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 The Code of Silence - Christian Kane 18+ Fiction

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HarleyMac
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PostSubject: The Code of Silence - Christian Kane 18+ Fiction   Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:52 am

DISCLAIMER;

This piece of fiction - is purely fiction; nothing is real and if there are similarities within this and in real life; they are purely coincidental. I do now know, and do not claim to know Christian Kane, or any of the other famous people mentioned in this fiction. All O/C's belong to me, and the people they are modelled on. No offense is intended.

The storyline was inspired by The Saprano's but is in no way a spin off, on the show.

No monery gain is being made from this - it has been written purely for fun & entertainment. Strong sexual content, violence and angst is represented - if you are under 18 years of age, or are offended by such content please press your back button right now. Otherwise; enjoy.

Harley.
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PostSubject: TCOS - Chapter 1   Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:54 am

The Code of Silence.
Written By; HarleyMac. Date Started; 25/11/2010.


Introduction – Omerta – The Code of Silence.




The Mafia is a secret crime group working in many parts of the world that was created in Italy more than 200 years ago. The mafia make money from crime. They make billions of dollars a year from such crimes as selling illegal drugs, money laundering, robbery, gambling and prostitution.

In order for an individual to join the Mafia he would pledge the following: "I (name given) want to enter this secret organization to protect my family and to protect my brothers.” “Morte alla Francia Italia Anelia!" With my blood (a knife is used to place a cut in the index finger or hand) and the blood of all the saints and the soul of my children. (The sign of the cross is made) I swear not to divulge this secret and obey with love and omerta. I enter alive in this organization and leave only in death! Within this pledge there are many clues, which reveal the lifestyle of a "Mafioso."

A person who belongs to the Mafia or Mafioso is a very secretive person. This is because if any information is revealed which may harm another Mafioso, they are punished by death. The value of silence is a requirement of any Mafiosi, it is a norm of those who participate in criminal activities and those who violate it will be punished according to the grade of the offense. Depending on the offense he may have to prove himself to his boss, may be "out on the street," or if it was extremely important information, he would be killed. This information is kept within their families (fellow gangsters) and is discussed amongst them despite the fact that there are several other families within the same area or state.
What is the Mafia? –




What is the Mafia? Some believe the word Mafia was the battle cry of an Italian rebellious group - this battle of cry was the following: "Morte all Francia Italia Anelia!" (Italian for "death to the French is Italy's cry!"). Others defined the Mafia as, a name for a loose association of criminal groups, sometimes bound by blood oath and sworn to secrecy. Despite both of these definitions the Mafia has evolved into a very complex and structured society of crime. Over time they have become the most organized and devious crime syndicate ever.



The history of the Mafia is sketchy but many believe that the Mafia was born in order to protect and help the less fortunate. The methods used to help and protect were, and still remain illegal. Today, the organization still continues to practice these acts or "rituals." The difference between early Mafia and modern Mafia is that during late 1800's to early 1900's, the Mafia used these illicit crimes to help their families and the less fortunate, now they abuse their power and distribute the "dirty money" in abundance amongst themselves.

Modern Day Mafia –





The main split in the Sicilian Mafia at present is between those bosses who have been convicted and are now imprisoned, chiefly Riina and capo di tutti capi Bernardo Provenzano, and those who are on the run, or who have not been indicted. The incarcerated bosses are currently subjected to harsh controls on their contact with the outside world, limiting their ability to run their operations from behind bars under the article 41-bis prison regime. Antonino Giuffrè – a close confidant of Provenzano, turned pentito shortly after his capture in 2002 – alleges that in 1993, Cosa Nostra had direct contact with representatives of Silvio Berlusconi who was then planning the birth of Forza Italia.



The deal that he says was alleged to have been made was a repeal of 41 bis, among other anti-Mafia laws in return for electoral deliverances in Sicily. Giuffrè's declarations have not been confirmed. The Italian Parliament, with the support of Forza Italia, extended the enforcement of 41 bis, which was to expire in 2002 but has been prolonged for another four years and extended to other crimes such as terrorism. However, according to one of Italy’s leading magazines, L'Espresso, 119 Mafiosi – one-fifth of those incarcerated under the 41 bis regime – have been released on an individual basis. The human rights group Amnesty International has expressed concern that the 41-bis regime could in some circumstances amount to "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment" for prisoners.



In addition to Salvatore Lima, mentioned above, the politician Giulio Andreotti and the High Court judge Corrado Carnevale have long been suspected of having ties to the Mafia.



By the late 1990s, the weakened Cosa Nostra had to yield most of the illegal drug trade to the 'Ndrangheta crime organization from Calabria. In 2006, the latter was estimated to control 80% of the cocaine import to Europe.


Omertà: the code of silence –




Omertà is a code of silence that forbids members from cooperating at all with the police or prosecutors should they be arrested. The penalty for transgression is death, and relatives of the turncoat may also be murdered. To a degree, Cosa Nostra also imposes this code on the general population, persecuting any citizen who aids the authorities.


Ten Commandments -




In November 2007 Sicilian police reported to have found a list of "Ten Commandments" in the hideout of mafia boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo. Similar to the Biblical Ten Commandments, they are thought to be a guideline on how to be a good, respectful honorable Mafioso. The commandments are as follows:



1 - No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.

2 - Never look at the wives of friends.

3 - Never be seen with cops.

4 - Don't go to pubs and clubs.

5 - Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty - even if your wife is about to give birth.

6 - Appointments must absolutely be respected.

7 - Wives must be treated with respect.

8 - When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.

9 - Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.

10 - People who can't be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values.

Present Day, Los Angeles;
Ayden’s POV;


My family wasn’t like my friends’ families – I had to always keep the secret; Omerta – the code of silence. It had been drummed into my head from an early age. I was only allowed to bring home friends who I had been around from birth; if I made a new friend, I was in no way permitted to bring them to our home. That was difficult, as a young girl growing up; all I wanted to do was partake in things that my other friends were doing.

The sun was shining, the waves crashed peacefully on the shore of the beach, which was literally 40 feet from my balcony. It was a beautiful day; the kind of day that I wanted to remember forever. I was finally being permitted the chance to move out on my own. At 26 years old; I had lived at home my whole life, but now that I had finished University – I was granted the permission to have my own place. There had, however, been one rule that I couldn’t get my Father to budge on; he had to pick the place. Of course, that meant that it was in a rich well to do area, low crime rates and plenty of security in place.

“You know I ain’t happy wit’ you livin’ out here on your own!” my Father insisted 20 minutes later when the removal van arrived with him and my ‘uncles’ following behind to help.

