his guards. “You. Go do.”
The guard nodded before going to grab their bags.
While taking Matt’s hand, she turned to pull him out the room without letting him say goodbye.
“Asahi, we’ll talk later,” Ivan said, his tone was light and playful. “For now, I must pamper my son.”
When Val’s phone rung again, she peeked at the caller ID. Her uncle again. She answered it without a word as she continued her journey through the wooden hallways, past shoji screens, to the outer courtyard of the house.
“Eiichi is in a business meeting right now, however, the news of you in Osaka has gotten to him. I would offer to cause a delay in his departure, but you know the Code-“
“Get me two plane tickets out of Japan.”
“Not a good idea until I know your medical results.”
“I wasn’t. Asking.” Val snapped, hanging up the phone.
“Madam Matt, may I offer a hand?” Ivan asked behind them. “I can buy your ticket and even get you to the airport. Even better, I can take you to my home!” He announced patting himself on the back as if congratulating himself.
“I thought you told me your wife wasn’t home. The Russian government won’t let you in the country if your wife isn’t with you.” Matt smirked.
Val sighed. Ivan caused so much trouble even his own government didn’t want to deal with his crazy without back-up a.k.a. his wife.
“I didn’t say which home. I have a few. There is this lovely one in Egypt.”
“No,” Val and Matt said at the same time. That was too close to her uncle. And when did Ivan buy a home in Egypt?
“If this is an emergency, I’m sure Val has a destination already in mind,” Matt said as they walked toward the row of cars parked at the front gate.
Ivan was about to open his mouth to offer another suggestion when two guards came forward, stepping between them and Ivan’s limo.
“Mrs. Ricci, can you please wait a moment? Our boss would like to speak with you,” one guard said respectfully while keeping his eyes on Ivan.
“It’s Mrs. Delarosa or Mrs. Walthour or Mrs. Bellini-Sadik or Mrs. Voronin Junior.” Ivan counted off on one hand. “Not Ricci. If Asahi wants to speak to my daughter-in-law, he can bring his old ass out here to speak.” Ivan snorted.
“Not Asahi-san.” The guard corrected.
Matt and Ivan both looked at Val with questions all over their face. She cursed inwardly. She wanted to get out of Japan without having to explain too much. But now the two men she didn’t want to know the most, were going to investigate whether she wanted them to or not.
“Tell Eiichi, if he wants to keep good relations between Ishikawa and Bellini-Sadik, then we have nothing to discuss,” Val said trying to sound normal.
Her phone rang again. What now? Instead of answering it, she turned to Ivan. “Please, take me to the airport. And we’ll go to any one of your homes except the one in Egypt or any home close to my cousin.”
“You’re…putting yourself in my hands?” Blue eyes narrowing, Ivan’s voice slowly drawled, “Oh, I’m so, so curious now…”