ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.
74: Matt Plus Negotiation
“I knew Domenic was stupid, but desperation has made him worse,” Mr. Walthour said into the phone as Matt watched Val pack a bag for Christophe.
It was two in the morning and Val was on coffee cup number two. Matt didn’t need caffeine since he was used to staying up late with his music. Mr. Walthour had called to tell them they were being moved away from his complex just as Val suspected. The intruders that snuck in triggered a security sweep throughout the entire building, which disturbed the residents. Mr. Walthour didn’t want anymore disruptions after that.
“The alliance wants to meet and discuss further options,” Mr. Walthour continued. “I’m sending you and Val to that location so she can be in on the discussion. It’s secure and never been used, so Ricci won’t know about it.”
“How is she, Matt?”
Was that concern for Val or concern she might be in a killing rage?
“Good,” was all he said before he wrapped an arm around her torso.
“Alright, keep me updated.”
“Yes, sir.” His hand slid up her shirt, skimming over the warm soft skin of her flat belly.
Val shook her head, but she didn’t stop him as she continued to pack.
“Ready?” Bailey asked walking in, then rolled his eyes. “Matthew, do you really think this is the time?”
“No time like the present.”
Laughing, Val turned and shoved her son’s packed bag at him. “Let’s go.”
They were escorted from the building by a mixture of Walthour’s and Voronin’s guards.
Christophe was sound asleep, drooling on Bailey’s shoulder. His brother carried the kid, not giving Val or Matt the option. Bailey had kept Christophe occupied and fed while Val worked with security or tried to when Matt kept pulling her into every dark corner he could fine.
Buckling into the armored SUV, Val watched as Bailey secured Christophe beside him, letting the boy lay his head in his lap and tucking a blanket Val had handed to him around the little body.
“He takes such good care of Chris… Don’t tell, Tyler, but I think I’m in love with your brother,” Val said smiling up at Bailey adoringly.
Bailey blushed and Matt just grumbled.
They drove over four hours into a rural area with stretches of land, farm, and… “Was that a llama?” Matt asked gaping at the passing scene. “Can’t wait to show DC.”
By the time they got to the large two story house near a wooded area that would be their heavily secured temporary residence, it was six in the morning, and Matt was ready to crash. There was another house further back in the woods that looked a lot like a barn.
Half of the guards grabbed their bags, while the other half surrounded them as they entered the huge house.
Val quietly checked the interior and went over the security system with the group as Matt followed Bailey upstairs to the bedrooms. One room they entered had two twin beds, where Bailey put Christophe in one and his brother took the other.
Matt went back downstairs to find Val going over blueprints with some of the guards. He knew not to get in the way with her looking that serious, so he turned to go back upstairs when he saw the front door open.
There Pam stood, bruised cheek, split lip, and blood on her shirt. Two other people that didn’t look much like guards followed her in.
The older woman tried to smile at him but winced.
“You look like hell.” Matt grinned going to her.
“You should see the two I put a bullet in.” Her German accent was music to his ears. “The first was for letting his guard down and underestimating a so called old lady. The other bullet was for the one who tried to rearrange my face.” She limped and he helped her to the nearest chair.
“Pam!” Val ran to her friend and looked her over.
“Ma’am,” Pam said before groaning in the cushioned chair.
“I’m so mad at you.” Val leaned down to her and kissing her on the forehead.
“I know. But it had to be done. I promise to make your favorite lamb later.” The older woman sighed leaning her forehead against Val’s.
“You better never do that again.” Val smiled.
“No worries, ma’am, hopefully I won’t have to. It’s definitely not for me. I prefer the kitchen.” She glanced up at Matt and winked.
Glad that Val was happy, Matt left them alone to fuss over each other while he finally got some sleep.
The next day, while Val helped upgrade the security system with technical assistance from Mr. Walthour’s security team, Matt and Bailey watched over Christophe. Pam, who had been flown out to the nearest hospital to be examined, returned by lunch to fix food for everyone. She only suffered bruising according to the reports.
After lunch, Matt played his violin to keep from man handling Val every time she walked by. Christophe sat close by to color in his book while Bailey went for a run around the perimeter.
By dinner, everyone seemed to be a little more anxious, waiting for news of what was going on and when the big meeting would happen. Matt wanted to fool around with Val, but she warned him that the walls in the building were purposefully thin so all sounds could be heard for security purposes. Which meant no dirty fun time unless they wanted Christophe to hear.
