1 year later
“You are NOT getting a job!” Shaun shouted at me as I got dressed into tight black jeans, red tank top and long black cardigan. Savannah had given me an all-new look, my long brown hair now swept to one side, dyed black, cut shorter on one side, giving me a new alternative style while covering the scar on my head.
My name now was Catherine to the outside world, Catherine Rosa.
Taylor had been given a similar look, his once blond hair dyed black, made us look like siblings, and to the outside world, that’s what we were.
Harvey Rosa was his new name, he hated everything about it. He was given the bad boy look, leather jackets, tight white shirts and dark jeans. He missed his comfort; he hated the bad boy look.
Shaun, however, was given an extremely geeky uncle look, brown suit-trousers, shirts and jumpers. He was posing as the eldest brother, working in a local office he brought in just enough to survive, his new name, Craig Rosa.
“I’ve sat in this house for a year! Let me go out! I’ve been out a few times and no ones even batted an eyelid! You can’t keep me hidden forever!” I shout back.
“She’s right, we can’t keep her stuck inside. It’s been a year dude” Taylor said looking through his phone, searching Damien’s social media. Nothing new.
My Dad had managed to find out over the year where everyone was, all except Luka, he was still MIA, Savannah assumed him dead.
Damien, Jason and James were all trapped under my uncle, they went wherever he went, and dad couldn’t get close, as much as he tried.
Three months ago, we got word from Brian and Wayne who were holed up in another safe house that was under dads’ control, they were trying to help us build numbers against Karlos so we could go and get back our people. Although dad said that it was pointless.
Shaun had given up completely, beginning to live his life as a new man, he wanted nothing to do with revenge, saying there was no point looking back. No point getting anyone else killed.
He’d changed completely with his new identity. I hated him for it. It was like he had forgotten everything we had been through.
“I’m not arguing over this again. You live under this roof. You do as your told” he said angrily.
“You’re not my father, don’t act like it” I pushed his chest.
He pushes me in front of the mirror lifting my hair.
“You see this, that scar is because you went in that fucking building when I told you not to. You see these on your stomach? These are because your family want to have you owned and killed. Your family are born killers Sam and if you go out there then you will get us all killed, just like Bradley” He said as he lifted my top to show all my scars.
I felt like he had kicked me in the gut as he shoved me away from him and stormed out the house.
“He didn’t mean that” Taylor mumbled watching Shaun leave.
“Yes, he did. I am the reason people die all around me. I should have just followed my uncle and become like him, at least Bradley might not have died. I should have ignored my mother, Luka and my father. Where has it got all of them? Dead, missing and completely fucked. I want to go home Taylor” I said as Taylor looked at me in shock.
“You couldn’t change any of it, if you hadn’t of done what you did, you would be dead right now. Your brother would be a monster, all of us might have died. I know you want to go home but it’s not safe, if it was, I would be in Damien’s arms” He replies.
“Then we need to get home. I’m calling a meeting. We are meeting up with Brian and Wayne. We will come up with a plan. It’s time Midnight Rose was destroyed, no matter what. I don’t care if Shaun comes or not” I say as I turn my burner phone on and message Brian.
Cat: Hey Babe, want to meet up? I need to see you and my other bestie 😊 xx
B: I don’t know hun, I’m a bit busy. Not enough time, too much work to do. X
Cat: Please? Big brother is doing my head in, he won’t let me get a job or anything, I need out. I’ll sneak out if I have to 😉 x
B: I’ll bail you out tonight. 8pm. X
We had always tried to message as if we were a couple of lovesick teens so that if anyone was to pick up our messages they would never guess who we could be.
“Brian’s coming tonight, 8pm” I tell Taylor.
“Shaun is going to kill you” He shakes his head.
“I don’t care, I’ve spent a whole year doing as I’m told, for him to throw it back in my face! I can’t do this anymore, I’m going crazy! I know full well he’s dating someone at work too. It’s like he’s forgotten it all! He’s found his happiness and doesn’t want me to ruin it. When do I get to be happy? When do I get to find love again? He thinks I’ve forgotten Bradley; he runs in every thought and dream I have! We all deserve to be happy Taylor. We need to get back home! I can’t move on from this while I’m stuck inside a building for months” I argue as I sit down next to him.
“I get it, I really do, but we have to be careful about this” Taylor answers putting an arm around my shoulders resting against me.
“I know. I’m scared to get it wrong, but I have to do something. I can’t just sit here and do nothing” I mutter.
“You’re not doing this on your own. I’m doing it with you. I need Damien back.” Taylor says after a brief pause.