“Daddy; we’ve talked about this......to ease your mind, I even let you pick the place; there is nowhere more secure.......”

“There is no place more safe than bein’ at home wit’ me!” he argued in his broad New York accent.

My grandparents had arrived in New York in the early 40’s – they had set up their home in a rundown area of the city. It wasn’t long before my grandfather had made a name for himself; starting off low on the chain; he was a go getter for the connected people. He was loyal, and he was trusted, which had been what got him on the pole. It wasn’t long before he had made ‘boss’ status, which was practically unheard of in those days. Without having a ‘name’ in the circle already, it was unusual for someone, an outsider essentially, to be made ‘boss’.

“Daddy come on,” I pleaded linking my arm through his as we made our way towards the beach front home.

I had stayed at the Hyperion Hotel in LA last night so that I could get here early this morning and clean. Growing up in a home without a Mother; I had learned at an early age that cleaning and cooking was important. I looked after the house, looked after my little brother and I looked out for my ‘uncles’ whenever they were around our home.

My grandfather had newly been made ‘boss’ when his wife, my grandmother, announced that she was pregnant. My father was born 9 months later. When my Dad was 18 years old; he met my Mother – a beautiful Italian girl, who had been in the states visiting my father’s ‘workmate’ – who was her cousin. They were so caught up in one another that 6 months later when her visa ran; they rushed down to city hall and got married. 1 year later I was born, and 2 years after that my little brother was born. One year later; our Mother was dead and our Father was on a mission of revenge.

“You know better than anyone; how much I worry and why. There are so many people out there wanting to hurt me – and losing you or your brother would hurt me so much more than anything or anyone ever could hurt me!” it was extremely rare to hear my Father talk this way.

Yes he was a powerful man, and he was always there for us whenever we needed him; but he found it difficult to be emotional around us – after we lost our Mother, he had drowned himself in raw emotion, he wasn’t there with us when we cried for our Mom, he wasn’t there to put us to bed and assure us that he would still be there in the morning. For the 5 months that it took him to find the man who had killed our Mother, we were raised by our Mother’s sister, who had flown in for the funeral and decided to stay on with us.

No one ever found the man who was responsible. Just like my Father had promised when he arrived home – he told me that the man who had taken my Mother away from me; was not in any position to ever hurt anyone ever again.

“Nothing is going to hurt me daddy,”

When I had been old enough to understand, he sent me to martial arts classes where I was taught how to defend myself against whom ever might attack me or mean me any kind of harm. Growing up; that was details that were always drummed into my head; never trust anyone on face value.

Our home was like fort Knox; all the doors and windows were locked and to remain locked when Daddy wasn’t at home. The gates were always closed, and only opened when the security guard at the front granted someone access, there were 4 large Doberman dogs running around the grounds.

“Well, I know that you can look after yourself, but to be on the safe side – I bought you a little gift,”

“What? Please tell me it isn’t a gun?” I pleaded.

When I had started going to University; he had tried and tried to push me into carrying a gun for protection, but I had refused. Unfortunately, my Father didn’t trust anyone who wasn’t close to him and even then; he went out of his way to ensure that his ‘work mates’ were loyal by orchestrating trust and loyalty tests at any given moment.

“No it isn’t a gun. I heard you loud and clear when you gave me your opinion on guns,” he beamed down at me, “so instead of giving you something that I know you will just throw out, I got you something else.......come on down to my car and see!”

“Dad you got me enough – I mean Jesus Christ; you paid for everything that I needed for this place..........and all of it is top end stuff,”

“Will you hush woman.......you’re my only daughter and I want to make sure that you are safe now that you insist on living on your own!”

“It’s just time Daddy,” I said leaning against his arm and resting my head against his bicep.

It didn’t matter what I had going on in my life, or whether I was feeling insecure about anything – he was always there, this strong powerful presence that would make me feel better about myself and the world. Yes he was over protective and yes he was sometimes over bearing but to be honest, he was all I had left in the world as a parental figure and I would never turn him away..........ever.

Leading me to the new Audi SUV that he had purchased about 5 months ago, I could see that the back window was cracked open slightly.

“Is it a dog?” I asked excitedly.

All my Father did was beam at me – it was these moments when he looked at me as if I were the apple in his eye that I knew and remembered that all he did was for me and my brother. We had always had the best of everything, drivers to take us to and from school and there was always food on the table. The only bad thing about my childhood was the fact that after my Mother had been dead for 3 years, a string of women started coming to the house – they never lasted longer than a couple of months but it was still disturbing to see women come and go.

Reaching the car, I pulled open the back door and instantly fell in love when my eyes landed on a large cardboard box with 3 beautiful little fluffy looking dogs. Black and tan for one, grey and black and white for the other and another jet black who was already scrambling to get to his feet and shakily stumble towards me and placed his front paws onto the edge of the box; his little stumpy tail waggling in a circle.

“Daddy,” I exclaimed picking the little black dog up and seeing that he was Doberman; just like the ones that we had up at the house. People assumed that because they were such lean dogs that they couldn’t be this small and dumpy when they were puppies, but the ones we had at the house had been the exact same way.

“You like them?”

“I love them, thank you........”

“Remember they are not pets – they are here to protect you and nothing else!” he reminded me.

I had always had the habit of treating the guard dogs at home as pets – I would feed them; I would cuddle them and Mother them much to my Father’s annoyance. I would often hear him roaring about how much they had cost him and how they had been trained by some expert from Germany who trained dogs for attacking purposes.

“I know!” I sighed cuddling the little black bundle of fluff in my arms and nodding my head to the box where the other 2 dogs, a husky and a German shepherd, were still fast asleep. “Can you take them up to the house for me?”

“Sure,” sometimes he knew that arguing with me would prove pointless and this was one of those times. My belief was that; if you treated a dog with love and respect and affection; then they would naturally become protective of you. I had pressed this point plenty of times but as of this moment in time; we had agreed to disagree.

The 2 of us began to saunter up the long driveway towards the house where men were coming and going, my ‘uncles’ helping the removal guys with the transportation of my furniture and essentials into the place where I was going to be living alone. Flicking my hair to the side, my eyes caught a guy in the driveway of the house that would be classed as my next door neighbour.

Attractive wasn’t the right word; standing at about the same height as myself, 5’6 or maybe just a little taller, he had what I could only describe as a toned physique and long golden brown hair. Unfortunately, he was too far away for me to see what colour his eyes were, but from what I could make out from where I was stood, he was gorgeous. Definitely my type. It had been a while since I had been in a relationship – my last boyfriend, had been willing to take the offers that my Father had thrown his way but in the end, he had been taking advantage – thinking that, because he was dating me, he felt he was entitled to have extras – for example – money, or the other things that my Father was blessed with. For example; he stole a crate of imported red wine, and sold it for a raised mark up in price but never considered offering my Father a cut in what he had made. That had made my Father madder than I had seen him in the longest time.

