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Chapter 37 : Alec/Xavier

Chapter 37 : Alec
Thursday, August 5th, 2021

I know something bad is going on, but I don’t know what.

Marcus is going to strike and soon, but I know that’s not the worst that’s going to happen.

Whether or not any of us want to admit it, our “break” is not going to last for too much longer, and I don’t know what that means for our girl.

Keeping her in the dark about what she likes to call our side business may only bring more harm, but it’s very likely we’re going to lose her when she knows the truth.

But I can’t lose Madelyn.

I can’t explain what I feel for her, but it’s real and powerful and it honestly scares the shit out of me.

That’s why, despite my every instinct not to, I’m walking up to the doors where my family lives.

“Alec!” My little sister Nina answers the door and practically throws herself out at the sight of me.

“Hey you.” I smile, crouching down so I can wrap my arms around her. “Look at you, you’ve gotten so big.” I say, and she pulls back excitedly before reminding me she’s five by holding up all the fingers on her one hand.

I never come here unless I have to or it’s to see her, but I really do miss Nina everyday.

“Mi amour, we’ve spoken about this.” My mom’s voice comes from the kitchen along with the sound of her footsteps moving towards us. “No answering the door without an adult— Alec.” She finishes in surprise at the sight of me.

Shifting Nina so she can cling to my leg, I stand up straight but stay where I am.

“Mamma.” I greet, my eyes glancing around to see if anyone else is here. There isn’t.

“My dear boy, where have you been?” My mother walks up to me and plants a kiss on both of my cheeks before pulling away.

“Is papa here?” I ask instead, and I can tell my mother took the hint that I didn’t want to be here for any longer than I had to.

Not after what they tried to pull.

“He’s in his study.” She says, gesturing for Nina to go to her.

My sister looks up at me, and I give her a nod that I’ll see her later.

I briefly say goodbye, but my mind is too focused on speaking to my father. Or more so the information he can provide me with.

This house is just about as cold and echoey as I remember it to be, but I try to shake off the chill running down my spine as I approach the door to my father’s office and land two quick knocks.

“Enter.” His firm voice called from inside, and I wasn’t surprised to open the door to see him with his glasses on his face and multiple sheets of papers before him on the desk. “Son?” The slight change in his voice was the only proof of his surprise.

“We need to talk.” I say, stepping past the door frame and shutting the door behind me.

His hand gestures for me to take a seat across from him and I oblige.

“For what do I owe the pleasure of this surprise visit?”

“I need to know some updates about Marcus Caddel.” I keep my voice and expressions even, even when my father goes still at my words.

The pause between us is short, but it reveals to me that there is something much bigger going on than anyone’s letting on.

“Is there something in particular you’re wanting to know?” He asks, not really answering my question.

“I want to know what the hell’s going on.”

I want to know what has someone like Xavier so damn scared.

“Well we’ve been keeping track of him for the last—”

“You know where Marcus is?” I interrupt, confusion taking over my mind.

My father’s own surprise is shown on his face before he suppresses it, “Xavier didn’t tell you?”

I just keep silent, trying to tame the endless thoughts racketing around in my head.

“We have eyes on him in Brazil as right now.” My father informs, leaning back slightly in his chair. “We’ve been watching him for about a week now, but so far he’s done absolutely nothing to show he’s readying for an attack.

Xavier’s words of how Marcus blew up some of our supplies passes through my mind.

Was that a lie and I was too concerned for him to pick up on it?

“If we’ve found him then why the fuck aren’t we grabbing him now?” I ask next.

“The same reason you were told to leave this alone for a month.”

I was right to assume something more is going on, and I’m not going to stop pushing until I get to the bottom of this.

“That order was bullshit and you know it.” I argue, trying to figure out who to direct my confusion to. My father or Xavier. “What the fuck’s going on?” I ask again.

“Listen here boy and listen well. This thing is much bigger than even you realize. Your job for now is to go home and lay low.”

“How long have you known where Marcus is?” I question.

