Chapter 6 - Vigilant
"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." ~ Marcus Aurelius.
Alessio says a few words in his native tongue then quickly hangs up and puts the cellphone back into his pocket.
Looking over the garden once more he turns away from me and walks back into my room. Cautiously I follow right after, keeping a distance while watching him move swiftly to the bathroom, kicking the door wide open in a rather harsh way.
It doesn't break from the impact but I know my mother will have a heart attack if she sees the shoe stain that he's left on the door. I'll have to remember to scrub that clean after he leaves.
Flicking the light on, Alessio looks around, staying there for a couple seconds before coming out. An unsatisfied expression tugs at the corner of his lips, but when he reaches to open my closet door I stop him with my words, "what are you doing?"
What is the purpose of this? I feel as if he's looking for something which is confusing considering I told him that the only thing out of place was the shadow moving outside.
But it's then realization dawns on me...
"Wait — h-how did you even get into my house!?" My voice unintentional squeaks in a high pitch tone while my mind goes into a frenzy from all the questions swarming inside my head.
"Cherry," Alessio faces me, serious as ever. "Was there someone in this room... with you?" He looks at me with confusing suspicion.
"What?" The way he emphasizes his last words sound as if they hold accusations. I scrunch my brows and shake my head. "What are you talking about?"
I don't like the look he's giving me.
I feel self conscious.
The scrutiny in his glaring eyes makes me lower my head, avoiding his fiery stare all together.
The beat of my heart is thumping loudly as I try to get it together.
I'm not good with any type of confrontation.
"Cherry, tell me now." Alessio takes a few strides in my direction, feet stopping in my line of vision. "Who was in this room."
His slow enunciation of every word is done on purpose .
My lips thin into a straight line. I remember locking the front door when I came in, and everyone else already took their leave for the night other than dad's security, so how did he manage to get inside. Where is my father's team? They wouldn't let him slip in so easily.
"I-Iwant to know how you got in first." I try to press him for an answer but the lightness in my voice betrays me. I'm no intimidator, I'm not like my father or these others who can provoke a response back.
Fingers grip my chin tilts my head back. "Answer me. Was there someone in this room other than you before I came?"
He's practically growling in my face.
Attempting to free myself from Alessio's grasp, I tug away and stumble into the wall behind me with my back hitting loudly.
The feeling to submit as if he's my father begins to rise.
I know I shouldn't be pressing for answers of my own, but given his timely appearance, I'm left wondering how on earth he's here. However I'm still grateful for him saving me. The foolishness of it all entices a heat to spread across my skin along with a pout. "No one was here, It's just me."
My shoulders curl inwards and I just want to disappear.
I see his feet shuffle, leaning his weight from one leg to the other. Sneaking a peak, I look up to see him dragging a hand down his face.
"Don't do that." Alessio's volume has fallen steady, piercing green eyes lock on mines. "Don't look at me like that." There's soft agitation lingering in those words as he looks down and runs a hand through dishevel his hair.
"Like what?" The sturdy wall that act as a barrier and conceals his emotions are briefly let down.
Ungraded, he allows me to see the way his shoulder slightly bend, confliction shining over the orbs of his green eyes when he looks back up. "Like you're scared." Alessio moves closer, placing a hand flat against the wall that my back is pressing against.
This position is just like earlier at the garden.
His breath softly hits against my face, his chest close to mines. Our proximity corrupts the hollow space of my lower body. Squeezing my thighs tightly, I purposely divert my attention back to the conversation.
"Why did you ask if I was alone?" I want to reiterate my earlier question of how he got in, but seeing as how that went I decide not to.
He's contemplating, as if my question was the puzzle he has to put together. Alessio licks his lips, biting his bottom lip and tugging it inwards before releasing it. "I couldn't hear clearly on the phone," his eyes run over my room, looking everywhere, lost in thought. "I wasn't sure if someone else was-",
"Phone?" I cut him off, wondering what he means by this because I don't even have his phone number. My father doesn't allow me to have it, anything that involves Alessio and I has to go through him first.
Approval lies within his hands.
"It doesn't matter." Alessio deflects my question, pushing away from me.
There's a silence that falls over for a few seconds... I can't tell if it's a comfortable one.
His mouth open, trying to say something but an echo of a loud car horn breaks into the air before his words can.
My eyes go wide with fear, body stilling where I stand..
"My parents are home," frantically whispering, "you have to go!" I want to push him out of room but the instilling rules of my parents won't allow me.
He can't be here, not in this room, not in this house. What will my father do when he sees this? A small cry tries to escape from my trembling lips but I muffle it down.
"It's not them," he says, doing nothing to stop the hyperventilation of my breath that's become deeper.
How is he so sure?
"Then who?" I can't wipe the frown that settles on my face.
Avoiding me, he puts a hand into his pocket and pulls out a cigarette box, then a lighter. I grimace when he lights it up in my room, the air filling up with the smell of tobacco.
He’s casually relaxed.
"'No one you know," he mumbles as he blows out a puff of smoke. "If someone was out in the yard, then we'll find out soon enough who it was."
"Come here." He motions his hand for me to get closer. The hairs on my arms start to rise when I near him.
Green eyes trace up and down the length of me as I stand before him.
"Put some clothes on, then come with me." Alessio immediately turns to close the balcony doors. After he simply walks out of the room, shutting the bedroom door behind him. Though taken aback I oblige and quickly go to lock my door and head over to my closest, picking out the necessities to change.
What's happening? Who's really here?
When I go to open the door and see Alessio leaning on the wall, he silently pushes off and moves down the hall to the staircase. Recalling his words, I follow after and stay near like he said.
