TW: Graphic Depictions of Violence
Wrenching my hands around my cold metal bat, I stormed out to the bar with adrenaline pumping through my veins like the rough waves on an angry ocean. This wasn't the first time I have had to deal with this kind of s**t before. I was used to it by now, but what I didn't have time to deal with was Adriano. So choosing to ignore him for the moment, I marched toward the chaos.
The sound of smashed glass, shrill voices, and groans of pain danced around me. Stepping into the chaos, I grazed over the lifeless body of some poor sod on the floor. A tinge of iron accented the thick scent of alcohol and spices, drawing my attention to the site I had only seen a few times in my life— just never in my damn bar.
Who the hell had shot him?
“f*****g hell," I cursed beneath my breath, watching the blood slowly pool around the corpse's head. Gripping my bat, I clenched my fingers around the handle before turning around and swinging it into the devil who wanted to do a business deal with me.
“Did you do this?" I shouted at him, seething in anger.
Adriano's gaze shot to the golden-haired man standing in the middle of the fight, and I had my f*****g answer. Asshole.
This was his f*****g fault!
His hand shot out on reflex, catching my bat with ease and a dangerous expression making heat pool between my thighs.
“I would think twice before doing that." He replied, looking around the chaos of my bar before he gave a short laugh, licking his lips. “I can help you. Keep you safe and help pay your bills that are currently stacking up, if you want, that is."
Who the hell did he think he was? I wasn't a damsel in distress.
I could f*****g handle anything thrown at me!
I scoffed. “I don't need your charity or help!"
This wasn't my first bar fight; I had seen plenty. I could take the money, but I wasn't the type to easily accept gifts or help. If I had to f*****g dig myself out of the hole, I goddamn would. My father used to call me too stubborn for my own good. It was my downfall—my flaw—but it was also what made me who I was.
A yell followed by more crashing drew my attention from the prick currently in front of me. I turned just in time to see a burly man in black being tossed onto the bartop, his body slid across as he took out glasses, causing them to shatter all over my clean floor.
Scowling, I growled beneath my breath. “f**k this shit."
I was done watching everything my dad had worked so hard for, get destroyed. Years of working his ass off, being smashed into nothing. This place was mine, and I was doing everything I could to hold it together. I'd be damned if I let anyone get away with this.
Huffing and yanking my bat from his grasp, I rushed forward to crack it over some guy's head. He cursed and fell over the pool table, knocking all remaining balls into the pockets. Trick shot!
Grinning, I grabbed the back of a man's jacket, pulling him back and shoving him forward to hit his head against the top of a table. His nose cracked, and blood spilled all over the spotless surface.
“You're gonna clean that," I whispered against his ear as he whimpered.
Making my way around the bar, I swung my bat and brought people to their knees. Screaming for them all to behave until the fighting ceased and silence settled like a blanket; apart from moans and swears, of course.
Adriano's eyes bore into my back, burning and scorching my skin as he watched me. For some ungodly reason, I wanted to impress him. I wanted to make him eat his words and realize I didn't need some man to take care of me.
A man suddenly rushed toward me, and I took the opportunity. Pulling my bat back with a wicked smile, I let it collide with his mouth. The hit knocked him back, crimson liquid trailing from the corners of his lips as I flicked the hair from my face. “I said… BEHAVE!"
I twirled my metal bat and placed it on my shoulder, turning to face the man I was interested in. As if shocked and impressed with my show of violence, Adriano snapped his jaw shut, and replaced it with a smirk.
I wasn't sure why he was smirking. I wasn't the girl to f**k around with, I'd have no problem letting him feel the same pain the others were going through currently.
I was a f**k around and find out kind of girl.
Swaying my hips, I made my way toward him with a grin on my face. “You were saying?"
“I want in on your business and, of course, to get rid of your debt." He replied as he placed his hands in the front pockets of his dress pants with a short laugh.
Rolling my eyes, I laughed. “I hate to break it to you, 'Mister', but I don't have any debt."
Nodding, he licked his lips, removing a hand from his pocket to brush his thumb and index fingers along the corners of his mouth in thought. After a moment, he pointed toward me with a sigh and smiled again. “Interesting, because I saw the stack of bills in your office. You're lucky if you have what… a few weeks?"
My breath caught as he stepped closer, my own feet moving until my back hit the bartop, and I realized I had nowhere else to go. I was pinned with him peering down at me with a smirk, one hand on either side of my shoulders. He leaned down with a chuckle as he spoke, “You really should learn how to organize your s**t better."
Offended, I narrowed my gaze at him as I placed my bat across his chest with both hands and shoved him away. “You know that was a f*****g invasion of my privacy."
His hands returned to his pockets while he shrugged. “There is little privacy in the world as it is, Raven." When he swiftly removed his hands from his pockets, my eyes narrowed.
Each finger wrapped around my bat, gripping until his knuckles turned white. He leaned down and brushed his soft lips along the shell of my ear, making me curse and close my eyes. His tongue slowly moved along the curve before whispering in a threatening tone I found sexy as hell. “And you invaded mine the moment you lingered around my table."
