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Our Sweet Guilt

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Hailey's peaceful life shatters as her mother's marriage to a Russian Mafia boss thrusts her into a perilous world. Adapting to her new Mafia family becomes a challenge, but chaos ensues when she meets Damien Rakov, an opposing mafia family's most feared underboss. Entangled in the mafia's web, Hailey's love life becomes a battleground as she uncovers secrets that jeopardize her connection with Damien.

Chapter 1 Trouble

At 9 PM, Hailey occupies the sitting room in a tense silence with her mama. Both refrain from engaging in conversation. Annoyed, Hailey immerses herself in her phone, while her mama operates her laptop. The catalyst for their discord revolves around her mama's deteriorating relationship with her papa, culminating in her mother's desire for a divorce.

Interrupting the quietude, Hailey rises from the sofa, and just as she prepares to move, her papa abruptly enters the room, his countenance marked by tension. Anna, engrossed in her laptop, lifts her head to frown at him.

"Are you prepared to finalize the divorce now?" she asks him promptly.

Hailey shoots her a stern look. "Mama!"

Unperturbed, Anna shifts her focus to Nikolai.

"That's not the immediate concern, Anna," Nikolai interjects, hastily moving past her.

Perplexed, Anna and Hailey rise from the sofa.

Hailey questions, "What's happening, Mama?"

"Perhaps you should direct that question to your papa, Hailey."

Rolling her eyes, Hailey folds her arms.

"Nikolai!" Anna calls out, and he emerges with a small bag.

"There's no time to pack; let's leave immediately," Nikolai urges, swiftly passing Anna. He secures a gun in his back pocket.

"What's happening, Nikolai? Where are we headed at this hour? What's going on?" Anna demands.

"Anna, I'll explain everything, but now isn't the time. Our safety is at risk if we don't leave immediately," Nikolai cautions, then turns to Hailey.

"Come on, Hailey, let's go."

"Where are we going, Papa? You haven't answered that. What's going on?" Hailey persists.

Nikolai strides away from them and steps outside before returning.

"Anna, there's a problem..." he approaches her. "Please... I promise to share all the details, but we must run now. I mean, right now!"

Tension builds as Hailey senses fear in her papa's eyes, a sight unfamiliar to her.

Anna gazes between Nikolai and her daughter, sighs, and then turns to Hailey. "Come on, Hailey." She starts walking outside.

Frowning, Hailey folds her arms across her chest, uncertain about the unfolding situation.

Nikolai gently holds Hailey's hands. "Hailey, please, listen to Papa first, please." He pleads, and Hailey sighs before joining her mama outside. Anna stands by the car, arms folded, and a frown on her face.

"You better explain quickly, Nikolai. I'm not staying out with you for long; I have work tomorrow."

Ignoring her, Nikolai opens the back door for them. Anna eyes him before entering, and Hailey, with a roll of her eyes, follows suit. Nikolai swiftly moves to the driver's seat, starting the car. After a few minutes of a rapid drive, Anna can no longer keep silent.

"Do you want to kill us before we reach wherever you're taking us?" she frowns. Hailey sighs and looks through the window.

"This is bigger than you think, Anna," Nikolai responds, still driving at high speed.

"Then tell me what's going on! You burst into the house and tell us to run with you. What happened? Who are we running from?"

"The capo. The capo that I work under, in the mafia."

The mention of the word "mafia" makes Hailey tense. She can never get used to the mention of it. Though she may be aware of her papa's involvement with the mafia but she never showed any interest to even know more about it, the name of the mafia family he works for nor the name of the capo he works with, she wanted no knowledge of any of them. Although, despite her papa's association with the mafia, their home has remained trouble-free throughout her 18 years, so what could have happened now? He holds only an associate rank, carrying out errands without issue. The fact that he's fleeing from the same capo he serves raises concerns.

"Why are you running from your capo, Nikolai? What have you done?" Anna questions, receiving no response. Nikolai remains focused on driving, prompting Anna to scoff in annoyance.

"I've signed the divorce papers, Anna. They are in the car." He says in a low voice.

Anna gazes silently through the window, withholding words. Hailey's eyes well up with tears, her hand pressed against her forehead. Though she comprehends her mama's desire for a divorce, a lingering hope for her papa's change and reconciliation persists but it appears futile now – a settled reality.

"Now, I have to contend with both your divorce and your escape from the capo? Choose one, please," Hailey remarks with evident annoyance.

Nikolai, apologetic, meets his daughter's gaze. "I'm sorry, honey. Truly sorry for all of this."

"Apologies won't tell us what's going on, Nikolai," Anna asserts.

Nikolai sighs, recognizing Anna's uncharacteristic coldness. His struggles with fidelity fueled the impending divorce, so it was all his fault. He's a mess and he knows it.

"Listen, Anna. If anything happens to me, promise to take Hailey and find refuge. Run as far as you can. Please, Anna, promise me that."

"What have you done, Nikolai? Just tell us," Anna implores in panic.

"What in the world have you done, papa?" Hailey asks.

Nikolai glances in the mirror and curses under his breath. "They're here," he says, hastily redirecting into a tunnel-bound lane.

