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       Obligation, p.9

         Part #2 of Underground Kings series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
 
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  “Careful,” he growls, sounding just like Kai, making fury explode through me.

  “Go away!” I scream, pushing him away again. “Get out of my room!”

  His arms come around me, and I pound against his chest with the back of my fist as tears stream down my cheeks.

  “Shhhhh,” he hushes me, forcing me closer to his body, where my fists wrap into his shirt and I bury my face in his chest to cry harder. “It will be okay.” He rubs my back as my legs give out under me. He catches me before I fall to the floor, picks me up, and carries me to bed, laying me back down. “Do you want me to stay with you?” he asks, pulling the covers back over my shoulder.

  “No. I just want to be alone,” I breathe through my tears and attempt to pull myself together.

  “I don’t mind,” he whispers.

  I look at him and shake my head.

  He nods, looking around and then back down at me. I can tell he wants to say something else, but instead, he kisses my forehead and stands. I hear the door close, but my eyes stay locked on the sky I can see out the window.

  Myla, this is stupid. You weren’t even in love with him. Stop acting like a lovesick fool, I lie to myself then bury my face in my pillow and cry harder.

  Chapter 7

  Limbo

  “Now what are you baking?”

  I look at the open kitchen doorway and narrow my eyes at Aye. “Nothing for you, and don’t even think about coming in here.” I wave the spoon at him, trying to sound firm. It never fails that he shows up when I’m in the middle of baking.

  “You’re really going to do that to Daddy?” he asks, and I can’t help but smile at him.

  “Fine. You can have one, but first, you have to promise you will take me somewhere.”

  “I’ll take you,” Pika says, joining us.

  “You don’t have to do that,” I reply softly, watching as he comes over, dips his finger into the bowl of cookie dough, and swipes some off the edge before licking it off his finger.

  “You know I don’t mind.” His eyes go soft, making me shift uncomfortably.

  Since Kai left, Pika and Aye have constantly been at my side. I would honestly be lost without either of them, but over the last week, I have started seeing a change in the way Pika looks at me.

  “I’ll take her,” Aye says, saving me.

  “Thanks,” I tell him, going back to placing some more dough in balls on the cookie sheet while ignoring the heat I feel coming of Pika, who is standing too close to me.

  “Where are you guys going?” he asks after a moment.

  I look over my shoulder at him and debate how to answer. “I have yet to receive divorce papers from Kai’s lawyer, and you guys won’t tell me anything, so I’m going to talk to a lawyer.”

  “Myla,” Aye says.

  I quickly swing my head towards him. “No.” I shake my head. “I know you’re his friend, and I totally get that this puts you guys in an awkward situation, but I have to do this. I will not be in limbo.”

  “I’ll take you if Aye refuses,” Pika says.

  I look at him again then jerk my head up and down once.

  “Pika.” Aye throws his arms up in the air.

  “I’m taking her,” Pika replies evenly.

  “Fuck this!” Aye shouts and leaves the kitchen.

  “Come find me when you’re ready,” Pika rumbles.

  I nod and let out a long breath as I listen to Pika and Aye fight somewhere in the house. I hate that I’m causing a rift between them, but I can’t do this anymore. I moved out of Kai’s room the day he left and haven’t been back in there since then. I couldn’t wake up in his bed again, with his smell surrounding me.

  I hate that, every time I think about Kai, I still feel the pain in my chest that I felt when I read his note the first time. I hate that he did what he did, yet I can’t bring myself to hate him. I didn’t realize until it was too late that Kai had gotten under my skin. He came into my life, made me believe I was going to be given something beautiful, and then took it away from me without any warning.

  I look down at the bowl of cookie dough and my eyes catch on the ring I haven’t had the courage to take off. I let out a ragged breath and know exactly what I need to do. I just need to be strong enough to do it.

  Kai

  I look out over the water for a moment and then turn my head back to face my computer. My eyes land on the picture that is now the screensaver on my personal laptop.

  It’s one of the photos taken the night of the party my mother threw for us. Myla was at my side, the front of her body plastered against me. My hand was on the top of her ass, her head was tilted back, and she was smiling up at me, with my face tilted down looking at her. You can’t see it in the picture because of how the photo was taken, but I remember looking into her eyes, not understanding the look of wonder I saw there.

  Myla has to be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life. I now regret never telling her how beautiful she is every chance I got, but when I first met her, I assumed that, like with most women who look like she does, she knew it and knew how to get men to grovel at her feet.

  I came to realize that she didn’t understand the power she held over men with her looks alone. She didn’t know that one smile from her could put a man on his ass. I look down at my hand and pull the ring off my finger, putting it back into my pocket. I only wear it when I know I’m going to be alone for a length of time.

  I need everyone to believe Myla and I are done, even if I know within myself that it’s not the case. When I left Myla behind, I knew it was going to be difficult, but I also knew that, if I stayed with her in Hawaii, I was putting her at risk of being harmed again.

  I found out after she was poisoned that the culprit was an enemy of mine, and rumors were being spread that I now had a weakness. Before Myla, I had never been vulnerable. I never worried about my siblings because I knew they were under the radar and always protected. And I knew the same thing went for my parents. I didn’t take into account that Myla would be seen as a way to push me off my throne until I was holding her in my arms as she fought to breathe.

