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Chapter 6. Forgiven

We pulled up to the southside warehouse, which had to be rebuilt after an explosion that involved my parents. My mom got a lot of shit for being a Latin King leader because she was a woman. It was dumb if you asked me, my mom was a badass. I jumped out of the van, walked to the door, and unlocked it.

Jesse and I went to the back in a secret hiding spot and pulled the guns out. When we got outside with the artillery, a black Cadillac Escalade rolled up. The dust from the gravel rose in the air, causing Jesse and me to take a step back. They got out of the vehicle and strolled toward us.

My eyes widened when I noticed them raise their guns. I hadn’t noticed it right away through the cloud of dust and the dark.

“Run!” I growled.

Jesse and I dashed around the side of the building as shots were fired. I leaned up against the side of the building and peeked around the corner. One of the Russians saw me and shot again. The bullet hit me in the side.

“Mother fucker!” I hissed in pain. I jumped out from behind the building. Anger bubbled up inside of me.

I fired shots in their direction. I watched as one of them dropped. The others fired back at me as they grabbed the guns and took off running. I took another shot and dropped another guy.

The men threw the firearms into the Escalade and peeled out. I followed after them and fired more shots. One of the bullets hit the back glass and shattered it.

“Fuck!” I roared.

Jesse reached me, and he was out of breath. “Damn, bro, are you crazy? They could have killed you. Your mom and dad always told us if we get shot at to run and keep running. But oh no, not mister tough guy. Do you got something to prove?”

“Are you kidding? I don’t care about that, man! I just lost a shit load of guns!” I shouted.

“You were shot, Angel!” Jesse pointed at the blood seeping through my shirt. “You need a hospital,” he said in a calmer voice.

“No, I don’t. I can take care of this shit myself. One day I’m going to have to deal with it on my own anyway.”

“Great, are you going to pull that bullet out? Because I can’t, I’d probably kill you trying.”

“I’ll figure something out,” I muttered. “Come on, we have to get rid of those two,” I said. I pointed at the two Russians that I killed.


I tried to get the bullet out, but I couldn’t see it, and it hurt like hell to bend over to see it. At first, I almost gave into Jesse’s suggestion on going to the hospital. However, a new idea came to light. Jesse offered to drive me, but I had to deal with this alone. It was about eleven o’clock.

The house was small compared to mine, but it was at least three stories. I knew where Mia lived, but I hadn’t actually seen her house. I always dropped her off a block over.

The house was a teal color, and there was a garden of flowers wrapped around the wrap-around porch. There was a strong scent. The closer I got, it smelt like Lilacs.

“How Brady bunch,” I chuckled.

I had put a bandage over the wound and a new shirt on. I didn’t want to show up at Mia’s house looking like I was from a horror film. The shirt I had been wearing earlier was blood-stained so bad that I threw it in the trash.

After I knocked on the door a couple of times, I could hear her footsteps. I had Jesse call Emily to make sure Mia’s parents were gone.

Mia opened the door. Her eyes widened, then immediately narrowed. “Angel? What the hell are you doing here?” Her voice was full of disbelief.

“Can we talk?”

She pursed her lips for a moment. “I don’t think that is a good idea.”

“Please, let me apologize. I was drunk the other night. It’s no excuse, though. I shouldn’t have treated you like that,” I said in a pleading voice. I wanted her to forgive me, but I also needed her help.

Her mom was a nurse. My guess was she knew something about medical stuff. She was probably my best chance. I didn’t want my parents knowing.

My mom would freak out if she found out what happened. Mom would say I wasn’t ready. I wanted to take the chair sooner than later.

Mia shifted her weight and grimaced. She looked down at the floor, debating it. Finally, without a word, she opened the screen door to let me in.

She backed away as I moved toward her.

My eyes were apologetic. “Look, I shouldn’t have said what I said to Ricky. I was just trying to get a rise out of him. It’s kind of our thing. We like to piss each other off.” I shrugged. “You shouldn’t have to be in the middle of that. I don’t want to put you in the middle of it, Mia.”

She leaned up against the wall. She looked anywhere but at me. I could tell she was fighting the urge to forgive me. I couldn’t even blame her; I acted like an asshole.

