“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.
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.”