Hmm…

8 – Marry Me

Adam

I really need to stop… this is the third time I have checked on Bella since she had fallen asleep and I am starting to irritate myself. I put the new figurine I bought her on her nightstand, at least I know she likes them. This one is made of rose gold and the antlers are covered in small diamonds. I walk out to check on my dad.

“Capo, you need to see this” Johnny tells me as I walk into my dad’s study. 

I take the phone from his hand and enlarge the picture he took with my thumb and index finger 

“Boot print?”  I mumble with furrowed brows 

“The boys found it next to Bella’s car at the cemetery and it’s not one of ours” my dad says 

“Are you sure?” 

“Of course” 

I nod looking at my dad, we have the same blank expressions on our faces but I know the chaos on the inside. Someone followed her to the cemetery. 

“Thanks Johnny, send me the photo” I tell him handing his phone back. He nods and walks out, closing the door behind him 

“What is our next move?” I ask my dad 

“Well, that depends on you and Bella. If you decide to get married we will gather a small army and if you decide not to we will move in six days” he says shrugging 

“Just like that?” 

“Don’t sound so surprised, your old man can still hustle”

I chuckle at my dad and take the seat in front of him.  I know very well what he can do. 

“We need to tell Bella, she needs to understand how serious this is” I tell my dad and he nods 

The door to the study opens and Bella walks in. I press my lips together to stop myself from grinning at her. Her hair is tangled and her eyes are puffy, she just woke up and came directly down stairs to find us. 

“Tell me what?” she asks yawning, plumping herself in the seat next to mine 

I openly stare at her, I really don’t give a fuck because she knows I like her. I’d like to stare at her for the rest of my life. Her head slowly turns in my direction and she blinks at me a couple of times before her cheeks turn bright red. I smirk at her and she quickly looks away 

“There was someone with you at the cemetery, they followed you. I think they wanted to see why you were there” 

“What?”  Bella gasps with big eyes staring at me and my heart fucking melts 

My dad hums nodding his head so I tell her “its serious Bella, you can’t go anywhere alone anymore” I plead 

“I am really sorry, it won’t happen again” she says softly looking down at where she is fiddling with her fingers. 

“Okay, just tell me. Anytime, anywhere you want to go, you wont loose your freedom over this” I reassure her because I don’t want her living in fear

Bella nods and smiles at me and a warmth floods my chest like there is an ocean inside of me. She looks back at Jo and I sense some nervousness from her again. 

“I would very much like to kill my mother” she says softly 

“Sure, but it’s not necessary” Jo answers 

“Why?” 

“Because your mother lost her mind not long after leaving you. She is institutionalized at Sunny Acres in Derbermount.” 

“What happened?” I ask because Bella is staring at Jo shocked 

“She had a taste for the white powder, she loved to party and was more drunk then sober. That wasn’t enough though so she got into what the boys call Neon nod, you know heroin and acid. Anyway she was found one morning by a couple of Garbage-men in an ally doing their route.” 

“Holy shit” I say and Bella just nods 

“She was naked and covered in her own blood. She had been raped repeatedly and tortured. They rushed her to the hospital but when she woke up all she kept screaming was “The purple man” she tried to stab a nurse and she attacked a doctor, when they came into her room she had tried to kill herself by stealing the other patients IV’s and hooking it up to herself. There were needles everywhere I heard. So she was sent to the nut house.” Jo says shrugging 

“Who is the purple man?” Bella asks cautiously 

“Nobody knows and she is in no state to tell anyone. She has never recovered” 

“Wow” she whispers “I have always hated drugs” 

Jo nods “its ugly business” 

“I want to go see her; I need to” Bella says 

It makes my skin crawl just to think that she will be anywhere near that woman but Bella has never had any closure, it has always been taken away from her by someone else and I understand that she needs this. I am grateful I had time to say goodbye to my mother. Jo stares at her for a moment and I know he has the same turmoil on the inside as me so I try to ease his mind

“I will be with her the entire time, she won’t pee alone” I say with a smirk to lighten the mood 

Bella’s eyes dart between me and Jo and finally my dad agrees 

“You do not even scratch and itch without telling him, do you understand?” Jo says in stern voice pointing at Bella 

She swallows hard “Yes Pop” 

“Hmm, alright let’s go eat” 

Later that night

“Oh! I’m sorry, I will come back later” Bella squeals turning bright red 

“No don’t worry let me grab my pants” I tell her smirking 

I had just gotten out of the shower and wrapped my towel around my lower body covering what it should, not that I would mind if Bella saw me naked. She spins around and waits for me to get dressed. I chuckle softly slipping in to my navy pajama pants. 

“I really should’ve knocked” she whispers 

“You don’t ever need to knock Bella” I tell honestly as she turns to face me 

Bella smiles at me and she seems nervous because she is fiddling with her fingers again and that lovely red blush hasn’t left her cheeks yet. 

“To what do I owe the pleasure little fawn?” 

“I… um, wanted to say thank you for the deer. Its beautiful and I love it.” 

I tilt my head furrowing my brows at her because I can see from her expression that it’s not all she wanted to say. She slowly approaches me darting her eyes around before looking at me again with a small smile 

“Happy birthday, I am sorry it was late this year” I tell her 

She nods stopping right in front of me

“I also want to tell you, I mean ask you… um, I just, if you want, because I do…” she stutters 

“Bella tell me?” 

“I want to marry you” she rushes out 

“You do?” I ask shocked trying my best to keep my voice even. 

I cautiously put my hands around her waist; partly because I love looking into her eyes but mostly to stop myself from falling over my own feet. 

“Yes, I have always felt the presence of someone watching me I just didn’t know it was you and I suspect you have helped me out a couple times. I feel like I know you somehow” she laughs nervously 

I nod slowly not denying anything because there have been times I visited a few guys who were getting too friendly with her or in my opinion looked dangerous. One such time was when a low life street thug tried to steal her handbag; he ate with a straw for a few months. 

“You have protected me… a little overprotective, but I understand why” she whispers 

I gently run my fingers up and down her sides and Goosebumps shoot up her arms 

“I have and I am, yes.” 

“Sorry about your face” she says running her cool hands over my swollen nose 

“I had it coming” I say smiling 

She nods looking at me expectantly “Do you want to?” she asks softly 

It takes me a moment to understand what she is asking because it is so obvious in my mind 

“Of course I want to. I have wanted you all my life Bella. I would marry you right now if I could” I say honestly because she was it for me. 

Bella puts her arms around my neck and leans herself against me, reaching up on her toes. My heart is racing and I remind myself to breathe. I hug her as close to me as I possibly can. Her breasts push against my chest and a soft moan escapes her lips speaking directly to my manhood. I gently kiss her soft lips but I want more so I move my hands down to her ass and squeeze lightly pushing her against my erection. Bella gasps and I push my tongue inside her mouth exploring every bit of her mouth. Bella groans and it takes absolutely all my self-restraint not to rip her clothes off. 

“You taste like more” I whisper in to her mouth 

“More?” Bella asks panting 

“I want more, I want all of you” I answer kissing her neck 

“Adam” she moans and I move my hand to her breast, teasing her through her t-shirt 

“That feels so good” she moans again 

“Bella I want to pleasure you” I say nibbling and biting her neck 

“I have… I have never” she pants 

“I know little fawn and I will make your first time special; it wont be tonight” I say full of need 

“Okay” she whimpers 

I slowly run my fingers down her stomach and her breath catches. I smile to myself because I love how responsive her body is to me. I push her pajamas shorts off with my fingers and she wiggles them down her beautiful legs. Running my hands over her curvy hips and thighs I feel like my pants are going to explode. Bella isn’t skinny and she isn’t heavy, she is just perfect like some kind of forgotten painting brought to life. It drives me insane to look at her, this luscious woman with her perfect curves and big eyes. 

“You feel like heaven Bella” I whisper 

Bella groans and starts kissing my bare chest. I have to remind myself to be gentle with her. Her inexperience, just exploring me is turning me on like I have never been in my life. I glide my fingers up her inner thigh and Bella gasp again letting out a moan when I gently touch her warmth 

“Adam” she whines 

“Easy baby, take it slow” I whisper 

Bella nods and I motion for her to lay down on the bed. 

“Take off your shirt little fawn” 

She slips off her shirt and lays down on the bed looking up at me with those big eyes full of want and it makes me swallow hard. 

“Fuck, you are so beautiful” I tell her and she blushes a deep red again 

I climb on top of Bella and she reaches for my shoulders running her hands up and down my arms looking at all my scars. Her eyes lock with mine and we stare at each for a few seconds 

“You are the most handsome man I have ever seen” 

My heart jumps in my chest and my pulse races from her words. I lean down and kiss her deeply earning me another moan. I work my way down from her lips to her breast and I suck her nipple into my mouth teasing her with my tongue. Bella shivers below me panting so I work my way further down over her stomach and she digs her fingers into my hair 

“Adam” whimpers again 

“Breathe baby” I say softly kissing her inner thigh

About her

7 – Mother Dearest

Out the corner of my eye I see a small square hole and I furrow my brows, carefully approaching it. It’s carved into the corner on it’s own like it was done as an afterthought. (Surely that must be it) I crouch down and slowly shine my flashlight inside. At the back sits a small urn and  I reach for it with a shaky hand clenching my teeth (Please don’t let there be a spider. Why is this so gross?) The urn is made of carved stone and is a pink/tan color; cool to the touch. I sit down right there because my legs are cramping and carefully turn the urn around in my hand. There is a faint engraving on it and I rub the dirt away with my finger. Shining my flashlight on it I squint like that would help me to see better and I am confused at what I see 

“Joseph Pinto, 2006” I whisper staring at the urn (who is this?) 

