He wraps an arm around her shoulders, pulling her against him into his embrace. "We should head to Breckenridge," he says.
I scoff at his suggestion. He's risking Katie's life, but it's not my job to convince them to accompany us. Maybe it's for the best that they leave Chicago. The mafia may want to get to Katie, but their priority will be Zion, Lucy's son. And if Katie has her own security detail looking out for her; it's one less person I need to worry about.
I'm not entirely on board with the scenario of Katie not accompanying us, but it isn't my call to make. It's up to her.
Katie drops a quick kiss on Declan's lips before untangling from his embrace. "I'm going with Declan to Breckenridge." She pulls Lucy into her arms for a hug goodbye. "You should come with us," she whispers a little too loudly.
"We need to go," I say and hold out my hand for Declan to return my weapon. "My gun."
He hands over the empty gun, offering me the handle. I slide the clip into the gun, ensuring that the weapon is ready when the need arises. I don't want to be caught unprepared.
Lucy gives her sister one last hug and carries Zion to my rental car.
I open the back door, and she buckles him into the seat. There's no booster seat. We'll have to make do. Lucy doesn't say a word. She slips into the backseat beside Zion, and I shut the door, coming around to the driver's side.
Silence fills the vehicle as I pull away from the battered farmhouse.
"The Italians were at the airport," Lucy says.
I glance in the rearview mirror at her. Her green eyes are wide, filled with trepidation. She has nothing to worry about as long as I'm with her. I can protect her.
"Good. Let them continue to stake out the airport," I say.
"Aren't we going back to New York?"
"Yes, but we're not flying commercial." I head onto the main road and make my way toward the interstate. When I'm confident we're not being followed, I dial Mikhail and request that his pilot meets us at the airstrip.
It's time to go home.
* * *
Zion is sound asleep the entire flight and car ride back to the compound. I glance in the rearview mirror as we pull up to the house. There's only one way out. The mafia isn't going to back down. I need to see Aleksandra face-to-face.
"Let me help," I offer as I open the back door. Lucy climbs out of the vehicle, and I lift Zion from the seat and carry him into the house.
Lucy's brow is knitted, and her bottom lip is poised between her teeth. She doesn’t want me anywhere near her son, but I'm the best shot she has to protect him.
I lead her into the house. The sun is already up, and Zion stirs in my arms. The kid managed to sleep longer than I thought, but he's also been through a traumatic experience for a six-year-old.
Lucy stifles a yawn. Her eyes are heavy, wary. She must be exhausted.
"Where are we going?" she asks.
"I'll show you to your bedroom." I haven't even run the scenario by Mikhail, but if I have to give up my sleeping accommodations for Lucy and Zion, I'll crash on the sofa in the study. In the meantime, I head for a vacant room.
Mikhail has more rooms than guests. In all the years that I've worked for the bratva, I've never known them to have a full house.
I open the empty bedroom but don't bother to flip on the light. There's enough sunlight streaming through the open curtains.
There is one bed, a queen, pushed up against the wall. "I'll have a twin bed brought in," I say. There are at least two twin mattresses from when Liam and Sophia, Aleksandra's twins, lived under Mikhail's roof. I'll have to pull one of the beds out of storage, but I'm sure Lucy will appreciate not having to share a bed with her son.
"I'm not sleepy," Zion mumbles and wiggles out of my grasp. I place his feet on the wooden floorboards, and he hurries toward Lucy.
"One of us got enough sleep last night," Lucy mutters and rubs the sleep from her eyes.
Lucy forces a smile through her heavy-lidded gaze. She's exhausted, but I don't know the slightest thing about keeping an eye on a six-year-old boy. Besides, I doubt that she'd trust me to watch him for a few hours while she sleeps.
She lifts Zion and places him on the mattress before reaching for the remote for the television affixed to the wall. "Maybe we can find you cartoons," Lucy says.
Lucy struggles to keep her eyes open. She's not the only one. It was a long night, not including the firefight at the farmhouse outside of Chicago. We also were ambushed at the motel. I could use a nap as well.
"Mama, I want to go to the park," Zion says. He climbs off the mattress, not interested in watching television.
"After breakfast," Lucy says. There's an inward struggle. She's craving sleep, but she doesn't want to disappoint Zion. Or maybe she knows that he won't let her nap.
"It's supposed to rain," I say, relieved that I don't have to be the bad guy telling the kid that he can't go to the park because it isn't safe. At least the weather can be to blame.
Zion's nose twitches, and he pouts. "I'm bored."
"How about we see if there are any cartoons on right now?" Lucy asks, trying again to get him to settle down and watch television. She probably figures that she can nap for a little while if he's in the room with her, preoccupied.
Zion climbs onto the edge of the mattress, his feet dangling off the side as Lucy flips through the television channels.
I leave the two of them alone, closing the bedroom door to keep them out of trouble and contained to their bedroom while I talk to Mikhail about having guests stay under his roof. I head down the stairs and don't even make it to the bottom when I catch sight of the boss heading up the steps.
"I hear we have company," Mikhail says.
What did he think would happen after the motel ambush and borrowing his private jet for Chicago?
"That's right. I put them up in one of the guest rooms. I'll have Luka help me grab the twin mattress from storage for the little boy."
"And what about the sister?" Mikhail asks. He's two steps ahead, but it's one less concern for all of us regarding Katie.
"She decided to return to Breckenridge with her boyfriend." I won't elaborate about Declan or that Katie's boyfriend works security. He helped my ass. The least I can do is give him a free pass out of trouble. Otherwise, Mikhail would want Declan brought in for questioning. I'm not interested in taking any prisoners or destroying Lucy's family.