Finding Ace

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Chapter 12. Secret Weapon

Aria

“I knew I lost my memory, but damn. Don’t you think I’d recognize my own wife?” he murmured and looked away. Austin and Benny left me alone with Ace after he calmed down. “How could I not know?”

“I’m a bit surprised you didn’t put it together, Ace. My name is tattooed on your chest. Angel’s name is tattooed there too. Several years ago, I lost a part of my memory. I didn’t remember you at all. You helped me bring it back,” I explained. “Maybe I can help bring back your memory.”

“They told me that my sister’s name is Aria and that you killed her and that I wanted revenge. They obviously lied to me about many things. I don’t think anything you do will bring it back. What good would it do? You’ve already shown me dozens of pictures. It’s not there. Whoever I was, it’s gone. I’m not that guy anymore. I’m sorry,” he said.

I sighed and buried my face in my hands.

“How long do you intend to keep me tied up?” he asked.

“That depends on you,” I said. “Are you done trying to kill me?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Are you going to leave?” I asked.

“Well, what good am I here?” he asked. “I don’t remember you or our kids.”

“What good?” I inhaled sharply. I felt as if he punched me in the stomach. “You’re not leaving, Ace,” I snapped. “Not until I figure out this situation with the Chinese.”

“Why don’t I help you get rid of them?” he suggested.

I looked at him in disbelief. A chuckle escaped me. “You don’t honestly expect me to believe that? An hour ago, they were your loyal, amazing family. Now you’re ready to side with me?”

“Look, I’m not promising things between us will work out. How am I supposed to love someone I don’t know? I have no recollection of loving anybody or anything. I haven’t a clue what that must feel like, but I see that it hurts you. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe you. Knowing what I know now, I want them dead as bad as you do if not worse,” he sneered.

“How so?” I asked. I crossed my arms over my chest.

“They basically took my life from me. How am I not going to be angry about that?” he asked and tilted his head.

It took me a long moment. Instead of responding, I walked over to him with the knife. Ace watched me curiously. I cut the ropes that tied him down.

“Just like that?” Ace asked in disbelief. “I tried to kill you, and you’re just going to trust me?” he slowly stood up. His chest pressed to mine.

My stomach twisted into knots at his touch. “Yes,” I breathed. My gaze never left his. “You may not remember, but I can see it in your eyes. You’re the same man you always were. It’s just buried deep inside you. Only you can find it,” I said softly.

His gaze fell to my lips and flickered back to my eyes. Curiosity burned in his eyes. I turned and headed up the stairs with his footfalls behind me.

When we walked into the study, Austin and Benny were on the couch. They stiffened up, and Austin pointed a gun at Ace.

“He’s fine, Austin,” I muttered.

“Are you sure?” Austin asked.

“I’m sure,” I said. I stood protectively in front of Ace.

“This is fucked up,” Benny muttered.

“You should call the others,” I told Austin.

Austin nodded in agreement.

“If you’re my wife. Who is he?” Ace pointed at Austin, who was walking out of the study.

“Your twin,” I said.

Ace stared at me in shock and shook his head. “Yeah, right,” he said.

“You have nine siblings,” I said. “Damn, really?” he asked in disbelief. “My parents must have fucked like rabbits,” he said and chuckled.

I smiled and shook my head.

“Hell, you two aren’t much better,” Benny muttered. “You and Aria have five.”

“Who’s he?” Ace pointed at Benny.

“Our genius,” I said and smirked. “He was in the plane crash with you.”

“He made it back?” Ace asked.

“I saved him,” I clarified. “The Chinese were holding him captive. He didn’t lose his memory like you did.”

“Must be nice,” Ace scoffed and rolled his eyes.

Benny nodded in agreement. “So, what happens now?” Benny asked.

“Ace is going to help us take down the Chinese,” I said.

“Awesome,” Benny said and grinned. “They’ll be dead in no time.”

