The fall of our secrets

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Chapter1

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
From an Irish headstone”
― Richard Puz,

*******************************

Ethan

I reached over and turned off my alarm before it even started ringing. I smiled in satisfaction at being awake without any prompt from my father. Maybe Jasper’s brutal training had paid off after all.

After spending half an hour in the shower, I exited my bedroom and changed into my workout clothes.

My next direction was my little brother’s room, who sleeps like a bear in hibernation. As expected, Hunter was sprawled across his bed with the sheets a pile around his feet.

I smiled as he groaned and turned the other side when I shook his shoulder.

“Come on Hunter we will be late for the session with Dad,”

The only response I got was another groan and unintelligible words. I sighed and went to his bathroom, filled a glass with cold water, and with a cringe, threw it on him.

Hunter shot up and looked around the room, frightened. He glared at me, and I was rewarded with a pillow smashing into my face.

“Sleepy beauty, wake-up. Dad will have our necks if we are late.”

Hunter’s eyes enlarged comically, and he ran to his bathroom. I decided to sit on his bed and wait for him to finish his morning ritual.

Fifteen minutes later, we rushed across the halls of the mansion, doing our best to avoid the vases and pricy decorations scattered around.

I sighed in relief when I looked at my watch. We made it just in time, at least, we wouldn’t earn any penalty laps.

Hunter and I were goofing around the fountain when we heard footsteps approaching us. We turned around, standing at attention with our feet apart and hands behind our backs expecting father’s presence, so you could imagine our surprise when Mother’s figure appeared instead. She was wearing her gym clothes with her blonde hair in a high ponytail.

We relaxed and smiled at her. She was so beautiful and lively to the point that Her presence can make anyone happy and comfortable.

“You weren’t expecting to see me, were you?” Mom asked with a genuine smile on her face. Her green eyes were shining under the morning sun rays.

“We were looking forward to Dad’s scowling face,” Hunter answered cheekily.

I cuffed him behind his head while Mom laughed at our antics.

“What are we going to do today?” Hunter asked, ignoring my scowl. He was too excited to stop bouncing on the balls of his feet. Mom chuckled and shook her head.

“We are going to play football today,” she said casually, eliciting a shocked gasp from Hunter and me.

“We never played football before, even when you supervised our training.” I voiced my confusion.

“Yes, I know. But I was successful to convince your father that we should have fun today instead of training,” Caroline said with a smile.

“No way, Father would never agree to us missing training,” I said in disbelieve.

“Well, let’s say I made him feel guilty. I and your siblings will spend the day at Disney land, it would be fair for you to have fun too,”

“What? Come again. Are you going to Disneyland? Did he agree?” I asked in astonishment. Today proved to be full of surprises. If only I knew how far today would go in throwing surprises my way.

“Oh, no! It was supposed to be a surprise, Mom.” Hunter whined.

“My bad, it just slipped my mouth,” Mother said and clasped her hands around her mouth.

I looked at the two in amusement and shook my head, “why do I see Lena’s name written all over this scheme?”

“This girl will be the death of your father. She had him around her little finger, he would never refuse her anything,” Mom said exasperatedly.

“Yes, we are the only ones who get screwed by him every day,” Hunter said moodily.

Mom ruffled Hunter’s hair and threw the ball in the air, “come on guys. We will start playing and stop chatting.”

Mom turned her green eyes in my direction and mock glared at me. “You will act surprised when Lena announces our trip today.”

I chuckled and made the motion to close my mouth and throw the key away.

“Your secret is safe with me,” I said seriously.

*************

“Are you ready?” My father knocked on the door and entered.

I looked up from the book I was reading and nodded my head. I was ready since 6 a.m this morning.

My father smiled at me and shook his head. He knew I was so excited to join him at the meeting.

“I see you are energetic today. It seems Caroline followed through her promise and made you have a good day.” Dad said with amusement.

I smiled at his words and went to my bedside table to fetch my phone.

“We will have breakfast, and then we will head out,” Father said, and together, we left to the dining room. The scent of pancakes and fresh muffins hit me as I entered the room. It was Saturday, and Mother made sure to tell the staff to prepare special dishes for us to enjoy. Hunter, Lena, and mother were already sitting at the table waiting for us.

As usual, I kissed mother’s cheek, ruffled Lena’s hair much to her frustration, and bumped fists with my little brother.

Our butler served us food, and we started eating in comfortable silence.