“Joseph Pinto, 2006” I say again 

“Jos…. Oh no!” I gasp “mother, what did you do?” I say to the room staring down at the urn 

Tears burst from my eyes and I wail in agony. (Did I have a brother? Was Jo his dad?) 

Footsteps rushing towards me pull me from my thoughts and I yank my gun from its holster pointing at the door (Nice Bella, you had a gun this whole time but you wanted to kill a noise with a shovel… This is why Jo doesn’t let you go places alone) 

“Bella!” Adam calls with his gun in hand 

“Adam” I whimper dropping my gun and getting to my feet with the urn still in my other hand 

Adam rushes towards me folding me in his arms and just the smell of him comforts me. 

“Bella are you alright?” he asks worried 

“Where is she?” I hear Jo coming in 

I shake my head and take a few deep breaths. Clinging to Adam’s shirt with one hand and with the other I shove the urn towards Jo 

“Why didn’t you tell me? Is he your son?” I weep again 

“What?” Adam says surprised whipping his head towards his dad 

Jo starts to tremble and slowly takes the urn from me with shaky hands. 

“Yes, he was my baby boy” 

“Dad!” Adam protests “Tell me know!” he demands in a shaky voice 

Jo takes a deep breath and wipes his tears with his palm. Adam has his arms around me and I can feel him shaking as well. 

“We didn’t know” Jo starts staring at the small urn 

He sighs and looks up at us. “I was lonely; loosing my wife almost killed me… so I use to go to this bar at the west side called Catalino’s. Like Adam mentioned I was a shadow of a man, not even talking to my own son” Jo sobs and bites his fist to swallow another sob 

We listen as he continues “Your mother was sitting at the bar, no wedding ring, no nothing indicating that she was married. She moved to the seat next to me and introduced herself as Candice Baxter” 

“Her maiden name” I whisper and Adam slowly rubs my back watching his dad 

Jo nods “Anyway she was an extraordinary beautiful woman with good taste and easy to talk to. I told her I would like to see her again and she agreed. We started spending more time together and I fell in love with her” 

I gasp clamping a hand over my mouth “Dad…” Adam whispers in a sad voice 

Jo nods taking a deep breath “She fell pregnant and I was of course delighted, I couldn’t wait but she seemed… off, like something was going on with her and I couldn’t put my finger on it. She had told me she works for a talent scouting agency so she was out of town a lot and I believed her. I never thought in a million years…” Jo trails off motion towards me and I swallow back the burning in my throat 

“What happened?” Adam says softly 

“I followed her one evening… I decided to do it myself and not hire anyone because I felt ashamed that I could be fooled like that. She pulled into a crappy motel parking lot just outside the city. She got out of her car and walked straight to one of the rooms, she was dressed like a hooker… room 413, I remember it like it happened yesterday. At that moment I knew someone was waiting for her.” Jo sighs again looking down at the urn in his hand 

“I took out my gun and waited for ten minutes. I got out of the car ready to take out my anger on who ever I found in there. I kicked down the door and she was naked on top of some sleazebag with slick black hair and this thick gold chain around his neck… a real piece of work. I pointed my gun at him and she screamed scampering off of him” Jo shakes his head at the memory then starts to smile 

“So I am standing there boiling with anger that my pregnant girlfriend is pounding this low life scum when another man rushes through the door with a sawed off shotgun. He looked familiar to me” Jo chuckles 

“What the fuck is this Mildrid?” He roared like a lion and then looked at me furrowing his brows 

“Who the fuck is Mildrid?” I yelled looking at him 

“That whore of a wife of mine!” he yelled back pointing at the bed with his shotgun 

“Wife?” I exclaimed horrified 

“Oh fuck, she’s banging you too?” Gus said throwing his hands in the air 

“You fucking lied to me?!  Who is the father?” I growled at her 

“She is fucking pregnant?” Gus exclaimed dragging a hand over his face 

“There was silence in the room for a few moments as we all just stared at each other. The man on the bed was shaking like a leaf. Gus finally broke the silence and told the guy to get the fuck out before he killed him. He looked over at me and them back at Mildrid. He lowered his shotgun and then told her she better start talking” Jo says softly looking at both of us

 Adam was still rubbing small circles on my back and both of us looked at Jo nodding so he would continue 

“I felt like an intruder but I had to know who the father was. Mildrid was terrified clutching the sheets to her body. Gus spoke in a stern voice and I have to admit it was a fucked up situation but there was something about your dad I liked.” 

“Fucking talk, Mildrad!” he yelled and she flinched obviously not use to seeing your dad angry. 

“Jo is the father” she whispered and my heart clenched 

“Are you sure because you have been fucking everything on legs?” he yelled again 

“I am sure, really sure” she sobbed nodding her head 

“Fuck” I mumbled 

“I don’t want the baby, I’m getting rid of it!” she exclaimed and your dad and I both glared daggers at her”

 “The fuck you will, I growled and your father nodded to my surprise. From there things changed… Gus and I spoke about how we would handle it, your mother would stay with you till she gave birth and then I would take the baby, Mildrad was happy to do so. Your father filed for divorce in the meantime but kept up appearances for my sake. I have never met anyone like your father in my whole life, he just cared about the kids.” 

“Can I see?” Adam asks holding his hands out to take the urn 

Jo carefully hands Adam the urn and he turns it around in his hands “There is only one date on here” 

Jo presses his lips together and shakes his head looking at everything but us. “He was a still born, your father and I had him cremated and brought here” Jo whimpers 

“Oh Jo… I’m so sorry” I whimper and move to hug him 

“That’s just… so fucking messed up, I am so sorry dad” Adam says in a shaky voice wiping a tear away 

“So we had a half brother” I whisper looking at Adam 

“Gus and I spoke a lot during the nine months your mother was pregnant and we got to know each other. It was strange talking like that with a woman between us, of course not me or him ever touched your mother again after that night. I learned that your dad and I were cut from the same cloth; same business, that’s why he looked familiar. He was someone I could talk to and confide in and I was the same to him. I can’t explain it but we became like brothers. He helped me out of the darkest pit I had ever been in and I helped him to get out of the business.” 

“Then why did they kill him?” I whisper 

“We suspect your mother had something to do with it. I moved you and your father to our city and we got you the house. Everyone knew your dad was getting out and he didn’t owe anyone anything. He just wanted out. He was even willing to hand over a lot of his assets and most of his money. That’s how your dad and I came up with the plan to keep the two of you safe.” 

I sniffle blinking back some tears “I still miss him” 

Adam hands his father the urn and folds his big arms around me “Sorry little fawn” he whispers and kisses the top of me head 

I sigh and lean into his chest. Jo walks over to us and folds his arms around us. We all just stand there for a few seconds gathering our thoughts. 

“I couldn’t find the deed” 

“No matter we can come again and this time not alone Bella” Jo warns and I nod 

“I wouldn’t be okay if something happened to you” Adam whispers and my eyes shoot to his 

“I am sorry” I whisper back 

As soon as we got home I collapsed on my bed and finally fell asleep. It wasn’t a peaceful rest but at least I am a little less zombie-like. I want to tell Adam how I feel and that I want to marry him especially after everything we learned today. I’m a little angry at my dad and Jo and at the world in general but I also understand why they kept secrets. My emotions are frayed and there is only two things I am certain of; firstly I want to be with Adam and second, when it comes to my mother I would end her the first chance I got.

Well that happens, right?

6 – Cemetery Secrets

I just need to do it; not think and just do it. So I march out my room and knock on her door right next to mine. 

“Come in” her beautiful voice rings in the air 

“Hey Bella” 

“Oh, hi” she says pushing a stray lock behind her ear 

“Are you doing okay?” I ask softly as I approach her where she is sitting on her bed reading 

“I don’t really know to be honest. It’s a lot to take in” 

“It is and I…. I don’t want to add to that but I have to say something so you’ll know and then… I don’t know, or I mean…” I sigh pinching the bridge of my nose 

“Adam is everything okay?”  She asks worried 

(Oh great I am scaring her already) 

“Yes, I… um.” I take a deep breath “I like… you” I say cautiously. 

Bella just stares at me surprised so I continue 

“I have liked you for a few years to be honest or maybe always, but it’s been long and I understand if you hate me, fuck knows you are allowed to and I get it. I just wanted you to know that I am so, so sorry and I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you. I know I’m an asshole sometimes but you are my world and I just wanted you to know that and if you decide to never look at me again I will accept that.” I say rushing the words out

She just stares at me again for a few moments and then slowly turns her head towards the bookshelf so I follow her eyes 

“The deer figurines” she whispers and I press my lips together not to smile 

“Yes, you have big deer-eyes like a fawn and its captivating” I say softly 

Bella blushes a deep red and a small smile runs over my lips. She still doesn’t say anything and just looks from me to deer and back again. I don’t want to make things worse so I just smile at her. 

