We can't make any calls inside the van, and I wait until we've managed to lose the men chasing us and we're back into the city in an old, abandoned warehouse district to slow the engine until we pull over.
"You're right. I need to call Mikhail, and we need to get the handcuffs off."
"Any ideas?" she asks.
"Open the door," I say. She shifts her hips and lets her hands find the door handle, tugging at it.
I let my foot kick the door the rest of the way open. I'm alert. Adrenaline pumps through me as I ensure that we're not being followed or watched. There may be a tracking device on the van, and if that's the case, we only have a few minutes' head start.
"Climb out," I order, and she takes a moment to wiggle her way off my lap and down onto the pavement. "Come around to the passenger door and flip the glovebox open." I need her hands, and I'll be her eyes.
Hopefully, there's some tool or weapon I can use to get out of these damn handcuffs.
Lucy maneuvers around the van and, with her back to the door, pops the handle and pulls it open. "I'll be glad to get out of these cuffs," she says. Lucy is exasperated. It has to be from the car chase and trying to get away from the mafia.
I don't blame her. I'm not keen on having to look over my shoulder and worry that we might be ambushed.
She manages to get the glove box open. "Anything?" she asks and turns around to glimpse the contents.
"Grab the knife," I say.
It's more of a Leatherman with multiple tools. One of them ought to help me break through the cuffs, even if I have to cut the links apart to separate my hands.
She hurries back around the van and hands them to me from behind her back. I shift and turn, reaching for the tool.
"Do you think it will work?" she asks.
Without a doubt, if we don't do anything, we're fucked. "I don't see a lot of choice or any other options." I fiddle with the tool, trying several different options before picking the lock with the tip of a knife.
The metal falls to the ground, and I breathe a sigh of relief.
"Do me," Lucy says.
I quirk a grin. Yeah, I'd like to do more than just pick the lock on her handcuffs.
But wasn’t that what got us into this mess? Me not paying attention to the club and the mafia shooting the place up.
"Turn around," I instruct, and she turns her back to me.
Grabbing her arms, I pull her closer and inspect her handcuffs while I fiddle with the tip of the knife, pushing it into the keyhole until I get enough pressure that the latch releases.
"Thank you," Lucy whispers and spins around. She rubs at her wrists, and the metal dangles and falls to the ground.
"We need to get back to the compound," I say. There's a small device attached on the roof, and I rip the damn black box off and toss it to the ground. "Get back in the van."
"Was that a tracking device?" Lucy asks.
I slam the driver's side door, and she hurries back around to the passenger side and climbs inside.
The moment the door shuts, I hit the gas and whip us away from our destination. "It's likely a jamming signal." I try my cell phone again, this time managing to get through to Mikhail. I leave the call on speakerphone while I drive.
"Where the hell are you?" he asks, answering the phone and recognizing my number.
"Near the rail yard." It's as close an estimate that I can give. I weave through the side roads and pop us back onto the highway. There's no sign of Antonio's men following us, but I can't be certain they're done and will leave us alone.
"Glad you're still alive. And the girl?" Mikhail asks.
"She's with me," I say and glance at Lucy before returning my attention to the road. "Antonio's men may attempt to infiltrate or attack the compound. They're not likely to give up," I say.
"We've got Zion here, safe." Mikhail is silent for a moment before continuing. "You really should reconsider your objective."
I clear my throat. "Which is?"
"Marrying the girl," Mikhail says.
"He already asked. I refused," Lucy says.
I swear I can see the smirk on Mikhail's face. "Well, you ought to reconsider. You may not value Nikita's life or your own, but your son shouldn't lose his mother at such a young age. Who would look after him if you were dead?"
I avoid Lucy's heated stare. She's got her attention entirely on me while she listens to Mikhail over the phone. There's a stern silence from her, and she folds her arms across her chest. The girl is as defiant as they come.
"Keep Zion safe. We're on our way back to the compound." I end the call, and Lucy shifts uncomfortably in the front seat. She's about as uncomfortable as she was with handcuffs on, but it's her own doing this time.
"I can't believe what he suggested," Lucy mutters.
There's irritation in her tone; she's frustrated and angry, and she has every right to be mad.
Just not at me.
This wasn't my fault, and while I might have been careless in the office, I didn't send the mafia after Lucy.
"We're all trying to look out for you," I say.
"I don't care what happens to me. I care about Zion." She's worried about her son and rightfully so. The mafia won't stop until they get what they want. I'm just not sure what it is that they want. While I'd thought it was the flash drive and the stock certificates, Lucy doesn't have those items, and she isn't going to get her claws on them to hand over to Antonio or Aleksandra.
"Is there something you're not telling me?" I glance at her as I attempt to focus on the road. "The painting, it's not just about what was inside it anymore." If that were the case, they'd be after Mikhail and the bratva, and they'd have given up on Lucy and her family. They're hellbent on killing her, which means there's something else more sinister.
The mafia are killers, but they usually seek retribution and revenge. They're not nearly as cutthroat and ruthless as us bratva. We'd sooner bathe in blood than the mafia. This doesn't feel like the entire story. There's something Lucy is hiding from me.
"No," she whispers and glances out the side window. She gnaws her bottom lip between her teeth.
I'd pull over the van if I weren't worried that the mafia might catch up to us. Even if they aren't tracking us, they must be on the way to the compound. They're not about to let us live, not after the train episode.
"Don't lie to me," I growl and shoot a glare in her direction.
She inhales a sharp breath. "You asked me about my son, the father."