“You know, father agreed we go to Disney land today,” Hunter said excitedly and winked in Lena’s direction.

“Really, this is good news,” I exclaimed, acting as if the news were a big surprise to me.

Mom rolled her eyes at me and shook her head. Apparently, my acting skills left nothing to be desired.

Fortunately, when I looked at Lena, she was bouncing in her seat.

I chuckled and shook my head at their antics. Hunter’s twelfth birthday was two days ago, and he asked Father to take him to Disney land.

Hunter and Disney land, unbelievable, was the only word that can describe this notion. I would never believe Hunter would go willingly to Disney land, but when I looked at Lena’s face, I understood everything.

She was dying to go during summer, but Father told her to wait until her birthday. The little devil didn’t take it well, and somehow she convinced Hunter to choose Disney land as his birthday gift. I shook my head at her antics. She had us all wrapped around her little finger.

“Take care of yourself and the kids.” Dad’s voice brought me out of my thoughts. He kissed both mother and Lena’s cheeks, then he ruffled Hunter’s hair and left the room.

With a quick goodbye to my family, I followed Dad to our awaiting cars.

“You have to keep them safe at all costs. Call me if you have any problem, Understood?” Father asked Alberto, our head of security.

“Yes, Sir, don’t worry. They will be fine.” Alberto assured.

Father nodded his head and got in the car. I followed him, and the driver didn’t waste any time getting us to our direction.

****************

“Finally we are done, I am beaten,” I said as I threw myself on the sofa in Dad’s office.

Dad shook his head and said, “this will be your daily life when you become a boss. Time with family is the only time you have for yourself. Lena will chat our heads off today. She won’t stop talking until I threaten to ground her.” Dad said in false exasperation.

“As if you would ground her.” I snorted.

“Watch it, boy. I am sure you don’t want to meet me in the ring. Do you?” My father said teasingly.

“I said the truth, I and Hunter are always the ones who face your displeasure,” I stated.

“True,” father didn’t deny my accusation, “But just because she is too cute.” He added.

Before I can retort with another smart comeback, my father’s phone rang. He held his finger in a silencing gesture and answered.

I watched as the smile slipped from his face, and his features darkened. I would never forget the look that crossed his face. Slowly, the phone slipped from his hands and shattered on the floor.

With speed unknown to humans, my father ran from the room.

Left without a choice, I followed him and was successful to get in his car’s passenger seat just before he started driving with neck-breaking speed.

I didn’t dare question father’s actions, at least not with the look in his eyes. I had never seen him so...so scared. Yes, that was the right word, scared. His hands were shaking, and he was barely holding the steering wheel.

When we arrived at our location, I felt my heart beating loudly in my chest. I followed my father, who surprisingly slowed down. It was as if he wished to delay the inventible as long as possible.

Our men who were blocking the view parted and let us pass. The scene that greeted me would be engraved in my mind forever. There is nothing that will be able to erase it from my memory.

Father ran to Lena’s small body that was covered with white sheets. I swallowed hard and looked around me. I saw uncle Edward doing heart massaging to mother while another premedical was hooking Hunter to a breathing machine.

I couldn’t move from my spot. I was frozen in my place and felt as if my body was soaked in ice-cold water. My hands were shaking, and my mind was foggy. It was like my body was on the ground, but my soul had long since it left this earth.

I could feel the wind blowing and hitting me hard in the face. Today was a typical summer day, but I was yearning for warmth.

I was transported out of my trance with my father’s scream. I looked his way and watched as he took Lena’s limp body in his arms and crashed it against his chest. I ran to his side and got down on my knees beside them.

With shaking hands, I ran my hands through her black hair. Her cheeks were getting cold, and I took off my jacket and draped it over her.

“She is dead, She will never be warm again,” Father said in a shallow voice. His face was blank and empty from any emotion.

I felt my eyes filling with hot tears. I can’s believe Lena was dead. No, it can’t be true. She was okay and laughing this morning. How can she die like this?

“Again, try again!” I heard Uncle Edward shouting at the doctor next to him. They were still trying to revive Mom. How much time did pass since they started?

I stood on shaky legs and went to uncle Edward. I looked at his face and felt like my world will come to an end today. He was doing all he can, but I can tell he wasn’t hopeful.

“You must save her. We can’t lose her as well.” I heard myself saying to him. Even to my ears, my voice was hoarse and strange from all my pent up emotions.

“I am doing my best here, Ethan. Go to your brother and be by his side.” Uncle Edward said gently, which was odd considering his usual harsh voice.

