Home Can Be You

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Chapter 23

“Hey Andro, how are you son?” As Alessio said those words, we all looked at Andro, with questioning eyes. Did they know each other? I glanced at Zeno, only to see him facepalm himself. I was sure that they were hiding something and they were about to reveal it. Andro’s eyes widened like someone out of a horror movie and he sighed. “Oh... your family doesn’t know... my bad,” Zeno’s dad, Alessio let out a nervous laugh and Zeno clapped with a glare. He sure looked angry and I was more eager to find out what they were hiding. “What?” I asked and his dad smiled at me. “They work for me,” he replied and once again Zeno clapped even louder.

“Great dad, now you blew our cover!” He exclaimed in an annoyed tone and I was completely lost. Mom looked like she was stuck in her own mind and dad was looking back and forth between the three males in front of him. “What cover?” He finally asked and we waited for one of them to explain. Andro huffed and crossed his arms. “I will tell you since it’s not worth it anymore to keep it as a secret. Thanks, Alessio,” he countered and Alessio looked guilty.

Andro cleared his throat and we all sat. “So, dad... you once asked me how do I get my money and where do I work, right? I told you that I edited essays online, however, that was a lie, sorry. The truth is,” he said and got silent for a moment then sighed and continued. “I work with Zeno, Alessio, Jace, Rick, and Levi. We are a gang who work with the FBI and Alessio is the one who’s in charge. We get missions to work undercover with real gangs and get information that can save lives. We are the FBI’s informers.” He explained and I was flabbergasted and couldn’t blink. My brother was working with the FBI and no one in my family knew. I glanced at dad and saw his mouth agape and mom was in the same state.

It then clicked. “That’s why when I first introduced Zeno to you, I got that feeling that you were hiding something! You sneaky little shit!” I yelled at Andro and he rubbed the nape of his neck and smiled. “Guilty,” Andro and Zeno said at the same time. “Unbelievable,” I commented then stood up. “Where you ever going to tell us?” I asked and waited for a reasonable answer.

Mom nodded and dad stood as well. “Yes, were you? You have been working a dangerous job behind my back, at least tell me!” He countered in an annoyed tone and I understood why he was so upset. Andro could have gotten hurt and we wouldn’t know the cause. “By the way, you are grounded for a week, wait, no... a month,” dad added and it was my mom’s turn to speak her mind. Except, she didn’t talk. She just slapped Andro’s cheek and then Zeno’s cheek. I was not expecting that. No one was.

Mom smiled but that smile was out of anger and worry. I held my laughter and focused on the scene. Mom looked at Alessio and he backed down for a bit and stood next to me. He was afraid of what she might do to him. “And you, how can you hire kids to work for the FBI? How can you put them out in danger just so you can get all the credit? Tell me!” She yelled at him and dad held her shoulders gently. She was agitated because she was a mom. Moms get worried when it was about their kids’ safety.

“No, mom. You got it all wrong. Alessio is the gang leader, therefore, he escorted us to every mission. He does care about our own safety, his son is with us. Don’t you think it’s selfless to send your son to save lives? To reduce heroin? To limit murder? We have a purpose, mom, that’s why I agreed to work with them. Besides, we received all the training we needed to be able to fight back in case of a fight. This chance came to us on a plate of gold mom, we can work for the FBI after we finish our education years in college. It is a good thing to put in our resume. We enforced our chances to get into the agency and get a bright future. We can’t quit and especially now, we have a psychopath coming after our family, we need to keep working undercover and get mixed with other gangs to get any information about the arsons. We can help, that’s why Alessio is here.” Andro explained rationally and mom seemed to calm down.

Alessio nodded with a small smile. “Yes, indeed. Us, six, will investigate the matter with a gang called The Red Crew, our database caught a lead. It might tell us who is doing all of this because they were involved with fire in the past. It’s either they are doing this or someone hired them to do so. Now, I will collect the evidence (the ribbon and ash) and will call you later. We will check if there are any fingerprints that we could use. Bye for now, be careful and always alert.” He said and we agreed to sit after school at my house.

I pulled my phone to call Alaska and ask her when they’re going back home because the twins must not know about this. They’d be too involved. As I was about to call, I got a text from her. I opened it and started reading it. ‘I’m so sorry Eve but we had to get back home, to Virginia. The scholarships’ scouts came to our school and they asked for us. They need to see us play and we have until tomorrow to show them our skills. We told Nolan everything because we had to take our clothes and bags but we will be back. I promise.′

I was happy for two reasons. The first one was that my best friends will get a chance to have the education they wanted so bad and the second reason was that I didn’t have to tell them about what was happening. They were in a safer place. “Mom, dad, Andro, read this message from Alaska.” I handed them the phone and sat on my dad’s office chair. Zeno looked at me with a questioning expression and I shrugged. “They are safer now, they went back home,” I told him and he nodded. “That’s better, I guess.” He replied and I sighed.

God, thank you for this relief.

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