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Chapter 46 : Alec

Chapter 46 : Alec
Monday, August 9th, 2021

Vincent Alcazar is currently standing in my living room, no less than four meters away from the one person I hoped he’d never get to meet.

Madelyn was the first thought on his mind at the sight of Xavier’s father, but the next one was how Vincent even knew of her in the first place.

My friend is the obvious right answer, but no matter how smart and calculative I consider myself to be, I’m drawing up no conclusions considering Xavier himself never wanted Madelyn to be known.

“It’s nice to meet you too,” Our girl politely responds, though there is obvious question in her eyes as she glances first at Xavier, then Caleb, then me.

Madelyn tries to step to stand at our side, but narrows her eyes in confusion when both Caleb and I gently stop her.

“I didn’t know you were coming.” Xavier was the first to speak, tension clear in his voice as he spoke.

Vincent only frowned as he gestured for his men to move off to the side slightly.

“You didn’t really think I’d miss my only child’s thirty-fourth birthday, now did you?” Xavier’s father rhetorically asked, tilting his head to the side slightly to get a better look at Madelyn.

The smugness radiating off of him made me murderous, and I know I was not the only person who shared that exact same feeling.

“Your birthday’s today?” Madelyn asks in surprise, turning to Xavier and pushing past until she stood by our side.

Unfortunately, the damage has very much already been done.

Vincent knows, and Xavier spoke to him about her.

I can see as some of the hardness from Xavier’s expression softened when he met Madelyn’s gaze, but what he didn’t realize was that his father also noticed.

“It’s tomorrow.” He simply says, before that layer returned before his eyes, “You need to leave.” Xavier insists, though he was only met with a mere shrug off from Vincent.

“I’ll stay for dinner.” His father says, not allowing any room for argument, “We have many things of importance to discuss, thought it seems as though you do as well.”

Yes, Vincent knew everything.

“Not here, you don’t.” I cut in, raising my chin ever so slightly and forcing to appear relaxed as one grey eyebrow lifts on the man’s face.

I can feel how barely contained Xavier’s anger is, and Caleb can’t speak out unless spoken to.

While Xavier and I are both heirs to the crime families that compose of the Italian-American Mafia, Caleb is merely an associate, not a single drop of Italian blood in his bones.

His friendship to us means nothing to Vincent, and we all know that if my friend even dared to speak in discordance, he’d been dead quicker than one could blink.

“Nice to see you again in person, Alec.” Xavier’s father greets me, my tone with him earlier showing no effect on him whatsoever, “The last time I saw you was what? Right before your engagement I believe.”

That was a low blow, yet the entire time, Vincent maintained a controlled, neutral expression.

I wanted to punch his face in.

“What’s with the cold welcoming?” Vincent questioned, seeming to grow annoyed by our frozen positions at the bottom of the stairs still. “You have nothing to say? It’s not like your little pet doesn’t know everything already, so I don’t understand this awkward silence.”

I think I feel a piece of me break from his words, physically feeling Madelyn stiffen from beside me at Vincent’s words.

We all do.

“She’s not our pet, nor is Madelyn a kept woman.” Xavier says, shaking slightly from the anger we all share.

The only difference is that when Caleb and I’s eyes meet before turning down to Madelyn, our hatred is partially towards our best friend as well.

Yet another mistake we made in the last five minutes was our silence.

I watch as Vincent’s face goes from one of confusion to one of pure and utter amusement.

“Cazzo, lei non lo sa?” He laughed out loud, swearing in Italian as he seems to find this comical to him.

While neither Madelyn nor Caleb could understand what he said, Xavier and I most certainly did.

Fuck, she doesn’t know, was what Vincent said, his voice creating a slight echo in the otherwise silent house.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

“This trip is going to be even better than I thought.” Vincent smiled, looking at Madelyn the entire time in a way I couldn’t figure out.

Intrigue?

“Send my bags to the largest guest room on the third floor and then you’re dismissed.” Xavier’s father said to the three men with his bags, though I know practically none of them are filled with clothes.

“Yes, Don.” They all bow their heads before moving back into the elevator.

I knew that those two words alone was the bomb that just caused everything to explode.

Madelyn physically flinched at the name, her head snapping to Xavier and staying there.

I could tell she knew where the name “Don” came from, and right now I can see betrayment and confusion on Madelyn’s features.

I tried to brush the side of her arm, but she pulled away.

She pulled away.

“Madelyn, it really was a pleasure meeting you. Though I’m sure you won’t, you’re more than welcome to join us for dinner tonight at seven. I’ve already hired someone myself to make dinner here and I assure you won’t be disappointed.”

Silence rang through the space, but with a nod from Madelyn, Vincent grinned from ear to ear.

The next second, he walked into the house as if he owned the place, brushing right past us and walking down the hall where our library, gym, and entertainment room is.

With him gone, I could tell Madelyn was slowly breaking apart, us doing the same because of it.

I could see the gears spinning in her head right now, but what was worse was that she wouldn’t even look at us.

She was pushing us away.

With a shaky inhale through her nose, Madelyn didn’t say a word as she walked over to the elevator, pressing a button and waiting until the doors opened a couple of seconds later.

We all watched with pained eyes as she walked onto the platform, but then, she held her hand out.

Madelyn held the door open and stepped to the side, a silent indication to join her.

Swallowing, we did.