Austin came in to let us know the others would be here soon. Ace asked different questions about the kids and himself. He explained to us that the Chinese told him he grew up in China. They told him that he had always been one of their assassins. They told him his name was Ace Chen. That Bohai Chen raised him.

We figured the reason Bohai did all of this was to assassinate me easier. Who better to assassinate a Latin King than a Latin King? It made sense. It could take quite a while to kill off all the Chinese. It was best we killed the Chinese in America as well. There was one charter in America, and they resided in San Diego.

It was going to be a war, a big war. We decided it was best to leave Ace in the study with Benny. Austin and I met the boys out in the foyer.

“What’s going on?” Luis asked. Joey, Miguel, Diego, Abel, and Dad looked curiously at us.

“We found Ace, but he has no memory,” I said.

“What?” everyone chorused.

“None at all?” Dad asked.

“Not at all. He’s in the study,” I said. “He thought he was part of the Chinese. The Chinese sent him to assassinate me. When that didn’t work, we tied him up to explain the truth to him.”

Dad sighed heavily. “It’s been Ace all along?”

“He didn’t know what he was doing, Dad,” I said in a stern voice.

“Well, no, of course not. Ace wouldn’t do that,” Dad said and sighed.

“It took him a while to wrap his head around what happened. He understands now, though. He knows the truth, and he wants to help us take down the Chinese,” Austin explained.

“War?” Joey raised his eyebrows.

“Shit, remember the last one?” Luis asked. “We’ve lost a lot of members in the past three decades because of wars.” Luis hates war. War is what killed Luis’s dad. War is also what killed Ace’s dad. We avoided it when we could, but that wouldn’t happen in this case.

“Look, I’m sorry. You guys can stand down if you want, but it’s going to happen,” I told them. “With or without you. Of course, we won’t be as strong without you,” I said. “It’ll be a big payout when it’s over, I promise.”

“Come on. We wouldn’t leave you guys hanging,” Luis said.

All the boys agreed to help, and we went into the study.

Ace looked at all of them warily.

We introduced Ace to all of them, explaining who was who. After the introduction, I grabbed the bottle of Bourbon and poured a drink. I perched myself up on my desk and crossed my legs.

Ace stared at me intently as I crossed my legs and took a sip of the whiskey. “We definitely need to be smart about this. I’m not trying to go in guns blazing. Ace, you know the most about how they run things. You’ve been working for them for what a year?” I asked.

“Yeah, something like that,” Ace said and shrugged.

“You’re going to have to continue to talk to them as if you don’t know the truth,” I said.

“What?” Ace asked in disbelief. “That is going to be impossible. Right now, all I want to do is rip their fucking heads off,” Ace hissed. The glass of Bourbon he held broke under the grip of his hand.

I sighed in frustration at Ace’s anger and impatience. “What do you propose we do then?” I challenged.

“Guns blazing,” Ace huffed.

“Well, we would all like to stay in one piece as much as possible. We’ve lost a lot in past wars. Wars that weren’t even as big as what this one will be,” I said.

My dad stepped in then. “Look, Ace,” Dad started.

Ace tilted his head in Dad’s direction.

“In case you forgot, I’m your father-in-law. My name is Carlos. I ran that chair before my daughter. You were my right hand once. You’re smart and strong as hell, but this is huge. We’re not trying to sentence everyone to death. This takes more brains than it does strength. The element of surprise is best. If they don’t know you’re standing with us, our chances are better. You’re now kind of like our secret weapon. In a sense, you have been for a long time, but more so now.”

Ace sighed. “Okay, I get it. All of this is just a lot to take in. I need some time to wrap my head around it.”

“We understand that, Ace. For now, we will just plan on watching them. Somebody needs to go down and kill Feng,” I muttered. “His services are no longer required.”

“Feng is here?” Ace asked in shock.

“We were working on torturing him for information on you,” Austin said.