“Go home Alec.” He dismisses me, rising from his seat and moving to leave.

“You don’t know, do you?” I took a wild guess, but I found my comment hit its target.

My father halts, his eyes looking at me.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He says, but his eyes flicked down for just a millisecond.

Liar.

“Vincent’s keeping you in the dark too, isn’t he?” I try to put the pieces together myself since no one else around me is doing a damn thing to help.

“Go home and drop this.” Is all my father says, before circling his desk and moving out the door.

I don’t bother to try to stop him.

Not when Xavier is the man I’m looking for now.

_____

I sped most of the way home, paying little attention to those around me.

I couldn’t when the noises in my head were so loud.

I don’t understand what’s going on, but I don’t like this at all. We don’t keep secrets from each other ever. We never have, and I can’t seem to figure out what makes this time so much different.

I do plan to find out though. Right now.

Parking in our underground garage, I scan my hand on the code pad to gain access to the use of our elevator.

Within a second, the screen flashes green, taking me up to the main floor where I hoped Xavier would be.

I thought I’d be able to help things the other night when we were boxing, and I did, but now I was not just looking for answers, I was demanding them.

Ones Caleb was entitled to hear as well.

After a few seconds, the ding of the elevator indicated I reached the first floor, the doors sliding open for me.

The first thing I notice is Caleb lounging on the couch, screwing around with his iPad.

The second is Xavier in the kitchen, pulling out a homemade pizza from the oven.

The smell is good enough to draw a rumble from my stomach, and only then do I realize how dark it is outside.

I guess the drive was an hour back in itself, putting us at just before 10:30pm.

“Hey man, where were you?” Caleb asks, sitting up from the couch and tossing the television remote beside him. “I got home from the club, and you were gone.”

Swallowing my frustration when Xavier looks up at me from cutting the pizza, I walk over to grab some plates.

“I went to speak with my father today.” I explain, taking note of how Xavier stiffens slightly in a reason entirely different from Caleb’s similar reaction.

“Why would you go there?” Caleb tilts his head and moves to the counter, “I thought you said you’d never go back after—” He trails off at the topic.

After Gianna.

“You can say her name, it’s fine.” I say, even as my jaw clenches at the reminder of her.

Gianna herself is a really nice woman, but she is also my ex-fiancee, not by my choice.

Our relationship was a power move and was constructed primarily by my parents.

If her uncle hadn’t betrayed us at the last moment, I would very likely be a married man right now against my will.

“I didn’t plan on going back, but I needed some information.” I say, purposely directing my voice at Xavier.

Caleb picks up on the question in the air.

“What’s this about?” Caleb asks, grabbing the plates from me and bringing them over to the living room couch.

I guess it’s pizza and TV for tonight.

“Ask Xavier.” I grumble, plopping down on the sofa as he brings a tray full of sliced pizza enough to feed a dozen.

I wasn’t really angry at my friend for his secrecy, but we did deserve to know what’s going on if Marcus is involved.

I allow him to get situated on my left, Caleb on my right.

We all take a moment to grab a slice of the loaded pizza, but I have to admit, I’m dying to figure out what’s going on.

“We found Marcus.” Xavier fills Caleb in on what I already know.

He has a very similar reaction to the news as I did: Surprised, confused, conflicted.

“We found him about three hours away from here about two weeks ago and we currently have eyes on him in Brazil.” Xavier continues, and Caleb looks at me in shock before back at the third.

This is the part that I can’t figure out. This is information Xavier would leap at telling us, so there is clearly something more.

He doesn’t meet either of our gazes and instead looks down at the floor in uncertainty.

“I know you have questions, ones you both deserve answers to, but I can’t say anything else...”

Disbelief crosses Caleb’s features, and mine stays internal.

“I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell us this.” Caleb asks, he too is trying to understand what’s going on right now.

Xavier stays silent in thought for a moment before saying, “This is much bigger than just Marcus and I need to figure it out myself.”

