Chapter 18. Teach Me
Angel informed me a while ago that Ace ran back to his place. I hadn’t heard anything and wondered if he came back yet. I went out to the backyard.
I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw them. Ace twirled a stick around really fast. Angel watched him awestruck and held onto a different stick.
When Ace finished, Angel clapped. “Wow, that was awesome!” Angel shouted.
Ace chuckled. “So, do you want to learn?”
“Hell yeah!” Angel said excitedly.
The boys hadn’t noticed me yet. I stared at Ace in shock. I knew everything that Ace could do, and I knew nothing of this. “What in the fuck is that?” I asked.
Ace spun around to face me. “Bo staff,” Ace answered. “It’s a form of martial arts. I learned a lot of that in China.”
“Hmm,” I hummed. “Well, at least one good thing came from it.”
“I’ll teach you too, bebita.” Ace smirked and wiggled his eyebrows.
A giggle escaped me. “Teach Angel first. I have other things to do.”
“Like?” Ace asked.
“I have to meet with the Cali Cartel. They’re a bit pissed off with me, as usual,” I muttered.
“Why?” Ace asked worriedly.
“The last shipment of guns was a different brand. They’re out of their minds if they think they’re getting something different, though. I have no idea why I agreed to get back in business with them again. We had this problem years ago,” I said.
“Do you want me to go with you?” he asked.
“I’m not sure that is a good idea. We have to keep a low profile with you. We can’t have everyone knowing that you’re around. If word gets back to Bohai, we’re fucked,” I muttered.
“Okay,” Ace said and shrugged.
“I’ll be back in a bit,” I said.
They both waved goodbye to me.
Austin stood in the foyer waiting for me along with Luis.
“Ready?” I asked.
“When you are boss,” Austin said. We headed out to the black van. Once inside, I started the van and pulled out. “Maybe Ace should be getting back into some of this,” Austin said.
My gaze met his. “Are you crazy?” I asked in disbelief. “Right now, Ace has to stay hidden.”
Austin scoffed. “Come on, Aria. The Cali Cartel has no ties to the Chinese. Most of the ones we deal with don’t have those ties. That’s what makes us so much bigger than the others. The Cali Cartel doesn’t deal with anyone that is not Hispanic.”
I sighed. “Fine, you’re right. I’ll make a list of who he can deal with for now.”
Austin nodded in agreement.
I pulled into the south side warehouse; I saw Cali Cartel’s Escalade.
Arturo stood there with three of his men. “Arturo,” I greeted him.
“Aria,” he said politely. “You’re switching things up on me again. People aren’t happy. Why do you do this?”
“I had no choice but to switch. They’re not even making the other brands anymore. This is a good brand. It was no cheaper for me to buy. That is why your price didn’t change,” I explained. “Have you ever tried firing one?”
“No, I guess I haven’t. I was told the brand was garbage,” he said.
“Whoever told you that doesn’t know shit about guns then,” I said and smirked. “Austin?” I arched my head back to look at him.
Austin disappeared into the warehouse and came out with a gun the same as I sold Arturo. Austin loaded the gun and pointed it toward the trees. Austin fired several rounds from the gun.
The Cali Cartel watched with awestruck expressions. Their eyes danced with excitement.
“My point. Your sources were wrong. Any other questions?” I asked.
“I’ll take five of those,” Arturo said.
I thought about it for a moment, trying to count in my head. “I can do three. The rest are already sold to some other clients,” I explained.
“Okay,” Arturo said.
Luis went into the warehouse to grab two more of the same guns and came back out. Arturo handed me the cash for the three guns.
We got back into the van and drove toward home. I dropped Luis off on the way.
Austin looked at me. His expression told me there was something he wanted to tell me.
“What?” I asked.
Austin looked as if he were thinking hard about what to say. “I’m moving out,” he said.
“What? Why?” I asked, surprised.
