Chapter 10 ~ The Lead Up
The marker indicated that Harlyn was home, huh, home? What an enticing thought, she calms my mind but now that we had finally progressed in our relationship, I was getting excited to see where this went. For the first time in a long time, I had something to lose and that didn’t quite sit well with me.
I was surprised to find my Uncle Ash in my room when I entered, he was sitting on the balcony with my goddess, drinking red wine.
“Well, you can imagine his mum’s face as he jumps, the kid swings all the way across, only he forgets to let go, the very last second, as the rope comes back, he releases. His mother screams bloody murder and runs towards the bank, just as he collides with the ground. Broke his humorous, though he didn’t find it very funny.” Ash winks at the end of the story, I bet he didn’t even mention the part where he dared me to do it?
“Hey, you two...” I leaned forward and placed a chaste kiss on her lips, the flavoured drink left traces behind upon her mouth - my mind immediately fantasized about licking it off her nipples, focus, I chastised myself.
“Hey, Kid.” Ash smiled widely, he has always had a soft spot for me but I actually think it was more the fact that my namesake was his best friend and he died, saving mum’s life. Could it be possible that he still mourned after all these years?
“You wanna stay for dinner? I was going to order in Papa Pasta?” I asked him.
“Your girl here is quite entrancing and I’m sure she wants to hear about you growing up?” I snapped my head to Harlyn, noticing she had not missed Ash’s use of the words, ‘your girl’. She sat there with a furrowed brow, leaving an indent in her bottom lip - she was biting it that hard.
We had not discussed what exactly this was, “excuse me?” Harlyn removed herself and escaped to the bathroom.
“What did I say?” I looked at him and rolled my eyes.
“Nothing Uncle Ash, what do you want? I’ll ring it in now.”
The evening was nice, it was filled with laughing and tons of embarrassment on my end, Ash kept making insinuations - I think mum had sent him fishing for information but we never disclosed any. Harlyn though asked a lot of questions, especially about what it was like when I was younger, hearing about my childhood antics was entertaining to her and listening to her laughing happily made me overjoyed.
Uncle Ash hugged her goodbye and while she was cleaning up, I walked him to the door. “That one’s special, I can tell.”
“How? You are the King of one night stands Ash.”
“She’s humble, not showy and the way she looks at you, I wouldn’t be surprised if that girl was in love with you already.”
I looked back at her, “yep, she’s something alright.”
“I was in love once, did you know? Hell, I think I still am, but she didn’t want to be a part of this life, that’s why I don’t get involved now. Aunty Mags, ya mum, they were like Harlyn, they could handle anything because they have inner strength and determination. Don’t let her go kid. I’ve seen your spark ignite too tonight, you have an inner glow, something you lost years ago doing this job, it’s heart-warming to see it’s returned.” He left me with more questions internally, than I had before.
Everything he said though somehow made sense and as I turned around and looked at her swaying her hips to the music, I knew - this is the only woman for me.
Days had passed and our plan was coming together nicely, everyone knew their position, knew the layout, knew their roles and if all went belly up? We knew to shoot the shit out of the bad guys. In all the anxiety leading up to our big takedown, there was one constant, one erotic goddess that calmed all of my turmoil and lying next to her felt so right. Her body fit perfectly next to mine, there wasn’t anything about her that annoyed me, no, she just flowed and fitted in, as if it were always meant to be.
“Harlyn? Are you awake?” She lay on top of my chest, her silky nude skin pressed lavishly against mine, the euphoria of our ‘love making’ still on replay in my head.
“No,” she chuckled.
“Do you really want to leave when you get Paisley back?” I heard her huff and then she sat up, pulling the band from her wrist and tying her hair up, her bare silhouette against the moon shining in, spiked my desire. I rose to my elbows to watch her, my attention always captured by her.
“Arlo, why didn’t you correct Ash? When he said ‘your girl’... I didn’t know what to say?”
“Because I liked the sound of it,” I answered truthfully. “I can keep you safe, if you are...”
She extracted herself from the blankets and pulled a shirt and shorts from one of the suitcases she brought back the other day. I was confused, what had I said that was so wrong? I pulled on my boxers and followed her out onto the balcony, maybe I had misread everything? Oh, god, what if she decides to leave now? All this time thinking she could care for me too and I was wrong. I slipped my hands around her waist and she melted into my embrace, flush with my chest, is it wrong to still want to hold her? Her body reacts to my physical touch even if she wants space, like a magnet, we are drawn together.
“What’s going on?” I asked, placing my chin in the curve of her neck, admittedly, insecure and unsure.
She remained silent, inwardly contemplating what I had asked, or at least I hoped, but as the air filled with the sound of the crashing waves, I knew this was going nowhere. I had been wrong, I had read the signs wrong, she wanted Paisley back and then she would be gone, despite my offering protection.
I sadly moved away, feeling slightly broken-hearted. “You’re not staying, are you?” It was a question I knew the answer too.
Lamentation thick within her reply, “I promised to take care of her. Now, here with you… I’ve never regretted a promise more than I regret this particular one.” Her confliction lay within her promise to a deceased and from what we knew, violent, cunning, horrendous and murderous man, which the world was far better off without.