“Goodnight little fawn” I whisper and walk out her room closing the door 

I don’t know what she will say or what she is thinking but I am glad I told her. I feel like a mountain has been lifted off my shoulders and I don’t have to walk around with secrets anymore. 

The next morning I wake up early, too early… I have this eerie feeling that something is wrong. I get up to check on Bella just to make sure she is alright. I have to admit I love being this close to her. I slowly and quietly open her door and peek in the room; the picture light creates a dim glow. (Hmm that’s odd) I stare at Bella’s bed trying to decide if my eyes are playing tricks on me. I open the door and walk to her bed 

(Oh Shit!) 

On the nightstand is a note 

Good morning

I didn’t want to wake you guys up, I couldn’t sleep and I felt restless so I went to the mausoleum. Sorry Jo, don’t be mad I will hurry back as soon as I find the deed my father left me.

See you guys soon, love you xoxo 

(No no no no) 

(Fuck, this isn’t good) 

I run out her room with the note in my hand 

“Dad!” I yell opening his door 

“Dad!” 

Jo jolts awake clearly startled 

“Bella went to the mausoleum alone” I say out of breath 

“WHAT!? I specifically told her not to! Kids just don’t listen… Fuck!” he hisses 

“Get everyone!” he yells and I run to get dressed so I can gather the crew 

We need to hurry up because I have no idea how long Bella has been gone or who is watching her. 

(If something happens to her I will never forgive myself. I can’t live without her)

Bella 

The time is 6:09am when I park my car at the cemetery. I am sure Jo and Adam will be pissed off but they can yell at me later. It has been a rough few days and I really couldn’t sleep or hang around the house any longer. After Adam told me how he felt it took me a good thirty minutes to move from the spot on my bed and I completely forgot what I was reading in my book. (He really likes me) I smile to myself; he looked so nervous and so handsome. Heaven knows I like him too but I am just so scared… the bigger picture is if we don’t get married a lot of people will suffer under the control of pure evil men. Don’t get me wrong none of us are saints but the horrors they keep locked up behind closed doors is enough to send anyone running. There isn’t really anything to think about… I like Adam and he likes me and we will be doing something good that will benefit a lot of people. (Yes, I will marry Adam.) I can sort out my feelings later. 

(Sure you will) my sarcasm rings in my head and I sigh 

I took a picture of my dad’s instruction and saved it on my phone. I get out with a flashlight, shovel and a plastic bag and head towards out mausoleum. The air is cool and I’m wearing a white hoodie with jeans and sneakers. 

(Please don’t let anyone be here. I promise I’m not a grave robber) I look around on high alert 

The sun is peeking through the trees and the birds are singing, yet it does little to calm my nerves or make the cemetery less creepy. This is an old cemetery and our mausoleum has been in our family for a few generations. The shadows from the trees dance over the gravestones and I chill runs up my spine. A rustling in the leaves startles me and I yelp jumping to side, arming myself with my shovel 

“Oh, tiny bird… just a tiny bird” I breathe out placing my hand over my racing heart 

(Get it together Bella; you are not in a Stephan King novel) 

I can see the mausoleum up ahead and as I walk I read some of the names on the gravestones. It’s shocking how many people die young and I wonder what their lives would’ve been like? Would they have changed the world? This is where hopes, dreams and desires rest for all eternity and the thought makes me feel empty. I sigh and Adam’s face starts to fill the void inside me. I am smart enough to know a person makes their own happiness but I have to admit sharing it with Adam would make it all so much better. 

I stop in front of double doors with the name “Pinto Family” on it. Next to the doors are two big angel statues. (Hello, nice to see you again) I greet them because I am obviously weird and awkward. A grave next to the mausoleum catches my eye and I furrow my brows. It is the only grave so close to our… tomb. (Sophia Reed, 1988 – 2013. Forever in our hearts) I run my fingers over her name and memories flood my mind of me and her building forts in the living room and staying up late past my bedtime watching movies or eating ice cream and waffles for breakfast… she had the most magical laugh and I remember the way my dad looked at her like she was an angel or something. I loved it and I loved her. She took care of me when my mother left.  A silent tear rolls down my cheek and I take a deep breath. I know my dad loved her too but she was young when she started working for us as my nanny so their relationship was never known to anyone. She died the same night as my dad. The police report said they got to her first and Jo didn’t let me read what they had done to her before killing her and I am grateful for it. There are some things a person should not know… 

“I love you Sophie” I whisper 

Walking back to the doors I dig around in my pocket and take out the large rusty key my dad left for me. I place it in the lock and frown because unlike the key the lock isn’t rusty… (That’s weird… does the caretaker oil the locks or something?) The key turns with little effort unlocking the doors and I push them open. Walking down a couple of steps I stop right in the middle of the tomb. I thought it would smell worse down here but it’s not too bad. The coffins of my ancestors are places in the holes in the walls that look like… pizza ovens. (That’s so messed up. What’s wrong with me?) Goosebumps crawl up my arms and I know this is my family but it doesn’t make it less eerie. It bothers me that my dad isn’t buried here; they took his body and the police never found it. It is just one more thing I had to make peace with. It is not uncommon. 

I take out my phone and open the photo with the instructions

My dear Arabella,

If you are reading this, I am sorry… I wanted to be with you forever, always remember I love you more then life itself. I hope that you found Jo and that he is taking good care of you, please tell him I say thank you. I suppose you want to know how Jo and I know each other? You will find that answer in the family mausoleum. You are old enough to know now.

My darling you are in great danger and I am sure by now you know why. Our family is very powerful and you my love have inherited all that power because you are the last of us. I know you will be wise in whatever you choose to do just please stay safe. I have left you a deed to a very special property that was to be a surprise for your 21st birthday. I kept it hidden because no one could know the location or that we even own such a place. The property will set you for life even if you walk away from the business and it will be safe for you.

Bella please know that everything I have done was to protect you and I love you forever

Dad

Xxx

PS. To find the deed you must look towards your family and remember Bella, blood doesn’t make you loyal and family are the people who we choose.

I swallow back my tears (I am not going to cry again) I have read this letter twenty times since I found it yesterday and I have cried each time. So dad said look to your family and our connection to Jo is here as well… I start at the left wall and work my way around to the right. I cringe and shudder every time I touch a coffin or a vase or a dead flower. The cobwebs alone are reason for panic and I do my best to stay calm (It has to be here somewhere) I check every pizza oven, I mean… hole in the wall but nothing. (Where did dad put it?) There are only so many places to hide something down here and I have checked everywhere.

Talking

5 – Just Say It

I nod and swallow hard staring back at him. Something about him at least getting to one of the men responsible and then guarding me for the last seven years softens my heart and I don’t want to kill him anymore, maybe just torture him a bit… no, no I don’t. I am so confused.

“Why are we important?” I ask him and he shrugs

I frown turning my head

“Jo?”

He sighs and takes a seat across from us with the backpack on his lap.

“I really wish your dad was here for this” he says softly looking down at the backpack and my heart clenches

“Tell us” Adam says

“Well as you both know I am the boss of a very large empire that deals in both legal and very… less legal business.”

We both nod

“Bella your father was just as powerful. In fact his reach was far beyond mine”

“What?” I whisper in disbelief “But our lives were so peaceful up until that night? I never saw guards or bad guys, we lived in a nice house but nothing like this” I say gesturing with my hand

Jo nods “He got out because he wanted to be a better dad to you. I told him he shouldn’t, that it was too risky but he was confident it would be safe for you and for a couple of years it was” he explains

“So what happened?” Adam asks and I am grateful because my tears are stuck in my throat

“Gus and I wanted to unite our families…” Jo says waving his index finger between me and Adam

“Dad? Wow, what?” He sounds as shocked as I must look

“It would ensure your power and keep you safe. There are a lot of families both in and outside the administration who would benefit and support you. The idea was to build an army around the two of you so our biggest enemies like Michael and Swen couldn’t get to you. As you know that idiot son of his, Charlie, married Swen’s youngest daughter.”

“Fuck dad, she is only 15” Adam says and horror fills my heart

“All this for power?” I ask in disbelief

“Yes and no… Power and money and territory of course, but above everything else it’s to keep the family safe.”

“I don’t understand” I sigh

“Bella your father owned three cities and when I say own I mean lock, stock and barrel. All of that goes to you when you turn 21” he explains and I stare at him shocked

“So I’m a… a… mob daughter?” I squeak

“You are a mafia princess Bella and rightfully so, fuck knows I know very few people who would survive the things you have” Jo says matter-of-fact

I just sit here blinking at him not really sure what it means to own three cities, and also how? Just how? Was my dad a bad man?

“Was my dad a bad guy?” I whisper

“Am I a bad guy?” Jo asks staring at me

“Sometimes” I say softly looking at my feet

“Look at me Bella” and my eyes meet his “Sometimes your dad was a bad man, we are not saints and that is why I didn’t shelter you from everything. I didn’t want you to spend money and then say “Oh I didn’t know where it comes from”

I stare at him and my hands start to tremble again because he is right, this is our lives.