“Thank you” I smile slightly as we numbly watch the tv.
“Cat! Can you get in here a second!” Savannah called from the kitchen a few hours later, I walked slowly downstairs. She only called me Cat when there were people who we didn’t know in the house.
Two men in police uniform stood at the breakfast bar and Savannah looked worried.
“Good evening ma’am. We are from the local police station and we had a report of a noise disturbance. A neighbour said they heard shouting this morning coming from the residence. Something about killers and scars” One of the men stated.
I panicked for a moment; but was distracted by the front door opening and Shaun’s voice calling out.
“Hey Craig!” I shouted before he said anything. His steps faltered before quickly but calmly walking into the room.
“Officers… Can I help you?” He straightens up.
“Good evening, I was just asking the ladies here if they knew of a disturbance that was reported here this morning. Talks of killers and scars” He repeated.
“Ah, I did wonder if our heated discussion over films this morning would be overheard, you see my sister is a movie enthusiast with a very high opinion on movie make up. We were watching a few horror films last night and got into a bit of a disagreement over who we thought had the best special effects make-up.” Shaun said on his feet, he was doing well; and it seemed like they believed it.
There was a quick and booming knock suddenly on the front door. I looked at the clock. 8pm… Shit, Brian.
“Excuse me officers, my boyfriend was due over. I need to answer the door, as long as you are done with me that is?” I ask trying to get to the door.
“Of course, I will just go over a couple of bits with your… brother. Quite the misunderstanding with the neighbours I can see” One of the officers winked while checking me out and I left the room.
Running to the door as three more knocks sounded.
I quickly opened the door to Brian standing there, shadows over his face while he wore a dark hoody.
“Police in the kitchen” I whispered as he looked at me wide-eyed.
“I can’t be here” He said quickly as footsteps suddenly began to come up behind me.
“Fuck” I said as I pushed Brian against the door, wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him long and passionately.
My body hid his face, it hadn’t been changed like ours had, with make-up and contact lenses, he was still himself.
“Kids these days, eh?!” Shaun tried to laugh as I felt them behind me.
“They always this passionate?” An officer laughed as they exited just outside the door. Brian turned us so my back was against the door and his face was hidden to the officers even more.
“You have no idea” Shaun played.
“Well, good luck with that. Good-bye kids” one of officers chuckled as Shaun shut the door.
“What the fuck was that? Who the fuck are you?” Shaun grabbed Brian by the shoulders, turning him around.
“Nice to see you too Shaun” Brian chuckled. Shaun looked at me with daggers.
“Are you both completely out of your minds?!” He whispered angrily.
“Well, I must be after kissing her!” Brian smirked back at me as I shrugged it off.
“What did you expect me to do? Just let them get you?” I asked.
“I feel dirty, it’s like kissing my sister” He wiped his lips on his hoody.
“Oh, shut up, I saved your ass and it was the best kiss you’ve had in years” I winked playfully.
“Nope, kissing my sister, totally gross. But, thanks, I get it was the only thing to do in the moment” He smiled and then frowned when he saw Shaun’s face that was getting angrier by the minute.
“What are you doing here Brian? Do you want to get seen? Get all of us caught? We just had police in our house for the argument we had this morning, our neighbours are obviously nosey, and we don’t need anything bringing attention to us!” He growled at Brian.
“She said you’d changed; I didn’t believe her.” Brian looked at Shaun frowning.
“I’ve been protecting Sam for a year, I’ve got a job to put food on the table, I’ve kept an ear to the ground to make sure no one comes near her and the gratitude I get is her cockiness and attempts to escape. I don’t need this from you too” He stepped towards Brian.
“Right here you know. I’ve had enough fathers in my life so far, I don’t need another. Perhaps what you’re really worried about is that girlfriend of yours” I snapped.
“Leave her out of this” He snapped back.
“No, I’m done hiding in the shadows. I’m done sitting in a room while everyone else gets to live some sort of life. Even Brian has more of a life than I do!”
“If you want to get yourself killed you know where the door is. I’m done.” Shaun said as he stormed up the stairs, slamming the door causing Taylor to rush out his room.
“What did you do now?!” He shouted down the stairs as he walked down, not noticing Brian.
“We had the police asking about a disturbance and then some guy came over and I kissed him” I said.
“What? You kissed some random… oh…” He stopped as he saw Brian and began to grin, rushing up to him giving him a bro hug.
“Nice to see you too man” Brian chuckled.
“You two kissed? Gross” Taylor grimaced.