“He was a criminal…” I started.
“Not to them, not to Paisley. He was her world, her heart, her hero and despite being that ‘criminal’ that you describe, he was kind, caring, I know he’s viewed as a monster but to those girls - he was a saint.”
Tears escaped from the corners of her eyes as she bit at me harshly, “there you go, crying for him again. What is it about him that has you so passionately defending his honour? Why do you mourn for a man that does not deserve it?” She spun around glaring at me with murder in her eyes.
“You don’t understand, I wouldn’t be where I am without his generosity.”
“Then help me? Help me understand why you have such deep connecting loyalties that you are willing to sacrifice your life, your happiness, love, for someone that brought such evil and corruption?”
“Did you know him? Have you ever seen him around those girls?”
Her question annoyed me, “of course not.”
“Then why do you judge him so harshly? Why is it okay for you to persecute him?”
My temper was rising within my chest, I could feel it, like lava rising to the surface. “His profile proves he is a bad man…”
“Did the profile ever explain how he came to be in his position?”
“Has your father not murdered innocents? Your Brothers?”
“We do what we do, out of injustice and cruelty, dad had no choice…”
“And neither did Carmelito, he was an abused, poor orphan, left alone without anyone to love him. He didn’t know any other way. You think someone could do what he did without first, being created by that environment? Moulded into a man he never wanted to be? You think when he was five years old and in aeroplane pyjamas, he dreamt of being a Crime Boss? No, he dreamt of being a pilot, but circumstances changed and he did what he had to, to survive.”
“How do you know this?” I pushed, there was something big here, something more than what she was saying. “How do you know him so personally?”
“What? I-I don’t.” Her eyes widened and she spun back around quickly, grasping the cold steel balcony barrier. I could see it on her face, I could see she hid something, was it detrimental?
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“You’re paranoid,” she threw back instantly. My insides were reeling as I saw the battle she was fighting within herself, the fidgeting and the inability to confront me, choosing to insult me instead - she was lying to me and I had no idea why.
“Don’t insult me, being here with you is the happiest I’ve been in years Harlyn, I’m lying next to you with the feeling of love swirling in my emotions and you are here lying to me - now tell me the truth.” My tone was brash and laced with spikes but I needed to know, this was the one woman I wanted a future with, the one woman I was willing to lay my life on the line for and she was keeping secrets.
Teardrops turned into a raging river as she slumped to the floor, wrapping her arms around herself, holding her knees to her chest and rocking back and forth. She was breaking, I could see but I couldn’t let up now, my body was alarmed, every instinct knew I was not going to like what she had to say.
“TELL ME!” I roared at her recoiled weeping figure on the floor.
“Please, stop.” She begged through loud sobs, “s-stop.”
Her cry broke my heart, tears now gathering at the corners of my eyes and unfortunately, the evidence was piling up. How could I have not known this already? Tristan knew, he knew not to trust her, he knew she was hiding something, fuck.
“Harlyn, you need to tell me. How do you know him so intimately?” Intimately? Oh shit, no, could it possibly be? Could the reason she knows so much was because she was… intimate with him?
She jumped to her feet, unable to bear any more of my tirade, grabbing all of her stuff from around the room and throwing it into her bags. Fuck, she’s packing to leave me, I screamed in my head.
Her face held great sadness, anger and regret, what was going on? I followed her around my room unsure of what to say to get her to calm down and talk to me. I had created this, I had raised my voice, I had sent her running for the hills.
“You’re not leaving me.” I firmly stated.
“You c-c can’t keep me.” Her sobs shattering my heart, smashing it into a million unfixable pieces.
“Fuck Harlyn, just tell me the goddam fucking truth?!” My screaming was sure to wake up the whole bloody street soon.
“You will fucking hate me!” Her wail in my face was loud enough to wake the dead as she grabbed her bags and headed for the door, opening it and walking straight to the elevator.
“Stop, it’s the middle of the fucken night.”
“I don’t care.”
“Arlo?” I heard dad call me and as I turned around, everyone stood there watching, Tristan and Zavion statured in front of the gathered crowd, ready to leap into action at my command.
I hear the doors close and see her descending down the lift. I don’t hesitate and go racing down the stairs, desperate to stop her from walking out the doors. I get to the bottom with record speed, place my palms against the panels, in front of the doors about to open, heaving critically at having exerted so much energy.
The lift chimes, the bell signifying the arrival and the doors open to reveal her hazel eyes wide with shock at my presence. “How did you…” but I halted her question with a searing kiss, pushing her back against the wall. Her reaction did not disappoint, she kissed back, just as hard and just as needy.
With her pushed flush against the wall, her legs wrapped around my waist, one of my hands was groping at her bum and the other cupping her cheek. Our pelvis’ grinding along each other’s, she pulls back gasping for breath, our chaffed fleshy lips still softly touching, “please?” I implored, “please, just tell me. How do you know him so well?”
“Because he’s my father, Arlo. He is my father. I’m not Paisley’s part-time nanny - I’m her sister.”