I looked in Hunter’s direction and saw his unmoving body on the ground. Was he also dead? The mere thought of losing another sibling was like thrusting a knife in my heart.

“How is he?” I asked the doctor next to my brother.

“We were able to stabilize his condition, but we need to get him to the hospital as soon as possible.” The doctor spoke with sympathy.

“What are we waiting for then?” I asked.

“Your mother is still in the danger zone. She won’t be able to make it to the hospital. Your uncle is working on stabilizing her first.”

I clasped Hunter’s hand in mine and immediately noticed his hands were tainted with blood.

I swallowed hard and scanned his body. The bastards had shot him three times. One in the left shoulder, one in his stomach, and the last one in his leg. There was also a gash on the back of his head, which was bleeding.

“Will he survive?” I asked, with fear visible in my voice.

“I don’t know,” The doctor shook his head and replied honestly.

Moments later, Hunter started shaking forcefully, I and the doctor used our full force to contain his struggling.

“His body is going into shock. We need to take him to the hospital and fast.” The doctor spoke urgently.

His words caught Father’s attention, and he looked at us.

“I won’t leave this place until the backup arrives. It is too risky to drive with the danger looming over us.”

I felt anger bubbling in my stomach. The bastards killed my sister, and now they will be the reason I will lose my brother. Not on my dead body, it won’t happen.

Without thinking twice, I gathered Hunter in my arms and started walking in the cars’ direction.

“Sir, you can’t treat him like this. His injuries are fatal.” The doctor shouted at me, but I didn’t pay his rambling any attention. I had one purpose in front of me, and I wouldn’t stop until it is fulfilled.

Next, it was my father who stood in the way. I recognised the look of resolve in his blue eyes.

But he also saw the fire in my green eyes, a fire that will melt the ice in his blue orbs.

“Take the doc with you. Jasper will arrive shortly, and hopefully, by then, your uncle will be able to steady your mother’s condition.” Father spoke coldly, and to any outsider, he was in control.

But I knew him better than that. I knew he was on the brink of snapping, and when he loses his control, no one will be able to stop the hurricane that will hit us.

I put Hunter in the back seat of the car, then I got in the driver’s seat and started driving. I blocked everything out of my mind and concentrated on the road. I wanted to forget everything for a second. I needed a little peace in the middle of these chaoses.

We arrived at the hospital in record time, and thankfully we didn’t encounter any accidents. I turned around in my seat and looked at the doctor. His face was white, and he looked scared out of his mind. Well, I can’t blame the man since he just experienced a real version of fast and furious.

I ran out of the car and shouted at the doctors to come to our help. The events that happened after that was so fast, I am sure I will forget by morning.

I sat outside of the operation room and prayed for my brother. I won’t allow him to leave me as well. Until now, I don’t know how I will cope up with Lena’s death.

I felt a warm hand clasping mine. I looked up and saw Lillian sitting next to me. Her green eyes were red from crying. It was odd I didn’t even shed a single tear. My heart was breaking into tiny pieces, but I refused to cry.

I brought Lillian closer to my side and patted her shoulder. She was my best friend, who was always there for me.

“Is he okay?” She asked shakily.

“I don’t know. He was shot three times. I think he will have a concussion as well. The bastards hit him on the head.” I said with my voice trembling.

“It is okay to cry, you know,” Lillian said gently.

“Believe me. I am not trying to prevent myself from crying. The tears just won’t fall.” I spoke honestly.

“It will pass, we are strong and won’t cave no matter what,” Lillian consoled me.

“Lena died, she was just four years old, she is little, Lillian. She was supposed to live a long happy life,” I choked on my own words.

Lillian covered her mouth with her hands and sobbed loudly. I didn’t mean to upset her, but there was no escape from reality.

Before we could say anymore, my father and my uncles came into the room. I caught Uncle Edward’s eyes and hoped he would understand my unasked question.

“Your mother is in surgery now. One of my friends is with her. He is one of the best, don’t worry, son.”

I saged in relief and looked at my father, who was speaking harshly on the phone.

“Who did this?” I asked bluntly, it wasn’t in my nature to beat around the bush, and surely, I won’t start to do it now.

“Let’s go and talk outside,” Uncle Jasper ordered and started walking without waiting for my response.

I followed him to the hospital’s garden, and we sat next to each other.

“Alberto is the traitor.” Uncle Jasper stated.

“Is he dead?” I asked.

