Taming a Killer

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(ch 2) Shaken Foundation (Gabriel)

<Gabriel>

Amongst the things that Gabriel was aware of, Giovanni following his every move was one of them. So when he left without looking back, he knew Giovanni follow by example. This, he thought, was one of his bigger faults that day. The situation falling into their hands had pushed him to need to take full control. Giovanni relied on their mum’s love and attention, so Gabriel knew it felt like he was being abandoned. Or worse, mayhap Giovanni even felt like she had thrown him to the rubbish. If their mum cared, wouldn’t she have fought for them to stay? Gabriel felt like it was now his responsibility to do everything for Gio. And that included figuring out a way for Giovanni to feel cherished and loved while at the school.

Gabriel knew this was his dad’s selfishness, and a terrifying hatred brewed in his heart. He had heard his mum sobbing as he walked; the wind carrying her quiet cries towards him like a messenger.

‘Rielllll,’ Giovanni whined at him while he was working on putting all his clothes together. ‘I don’t want to go anywhere! I don’t want to leave!’ Giovanni burst into tears again for the third time in the last hour they had been in his room. Gabriel felt a new desire to bash his father’s head in. Gabriel stopped packing, walking over to his younger brother, his heart aching for him.

‘He’s a bloody coward he is,’ Gabriel growled, feeling the annoyance increase while he wrapped Giovanni into a tight hug to comfort him. He held him closely, as if his brother were fragile and would break at the slightest touch. He patted the younger boy until his cries had calmed somewhat. He mulled over his thoughts as he did this, trying to plan a solution for their immediate future.

‘Okay, look,’ he continued, lowering his voice to a sweet, musical tone. He could feel the vulnerability of his brother at that moment and thought calmness was the way to go. ‘We don’t have a choice in this, you know that. Mum wouldn’t leave us if there was something we could have done about it. We will still have money, and we will make a new posse and make new friends.’ Gabriel wiped a stray tear from Giovanni’s face and withheld any outward reaction. He could feel the weight on his shoulders get heavier with each tear he saw leave Giovanni’s eyes.

‘It’s okay. Please, Gio, don’t feel like it’s bad. If it’s a boarding school, then that means we can still be together, and we won’t have parents on top of our heads to bother us.’ Giovanni sat up from the cushion that was his brother’s lap. Gabriel observed his brother finally wipe his eyes, though the petulance remained.

‘I know you care about me,’ Giovanni began, scrubbing at his face as if to procrastinate having to talk. He took a deep breath and continued, ‘but there are things you don’t know, and I won’t ever tell you.’

Gabriel exhaled like a sharp gust of wind but didn’t comment. His eyes rummaged over his room to see if he had missed anything. He wasn’t sure how long they would live at the boarding school. This gave him a slight disadvantage, as he needed to make sure that he brought along everything he needed. His feelings towards his parents made him feel like he wouldn’t be able to ask for anything in the future.

‘And I know what you’re thinking,’ Giovanni interrupted his musing with a small grin. ‘But don’t worry. As you said, we will have money, access to the internet, and I’m sure there will be a store we can go to if we are missing anything.’

Gabriel shocked himself into laughter. ‘When did you grow up and notice these things?’ He ruffled Giovanni’s hair as he stood up, glancing at where he had put his luggage. He dragged the last remaining one to the door and paused as a thought occurred to him. ‘I realised I don’t know how we will get to this place.’

‘We can find out during dinner, seeing as it’s almost the end of the day now. Mum likely told us today, so she can get rid of us tomorrow or the day after?’ A scowl found its way to Gabriel’s face as Giovanni said that, but he schooled his features into a smile. ‘I’m pretty sure this is dad’s fault, not mum’s. Remember that, Gio’.

His brother shrugged and stood up with him to leave the room. ‘You need to pack your clothes and accessories, too. At least try to focus, alright?’ Giovanni didn’t bother giving him a response, but Gabriel didn’t expect one. His brother became non-verbal when he didn’t want to deal with something. For the first time in his life, Gabriel could see what Giovanni looked like when he wanted to hide something. Giovanni hadn’t kept something from him in the past, and Gabriel wondered what it was he didn’t know. He felt a sadness prop up at the ignorance related to something about his brother. As siblings, the two of them had done everything since they were younger because their age gap was so small. They had each other’s back since the start. Gabriel thought that meant Giovanni told him everything.

The darkness surrounding Giovanni after their mother’s announcement showed him he was wrong. Closing the door to his bedroom, Gabriel decided he would try to determine what the problem was. It would make him feel better if he did something. Doing nothing gave him anxiety, and he didn’t want to deal with that, let alone allow someone to know of his woes.

Forcing another smile, he walked side by side with Giovanni, though his mind kept drifting. A gasp from Giovanni brought him back to earth. Gabriel wanted to roll his eyes when he saw Gio tried to hide it. He was keen enough that spacing for a moment didn’t stop his focus when he needed it. When Gabriel looked past Giovanni though, all he saw was Johnny entering their mum’s studio. Gabriel raised his eyebrows, but Giovanni avoided his stare. The behaviour of the boy had was getting weirder by the minute.

