Facade

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Trouble

THEA’S POV

Xavier immediately pulls the cover over us while making sure to cover my body with his the entire time.

A dull thump is heard and then, “Hey! What did I do?”

“Keep your mouth shut will you? My best friend’s finally getting some after months.”

I roll my eyes at Lily’s comments, hand itching to smack her on the head like she did with Caleb.

Sending a wink my way, she grabs my cousin by the ear and drags him out of the door and back into my room while he squeezes his eyes shut and mutters under his breath.

Xavier’s head falls on my chest, his shoulders heaving with a sigh. He places a soft kiss on the skin before taking my lips into his.

“Don’t forget the protection, kids!” The loud thumping on the door breaks us apart again and a small chuckle escapes my lips when I notice the irritation on his face.

“Guess we have to get up now.”

He groans. “I don’t want to.” His breath tickles my neck making me giggle.

Amusement shines in his grey orbs before he bends down to place another kiss on my forehead.

*****

“Are you guys done banging each other?” Caleb earns another smack on the head. This time, it’s from both Lily and me. He pouts. “Women are violent!”

“You want me to prove that?” My cousin cowers behind Lily’s wrath, putting his hands up in surrender.

A knock on the door makes us turn to the person standing at the entrance.

“Luca!” Caleb runs towards his best friend grumbling about how ‘violent’ some women are and how we’re beating his innocent little self.

Luke takes one look at his and scoffs in disagreement. “Innocent my ass! You always do that.”

“Hey! Just because I cock-blocked you that one time!”

“You do it every time!”

“Bu—”

“Alright! We’ve heard enough. Why are you here?” Both the boys look towards me as realization dawns on their faces.

“Beth wants to talk to you. Apparently, Giovanni’s here.”

I stiffen as the last time Giovanni was here to deliver news, it did not end well. A sudden warmth envelops my shoulder when I feel Xavier’s hand on them.

“You okay?” His whisper reaches my ears only and I give him a nod, offering a shaky smile.

“I’ll be fine.”

He seems unconvinced but lets it go.

As Caleb and Lily launch into a debate regarding how much of a virginhe really is, Luke eyes us with nervous apprehension.

“Hey, Xavier. You wanna go grab a bite? There’s a McDonald’s nearby.”

I refrain from asking why they would go outside when the food here is more than amazing. Watching the twinkle in Xavier’s eyes at the mention of fast food, I snap my mouth shut.

It takes him a while before he hesitantly nods. “I’ll grab my jacket and meet you downstairs.”

A huge grin lights up my face when I realize they are trying—both of them—to amend things. I make a mental note to ask Xavier about it later.

He kisses the side of my forehead. “I’ll see you later.”

I nod as he moves towards his room to grab his jacket.

“Thea?”

Before Luke can say anything, I grin up at him, too excited to control myself. “You guys are talking! I’m so happy for you!”

A lighthearted chuckle escapes him. “I wanted to thank you for that.”

“I doubt I did anything.” A slight pang shoots through my chest when I remember the words Xavier uttered when I talked to him about this subject. “It’s Jason who deserves the credit.”

He holds my hand between both of his. “You did more than anyone has done in years and you don’t even realize it. Thank you, really, for everything.”

I open my mouth to deny that but the look in his eyes shut me up. “No worries.” I smile softly.

*****

“You wanted to see me?” I fidget under the gaze of my aunt and Giovanni.

“Thea, honey, come in.” I do as told and make my way towards the seat beside my aunt. She has been like a second mother to me and her presence calms me enough to listen to what they have to say.

I notice the red-rimmed eyes of Beth and immediately frown, knowing whatever news Giovanni has is not going to be pretty.

“Thea,” Giovanni eyes me with concern, forcing a smile on his face. He sighs before getting to the point. “I’ve been looking into the case,” my blood chills with those words, and I pale, “and it seems like premeditated murder.

“I believe it has something to do with your father’s inheritance. According to his will, if something were to happen to him, your mother should have gained control of his wealth. And if that’s not possible, your brother was next in line.”

I already know all of that. I also know, in case none of them could make it, everything was to be passed onto Alex’s future generation. However, considering the turn of events, I don’t know what will happen.

“Let me guess, now it goes to charity?” My voice seems foreign to my ears.

“Actually,” Giovanni glances at my aunt before looking back at me, “according to his will, you are to inherit everything.”

I blink. Once, twice...repeatedly.

“Say what now?”

He clears his throat, feeling sheepish. “The will clearly states everything is to be passed onto you. Since you turned eighteen yesterday, you can now have full access to your inheritance.”

I blow a breath. “This has to be a joke. Why the hell would he give everything to me when he hated my very existence? Mr. Scarlett made it very clear that I was never a part of his family as you confirmed last time during your visit.”

Giovanni winces, gazing away and I don’t care enough to feel guilty at this point.

Everything’s a fucking mess. One after another...the only good thing right now is Xavier...

“I don’t care about his wealth. You can keep it. You’ve been taking care of the company for years now anyway. I don’t want his money.”

“It’s literally in your name. I can’t do anything about it unless you legally transfer it to me. However, that’s not the only reason I’m here.”

“What else, now?”

“Due to the investigation being reopened, the police are searching for your, um, biological father.” Beth glances away at Giovanni’s words and I flinch.

I haven’t thought about that until now, purposefully avoiding the subject.

“He’s a suspect in this case and according to what they’ve found, it’s someone from your mother’s high school friends.”

I gulp, hands trembling slightly as I clench them to hide my turmoil.

“Okay. Let me know if you find anything.”

“I know how much this has affected you. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask me.” His eyes convey genuine warmth, softening with concern.

I simply nod in reply, waiting for him to take the bait.

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