Chapter 1, Last Brawl
THIS IS BOOK 3 OF THE GOLDEN GIRL SERIES. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU'VE READ TWO GANGS AND A GOLDEN GIRL AND THREE GANGS AND A SILVER SIN.
BY AMBER MARIGOLD
“Amberry, I need yer help!” I hear Venessa shout from upstairs.
I’m in the basement, covered in shades of red and maroon, and nowhere near done with my questioning.
“I’m busy!” I shout back and blow a rebellious dark golden hair, which fell from my messy bun, out of my face.
“This is literally a matter of life and death!” Nessa mewls.
I hear a clatter and a bloomin’ beetroot from upstairs before I decide to help the North’s second in command. I quickly put the pliers back down, wash the blood off of my hands with the bucket of water in the corner and shoot the rapist in questioning a look that says I will remove the rest of his teeth if he so much as moves. Quickly, I wipe my hands dry on my vintage skirt and rush upstairs.
I push open the door, make my way past the kitchen and run over to the grand living room that has turned into a madhouse. There, among all the piles of boxes and railings filled with white dresses and designers clutching fabrics, is Nessa. Nessa holding two pairs of what seems to be the exact same shoes.
“Oh finally! Ye sure took yer fookin’ time, didn’t ye?” Nessa complains and grabs my arm to pull me towards her.
For the last two months now, the house has been in chaos thanks to Nessa. My temporary room that I had grown to love is all but drowning in dresses and shoes and makeup. Each night, I have to get to my bed like I’m in a fricken maze made of lace and silk or something. But since Nessa has deemed my very large room to be too ‘small’, she has made camp in the grand living room.
Literally everyone is annoyed at this point.
“I was keeping one of the prisoners busy while Xavier is investigating potential Sterling members seen in the North,” I try to explain.
Nessa flips back her wild red hair. “I don’ care. Now come, put on the damn heels so I can see which works better for yer height,” Nessa commands.
She is the North’s second in command, but she must not forget I’m her leader now. I’ve been her leader for well over a year by now. I just never knew it.
Nessa hands me a pair of shoes that probably costs more than some cars. I take the delicate network of silver lace and crystals and easily slip it onto my feet. I’ve never had a problem with heels. I’m good at wearing them. I just think I might need something more practical for this wedding.
Like steel tipped boots.
When I have the shoes on and stand tall, Nessa is for once the same height as me. It’s pretty large heels and Nessa is a pretty tall girl, but my second in command isn’t wearing one of her monstrous heels today. The Scottish seductress looks me over and then says that we might have to test it out with the dress. I groan and tell her we don’t have a dress yet. Then she proceeds to argue that I don’t have a dress yet, but she has a few ready for me.
I’m still busy arguing with Nessa about how her dress choices in the past were great, but I’d like to wear something more practical this time since there’s a ninety-nine percent chance that the wedding will surely be crashed.
What gang would want to miss the North when they are most vulnerable?
At the sound of two pairs of footsteps, I look over my shoulder and watch the twins stroll over. I feel a little relief seeing the identical brunette idiots with their casual clothes. After the North so publicly broke their vow to Sterling, the twins decided to hop on to the sinking ship with us. I’m unbelievably grateful for it though.
“Say, Nessa?” Ryan asks as he steps forward.
“Why is a dress called a dress when you can dress people in other clothes as well?” Bryan adds.
Nessa sends a scowl towards them. “I don’ have time for yer questions today, lads,” she says before grabbing a second pair of shoes and handing them for me to try out.
“But seriously,” Bryan says.
“Paul called for you upstairs,” Ryan adds.
Nessa immediately drops everything before telling me she’ll be back and rushing upstairs to get to Paul - her own heels are clattering on the grand wooden floor.
I turn to the twins in relief. “Paul can’t call anyone,” I tell them.
“We know,” they say.
“Daniel will be waiting for her in a bed of roses,” Bryan grins.
I can’t help but to laugh at that. Surely yet another fight will break out in Isabella tonight. With tensions really high after those threats we got from Sterling, everyone has been wanting to get rid of steam in some form. For me it’s always either painting or questioning some of the criminals downstairs.
As if on cue, I watch Paul casually stroll in while holding Pollock. I melt at the sight of the silent giant with my golden ball of fluff.
“Awwww, give me, give me!” I smile and slip out of my heels before walking over to Paul and my dog. Pollock is a lot bigger than he was. He’s still a pup, but he’s almost a year old now and you can see how he’s slowly losing his puppy breath.
“Who’s a good boy?” I ask in dog language. Pollock barks and licks my face.
Paul puts up his hand to stop me and then puts Pollock on the floor. Pollock looks up at Paul, but stays where he is. I watch curiously as Paul motions for Pollock to stay before pulling out a teddy bear from under his sweater.
Pollock wags his tale, but stays where he is as Paul raises the teddy. The silent giant smiles ever so slightly before he chucks the teddy across the room. Pollock tenses as if to run after it, but stays as Paul stares him down. I watch in amusement as Paul gives it another second before clicking his finger.