It's hard to keep up, my short legs compete to keep up with his long strides. "My father doesn't allow people on the grounds when he's not here," worriedly saying when descending down the stairs.
Nerves tighten in my chest.
I'm afraid of getting in trouble.
"What he doesn't know won't hurt him."
Downstairs is dark, not a single light on besides the one for the porch that shines through the curtained windows of the foyer.
"He'll find out, he always does," I whisper as we reach the bottom of the steps, heading straight for the main door.
It's a good thing I'm wearing sweats and a bulky hoodie, it may be cool now but the temperature around this time is quick to plummet.
Dead silent other than our shoes sounding off against the marble floor.
"I don't care." Alessio grumbles nonchalantly.
"You should." It's then that he reaches for the door handle and pulls it open — violence awaits on the other side in the image of a standoff.
A few cars litter the driveway, along with quite a few men who stand to either the left or the right of the front of my home.
They all wear black coats and hold the symbol of sleek death in their hands. Some stand behind the car doors that are left open for the purpose of a shield, others stand freely out in the open. I only recognize a few as Alessio's men, the rest are all my fathers.
Uncle Keelan, my father's twin brother comes out from behind one of the pillars that holds the structure of this house. His face carries small battle scars of the trials and tribulations he's had to face over the years; they harden his look. "You really thought you could just onto the Dons grounds because of — her." Uncle Keelan's finger raises to me and I unconsciously step behind Alessio, the side of head pops out to see but my body remains hidden.
"And." Alessio isn't truly asking, if he was then there would be room for an answer. I watch as he rolls his shoulders back, enticing a reaction from Uncle Keelan who stands more than a few feet away from the door at the bottom of the outside steps.
"Náire! You should be taught a thing a two about respect." Hatred spills out lowly with those words.
I've rarely hear my uncle speak like this, his maliciousness makes me clasp my hands together and hold them to my chest, shaking from all this anxiety.
"So what," Alessio continues to probe, "you think you'll be the one to teach me that."
Uncle Keelan takes a step forward, rising up to the challenge. "You little-",
Roaring of a car engine speeding down the long driveway interrupts all of us as we all turn our attention to the familiar vehicle racing to us.
I can see my dad through the windshield and he looks beyond angry, wrathful.
Swerving to a stop, he turns off the car completely and throws the door open, a crack is heard and I think he's broken the door. His huge frame makes his way towards us with eyes dead set on Alessio. "You mind telling me what the fuck is going on!" my father is roaring with rage. "Why the hell did you take my daughter from the party and what are you and your men doing at my house!"
My mother stumbles out of the car from the passenger seat, her face distraught as she looks all around. When her eyes land on me she lets out a heavy sigh, visibly relaxing. My father on the other hand is displaying his anger outwards, the heaviness of his stomping getting louder as he comes face to face with his twin.
"Why the hell Bianchi's kid here." He points to Alessio who tenses up from word kid.
Everyone takes in my father's insult; acting like it were a physical assault.
The regard is damaging, a comparison to a child is what we all know what he really means.
Alessio clenches his fist, I can see the way they flex at his sides. "Your daughter said she saw someone in the backyard... watching her," he sounds as if he's clenching his teeth as he speaks.
There's a hard press to my father's lips. When he does open his mouth it's to give a command to his surrounding men. "Gach rud a chuardach," dad yells out while still looking at Alessio with piercing eyes.
"I brought my own for that." Alessio challenges my father's orders.
"My own men can handle this-",
"-Apparently not considering your own home has been breached".
That sentence breaks my father's composure.
"You better watch what you say to me," dad snarls out, walking up the porch steps and invading my fiancé's personal space. The look he's giving Alessio makes my knees shake, it's never a good idea to poke the bear. "Just because your father and I are on common ground doesn't mean I'll tolerate the shit that comes out of his kids mouth. If you ruin this for the families, I'll show you what hell on earth is really like."
Alessio says nothing, it seems as if he's lost his voice for a second.
"That's quite a threat," he finally speaks after a moment.
Dad doesn't back down, but he does let up with his tone. "You've got a lot of growing up to do before you can take over anything, watch yourself."
It's real advice he's giving but I can tell it doesn't sit well with Alessio.
"Dawn, cuir ár n-iníon taobh istigh." Mom's small figure quickly moves across the driveway and around the men, clutching the fabric of her coat in her hands when going around dad and Alessio.
My mother's gentle hands encase me. "Come on," she says softly, pulling me back into the house.
The front door is still open, no doubt that my father and his men will be the ones to enter next as soon as I'm hid away.
Fingers curl into my moms arm. "Mom, what's going to happen." Asking once we make it up the stairs, careful to keep my voice low.
I don't want there to be consequences...
"Shh," she brings a hand to my head and presses me into her side.
"Now isn't the time to talk about it." Her gentle presence has become wary, full alert until we get to my room. "Go to bed, honey. We'll talk about it in the morning." Now that I'm all jittery sleep is the last thing on my mind despite how late it's become, but who am I to argue in a situation like this. I nod and she places a kiss to my forehead, closing my door when she leaves.
Stepping out of my shoes, I go to check the bathroom, closet, and underneath the bed for any hiding intruders. Associating them with the monsters that hide in your room at night when you know your mind is only playing tricks on you.
Crawling onto the bed I let out a huff and plop down with my arms spread out before curling up into a ball. Before I know it my eyelids grow heavy, eventually shutting. The darkness seeping in only to leave when the light of the sun filters in along with the sound of a scream.