When I found out what was going on, my Father hadn’t even needed to ask me to end it – he was already cast aside. From then, I hadn’t really focused on men; my time was spent trying to get the best grades that I could so that I could make myself an honest living. Something that had never really happened in this family since we had migrated over to the states.

But here I was stood in the long driveway; my arms full of the little puppy that had curled against my chest and gone back to sleep, my hair was tied back so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it when I helped move all the things in to the house, I was wearing my sweats; not exactly an outfit that you wanted some drop dead gorgeous guy to see you wearing. God, I felt downright scruffy compared to the way he looked. Dressed in a pair of ripped and worn jeans and a t-shirt that seemed to carve into the true definition of his muscles. My heart was thundering desperately in my chest – I hadn’t felt this strength of attraction for the longest time.

“You know, I never would have allowed this to happen if I didn’t think that you could look after yourself,” my Father stated completely unaware that I was lost in the distraction of the seemingly handsome neighbour that I had and that he seemed to be as completely enthralled by me.

“What?” I asked turning back to my Father and breaking the connection, “yes sorry, I know that you wouldn’t Daddy, and I appreciate it........I’m getting too old to live at home with my Dad anyway!”

“I know........I don’t like it, but I know!” he replied walking on ahead of me just as my Uncle Frankie ‘the wrench’ Capola, my uncle Sammy ‘spike’ Mateo, my uncle Christopher ‘Chrissy’ Salvati, and my uncle Anthony ‘Tone’ Santangelo were heading back towards the removal vans.

“Get the kettle on sweetheart,” my uncle Spike requested of me as I passed them by.

I never called my uncles by their first names, I was always told to refer to them as their street names. In turn they never called me Ayden or Ayd; like my Father did sometimes – they always referred to me as sweetheart, sugar, darlin’, or princess. Growing up, I had hated it – especially princess. My memories of walking out of school with my friends, not that I had a lot, and Uncle Tone being stood next to the town car and calling out princess; it made me cringe every day. Now that I was older, I didn’t dislike it so much – it was a comfort if I were to be honest.

“You got it guys,” I smiled heading towards the door where my Father had already disappeared – my mind quickly left the gorgeous guy out there on the drive way as I stepped over the threshold of my new home.

My father had thought of everything, the puppies were placed in the little play cage that was set up near the kitchen – anyone who is anyone knows that Italians, spend a lot of their time in the kitchen. I gently placed the little dog that was in my arms into the cage and stood up moving to the kitchen work top where I had already placed a kettle when I had come into clean the house top to bottom before moving in. I couldn’t have moved in and felt comfortable if I hadn’t cleaned it myself – so yesterday, I had spent the day scrubbing like a woman possessed until it had reached my standards of clean.

“Are you staying with me or are you helping the others?” I asked my Father as I pulled the fridge door open and pulled out the slab of Italian cheese and Pastrami that I had bought in the other day to make them sandwiches.

“I think I will go help the guys out princess,” my Father replied happily removing his knee length black coat and placed it on the counter away from where I would be working on the food.

Later that Night;

With the help of the ‘family’ all the boxes and suitcases were taken to the rooms that they would be emptied into and left untouched for me to work on at my own leisure. I didn’t mind, because I had already taken them away from a day of work, so it was just as important to me as it was to them that they get back out there to work for the remainder of the day.

I had left the French doors open and felt the welcome breeze swimming through the living room that I was working on at the moment. Night had fallen about an hour previously; I had sat out on the decking to watch the moon dancing on the water and looking calming as the waves crashed onto the shore. It was so peaceful here – it wasn’t like this at home. There were too many people coming and going from our house to be able to get any kind of peace. After growing up around so much noise, I cherished this quiet that was wrapped around me now.

Wiping my items down with furniture polish before scattering them around the room, and almost jumped out of my skin when the front doorbell rang. Placing my treasured Gothic Angel figurine down onto the shelf in one of the alcoves and moved towards the front door and pulled it open. Thank the Lord that I hadn’t been still holding my figurine because it would have no doubtedly fallen from my hands and smashed to smithereens.

“H-H-Hi,” I managed to stutter as my eyes fell into the unique shade of the man whom I had noticed earlier in the day when the family arrived to help me.

“Hey,” he smiled at me casually and I was impressed by the fact that he seemed confident when I felt like falling apart, “I don’t mean to intrude.....I just wanted to welcome you to the neighbourhood,” in his hands he held a glass dish with baking foil placed over the top. “I made this ‘cos I didn’t think that you would want to be cooking tonight,”

“Thank you,” ok so now I was a little less rain man, I opened the door a little wider and looked up at his eyes, “would you like to come in?”

“I don’t want to impose........”

“You’re not, trust me – I wouldn’t have invited you in if you were,” I smiled hoping that I didn’t look like I was desperate as he handed me the dish; I peeled back the corner of the baking foil to see one of my favourite dishes. “How’d you know that spaghetti and meatballs are my favourite?”

“Educated guess,” he chuckled stepping over the threshold.

“Well thank you very much,” I took the hand that he offered me and shook it happily, “I’m Ayden it’s nice to meet you,”

“I’m Christian, and the pleasure is all mine!” the smile on his face was so beautiful that I was momentarily dumbfounded by the sight of it.

“H-H-Have you eaten?” fucking stuttering was my tell that I was flustered and I hated that it was such a give away, but it didn’t seem to bother Christian who was closing the door behind him and then began to follow me towards the kitchen area that was all open plan with the living room and dining room.

“No,” he replied.

“Would you like to join me?” I asked placing the dish down onto the counter and pulling the cooker door open and turning the knobs to get the gas to ignite.

“If you don’t mind,” he replied and I could feel those beautiful eyes watching me, studying my every move.

Where something like that usually freaked me out, this was different – there was a calmness that emanated from me by just the thought of him watching me. I wasn’t the type of girl who let her heart lead her mind; I was cautious, because it was how I had been raised to be, I was secretive; because my life dictated such secrets that I couldn’t just share with anyone and I was insanely stubborn – it was down to my Italian heritage.

“Can I get you a drink?” I asked him once I had placed the dish into the oven.

“What you got?”

I moved to the fridge and pulled the door open to search and see what I had in there. I had bought in a few drinks because of the guys being here and helping me with moving into my new home.

“I got......milk, water, soda, beer, JD and Vodka,” I informed him and turned to wait for his response.