In a split second, Pollock flashes forward and charges at the teddy with determination. He grabs the little bear and starts tearing at it with his teeth until it’s just a ball of stuffing. When Paul clicks his finger again, Pollock stops and runs back to us. Paul crouches down and rubs Pollock’s tummy and my dog instantly melts and lays on the floor like he’s broken.
“Excellent!” I exclaim and clap my hands together.
Pollock is far from being useful in some fight, but it’s good to teach him to protect himself if we were to get attacked.
When we all hear the front door to Isabella click open, Pollock is first to storm like a mad dog to the foyer. Not able to contain my own excitement, I run as well - barefoot and all.
I get to the foyer and watch Kendrick the butler open the grand front door and Xavier stepping through. He’s in a maroon suit and carries a suitcase with him as he steps inside. Pollock jumps and barks when he gets to Xavier and I feel my insides twist in excitement as well.
The heart in my chest flutters at being reunited with its owner.
“Xavi!” I call out and run towards my fiancé.
Xavier’s own emerald green eyes lights up at the sight of me and he embraces me in a hug that I don’t ever want to let go of. I take in the pine smell coming off of him. I hold onto his strong, firm body and I stand on my tippy toes to have my neck perfectly in place with his shoulder as I cling to him.
“Marigold,” he breathes into my ear – the sound so soothing, I could sleep just like this.
I’ve wanted to sleep in Xavier’s arms for the longest time ever, but he was considerate enough to understand that I don’t want to do that before the wedding. It’s just how my parents raised me.
When an eternity passes, I finally loosen my grip and step back, but I don’t let go. I don’t think I can ever really let go from Xavier. No matter how far apart we are, my soul still clings to him.
“Is that paint or blood on your shirt?” Xavier chuckles.
I blush and tuck back a dark blonde hair. “Uh, probably both,” I admit sheepishly.
Xavier shakes his head with a smile as he crouches to rub Pollock. “You’ve been taking care of the prisoners then,” he still smiles.
“Yeah, it’s been Derrick all morning,” I admit while also crouching down to pet our golden retriever. Pollock smiles and pants through it all.
“Ahh, the rapist. I might have to get the grater for that one,” Xavier says.
“I’ll join you,” I smile and send my fiancé a daring silver look.
“Of course you will,” Xavier smirks before leaning over to kiss me on the lips. I melt every time we kiss. I always feel like I can feel everything and nothing at the same time and Xavier’s heart in my chest goes crazy at the feeling.
It’s all completely ruined when Pollock decides to join in on the action and lick our faces. I pull back with a fit of laughter and so does Xavier.
“Come on, we need to go talk about something serious,” Xavier says as he gets up and links his arm into mine before we walk to the living room. I feel Xavier sigh at the sight of all the wedding dresses and boxes and makeup. The twins have proceeded to examine everything while Paul goes to inspect the wedding dresses like he’ll be wearing them.
“Nessa has lost her mind,” I chuckle as I quickly slip back into my shoes and we walk past towards the glass doors at the back that leads to the gardens.
“Can you blame her? It’s a pretty big event. This is heaven for her,” Xavier says.
I chortle at that one as one of the maids opens the doors for Xavier and me. Pollock follows us outside and we start walking through all the hedges and red/maroon roses.
For a few minutes, we don’t talk. We just contently walk around and take in the sound of the birds chirping and each other’s heartbeats. Pollock pants heavily as he follows us through the network of hedges and even when we get to the wall that protects the property. Xavier and I stroll to the gates before he unlocks it with a four digit code and has us walking to the pine forest outside.
“I went to check out the trespassing on our territory and it was a messenger sent from Jane,” Xavier starts as we stroll pass the bluebell flowers.
“And?” I ask worried.
“And it’s pretty clear that Sterling wants us dead... We now have both Sterling and the South to deal with... Two of the biggest gangs in the world are on our asses,” Xavier explains.
I feel a little cold at the words. Of course Sterling would be angry. Of course Xavier saying yes to me was a big mistake since I have nothing to offer him. I glance down at the ring on my finger. It’s almost rose gold design curling to meet a perfect sized ruby that reflects red and maroon. It’s perfect. It’s there to remind me I’m strong enough to get through the darkness.
“How bad do you think it is?” I ask worried.
“Well,” Xavier starts - swiping back his dark auburn hair, “the messenger had the wedding invitation we sent Sterling by him with the words ‘silver debt requires blood payment’ scribbled onto it.” There’s a moment where I can literally see the horror in Xavier’s eyes before he adds, “And also the messenger was dead.”
I swallow the lump in my throat.
“You sure our plan is going to work?” I ask unsure.
Xavier nods more to himself than to me. “It has to,” he says.
I feel an ominous wind blow over and the forest turn a little dark. Even Pollock stops panting to look up at us worried when we stop.
Xavier turns to me and genuine concern is in those emerald green eyes. “If we fail, Marigold... That wedding could just as well be our funeral,” he says with a serious expression.
I can picture it. Walking down the aisle and then having the whole place blown up or machine guns coming to rip us to shreds. I can close my eyes and see Jane slitting Xavier’s throat before strolling over me with an insane grin. It’s been in my nightmares for two months now.
Nostalgia hits me hard when I try figuring out how I’ve gone from an ego brawl to probably my last fight ever.