Finding Ace

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Chapter 23. Dinner Plans

Aria

Eight weeks passed since I miscarried the baby. I thought it would get easier, but it didn’t. I kept my mind off of it primarily by training. Ace taught me, bo staff. It wasn’t an easy thing to learn, but I had down for the most part.

Angel got really good at bo staff too. Angel became a strong fighter in a short amount of time, thanks to Ace.

When Ace came back from China, he was more lethal than he ever had before. It led me to believe that even when he thought he worked for the Chinese, some part of him deep down knew killing me wasn’t the right thing to do. I firmly believed if it came down to Ace and me fighting, Ace would win. No doubt, I was strong, and a good fighter, but Ace was a killing machine. It was no wonder why the Chinese sent him after me. If anyone could kill me, it was him.

“I’m going to go tell the boys that supper is done,” I told Carley.

I went downstairs to the basement. Ace, Austin, and Angel were down there.

“You know one day your own boy is going to be whooping your ass, right?” Austin said and laughed

“Just like my wife,” Ace said and laughed.

He gives me way too much credit. “What is going on?” I asked.

The boys turned around and smiled innocently. “Nothing,” Austin and Ace said simultaneously.

“Sure,” I dragged out the word. “Food is done.”

“Food!” All three boys yelled and ran past me up the stairs.

I chuckled and shook my head.

We all sat down to eat. Aiden crawled into Ace’s lap. Aiden became such a daddy’s boy.

We were supposed to be going after the Chinese a week from today. Carley and Austin were to be married the day after tomorrow. We agreed to get past the wedding stuff before we went out of respect for them. We had the rehearsal dinner tomorrow night. Carley and Austin had Ace as the best man and me as the maid of honor.

Once everyone finished eating, we settled in the living room to watch a movie. Austin had all of the kids. Carley told Austin she wanted one, and Austin didn’t like the idea. Austin had four kids with Kalia. To him, that was enough. I told Austin that it wasn’t fair to Carley. Carley didn’t have kids of her own. It was only expected that she wanted one. Carley was great with Austin’s kids.

Arizona, Dray, Dom, and Jessica took such a liking to Carley. They lost their mom at such a young age. Of course, they had no idea the truth about their mom and probably never would. It had been rough on the kids, Austin, and Carley.

Carley suddenly had to start playing mommy to four kids, and Austin had to put on a funeral for his kids’ sake. Austin acted like he could have cared less, but he had to pretend to care for his kids.

I was pretty sure Austin had a more challenging time dealing with it than he led on. Carley told me she worried about him and that he sometimes woke up from nightmares. Carley thought a part of Austin regretted killing Kalia. Austin denied that, but I thought Carley was right. I thought killing Kalia was hard on Austin. After all, how could it not be? Kalia was the mother of his kids and his wife for a long time.

I told Carley one thing I was sure of was that Austin loved her more than he ever did Kalia. Austin loved Kalia, but Austin never loved anybody the way he loved Carley. Austin never fell out of love with Carley, and he wasn’t ever able to give his whole heart to Kalia.

However, love didn’t always matter. Being a Latin King was part of being wired a certain way. No matter who you were to us, if you betrayed us, you would die. It is the rule. Ace was easier to forgive. It wasn’t the same kind of betrayal. Ace didn’t know he was betraying us. Kalia knew exactly what she was doing.

When the movie ended, we all went upstairs to bed. I changed into one of my lingerie pieces for bed. Ace laid on the bed and stared at me. I smiled at him as I climbed onto the bed.

“So, are we having a do-over?” Ace arched a brow. He didn’t have to clarify. I knew what he meant.

“No,” I said and sighed.

Ace stared at me, stunned. “Why not? You were excited about the baby, weren’t you? You said yourself you wanted it. Why are you changing your mind?” His voice filled with worry.

A smile spread across my lips. I crawled onto his lap and straddled him. My fingers traced his bare muscular chest.

I pulled on his necklace and stared at it as I answered. “I’m not trying to replace the baby I lost. It still hurts every day. In my head, I wanted that baby to be the last. I thought about it, but if I try to have another just because it died, it seems like I’m trying to replace it. I can’t replace what I lost. I don’t think I want anymore, Ace,” I admitted. “I’m going to take some time to think about it, but a baby isn’t on my to-do list at the moment.”

Ace stared at me in shock. He took a moment to process everything I said. His eyes clouded with hurt and regret. “That’s kind of too bad,” he whispered. “It would have been nice to see one of my kids grow up, bebita. You remember our kids since they were born. I don’t. I’ll never get any of that back,” Ace said and swallowed hard. Ace looked away as if he were embarrassed by what he said.

I grabbed his face between my hands and forced him to look at me. “It’s the same thing, though. Don’t you see that? Having a baby wouldn’t replace the memories of the other kids. Just like having another baby wouldn’t make the pain go away from losing the other.”

Ace inhaled sharply and nodded. “Yeah, you’re right.”

I pressed my lips to his and climbed off his lap. He pulled me into his chest, and we both fell asleep.

***

“Come on, bebita. We’re going to be late!” Ace called for me.

A giggle bursted out of me. I opened the door. “You are so impatient,” I said.

Ace turned around, and his eyes swept over me. His eyes widened, and his lips parted. “To hell with dinner. Let’s stay home,” Ace said breathlessly.

Another giggle escaped me as I wound my arms around his neck. I pecked him on the lips and shook my head. “Austin and Carley would murder us, so let’s not,” I said.