“Seriously! It’s like you’ve both turned into six-year-olds that believe in cooties!” I roll my eyes.
“We do!” They both laughed, high fiving. I shake my head in disbelief.
“So, I came to break you out, but I think we better stay put with the police out and about” Brian said sitting next to me.
“Just another night in this crappy house!” I groan.
“Hey, this is my house! Watch it!” Savannah scolds as she sat opposite us.
“Sorry. I just hate being stuck in here still” leaning my head back with a sigh.
“I get it, I’m stuck too. My husband is out there missing somewhere, someone has to stay here with you, and I was the one who decided to completely ignore my life and change for you and Luka. I lost it all too Sam” She added.
“I know. Thank you for ditching your life. I miss Luka, I wish I knew where he was…”
“Well…” Brian began, and we sat up straight.
“Brian, you better not be holding things back” I say sternly.
“I promised Shaun…” He mumbled.
“You promised Shaun what?!” Taylor asked.
“That I wouldn’t tell you where Luka was… Because you would want to join him…” Brian continued.
I stormed up the stairs, Brian trying to stop me.
Twisting his arm and pushing him to the wall.
“Stop me from going up those stairs and I’ll break it” I growl. Pushing him as he sighs, nodding and rubbing his sore arm.
I burst into Shaun’s room.
“What the fuck!” He screams at me in surprise.
I grab him by the collar in anger as he stands by the bed.
“You tell me now where my brother is, or I will put my fist through your head” I warn.
“Brian…” He growls looking to the door.
“Shaun!” I say shoving him away from the wall and slam him into the wall.
“Jason’s with your uncle you know this!” He tries to tell me about the wrong brother.
I punch him in the jaw.
“God damn it Sam!” He says rubbing his jaw, lip bleeding.
“Try lying to me again. Try the other brother”
“I have no idea where Luka is” He lies again.
I punch him in the gut as he goes down onto his knees.
“Shaun, just tell her” Brian grumbles as Shaun looks at him, quick with anger.
“Not a chance” He says, I get angrier and kick him in the face, knocking him to his back as he groans in pain.
“Shaun tell me where my husband is, right now!” Savannah joins me in the room, looming over his bleeding face.
“Fine! He’s a dead man” He answers.
“God damn it Shaun! Luka’s not dead, he’s working on creating a bigger gang than the Midnight Rose to destroy Karlos. He wanted to get you in on it too, but Shaun refused to let you out of the house and persuaded him to pretend he was MIA!” Brian blabs as Savannah and I stand in shock.
I see red as fury builds in me as I kick Shaun again and again in the gut until Brian and Taylor drag me off of him.
“Calm down” Taylor hisses as I catch him in the face by mistake.
“You know what Shaun, stay here and rot, go play happy families with your girlfriend. Forget my face and don’t come back. I am going to go and join my FAMILY. You seem to have forgotten everything we left back home. But I haven’t. I didn’t want this, I didn’t want anyone to die, I didn’t want to lose Bradley, Mum, my grandpa, the man I knew as father for years, but we live in a fucked-up world of gangs and violence. The only thing we have as a constant is those that we love, dead or alive. If you want to abandon us all, that’s your choice, but I won’t, I’m going home, I’m fighting for my family and it is everyone’s choice to decide whether they want to join or not. I never asked people to fight for me. I never asked for any of this. I would give my life for everyone else to come back home, safe and sound. I hate what you’ve done Shaun, but you will always be my family. But, I’m leaving” I say, tears in my eyes.
“Then leave… get out!” He spits blood.
“Savannah you coming?” I ask
“Duh” She rolls her eyes.
“Let’s get Damien back” He nods.
“Great, get packed” I storm out the room and go to pack a rucksack of clothes and essentials.
“Are you sure about this?” Brian asks timidly in my doorway.
“Do I really need to answer that?” I ask as I zip up my bag.
“Trent’s going to kill me” He groans.
“He wanted me stuck here too?!”
“He wanted you safe. He argued with Luka for weeks before Luka gave up. He’s ignored your father ever since. But he has created a HUGE army. He’s brought together so many of the smaller gangs across the globe to help take down Midnight Rose. Do you realise how crazy that is? Your uncle has hands everywhere and Luka hasn’t been spotted. He’s done this for you. Your Dad and Shaun, they just don’t want to see you hurt. You’ve been through enough” Brian says.
“I should have been given the choice. I understand they wanted to keep me safe but I’m not a little girl anymore. I can make my own decisions” I reply.
“Then I have a call to make to your brother” He smiles, embracing me quickly before leaving the room to make a call.
