𝐾 𝐴 𝐿 𝐸 𝑁

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Summary

Tessa wants the one man who's off limits. Her best friend's brother. The solution? Forget him. Should be easy, right? Except she's haunted by him everyday, forced to watch him exist without her, as her crush for him grows bigger and bigger. Kalen knows getting too close to his little sister's best friend is dangerous. He's the son of a mafia don, his life infiltrated by crime, yet there's something about Tessa he can't resist. As the two of them attempt to resist against the attraction between them, something deeper begins to forge, drawing them inevitability closer. Join Tessa and Kalen on their journey. - novella series - The first book in the Mafia brother series

Genre:
Romance / Erotica
Author:
maya_lara1
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
16
Rating:
β˜… 4.8 4 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter |1| Bullies

T E S S A ' S P. O. V

Memories are a funny thing. Each one acts as a reflection, a shard of glass that allows you to see a fragment of yourself, evolving through the ages. I feel like every single one has a focus, an element that you can never escape.


Your childhood pet, a friend, the sun, rain, a brother, a sister...mine was my soulmate.


He featured in all the shards I could piece together, creating a kaleidoscope of himself that's imprinted into my mind for eternity.

They forge a bond with you, a connection that can't be severed because they're always there.


It's selfish really. Because what happens when they disappear from reality?


When they leave you in the dust, alone with nothing but the fragment of memories you're desperately holding onto?


I remember every moment with him. Call it a curse or a blessing, but it's my truth.


The first one that exercises its hold over me is from when I was seven. It takes place in the dreary playground I spent most of my childhood coveting as a safe haven. I've been called beautiful, pretty, sexy, gorgeous, but before I was a chubby blonde who wore glasses and was in serious need of a good haircut.


I had precisely one friend. Kiara Romano.


She was stunning, even at seven. Long brown hair, matching doe eyes, and an attitude that never quit.


We'd been friends ever since kindergarten. She stood up for me when I was shoved onto the floor by Cindy Lupin. Bullies always exist, even when you're too young to know what the term means.


Being friends with Kiara, being close to her meant I was protected. She was shield of invisibility, a protection I valued more than anything. Yet, that meant without her, I was a more desired target.


So when Kiara's mother shows up earlier than mine at the park, I'm left alone. Mrs Romano offered of course to take me home, I said I couldn't and had to wait for my mother to pick me up.


My family is devoutly Catholic, so I wasn't allowed to sleepover at my best friend's house or even go over for a house visit.


To me, God was an idea until I saw otherwise. I didn't need to believe in something more than what I already knew. It was hard being so conflicted in your religious ideologies when your parents are constantly pushing onto you their beliefs.


I think the fact my mother was so protective because of her religion made me push it away more.


If Kiara and I went anywhere together, I knew my mother was tracking me brutally.


I waved Kiara goodbye, already feeling desolate from the anxiety beginning to kick in. The sun was slowly setting, the playground was empty. I sat on the swing, gently rocking back and forth, watching my foot as it collided with the small pebbles covering the floor.


Then I'm suddenly shoved forward. My glasses fall off, and pain blisters over my knee as I feel the hot tarmac scrape off my skin.


"That's my swing." Rory Conners laughs alongside his two cronies. I wanted to scream it's not yours, it's not anybody's, but my courage was slowly ebbing out of me as they proceeded to kick dirt onto my face.


"I'm sorry." I pull myself up and stumble back away from them. Rory is too fast, he reaches out and snatches my arm.


"What are you doing here, four eyes Tessa? I thought you weren't allowed out after four otherwise your weird mom will lock you in the cellar."


My mom is a proud Catholic. She tells anyone and anything. She doesn't abuse me, she doesn't lock me in cellars but stereotypes are just that and after the release of Carrie, my mother is painted as the crazy Catholic mother portrayed by Juliane Moore.


"I heard she gets exorcised anytime she watches TV." Another remarks.


"Remember when her mom pulled her out of class for church on a Thursday."


I remember. My grandmother had just died, but that was the excuse she made instead so the school didn't know. Now, I believe she just didn't want to make it real.


When others find out, trauma becomes alive and it's like a virus affecting every part of you but slowly. My mother did anything to avoid a virus, even at my own expense.


"I wonder what she would do if your glasses broke. I'm guessing the cane, or maybe she would pull you out of school." Rory reaches for my glasses, his sharp uncut nails scratch my face as he yanks them off.


I feel blood drip down my cheek.


"Woah these are ugly." They're also free.


I cringe as he moves to break them, already preparing myself for my mother's wrath about having to get a new pair.


"Don't." A familiar voice booms. Rory freezes as a hand clasps around his chubby forearm. The two cronies take one look at Kalen Romano. Even at age 10, his aura was infused with the kind of authority that made you cower. "Give them back to Tessa."


I had only met him a handful of times. We went to the same school of course, and I think only once I mentioned my name in passing but never had I spoken to him again. And yet, he remembered it.


"Sorry Tessa." Rory winces as Kalen's hold becomes tighter. I don't care about his half assed apology, I'm mesmerised by the sheer beauty standing before me.


"Now run." Rory doesn't hesitate. He's sprinting out of the park faster than I've ever seen a human run.


"Thank you." I mumble, taking the glasses he holds out and quickly stuffing them back onto my face. He's even prettier when I can actually see him. The same tanned skin as Kiara, but darker oval shaped eyes with light sandy brown hair.


"No problem. You're Kiara's friend." A statement, not a question. I nod.


"I'm her brother. Kalen." I know, I want to scream, yet I keep my head down and don't look up.


He sighs. "I won't hurt you. I look out for people who care about my family. I know you're a good friend to her, even if she can be a bit annoying."


"She's not annoying, she's just confident." I respond, shocking myself. He grins.


"I'm heading home now. Want to join me?" He offers out his hand and I take it, mentally telling my mom to go screw herself.


That's when the rebellion started. In the park with a beautiful boy, and the bud of a crush that slowly began to blossom.


After that I started to fight back. Against my mom, my bullies, even against myself at times. I admired Kiara, I framed her as my own personal role model and just like that, I became something different.

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