Chapter 9. The Grand Conglomerate Night

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Part 1

In Full Circle

Belle's POV

All the Bosses of the Underground New York are right here at the Coco Cabana Hotel owned by the De Alba's. I'm about to meet the man himself— Axel, the Boss of the Cabana Cartel—the most powerful drug cartel in Latin America and also the one holding the eastern and southern part of New York underworld. From the stories that I have been hearing about him, I'm not really keen on meeting the man, just because somehow he might be still fixated in getting revenge for his Father's death in mistakenly thinking that it was Pa Vyacheslav who killed his father. I am well aware of the resolve of a son to avenge the honor and life of his father. I see that everyday in the eyes of Nikolai and Alexei. It stays in them and it takes control over their lives. It is something I would never wish on anyone.

As we walk past the crowd in the huge Ballroom of the Hotel, it's pretty obvious that the Volkov Mafia—unsurprisingly turns heads and gets attention from almost everyone. I'm holding on to Nikolai's arm while Alexei is on my other side. I still get tickled pink when this happens. More so now that Nikolai is taking smaller steps on our way to our sofa because of his gunshot wound. I don't particularly enjoy getting this kind of attention when I'm with my boys. I still prefer low key— which at this point I know will remain a wishful thinking. The undeniable magnetic charm of the Volkov brothers of the Russian Mafia and their status in the New York underground criminal world is a combination that is pretty hard to ignore. Also, it does not help that almost everyone in Nikolai's entourage—Yuri, Dimitri, Boris and the rest of the men are pleasant in the eyes.

Looking around, I must say that the host of this year's meeting has gone all out in adorning this place with silver, black and the most prominent color, royal blue – Axel De Alba's official conglomerate colors. The different crime organizations have their own sections and tables on both sides of the ballroom representing their organizations. The crime families in alliance with Axel De Alba has a hint of royal blue or silver in complement to their own colors while crime families in alliance with Nikolai have streaks of gold and green in complement to their own colors as well. What took my attention however is the section of the Albanian Mob. Their tables and sofas are placed right next to what seems to be the Russian Mafia's side of the ballroom, and that gold accents are on the garlands and pocket squares of their people. Even the cute little princess Aria of the Albanian Mob has a gold ribbon tied in a ponytail around her wavy blonde hair. She's wearing a red ball gown and that cute and innocent smile as always. My heart fluttered with warmth as this could only mean one thing—Artan is still on Nikolai's side.

I instinctively squeezed Nikolai's arms in complete and utter joy. "Nikolai, thank you! I love you so much!"

He halted walking and tilted his head to face me. "Thank you for what baby love?" He asked, but with a small smile on the side of his lips. I know that he knows what exactly I'm referring to.

"You and Artan kissed and made up." I said teasingly.

"I'd rather kiss a chicken than kiss that bastard." He answered, looking all disgusted and annoyed.

I smack him on his shoulder but he just chuckles in response. "You really care for that Albanian fucker." He added.

"Nikolai, I care for both Artan and Aria. And I know that you also care for that little angel even if you don't say it." What I really wanted to say is that I can see it on his face whenever Aria approaches him and hugs him. His heart of steel softens the moment that angel hugs him. And I kind of have a feeling that the little girl is one of the reasons why the Albanians are still in Nikolai's good graces despite what happened.

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