“Gus and I worked on a proposal or a plan if you will, and we concluded that if our families should join you would own half the state”

“Holy shit” Adam gasps

Jo shrugs and then continues “It was a way to keep you safe and your money clean. We have plans in place to keep you out of trouble and as legal as possible while still getting all the benefits. We have people who have been loyal to us for generations going back both sides and as you know in this business loyalty is everything”

Both Adam and I nod just listening in silence.

“We rule with balance and I am not saying what we do is right or legal by any means but I can tell you this… we ain’t selling babies and children or putting people out on the streets. If that fucking idiot Swen and his monkey of a son in law over take us… well, a lot of people would loose everything, including good people, people who are not like us.” He says the last part softly

Adam and I glance at each other and then back at Jo. He is clearly as shaken as I am.

“Dad why didn’t you ever tell me or try to talk some sense into me” Adam says half annoyed

“Because you’re like me, would you have listened?” Jo says gesturing towards him

Adam doesn’t say anything he just sighs so that answers the question

“So if we don’t unite the families what happens?” I ask in a small voice

“War… and let me be clear even if you do unite the families there will still be war”

“Then what’s the point? I ask

“The point is you will have more people and more power. You will have more contacts and more information; information is gold Bella.” He explains

“So if we don’t they are stronger and they can kill us?” Adam asks and Jo nods

(Oh fuck… how is this my life?)

I lean forward with my hands in my hair. (This cant be happening)

“Bella, Adam, I want you to know this… Gus and I never sold you kids out, please don’t think that. I am giving you all the information I can, good and bad so you can choose whatever you want to and I will support it”

“We have no choice” Adam says and I have to agree

“You always have a choice. If you kids decide you don’t want to do it and you don’t want to get married its fine. We leave, we take our things and we move countries. No one will force you or think less of you or blame you” He says honestly looking between the two of us

“What about the cities we rule?” I ask

Jo shrugs “They will have enough time to prepare for the shit storm that will hit. We never guaranteed anyone their safety, they know the risks”

“But all your plans?” I whisper

“Bella… You and Adam will always be the plan. You and Adam being safe and happy is what is important, that’s why we did all this in the first place” Jo exclaims like past twenty years of him and my dad’s lives didn’t matter.

I glance at Adam again and he looks as lost as I am, so I look back at Jo

“How long before we need to decide?”

Adam turns his head towards me and out the corner of my eye I see him gawking but I don’t look at him because I feel my cheeks glow and I must look like a tomato.

“One week Bella”

I nod staring down at my feet.

“Neither of you have to do this and nobody will expect it from you”

“May I be excused” I whisper with a shaky voice

“Almost, there is just one small problem”

“What?” Adam and I both exclaim

“Your father hid something important for you at your family’s mausoleum. He died before he could tell me but he said everything would be in this backpack if something ever happens”

I scoff at him with a sad smile “He said that to me too”

I slowly get to my feet and take the backpack from Jo, slinging it over my shoulder

“I love you kids, whatever you decide, and Bella if you find something tell me, you do not under any circumstances go there alone” He says in a stern voice pointing his finger at me

“Yes pops”

Jo nods and I turn on my heel to walk out. Glancing at Adam I see him still staring at me but look away and head for the door. Today has been too much

Adam

Bella walks out the room and it instantly feels empty – I feel empty. I sigh running my hand over my face.

“Well at least you like her” my dad says with a smirk and I don’t even try to deny it because there is no point

“A lot, she is my whole world” I sigh again

“You know Bella is great but she is not telepathic, you will need to tell her” he says walking around to his desk

“And how would that go dad? Hey Bella I fell in love with you while stalking you, hope that’s not weird, please marry me?” I gesture sarcastically

My dad chuckles and gets two small liqueur glasses from his drawer with a bottle of Amarula. I watch him pour the cream liqueur still trying to wrap my head around it.

“Where did you even get that?” I ask gesturing to the bottle

“South Africa, long story…”

I know not to ask too many questions so I just nod. I take a small sip and although it is not what I typically drink the exotic cream is delicious and doesn’t taste like anything I have had before.

“Hmmm”

“I knew you’d like it” my dad chuckles again

“I don’t know how to tell her dad. What do I even say?”

“Just be honest my boy, can’t go worse than it did with your mother and she married me” he says with a small smile

I swallow hard staring at my dad. Talking about my mom was a big deal to both of us and I appreciated it. He is trying to be different with me.

“What happened?” I ask cautiously

“Well, I had the whole thing planned; it was going to be so romantic. I bought a gold chain for her and I put my own signet ring on it with the family crest like the one you are wearing, because it would never fit her tiny fingers. We didn’t have these… promise rings and what not. That was old school, that’s how the guys new that the lady was yours. Anyway so I took your mother horseback riding out by the river, we didn’t have the deck and the boats back then. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon everything was going just I planned. I told her I wanted to ask her something and she gave me the most beautiful smile” He says with a chuckle and watery eyes

“So I bring my horse next to hers and take the chain out of my pocket with my ring on. She gasp staring at me like I am some sort of hero and I gently take her hand placing the chain in her palm. We are smiling at each other, the river is in the back ground and just when I am about to ask her to be my girlfriend a fucking huge snake darts out the river into the field and my horse goes crazy!” my dad exclaims and I start to laugh

“Your mother was on Storm and she wasn’t as frightened but Winston… heaven help me. That horse took of like a rocket. I remember the faint yelp of your mother as our hands were yanked apart. The horse raced down the overgrown path and I looked behind me to make sure your mother was okay. The next moment I turn around; Bada-bing! A big tree branch hits right between my eyes.” He says laughing so hard the tears stream down his face

I’m laughing with him, shaking my head in disbelief. “What happened then?”

“I have no idea, I woke up in hospital and your mother was standing next to me with the chain around her neck” He chuckles staring into the distance

“I won’t go with horses then” I chuckle staring at my shoes

“No don’t” he says waving a finger “But my point is just tell her, even if it doesn’t go according to plan just say it so you both know”

“What if she hates me? She has every right to”

“Then you take it like a man and spend the rest of your life making it up to her”

“Thanks dad”

My dad nods smiling at me

“I am really sorry kid and I’m glad you’re home”

“I am sorry too and it’s really good to be back” I tell him honestly

We already had dinner and the house is quiet. Bella hasn’t been out of her room much and she didn’t talk much either. I have been pacing up and down in front of my bed for the last half an hour trying to find the words to tell her how I feel

(Fuck Adam, you can shoot a guy point blank but you can’t tell a girl you like her?)

Sometimes we just think we know

4 – The truth be a Bi**h

“I’m sorry dad” he says in small voice “I was wrong”

“So was I, I’m sorry” Jo sniffles, hugging both me and Adam

Tears run down my cheeks and I bury face in Jo’s chest.

“What the bloody hell?” Daisy says from behind Jo

We turn to her and the moment she sees Adam she gasps clamping a hand over her mouth

“Gummy Bear” she whispers

(Gummy Bear?)

“Hey Nana” he whispers back

She slowly walks to him and hugs him tight while Jo has his arm around my shoulder.

“Your room is ready” she says softly with a warm smile and it reminds me of my first night here

“I don’t think I can st…”

“Stay” Jo says cutting off his words “Bella has a lot of questions and we need to clear this up”

Adam stares at me for a few seconds “I am sorry Bella I wanted to protect you”

“From who?” I say in a small voice clenching my firsts

Adam looks at his dad then glances at Daisy and Brice before resting his eyes on me again

“From Swen” he says and a chill runs down my spine

Jo sighs turning me so I look him in the eyes. Holding onto both my shoulders he smiles warmly at me with red puffy eyes

“Bella I have had more emotions today then a mood ring from the 1980’s, I promise to tell you everything in the morning”

“They were pretty rings though” I tell him

He chuckles at me and kisses my forehead

“Let’s go to bed”

After a long hot shower and getting my favorite pajamas on I finally huff out a deep breath as my head hits the pillow. My emotions are raw and I don’t know what to think or feel about what happened today but I am so exhausted from crying that it doesn’t take me long fall asleep.

I wake up blinking my eyes slowly. I have a slight headache from all the crying yesterday but at least I slept last night. I groan and roll out of bed. My favorite pajamas is a pair of boy short that’s so old it’s frayed at the edges and the waistband is sticking out at places. The tank top is also frayed and has holes at the front and back, in fact most of the back is just missing… I told the maids if anyone dares to throw my pj’s in the trash there will be hell to pay and they need to hand wash it. I grab the bottle of water on my nightstand and walk into my bathroom to get the aspirin. I brush my teeth and comb my hair putting it up in a messy bun so I can wash my face. My eyes are puffy and I have to admit, I’ve looked better. I yawn and stretch out limbs walking out my bathroom towards my walk-in closet.

“Is that what you sleep in?” Adam chuckles amused leaning against the door

” Wh…? why?” I squeal trying to cover the holes and my bare legs with my small hands

“Nana says breakfast is in 10”

“Knock, you could knock and tell me that from the other side of the door” I whine twisted awkwardly

“I could… but I won’t” he says with a smirk

I gasp and grab the nearest thing I can find which is my powder brush.

“Get out!” I yell throwing it at him

He catches it twirling it in his fingers while casually walking towards me

“You know, almost nothing also looks good on you, I knew I was right” he smirks pushing the bristles onto my nose

I wave at him like he is giant fly. “Leave!” I whine again

“Fine, I’m going, hurry up”

He closes the door behind him and I am standing in the middle of my room twisted like a nervous flamingo with a powder brush sticking out between my breasts where he planted it.