Scowling at the bastard, I ripped my bat from his grasp. Right when he pulled away from me, I swung the motherfucker onto my shoulder. “Would you miss your kneecaps if I took them out for being a f*****g d**k?"
He laughed and shook his head, stopping to peer at me through his dark hair and lashes with a smoldering expression that set my soul on fire. “I'd like to see you try. My men would be on you faster than you could take them out."
Giving him attitude and pushing it further because it was what I excelled at, I licked my lips and peered up at him with a challenging expression. “Want to try and find out?"
“I like you." He replied as the corners of his lips curled as if I had lit his world on fire.
What the f**k was wrong with this man? My God! Any so-called 'normal', whatever that meant, and sane person would have f*****g walked away.
Yet, this man walked straight into the fire I had laid out as if he was Lucifer himself. He was the type to boldly step into the flames of Hell rather than run from them, sinking into the pain, reveling in it.
Looking at the corpse on my floor with the bullet in his head, I twirled my bat in my hand and pointed it towards the dead man with congealing blood around his upper body and head. “You gonna get the dead guy off my floor then?"
He chuckled, “It's not our job to do that."
“Are you f*****g kidding me?" My anger boiled and simmered in my veins, rushing through my body and making my face crimson with warmth.
“Sorry, honey." He had the nerve to raise his hands like they were f*****g tied!
Biting my bottom lip, I nodded and swung my bat to collide with the soft spot behind his knees, knocking his legs out from underneath him.
“s**t," he cursed beneath his breath as his ass hit the ground.
“You alright, boss?" The blonde man walked over, pulling a hunting knife from his pocket and flicking it open. His steel-blue eyes ran down my body and back up, drinking me in like a bottle of whiskey. “Is she causing an issue?"
Boss, boss, boss? The word stuck in my head like a f*****g echo, repeating incessantly and driving me to the brink of madness. Did these guys work for him? Of course, they f*****g did. That was a stupid question. Sighing in my head, I rolled my eyes at myself. Whoever these guys were, they meant business. I laughed at the dumb double meaning since the asshole on my floor was trying to get a business deal with me.
Adriano raised his hand before getting up. “We were just having a little fun." Watching him get to his feet and grab his suit coat to pull something from the pocket, I wondered what it was. Looking down at his hand, I honed in on a black business card with silver fancy as f**k font on it. “If you want to talk business, contact me."
Taking his card from his hand, I looked down at what was scrawled across the smooth face of the embossed card. There were only two lines of text: a name and a phone number. No address or email was written on it like other businessmen had.
“Adriano Polermo?" I let his name linger on my tongue as I said it.
He smirked, “That's my name, but like I told you, do me a favor and don't go tossing it around. I prefer to lurk in the shadows and not be known. If you do need to talk about me for some reason," he held out his hand, “call me Serpent."
I couldn't help it. Hearing his nickname made me burst into a giggle. Did he realize how ridiculous it would sound to call him that in front of random people?
His smirk faded and melted away into a serious expression. “I'm dead serious. Never say my name in front of people."
“Can't I just call you Mister or Sir or some guy?" I pocketed his card and pressed the end of my bat into the marble flooring to lean my weight on it with raised brows.
The corners of his lips turned up in entertainment. “If you wish." Parting my lips, I blushed as I realized he might have enjoyed that more than I had meant for him too. I locked onto him, while he gave a short nod to his men. “Let's go!"
An attractive man with short dark hair walked toward me, who had to have been in his early thirties. He leaned in close, and the heavy scent of cigar smoke wafted and sank beneath my skin, making me swallow while my n*****s hardened. f**k, I loved that smell. Something about the dark scent of smoke, leather, and alcohol drew me in. However, nothing was as intoxicating as Adriano.
God, that man was a f*****g drug.
“You're lucky because what the Serpent does to punish people… is not something you want to partake in. He went easy on you, little one." He threatened me.
Crossing my arms over my chest, keeping my bat in my hand, I watched the assholes walk towards the front door of my bar. This wasn't how I thought my night was going to f*****g go, to say the least. I knew chaos and madness, but not of this caliber.
“What happened?" Dahlia called out as she walked up to where we stood, a curious expression on her face as she looked around the damaged bar.
Broken glass, spilled liquor, and unconscious customers littered the joint. Her mouth fell open in shock, and it always amazed me she reacted that way when it happened at least twice a week, if not more.
Staring daggers into the man in front of me, I kept my voice level. “Nothing, it's fine. They were 'just' leaving."
“Hurry up, Romeo, so I can have some real fun," Adriano shouted to the guy who sized me up.
“Better go, dog, your owner is calling." The words fell from my lips like venom, and he shot a short laugh of amusement at me.
“He'll be back for you." The man sauntered away from me to join his boss, Adriano 'the Serpent' Polermo. Or rather, Adriano 'the Asshole' Polermo.