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Chapter 13 - Taylor

It started out small, the little things that would have made no sense to someone who didn’t know him as well as I did. I know right from the beginning who it was, there was nobody in this small town how would have known how to tick me off with the little things like he did. Like when I would leave the house and walk to my car, I would notice the scuffled ground and find an unpleasant surprise near my car, like someone cut my brakes and more of those stupid things.

Julian... That damned antipatico! How dare he come here and act like nothing bad happened and that he isn’t responsible for my father’s and grandfather’s deaths!

I knew I had to tell Gordo as soon about Julian as soon as I was suspicious that he was in the country. I knew for fairly certain that he was, ever since the accident with my dad and nonno, I have been keeping passenger lists with any of Julian’s aliases. And last week a flight from Rome came in with one of Julian’s aliases, after persuading a few people so I can watch the video footage of the passengers confirmed that Julian is now in the U.S.

I never really liked Julian.... for some reason he was always just too much. As in he was always trying to be my parents’ son instead of his own. Our parents knew each other because Julian’s father Julian senior was in my grandfather’s mob family. That was until Julian senior lost his life for the cause as they call it and his mom called it quits, knowing fully well that she left an impressionable child in a very bad environment. Somehow he had it in his head that being close to my family that he might one day be the Don. What he didn’t know was that my nonno had decided that my father was unfit to be the Don should something happen to him. Even back then my nonno was already working on combining the family.

What irked me the most was what everybody said about him, it’s not his fault but the fault of his parents, like he’s some sympathy kid. They all seemed to forget that he had a silver tongue and could and would twist thing around in his favour. While should I or any other child do what he did and we would have been punished.

My suspicions about Julian wanting to be a part of my family were confirmed when he was about to push a three year old Sylvester from two flights of steep stairs. I managed to put a stop to that by calling out to him pretty loudly. Everybody in close proximity looked up to them and saw their positioning; Julian dangling a now crying Syl over the first of the steps. And thanks to his silver tongue, he managed to twist it around to him being the hero and was holding Syl that way to keep him from falling. Ever since that Syl has been scared of him and scurried away or out of the room whenever he was around or in the room. Nobody but I and Julian knew the real reason, and every time I tried to explain it, none of the adults listened, they just called me jealous. So I just kept quiet and out of Julian’s way.

Another trait of Julian’s I despised with every fibre in my being is his ass kissery and sucking up to anyone who would listen to him high up the ladder in the family. His dirty little tricks thankfully didn’t work on my grandfather, or on Miguel; the current head of the combined family. It was also just grandfather and Miguel who believed me when I spoke about what he did to Syl, well Miguel did since he was there on the landing. He was just leaving his room when he heard sounds of a scuffle and heard Julian threaten Syl with something. And now that asshole is back with a vengeance.

I pace back and forth angrily as I wait on him like some lowly soldier at our designated meeting place in an abandoned part of town. I can feel the eyes of the invisible people hiding in the dark corners watching my every move.

“Ah Taylor, you made it, how lovely.” Julian walked up to me holding his arms open dressed like some cheap ass gangster wannabe. I didn’t like the gleam in his eyes as he locked his arms around me, nuzzling his face in my neck. “I haven’t seen you or Sylvester ever since the explosion killed our father and grandfather.” The cronies that were behind him made sympathetic noises; like they actually knew my father or grandfather personally. It made me girth my teeth in anger as I took a step back from him after he released me from his hug. “Please accept my sympathies.”

I snorted “I don’t need your sympathies Julian. I need anything you think you could offer me. Besides, what could you possibly offer me what Miguel can’t? ” I question, quite curious as how he managed to trick those poor saps standing behind him. I saw Julian twitch as I named Miguel, I think Miguel frightens him. “You do know Miguel will be coming for you right?” I have been in contact with Miguel ever since he became the Don, he has been asking me about Julian and if I find him to keep him occupied until he gets there. My anger spiked to dangerous heights as I spot my nonno’s ring on Julian’s pinkie finger. “He’ll come for that.” I looked around to each and every single face in the crowd “And I am pretty sure they won’t be able to protect you.” Julian’s eyes sparked dangerously at the words, but he managed to hide it just not as quickly as it appeared.