(I am going to strangle him!)

I sigh and grab the powder brush throwing it onto the bed. Mumbling a few colorful words to myself I walk into my closet and get out a pair of jeans and navy t-shirt. I carefully fold and hide my pajamas in a drawer then I slip on my green and navy ballet pumps. Now I can face the day.

When I reach the bottom of the stairs the smell of fresh coffee invades my nostrils. I am starving this morning.

“Morning Bella” Jo greets with a warm smile like he always does

“Good morning” I greet back warmly

“Nice outfit Bella” Adam says wiggling his eye brows and I know he is not referring to the one I am wearing.

I glare at him and walk to my seat. Jo is sitting at the head of the table and I and Adam are sitting on either side of him across from each other and Daisy and Brice at the other end

“How did you sleep?” Jo asks

“Surprisingly well actually” I answer as I reach for my coffee

“It didn’t sound that well” Adam says looking at me with his amber orbs

“Why?” Jo asks before I can

“She was restless; I heard her talk and cry in her sleep so I went in to check on her and tugged her in again. She was better after that”

I sit here gawking at him like he’s crazy, then slowly glance over at Jo who is staring at me

“It was hard day, I am sorry Bella” he says softly

I swallow hard and slowly nod at him. He isn’t the least bit concerned that Adam was in my room even though he tried to kidnap me and I am a little shocked by it. I don’t know why Jo trusts him so much after so many years apart. If it was anyone else on this planet Jo would’ve clipped him right there. I look back at Adam who is staring at me like I somehow belong to him. I don’t know how to describe it exactly but he looks possessive. I clear my throat as the maids bring our plates out and after a few moments Jo and Adam starts talking about the business and Daisy and Brice chime in. To my surprise just watching them talk like this makes me feel comfortable.

“That was delicious, now lets go talk in the cigar room” Jo says and my eyes shoot to his

“How serious is this?” Adam asks frowning at his dad but Jo just shakes his head

Adam is right; it has to be serious because the cigar room is the only place in the house with sound proof walls and absolutely no reception. It’s spy proof; the moment you walk in there anything electronic stops working, even the vacuum cleaner, much to the displeasure of the maids. The study is for show but the serious matters go to the cigar room. We get up from the table and I follow Jo with Adam walking behind me. I fiddle with my fingers at the hem of my shirt because I can feel him staring at me and without him even saying anything I feel a blush creep onto my cheeks.

“Take a seat” Jo says and motions to the dark brown leather couches. The cigar room is like a luxurious man cave. There is a pool table and a dart board in here, as well as a bar and a massage parlor. He walks over to bookshelf and pulls on two separate books about an arm length apart. There is a clicking sound and the books in the middle move up in the air above Jo’s head.

Jo walks around the room finding three different keys he hides in three different secret places, then he walks to the vault and unlocks it. Three locks click

He reaches in and when he pulls out my old backpack I gasp staring at him wide-eyed.

“Your backpack” Adam murmurs and again… shocked, I look at him frowning

“How do you know?” I ask in a soft voice feeling very unsure of the situation

“I was there”

I blink, gawking at him, searching his eyes for answers…

“You need to tell her because what I am about to say will change both your lives”

My eyes dart between Jo and Adam and the anxiousness in the pit of stomach makes feel nauseous.

“When I was 17 I had already become a button man. The boss I worked for used to send me after high risk targets, I guess I was easy to replace if something went wrong. Anyway by the time I was 18 some new crew rolled around and we all got more… sensitive jobs.”

Adam sighs ringing his hands together and I am on the edge of my seat, I don’t like this story already.

“You were a job” he says softly looking at me with guilt and regret

“WHAT!?” I yell jumping to my feet.

Looking from Adam to Jo I feel the tears pushing behind my eyes

“You knew?!” I yell at Jo motioning towards Adam

“No, not at first” Jo says softly looking at me apologetically and the tears start rolling down my face

“Bella please don’t cry” Adam says reaching for me and I jump back

“Don’t you fucking touch me! Did you kill my dad? Did you come here to finish the job?” I scream at him through my sobs

“No! Bella No! I couldn’t do it” yes exclaims

I take a deep breath and look at Jo who is watching Adam like he wants to punch him in the face and it makes me feel a bit better

“What then?” I ask

“I didn’t know about your dad and I didn’t know our parents were friends or that they even knew each other” He starts to tell me and I believe that because neither did I

“I was supposed to get you in the ally and clip you” He says and I clamp my hands over my mouth

“Please let me finish; I moved your ladder…”

“What? You asshole!” I scream and pounce on him hitting him with my fists

Adam tries his best to gain control of the situation “Dad?” he pleads

“No you fucking deserve it, take it like a man” Jo says and Adam drops his hands

I’m straddling him punching at his face. First his eye then his cheek but when I hit him again on his nose I suddenly stop. Blood is running down his face and my hands are swollen. I cover my face with my hands and shake as my sobs rip through me.

“I… um, you were early, I didn’t think a small girl could run that fast, so I hid in the shadows just as the those assholes came into the ally behind you. I thought maybe they would finish you for me.” He says in a soft voice holding onto my waist and I cry even harder

“But then… Bella, you were so small and so frightened and when you looked up at them with those big beautiful eyes I just… I died inside, I couldn’t let them hurt you.” he says

I look up at him wiping my tears still sniffling. “They did hurt me” I whisper

Adam sighs again staring at me with tear filled eyes. “It escalated quicker then I thought. I was halfway out the shadows when the first guy dropped to the ground and it impressed the shit out of me.” He says with a small smile making me blush

“I was standing to far away to get to the second guy in time. I saw him punch you and I came up behind you because that fucker was not touching you again. I accidentally kicked a can at you and you….” he pauses shaking his head

“You sliced a guy with a tuna can” he breathes out

(So he saved my life… after the he nearly ruined it…)

“Bella you just fought so hard to live I was in awe of you and I couldn’t pull myself away from you. So I have been watching and following you for the last seven years” He says softly

“What?” I say shocked staring at him wide-eyed

“I wanted you to be save” he says shrugging

“So you stalked me?” I squeak

“No, I protected you because all I know is if someone orders two hits on you, you were important”

“And on you” Jo says from behind me.

I suddenly realize I am still sitting on Adam’s lap and quickly get to my feet mumbling an apology. I take my seat next to him and look over at Jo. He looks sad and pained and I don’t know… I don’t know what to feel, or say or do… wait.

“On you too?” I ask looking at Adam

“Yes the two men in the ally were contracted by former boss and Swen. They had to clip your father then you and then me” He says apologetically glancing between my eyes and the floor.

“Former boss?”

“I took him out”

“Did he suffer?”

“Very much” he says to me with a pointed look

It Happens…

3 – Adam and Mojito’s

The same anxiety I had before slowly snakes up from stomach and plants itself in the back of my head. Something was definitely up… The surprise party, all the guests, the extra goodfella’s and now I am “grown up” I need a mojito. That’s my drink, I love mojito’s

The church is decorated with masses of flowers in all different colors and sizes. The tables are decorated with an elegant country theme and it’s a strange contrast to the normally bloody floors. Jo never kept the “ugly” of the business away from me

He said “Never glamorize it kid” He wanted me to be prepared for the world. He was a lot like my dad in that way also, so I was use to it.

Jo welcomes me and gives a speech about how fast I have grown up and how happy he is that I am in his live; it nearly had me in tears and I am sure I heard Daisy sniffle back a few tears as well. It was my turn next and I thanked Jo and everyone for coming. Jo was in tears by the time I was done and when he cries, I cry… I just can’t help it because it almost never happens. That kicked the party off with food and an open bar. The tables were placed around the dance floor and we sat down to a three course meal; nothing too crazy just wholesome home cooking. After dessert Jo and I opened the dance floor which had both of us in tears again. I don’t know how life would’ve been with my dad but as for Jo, he is the best second dad any girl could even wish to have. The party eventually winds down; I excuse myself and head towards home. Jo won’t be long and Daisy is with him.

My white wedges crunch against gravel and I take a deep breath of the cool night air. It was hot as hell today and I can’t wait to get in the shower and go to sleep. There’s so many things going through my mind (What did Jo mean?) (Will I be okay?) (Did the someone leave me a deer again?) (Where will I find it?) (Why do people eat tofu?) I shake my head and open the massive entrance doors. Most of the crew and staff are either a little tipsy or they are busy cleaning up. (Jo will have their asses in the morning)

I walk in through the foyer and past the study, kitchen, ballroom, dinning room and formal family room right to the back of the house. I saunter up the stairs in the dim yellow glow coming from the picture lights above the portraits. My feet feel heavy and I can’t wait to get out of this dress and this strapless bra… (So uncomfortable)

I moan loudly swinging the door shut behind me with one hand, kicking off my shoes

“That sounds delicious” a deep smooth voice comments from my chair next to the bookshelf.

I yelp and run towards my nightstand; feeling around under it (no gun?) I rush towards dresser (no gun?) panic constricts my airways (where are my guns?)