“No, he is at the main headquarters,” Jasper answered me while looking in the distance.

“Good,” I said and rose from the bench.

“Where are you going?” Uncle asked with confusion.

“To have a little fun,” I said darkly.

“No way in hell, you are not going anywhere,” Uncle said sternly.

I laughed humourlessly and shook my head. It was not the time for anyone to get in my damn face. I closed the distance between us and spoke harshly.

“My sister died uncle, and I will burn this city before they even can blink.”

“Do you think your father will be able to take another death?” Uncle asked with his face set in a grim expression.

“What do you mean by another death? Do you think I will die before I take my revenge? Think again, uncle.”

I didn’t give him any chance to speak and strode away. The last words I heard were him cursing my stubbornness and ordering guards to follow me.

*************

Twenty minutes later, I arrived at the main headquarters, which were situated in a secluded area of the city.

I parked my car and headed to the entrance. The guards nodded and opened the door without a word. To my surprise, I found Enzo, my best friend waiting in the corridor.

“What are you doing here?” I asked with suspicion.

“I never leave my friends in their times of need, do I?” Enzo said with a smirk.

I couldn’t suppress the smile that took over my face, and I bumped fists with my friend.

“I thought you won’t come back until next week,” I stated.

“A little bird told me a friend of mine is in trouble, and I took the first plane from Switzerland. I am sorry about your loss, man.” Enzo said with an apologetic look on his face.

His words brought back the events of today, and I felt a fire starting inside me.

“Where is he?” I asked without uttering Alberto’s name, the mere thought of him disgusted me.

“They are keeping him in the underground cells. Are you sure you want to encounter him with your current state of mind?” Enzo asked worriedly.

“I need this, Enzo,” I said with conviction.

“I will be always by your side,” Enzo said without hesitation, then, he added with an evil smirk gracing his usually angelic face, “We have a rat to kill.”

Upon entering the dimly lighted room, I saw a figure strapped to a chair with its head hanging low. I turned on the lights, and Alberto’s head snapped up in my direction. He looked shocked at the sight of me and started trashing in his chair.

I smiled in satisfaction. The traitor knew what would be coming his way. I walked towards him in a deliberately slow motion. I wanted him to feel scared, and what’s better than playing with his nerves to achieve my goal.

When we were face to face, I looked at him with a glare that made him tremble in fear.

“Why?” I asked simply, it was a stupid question asked in a monotone tone, but I am sure the answer will hold so much power and ache.

It seemed my question ignited some fire in the traitor, and he met my stare.

“You always thought of yourselves as royalty. You acted as if you are invincible, how do you find the feeling of vulnerability and weakness, it is new to you, right? I....”

Before he could continue his ranting, I punched him in the face. I watched in satisfaction as his face turned to the other side, and blood dripped from his opened lip.

I didn’t give him time to recover and connected my fist with his face multiple times in quick succession.

Enzo caught my fist before it can land another punch and shook his head.

“You will kill him before we have the chance to interrogate him.”

I looked at Alberto, and true to Enzo’s words, his face was unrecognizable, and he was barely conscious.

I grabbed a fistful of his hair and made sure his swollen eyes were focused on me.

“Why did you do it?” I asked harshly. “Why did you kill Lena? she was innocent.”

“Once upon a time, we were all little and innocent. But it never stopped you and your family from killing innocents, so why is it different when one of you is concerned?” Alberto said with difficulty.

“You are blurting nonsense, Alberto. We don’t kill children.” I know we are the mafia, I know we kill for a living, but children were always out of question. We kill men, women, but never children.

Alberto let out a laugh that sounded like a pained growl. He spat blood and coughed a few times before he spoke again.

“If you don’t believe me, just ask your grandfather about a girl named Amelia Jones, and I am sure he will remember her,”

I shook my head to clear my thoughts. It wasn’t the time to focus on this. I was the one playing with his nerves, not the other way around. I would never allow him to trick me and turn the tables to his advantage.

“And do you think this is an excuse for you to kill Lena?”

I noticed the look on Alberto’s face before he passed out. He was smirking as if he won something priceless. Before I could interpret his expression, I heard a thud behind me.

“Enzo!” I cried and ran to my friend’s side.

What was happening? My vision was blurry, and I tried to move towards the door so I can open it, but my hand stopped mid-air, and I collapsed to the ground. The last thing I saw before darkness consumed me was the thick smoke filling the room.

*********************

Ethan: Your votes and comments will help me wake up!!

Until next time.

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