Ace nodded slowly. “Allow me,” Ace said. Ace walked out of the study. We all followed him curiously as he headed down to the basement. Ace let me go ahead of him since he didn’t know exactly where we kept Feng. I threw a door open off the basement hallway and turned a light on.

Feng was still chained up. He moved his head and groaned.

Ace crossed his arms over his chest. When Feng’s gaze met Ace’s, there was a look of relief on Feng’s face. “Feng, so good to see you.” Ace gave Feng a devious look. Ace grabbed a knife off the table and twirled it in his hand.

“Ace, thank god, man, you need to get me out of here. I—” Feng stopped when an evil grin spread across my face.

I moved closer and stood beside Ace. My arms wrapped around one of Ace’s. Ace looked down at me and smirked, and then he looked back at Feng.

“Man, whatever she told you, she is lying!” Feng shouted.

“You’re lying!” Ace shouted. “Do you have any idea what it is like to find out you are not who you thought you were? I’ve stalked my own wife for a year, trying to learn things about her so I could murder her. I broke into my own fucking house and nearly killed her. I may not have a memory, but I’m not an idiot. What she told me makes far more sense than anything any of you told me. Now you are all going to die. Starting with you, Feng. I’m going to drop every single last one of you if it is the last thing I do,” Ace promised. Ace threw the knife. It hit Feng in the heart.

Feng stared at Ace as he took his last breaths.

“One by one,” Ace promised.

I dropped my hands from Ace and looked up at him. The rest of them left because they knew I was safe.

“This is who you are, Ace,” I murmured. My fingers brushed softly along his jawline. “We will do it together. As we always have,” I vowed.

Ace stared intently into my eyes. “I can’t—” he stopped and took a deep breath. “I can’t remember, but I can feel it. I could feel it from the moment I first stared into your eyes when I was hurting you. Something about it didn’t feel right, and it made me angry. It was like I quit trying to hurt you. If I truly wanted you dead, I think you would have been, but part of me stalled. I wanted to be dead rather than kill you. How is that possible?”

A small smile spread across my lips. “You’ll understand it eventually,” I said. “Even if you don’t ever remember. Just give it a chance. Give it time.”

We went back up the stairs. I wasn’t exactly sure how to tell my kids. Hey, you know your dad? Yeah, he’s alive. He just doesn’t remember any of you — I thought sarcastically.

My mom came down the stairs and smiled. “Hello, Ace,” she said.

“Mom, you’re here,” I said, surprised.

“Your dad called and told me what was going on. He thought it would be best if I bring the kids back. They’re all upstairs. I haven’t told them anything,” Mom said.

“Thanks,” I said and sighed.

Mom kissed my cheek and walked out the front door.

“You know, I think you should at least see Angel,” I said.

Ace looked down at me, confused. “Who is that again?”

“Angel is our oldest child,” I said.

“Isn’t your oldest a boy?” he asked, confused.

“Our oldest is a twelve-year-old boy. His name is Angel Carlos Garcia,” I said.

Ace pursed his lips and nodded. “Do you think that is a good idea?”

“Angel can handle a lot of things. He’s smart and very mature for his age. In some ways, that is good. In others, not so much,” I admitted. “You’ll see what I mean.”

Ace shrugged and followed me up the stairs. When I reached Angel’s door, I opened it without knocking.

I knew that seeing his dad would be a lot for him to take in. As I opened the door, I heard Angel coughing. “Angel?” I asked, confused.

Angel coughed hard. “Uh, Mom?” he asked. There was a cloud of smoke around him, and he waved his hand around it.

“Angel Carlos Garcia! Are you smoking weed?” I screeched.

Ace came into the bedroom. He looked curiously at Angel.

Angel dropped the blunt he had been smoking. Angel blinked several times.

I looked up at Ace and sighed. I looked back at Angel and glared at him.

“Damn. . . that’s some good weed,” Angel breathed.

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