“You have five 9mm pistols, sorry, you had… five 9mm pistols” he says calmly just watching me from the shadows

“Who are you?” I ask in a shaky voice not being able to see his face

“I am Adam”

“Adam?” I frown

“Not this again…” he sighs and I immediately recognize him

“What are you doing here? How do you know where I live and what the fuck do you want?” I whisper yell at him

I met Adam a few months back in a fancy bar while we were on a job. He nearly derailed our plans because he was very distracting. Adam has the kind of face that makes you do a double take if you walk past him in the mall; the man is hot! A big guy with broad shoulders and a lot of muscles… His messy blond hair made me want to dig my fingers into it and his eyes…. oh, his eyes… he has the most unique and beautiful amber eyes I have ever seen in my life and I couldn’t stop staring at him. To me this was the most handsome man I had ever seen

A Few Months Back In The Fancy Bar

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” he said sliding in next to me

“Do you believe in ghosts?”

“No I don’t”

“Pitty… but no, then it’s not taken” I answered with sigh

“Okay, are you always such a delight?”

“Of course, I’m a ray of fucking sunshine”

“With the mouth of sailor”

“Yep, came with body”

“I see…” he said running his eyes over me like he wanted to see beneath my dress

“Do you? Do you really see?” I said annoyed at the hottest man I had ever encountered in my life

“Well, you are a unbelievably sexy woman, vixen even… yet somehow reserved and sophisticated sitting alone at a bar, drinking… what’s that?” he said pointing to my glass

“Mojito”

“Mojito’s”

We stared at each other for a moment and I felt something so familiar and comfortable it scared me a little

“What is your point sir?” I asked

“It’s Adam, by the way and my point is, why?”

“Because it’s Wednesday, that’s why… Wait, Adam as in Bible Adam?” I snickered to myself

“No, I’m from the West side”

I spat my drink out laughing and snorting. The rum was burning every hole in my face and tears were running down my cheeks. Wiping my mascara I took a deep breath. Meanwhile Adam didn’t twitch a muscle; not even a hint of a smile, just a very serious poker face. I couldn’t look at him because it made me crack up again… he was so serious.

“You know its Thursday right?” he finally said

“So?”

“So, your reason was Wednesday”

“Then I’d better add that to my list”

“Is it a long list?” he asked

“You have no idea”

“I hope I never make that list”

“I just met you, never is a long time” I told him

“I have time”

“Yes, I have been told that before”

“Well not by me” he said in a cocky tone

“Obviously”

“Obviously” he parroted

I stared at him not wanting to listen to my loud thoughts about his amber eyes and how I am currently on a job

“What?” he asked

“Nothing” I said softly

“Nothing looks good on you” he smirked

“You wouldn’t know”

“Yet…” he said with a look that melted me

I felt my cheeks turn bright red just before Brice approached us and Adam disappeared in the crowd

+ + Present time + +

Bella

He slowly gets up from the chair and pulls a gun from behind his back. My breath catches and I start to panic. There is no way I am letting this guy kill me regardless of how hot he is. I grab my huge glass bunny of my dresser and point it at him. His lips curl into a small smile and now my fear is becoming anger.

(Does he think I can’t hurt him with this thing?) He clearly doesn’t know me

“Just put the hare down, it’s not what you think and I can explain”

I glare at him “It’s not a hare it’s a bunny!” I exclaim

“How can you tell?”

“Because a hare has longer ears and lo…. why am I explaining this to you? Just go!” I yell

“Not without you”

“Kiss my ass”

“Gladly” he smirks and walks toward me

I throw my glass bunny at him and he catches so I dart over my bed and rush to the door. Just as I am about to open it he grabs me from behind and pushes me against the door. I jab him with my elbow and we struggle as he tries to pin my arm behind me so I kick him right in the crown jewels… he groans in pain and I swing the door open. I have no idea where Jo is but I need to find him. Halfway down the stairs two big arms fold around me and I struggle to get free knocking into a pot plant

“Will you stop?” he hisses in my ear

“No! Hel…” he muffles my cry with his hand over my mouth

I bite into his hand “Ouch fuck, Bella! Are you going to whip out a tuna can next?”

I immediately freeze “What did you say?”

(I never told that to anyone, not even Jo)

My blood runs cold and I feel paralyzed as I slowly turn around in his arms unable to do anything else

“I… I’m sorry” he stutters “I didn’t want to remind you but you were not listening to me and I ne…”

“Get the fuck away from her” Brice growls cutting off his sentence

Adam pushes me behind him in a protective manner that completely confuses me as he meets Brice head-on. I stumble on a step a fall back flat on my ass.

“Bella… are… you… al…right?” Adam yells in between punches with Brice’s head in an arm lock.

I stare at him wide-eyed. I have never seen anyone beat up Brice before. I didn’t get a chance to answer him because Jo’s deep loud voice roared through the air

“Adam, let Brice go!” he yells

“He started it!” Adam yells back shoving Brice down the stairs

“Oh, it’s always someone else!” Jo says throwing his arms in the air

“I was protecting Bella!” Adam defends

“I would never hurt her, you were hurting her!” Brice hisses and Adam glares at him

Tears are running down my face. I am confused and scared and it feels like I am the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on. I try to swallow a sob but it doesn’t work and all three of them turn their heads towards me.

“Oh geez Bella I am so sorry” Adam says turning to walk up the stairs

“No! Don’t come near me!” I yell through my tears and he stops in his tracks

“I want answers! Right fucking now!” I demand stomping my foot like a child

Jo sighs pinching the bridge of his nose. Adam and Brice just glance at each and I stare at them wiping my tears like I didn’t just have a mini melt-down.

“Bella this is Adam, my son” “Adam, this is Bella my little girl who you have upset on her birthday” Jo hisses the last part through clenched teeth

“Adam is your son?” I breathe out sitting down quickly because my legs turned to jelly once more

“Hey” Adam squeaks nervously and I roll my eyes at him

(Asshole)

“Yes, when Adam was 16 he decided to leave me to go and explore the big bad criminal world, because apparently his old man knew nothing and was a poor role model and a terrible dad” Jo says emotionally

“That’s not… dad, it wasn’t like that” Adam says looking guilty and sad

“Then what was it like Adam? It wasn’t enough that I mourned your mother so you had to leave me too? Make an old man suffer” Jo says throwing his hands up

I gasp whipping my head towards Adam “What is wrong with you?” I exclaim

Adam sighs and I can see the tears he is trying to blink away

“I was alone okay… and I was scared and I wanted to drown my sorrows.” He yells full of emotion

“Dad, you were so broken you didn’t even see me… it’s like I didn’t exist anymore” he breathes out

“What are you talking about?” Jo says furrowing his brows

“You were never home and when you were you never talked about mom. You didn’t even bother to grieve with me… you decided to deal with it on your own. I lost her too dad! What was I suppose to do?” Adam exclaims

“Pop is it true?” I whisper looking at Jo with tears in my eyes

“Yes” he whispers and then breaks down sobbing.

His big body trembles as the sobs rip through him. I rush down the stairs two at a time and throw my arms around him. I just hold him because I don’t know what to say. Then Adam starts crying and now I’m… shredded.

Now meet him

2 – My Fawn

Adam

I watch her from a distance with my binoculars like I always do. She chats with Brice “The Muscle” at Jo’s place. I know first hand the damage Brice can do but then again he knows me too… I snicker to myself as I watch her small, curvy frame walk to her car. Her dark brown hair and big hazel eyes have always captivated me. She reminds me of a little deer. It’s only when you look closely at her that you notice the mixture of green and brown bits in her eyes. It’s because of those big eyes that she’s still alive; I just couldn’t do it – couldn’t do my job. Now seven years later the kid has turned into a woman. Her hips and thighs are sexy as hell, I want to grab onto them and it doesn’t help that her big breasts look strained under that t-shirt.

I shift in my seat trying to focus as the Merc drives out the gate and I tail her at a safe distance. I get a glimpse of her profile and the memories flood my mind. Seven years ago I was sent to kill her. She was just a kid and I was eighteen; eighteen and a killer. Killing kids and women wasn’t something I did, I saw what it did to some of the other guys and it was a whole different kind of hell. She fought like a crazy person to live. Anything that fights that hard to live should be alive. She never gave up and then to slice a guy with a Tuna can…

I snort to myself thinking back about it. For a moment I really thought those two imbeciles was going to do my job for me so I stayed in the shadows waiting but as soon as the first guy approached her and those big eyes looked so terrified my blood ran cold and I died inside. I couldn’t do it; I didn’t want them to hurt her. I was halfway out of my hiding spot with my knife in hand when the first man collapsed. My lips curled up with a smirk but then the other asshole hit her. I walked around staying in the shadows to come up behind her, her little fingers were frantically searching for something to help her. I kicked the can towards her by accident as I approached them and she crabbed the can. I flinched when the lid cut into her fingers. Her little bloody fingers held onto the can for dear life… Neither of them was aware of me because they were so caught up in the fight. I was ready to pounce on him when he grabbed the collar of her hoodie but she moved so fast I was genuinely impressed; she sliced his whole eyeball open. I smirked when he folded over in pain, looking up he saw me and I pressed my index finger to my lips. He was startled to see me, his anger turned to fear but he knew not to say anything. Before I could even move my little fawn cut him again; just below his ear, slicing his neck. It wasn’t that deep he dropped to his knees. He didn’t dare touch her again. She darted past him for her knife and then ran out the ally.