The first thing that I noticed when I turned around was that his eyes were dancing over my frame; taking in every inch of my body and it made me shiver with an excitement that I hadn’t felt in the longest time. Only one night here and I had already captured the eye of the handsome guy next door – this wasn’t going to be bad at all.

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PostSubject: Chapter 2 - New Neighbours   Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:55 am

Christian’s POV;

Having seen this beautiful creature earlier in the day, I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. The way she had looked at me, with those dark eyes, the glow on her olive stained flesh, the simple way that she tossed her long black hair behind her and the way she seemed to be having fun talking to the older man who had been with her.

I was left wondering who the man was to her – he was definitely affectionate with her, and I had found myself wondering if he was her lover. I would have been stupid if I hadn’t realized that they who they were. The man had been in the media enough times that I think the entire world would know who he was. Reports of organised crime; in other words that weren’t used by anyone other than the media – the mafia. There were many stories floating around concerning the man and his business. The kind of stories that would make most people sick at just the thought of them.

This girl didn’t seem like she fitted in that lifestyle – she seemed so together and proud, it was clear that she was articulate in the way she spoke. Maybe she was his mistress – either way, I couldn’t help but wonder.

“So.......the man I saw you with earlier?”

“What about him?”

“This is really embarrassing........is he your boyfriend?” I asked her as she pulled a bottle of beer out of the fridge at my request.

“God no......” she started giggling as she pointed to a glass but I shook my head no, “he’s my Dad!”

“Your Dad?” I was shocked to hear this.

From all that had been going around about him – it had never mentioned anything about a family. When he was discussed in the media; it was about his character and the things and practices that he was involved in – no mention of a wife, no mention of a family.

“Yeah,” she replied opening a cupboard next to the tall fridge and pulled out a bottle of red wine and continued to pour herself a glass. “Why?”

“Why what?” I asked dazzled by her eyes meeting mine for a few seconds.

“Why are you asking?”

Shit. What the Hell am I supposed to say now?

The longer that I remained silent, the longer she let her gaze focus on me – making it hard to remember to breathe let alone anything else. Dark eyes that held knowledge and pain – it was a strange combination to see in someone’s eyes but it was there – for all the world to see.

“I guess......I just wondered; you didn’t seem to be the kind of woman that he would be involved with on a romantic level,” the heat was really stinging my face as I slugged the beer into my mouth and giving me the excuse to look away from her.

When I looked around the layout of the house, I could see that it was almost identical to mine – the only difference was; this house had been remodelled on the bottom floor; the walls between the living room and kitchen and dining room had been knocked out to make one huge open plan room. It worked – and made the whole bottom floor come alive with light and colour that was on the walls. Deep and dark colours somehow seemed like they were suited to her.

By the time I brought my eyes back to her – I was instantly lost as I noticed her sipping from the glass and watching me intently.

“So is this like your place?” she asked me motioning for me to follow her into the living room where we both sat down on the sofa and faced one another.

“It is almost identical but mine isn’t open plan.......”

“I like it this way; it means I can talk to almost anyone no matter where they are on the bottom floor,” she replied smiling as she placed her wine glass on the glass table that was stuffed closer to the sofa, obviously just placed where they had put it and left for her to arrange at her own leisure. “I’m very family orientated,”

There was nothing that I could say to that, that wouldn’t come across as being a snide remark about her family and the last thing that I wanted to do was offend her in anyway.

“What about you?” she asked me.

“Excuse me?” once again my embarrassment was clear and I was left sort of in a daze when she had asked me a question.

“Are you family orientated?” she was smiling as if she knew that I was embarrassed.

“Absolutely,” I nodded, “without my Family, I wouldn’t be here today......”

“Why? What happened?” she asked looking concerned.

“Oh no – I don’t mean as in life, I just meant that I wouldn’t be living here and doing what I love to do,”

“And what’s that?” she asked curling her feet up under herself and smiled at me once again.

“I’m an actor and I sing too,” I informed her.

“Actor huh? Stage or screen?” she enquired reaching back to the glass table for her wine and sipped it slowly, as if savouring the taste, like most educated people do.

“Screen,”

“Really? Have you been in anything that I might have seen?” she asked me as she squinted her body in a direction until she was pulling a tattered packet of smokes out of her pocket and offered me one, which I gladly accepted.

“I don’t know, it depends what you like.....but I doubt it since you don’t seem to recognize me,” I chuckled softly and she smiled a little wider showing off a row of perfect teeth.

“You make a good point!” she laughed before taking a deep drag on her cigarette. Then she got up and moved to one of the boxes littered over the floor and pulled out what looked like a chrome, dragon style ashtray.

“What about you? What do you do for a living?” I enquired truly interested in hearing everything about her.

It hadn’t been all that long since I had ended my last relationship because of the distance that was put between us every time that I went to work. Caitlyn was a pretty girl, the all American type, the girl next door and she was really sweet when it came to being in a relationship with her; but for her the distance had always been a bit of a problem. It didn’t help that she had been hurt in the past and that it had made her paranoia – she just couldn’t trust that I was a one woman kind of guy. In all my years of dating; I had never once cheated on a girlfriend and I hadn’t been about to start with her, but she just couldn’t handle it and it was making her ill with worry. Ending it seemed to the kindest thing that I could do.

“Well, I just finished University last year......”

“What were you studying?” I asked her as she snuggled a little further into the sofa.

“Business,” she fixed her dark eyes back on me, “so over the last year – I have been sort of lazing about, doing some of my Dad’s lesser business dealings, but about 2 months ago, I had an idea of what I wanted to do and went to my Father to see if he would help me,” she was interrupted by the ping of the cooker – I couldn’t believe that we had been sat here for 45 minutes talking to one another. The time had just flown by. “Let me just serve that up and I’ll tell you all about my venture,”

Her attitude was kind of fresh to be around to be honest, most people in this day and age were always complaining about something; but she seemed to be the type of girl who would just take her punches and work with what she was given. That was easy to see; even though we hadn’t gotten to know one another all that well yet.

I did enjoy being in her presence though; there was a shine about her, a glow that I imagined drew people to her like a moth to a flame. I could just hear my friends now; you’re pussy whipped. Yeah right! I just thought that she was an extremely interesting person. Being brought up the way she had been; it must mean that she had seen things that no one her age had ever been introduced too.

“Here you go,” she was back and handing me a plate full of spaghetti and meatballs that I had cooked for her.

It wasn’t really a chore for me, I enjoyed cooking – even if it is just for myself, I found it relaxing and I needed something like that after all the work that I do.

