ROMEO DE LA TORRE
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It’s been almost four months since we found out Jonah Fiorelli was alive and coming after Victor’s empire and my wife Ariana. We were able to track down two of the four men Jonah hired to beat up my brother Dante within an inch of death. I had Aaron and Liam bring them to one of our warehouses until we were ready to talk to them. Jordan and Jasmine were still looking for the other two. It’s like they fell off the planet or something because there is no trace of them at all. Maybe the two knuckleheads we found can lead us to them.
Our little twinkies are six months old now. I love watching them grow into their own personalities. Ariana is amazing with them. Motherhood comes so naturally to her. I know she still worries about raising a family in this life, but my mom has been helping her through her fears. After all, she did raise three of us and we turned out well. Graciela has been supportive as well. She may not be Ariana’s real mother but she’s the next best thing.
With Jonah still out there, I’ve asked Lana, Jasmine, Aaron, and Jordan to stay primarily in L.A. with us to keep them safe. We don’t know what Jonah is planning and I’d rather have everyone together so we can keep an eye on each other. Lana and Aaron are staying with Tina and Dante at their home, while Jordan and Jasmine are staying with us. I know Ariana is happy they’re here. She grew up with Lana, Jordan and Tina. They’re family to her and there is nothing she wouldn’t do to protect them.
I walk into the kitchen for breakfast and see my twinkies sitting in their highchairs being fed their breakfast by my dad and Elias. Ariana and our mothers are making breakfast for the rest of us. I walk over to Ariana and wrap my arms around her waist and pull her in for a kiss. As soon as my lips touch hers, Roman starts whining.
“It’s just a kiss!” I tell him. “Can’t I give mommy a kiss?” Ariana giggles in my arms as Roman has now started howling.
“Oh for the love of…really Romeo?” My dad says shaking his head at me. “It was so peaceful this morning and here you come starting things with your son.” I scowl at my dad while everyone else just laughs.
“Starting what? I just wanted to give my wife a kiss! You need to be chastising your grandson over there for being a coc…” Ariana quickly covers my mouth with her hand.
“Romeo! Do not call your son that!” She giggles. I sigh and kiss her palm. She walks over to Roman and picks him up to quiet him down. I walk over to them and kiss the top of his head. He looks at me with his big blue eyes and smiles.
“Good morning little man. You and I are going to need to come to an understanding when it comes to your mommy. I’m trying to give you a younger brother and you’re making it difficult.” I tell him. Ariana’s eyes go wide.
“Romeo!” She giggles as she swats my arm. I laugh as I walk towards my little princess. As I get closer I see a scowl forming on her face. I lean down to give her a kiss but she turns away from me and tries to push my face away with her hand.
“C’mon Juju bean! Don’t you love daddy?” I pout at her. She looks at Elias and starts reaching for him. Elias takes her out of her highchair and laughs.
“Of course she loves you Romeo. Just not until 8am. It’s only 7:55. You have to wait five more minutes.” He says as Juliana buries her face in his neck.
“That’s not fair!” I tell them as they all stand there laughing.
“What’s not fair?” Vivianne says as she enters the kitchen.
“I bet Juju bean isn’t giving Romeo any love again.” Vince says as he walks over to Juliana and gives her a kiss on her cheek. “Morning baby girl. Did daddy try to talk to you again before he’s allowed to?” I glare at my brother as walks past me to greet Roman.
“Roman probably didn’t let Romeo get near Ari either.” Dante says as he walks into the room. He looks at me and gives me a fake sad face. “Did you not get any last night…again?”
“Shut up!” I scowl at him. Everyone continues to laugh at my expense. I watch as my little princess greets everyone with a big smile and Roman allows everyone greet Ari with a kiss on her cheek. I can’t help but chuckle at my two munchkins. I lean back against the counter and watch everyone in the room with a smile. Ariana walks up to me and leans into my chest. I wrap my arms around her and pull her tight against me. I lean in towards Ariana to give her a kiss when Roman, who is back in his highchair, suddenly blurts out his first word.
“Mama!” He yells. Ariana quickly turns in my arms and I fall forward, with my lips still puckered, and miss her face entirely. I let out a frustrated huff while Ariana rushes over to him. She picks him up and squeezes him tight.
“Your first word! My baby said his first word!” She peppers his cheeks with kisses and I’m suddenly feeling jealous. Roman turns to look at me and I swear he’s smirking at me like he’s just won a battle. Ariana walks over to me with a big smile on her face. Roman is clinging to her neck tight as if to tell me she’s his. “Did you hear that? He said his first word!” Ariana says to me.
“I did hear that.” I turn to my son who is now pressing his cheek to Ari’s. “I heard it loud and clear son.” I scrunch my face at him and nuzzle his other cheek. He lets out a loud giggle and then reaches out for me. I take him from Ari and he gives me a tight hug around my neck. I turn to Ariana and she quickly gives me a kiss on my lips.
“I love you baby.” She says with a smile.
