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Chapter 30 - Taylor

“Go Baby Go!” I shout as Greg jogs by, knowing full well that he might not even hear me over all the noise in the gymnasium. Clapping my hands as Greg’s team scores another much needed point, Zach turns and grins at me. I was very surprised that he chose to sit beside me during Greg’s game instead of beside Tiago.

“So you really like him huh?” I don’t pretend that I have no clue about why he is asking me that question. I know full well that it’s thanks to them that Greg survived into adulthood.

“Yeah I do.” I admit as I press the tips of my pressed together hands to my lips as the opponent gives Greg’s team a difficult ball. “He gives me some sort of peace. Whenever he looks at me, he looks at me with the kind of eyes that tells me he unlike a lot of others is able to look past the Mob, past the fiery temper. And he sees just me, plain me. Without all the things and problems and hardships that happened me to be who I am today.” I sigh as Greg’s team manages to get the ball over the net but only to have it blocked by the other team.

“And you’ll never hurt him?” We both stand clapping as the game ends and Greg’s team sadly loses.

“I can’t promise that.” I say after thinking it over for a while. For the corner of my eye I can see Zach still as he is about to place his for on the next stair as we make our way out of the gymnasium. “But what I can promise is to let him go if things get too much. For the both of us. I am willing to let him go if that is the best for him.”

Walking outside to the parking lot, I text Greg that I will be with Syl at the mall since I promised him that we would go shopping today for some new clothes. The damn brat grows way too quickly. After some hesitation I send him a text that I will not be able to meet him until Sunday and explain that I am going to visit Julian at the mental hospital since he has been asking about me. And that I was pretty sure I would need some time to gather my thoughts after the visit and blow off some steam at the gym.

After I have Syl buckled up in his car seat and just turned the ignition on, Greg texted me back saying he understands since I told him about Julian and he said he would visit me at the gym. Syl’s excited babble about Greg’s game soothed me. He came along since Lo demanded that he too was going to bring a friend since Greg brought me and Nance brought Rafa.

Ignoring the curious stares, I slowly follow Syl around the ground floor of the mall. Unlike most people here at the mall, Syl knows exactly what shop he wants to visit and what he wants to buy. That is why I never mind taking Syl on a shopping trip. He, unlike Meredith and Rafa never really strays from what he needs to buy and doesn’t enter shops that are quite popular with the rest of the people. Syl never really follows the on-going trend, whether it’s clothes or toys. He reminds me a little of an old man. That reminds me that I should go and buy Syl that video game he has been dying to buy but Meredith wouldn’t allow him.

“Syl, do you wanna...” I turn to face him as I look up from my phone but the spot where he was admiring the storefront of a new bookstore is empty. I frown a little; surely he hasn’t gone in without telling me? I look through the shops window and only see a few people milling about. As I walk up to the door to open it, I hear Syl call out to me.

“Fratello! Fratello! You have to see this!” Syl comes running up to me with a big smile on his face. “Lo told me about this amazing thing fratello! Can we please do this?” He asks as he tugs me on my arm towards where there are a lot of parents and kids gathered.

Oh man, I really hate crowds like this. I winch as we reach the crowd of excited children milling about and making a lot of noise. The urge to turn around and walk away is huge, enormous even, but then I see Syl’s excited face and cave in. It has been awhile since I saw him this excited or happy.

“I wanna be a pirate!!!” He chirps as he quickly runs over to the huge open trunk with all kinds of costumes spilling out. He looks sadly at the context of the trunk, as the small pirate costume is not there. There are tears in his eyes as he looks up at me as I place a soothing hand on his small hunched over shoulder.

“Why don’t you wait here until the costume is returned and I will put the bags in the car?” He shakes his head quickly “What else do you want to be?” I hunker down to his level, searching his face for clues to his suddenly silent mood.

His face lights up as he spies the black and white John Travolta outfit from the movie Saturday Night Fever. Completely with the black shoes with the high heel and a black styled wig. “That one!” And he swiftly swipes it out of the trunk and heads over to the little fitting rooms.

I hold back my laughter as the wig makes him look ridiculous. But he actually rocks the suit. It really suits him. Except for the fake golden chain he is wearing, I shake my head, as it would have made him look quite suspicious if he was a little bit older.

All the older females coo over him, and because he is quite a shy boy, he hides behind me. “Do you want your photo taken piccolo uomo?” The woman standing beside the cameraman has been trying to persuade Syl to have his picture taken. Syl looks a little uncertain about having his picture taken. To ease him I point to a wall on the left hand side. “If you get your picture taken it will be up on that wall if you want. If you don’t they will not put it there and you can take it home with you instead.”