“Thank you,” I smiled up as I accepted the plate and placed it on my lap.

“Not a problem, thank you for cooking it for me,” she smiled sweetly before sinking back on to the sofa and placing her own plate on her lap.

“You’re welcome,” I replied, “so tell me about this venture?” twisting the spaghetti around my fork.

“Well, I wanted to work for myself, I’m not so good with taking orders from other people, so I was looking into the places on the board walk a few miles down the beach – and I thought about what wasn’t there, and I noticed that there is a lack of coffee shops on the strip you know?”

“Yeah I always noticed that when I was down there,”

“Well I didn’t want it to be just a regular run of the mill coffee shop so I thought about ways to make it different, and I got a huge building, part of it is gonna be an internet cafe another part is going to be like a book store and then the main part will be the coffee shop,”

“Sounds good,” I nodded as we continued to eat, “have you thought about getting live music in?”

“Are you hinting for a gig?” she laughed.

“No......no, sorry I don’t want you to think that I am trying to take advantage......”

“I don’t, you don’t seem to be the kind of guy who would do that,” she told me, “but you make a good point about having live music, I am gonna look into that!”

“Not a problem,”

We slipped into silence as we ate. It felt comfortable, almost familiar and it hit me that it was the kind of comfortable silence that elongated between my Mom and Dad – it was something that I had never expected to feel. My mind was beginning to run away from me – I barely knew this girl and already I was looking at her like she was the second coming.

I was in serious danger of placing this girl on a pedestal and it wasn’t something that I had ever really done with a woman before. Now I was questioning myself as to whether I was feeling this way because of what she appeared to be or if it was because I knew her back ground and would hate to get involved with her and have her Father think that I didn’t treat her with enough respect.

“So what are you working on right now?” she asked me.

“Well, I’ve got a new TV show, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it but it’s called Leverage?”

“No sorry, I haven’t. To be honest, I don’t watch TV all that much, I am much more a movie buff and music, if I have the TV on at all – its only on the music channels!”

“What kind of music do you like?” I enquired.

“I’m a fan of pretty much all music, rock, gothic rock, country, metal, pop, pretty much everything,” she replied, “I tend to listen to rock mostly though,”

“That’s good, you certainly do have a wide range of musical tastes don’t you?”

I watched her nod her head and smile before twisting the last of the spaghetti around her fork and fall in past her beautiful shaped lips. I turned my own attention back to my food and finished up trying to erase my thoughts from my mind. I liked her sure, but I didn’t know her and my mind was racing away from me – for all I knew, she didn’t feel as attracted to me as I was to her so the best thing that I could do was just try and build a friendship with her.

Ayden’s POV;

Talking to this man, spending the evening talking and getting to know one another; had been more interesting and fun than I had imagined my first night alone would have been. Not only was he gorgeous but he had a great personality, at least from what I could tell, and he seemed to be able to take a joke; which was a must to be honest. I couldn’t stand being around people who were serious all the time; I had enough of that at home with my father.

“So your Dad is paying for this venture?” Christian asked me.

“Yeah bless his heart,” I smiled happily.

It hadn’t taken me long to convince him; granted – he was happy to give me and my brother pretty much anything that we wanted, but this was a lot of money (considering the changes that I wanted to make to the building), so I had been sure that I drew up the right plans and business statements that I would have done had I gone to a bank for the money.

When I had left University, the last thing that I wanted to do was work for someone else. My Father had drummed it into my head the minute from the minute that I could talk; that I was able to achieve absolutely anything that I wanted. Even when I was in my teens, I couldn’t stand listening to my Father, I just knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to take orders from someone else in a work place.

“That must be a lot of money?” Christian enquired.

In my teens, I had always been so cautious about who I told about my Father. Now that I was older it was even harder to decide who I should tell and who I shouldn’t. From the moment that we had started talking, I had the impression that I could trust this guy; but I would be overly reckless if I told him about my Father, only a few hours after knowing him.

“Yeah,” I nodded and crossed my legs to indicate that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore; I just hoped that he got the message.

“Anyway, when are you thinking on opening?” he asked and the relief washed through me like wild fire.

Over the years, I had lost friends and boyfriends because of who my Father was. As much as I loved him, and as much as I respected him as a business man – sometimes, I wished that he wasn’t who he was. I used to be paranoid about it – I didn’t know whether my friends were my friends for me, or for whom my Father was and what he could do for their families.

“Well we have the contractors coming in on Monday and they said it would take about 16 or 20 weeks, so I have thought that when it gets closer to Christmas, I will open – that is giving them an extra month in case anything goes awry you know?”

“That’s smart,” he nodded. “If you need a hand with anything........just give me a call!”

“Thank you, I really appreciate that,”

From the moment that he arrived on my door step; I had been completely blown away by the tint in his eyes – they were the most unique colour of blue that I had ever seen. They were almost as blue as the core of a flame; something I had never seen on any human I had ever met before. It was a stupid analogy but it was like being wrapped in something soft and warm; when I was staring into those eyes – I felt safe and protected.

“You know I never thought that I would have neighbours like you.........”

“Like me?” he asked his head tilting to the side; his long golden brown mane of hair tipping over his shoulder but his eyes they were sparkling with an intense look that made my legs shake.

“Yeah........” fuck what the Hell am I supposed to say to that? “You know famous and all,”

“I bet you’ve met famous people before,”

It was something that I couldn’t argue about – because of who my Father is; I had met famous people that I liked. My Father was always trying to make things happen for me. Nothing was too much effort for him. My brother used to say that he did it because he was trying to make up for the fact that he had let our Mother die. I never really thought about it that way; to me, he just loved us and wanted what was best for us.

“Hey do you like dogs?” I asked changing the subject from the one topic that always managed to make me nervous around new people.

“I do,” he nodded.

Ok Ayd, get a grip of yourself – so he likes dogs; a lot of people like dogs. I thought to myself. But then again, I always liked a man who liked animals. Get a grip Ayd; he is just a neighbour, nothing more and nothing less.

“Come on I got something that I want to show you,” I got up from the sofa and took my plate and his then made my way towards the kitchen, where I placed them on the counter and then headed towards the laundry room where I had placed the puppies.

Christian stepped up behind me, and looked down into the heat blanket where I had placed the 3 of them. Lifting their heads feebly for a few moments before plonking them back down and their eyes closing as sleep took over.

“Ayden, they are beautiful!” he whispered in my ear making the chill snake up my spine just at the way his mouth wrapped around my name and the way it sounded coming from his mouth. “How old?”

“My Dad said they are about 2 months old,” I answered, “the only problem is coming up with names.........”