“I love you too baby.” I lean down and kiss her more deeply. When I pull away from her I turn and look at Roman and laugh. His smile is gone and he is now scowling at me. “Deal with it son. She was mine first.” Ariana takes him from me and puts him back in his highchair. As I pass Juliana to sit down to eat breakfast she reaches out for me with a big smile.
“Dada! Dada!” I stop in my tracks and look at her. She said her first word! She’s bouncing in her highchair reaching for me and calling out to me. I scoop her up and pepper her with kisses. She giggles in my arms and continues to call out my name.
“See? I knew you loved me.” I tell her as I continue kissing her face.
“It’s also 8:05.” Vince says sarcastically. Jackass! Why can’t he just let me have my moment? I sit in my seat and hold Juliana in my lap.
“Romeo, put her back in her highchair.” My dad says to me.
“No way! She finally wants to be with me and I’m taking advantage of that time.” Everyone laughs which makes Juliana giggle even more in my arms. I look down at her as she looks up at me with her beautiful blue eyes and my heart melts. She definitely has me wrapped around her little fingers…even if she wants nothing to do with me until 8am.
After breakfast, my mom took the girls shopping for Tina’s and Dante’s wedding. My dad and Elias were on babysitting duty while I went with the guys to the warehouse to have a chat with our guests. We’re not leaving there without getting some answers.
DANTE DE LA TORRE
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I can’t believe Jonah is still alive. When we were growing up I had always known he was a jackass. I just never knew how much of a jackass he was until Ariana told me what he did to her. I was actually relieved that he was dead. He was a terror to just about everyone who knew him. And now, whatever it was he and Victor were cooking up, it looks like Jonah is ready to serve it to us.
As we’re eating breakfast, I look across the table at Romeo holding Juliana in his arms as he eats. Ariana is sitting next to them and Roman is in his highchair next to her. Seeing them together gives me hope for an amazing life with Tina. They have been through so much and have come out even stronger than ever.
I look to my side and my eyes meet Tina’s. She is everything I dreamed of in a woman. I still can’t believe she’s here with me. Hell, I can’t believe I’m sitting here with my real family. Sometimes at night I lay awake thinking about how much I missed out on not growing up with Romeo, Vince, and Vivianne. How much I missed out on how having my mom and dad raising me, supporting me, loving me.
“Baby?” Tina says, snapping me out of my thoughts. She reaches over and takes my hand in hers. “Everything ok?” I smile at her as I bring her hand to my lips.
“Everything’s fine.” I tell her before leaning in and giving her a kiss. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” She says before giving me another kiss. We finish eating breakfast and help clean up the kitchen. Afterwards, our parents take the twins to the living room to play. The girls get ready to head out and do some wedding shopping with my mom and Graciela. The rest of us head to Romeo’s office to talk about Jonah.
“Where are we with their phones?” Romeo asks Jordan and Liam.
“We went through all their calls, texts, and email.” Jordan tells him. “Nothing that leads us to Jonah.”
“Most of the calls were to burner phones and whatever email they received came from phantom accounts.” Liam tells us. I look to Aaron and Vince.
“Did they tell you anything when you went to see them?”
“Nothing that will help us find Jonah.” Aaron says.
“I don’t think they know anything.” Vince adds. “They kept saying they don’t know Jonah and that they were just hired to do a job.”
“They probably don’t know anything.” I sigh. I turn to Liam and Jordan. “How difficult was it to find these two?”
“Not hard actually.” Liam says. “They looked right into the security cameras at the club so it was easy to ID them. Finding them was even easier.”
“Shit!” I yell. “Let me see the footage.” Jordan runs out to get his laptop from the living room. When he returns, he pulls up the security footage from the club. As we’re looking at the screen, my blood boils as I watch them taking turns beating on me. When we get to the part where the two turn to the camera I tell Jordan to stop the video. “Did you see that?” I ask Romeo.
“Son of a bitch!” He says. “The other two had their backs to the camera the whole time like they knew it was there. They let these two face the cameras and make sure their faces were captured on tape.”
“Jonah wanted us to find them.” I tell him. “Fuck!”
“Why would he do that?” Vince asks.
“To distract us.” Romeo says. “While we’re off chasing down this easy lead, he’s off executing more of his plans.” My thoughts instantly go to Tina. I get up and walk over to Jordan.
“The girls.” I say to him. He quickly pulls up his tracking program and pulls up their locations. It shows them moving away from the house. I look up at Romeo. “They’ve left the house.”
“I have two bodyguards on each of them and another team following them undercover.” He says. I nod and exhale deeply. These past few months we’ve been keeping the girls in the confines of our homes. Romeo and I were not going to give Jonah any opportunity to get at them, especially Ariana. This shopping trip is the first time they’re all going out together and we weren’t going to take any chances.
“Let’s go have a chat with our guests.” I tell them. “Let’s be sure they know nothing about Jonah or his plans.”
“And after that?” Aaron asks. “What do you want us to do with them?”
“You will do nothing.” I tell him. “They’re mine to deal with.”