Nico drank a sip of his coffee, but it tasted bitter. He took a bite out of his toast, but that too felt like ashes in his mouth. How was he supposed to tell Lily that he was not in touch with his father anymore and that he was penniless? She would kill him on the spot, of that he had no doubt. Like every young man with his family background, Nico had rebelled against the norms of life in high society, and he fought with every fiber of his body to be independent. He had refused to be the poster boy for the rich kids and chose to lead a mundane life, far away from the fakeness that came with the wealthy’s lifestyle. Nico had worked hard to get where he was without using his father’s name or reputation. But Lily had found him nevertheless. His hands were trembling, and he hid them in the pockets of his pants.
“Tell me about yourself. We should get acquainted,” Lily offered. Nico shrugged. He wasn’t a man of words and didn’t know what to say. The woman and the gun made him nervous and aware of his stutter. “Come on, Stutter, humor me.”
“I’m a doctor. A surgeon. Specializing in traumatology.” Nico said the first thing that came to his mind. Lily nodded; she had suspected as much from the books on his shelves.
“Impressive,” Lily acknowledged. It was the first time she saw a ghost of a smile on Nico’s face. But as soon as it appeared, it vanished again. There was something more to the man in front of her than he let on, but she didn’t know what to make of it just yet. He was intriguing her, and it was unnerving. Emotions or contemplation had no place in her current situation. It distracted her attention and reactions too much. Lily shook her head to rid her mind of the intruding thoughts. She took another bite of her toast, aware of the eyes glued on her.
The front door rattled and was opened with a bursting laugh. It was slammed shut, and into the living room came a man who had his hands all over a girl. They were barely able to contain themselves. Nico gasped in shock. Reacting in a flash, Lily draw the gun pointed it at the lovers. Her heart was racing; she didn’t have time for witnesses and unexpected interruptions of this kind.
“Roommate,” Nico yelled and held his hands up in a surrendering manner, taking a step back. Nico’s roommate, Henry, looked up from the woman he was devouring with a grin.
“Whoa… Easy with that thing, baby.” Henry winked, not in the least concerned about a guy being pointed at him. Lily groaned and rolled her eyes.
“Shut up and sit on the couch. Hands to yourselves,” Lily ordered and waited for Henry and his conquest to sit upright. She took a steady step in the direction of the new arrivals. She was tense and knew that she would shoot if things were to escalate. “Stutter, get our shoes and coats; no tricks. We are leaving.” Nico was paralyzed; he didn’t move. “Now, dammit! Move!” Lily growled. Nico was tempted to throw a kitchen knife at her or lounge himself at her, but he didn’t dare. She was dangerous, overwhelmed, armed, and unpredictable. Not a good combination. He decided that it was best to obey, for now, rushing to his bedroom. He heard Lily talk to Henry.
Henry snickered. “Stutter,” he said under his breath, shaking his head with a grin. “Why didn’t I think of that?!”
“Name?” Lily barked.
“Henry, nice to meet you, babe. And she is…,” he shrugged. He had already forgotten the girl’s name. Henry’s behavior aggravated Lily to no end. He sat on the couch, as relaxed as if she was offering a cup of coffee.
“Listen carefully, Henry. I am going to take Nicoy with me. Got it? You can call the police, but then I will have to come back to kill you, you understand that, right?” Lily was satisfied with herself and her plan. Self-sufficient, she leaned her hip against the kitchen counter.
“Ma’am, with all due respect, what do you want from him? If he had his father’s money, he wouldn’t live here,” Henry waved his hands around for emphasis. He was intimidated but not afraid. Henry was a brave man, and he was sure he could overpower this woman, get hold of the gun, and turn the situation around. He could be a hero for the girl who was ugly, crying next to him. Lily shook her head, from “babe” to “ma’am” in a matter of seconds. It was the power of the weapon in her hand.
Nico returned, shaking his head in Henry’s direction as if he had been reading his thoughts and knew that he was ready to act stupidly. Nico handed Lily her belongings while slipping his feet in his sneakers. Both men watched Lily tie the laces of her boots. The gun lay on the stool next to her. Henry moved fast, getting hold of the gun, pointing it at Lily.
“You better leave now,” Henry threatened her, standing his ground.
Lily straightened herself. “Not without him!” She grabbed Nico’s wrist with a bruising grip. Nico knew that he could fight his way away from her, but he didn’t. He didn’t even try to resist her.
“Let him go, and I will not hurt you,” Henry felt brave. Lily snorted. She knew if she had wanted it, she would have gotten her gun back by now, and she would have shot the two witnesses. But she wasn’t out for blood. She just needed money to get away from her current life, and killing innocent people would complicate everything.
“Nico, do something! Don’t stand there like a wimp,” Henry shouted. He didn’t understand why Nico didn’t move. He was a tall man, fit. There was no reason why he didn’t overwhelm or fight the woman. Nico didn’t know either, but his guts told him to do as Lily said, to trust her not to hurt him.
Lily pretended to be unaffected and unimpressed; she turned to leave, pulling Nico behind her.
“Keys, Stutter. Do you have a car?”
Nico nodded, reaching for a bowl on the shelves. “In the parking garage.”
“Stop!” Henry yelled. Lily turned to look at him and flipped him the bird. A deafening noise went off. Henry looked in shock at the barrel of the gun in his hand and threw the weapon away as if it had burnt his hands. Nico looked surprised. Lily had reacted fast enough to push him behind her. Lily grinned. Henry’s conquest screamed. Too many emotions filled the small living space.
Lily went to retrieve the gun and put it in her jacket. “Let’s go,” she said, ushering to the door, and they ran for the stairs. For a moment, Lily wondered if Nico had ulterior motives to come with her without resisting or arguing. He could have easily outrun her. But he didn’t. In fact, he held doors for her and led the way to his car, careful that she could follow his long strides.
Lily held her side and winced when she got into the vehicle. The situation had gotten out of control too fast.
“Crap,” she muttered, taking a deep breath.
“Where to?” Nico inquired. His mind was clear. He was agitated and in a hurry to get out of the building, but apart from that, he felt fine.
“Just drive,” Lily ordered through clenched teeth. She had to gather her wits for what was to come, ignoring the pain that was slowly spreading throughout her body. Nico revved the engine and trusted him to get them to safety. Not once did Nico nor Lily contemplate the idea of driving to the nearest police station.