“It’s a risk that I’m willing to take,” Ace said playfully. Ace lifted me.

I laughed and wrapped my legs around his waist. “Ace, no!” I scolded him. “Come on, let’s go. If you be patient until later, I promise to reward you for your good behavior.”

Ace sighed in frustration and sat me on my feet. Disappointment filled his brown eyes.

We had the rehearsal dinner tonight. Mom and Dad took the kids for us. The only ones here were Ace and me. Carley and Austin were already at the hotel too. We were having the rehearsal in one of our hotels. Everyone would be eating and drinking, so we didn’t want people driving.

We made it downstairs to the foyer.

“I should not be doing this speech, bebita. You do realize that, right? Like I don’t remember those two at all,” Ace muttered. “Maybe you should read it.”

“Ace, come on. It can’t be that bad,” I muttered and took it from him. I read the speech and smiled at it. “I don’t see anything wrong with it.”

“Maybe you should write it,” he argued.

“I’m not rewriting your speech. I had to write my own. Besides, if it is filled with memories and things like that, Austin and Carley will know I wrote it,” I said. Irritation bubbled up into my throat.

Ace laughed at my irritation. “Where are the workers?” Ace asked. He looked around the empty foyer. Usually, there was someone in the foyer.

“They’re all at the hotel too. All of them know all of us very well. There was no way in hell I was letting them miss it,” I explained.

We started out the front door to the car, but I stopped when I reached the bottom step. I patted down my coat and searched the pockets.

Ace stopped and looked back at me curiously. “What is it, bebita?”

“I fucking forgot my speech in the study,” I grumbled.

“You want me to go in and grab it?” Ace asked and arched a brow.

“No,” I huffed. “I’ve got it.” I didn’t remember what drawer I put the note in. I didn’t want to send Ace on a wild goose chase for something I lost. I dashed back up the steps as fast as I could. The heels prevented me from moving too fast. The last thing I wanted is to twist my ankle and miss the rehearsal.

I threw the study door open. I stopped and stumbled back in shock. “Oh god,” I breathed.

“Hey, sweetheart. Don’t you look nice? You must have dinner plans with someone special,” Bohai said. Bohai sat behind my desk with a smirk on his face and a gun in his hand.

I spun around but stopped. I stared down the barrel of a 45 mm. I swallowed hard and slowly turned to face Bohai.

“What the fuck do you want?” I spat through clenched teeth.

Bohai chuckled. “I knew there was something off about Ace lately. I’ll admit it did take me a while to figure out. However, you two weren’t very good at hiding your relationship. Did he get his memory back?” Bohai wondered.

The study door opened. “Bebita, what the fuck is taking you so—” Ace stopped and quickly raised a gun to the man who stood behind me with a gun on me. It was no use. I heard a gun cock. I slowly turned around to see another Chinese man behind Ace. We were completely surrounded, and we both damn well knew it. Bohai didn’t travel lightly.

“Awe, that is cute. What does bebita mean again? Baby girl, isn’t it?” Bohai asked. “If I’m not mistaking, you used to call her that quite a bit. You must have gotten your memory back after all.”

“I don’t have my memory back,” Ace barked. “I learned the truth, a very hard way. You should have been dead ages ago. I should have killed you right away when I had the chance,” Ace spat.

“Oh. So, you fell in love again?” Bohai cooed as if he found it incredibly sweet.

We both stared at Bohai. Both of us were angry as hell but in no position to make threats.

“Well, didn’t you?” Bohai shouted.

“Something like that,” Ace whispered.

“Now, you’re going to suffer together. You two will watch everyone you have ever loved die. After that, the two of you will die. It’s really too bad, Ace. I was becoming quite fond of you,” Bohai said and sighed.

The Chinese men pushed Ace and me out of the study with guns pointed at our heads. There was no way to escape. We descended the front steps of the mansion. There were two vehicles outside waiting for us.

They tied up our hands and forced us into a limo with Bohai and a few of his men. Bohai stared intently at us.

“I’d love to hear the story of how you two somehow magically fell in love again,” Bohai said and chuckled. “Ace has been trying to kill you for months, Aria. I mean, come on, isn’t betrayal the biggest no-no for a Latin King?”

Anger flooded through me. My blood boiled so hot that I couldn’t stop myself this time. I sat just close enough. I swung my leg up and kicked Bohai under the chin. Bohai’s head snapped back. Bohai growled and lurched forward. He slapped me across the face.

Ace leaned forward and kicked Bohai between the legs. Ace attempted to get at Bohai again, but there were suddenly four guns pointed at us.

“That is enough!” Bohai shouted. “If you pull something like that again, I’ll shoot every one of your fucking kids’ brains out all over you!”

“You wouldn’t live long enough to even point a gun at one of my kids, you son of a bitch!” I sneered. “I’m going to kill you myself. You won’t get away with this.”

“I already have,” Bohai spat.

The vehicle sped forward.

A devious smile spread across my face. “You will die begging for mercy, you piece of shit. I promise,” I said and smirked.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a smirk form on Ace’s face too. Bohai’s expression dropped, and he swallowed hard. Bohai saw the truth of what I said in my eyes. Even though Bohai would never admit it, I could see the fear in his eyes. The fear that clouded his eyes made my smirk bigger, and Ace chuckled darkly.

Ace and I locked gazes briefly and looked back to Bohai. Our smirks never faded. Bohai knew what Ace is capable of, but Bohai had no idea what Ace and I were capable of when we were combined.

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