That seems to ease his mind and he runs up to the spot for getting his picture taken. There is one child before him so he tries to patiently wait for his turn. When it is finally his turn, he strikes the same pose as John Travolta in the movie. I am surprised how similar the pose is to the original. Which is weird since I am sure Syl never saw the movie.

When he dressed in his normal clothes again, and I managed to snap a few shots on my phone because he looked absolutely adorable we make our way back to the car. Syl holding his picture tightly in his hands. Once he buckled in his car seat, I hand him a small bag with the toy store logo on it. “For being such a good boy.” I say with a wink and he blushes as he roots around in the bag.

He squeals loudly as he picks up the game he has been saving for. “Grazie fratello così tanto! Grazie! Ti amo!” His chubby arms reach for me as his feet kick the back of the passenger seat. I chuckle s I let him hug and kiss my cheeks in happiness. All the way home the only thing he could do was babble about the game and how Lo was to come over soon so they could play it.

My happy mood from hanging around the mall with Syl goes down the drain as I see the serious look on Gordo’s face. “Is it Julian?”

He swallows before slowly nodding his head. “His mental health is deteriorating.” He states calmly, giving me his famous Don look. “The hospital asks if you could come visit him ASAP because they think your presence holds the key to his mental recovery somehow. The staff says he won’t stop talking about you and the amazing things you two did together when you were young. Like sneaking out after bed time to watch the Venice Carnival parade.”

I grit my teeth, clenching my hands into fists. “That wasn’t with him, that was with Syl! That was something we did together as brothers! Is NO brother of mine! And he never will be either!” I am red hot with rage, how dare he claim that we are brothers and did all those things I did with Syl while we were in Italia?

“I know ragazzo. I know.” Gordo holds his hands up and I groan in annoyance. “That is why we have to go and set him straight. Even though Mickey feels like he should be still part of the family,” He grabs my shoulders as I feel my jaw slack in disbelieve. “but I will talk to Mickey that if he wants to keep Julian as part of this family, he has to stay in Italia. Far away from you as possible.”

I have my poker face on as soon as I step into Gordo’s car. It hurts my heart that Syl looks like he is about to cry as we back up down the drive. I told him to stay home; the place where we are going isn’t one for him at his age. I want him to stay like a child a little longer. He will grow up soon enough; there is no need to quicken the process.

We are in luck as we enter the mental health facility, Mickey and two of hi bodyguards walk into the reception area. “Gordo, Taylor.” He shakes both our hands “Good to see you boys.” I nod my head in respect for him and his position in the family before strolling over to the information desk.

Armed with the information about Julian’s room and his condition, I make my way there. I wait by the door since it is open just a crack and I can hear Julian rattling on and on about an event he wasn’t even part off. So that is why Mickey wants to keep him. He knows things about the family he shouldn’t know.

The nurse looks surprised as I enter the room after loudly knocking on the door. Julian’s act is phenomenal; he acts all excited and hyper and tells the nurse I am the brother he told her so much about. But I don’t think she believes him since she looks back and forth between my sour look and Julian’s happy one. She leaves the room saying she will be back later with his medicine and tells me that I have a few hours with Julian before visiting hours are over. Not that I am planning to stay that long.

Julian’s happy façade vanishes, as I knew it would as soon she has her back turned to him. I take a seat in the sole plastic chair for visitors after moving it out of Julian’s arms reach. “Come on now Taylor, don’t be so cold to me. I am your brother.” I look at him unimpressed by his little speech, clearly forgetting that he had wanted to kill me. Knowing that the silence will unnerve him, I keep silent and just watch him scowl at me.

“Look, I am sorry about what I did alright? I apologise for my rude behaviour.” He pleads getting me to talk. The only thing he succeeds in is getting me angry. Rude behaviour!? Wanting to kill someone is more than rude behaviour! I blow out a forced slow breath as I see his eyes flash with triumph. It was his plan to get me riled up from the beginning. I am saved from responding as Gordo steps inside and Julian freezes. I smirk at him making him glare. That’s right asshat; you really thought I would come alone into your territory empty handed?

My smirk doesn’t last long. In the time it takes me to blink, Julian has his happy, slightly disorientated façade back up. I take another deep breath for I know without a doubt that Julian will do everything in his power to make us stay as long as possible and will try to gently persuade us to tell him everything that has been going on lately.

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