The look was there for a brief moment. Alessio changed almost too quickly, masking his emotion.
His eyes flared dangerously and I knew my words had hit home. Good. He needed to snap out of it.
Alessio looked down at Ayla again. His expression softened the slightest bit. "She"I"" he choked, pulling Ayla into his chest more.
"I know. We"ll take care of her back at the estate. Right now, our priority is to get her to safety," I reasoned.
Taking a deep breath, he nodded. Alessio caressed Ayla"s cheek, his fingers barely touching her skin. He handled her with a gentleness that I didn"t think he was capable of.
I stared at Ayla, my eyes moving to her neck. My fingers were still on her neck too, but now I was mindlessly caressing her pulse, my touch light on her skin.
Quickly snatching my hand away, I stood up. My hands fisted at my side, my jaw grinding in sudden frustration.
Alessio shifted Ayla in his arms and slowly stood up. My eyes went to his legs when I saw him limp forward.
"Let"s go," Nikolay called. I nodded and quickly walked away. Following Nina and Nikolay, we started to climb up the stairs.
They made it out first, but I stopped in the middle to see Alessio still on the first step. I ran down the steps, stopping in front of him.
"Give her to me," I said with my arms out.
Alessio shook his head, his arms tightening protectively around Ayla. "Alessio, you can"t carry Ayla out like this. You can"t keep her safe with an injured leg."
His eyes glinted with anger, and he growled. "I can protect her. Move out of my way, Viktor."
With a sigh, I stared into his eyes. "After everything we"ve been through, do you not trust me""
"Viktor," he warned. "Move."
"Give her to me. Damn it! Stop being so fucking stubborn."
When Alessio didn"t move to do so, I finally understood. Seeing Ayla like this, there was no bound for his protective instincts. Hell, there was no fucking way he would let another man near her.
"I"ll carry her out, Alessio. Think about it. You can"t keep her safe with your leg. I"m faster." I sighed, my eyes shifting yet again toward Ayla. "I will protect her as if she were my woman."
Alessio"s eyes glowed dangerously. He moved forward, his face mere inches from mine. "She is not yours," he snapped. Even though the anger was there, I saw his resolve slipping away.
He looked down at Ayla again. "If something happens to her, I will kill you."
"I know," I replied with a nod.
Alessio finally shifted Ayla into my arms, and I quickly brought her to my chest. Ayla was light, barely weighing anything. She felt fragile in my arms, and my eyes moved to her rounded stomach.
I avoided looking at it before, but now that she was in my arms, there was no avoiding the round bump.
I couldn"t even imagine the horrors Ayla had to go through with Alberto.
Alessio touched her cheek in a soft caress before nodding at me. I returned the nod and quickly walked up the stairs with Alessio right behind me.
We didn"t stop until we were out of the house. After Alessio climbed in the backseat of the car, I placed Ayla on his lap. He immediately wrapped his arms around her.
"Get us home as quickly as you can," he ordered.
"Boss," Nikolay acknowledged his words before climbing into the driver"s seat. Nina was beside Alessio while I moved to the front with Nikolay.
"She"s going to be okay," Alessio said. I glanced at the rear-view mirror and saw Alessio"s gaze fixated on Ayla. He placed a kiss on her nose. "Nothing is going to happen to her. I won"t allow it."
I closed my eyes, leaning against the headrest.
I hoped he was right. There was no other option.
Ayla had to be okay. Not only for her sake, but for Alessio"s sanity.
The drive home was fast, thank fuck for that. I thought I was slowly going insane. Nobody spoke a word during the drive.
My eyes were only on Ayla. I watched her, waiting for any indication that she was okay.
But she stayed unconscious. Unmoving.
I caressed her, touching her, waiting for her to wake up. But nothing. Not even a twitch. Nothing to give me a little peace.
When the car finally stopped, I opened the door and climbed out with Ayla still in my arms. Viktor came to take her, but I walked past him, carrying Ayla close to my chest.
There was no fucking way he was holding her again. It took everything in me to hand her over to him before.
But not now. I didn"t care that it felt like my leg was about to fall off. No, I needed Ayla. I had to hold her myself.
I needed her close to me, knowing that she was finally safe in my arms.