Anna and Hailey exchange a concerned glance, and their eyes widen as two cars speedily trail behind them.

"They're... they're following us, Papa! What do we do?" Hailey's voice quivers with fear.

Nikolai, inwardly cursing, acknowledges the unexpected speed of their pursuers. He accelerates, prompting Anna to pull Hailey closer.

"Mama, what do we do?" Hailey panics.

"We'll be alright, don't worry. We'll be fine," Anna reassures, patting Hailey's head.

"What the hell did you do, Nikolai?!" Anna shouts, but Nikolai remains silent, focusing on driving. Just before entering the tunnel, a black car blocks their path, forcing Nikolai to halt abruptly.

Before he can reverse, the other two cars strategically trap them—one from behind and another from the side.

"F*ck! F*ck!" Nikolai curses, slamming his fist on the steering wheel. Men in black suits emerge from the cars, firing shots into the air, though not directly at Nikolai's vehicle.

"Nikolai! They're shooting!" Anna panics, tears welling up.

Hailey trembles, clinging to her mama. "Mama."

Anna holds Hailey tightly and turns to Nikolai, saying, "See what you've done?"

Tears welling in Nikolai's eyes, he attempts to reach for his seat's door but pauses, turning to Anna.

"Stay inside, Anna. Lower your heads and don't make a sound," he whispers to them before stepping out.

"You've got guts to try and run from the capo, Nik. You've got guts," one of the men taunts, pointing a gun at him. "You're d*mn lucky he wants you alive," he adds.

"Bring the m*th*rf*ck*r," another commands, and two others rough him up, delivering a painful blow to his groin. Hailey muffles her whimpering with her palm at the sound of her papa's groans.

"Let's go," another orders, and they drag Nikolai away, tossing him into one of the cars. They speed off.

Anna lifts her head and peeks through the glass, sighing in relief as they drive away. Trembling, she turns to a crying Hailey.

"Honey..." She pulls Hailey into a tight hug. "It's okay, it's okay."

"What's going to happen now, Mama? They've taken Papa away," Hailey says through tears.

Anna wipes her tears. "It's okay, sweetheart, but now isn't the time to cry. They'll come back for us; God's giving us a chance to escape. That's why they didn't bother looking for us, I'm sure."

Hailey sniffs and wipes her tears. "But what's going to happen to Papa now? What if they kill him?"

"We'll worry about that later. Right now, we need to leave." Anna searches around the car and retrieves some papers. She discovers the divorce papers Nikolai mentioned he had signed. Tears stream down her cheeks as she stares at the documents, quickly wiping them away before setting the papers aside.

"What are you looking for, Mama?" Hailey asks.

"I'm checking to see if there's anything your papa took from them. We need to know why he's running away."

"Why don't you call his friend, Dmitri? They both work as associates. I'm sure he would know what's going on."

Anna nods and swiftly takes out her phone, dialing Dmitri's number. He answers on the second ring, and Anna puts it on loudspeaker.

"I cannot take your call right now, Anna," Dmitri states as soon as he picks up.

"Please, Dmitri, wait. Don't hang up, please."

"You have to run away, Anna. You and Hailey. The capo hasn't really considered you and your daughter yet, but it won't be long before he does. He only sent men to get Nikolai. If they were given strict instructions to get you two, they wouldn't even bring you; they would have killed you both right on the spot."

Anna's heart races in fear. "Kill us? What has Nikolai done, Dmitri?"

"Listen, I can't disclose much right now. All I know is that he might not survive this, and they'll come for you and your daughter if you don't hide. So, run away, Anna." He hangs up.

Anna tightly clenches the phone with trembling hands. "Oh God."

"We need to leave now, Hailey," Anna says as she opens the door.

"But where should we go?"

Anna gulps and shakes her head. "I don't know, honey. Anywhere but here."

"We left in such a hurry that we didn't take anything. Do we need anything from the house?"

"Forget whatever is back at the house, Hailey." She looks around and spots passports. She reaches for them. "Thank God your papa brought out our passports." She takes her phone, scrolls through, and books the nearest flight to the US. "We're scheduled to leave by 5 am; we just need to find a hotel to spend the night for now," she tells Hailey.

"I don't think it's ideal to use this car, Mama," Hailey says.

"You're right. We won't be using it; we'll take a cab."

They both step out of the car and start running, hand in hand.


Chapter 2 Who's Mikhail?

Anna and Hailey stand in front of room 202, with Anna clutching the key card in her trembling hand.

"Let me handle it, mama," Hailey offers, taking the card from her mother's hand and smoothly sliding it against the keypad. The door opens, and they both enter the room, settling on the bed.

Anna turns to Hailey. "Are you okay, honey?"

Hailey nods. "I'm worried about papa."

Anna nods, looking away. "He has been associated with the mafia for a long time now. They wouldn't pursue him without reason. I can't help but wonder what he might have done."

Hailey bites her lower lip and sighs. "What could he have done? Did he steal something from them?"

Anna shakes her head. "I believe it's something more important, something larger than theft."

The sound of the TV grabs Hailey's attention, and she turns to look at it. Her eyes widen, and she taps her mama's s


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