Giovanni attempted to hide his fearful look from Gabriel, but he wasn’t quick enough. Gabriel figured he would understand his brother’s strange attitude in the future. Ignoring the oddness of his sibling was easy. He said goodbye to Giovanni with a wave and left to deal with his own thing. Taking the chance, Gabriel allowed his mind to wander again as he brought his bags to the entrance hall.

He only reached the end of the corridor before bumping into Johnny, who had left his mum’s office fairly quickly. Thinking fast, Gabriel beckoned to the older boy and continued walking, taking a detour so he had more time to speak. ‘What happened?’ Gabriel asked him casually, putting one arm around the boy’s shoulder, as they were the same height. The other hand held onto his luggage and wheeled it along with him.

‘Since when did you care about my affairs?’ Johnny queried back, rather than answering directly.

Gabriel frowned and stopped walking entirely. Johnny paused too and stared at him almost defensively. ‘My brother just acted really weird when you went into my mum’s office. He looked like he had done something very wrong and that it involved you in some way. I didn’t bother him about it, but if you are going to be like this, then I will certainly make a fuss.’

‘Let’s keep walking.’ Johnny murmured, staring out in front of him, this time pulling Gabriel to walk with him. ‘I think better when I walk, anyway.’

Gabriel allowed himself to be distracted for a moment as Johnny took over the lead in their conversation. The boy held power in his form, from his jet black hair to his flashing hazel eyes that held any person captive that he looked at. And even though they were both 186 centimetres tall, Johnny held himself taller, which increased his level of intimidation when he took charge. It didn’t matter that Johnny was lithe where Gabriel was muscular. The boy was a leader.

‘You need to think about this?’ Gabriel felt his confusion increase. Johnny was really the strangest boy he had ever come across, not including his own flesh and blood of course. Giovanni held the torch in all things weird and strange.

‘I think there is something your mum knows about Giovanni that you do not.’ Johnny finally spoke up after they had walked circles around the corridor. Their mansion was enormous, so it didn’t bother Gabriel to get some exercise, but he also knew that other than feeling impatience, he didn’t actually want to rush Johnny. The boy always felt closed off to him, and it would be good to understand the other, especially if it helped him figure out Giovanni somehow.

Deciding not to allow that sentence to bother him, Gabriel just made a motion with his hand.

‘Continue.’ Gabriel almost missed what Johnny said next because of how distracted he felt by not knowing something about Giovanni. He had been right! Giovanni was hiding something from him!

‘... and Giovanni won’t be able to handle it alone, she thinks.’

‘I’m sorry what?’ Gabriel felt his face colouring in embarrassment.

Johnny glowered at him. ‘I swear, you and your brother are exactly the same. Neither of you listen to a word I ever say! Pay attention, or I will not give you a second of my time.’

‘Yes you are right, but I got distracted in my thoughts, I only heard the end, please repeat.’

Johnny sighed exasperatedly and stopped walking. ‘Let’s sit down in the lounge then.’

Gabriel nodded his agreement, and the two went to one of the many lounges they had in their home. The two of them sat on the most comfortable couch, and Gabriel motioned for Johnny to go on. He kept his eyes focused on the other completely, afraid he would get himself distracted again otherwise.

‘Alright. Your mum is under the impression that Giovanni will not be able to handle it if you are the only one to accompany Giovanni to school. I seconded this notion, so she has found in the few hours after you had done talking to her that uh...’ Johnny paused, suddenly afraid. ‘You need to keep this a secret from Giovanni until I tell him. And when I tell you later, you need to pretend you don’t already know.’

‘Tell me what?’

‘Your mum found a very unorthodox way to make it as if she had given birth to me. She forged some paperwork, and now I’m officially born a year before you.’

Gabriel gaped at him in shock. ‘You’re joking.’

‘Does it look like I’m making this up?’ Johnny deadpanned, rolling his eyes in annoyance.

‘No, I guess not.’

‘Because of this, I am going to be joining you and Giovanni when we go to school, and I am going to be one year ahead of Giovanni and one year behind you.’

‘Mum is incredible after all, huh?’ Gabriel felt the warmth return for his mum and turned to peer at Johnny again.

‘Honestly, I have no idea what to say at this point.’

‘Well, I gave her a stipulation.’

‘Yeah? What is it?’ Gabriel got up and got a bag of crisps for the both of them, and threw Johnny a soda to drink. Johnny caught it easily and took a crisp when Gabriel offered him one.

‘I have a brother that’s in an orphanage. I told her I wouldn’t leave if she couldn’t get him out. She agreed. I don’t know how she will get him out, though. I’m pretty sure they have strict rules.’

‘Well, he will always be welcome and a part of us. Don’t worry. And thank you for opening up to me.’

Johnny kicked him good-naturedly, ‘No thanks between us, twat. We’re brothers now.’

Gabriel smiled. ‘Sounds good then, guess I’ll have to take care of you now since I’m older.’

‘Shut up, twat.’

The two boys smiled, and it was with a better mood that they parted ways.

Gabriel took his luggage again and walked back to the direction he had originally been walking. Just as he was about to deposit his things in the cupboard near the entrance hall, he spotted his father from the corner of his eye.

His previous good mood vanished in an instant. He really wanted to just kick his father while he was down. Maybe now would be an excellent opportunity. His backup plan was always in place, so all he had to do was prove to someone that his dad was actually a psychopath.

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