Half an hour later Beck turned up, nodding hello before going upstairs to check on Shaun’s state after I’d called him to tell him what had happened.
Just because I was angry at him, didn’t mean I had completely forgotten how much he meant to all of us, even if he seemed to forget.
“Luka’s sending a team to come get us, they will be here within the hour.” Brian walked into the lounge where we all sat waiting for him to finish his unbelievably long call to Luka.
“Great. How is he?” I ask.
“Well, he sounded excited, it was like he was bouncing up and down like a three-year-old on sugar. He can’t wait to see you and Savannah.” Brian smiled.
“I told you he was fine” I smirked at Savannah.
“I know…” She smiles. Her smile turns to a frown as she looks to the stairs.
Shaun was descending with Beck behind him.
“You guys are going to get yourselves killed” He shook his head and left to go into the kitchen.
“I have stitched his lip. You did quite the number on him little lady. Let’s not make a habit of it” Beck said.
“There won’t be a habit of it as we are leaving, and Shaun won’t be coming with us.” I replied and Beck nodded glumly.
“I must go, call me if you need me.” Beck said before hugging me and Savannah goodbye, giving Brian and Taylor a handshake.
I kept glancing towards the kitchen, worried about Shaun. I hated and loved that guy all at the same time.
“Go talk to him. Just try not to kill him. Keep calm.” Taylor nudged me.
I nodded and slowly made my way into the kitchen where Shaun just stood at the breakfast bar, holding a mug of tea, his eyes focused as if in another world.
“Shaun?” I said quietly as his eyes began to refocus.
“What?” He said quickly.
“Can we talk? We’re leaving soon” I asked.
“Why bother?” He sighed. He still wouldn’t face me.
“Because I love you still Shaun. Look, if you won’t look at me, at least just listen…” I paused waiting for an answer, but he didn’t say anything, so I continued.
“We’ve been through a lot. When we first met you were one of the cocky guys who grinned at me like I was a piece of meat. But, as we showed each other who we really were, we grew closer. You helped me become what I am today. You helped me become stronger. You truly are like an older brother to me. I love you Shaun, but you can’t keep me hidden forever, you have to give me the chance to make decisions on my own life. I don’t want anyone to sacrifice themselves for me, I don’t ask anyone to. They make their own decisions and I make mine. Half of my family is dead, the stupid Midnight Rose ruin everything, the other half is split, dotted everywhere thanks to my uncle. We now have a choice to make. Be with the ones we love and fight for what we believe in or keep running from place to place, never having a real life. I choose fighting for what I love, even if I die in the process, I WILL take down my uncle”
“You WILL die by your uncle” He muttered.
“I might… but if I don’t try then what’s the point in life. Bradley would have died for nothing; my mother would have died for nothing…” I began.
“I can’t watch you die Sammy. I won’t do it…” He turns to me, tears welled-up in his eyes.
“Then don’t. Stay and keep this fake life you have. I get it, trust me, I wish I had another life to hide behind, but I don’t. All I’ve ever known is that bloody gang. Raised by my grandfather to be brave, strong, strategic and vengeful. I can’t change who I am. I need to get revenge; I have to do it for Bradley, my Mother and for us all”
“You are so much more, you could be so much more, I’ve seen your soft side, the one that loves puppies and kittens, romance stories and giggling at the stupid things that Bradley would do. I’ve seen you broken, and I’ve seen you strong and I can’t sit and watch you be shattered by the Midnight Rose even further!” He shouted.
“Then I guess this is goodbye…” I answer, my head bowed in sadness.
Suddenly, his arms were around me, holding me tight.
I sobbed in his arms as his body shook, also crying.
“You better come back” He mutters quietly.
“Sam, vans here” Brian entered the kitchen as Shaun and I separated, complete messes.
“You take care of our girl Brian” Shaun says bro hugging him.
“Of course, I will. But you know she’s the one protecting our arses” Brian smirked, remembering every time we had ever fought. I always won.
“Then keep each other safe. All of you. I want updates.” Shaun replied.
“We will message when we can, let’s go kiddo” Brian answered nodding towards the door.
“Bye Shaun.” I said walking out of the kitchen.
“Love you Sammy” Shaun called out as I turned and rushed back in, embracing him in one last hug.
“Love you” I said as I released him quickly before leaving without looking back. If I looked back, I would stay, and I couldn’t do that.
“We’ll be back” Savannah smiled sadly looking back at the house that Shaun now stood in the doorway as I took a quick peek.
My heart broke seeing him there alone as I entered the back of the van.
It felt like the end of an era.