“Hey Kenna, can I talk to you for a second please?” I asked taking a seat at the dining room table.
No one else is up out of bed yet so it was a perfect time to talk to her.
“What do you want?” She glared at me.
“Why do you hate me?” I asked curiously.
“Because I do.” She rolled her eyes, taking a seat from across me.
“Did I do something to hurt you?”
“You’ve ruined everything around here, first you come in here with your suitcases, you almost got us killed at The Pit because we had to go there and watch you fight, you made Ace and Zade fight over you, you almost got Zade killed and then you bring your family problems here too.” She said through clenched teeth, her eyes in slits.
“You’re right, I’ve brought nothing but trouble.” I nodded understandingly.
She stared at me with surprise and didn’t make a move to say anything so I kept talking.
“I’m sorry I’ve pushed you to the point of hating me and I’m sorry I never asked for your permission to move in, it was rude of me. My intentions were never to hurt any one of you and it still isn’t. Say the word and I’ll leave, this home was yours before mine and I should have respected that.” I stared into her eyes with sincerity.
“Why do you have to be so perfect?” She let her head hang, staring down at her cup of tea.
“Huh?” I asked taken back by her question.
“I’ve treated you like shit since day one and you don’t look at me with the same hate or retaliate with the same nastiness.” She replied, letting her shoulders slouch forward.
I was about to say something but she cut me off.
“You don’t have to leave, I tried hating you but you make it terribly hard. I’m sorry for the way I’ve acted, it was childish of me.” She sighed heavily. “But repeat this to anyone else and I’ll deny everything.” She stood and headed into the kitchen.
Trust her to end a great moment like that. I thought.
“Good morning, why didn’t you wake me?” Zade strolled through the dining room with Beau in his arms.
“I didn’t want to wake you, it’s still early why are you two awake?” I smiled, standing to peck his lips.
“She came into my room looking for you.” He stared at Beau; she looked disorientated, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
“Good morning mummy.” She said tiredly, holding her arms out to me.
“Morning beautiful.” I replied as Zade placed her in my arms.
Beau wrapped her hands in my hair almost immediately. “Can I have some cereal please?” She yawned.
“Stay there, I got it.” Zade kissed my cheek and took long strides into the kitchen.
The rest of the morning was spent with us lazing around the house with the others before me and Zade had to start getting ready for the lunch with my parents family. It was warm out today so I decided to wear a sundress and sandals, my hair done in soft curls and my makeup only consisting of mascara and lip-gloss.
“Ready beautiful?” Zade knocked on my bedroom door.
“Yes.” I swung the door open and picked my purse up.
“Tell me you’re mine.” Zade pulled me into him as his eyes ran down my body appreciatively.
“Mmm.” I hummed, tapping my index finger against my bottom lip.
“Ava you’re mine.” He growled.
“Oh hush.” I rolled my eyes playfully, slapping his chest lightly.
“Ava.” He chased after me.
“Let’s go Bad Boy, we have places to be.” I winked teasingly.
We drove the long distance to Fane’s house again; I guess the two families have come to some kind of agreement or understanding since they wanted to meet at Fane’s house.
“Looks like your father’s whole family is here as well.” Zade commented as we pulled up to the familiar house.
“I was hoping for just a small gathering.” I stared wide-eyed at the number of cars lining the long driveway, it was easily tripled from the last time we were here.
We parked and had to make the long walk up the driveway, guards stood scattered everywhere on the property, some in black suits with gold earpieces and others in midnight blue with clear earpieces. No doubt the men belonging to Fane and Vice. They all held sleek guns in hand as they walked their area, looking scary with angry and emotionless facial expressions. They nodded our way as we passed, a lot of the guard's eyes softened at the sight of me.
They must have known my parents. I thought.
“Jesus, why do they need so many guards?” I mumbled, moving closer to Zade’s side.
“I know they’ve come to some kind of understanding but it doesn’t mean they trust each other. Fane and Vice have been enemies since forever and it took you to bring them this close without killing each other.” Zade said, staring the guards down as we continued to walk by them.
“I could have met up with the two families separately, I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable.” I said without thinking.
“Your kindness is a blessing and a curse, Mi Amor.” Zade sighed, running his fingers through his dark hair.
“Mi amor?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Ahh, you’ll have to find out what that means on your own.” He winked, pushing the doorbell.
“No fair.” I ran my hand across his abdomen slowly and dipped lower.