He had the audacity to shrug, as if it was no big deal that the Don will be coming for his ass. Well if he didn’t care, then neither did I; this little cat and mouse game has been going on long enough. All week I hadn’t been able to properly hang out with anybody because of his little chases and scavenger hunt. Let Miguel deal with his delusional ass.

“What did you want to tell me Julian? I have other things to do than play along with your little charade.” I checked my watch; I should be able to see Greg today since his practice will end soon if we wrap this up quickly.

“Since when is anything not related more important than your family?” Julian demanded as he glared at me. His eyes narrowed as I shrugged.

“Seeing as you and them are not my family, it’s not my problem whatever is annoying you.” He continued to sneer at me as I casually leaned back against my car.

“NOT YOUR FAMILY?! I WILL BE YOUR ONLY FAMILY!” I couldn’t help but laugh hard at his odd exclamation like he would be my only family; I guess he forgot about Gordo and Meredith. Taking a deep breath as I got my laughing under control shook my head at him.

“And how is that supposed to work? I guess you forgot about Sylvester, Gordo and Meredith. Especially now that Gordo and Meredith went through the trouble of adopting us as their own kids, they won’t let you get away with anything.” I laughed at his startled expression when I told him that Gordo and Meredith adopted us, well technically they are still in the process of adopting Syl since I am old enough to not be adopted any more. Not that Julian needed to know that. “Your cronies aren’t doing their jobs very well if they didn’t tell you that.” I barely managed to keep a straight face as Julian glared at a particular croon and started to cuss him out in Italian. “If that’s all Julian, I am leaving.” As I turned my back to Julian, a croon decided it was a good thing to attack me with a steel pipe. They didn’t expect me to dodge like I did, but thanks to the car’s windshield I saw it and dodged. The only bad thing was that my windshield took the brunt of the attack and was now splintering from side to side.

“Sei un maledetto bastardo!” {You damned bastard!} “Avete intenzione di pagare per questo!“{You are going to pay for that!} I seethed as the croon pulled back, getting ready to attack once again. He hefted the pipe again, ready to strike and faltered as a gunshot rang through the air. Looking up I saw a very pissed off Miguel stand there holding a gun in his right hand.

“That’s enough.” His voice was a command and most cronies fled the scene at the next one. “Leave and return home, unless you want to end up like your friend on the floor.” Most didn’t need to be told twice as they took one last look at their unmoving friend before scattering. “He’s not dead. Taylor, keep pressure on the wound; it’s just a flesh wound.” Miguel turned to face Julian, keeping the gun trained on him. “You have something of mine Julian. I want it back. Now.”

Like a petulant child, Julian threw the ring at Miguel who caught it without trouble and two of his men came over and carried the now unconscious guy with the flesh wound away. I should have known that it would end like this, Julian wasn’t the leading type at all, and he was more of the following type anyways.

“This is your entire fault!” Julian growled as he popped up behind me with his fists raised. What is it with everybody popping up behind me? I cursed as his fists skimmed my face making me stumble backward into a steel railing, I winched as I heard a crack and another shot rang out. Julian who looked triumphantly at me sagged as a red spot bloomed where his heart was. I shivered as his corpse flopped forward and on top of me.

“Let’s get you checked out at the hospital before I drop you off at school.” I took Miguel’s outstretched hand as he none too gently hauled me onto my feet. Where Julian’s now stiff body was promptly dragged away.

“What about my car?” I wouldn’t leave my baby behind in this dump. I watched in amazement as I recognised the burly guy as Freddy fiddle with my car before opening the car door and carefully drive off with it.

“Freddy will take care of it and the bill.”

After being checked at the hospital, I had one broken rib and several bruised ribs and was dismissed. When I walked into the school building, a fuming Greg made his way over, undoubtedly going to give me a piece of his mind. “Taylor, are you okay?” His eyes flickered my way as he took in my haggard appearance before he promptly started dragging me to the nurses’ office. Once in the office he took off my shirt and gently prodded the bruise on my right side, making me hiss in pain. To ease his worries, I decided to make him flush.

“Here I thought the first time you’d be taking off my clothes would be in my bedroom, not the nurse’s office. Unless... You’re that kinky.” I winked at him as he started stammering and stuttering while blushing. I laughed a little as I pulled him in a tight hug. He seemed to understand that I just needed to know that he was here and that we were okay. His arms carefully wrapped around me as he pressed his face in the crook of my neck, and blew my mind with his next few words.

“I love you Taylor Thompson.”

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