Matt woke around five the second morning to find Val huddled next to him knocked out. He stretched to wake the rest of his body when he heard noises coming from downstairs. Talking. Loud talking. He frowned and went to the door, opening it a crack. From what he could tell, there was some argument about what to do about Ricci… The alliance meeting? Was it happening now?
Matt took a quick shower and went back to the bedroom where Val still slept. He kissed her on the cheek and then made his way down the stairs toward the noise.
“No. I want to kill them. What’s to negotiate?” Voronin asked before swigging a glass of water…or vodka. He was lounging on the couch next to Donya Walthour, matriarch of Bellini-Sadik. They were a complete contrast to one another. Donya had long gray hair, olive-gold skin, and was petite. While Voronin had milky white skin, a bald head, and a body with long limps and muscle.
“You can’t just go around killing a group of people and think no one will notice,” Donya said. She sat as regal and dignified as Val always sat, posture perfect and mannerisms graceful.
“I agree,” a man Matt didn’t know nodded his head as he paced the floor. He looked of Middle Eastern descent maybe, with captivating dark brown eyes and shiny wavy brown hair. “And why is he here? He’s not part of the alliance,” the man said, waving his hand at Voronin. “He’s just a wannabe.”
Voronin chuckled. “I see you haven’t changed Ussan. Still throwing rocks with that pretty mouth of yours. You could use it to do something better, like suck my-“
“Ivan, you will not speak like that while I sit here.” Donya sighed looking at him like a disapproving queen.
“Forgive me, Donya.” He bowed his head.
“And Ussan, don’t rile him up.”
“Why?” The man who looked more than amused with his nearly feminine appearance, seemed to truly be curious. “We rile each other up all the time.”
“Khalid, I’m warning you, if you start a fight in this meeting I will have you shot,” The woman said with all seriousness. “And if you insist on acting like a petulant child, go sit in the corner.”
Though threatened, the man just laughed as he waltz gracefully to an empty chair where he turned to glance at Gabe who sat quietly with that same stony expression Matt was used to. Those pale green eyes lifted to catch Matt coming down the stairs.
Several other people that Matt didn’t know turned to look in his direction.
Two of the guests, seemed to recognize him, eyes going wide and excited. Fans. Matt knew that look anywhere.
He was about to head to the kitchen where the sound of pots and pans could be heard. The smell of something awesome made his stomach churn.
“Matt, join us.” Mr. Walthour ordered and Matt did a complete one hundred and eighty degree turn headed for a meeting he wasn’t sure Val would want him sitting in on.
Grinning like a goof, Voronin scooted over and patted the space between him and Donya. Matt took the seat.
“So this is the Mr. Delarosa that took my Valeria away from me?” The man named Khalid Ussan looked Matt over with obvious interest as his long lashes fluttered. “I approve.” His thick lips curved up into something damn near salacious as he licked them.
“Careful, carnal one, Matt will kick your ass if you talk about Val wrong.” Voronin mentioned. “And she’ll stop sending you that ugly art you’re obsessed with if you try to seduce her man.”
Khalid sighed waving thin long fingers in the air. “I always miss out on the best ones.”
“You have your collection of trinkets and…toys to keep you happy, Khalid.” Someone in the room mentioned.
Khalid chuckled and winked at Matt.
“Can we continue?” Donya asked, tilting her head, gray hair spilling over her shoulder as she looked Matt over. “I’m glad you’re well, Matthew.”
“Thank you, and you look beautiful as always.” He smiled.
Donya pursed her lips as if trying not to smile, a slight blush tinting her cheeks. “You speak for Valeria in her absence, am I wrong?”
“Um…” Matt wasn’t sure he should say anything knowing Val was pretty pissed the last few times he spoke for her.
“He does. She told me herself,” Gabe said confirming what Matt must have slept through.
“Oh.” Matt frowned for a moment before he shrugged accepting her judgment.
“Because we have severed ties with Ricci, Val has officially defected into our custody.” Donya spoke plain and slow so that everyone could understand despite her thick accent. “However, Ricci still has claims on her because of the marriage.”
“Which isn’t so easily dissolved, since Ricci is deeply Catholic.” Gabe added.
“When it suits them,” Khalid said and Voronin chuckled.