  In that moment, I knew I couldn’t put her at risk. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something happened to her, and although I had married her for my own selfish reasons, those reasons no longer applied, and the only thing that matters to me now is her safety and well-being. I also know that my leaving her is not enough to stop the threats against her, and in order to make sure she stays safe, I need to make an example out of the men who threatened her. As long as I am alive and breathing, no one will ever have the ability to harm her in any way.

  I lift my head and look at the door when there is a knock on my office entrance. “Come in,” I call while rolling my chair back. My brother informed me moments ago that Snider was on his way up with only one of his men. This pissed me off; he is basically saying that he doesn’t believe I am a threat.

  Since taking over for my father, I have lain low, staying out of all of the back-and-forth between families, and just concentrated on turning the family business into something my children could inherit. Because of this, my guess is some of the people I have done business with have begun to believe I’m weak. They seem to have forgotten that my family holds a power that goes back generations. In the past, there were not many people stupid enough to mess with us. The day Myla was poisoned, that all changed.

  As soon as the door opens, Snider walks in with his bodyguard at his side. I stand and take him in, wondering how the fuck he has the ability to cause fear in people. Over the years, he has let himself go. No longer concerned about his appearance or health, he now carries around at least fifty extra pounds on his gut. He is balding on top, with long wisps that lie over his bald spot, a sad attempt at giving himself the appearance of hair. The navy-blue, velour tracksuit, gold jewelry, and sneakers make him look like he’s watched too many episodes of The Sopranos.

  “Nice digs,” he says, taking a seat in front of my desk.
To what do I owe the pleasure of this meeting?” He sits back and laces his hands in front of him, looking like he doesn’t have a care in the world.

  I take a seat and slide the gun from its holder under my desk, flipping the safety off. “My wife was poisoned a month ago. I got word that you were the one to instigate that hit.”

  “Ex-wife, you mean?” he inquires, and the guy next to him laughs. “She went and spoke with a divorce attorney today.” He smiles. “Oh, you didn’t know that, did you? I knew you would think we are all idiots when you left her, but I had a feeling you were full of shit when you said you were done with her.” He looks from me to the man next to him and begins speaking in Russian. “A piece like her you could fuck for the rest of your life and still find new ways to fill her with your come.”

  “I would tire of her quickly when she got fat from having my children,” his man replies in Russian.

  I see red, lift my gun, put a bullet through his head, and then turn the gun on Snider as his bodyguard’s body crumples to the floor.

  “Who do you have on her?” I growl, ready to put a bullet though his skull as well.

  “You can’t kill me, Kai, and you know it,” he says, taking a Kleenex out of his pocket and wiping the blood splatter off his face.

  “You must have forgotten who I am, who my family is.” I shake my head in disgust.

  “I’ve forgotten nothing. Just because you inherited the seat from your father doesn’t make you as powerful as he was.”

  I smile and pull the trigger, putting a bullet through his shoulder. “You forget that, for years, I was my father’s watcher.”

  His eyes get big and he cries out as he looks at his shoulder then back at me again. “You can’t do this!” he groans.

  “You think I fear you or them?” I shake my head and stand up. “I fear no one but the gods, and when my time comes, they are who I will answer to. Now, tell me. Who do you have watching my wife?”

  “You kill me and you’re as good as dead,” he says pathetically, ignoring my question.

  “Ah.” I shake my head, stand, and walk around to sit on the front of my desk. “You’re stupid, Snider. You have always been rash, and this situation is no different. You didn’t think before you did what you did.”

  “If you kill me, there will be war.”

  “The moment you put Myla on radar, you started a war with me!” I roar, and fire a bullet through his other shoulder.

  His body slumps lower in his chair, and he fights to lift his head to look at me.

  “I will make sure pieces of you are divided evenly amongst your friends.”

  “Everyone knows who she is. Paulie Jr. wants her for himself,” he wheezes out.

  Ice-cold fear floods my veins, but I push that feeling aside and growl, “He’s going to have to get through me.” I pull the trigger and the bullet hits him between the eyes.

  A moment later, the door to my office opens and my brother walks in.

  “Did Myla go and file for divorce today?” I ask him.

  He looks at the guys on the ground then at me. “She did. Aye told Pika not to take her, but he wouldn’t listen. He thinks Pika has feelings for her,” he replies.

  “She’s my wife!” I roar and push everything off my desk with a sweep of my hand.

  “Not for long,” he says calmly, shaking his head.

  When I left Hawaii, I left all of my men with Myla and brought my brother with me. I also told him what had happened with Myla and that, although things between us had begun on a lie, that was no longer the case now.

  “What attorney did she go to?”

  When he looks at me, I can tell he doesn’t want to answer, and I know exactly why.

  “Fuck,” I growl.

  There are only two divorce attorneys I know who would be around this time of year, and one of them would be more than willing to help Myla divorce my ass. The lawyer would also do it quickly and enjoy every moment of it.

  “Are we going home?” he asks, pulling his phone out of his pocket.

