Taming a Killer

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(ch 7) the Price of a Life (Gabriel)

<Gabriel>

December 21st - Midnight

‘You really should go to the hospital.’ Gabriel muttered to Johnny, who ignored him with ease.

They were in Johnny’s room, on the highest level of the mansion. Mark and Aria never ventured this far, and so they would be safe to speak as they liked.

Gabriel was sat in the room’s corner while Giovanni tended to Johnny’s wounds.

‘We’re lucky mum took control of the situation.’ Gabriel continued. Neither Johnny nor Giovanni were in the mood for talking, but Gabriel didn’t want to be anywhere near his dad. He wasn’t keen on small talk either, but he would choose that right now over being by himself.

‘She should have freaking intervened sooner!’ Giovanni’s voice put in, his anger and disgust obvious.

‘I am pretty sure there are things going on that we don’t know about.’ Johnny finally spoke up from his spot on the bed where Giovanni had forced him to lie down. ‘But Giovanni is right. Aria needs to protect children as an adult, especially if they are her kids.’

‘In technical terms, you may be a child, but you aren’t her child.’ Gabriel interrupted, repositioning himself to sit on Johnny’s bean chair instead.

‘Are you going to tell him, or should I?’ Giovanni couldn’t help snorting in glee at Gabriel’s pinched look.

‘Tell me what?’ Gabriel frowned at the two of them impatiently.

‘You should definitely tell him.’ Johnny laughed. Gabriel watched as Johnny winced in pain from where his dad had kicked him in the stomach while he was down. ‘Bloody bastard.’ Johnny fumed. Gabriel silently agreed.

‘So what is it you need to tell me?’ he asked them again, trying and failing to keep the annoyance out of his voice.

‘Uh...’ Giovanni hesitated, looking between the two boys.

‘Yeah, that’s what I said too.’ Johnny informed Gabriel, but did nothing to help Giovanni. Instead, Gabriel watched with rising ire as Johnny kept his eyes. closed

‘Never mind, I don’t care.’ Gabriel huffed, standing up from his spot. He would rather go outside in the freezing cold than deal with these two idiots.

‘Mum adopted Johnny!’ Giovanni blurted out. Gabriel stopped where he was standing and swivelled around to look at them.

‘Excuse me?’ Gabriel felt how cold his tone had got and needed to take a deep breath. ‘No offence, Johnny, but... why the fuck would mum adopt Johnny?’

‘To protect you, I think.’ Johnny cut in, and no offence taken, for what it’s worth.’

Gabriel sat back down, exhaling the breath he had been holding. ‘And maybe to protect me too.’ Johnny added in a whisper.

Giovanni had finished putting medicine on Johnny, but the worry was still visible. Making a decision, Gabriel cleared his throat. ‘I need to tell you guys something too.’

Both boys turned to him, Giovanni making himself comfortable on Johnny’s bed.

‘Um, well... this is something you have to see more than hear, I think.’ With that he made to remove his polo neck that had been hiding his cut from the others.

‘What are you doing?’ Johnny asked him, but like the other had done earlier, Gabriel ignored him. He stretched the polo neck over his cut, so it wouldn’t graze the wound.

‘You want to know who your father is?’ Gabriel asked them both. Before they could answer, he walked to where both of them were sat on the bed and joined them. ‘This is who your father is.’ he pointed to his wound. It had crusted over by this point, but Gabriel hadn’t bothered to treat it. He felt like he needed the reminder of what kind of person his father was. A reason for him to remember why he needed to continue protecting his brother and mum.

Gabriel wasn’t prepared for Giovanni jumping up and at him like a cat. ‘Dad did this?’ he squeaked, as if unable to comprehend the idea. Gabriel didn’t blame him. He couldn’t believe it either.

‘Why didn’t you treat it?’ Johnny snapped, sitting up. Gabriel sighed and allowed Johnny to have his way. Johnny touched the spot on Gabriel’s neck with some alcohol Giovanni had left behind.

‘Wow, dad’s lost his mind.’ Giovanni spoke for them all.

‘It’s okay.’ Gabriel smiled a little. ‘I have proof that he did this to me.’

Gabriel had thought that Johnny would scold him, but Johnny nodded his head in approval. ‘Honestly, the bastard deserves it.’

‘If mum knew what dad did, she would have called the police. Because she didn’t know, she only threatened to do so when dad wouldn’t leave Johnny alone.’

‘I don’t think mum should know about this.’ Gabriel shook his head as he thought, pondering his options.

‘Okay, well look.’ Johnny spoke up as he put two plasters over Gabriel’s cut. ‘I don’t know if it will help, but it might be a good idea if you guys sleep here tonight.’

‘If I’m being honest, I didn’t want to leave anyway.’ Gabriel pulled the covers up from the corner of the bed and settled himself in.

All the beds in the mansion were king-sized, and even with Gabriel, there was enough room for the three of them.

‘What do you think would happen if we called child protective services?’ Giovanni asked, his curiosity piqued after realising his brother dealt with their dad.

‘They’d arrest him, most likely,’ Johnny hummed, picking at his nails. ‘But at this point I’d point them in the right direction and help them drag him out.’

It was a testament to how much they had no longer respected the man of the house when no one spoke up in his defence.

’If something like this happens again, and either of you gets hurt, I will not ask permission to do the right thing.

Gabriel rolled his eyes, patting Johnny on the shoulder. ‘Yeah bro, you’re our knight in shining armour.’

Johnny cuffed him over the head in retaliation, but both boys laughed in easy camaraderie.

‘So pizza, Netflix, and chill?’ Giovanni offered, grinning a little at how his boys were getting along.

‘Pizza, Netflix and chill sounds perfect.’ Gabriel confirmed. ‘Let’s do it!’

Giovanni took his phone out to order the pizza, but Johnny was already one step ahead of him.

‘I swear you guys are in each other’s brains.’ Gabriel muttered in awe. ‘I know we are all teenagers, but why don’t we enjoy this night. Let’s have a fun sleepover groove and deal with things as they come.’

Giovanni started preparing the telly on the wall, while Johnny set up the table for them to eat the pizza on.

‘Get chips, too.’ Giovanni called from his spot in the room, then sat down next to Gabriel.

‘You know what?’ Gabriel murmured to Giovanni. ‘Everything will be fine. I’m sure of it.’

His brother nodded, tilting his head onto Gabriel’s shoulder.

‘Yes, it will be.’

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