“Carley and I found a place we both want. We figured there isn’t a point in waiting until we’re married to move in together. Besides Ace is home, you’ll be fine,” Austin said and shrugged.
I sighed. “So, when is this happening?” I asked as we pulled into the driveway.
“Two weeks,” Austin said.
“That’s fast,” I muttered.
“We already got the place. We were just waiting on everything to settle. I know Ace doesn’t remember how things work, but you can teach him. Ace isn’t dumb. He’ll learn it pretty quick,” Austin said.
“It’s a lot to teach,” I muttered.
Austin chuckled and nodded.
“I kind of saw it coming anyway. I figured Carley and you would want your own place.”
“It’s not far from you. I told Carley in case something happened that I wanted to be close to you. After everything that has happened, I’m not going far.”
“It’s not your job to take care of us,” I said softly. “I appreciate your help, though. More than you will ever know.” I smiled at him.
“It feels like it’s my job, especially when my brother can’t. I’d never leave you guys hanging. You know that,” he said. He didn’t look at me as he spoke.
I grabbed his hand in mine and gave it a squeeze. “Thank you,” I said.
“You’re welcome,” he said.
I dropped his hand, and we climbed out of the van. “It’s going to be a little strange with you not around,” I said.
Austin threw his arm around my shoulder as we walked into the foyer. “Don’t even downplay it, sis. It is going to be boring as fuck without me around,” Austin said.
“Oh, that ego you Garcia boys have,” I said and rolled my eyes.
Austin threw his head back and laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Ace asked as he strolled into the foyer.
“Your brother’s ego, it’s hilarious,” I muttered.
Austin fist-bumped Ace and went upstairs.
I shook my head with a small smile.
“What’s going on?” Ace asked.
“Austin is going to move out in a couple of weeks. He and Carley found a place. He figured since you’re around, I don’t need him here,” I explained.
“I don’t know the stuff he does, though,” Ace said.
“You used to, and you can still learn it again,” I said. “I was thinking you can probably go with me to the next meet. It isn’t like all the ones we deal with even know the Chinese.”
“True and true,” Ace said and shrugged. “Teach me.” He wiggled his eyebrows.
I giggled and slapped his chest playfully. I don’t even think he realized how much he sounded like himself. He followed me into the study.
I explained how the paperwork is done and all the businesses we had to keep track of. Not to mention all of the guns and explosives we sold. We even made some of our own explosives. Well, Benny made them.
By the time I finished, Ace stared at me dumbfounded.
“I know it’s a lot to remember,” I said and chuckled. “You just get used to it.”
“I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually,” Ace agreed.
“How did it go with Angel?” I asked.
“He’s something else. He catches on so fucking fast.” Ace looked astonished and proud. “He’s a damn smart kid.”
“He’s brilliant. He’ll be a good leader one day,” I agreed. “He definitely catches on quickly.”
“Dinner isn’t for a while. Do you want to go see a movie?” Ace asked.
“Sure.” I shrugged and smiled.
We went out to the foyer.
“Rosa!” I called.
“Yes, Aria?” Rosa asked as she came into the foyer with Aiden trailing behind her.
“Ace and I are going out for a little while,” I said.
“Okay. I’m sorry, but supper won’t be done until nine o’clock,” she apologized.
“No problem,” I said. “We’ll be back.”
“We’ll take the GTO,” I told Ace. I tossed him the keys.
“Okay,” he said.
Ace pulled the car out of the garage, and we sped up the driveway. Once we hit the highway, Ace sped up and smirked. “I love this car,” he said.
I snorted. “You should. It’s your car.”
“Really?” he asked.
I nodded. “Mhm. You used to have one just like it a long time ago. You had it before you met me. One night we took it down to the beach. When we got home, you shut the car off and heard a ticking. You knew what it was right away. We jumped out of the car and probably got fifteen feet from it before it exploded. It exploded in the parking garage of your old apartment,” I explained. I remembered the incident like it was yesterday, but it felt like a lifetime ago. This wasn’t a story I ever told him. Though, I had told him a lot of stories.