(Good girl)

I already knew where she was headed so I took my time…

I finally walked out the shadows and kicked the man in his face. His lip split open and he spat out blood with two of his teeth. He was panting and covered in blood. His eye looked disgusting and I couldn’t help but stare.

“Who the fuck sent you?” I spat at him

I didn’t know why Bella was important to the crime families and I still don’t entirely.

“Swen” he gasped

I shiver at the memory as we exit the town and I take a few deep breaths. This road to Jo’s place relaxes me; it always has since I can remember, my mom and I loved road trips.

(Fuck I miss her)

Anyway, Swen was the most vicious monster I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. He had mo morals or rules; every man needs a set of rules, like a code or beliefs. He had none of that. He raped and tortured anyone from women and kids to cops and the elderly. He was the definition of demon.

“Please?” the man gasped, pleading

I took my knife and cut him right where my fawn did but deeper. I sliced his neck wide open

“Die you piece of shit” I hissed at him

When he fell on his back a yellow envelope peeked out from under his jacket and I picked it up and opened it. Goosebumps crawled up my skin and something at the back of my skull prickled. I remember how betrayed and angry felt, and sometimes I still do. There was a letter and photos of me and Bella. It was in my boss’s handwriting… A kill contract like the one’s I would normally get – like the one I had on Bella. It said to kill her father first and then her. After that they could finish me because I was also contracted to kill her so I would be close and I wouldn’t suspect it.

I scoff at the memory turning onto the dirt road. My dad always said “Never trust a man who would harm kids, they’re scum” but I didn’t listen.

The letter was signed by Swen and my now, dead boss… Michael was his name. Yeah, I killed that son of a bitch that same night and sneaked out making it look like Swen’s men did it. Till this day they don’t know it was me. I destroyed all the files they had on me and Bella with a ton of others so it wouldn’t look suspicious. His son Charlie took over the family business, a real mamma’s boy with a fetish for the darker things. I shake my head as I park the Jeep far from the farm so no one will see me. I know this property like the back of my hand and it’s not hard for me to hide. I take out my binoculars again to scan my surroundings. The only one left is Swen but I will get him too. For now though the little fawn needs to be protected. After this birthday her life will change and she has no idea she is important. So here I am seven years later and still watching her. It always makes me happy when I see her with Jo, I am glad they found each other.

A sad smile crosses my face and I watch the farm looking for any signs of danger or intruders. I have a gift for Bell that she can put with her collection. I always leave her something on her birthday since that night and she has no idea who it’s from yet she keeps it. I will need to kidnap her soon but security is tight tonight so I will wait a while until the booze start flowing.

Bella

I look at myself in the mirror one last time to make sure I am presentable. The strapless white lacy dress hugs my figure in all the right places. Sometimes I imagine I’m an hourglass with hair because I look like one. The hem of the dress is just above my knee and I look like a young woman. Me and the dress both know it’s just a “look”… I feel anxious for some reason but it must be the kid in me; she gets like that sometimes. I take a deep breath and walk over to my dresser to put my pearl earrings on. My eyes wonder to the bookshelf standing next to it and the six figurines of baby deer. I have no idea where they come from but each year on my birthday there is one waiting for me. The first one – the glass one with the gold antlers was on the pillow next to me the morning I woke up from that horrible night. It was in this very room… Jo said it wasn’t him but he assured me no one with bad intentions would get near me so I didn’t think much of it. Then it happened again the following year; a green deer carved from some kind of stone and the year after that; a gold one, and the year after that, porcelain, gem stones and the last one was silver. Jo knows about these gifts I get every year and for someone as overprotective and paranoid as Jo is, he really seems not to care much about it and now that I am older it bothers me. I feel like he knows something and he is not telling me, although I am use to Jo not telling me everything. He is a lot like my dad with in that way.

I walk out of my room to the ebony staircase. The white walls are covered in ridiculously expensive art; mostly stolen or won in poker or given as payment for debt. The floors are made of white marble and the whole tone of the second floor is muted earthy tones from the potted plants to the loose rugs. The high ceilings are embossed and painted a very dark brown as a focal point and to add some dramatic color to the area. A large crystal chandelier made of orbs hangs from the center of the roof. From our rooms on the second floor you can see down into the living room, it is more private and cozy than the main lounge area. They added forest green accessories to the leather couches and somehow it all works with the Dalbergia wood table that looks like the inside of the tree.

“You look so beautiful my girl” Daisy says as I reach the bottom of the stairs

“Thank you Daisy, you have good taste” I say winking

“It’s nice to have a daughter to buy stuff for. Jo is waiting for us in the church.”

“Did he invite a lot of people?”

“Of course he did”

I sigh as we walk out the main doors of the front entrance and head towards the “church” It’s not a real church or anything religious whatsoever but Jo calls it the church because everything that happens in that building stays there and when Jo tells you he is going to take you to church… well, you best be praying because no one walks out of there the same way they went in. Luckily when it comes to me the church is my very own party venue with everything I could need or want. I look around and we seem to have more security then usual

“What’s up with the firepower?”

“Never mind it, they’re goodfella’s”

“Says the fixer… they all fear you” I snort at Daisy

“Meh, I just cook and clean” she says winking at me

Daisy is very kind and modest and quiet but, don’t let her grey hair and warm smile fool you. Like she says; the cook and the cleaner, and by cleaner I don’t mean she makes the beds and washes the laundry. Nooo… Daisy is the capo of a very specialized crew of experts who can “clean” anything from storage units for drugs to bodies to the inside of someone’s skull and any or all evidence that might land someone in jail. Her crew is mostly ex-government employees like FBI and Mossad which is very handy given their extensive knowledge on all things crime related. I have no idea how or where she found them the only information I ever got when I asked was that back in the day Daisy was MI6 and that’s how she met Jo. Something went wrong on a stakeout she was working; they were set up and the government left her for dead. Jo and his boys found her in an ally bleeding out and although Jo was already a boss at the time and could risk loosing everything by helping this stranger, he did. He couldn’t leave a woman old enough to almost be his mother bleeding out in an ally. So Daisy told them where to take her and they left her at the address. She faked her own death, found Jo again after doing some lengthily checks on him and the rest is history. It was risky but it worked out for them.

“My beautiful Bella” Jo says with a warm smile squeezing my shoulder as we walk in

“Hey pop, nice party… Thank you”

“Congratulations honey, in our world you are your own woman, all grown up”

“What does that mean “in our world?” I ask with a frown

“I will tell you tomorrow, can we just celebrate tonight?” he says in a soft voice

“Sure pop, sounds good” I whisper back

Let’s go somewhere

Soooo I really do apologize for not posting anything in a while, I a have been writing…

I would like to share a short story I wrote with you guys. I will try to post a few chapters each week. It’s a mystery/thriller and I hope you enjoy it xx

(This is mature content though, so no kids)

The Girl with a Bloody Past

1 – This is me

So, you’d like to know my story? Okay… I’ll tell you…

My name is Arabella Pinto, today is my birthday. I’m 21. At the moment I’m knuckles deep in frozen fish. Yeah, I use to work in this fish factory; I still do but my job description has changed a bit as I have gotten older. Why, you ask? Well, because at the tender young age of 7 my whore of a mother left me and my dad. My dad raised me… He was a busy man but he always made time for me. He was my hero.

Anyway, he told me if anything should ever happen to him I need to grab the emergency backpack under my bed and run. Everything I needed was in that bag he use to say, over and over again. There was a piece of paper with an address on it that I had to recite every day; “292 Rosewood Rd, Joseph Zoret.” I always asked him why, because our lives were peaceful, but he insisted and never gave me any answers.

One night the sound of glass shattering woke me up. I could hear my dad pleading in the kitchen and I tip-toed to my door.

“Please don’t do this, I’m not in the business anymore” he said

The man sighed “That’s the problem Gustav, you know too much”

My dad kept pleading “please”, and know it was for my sake. Two shots rang in my ears and I heard a loud thud as my dad dropped to the floor. I slapped my mouth shut with my hand to stop myself from crying; blinking back tears and ran to my bed and grabbed the backpack. (292 Rosewood Rd. Josep Zoret) I remember thinking… I pulled a hoodie over my head and slipped into some ballet flats. I slung the backpack over my shoulders and headed for my window still in my pajamas. I practiced escaping out of this window a thousand times. I was fast and fit.

“He has a kid!” I heard one of the men call out as I hoped out the window onto my roof.

From there it was jumping three trees to get to the sidewalk. Leaping on the branches like a monkey. A big guy with a scar on his face saw me jump to the last tree. Glancing over my shoulder I saw him turn on his heel and run out my room. My feet hit the ground running…

“Rosewood” I whispered and ran like hell.

Headlights came up behind me and I knew, I just knew… it was them. I sprinted into the familiar ally – jumping the fence and I kept running, around two more corners. It was just a few more blocks I had to run and I could run forever if I had to. I ran into another ally and hopped on my homemade ladder; jumping the wall. (Joseph Zoret) (292 Rosewood Rd) I remember repeating again. I ran up a street pass some office buildings into the industrial area of town. (Almost there) I thought…

When I turned into the last ally I froze… I remember being so terrified. Someone had moved my ladder I made. I ran to the wall trying to claw and jump to get up it but it was no use I had to turn back and take the long way. Halfway out the ally two men came into my view. Two big men… I still Goosebumps when I think about it. I stopped in my tracks, slowly backing up till my back hit the wall.