“I sometimes find that it’s easier to wait and see what kind of personalities they have before naming them,”

I liked that idea. I had been stuck when it came to naming them, because I just couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t sound clichéd. I never did like cliché – and I preferred uniqueness when it came to names and such. Hell, I even had my kids names set out and they weren’t the usual Catherine, or James.

“You know I meant to ask.......your name is kind of unusual.................”

“Yeah my Mom and Dad had tried one of those old pregnancies trick, you know the one where you hold a necklace above your belly and whatever way it swings it’s supposed to be able to be able to tell you what sex your baby is........well they did that and it apparently said that it was a boy, so they picked Aiden as a name. Goes to show that you really shouldn’t listen to superstition on any level,” I laughed, “anyway when I was born without a dick – my Father had already stuck his heart on the name, so my mom suggested calling me Ayden,”

“So are you as close to your mom as you seem to be with your dad?”

“My Mom died!”

“Ayden I am so sorry,” his hand rested on my shoulder and it was like a bolt of lightning striking through my veins.

No one’s touch had ever affected me like that before. And I was stuck; I couldn’t move, it was almost like my feet had sprouted roots into the ground. My heart was beating double time and it was like my breathing couldn’t keep up. My knees were shaking, my hands were sweating. If hadn’t been such a stickler for romance and all the trimmings, I would have sworn that I was having some kind of heart attack.

“It’s ok – it was a long time ago now,” I admitted.

When I had hit my teen years, it had been impossible for me to talk about her without crying like a baby. My Father said that it was down to the raging hormones that I was dealing with that made me so emotional when it came to her. When I passed that stage, I found it much easier to talk about her.

All of my memories of her were good ones – she was so loving and natural around children. I think that it was her calling to be a mother. I was 8 years old when she was murdered. I remember the night so vividly – she had been sat in front of the mirror in her room and I was lying on the bed supposedly reading a book for homework but was more interested in watching her. She had looked almost angelic sitting there – her waist length blonde hair swaying with every movement that she made. The blue in her eyes made more distinguished by the dark eyeliner that she had applied to the lids and the full strawberry red lips that upturned in to the most beautiful smile that I had ever seen, even to this day.

My Father had called earlier that day to tell her that they were invited to the opening of one of his friend’s restaurants down by the bay and that he would meet her there. She never made it and I knew that my Dad blamed himself, even to this day for her murder. He hadn’t been able to rest until he had found the person responsible and made them pay for what they had done.

“Do you mind me asking what happened?” he asked as I led the way out of the laundry room; leaving the puppies to their sleep.

“Not at all,” I smiled weakly, “all I know is that she was on her way to meet my Father at a restaurant opening and........someone was following her waited for her to stop at the train tracks for the train to pass and they had pushed against the back bumper in her car with much more horse power than her little car had......the train came and....apparently she had no hope in Hell!”

“That’s awful, I am so sorry!” he replied and I could tell that he was being completely sincere.

“Like I said – it was a long time ago,” I shook my head, “so what about your parent’s? Are they still together?”

“Yeah, I was one of the only kids in my school who still had their parent’s together,”

“Yeah it was the same in our school.........I just think that people are too quick to walk away from something that had once been something that they had longed for,”

“I couldn’t agree more,”

“So you’re not married?” I asked and then could have kicked my own ass for asking such a personal question. “Sorry........I didn’t mean to.....you don’t have to answer that!”

“No it’s ok, I’m not married..........since I am someone who believes that marriage is for life regardless of the problems, I just want to be sure!”

“Makes perfect sense,”

“What about you? Ever been close?” he asked as I started to fill the sink with water to wash the dishes. I wasn’t one of those people who was into dish washers, they just never seemed to wash the dishes properly. Dad always said that I was an anal clean freak. Whatever.

“Let me give you a hand with that,” Christian offered.

“No, no its ok you’re the guest......and no I have never been close, to be completely honest; I don’t have much experience with guys!”

I had been 18 years old when I had my last relationship; and since then I had steered clear until I had gotten my qualifications. Even after that, I hadn’t been overly interested in getting back in the dating scene. I guess it had scarred me more than I had even realized. What did surprise me was the fact that I didn’t find myself upset that I had opened up to him.

With that said – I knew what I had to keep my mouth shut about. I didn’t think for one second that Christian didn’t know who my father was but there was a huge thick line between guessing who he was and knowing the truth of what he was. I was always on guard about my family – it would take a Hell of a lot more trust in him before I could open up honestly to him about everything.

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HarleyMac
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Posts : 281
Join date : 2011-03-18
Age : 39
Location : Elgin, Scotland

PostSubject: Chapter 3 - Alone for the First Time   Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:57 am

A few hours later;
Ayden’s POV;

Christian had ended up helping me unpack some of the boxes that I had in the living room. Usually, I wouldn’t have liked someone touching my belongings but he was such a help and we had so much fun chatting while we worked. I don’t think that I had laughed that much in the longest time.

Apart from having to remember what I said about my family; it had turned into a relatively great night. Now I was faced with the hard part; being completely alone at night time. In a strange place too. This may be my new home; but I still had to get used to being here. I was so used to having either my Father around or my little brother, that I was a little worried that I was going to fail at this part of me being out here in the real world alone.

My Father had, thankfully, insisted that I have a gun in the house. The only thing that had bothered him deeply about me moving out was the fact that I wouldn’t be around family like I was when I lived with him. And now that I was alone – he had me worrying about it too.

What had I been thinking when I bought this place?

I was too out in the open here; anyone could get to me. Let’s face it; my Father had a Hell of a lot of enemies. The kind of enemies that didn’t have any problem in putting a hit out on a woman of my age. You just needed to look what had happened to my Mom. It hadn’t mattered to those people that she was a wife or that she was a mother; all they had seen was the fact that they believed my Father had disrespected them and had found the perfect way to get back at him. What they hadn’t realized at the time – was that it was actually the perfect way to get them dead.

Out of everything – they should have known that crossing my Father wasn’t what anyone would call a smart move. Even me, someone who was a relative novice when it came to my Father’s ‘business’, knew that the worst thing in the world was to cross my Father. With a temper that could rival the Devil; the media had reported that he was a sociopath. Yes he was not above carrying out despicable things on people; but he had never shown that side of himself around me. I had seen his temper of course – but the business was never brought into the family home.

Standing in the kitchen, I began to wipe the washed dishes from dinner. My view from the window was spectacular – the ocean was in a destructive mood. The waves were crashing wildly on the soft sand; the wind was beginning to howl – piercing the silence of the night. The moon was glowing in the dark sky, the stars sparkling like diamonds on a velvet back drop. I was always the kind of girl who enjoyed the night time – it was usually the time that I came to life. My Father always joked that I was like a Vampire.

