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My name is Ariana Nichols, but everyone calls me Ari. I’m 25 years old and a successful entrepreneur living just outside of Atlanta. I was born and raised in Los Angeles with my father Elias Delgado, king of the Delgado Mafia, and my mother Juliana, their queen. That’s right, I’m a mafia princess.
I’m an only child. There was a complication during my birth that required my mother to have a hysterectomy. My dad was never sad about not being able to have a son though. He said I was his princess and that my mom and I were all he needed to be happy.
He made up for not having a son by teaching me all types of things he normally would have taught his son. Like how to fight, use a gun, and once I was old enough, how to run his businesses and the mafia.
My mother was a fierce queen. Everyone respected her, and those who didn’t, feared her as much as they feared my father, if not more. She was my everything…and when I lost her, my world came crumbling down.
- - - - - 10 years ago - - - - -
“Winter break cannot get here fast enough!” I sigh as I walk down the hallway with my two best friends Vivianne and Rianne.
“No kidding!” Vivianne exclaimed. “Why can’t they just let us off starting from Thanksgiving? Nobody is paying attention in class during this time anyway.”
“Um…you don’t normally pay attention in class Viv. What’s the difference?” Rianne teases causing me to burst out laughing.
“Shut up!” Vivianne says as she swats Rianne’s arm.
We continue laughing as we walk down the hallway to the school cafeteria for lunch. We grab our food and head towards our normal lunch tables with the rest of the mafia kids. As we approach, I see Vivianne’s twin brother Vince, her older brother Romeo, his best friends Liam and Aaron, and Amber, the only other girl around our age.
None of us can stand Amber though. She’s so clingy and a complete bitch. She and her merry band of dingbats are always hanging around the guys, especially Romeo. I’ll admit, the guys are all pretty good looking, Romeo especially with his inviting eyes and warm smile. The problem with them is they know how good looking they are and have no problem exploiting that gift to build their harem.
“Ugh…these barbies again.” Rianne snorts. “Can we sit somewhere else? I’d like to not lose my appetite hearing them fawn all over the guys the entire lunch period.”
“Ari, why can’t you just use your mafia princess powers and shoo them away?” Vivianne says to me.
“There’s no such thing as mafia princess powers.” I giggle.
“Uh…yes there are, and you have them. You just don’t use them.” Rianne says to me sarcastically. I roll my eyes and shake my head at her.
“Let’s just sit here.” I lead them to an empty table across from where we normally sit. I see Vivianne glaring hard at the girls around them. “Let it go Viv. It’s not a big deal.”
“Can’t you scare them a little Ari? Just enough so they’ll stay away from them during lunch and we can sit at our normal table?” Rianne pleads with me as she starts eating her lunch.
“I’m pretty sure they would hate it if I interfered in their love life like that. And besides, why would I want to do that anyway?”
“To save them of course. Those girls are like vultures attacking their prey.” Vivianne answers, still glaring over at her brothers. I glance over to where the guys are. There are two girls hanging all over Romeo. One is on his lap feeding him his lunch and the other is leaning against him running her hand through his hair. I don’t know why, but I suddenly get the urge to pull them off him by their hair. I quickly turn back to Vivianne and Rianne.
“It doesn’t look like your brother needs saving.” I tell Vivianne. She leans around Rianne to look at him and fakes gagging on her food. Rianne and I laugh at her and resume eating our lunch without giving them another thought.
At the end of the school day, the three of us meet up at our lockers to put our books away before going home. Vivianne slams her locker door and lets out a groan.
“Don’t look now. Barbie mob approaching at 3 o’clock.” She whispers to us.
I turn my head and see the same group of girls who were draped over our friends at lunch, led by Amber of course, heading our way. I’m sure the guys are mixed in there somewhere, but I can’t see them in the sea of airheads. Amber stops just in front of me and smirks.
“Excuse you. You’re in our way.” She scowled at me. I continue to put my books away when I answer, not even bothering to look at her.
“It’s a big hallway Amber. I’m sure there’s enough room for us and your big bloated ass.”
“Damn!” Vivianne and Rianne exclaim as they both burst out laughing. Amber’s face starts to turn red as she’s glaring at me.
“What did you just say?!”
Why is she still talking to me? I close my locker and let out an exaggerated sigh of frustration.
“I didn’t stutter.” I tell her coldly as I cross my arms across my chest.
“You better take that back you insignificant little shit! I will beat you down and wipe the floor with you!” All her little barbie minions are snickering behind her. I turn around and give Vivianne my backpack to hold. I reach into the side pocket and pull out my pistol. I whip around and point it right between Amber’s eyes.
“Holy fuck!” Vivianne gasps as all the girls standing behind Amber jump back. I keep eye contact with Amber, but I can see Romeo and the guys pushing their way toward us from behind her.
“Could you repeat that Amber? I want to make sure I heard you correctly before I shoot you.” I tell her calmly. Amber tries to hide her fear but I can see her body start to shake.