“There’s the little whore” Scarface smirked

His friend licked his lips as they approached me. I was visibly trembling because I remember my knees shaking.

“Please” I softly sobbed “Don’t hurt me”

They just chuckled, approaching me cautiously in case I tried to escape.

“We want to have some fun” Ugly-guy said with the yellow teeth.

My heart was pounding a million beats per second. I grabbed onto the wall behind me and a sharp knife grazed my hand. It was sticking out from the bottom of my backpack. It must’ve cut open the bag from all the running. Scarface grabbed my throat with hand and with the other he grabbed my breast. I yanked the blade out of my backpack slicing my hand but I didn’t feel it… I shoved that blade right into his groin and turned the blade from side to side. He dropped to his knees just as a fist smashed into my face sending me sliding on the ground right into some garbage bags.

“That’s where you belong; with the garbage!” Ugly hissed at me.

I was panting and groaning from the pain with my backpack still on my shoulders. He moved fast, closing the space between us. My head was throbbing and the blood running into my stung like a bitch. I was so scared… I had dropped my knife and I was panicking. The man untied his belt and unbutton his pants.

“You are going to suck me whore” he yelled

I struggled to get up; trying my best to see with one eye. The smell of rotten garbage threatened to make me gag. Pushing myself up I felt something sharp under my hand and i grabbed it; the thing, cutting into my fingers. I hisses and started crying… Then ugly bent over and grabbed the hood of my sweater. I swung my small arm at his face and sliced right across his face cutting his entire eyeball open. He wailed in pain and dropped to his knees so I sliced again cutting his neck open just below his ear. His blood was all over me and by now I was sobbing. I looked at the thing in my hand and it was a lid from a can… a fucking tuna fish lid and I sobbed even louder. (Rosewood) my mind said and i jumped past the man grabbed my knife where I had dropped it and ran like hell.

I rand for another two blocks into a quiet street where all the factories had big yards. (Rosewood) I thought a little relieved (292). I stopped in front of a big metal gate and frantically shook the mesh. A camera at the guard booth turned toward me and a few seconds later the gate rolled open. I run to an office where I saw a light as the gate closed behind me. The door of the office flew open and in the frame a man about my dad’s age stood waiting for me. His hair was a salt and pepper color and he had a neatly trimmed beard and mustache. He was fit and tall with broad shoulders and dark brown eyes.

“Joseph Zoret?” I whimpered

“Arabella Pinto” he nodded

He motioned for me to get inside and I followed him to his office where he pointed to a small couch I should sit. He took a seat across from me on some stacked crates. I was trembling and sobbing and covered in blood. Jo got up and took his bomber jacket off, cautiously approaching me not to frighten me anymore than I already was and he wrapped it around me. I sniffled and a hoarse “Thank you” rolled off my lips; my throat was suddenly dry… He sat back down and stared at me. It felt like he staring forever before he finally said

“Your mother was a whore”

I swallowed and nodded.

“Hmm” he hummed and then continued

“But your father was a fantastic man, I assume, was… by the look of things”

His voice was gentle and I stared crying again, nodding my head. He sighed and ran his hand over his face.

“Breathe Bella” I remember him saying and it calmed me down.

“I don’t know much about girls” he admitted “But you’re my kid now”

I blinked staring at him surprised and just slowly nodded my head. I was completely shattered and I felt lost. He sighed again and only then did I notice how sad he was as well. Him and my dad must’ve been close but my dad never told me about him.

He got up and called into the factory from the other door “Daisy!”

Moments later and older women came into the office. She had long grey hair that was up in a neat bun. She was curvy and her features were soft. She had icy blue eyes and thin lips. She seemed kind and warm. She gasped at the sight of me.

“Oh! You poor child, what happened?” she asked horrified

I just shook my head staring at nothing with a blank face as silent tears rolled down my cheeks.

“Why are you covered in blood?” she asked

I stuttered as I answered “M… men in my house… t…t…they shot daddy, they chased me… the ally… I think I killed them”

“Where?” Jo asked jumping to his feet and I explained the best I could.

He told Daisy to give some clean clothes and something to eat and drink and that they would be back soon. I didn’t have much of an appetite and 45 minutes later Jo walked back into the office. He still has that same clock on his wall…

“Follow me” he said motioning with his hand.

We walked into the fish factory. It was quiet because it was late. a few men dressed in casual wear were waiting for us at a walk-in freezer. A big guy opened the door for us and the bodies of the two men from the ally were dangling on hooks in front of me. I swallowed the bile in my throat and looked over at Jo, terrified.

“Are these the men?” he asked pointing at the dangling corpses

I nodded slowly turning my head to look at the two dead bodies. I felt sick to my stomach.

“Good job honey, you got them good” Jo said with a smirk

I blinked a couple of times looking up at Jo a little confused

“I don’t want to go to prison” I softly whimpered

Jo chuckled at me “Bella I promise you no one will ever know where to even begin looking for them”

He smiled as he continued “Nobody fucks with the family, you’re safe kid no one will get you” he smirked

I was relieved and worried at the same time. I had no idea who Jo was. That night was my 14th birthday. I was just a kid and very lucky to have survived that night. Most girls that age are not so lucky

So here I am seven years later and still Jo’s kid.

+ + Present Time + +

I shake my head as I walk into the giant walk-in freezer with a box of fish in my arms. Someone’s sneaker is frozen in the corner covered in blood. Someone must’ve pissed Jo off last night. I sigh as I stack the box on top of the others. I have seen everything in this freezer from Tuna to body parts and hookers to cops. I walk out closing the door and take my gloves off. The scar in my palm is a thick white ridge. I glide my thumb over it walking to Jo’s office because I am done for today.

“Hey kid!” Jo greets

“Hey pop Jo” I greet back with grinning. He loves it that I call him that

“Why do you still come here and pack fish? You are my spoiled brat, you don’t need to do this” he says shaking his head

I snort at him; he was right. Jo spoiled me rotten, he had billions, legal and… not so legal.

“I know Pop I think the gross fish smell is therapeutic”

He chuckles at me wrapping one arm around my shoulder and squeezing me. That is about as close as Jo comes to hugging or human contact in general. I have never felt uncomfortable around him, not even a look or a gesture.

“Listen honey, get home to Daisy we are having a party for you tonight”

“You didn’t?!” I whine

“You are 21, of course I did” he says motioning with his hands and I roll my eyes

“Okay see you soon” I say defeated as I walk out onto the gravel outside the factory

I head towards my sporty Mercedes but stop in my tracks; slowly turning from side to checking my surroundings. I press the key and the doors unlock. I have grown a lot in seven years but I never could shake the feeling that I was being watched.

“You okay kid?” Brice calls walking towards me from the garage

“Yeah, just the creeps I guess?”

Brice is Jo’s right hand. He is as tough as they come and really not what you would call a “people’s person” although the ladies love him. He is in his mid 30’s and has a tattoo sleeve covering his left arm. His dark hair and eyes are enough to frighten most people and he is built like a truck, by truck I mean ripped like a machine. We have a lot of jobs together on the weekends and he is deadly. I would not mess with him if I was his enemy but I’m not so I actually mess with him quite often.

“Oh yeah” he says nodding “I get that a lot around kids”

“I was a kid”

“You’re different, now get going”

“Yes sir” I say and wave at him as I drive off.

The saddest truth…

Some days mental health is easier to manage then other days and if you ever walk around like every day is sunshine and cotton candy; get over yourself. On days like these it helps me to reflect and feel what I need to feel, you know? Like not ignore it but also not fall apart. You admit it, you feel it, you work with it and you manage it. You don’t ignore it, you don’t push it down and most importantly you do not let it control you.

So what is my saddest truth? Well maybe it will be easier if I just write a letter and maybe you need to write a letter too?

Dear you,

I hope my intrusion on your Tuesday morning is welcome but if it’s not… if you never want me to tell you these things I am truly sorry but I have to, I need to tell you things that I only whisper to the Moon and then… then you can run far-far away.

It’s been years – I know, but I still ask every city light if they think it was supposed to be you… If it was you I should hold at night or coax’s out of bed with a cup of coffee? I have this burning need to understand why the warmth of your chest wasn’t flesh but home. Secret letters and late night radio shows haunt empty corners of my soul and I tried to hang a few portraits of beautiful boys there and they even grew into men, I really did try; I promise… but it couldn’t hide the cracks in the wall or the hollow sound of laughter when the wind blew through me like the haunted house I am… I tried…

A gaping hole lives in my palm where your hand should be and no matter how loud I scream no one else can see it, can touch it. It is the reminder which I hate to love but never love to hate so here we are, two Sunrises short of a fairytale and no horse or armor; just a naked girl with a few paintings on broken walls.

I supposed my truth, the saddest truth is this; Every time you put a full stop after goodbye I will always add a comma.

Now you know and it’s my turn to walk away

Goodbye;

Always, me xxx

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started