By the time, I had finished drying the dishes – I was even more worried about staying here alone.

I knew that there was something going on with the ‘family’ here in LA and the other ‘family’ in New York. If I were to believe some of the gossip that had been passed between the other kids in our ‘family’, the New York fraction; were unhappy by some of the decisions that my Father had made. The New York fraction weren’t above trying something so underhanded as trying to either kill me or kidnap me to get what they wanted from my Father. There were a legendary number of tales about the previous ‘bosses’ kids being used to trade deals and other stuff they wanted.

I moved through to the front door and double checked that the door was locked, and then I headed to the French doors and double checked those too. Thankfully I had put up the curtains that I had purchased and closed them over to block the world out. I went to the laundry room and plucked the little puppies from their heating blanket where I had placed them earlier and made my way up the stairs to where my master suite was.

Placing the puppies in the bed and under the covers, I moved to the en-suite and quickly had a shower and brushed my teeth before laying down some paper on the floor for the puppies should they need to go during the night and then crawled into the bed where they scrambled to get closer to my heat.

It had been years since I had been scared of the dark – but now that I was living alone, I felt a lot safer by leaving the lamp on at the side of my bed. The warm comfort of my head sinking into the pillow – felt familiar and made me relax a little bit.

Unfortunately the calmness didn’t last very long. There was a tree in my back yard and it was stupidly placed near the side of the house where my bedroom was; the branches slammed and scraped against the glass. It would have been comical to see me almost hit the ceiling, if it weren’t so scary and drastic. Before I knew what I was doing, I had reached for the phone. While staring at it; trying to decide whether or not to call my Dad – the puppy lying on my chest made a cute little sound that drew my attention away from the phone.

“What?” I asked. It was followed by another sound that tore at my heart strings. “I want to call my Dad.........” another little noise, “are you saying that I shouldn’t?” this was followed by a weak and lame attempt at a bark but definitely warmed my heart towards him and made me realise that calling my Dad the first night was not a good idea.

I had moved out of my Father’s house because I wanted to be independent – calling him because I felt a little afraid; would never get me the respect that I craved from him. Besides, I had the gun he had given me in the nightstand drawer – it wasn’t like he had left me completely defenceless.

“Ok I get it, I shouldn’t call!” I mumbled and was rewarded to the feel of the little puppy crawling further up my chest until his small little head was nestled in the crook of my shoulder and neck. “I really should come up with names for you guys huh?”

I was met by silence; all three of them had fallen asleep and were quietly lost in their dreams. Well at least they were comfortable; I had to admit that having them lying by my side and on top of me; definitely made me feel a little safer. I was still nervous and listening out for every little sound, but I was a lot more calm than I had been.

My mind turned to Christian – that unique shade of blue eyes that made my stomach flip excitedly. It was true that he was gorgeous – his physical appearance was definitely visually satisfying. But talking to him; it had been so easy and comfortable. I hadn’t had that with a man before. Not that I had much experience.

Vince had been so charming and complimentary that it had been hard to see through his bullshit. Even my Father hadn’t saw through him – it had driven him mad when he had finally heard what had happened. It had taken all of my persuasion skills to ensure that he hadn’t clipped him. The anger had been epic; I had been scared for my Dad’s health – it had gotten so bad that he had ended up popping a blood vessel in his eye. Vince was lucky that I hadn’t just let my Father get his hands on him. My Father wasn’t used to standing by and watching people disrespect him, let alone his children, but whatever Vince had done; he didn’t deserve to die for it.

I knew that my friends disagreed with me on that part – they had watched for a long time as Vince hadn’t only taken my Father’s generosity for granted but he had ran around and cheated on me. I had just been too willing to see the good in him, I didn’t want to believe that he would do something like cheat on me. Of course they had told me many times that they had witnessed him first hand stepping out with some other girl but I guess that old saying about love being blind must be true because I just wasn’t willing to listen to them. Until of course, I had found him with my own eyes and he didn’t even bother to deny it.

In fact; what he had tried to do was blame it all on my Father. If you can actually believe the brass neck of him – he said that my Father had a lot of women on the go; even when he had been married to my mother. I knew that he fucked other women, I knew that he had been with other women while being with my mother – but to hear some jumped up little tosspot saying that my father had cheated on my mother and then trying to say that it was ok for him to do as long as he came home to me at the end of the night made me see red. A month after we had split up; he still had the black eye that I had given him for his comments on my Family.

To say that my Father had been proud of me would be a gross understatement. It had taken me a while to get over what had happened, and by the time I had – I think that I had just built every man up to be the same cheating and disloyal asshole that Vince had been.

Being Italian by blood; respect and honour was the most important thing to me and when I had felt so disrespected; I just figured it was better to switch off rather than giving my heart away to anyone else. Because regardless of what I had said at the time, I had loved Vince very much and he hurt me; I never wanted to feel that kind of pain again.

With my mind suitably distracted from being alone, I didn’t jump quite as badly when the phone started to ring.

“Speak,” I said answering after the 3rd ring.

“Hey honey,” my Father’s strong accent pierced the air, “I just wanted to call and make sure that you are ok and settling in ok,”

“I’m fine Daddy,” I replied happily.

I was in the house, I had locked everything up tighter than fort Knox and I was safe with my new babies and the gun that my Father had left in my nightstand.

“You didn’t have to leave me a gun you know?” I expressed, “you know how I feel about those things!”

“I know sweetheart; but I would rather you be a little uncomfortable with it being in the house than have you die because you had no form of protection,”

I really couldn’t argue with his reasoning – which was always the problem. My Father would tell me that he understood my feelings and that he respected me because of my believes but the minute my back was turned; he would totally contradict either himself or me, sometimes both in the same moment, which was what I called a hat-trick.

“Well thank you,”

“What’s wrong?” he asked instantly alert, “you never give in this easily, what’s happened?”

“Nothing..........”

“Ayden Bella Santiago!” he chided me.

“I was just a little nervous about being here alone at night – but I figure that is just natural,” I admitted.

I had never been able to lie to my Father; he always said that I had the same right eye twitch as my Mother when I tried to lie and it was a dead giveaway. Not exactly something that you wanted to hear – especially when your Mother is dead. The truth was, I couldn’t remember all that much about her.

I knew that she was always willing to play dress up with me, she’d do my makeup, she’d let me play with her high heeled shoes as long as she was there to supervise me and she loved to sit brushing my hair. I loved lying on her bed watching her get dressed – I remember thinking that she looked like a princess. With her long blonde bouncy hair and her large blue eyes that seemed to sparkle when the sun was shining or when she saw my Father.