“With that said,” Gabe continued. “They would have to put in for a declaration of nullity, which can be a lengthy process.”
“I know a guy,” someone in the room said, and Matt swore the accent was that of a good ole New Yorker. “Can get it done like that,” the man said snapping his finger.
“We want it to be legal in the system, Francesco,” Donya said.
The man only shrugged. “Hang a priest over a tall ledge and I promise it’ll be legal.”
“Barbarian,” Khalid said even as he grinned.
Donya didn’t crack a smile as she and Gabe stared at each other as if they were the only two sane ones in the room. And they probably were.
“Can we get back on track?” Gabe said in a tone that silenced the chatter. “Matt the long and short of it is, while Domenic lives, Val and her son are still Ricci. But Ricci is willing to negotiate in order to create a cease fire.”
They wanted peace. Fuck that. “No offense sir, but that’s bull. The moment everything settles down they’ll retaliate. Domenic is too stupid to just let things go,” Matt said. He looked over at Voronin who’s cheeks were rosy from the strong alcohol the man was having for breakfast. Matt could smell it, it was so strong. “When was the last anyone spoke to Domenic?” He asked the man. “What was his state of mind?”
Voronin shrugged. “He’s hidden himself away. Deep, deep under I’m told…” He took a drink and then chuckled.
“We want to resolve this without anymore casualties, since Ivan’s blatant violence has already grabbed the attention of every major police and military agency across the globe,” Donya said sounding annoyed.
“My bad.” He shrugged not looking the least bit apologetic.
“So you want to negotiate… Fine.” Matt nodded. “If they can give Val a proper divorce and denounce any claim to her and her son, then Ricci can live the rest of their days without worry of being hunted…”
Gabe just stared at Matt, as if he didn’t quite believe that was all.
Donya turned to Matt curiously. “That’s it?”
“I agree,” Khalid said sitting up frowning. “I expected more gore, like Domenic’s head on a platter. Or you can give him to me, I can make a yummy platter out of him.”
Voronin and one other in the room chuckled.
The way the man spoke with so much suggestion…Matt wasn’t sure if the man meant he was going to have his way with Domenic or feed him to something that would literally eat him. And he didn’t want to know.
“What about Ricci and the alliance? Are we planning to vote them back in if they agree?” A woman in the room spoke. She seemed more timid than all the others and kept looking to another man as if weary of him.
“No,” Donya said, making it final. “They’ll be on their own.”
“Then who will watch to make sure they don’t retaliate?” Khalid asked.
“We all will.”
There was a wave of groans around the room as some protested and other made different suggestions on what should be done.
While they talked, Matt leaned over to Voronin and whispered. “Why is Domenic still alive?”
“He’s not. When I said deep under, I meant deep under dirt. But Walthour doesn’t want them to know it until we’ve made a decision on what to do about the rest of Ricci.”
Matt wanted to jump up and cheer. Domenic was fertilizer. “So you’re willing to negotiate Ricci’s surrender?”
“Sure. I can kill them off quietly, later.”
“I like how you think.” Matt nodded.
“I like how you like how I think.” Voronin patted him on the back. “I don’t, however, like this house. No place for you to play your piano.”
“I brought my violin.”
“Perfect.” Voronin announced making an invisible toast in the air with his glass.
Gabe watched them both but said nothing.
“Gabriel, is there something you would like to add? You’re unusually quiet,” Donya asked curiously. The room settled as their attention turned to Gabe.
“There is a reason I asked Matt to sit in for Val. Val will officially be taking over Bellini once she’s a full member. I’m adopting her as my sister under Bellini and appointing her regent.”
The room went quiet.
Donya sat forward. “What?”
“Everyone in here knows Valeria and that she once ran Ricci. If not for her, Ricci would have been torn from the alliance years ago. Under her, I believe Bellini will-“
“Fucking surpass us all. Fucking asshole,” Khalid said standing up in outrage. The well groomed man pointed an accusing finger at Gabe. “I bet this was all a part of your scheme wasn’t it? Get rid of Ricci so you can have her all to yourself? Giving none of us a chance to make her an offer? And I’d make her a damn good offer.”
“I agree! Asshole.” Voronin slammed his glass down on the sofa’s side table. “You could’ve waited for the bodies to be buried and the tension to cool before you recruited her, giving us all a chance to make her a better offer.”