Vincent seemed to have somehow gotten past our codes to gain access, so all Madelyn had to do was press the button that would take us to the parking garage.

In previous times being in an elevator with us, Madelyn was happily distracted by at least one of us, a conscious effort we made because of her claustrophobia.

This time, even if we tried, Madelyn wouldn’t let us give her small touches or talk about things that embarrassed her but proved as effective in distracting.

I watched as Madelyn bit the inside of her cheek, shifted her weight between feet and began to pick at her thumbnail unconsciously.

I wanted to reach for her. Hug her and tell her she didn’t have to be afraid and that we would do anything we could to fix this.

Anything.

I felt as though we were all holding our breath as no one said a thing, even as the bell dinged and the doors opened to the chilled garage now in front of us.

We let Madelyn lead, but we barely got out of the elevator before she spun to face us, taking a few steps back to create some clear distance between our bodies.

“You’re in the fucking mafia?”

Everything around us stopped as those five words fell from her mouth.

Her voice was so low it was nearly a whisper, but it rang painfully loud in my head.

I knew this conversation would come eventually.

I knew it the second I realized I would never let her go, but she didn’t deserve to be caught off guard and told like that.

We were supposed to have time.

Our silence answered her question, and with that, Madelyn drew in a trembling breath, her arms wrapping around her body as if she needed to be held.

“Give us a chance to explain.” Caleb’s words bordered as a plead as he spoke, “Come back inside... we’ll answer whatever it is you want to know, and we can talk.”

What he was really saying was don’t leave us.

Madelyn’s head dropped slightly, shaking it as she tried to make sense of this all.

“I want to go.” She said, still not looking any of us in the eyes.

It broke my heart.

We couldn’t let her do that, but we would never be able to forcefully keep her here either.

“Talk to us.” Xavier said, not bothering to hide the desperation in his voice, “Please... don’t leave. We can—”

“No.”

Madelyn’s single word cut through the air, her head finally looking up, not to me, but to Caleb.

Her eyes glistened with unspilt tears, but she refused to let a single one fall.

“I’m going home, and you have no right to keep me here.”

She was scared of us.

The realization hit me so hard my left foot took a step back, hating myself for being the cause of this all.

Madelyn’s been through enough and she never should have to feel scared or sad ever again.

“Stay.” Caleb’s voice broke, but in that moment, I knew we lost and nothing apart from sheer force could keep her here.

“Give me the keys to any car here.” Madelyn said to Caleb, not even responding to his plea.

“Madelyn, I—”

“You owe me that debt from the club.” Her hand shook as she spoke, but something on her features had hardened. “I won the bet about Xavier, and you said that you would do any one thing I asked of you at any time.”

Caleb looked like he’d been physically slapped by her words, but he didn’t fight what she was asking of him.

We had no right to fight with her or yell or demand to be listened to.

Madelyn doesn’t owe us a single thing, but we owe her the world.

Once again, she’s no longer looking at us, and even when Caleb walks away to retrieve a set of keys from the rings on the side of the elevator, her eyes remain down.

The entire time, I just stay silent, wishing with everything I have her eyes would meet mine, but they never do.

Xavier and I simply watch in silence as Caleb walks up to Madelyn, looking at her even if she doesn’t do the same.

While Caleb now has a set of keys, when he gets to her he grabs both of her shaking hands, clasping them in his.

His thumb brushes against the top of her fingers, willing them to steady and wanting to take away every unhappy emotion going through her.

Only when her shaking stops does Caleb flip her hand over, studying her palm before placing the keys into her hold.

That single action seems to flip a switch in Madelyn, her instantly taking a step back before lifting her head.

She makes a point of looking each of us over individually, starting and ending with our eyes.

While Caleb stopped her shaking, it was herself that willed the distant look in her gaze come to life.

It was one that kept me from breathing.

Madelyn never said goodbye as she pivoted on her heel, pressing the button on the keys in her hands and allowing that to indicate where the car was.

I didn’t breathe, move, or even blink as my girl—our girl—walked into one of our easier to drive vehicles, backing out and waiting as Caleb reluctantly entered in a code that had the garage door opening.

No one dared speak as she left, a part of us all breaking along with the disappearing sight of the car.

Only once she was gone and the door closed once again did I allow myself to think.

Only I didn’t.

Instead, my only thought was on Xavier and the way my fist was now hurtling towards his face.

The familiar pain of the impact shocked across my knuckles, but I paid no attention to it as my friend didn’t even fight back.

Caleb ran over from the garage door to stop me, but he didn’t have to.

While I was partially responsible for Madelyn’s now noticeable absence, Xavier told his father about her.

While this past week I tried to get him to open up by showing support, I was done with that.

Grabbing Xavier by his shoulders, I watched as he wiped away the trickle of his blood smeared across his bottom lip before looking at me with watery eyes.

It wasn’t from the pain of his mouth, though.

He knew what I was asking. He knew that Caleb was just as angry and insistent to know as I was, but Xavier stayed quiet as his muscles shook.

I knew my friend well enough to know he needed to either punch or kill somebody right now, but I’ve been too nice for too long.

“Why?” Is the only word I was able to force through the raging shield of my anger, though his answer was something I never wanted to hear.

Something I never wanted to believe.

“Madelyn’s father is Marcus Caddel.”


- End of Chapter 46 -

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