I moved toward her and grabbed her chin, forcing her to look at me. “I care about you,” I murmured. “I don’t want to fight with you.”

Her gaze locked with mine. “Fine,” she said and shrugged. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I dumped him.”

Her response took me by surprise. “What?” I asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, to my father’s dismay. My dad was the one who wanted me to give him a chance. I didn’t feel anything for him, and I hated it. It felt like an arranged marriage or something.” She made a gag face.

A chuckle escaped me. “What happened?”

“I just...” she trailed off and shrugged. “I didn’t want to be with him. He had been acting strange anyway. I kind of think he was seeing other people. I’m not the kind of girl who plays childish games with boys. My dad is pissed off at me, but I don’t care. You should actually go. If my dad finds out you’re here, I’ll be in a world of deep shit. Ricky told my dad that I dumped him because I liked you. My dad is furious, and he’s already looked into like your entire family. He said you guys were crazy.”

“I mean, he’s not wrong,” I smiled devilishly. “We’re like fun type of crazy, though.” I wiggled my eyebrows playfully.

She laughed and shook her head. “I love crazy, but you should still go. My dad is crazy and not the fun type.”

“Actually...” I trailed off. “I need your help.”

“With what?” She asked, confused.

“Jesse and I were target practicing, and I had an accident. I don’t want my parents to find out. Since I’m still on their insurance, I can’t go to the hospital, or they will find out,” I explained.

“An accident?” She squeaked.

“You mentioned your mom was a nurse...” I trailed off. “What do you know about bullet wounds?”

Her mouth became the shape of an O. “You’re kidding,” she gasped.

“Mm, no, and I’m feeling a little woozy,” I admitted.

She stared at me, horror-struck and speechless.

I sighed and unzipped the leather jacket. I raised up my shirt and peeled the bandage back.

“Oh my god, Angel! You can’t expect me to–”

“I do,” I said and smiled.


“Ouch! Fuck!” I cursed as she jabbed a pair of tweezers into my side. I was lying on her bed. Where is a bottle of liquor when you need it?

“That’s what you get for not going to the hospital, bonehead. Now stay still!” Mia sneered.

After several more seconds, she held up the bullet and pursed her lips. She shook her head. “You have some serious balls for letting me do this, Angel. How are you feeling?”

“They’re pretty big,” I teased. “I’m fine,” I answered in a more serious tone.

She chuckled and shook her head. “You’re something else.”

“So I’ve been told,” I smirked.

“That ego of yours,” she said and giggled.

“What about it?”

“You could seriously see it like a mile away.” She smirked.

“Hmm,” I hummed. “It’s a Garcia thing.”

“Is it?” She chuckled.

“Yes, ma’am. Ask my mama. It infuriates her.”

“How many siblings do you have?” She asked as she jabbed me with the needle to stitch me.

“Five now,” I said. “Seven if you include the ones that were lost.”

“Seven?” She asked, surprised but stayed focused. “One died before Andrew?”

“Yeah, my mom wasn’t as far along back then, though. She didn’t even know what she was having,” I explained. “She miscarried.”

“I’m sorry, that sucks.”

“How about you?”

“One, but she died a long time ago,” she said. “She was my identical twin.”

“Wow,” I murmured. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” she sighed. “Are you the oldest?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Will you tell me what the deal is with Ricky and you?” She asked.

“It’s a lot of reasons, Mia. It’s not just one thing,” I said.

“Give me one reason,” she said.

“The one that stands out the most is the time that he tried forcing himself onto my sister at a football game. I beat the fuck out of him for it. There were a few incidents actually with both of my sisters,” I explained.

She shook her head in disgust and didn’t look the least bit surprised, but she stayed quiet.

“You believe me?” I asked, surprised.

“Yes, I do. He tried forcing himself onto me too,” she said and swallowed hard. “What Ricky wasn’t prepared for was for me to give him a black eye and punch him between the legs. After I saw you last night, I went out with him. I broke up with him...” Mia trailed off.

“You can fight?” I was trying to ignore the fact that he forced himself onto her. It would be difficult not to bash his head in when I saw him again.