“And when were you going to tell me?” Donya asked almost pouting. “I’m your mother for heaven sake.”
Another was about to object to the claim when Matt spoke up.
“Well…” Matt tapped his chin as if thinking really hard, mocking confusion. “It’s not finalized until Val is no longer a part of Ricci, and she is. If any of you can make her a better offer than Mr. Walthour’s until everything is in stone, I’m sure she’ll considered it. She is a business woman after all. And Mr. Walthour would have no hard feelings because he understands business above all things.”
“I like how you think, Mr. Delarosa,” Khalid nodded approval.
Gabe shook his head, looking almost amused. “Well played, Matt.”
“That narrows it down to three people in this room who have the currency and influence to coerce her.”
“Four,” Donya said looking over at Ivan. “He might not be part of the alliance, but he has the means to take her from us.”
“Or you can just induct me into the alliance. And I’ll…try not to outbid you all.”
Donya scoffed. “That’s an issue for another day.”
“You always avoid said issue…” Voronin put on a sad face. “I’m starting to think you don’t like me, Lady Donya.”
“I’ve said it enough, Ivan, you have the subtly and grace of an nuclear bomb. You would be bored under our rules and probably be voted out before a full year. Why would we waste our time and yours?”
The room chuckled and Voronin only shrugged, smirking.
Though the Ricci issue seemed to be resolved for now, they continued to discuss certain things that Matt didn’t want to sit in for, but stayed so he could inform Val about them later.
His stomach was about to rebel against him, when Pam came out and told everyone that she didn’t appreciate her meals going cold. So the group dispersed to eat.
Matt grabbed his plate and Val’s before going up to their room. When he got there, he sat the food on the small table by the door and then sat on the edge of the bed. His hand smoothed over Val’s soft hair.
“Mmmmm,” she moaned, “Something smells good.”
“Not you, you need a shower.”
Val laughed turning over to hit him with a pillow.
He chuckled snatching the fluffy weapon from her. “Pam made a bunch of breakfast to feed all the guests.”
“They’re here?” She blinked her eyes rubbing them.
“Domenic is dead. Only Mr. Walthour and Mr. Voronin know. And Ricci is trying to negotiate peace.”
“When they find out Domenic is dead, that will go right out the window.” Val leaned sleepily against Matt. “Food.”
He chuckled getting up. Val fell over on the bed.
He grabbed her plate and his then brought it to the bed where she sat back up. They ate quietly as Matt told her everything that was discussed at the meeting.
“That makes no sense.” Val frowned staring at the fork full of eggs she was about to bite into. “Why would Walthour and Voronin keep Domenic’s death a secret and continue to bargain with Ricci under the ruse of him still being alive?” Val asked, her gaze shifting to Matt. “Unless someone or multiple people are still loyal to Ricci.”
“Wouldn’t they have voted to keep Ricci in?”
“Not if you have an attack dog like Voronin on a leash, no. There are few who would want to piss him off.”
“Wait…wait…” Matt started seeing a problem. “We have a house full of bigwigs here, in a safe house which isn’t public knowledge so they could very well be transmitting the location to Ricci as we speak if they’re only loyal to Ricci…or want to eliminate any competition.”
Without another word or hesitation, Val got on the phone. “Norman, come up here.”
Not a minute later, a tall good looking man stepped into the bedroom door. He stood, legs apart hands clasped behind his back as if in a military at ease position. “Ma’am.”
“Matt, Norman. Norman, Matt. Norman is your bodyguard. Introductions out of the way, Norman have you noticed anything unusual about the visitors?”
“Some of them are more quiet than others-“
“Which ones? Names.”
Normal began to list the names. Matt barely remembered half of them, yet, Norman knew them all and their faces, what they wore, their mannerisms as he answered all of Val’s questions.
“And you say she looked nervous.”
“Yes, and she kept looking at the man to her left, the Polish fellow.”
“Because she never makes a decision without him. Thank you, Norman. Where is my son?”
“He and Bailey are playing in the barn, security has it surrounded.”
“Good, go mingle.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Relaxing his military stance, he slunk away like a guy who knew how to party.
Then she was on the phone again. “Get my son and Bailey in the bunker under the barn. Now.”
“Ma’am!” Norman came running back in. “We have incoming vehicles.”
“Of course we do,” Val said changing into what Matt was starting to recognize as battle mode. Sexy.
ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.