“Y-You don’t have the balls to shoot me Ari.”
I cock back the trigger.
“You think so?” I say with a smirk. Suddenly, Principal Matthew’s voice is heard booming in the hallway.
“Ariana Delgado! Put that away!”
Amber lets out a breath and gets a smug look on her face. I put the gun down but continue staring Amber down.
“What is going on here?” He asks as he puts himself between Amber and me.
“She threatened to beat me up and wipe the floor with me. I’m just protecting myself, sir.” I tell him calmly and politely. He turns to Amber, who is still glaring at me.
“Amber, go to my office.”
“What?! She pulled a gun out on me!” Principal Matthews turns back to me and lets out a small sigh.
“Ariana, put the gun away and don’t pull it out while on school property again or I will confiscate it.”
“Yes, sir.” I get my bag back from Vivianne and put my gun back inside.
“Alright, everyone…show’s over…move along.” He tells the rest of the students who were standing around watching the showdown between us.
All of Amber’s mindless followers leave without making eye contact with me. We started walking to the exit when Romeo and the guys stepped in our path blocking us.
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ARI?!”
I know Romeo is not yelling at me right now. I look at him innocently and put on my sweetest voice.
“What was what?” I ask him. I can see him getting more annoyed with me. If he wasn’t such a man-whore and Vivianne’s brother, I might actually think he looked hot being this angry. He runs a hand over his face to try to calm himself down before he speaks to me again.
“Have you lost your mind? You could have been expelled. Amber’s harmless Ari. She’s not worth risking getting kicked out of school.”
Do I detect a hint of concern in his voice?
“Yeah, well my gun’s harmless too. It wasn’t even loaded.” I stand there smirking at him. Idiot.
“Wait, you weren’t going to shoot her?” Liam asks me.
“Did Principal Matthews know that?” Aaron asks. I let out a frustrated sigh letting them know how much I’m enjoying this interrogation of theirs.
“Yes. He knows my gun isn’t loaded. That’s the condition for allowing me to carry it around in school in case I needed it.”
“Needed it for what?” Romeo asks.
Oh my lord is he nosy! I roll my eyes at him and let out another sigh.
“None of your business! Now if you’ll excuse us, my mom is waiting outside.” I push my way past them with Vivianne and Rianne in tow. I glance back and can see confusion and anger on their faces, especially Romeo’s.
ROMEO DE LA TORRE
- - - - - - - - - -
I’m walking down the hallway headed to the parking lot with Liam, Aaron, and my brother Vince. As we turn the corner we’re greeted by Amber and her merry band of idiot followers. Ugh! I wonder if bug repellent will work on them.
Most boys my age would love all the attention these girls give us. They do anything we want whenever we want. But that’s all they’re good for. You can’t hold a decent conversation with them because they’re heads are filled with nothing but rocks.
Then there are girls like my sister, Vivianne, and her friends Rianne and Ariana. They’re smart, beautiful, and tough as nails. They don’t put up with anyone’s shit, especially ours. Ariana’s the tiniest but the toughest of the bunch which makes her the most attractive.
Every guy in school wants her but they’re too scared to approach her because of who her dad is. Which is good for me because I don’t want anyone near her. I’ve been in love with her since middle school, but she only sees me as Vivianne’s older brother and I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m a playboy, so she won’t give me the time of day.
But I know in my heart, we belong together.
Amber is walking a little bit ahead of us down the hall. The guys and I are trying our hardest to separate ourselves from this mob when I hear shouting up ahead.
“It’s a big hallway Amber. I’m sure there’s enough room for us and your big bloated ass.”
I know that voice and flavor of sarcasm. The guys know it too and we just chuckle. That’s my Ari.
“We’d better get up there before a cat fight breaks out.” Liam says as he shakes his head.
We push our way forward and as we get closer I see Ari holding a gun to Amber’s head. That escalated fast. I was about to step in when the principal comes towards us. He sends Amber to his office and lets Ari off with a warning. Weird. After everyone clears the hall the guys and I step in front of Ariana, Vivianne, and Rianne so they can’t leave.
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ARI?!” That came out louder than I wanted.
“What was what?” If I wasn’t so angry with her right now I’d grab her and kiss that sarcastic tone out of her voice. I try to calm myself down. I don’t want to get into an argument with her right now.
“Amber’s harmless Ari. She’s not worth getting kicked out of school.”
“Yeah, well my gun’s harmless too. It wasn’t even loaded.”
Wait. It wasn’t even loaded? Damn. She’s a good actress.
“That’s the condition for allowing me to carry it around in school in case I needed it.”
I look at her confused. The principal let her keep her gun in case she needed it. Needed it for what? She doesn’t answer me when I ask her what she needs the gun for and just pushes her way past us and out the door.
“What the hell does she need a gun at school for?” Liam asks me.
That’s a good question. If I find out someone’s been bothering her at school I’m going to kill them.