“My dad wanted a boy,” she chuckled. “I think that he just wanted me to be able to defend myself. I have a black belt in Karate. My dad also taught me, bo staff. I never got that good at it.”

A chuckle escaped me. “My dad taught me, bo staff, too.”


“When I was like twelve,” I said.

“So, what else?”

“Remember how I told you Beth cheated on me?”

She looked up at me in shock. “It was Ricky?”

I nodded in response. “Yeah, it was. It’s like he’s always trying to compete with me. If he knows I like a girl, he is after her. If I try out for a sport, he is in line behind me. If I get a new car, he gets a new car.” I chuckled. “It’s fucking stupid. He has hurt people that I care about. All sorts of shit.”

“Now that you say it, it makes more sense. I guess I don’t blame you. Even though you can be a bit of an asshole, you have a caring side. Ricky doesn’t seem to care about anything but himself.”

“I’m going to ignore the asshole part and just take the compliment,” I said.

She smiled. “All done.” She stayed kneeling on the floor as I sat up on the bed. She was kneeling between my legs, picking things up. After she got things cleaned up, she stood up and looked down at me. “You good?”

“I’m good,” I murmured. I stood up and towered over her. I looked down at her. I grabbed her face between my hands. “I meant what I said. I do care about you, Mia. Sometimes I have a poor way of showing those things, though.”

She stood on her toes and pecked my cheek. “You’re forgiven.”

“Can I ask you something?” I asked as I let my hands fall back to my sides.

“Sure.” She shrugged.

“Would you have even listened to me? At the beginning, if I told you what kind of guy Ricky was?” I arched a brow. “I mean, would it have made a difference?”

She thinks about it for a moment. “No, I don’t think so. I’m the type to give anyone a fair chance. I think everyone makes mistakes. Until someone does something to me that I don’t like, I’m not going to listen to what others say.”

“I’m glad I didn’t waste my time then.” I chuckled.

“Everyone makes mistakes. If you learn from it, that is all that should matter. Right?” She tilted her head.

“Sounds fair enough to me,” I said. “It’s not really a bad thing anyway. If you listened to what everyone else said, you’d never know for sure how things would have worked out. I’m not the type to listen either. So, I get it,” I said.

“If I listened to what anyone said, you wouldn’t be standing here,” she murmured. Her gaze locked with mine. I knew what she meant. People had told her things about me too, but she didn’t listen.

“Maybe they’re not always wrong,” I said softly.

“Maybe they’re not always right, either,” she argued.

My lips hovered above hers. I couldn’t count the times I’ve nearly kissed her. There were nights I lied awake in bed, wondering how it would feel to have her lips on mine.

There was something so innocent, yet so naughty about this girl, and I wanted to find out. However, that wasn’t going to be tonight. Our lips were moving closer together. We were less than half an inch apart when we heard a car door slam.

“Oh-no!” Mia squealed. She ran to her window and pushed the purple-laced curtain to the side to peek out. She turned to face me. “It’s my dad! Where is your car?!” She whisper-shouted. Mia looked as if she was going to be sick. Her face was pale.

“Calm down. It’s around the corner. I’m sure he didn’t see it,” I chuckled.

“You have to go right now,” she hissed. She pushed me toward the door.

“Right, let me just walk out the door that he is about to walk into, Mia. Not to mention with no shirt on, this should be interesting.” I rolled my eyes.

“Mia!” Her father called.

“Look,” I said and turned her to face me. “You go distract him, and I’ll climb out the window.”

“Oh, how twilight of you,” she muttered sarcastically.

The remark was so funny that I shook with laughter. Mia shoved me toward the window.

“I’ll be your Edward if you be my Bella,” I teased.

She threw her hands over her mouth and giggled. “Yeah, yeah. Just go!” She hissed through a fit of giggles. She threw her door open and closed it behind her.

I threw my T-shirt back on. I zipped up my jacket and threw the window open. I placed myself in the frame of the window and jumped. When I landed, I took off in a sprint through the neighbor’s yard. The jump and the running caused a sharp pain to shoot through my side. I’ll be lucky if I don’t rip the stitches open on the way back to the car.

As much as I would have liked to stay with Mia, I couldn’t anyway. I needed to deal with some other things...

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