For Adriano

For Adriano by Soraya Naomi Read Free Book Online

Book: For Adriano by Soraya Naomi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Soraya Naomi
open. I don’t know what’s happening to the other girls. They’ve not been brought back yet. As I wait, mistrust fills me. There’s a good chance he was lying. And as time passes, that sense keeps growing.
    I’m still struggling to stay awake. And eventually, I fear he’s not coming back.
    I turn on my side in defeat, and suddenly conscious of the burning in my blemished breasts, tears pool over as I break down. I bite my lip to keep from making any noise and cry alone in the dark, silently. And then I lose consciousness.
     
    “...wake up…”
    My shoulders shake, and my eyes fly open as a hand smothers my scream.
    “Let’s go,” Santino says in a soft voice with a finger to his lips, motioning for me to stay quiet. He undoes the shackles and hurries me with him into the long hallway.
    “They’re still at the ceremony. Your friend is upstairs at the elevator now with clothes.” He stops at a corner. “Go left here, straight ahead, then take the first right. Run to the elevator at the end and go to ‘-1’. Your friend is waiting on that floor. She’ll take it from there. Do you understand?”
    I nod, wanting to get out as soon as possible. “Yes.” I hesitate to say more. “Thank you.” And I bolt before he changes his mind.
    I round the corner and run straight ahead in the empty hall and stop to peek around the corner before turning right. It’s empty, so I race to the end, not concerned about my naked, battered body. My only goal is getting out of here.
    I run to the grey doors of the elevator at the end of the hall, anxiously glancing back over my shoulder.
    They open, and I step inside the small space, pressing ‘-1’ relentlessly.
    “Close!” I practically pray when I hear voices coming down the hall.
    The doors close, and I sag against the cold metal wall as I ascend, holding my breath again as they open.
    “Camilla!” My friend’s eyes widen in horror when she witnesses my state.
    I breathe a sigh of relief, and she comes inside, ramming fabric and ballet flats into my hands. “Get dressed. We’re going up.”
    I yank the black uniform dress over my head and step into the shoes just as the doors open again. I’m back on the main floor.
    Hope causes new tears to burst free, but I wipe them away as she hauls me through an archway.
    We go down a hall lined with Andy Warhol posters to another door that opens outside into the cold and windy street. Not the front entrance of Club 7, though, so it’s quiet.
    I’m so thankful to be here that I don’t think about anything beyond running, but I do remember I don’t have my purse with my wallet and personal belongings or any money.
    “I need money,” I say, pleading.
    “Oh shit!” she mutters. “Wait here.”
    She returns through the archway and hurries back to me with my purse. “Santino told me to give you your bag.” She thrusts it and a little square box into my hands. “Go home, pack your things, and disappear!”
    I check the heavy box in my hand. “What’s this?”
    “Protection. It’s a small bomb.”
    I hold it away from me. “This tiny thing?”
    “Yes, button is on the side. Be careful. I couldn’t find a handgun or anything else on such short notice. Go!”
    Scared that I’m going to be caught, I dash into the next street with only a few pedestrians crossing my path.
    I hail the first cab I see, go home to grab one bag of belongings. And on my way out of the Loop, I stop by the ATM to withdraw most of my money, keeping some in my bank account just in case.
     
    *
     
    The night Santino helped me escape was two years and five months ago. But I was on the run for only a short while.
    I’d rented a room outside the Loop and landed a job where I was paid under the table. It was a lonely existence, but I was doing my best to build a new life. Then I was fired from my job after James and Luca visited the establishment, and I ended up working for them as a bartender in their strip club – where I met Adriano.

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