Taming a Killer

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(ch 5) I'm telling you my dad is a psychopath (Johnny)

<Johnny>

The clink of china was the loudest sound in the room as the family took part in a solemn dinner together. Gabriel had a murderous look on his face and was wearing a polo neck, which was unlike him. Mark looked much the same. Though Johnny was sure he saw a green tinge under the fake smile, he presented it to his wife when she sat down next to him. If he was honest with himself, the sudden turn of events surprised him. Johnny was sure he was the happiest among the bunch, so he kept his happiness to himself. With this change, he wouldn’t need to deal with the unpleasant atmosphere that would hang in the room. Somehow, it didn’t matter that it happened daily; it was worse each day.

Mark overlooked Johnny every mealtime; which suited him fine. He knew Mark considered him a servant, and thus did not require attention. The mood that night surrounding the table was the worst he had ever seen.

Blending into the background was much preferable to him to avoid any argument. It was in his favour to do his job and leave when the clean up was complete. It always meant the parents would leave him alone to take care of his own affairs. They only needed him to do the job, and anything else didn’t matter to them. With the eventual future involving his brother, it made him excited about a new journey.

The best option for him was to act like Switzerland in front of the combined family. He would take little Gio’s side if it came down to it during a fight, no matter what. Johnny loved the kid like he loved Vernon, so the situation suited him fine.

There would be no problem for him to pretend Giovanni was his little brother. Though, his relationship with Gabriel wasn’t as strong and would need work. All kinds of families had favourites, though, didn’t they? Gio could be his favourite if he wanted. Pursing his lips to hide a smile, Johnny could see Vernon throwing a fit at the idea of sharing his loyalties.

‘Hurry up, boy!’ Mark snapped at him from his seat in the dinette. His hateful and cold voice shaking Johnny from his pleasant thoughts. It seemed he had idled in the kitchen while stirring the meatballs and spaghetti. Cursing, he knew he should have paid more attention. It was always a bad idea to trifle with Mark when he was in an ominous mood. Johnny shuddered, but nobody spoke to defend him. The scene today was worse than usual, though Johnny was sure it was because Mark’s wife wasn’t speaking to him. Considering they would leave shortly, his attitude didn’t blind side Johnny too much.

He noticed Gabriel clench his fingers and wondered what went on in the few hours he had spent with Giovanni. Gabriel was the calm one of the two boys, so him being angry for any reason was disconcerting. Wincing, he hissed as the pot scalded his finger while he lifted it off the stove. Johnny gritted his teeth as he felt the burn beating like a heart on his skin. This clumsiness he felt today was new; it seemed change distracted him. Johnny tried to blink the confusion out of his mind, because the longer Mark waited, the worse it would be. Mark would find a reason to punish them all for meaningless reasons.

If he was honest, it relieved him he would join the boys in a different country. Johnny hated Mark’s energy, and any day avoiding Mark was a day that made him happy. The guy was an asshole and cared for no one but himself. He knew it wasn’t his business, but he felt Aria was a fool for staying with Mark. Unable to know everything about their situation, he kept his thoughts to himself. It was good to avoid sharing this with Giovanni, as the boy was only fourteen years old. And Johnny didn’t expect him to understand things involving his parents if he tried or not.

‘BOY!’ Mark yelled, banging his fist on the marble table, spittle flying in all directions. He glared at Johnny fiercely, who had chosen that exact moment to exit the kitchen. He was holding the dish with utmost care, afraid to burn himself again. Johnny angled the dish to allow his hurt finger an extra space, to avoid touching anything. ‘What takes you so long?’ Mark went on, the same ugly voice that he had used since dinner had started. ‘Are you a cripple that can’t do anything? What use are you to me then?’

Johnny took an automatic step back at the harshness aimed at him. But Mark didn’t seem to notice his reluctance to approach.

‘Well? Bring it over here already!’ With no warning, Mark stood up, and though they were similar in height, the danger in Mark’s aura made him cower. Aria screamed, but Mark ignored her. In three strides, Mark had reached him, forcing him to the wall while holding his neck, choking him.

In slow motion, Johnny felt himself fall. Was he sliding? Mark was squeezing him so hard he couldn’t breathe. The dish that had burnt him the first time slipped from his hands, and the hot contents spilled to the floor. Johnny swore as boiling tomato sauce splashed on him. He knew that the burn he got earlier had spread to other parts of him when the pain surrounded his torso, arms and legs. When the ceramic bowl crashed to the floor, Johnny felt as sharp pieces ricochet off the floor and hit him. He heard Giovanni scream his name, and Gabriel mutter several curses under his breath. This was something that Gabriel usually avoided doing. Aria ran towards the two of them, but Mark held his hand up in warning. It amazed him that in this situation, Aria would oblige her husband.

In another fit of rage, ignoring that Johnny was bleeding and burnt, Mark shoved him a second time. Johnny held his arms up to protect his head, as Mark had let go of him when he dropped the dish to the floor. Above all the tumult, his mind tried to find something to focus on while he ignored the feeling of his injuries. Johnny closed his eyes in a whimper and felt familiar arms pulling him towards a warm chest. Attempting to get up didn’t work, and he failed twice in a row. The arms tightened, and he knew by how they weren’t muscular that it was Giovanni. He heard the younger boy scream in fury and tried to shush him with a sign. Giovanni, of course, ignored him like he did all the time. All he wanted was to get to his room, so he could clean his wounds and shower. ‘Help me to my room…’ he mumbled, and somehow, over the noise, Giovanni heard him. ‘You need to put medicine on.’ the younger boy whispered to him.

Mark chose that moment to catch sight of the two of them, and his face turned an ugly purple colour. ‘No! I am utterly done with this bullshit! I want him out! Get out!’

Everyone in the room turned to look at him incredulously. Johnny squinted his eyes towards Mark in disbelief. This man was a psychopath!

‘I’m not kidding! Get out of this house now. You’re fired!’

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