The knock on my office door is soft and when I look up, Alex is standing in the door.
What is he doing here ? He's supposed to be in London.
I can tell by the look on his face that something is seriously wrong.
"Come in" I say brusquely, just wanting him to get to the point.
He comes to a standstill in front of my desk and looks down.
"Sir, there was an ambush and ..."
He doesn't continue, and I notice his Adam's apple bobbing up and down as he swallows.
He's shit scared. Which can only mean one thing.
As realization hit me, I feel my head spinning and my vision darkening.
"Say it." I urge him. I want to hear him say the words. I need to hear it.
He looks as if he's about to puke, but he knows I don't ask twice, so he opens his mouth to speak and at that moment MJ comes bursting into my office, looking all kinds of disheveled and confused. He's about to say something, but when he sees Alex, he stops.
He moves around my desk and stops behind my right shoulder.
The silence in my office is deafening as we wait for Alex to open his mouth and start talking.
"Sir. " he starts, his voice trembling, as he continues "we were on normal patrol, last night was date night with his girlfriend and everything was normal, I swear. When he got to the restaurant there was a commotion at the door and then he was lying on the ground."
"He was shot twice in the heart and once in the head."
I take in a shaky breath. That's my mafia's signature kill. And someone used it to kill my brother. To send me a message.
I feel a burning hot fire in my heart, I feel it spread through my whole body, clouding my mind.
My brother was innocent. He didn't even know about me. And yet. He was killed to get at me.
How did they find out about him though? No one knows Diego is my brother. Not even Diego. Well, no one except MJ and he considers Diego his brother, like he does me, so he would never betray us like that.
I hear a shuffling sound and my eyes focus on the man who couldn't protect my brother.
I get up from my chair and walk around my desk slowly, like a stalking predator. My eyes never leaving him. He stands his ground, but I can literally hear his knees clapping together.
"Tell me Alex, what was your assignment " I ask when I reach him , my voice low.
"We- we were told to protect the asset, sir" he stammers and I notice the sweat on his face.
"And, did you do that Alex? Did you follow my orders and protect the asset?" My voice low with compressed emotions. Seeing his gun in his side holster I take it out and pull it back.
Alex doesn't answer me however and my blood boils further.
The fucker. I should just kill him right here and now. He couldn't do this simple task and now he's ignoring me??
Nobody fucking ignores me.
Everything else fades away and I only zoom in on the frightened man in front of me.
I put the gun on his chest, directly over his heart and he just closes his eyes. He's been expecting this, that's why he was shit scared since he came in here, and not even objecting now.
Usually, I dont just kill off my men, because they're loyal to me and they respect me.
But this little bitch right here, let my brother die. And for that. He's going to die.
I feel a hand on my arm holding the gun and I turn my head , looking at MJ. He shakes his head and I can see in his eyes he has something to tell me.
I sneer and turn back to Alex, but MJ's hand just squeezes my arm, forcing me to look back at him, he looks at me like a father would look at his son if he disobeyed him.
Fuck it all to hell. Why does he have to act like a fucking papa bear sometimes.
MJ came into my life at a crucial stage and he saved me. He's much older than me, hence the father persona.
"You can leave now Alex," MJ says, without looking at him, but Alex stays standing. Waiting for me to tell him he can go.
I sigh heavily and turn to Alex. "You are one of my best men, that's why I put you on this case. If you disappoint me again, MJ won't be there to protect your sorry ass. Do you understand me?"
I move back to my seat and slump down, my head in my hands and my fingers pulling my hair.
MJ doesn't say anything. Understanding that I need a minute.
How the fuck did this happen? I made sure that nobody knew about Diego's relation to me. Because I knew something like this would happen.
Diego was only 9 years old when my parents died. They adopted him at that age, I guess to fill the disappointing space I left behind.
But when I got news that they're dead , I immediately made plans for Diego to be taken care of. He never knew about me but I was always there, protecting my little brother.
And now, ten years later, just when his life is actually starting, and he found himself, he's been murdered.
I feel a hand on my shoulder and then MJ's voice saying, "I need to show you something"
I immediately sit up straight. All my attention now on MJ.
"When the jet took off from London and Alex came, I knew something was wrong. That's when I came upon the news that Diego's been shot down. And the tech team hacked the street cameras and the shop's CCTV and found the shooter."
He pulled out his phone and clicked on a video. My eyes went wide. On the screen, I see Diego's laughing face. This was just before he was killed, when he and his girlfriend went to their favorite restaurant.
I take the phone from MJ's hand, in a sort of trance, and press play.
The images on the screen start moving and not long after, I see my little brother crumble down and blood seep out of his body.
I take a deep breath.
Switching off my emotions I rewind the video, and scan through the crowd of people for the suspect and I immediately notice him.
My brother is walking towards the door to the restaurant and the side walk traffic is hectic. People walking up and down the streets, hunched down against the cold, but one figure sticks out.
He's walking in the opposite direction, towards Diego and I notice when he reaches into his jacket, and fires the gun. Nobody saw him or even noticed something amiss until Diego fell to the ground.
I zoom in and the gun he's holding is the obsidian 45. Popular for its suppressor and with the silence on the barrel, no one would've heard that shot.
There's only one person that would be so sly as to attack an innocent person on a busy street with a pussy gun.
My suspicions are confirmed when I pause the video and zoom in on the hitman. He has on all black, with the hoodie covering his face , but the hand holding his gun is tattooed.
That's something all mafia does, mark their men. My marking is in our necks.
The black panther.
This guy's marking is on his hand. A cross.
Which is ironic, if you think about it.
I put down the phone and concentrate on my breathing. I positively feel like I can kill someone right now.
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