“Wow,” he whistled. “We had some life, huh? Who did it?”
I chuckled. “You have no idea. We were always pretty sure it was the Mexican Mafia, but we never really found out.”
“No, I don’t,” he agreed and laughed. “Was it always chaotic like this?”
“We have our good years and our bad years. Some years are downright boring. For several years, things went really well until the plane crash,” I told him.
“Hmm,” he hummed as he pulled into the theater.
We got out of the car and made our way into the theater. There weren’t a lot of people. We got popcorn and soda and sat down for the movie.
At random points during the movie, Ace would play with my hair or my hand. Ace was never very good at paying attention to movies or TV shows. Ace didn’t watch much TV.
The movie ended by eight-thirty. We went back to the car and got in.
“Next time, I pick the movie,” I teased.
“You would probably pick a better one,” Ace said and laughed. “It didn’t hold my attention much.”
I giggled. “It never does.”
“What do you mean?” Ace tilted his head and glanced at me curiously.
“You never really liked TV shows or movies. You like some, but you don’t pay them much attention most of the time. A lot of times, when I asked you to watch a movie with me, you had a better idea,” I said and chuckled.
Ace smirked. “I bet I did.” Ace wiggled his eyebrows at me. “That hasn’t changed much. I don’t care for TV. It has to be really fascinating for me to enjoy it.”
“You’re not easily amused,” I agreed.
Ace stared out the windshield. “I’m easily amused by you,” he murmured.
Ace’s words sent a flush of heat up my thighs, and my legs shook slightly. My breathing became erratic. Ace’s eyes locked with mine. Neither of us spoke. We stared at each other intently for a long moment.
I glanced away first and looked up. “Red light, Ace,” I murmured.
As we approached the stoplight, the car didn’t slow. “We have a problem,” Ace muttered.
My eyes widened, and I looked at Ace. “What?” I breathed.
“No brakes,” he said.
I stared at him horror-struck and looked to the right. “Oh my god, Ace, do something there is a—” I stopped and screamed.
A semi headed straight for my side of the car. Ace sped the car up. The semi missed us, but just barely.
There was another set of stoplights. A car came through the intersection, and Ace sped up. We were now going eighty miles an hour with no brakes.
Ace managed to make it all the way through town without hitting anyone. A cop was now behind us with flashing lights.
“Try to let the car slow to stop, Ace,” I muttered.
“I’m trying,” he said and sighed. The car slowed just enough for Ace to put it in park. It jolted and stopped.
The cop came to the driver’s side, and Ace rolled the window down. “Sorry, sir. I don’t have brakes. I stopped as soon as I could,” Ace said.
“Someone cut our brake line,” I said
“Step out of the car and let me have a look,” the cop said worriedly.
We got out of the car. Ace and the cop got down to look under the car. “Alright, no ticket. Do you have any idea who would have severed the brake line?”
“No clue,” Ace said and shook his head. “We were headed back home from the movie theater.”
“Me neither,” I said.
“Can you folks get a tow truck?” the cop asked.
“Yeah,” Ace said.
The cop waited for the tow truck. Once the tow truck got the GTO up on the bed, we got into the truck.
We made it home and told the man to leave the car in the driveway.
The kids and Austin were already in the dining room. It looked like everyone just started eating. “What’s going on?” Austin asked.
“Tell you later,” I muttered.
Ace and I sat down and ate in silence.
When we finished, we asked Rosa to put the kids to bed. Austin, Ace, and I went to the study.
“What happened?” Austin asked.
“Someone cut our brake line,” Ace said.
“You’re fucking kidding,” Austin said.
“The question is who and why?” I asked.
“Here is a better question,” Ace said in irritation.
Austin and I looked at Ace curiously.
“Was it for you or me or both?” Ace wondered.
That was a good question. I sighed. “Here we fucking go again,” I muttered.