“Ava!” He whispered huskily.
I dropped my hand and wrapped it in his again, laughing lightly before the door swung open.
“Hello, it’s nice to see you two again.” The same lady greeted us at the door, ushering the two of us inside.
“You too.” I nodded.
“Do you remember the way or would you like me to take you?” She asked nicely.
“We should be okay, thank you.” I smiled and started walking with Zade at my side.
“Jesus there’s guard’s throughout this whole house.” I whispered.
“I would do the same.” Zade shrugged.
The house was quiet this time; there was no laughing or chatter heard as we walked the familiar hallways. We got to the familiar doors where Fane and his family were last time so I stepped in first to come face to face with a whole lot of people staring back at me.
They all started talking at once making me cringe at their loudness. Different emotions flicked through everyone’s eyes. I stared at them all, trying to focus on one person at a time but I couldn’t.
“Be quiet!” Fane and someone else said at the same time.
The whole room fell quiet and I couldn’t be more thankful.
“Hi.” I waved awkwardly.
Fane and the man who looked exactly like my father stood, making their way towards me. Fane pulled me into a gentle hug, it took me a while to respond to it but once I did, Fane’s warm body shook with silent sobs and his arms tightened around me. His hug was comforting and it felt right, so I comforted him by rubbing his back softly.
“I’m sorry.” He wiped at his face but still kept me in the hug.
“Don’t be.” I smiled and pulled away to give him some space.
I didn’t have enough time to compose myself for the next bone-crushing hug I was pulled into, Vice I assumed was his name also shook with sobs. Repeating the same words in Spanish over and over again. I responded to the hug only making him break more.
I was still angry with them but I was willing to at least give them a chance.
It looked like it was hard for the two men standing in front of me to cry in front of everyone. I stood rubbing Vice’s back for a while, he stopped crying but he still held onto me like his life depended on it.
“Fane told me about Hayze and Maya after I watched you fight last night. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there for you after what happened.” Vice said with his voice drowned in sadness.
“Don’t worry about it, I managed.” I said softly, moving back to Zade’s arms.
“Why didn’t you reach out to either one of us?” He choked out, tears threatening to spill.
“I didn’t know you all existed, Dad told me his parent’s had died probably because he didn’t want me to ask questions. Mum told me about her parents but only briefly and the fact that they didn’t want anything to do with me when I was born, how did you think I felt knowing I had a family but none of them wanted me?” My own voice broke.
Zade’s comforting hands rubbed the back of my hand, helping me to keep my own tears in.
“I wasn’t going to reach out to Fane and his family if they weren’t going to accept me when I was a baby, how do you expect me to think they would have accepted me when my parents passed?” I asked.
“Why the hell did you get involved with the underground, you put yourself in danger you silly girl!” A woman stepped forward.
“What I do and what I did is none of your business but I’ll tell you why.” I stepped out of Zade’s arms and towards her.
“You’re a stupid girl!” She yelled.
“Vania!” Fane growled at the woman who stepped towards me.
Fane and Vice shook with rage and so did others in the room but I held my hand up for them to stop so I could speak.
“The grandmother I thought I could trust threw me and my little brother out at the age of 16 and 15. We were kids but I had to grow up and go find a job. I looked everywhere for one but I came back with nothing. No one in the professional fighting industry would take me on because they thought I would have slacked off or become a troubled kid caused by the loss of my parents. I had a little brother to look after, I had to do something to feed him.” I stared her dead in the eye.
“You have a brother?” Someone asked but I ignored their question.
“No one came looking for us after the car crash and they sure as hell didn’t come looking for us once we got kicked out. I had no choice but to fight underground, I put myself in danger every time I stepped into that fight club so I could keep the lights on and keep the cupboards full for Grayson and I’ll tell you what, my safety was the last of my worries while I went out and provided for him. I never wanted to put my little brother in the position I did, it's not a good feeling coming home with bloody fists to your brother waiting up scared for you but I had to. I fought to provide, I fight to provide.” I took another step towards her.
The adults in the room cried loudly as they listened to what I had to say.
“I didn’t know.” Vania cried.
“Harsh reality hit me with full force at the age of sixteen, I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me or to throw me and Grayson a pity party. I’m telling you this so you understand me. I put my brother before anything, before myself. If you guys threaten him like you did with me, I’ll show you what six feet under looks like.” I said, the motherly instinct to protect my little brother kicked in.
No one touches my brother, not while I’m still breathing.