  “Yes, and call the cleaners,” I tell him while pulling Snider’s phone out his jacket pocket and looking through his call log until I find the number I’m looking for. I press send on Paulie Jr.’s number and then hold the phone to my ear.

  “What?” Paulie answers after a moment.

  “I hear you’re interested in my wife.”

  “Fuck,” he breathes, and I can hear shuffling coming down the line.

  “Let me give you the message Snider will unfortunately be unable to deliver. You so much as even think about my wife and I’m coming for you.”

  “Kai,” he says, and I can hear fear in his voice.

  I have known Paulie Jr. since we were both ten and our fathers began molding us to take over the family businesses. It was during our first meeting that I learned the difference in ways our fathers were raising each of us. Where my father had raised me with a firm hand and a large amount of respect, Paulie Sr. had been raising his son to fear him, and over the years, that fear has slowly caused his son to resent him and crave the power he held over his head. But just because he wanted to dethrone his father doesn’t mean he wants his father to know he is after his seat. If his dad ever caught wind of what his son was up to, Paulie Sr. would take his own son out without a second thought.

  “Be smart. Forget you know anything about my wife.” I hang up then look at my brother, who is just getting off the phone as well.

  “Sweepers are on the way, and the plane is ready when we are.”

  “Thanks,” I mutter, walking over to my laptop, shutting it down, and watching the picture of Myla and me disappear. Even with the war that is brewing, I know the most important fight I will ever be in is waiting for me at home.

  Chapter 8

  Honey I’m Home

  Myla

  I walk through the house looking for Pika and Aye. Since I woke up this morning, they have been incognito.

  Yesterday, Pika took me to begin the process of filing for divorce. When we arrived at the lawyer’s office, I was a nervous wreck. The old brick building looked like all the others in the area, but there was something about it that put fear in me.

  “Are you sure you want to do this?” Pika asked.

  I looked over at him and then back to the building. “I’m sure.” I opened the car door and climbed out. “I’ll be back.”

  “I’ll be here.”

  “Thanks,” I murmured before slamming the door closed and heading for the building.

  When I was halfway there, I stopped myself from turning around, heading back to the car, and telling Pika to take me home. I knew I couldn’t do that. I knew I couldn’t let Kai be the decider of my future, and waiting for him to get me the divorce papers was doing exactly that.

  As soon as I opened the door to the building, the bell over the door rang and a beautiful woman wearing a business suit walked out of the back office and greeted me in the lobby.

  “Myla?” she questioned, giving me a small smile and sticking out her hand.

  “Hi,” I replied, placing my hand in hers, surprised by the firmness of her shake.

  “I’m Tammy. My receptionist took the afternoon off, so I hope you don’t mind if we just get down to business?” she asked.

  “No, that’s fine.”

  “Would you like a bottle of water or a soda?” she asked.

  I shook my head and wrung my hands together.

  “It will be okay.” She smiled again. “Just follow me and we can get started.”

  “Sure,” I agreed and followed her into a large office, where she nodded at me to sit down in a chair in front of her desk.

  “When we spoke yesterday, you said that you were wanting to file for divorce. Is that right?”

  “Yes,” I whispered, and then I looked at the door, wanting to make a run for it.

  “Can I ask you why?” she probed.

  I looked at her then back at the door. “I think I made a mistake,” I whispered.

&
nbsp; “I think a lot of women feel like that,” she muttered.

  I started to laugh hysterically until tears were falling down my cheeks. It took a minute to get myself under control, but when I did, I looked at her and found a smile on her face.

  “I needed that,” I told her, wiping under my eyes and relaxing into my seat. After that, the rest of the meeting went by quickly, and when I left, I felt like I had not only made the right decision by filing, but that I had done the right thing as far as stopping all the lies.

  Tammy had told me that she would get the papers prepared and have Kai served. She’d also explained that, if Kai didn’t agree to sign them, we could proceed without him because I wasn’t requesting any of his assets that had rightfully become half mine when we’d married without a prenup.

  I come out of my thoughts when I hear voices coming from Kai’s office. Since he’s been gone, no one has been in this part of the house, so I’m surprised to hear the hushed tones of men speaking behind the closed door. I tiptoe across the hall, careful not to make any noise. I slowly put my ear to the door and my hands around my ear so that I can zero in on the sound.

  Weight and warmth press me harder into the door.

  “What are we listening for?” is whispered in my ear.

  I scream as strong arms wrap around me.

  “Easy,” says an all-too-familiar voice, causing my body to instantly react and pain to compress my chest.

  “No,” I whisper as Kai’s office door is opened and Pika’s and Aye’s eyes land on me. I tilt my head back, praying I’m wrong—that Kai isn’t home—but my eyes collide with his.

  “Let me go,” I whisper, bucking against his hold.

  His eyes go soft as he whispers, “Makamae,” tightening his arms around me almost as if he doesn’t want to release me.

  “Let me go,” I repeat a little louder this time.

  “We must talk,” he says calmly.

  “Ha!” I lean my head back and scream at the top of my lungs. “Well, then, if you say we must talk, Kai, by all means, let’s talk.”

 
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