“Since when have you ever needed to go solo since meeting us?” I ask, using all my knowledge on body language to depict my friend’s motives right now.

I come up blank though every time.

“Because this affects everything.” Xavier raises his voice before running his hand through the roots of his hair, something I’ve noticed he does when he’s frustrated.

I can tell my friend is extremely on edge right now, but I can’t think of what would make him not want to tell us unless it affected us personally.

I’m not stupid, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m truly puzzled right now.

“Are you stressed about Madelyn?” I ask, knowing that starting a relationship could be the cause of some of his stress.

While she may not realize it, dating her was a huge step for all of us.

We don’t date ever, but things never became complicated or awkward with Madelyn like it has with others.

Sure, she herself could be awkward sometimes, but it only made us like her more.

Plus, it gives me endless opportunities to cause that cute, embarrassed blush to appear on her cheeks.

When Xavier decided at that moment to take a generous sized bite of his pizza, I knew Madelyn was a partial reason for his stress, but that stemmed from his own personal issues, not her.

“You can’t just keep secrets.” Caleb says. The look on his face clearly shows he wants to help our friend, but we mutually agree that we need to get to the bottom of this. “If it concerns Marcus, we have a right to know. We may be on a break now, but this is still our assignment.”

“You’re off break.” Xavier mumbles, causing me to narrow my eyes in confusion.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I ask, even though I already know what he’s telling us.

Xavier’s back in the field.

______
***Switches to Xavier's POV***

Thursday, August 5th, 2021
(Same day and time)

I’m now off work, but neither of the men sitting beside me knows what that quite means.

“What is the assignment?” Alec asks, not leaving any room for lies or beating around the bush.

“I can’t say.” Is all I manage to come up with.

I sense confusion now, but if they knew the truth, that emotion would very quickly become replaced by anger.

“Why not?” Caleb asks, and while I feel like I’m concealing it pretty well right now, I feel like I’m about to explode.

I’ve always had trouble coping with my emotions, and right now is no different.

I want to break something. Drown myself in alcohol. Get myself beat so hard in a fight that I pass out.

Anything to stop my mind from being so damn loud.

“Why not, Xavier?” He asks again, and the familiar feeling of my blood racing takes over my body.

I’m getting angry, not at them, but at myself.

“I fucked up, okay.” My voice comes out as a near growl as I drop the remainder of my pizza back on my plate.

My appetite is far gone now.

“Been there, done that.” Alec states as if this is just another typical screw up we’ll have to bail each other out of.

It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve gotten ourselves into some very stupid shit.

If only this time were that easy.

“This is different.” I insist, feeling myself begin to self-implode, “I tried to cover something up as a temporary fix, and it worked, but now I have to get out of this diversion before the outcomes of it become a reality.” I say, speaking in twisted words that I know are only causing them more confusion.

“Talk to us.” Alec says, repeating the same words I had once said to Caleb many years ago.

I fucking hate that this is creating tension between us, but it’s better than the alternative.

It’s better than the truth, because it’s one that even I can’t handle.

I need to get out of here before I break down.

“I’m going to go for a drive.” I decide, rising from the couch.

“Like hell you are.” Caleb says, standing along with me with his plate in hand.

I don’t respond though.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to handle this, but the shitty way is the best way I can think of as of right now.

I need something to calm this restlessness inside of me, but I worry that no amount of booze or mind numbing pain will be enough this time.

“Xavier, you can’t just leave.” Alec raises his voice, following me as I walk over to the elevator.

I shouldn’t, but I can.

Neither follows me past the metal doors, and I feel like an absolute dick as I scan my hand across the pad and wait for the lock to turn green.

The doors begin to close as my friends watch me and the only thing I manage to utter is a useless apology before a wall is put between the three of us.

I can’t figure out how to explain to them what I’ve jeopardized, but the silent hum of the elevator dropping down allows me to figure out one thing.

That’s why instead of answering the hundreds of questions my friends deserve to know, I walk out, get into my car and leave to find the one thing I need right now.


- End of Chapter 37 -

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