I can remember thinking that I wanted to be as beautiful as she was and I wanted to have men look at me the way my Father looked at her. She was the absolute centre of his universe – it wasn’t hard to see that.

“It is natural, but I can come over if you want?” my Father offered.

“No Dad – I have to do this. I can’t expect you to come running every time I get a little scared can I? I have to learn, and if you come over – what will the point of me moving out be?”

“I don’t understand why you did move out,”

“Daddy!” I sighed flopping back on to the pillows.

I knew that he hated the idea of me moving out but the truth was – it was time. I was 26 years old, I had finished University and was ready to start my own business. I didn’t want to be on the other end of LA when my new business was going to be so much closer to where I live now.

And before I knew what was happening, the smile was dragging my lips upwards because Christian had just entered my reasons to stay put. Boy am I in trouble.

The Following Morning;
Christian’s POV;

Last night had been great – not at all what I had expected to be honest. I had thought that I would just give her the dish and leave her to it; but when she invited me in; it felt a little too hard to say no to her. No woman had ever affected me the way Ayden had last night. I figured it was just because she was new in the area and didn’t have many friends here so I had wanted to keep her company; I doubted that it would happen again.

Stretching out on my bed, Bud my black Labrador lifted his head to see what was happening and upon realizing I wasn’t getting up yet; he placed his head back on his paws and closed his eyes happily.

Sometimes my job really got to me; with all the travelling that I had to do, but then other times – it didn’t bother me. I loved what I did on a whole, it was just that, especially when you meet someone that you could see having a future with; it makes it hard to maintain that when one of you has to constantly move around and not stay in one place for more than a few weeks at a time.

Caitlyn hadn’t been able to handle it. However, the truth was that she had been a little bit insecure about herself, she was always worried that someone prettier than her would come along and steal me away from her. I had wished for her not to be so down on herself, but she had been hurt badly in the past and I guessed that some asshole had done a really good job on her to be so insecure.

At first it hadn’t been a problem, especially to me.......I didn’t mind a girl who needed to lean on me; helped me feel needed to be honest. But the more time went past and the more time I was on the road with Leverage and then my music; it had gotten gradually worse over the course of a few months. Almost from the moment that I got up to the moment I went to bed at night; she’d be texting me and calling me. I wouldn’t have minded so much but the majority of the time, the calls came when I was filming scenes and my bosses were beginning to lose their patience with me. I made excuses, I tried talking to her and getting her to see that she could give me some space without me running off with another woman, but nothing seemed to get through to her. It was a shame; she really was a sweet and genuinely nice girl but her paranoia stood in the way of other people being able to see it.

The last straw came when the cast on Leverage were given the news that the network had picked the show up for another season. Aldis, Beth, Tim and Gina had decided to go out to celebrate – I was supposed to be catching a plane that night but I had called the airline and bumped my ticket from that night to the following afternoon. I had called Caitlyn to know but she had gone into a hysterical rant about me not wanting to be around her and that I was probably in bed with another woman laughing at her for being stupid to believe that I was being faithful to her.

It was then that I realized nothing I said or did would ever be enough for her to believe and if she truly thought that I was the kind of guy to, not only; bed another woman behind her back but also laugh about it – she truly didn’t know me at all.

For months I had tried to reassure her, I had tried to be patient with her constant accusations of me bedding other women. Hell, I hadn’t even been able to go to the store for milk, without being timed and if I was a minute late in getting back, the first thing from her mouth had been – ‘who is she?’ I just couldn’t take it anymore; I had stopped talking to women apart from the ones that she knew, I didn’t hang out with my mates, all I did was work and then hang out with her because the constant insinuations about me cheating had become too much to bear.

My friends hated her; all they could see was this pushy woman who had stopped me from hanging out with them. It didn’t matter when I tried to explain, they had made up their minds and I couldn’t truly blame them for that. Whenever one of us had gotten a girlfriend in the past we had involved them, but Caitlyn didn’t want to be involved; she never wanted to hang out with anyone but me, or we’d have an understanding with our women that we spent a lot of time together. They had actually cheered when I told them that me and Caitlyn had split up.

There hadn’t been anyone since Caitlyn. If I were asked to be honest, I would have to say that Caitlyn had kind of put me off the whole dating scene. I never wanted to be in a relationship where I had to choose between my friends and my girlfriend ever again. I had stopped myself from hanging out with women that I didn’t know because I just didn’t want to chance fate.

Then Ayden had walked into my life.

Well more like I had put myself in her path. I had seen her when she and, who I now knew to be, her Father had viewed the house. Unfortunately I had only gotten a look at the back of her head. Long raven coloured hair that flowed to her waist and shone with the sunlight hitting it. Then the day before yesterday; I had seen her when she arrived to clean the house, well that was what I had assumed she was doing considering the amount cleaning materials she had brought with her. I had been in the spare room of my home; putting away some of my summer cloths, which were placed in the wardrobe until the following year.

I had been knocked sideways with her natural beauty. What had stunned me was that from where I stood; I could see that her eyes were shaped like those of a cat – slightly slanted but alluring at the same time. I hadn’t been able to see the colour, but last night I had been close enough to see that they were almost midnight black with a splash of green in them. I had never seen eyes like it before and they were completely mesmerizing. With naturally high cheek bones; she had the look of a 1950’s starlet, thin raspberry coloured lips gave you the most genuine and happy smile that I had ever seen.

God, I am fully aware of how pathetic I sound.

Kicking the covers back, I decide that I should get up before I convince myself that it would be a good idea to go over there with some pancakes for her. I had already offered food; I didn’t want to be known as the guy who gave her free meals.

“Come on Bud, it’s time to get up!” I stated tapping his head softly.

What I got in response was a grunt from the back of his throat, followed by what sounded like a long sigh before he clambered down from the bed and followed me down the stairs, while I pulled my vest top on over my head.

The minute I reached the kitchen, Bud stopped at his water dish – looked up at me then back to the dish and back to me again, as if to say – give me water. The saying was that people didn’t own cats, that cats owned people – however sometimes I did wonder if that was true because my dog certainly owned me that was for sure. Unwilling to be an awful dog owner, I picked up his bowl and filled it with water for him and then stood back watching him slurp it up as if he hadn’t drank in a month.

“You thirsty huh Bud?”

‘Woof’ was my response before he scrambled towards the French doors that led out on to the balcony.

Once Bud was out in the walled up back yard, I moved to the kettle to make the first mug of coffee for the day. I really couldn’t function properly without at least one cup of coffee in my system. And then a cigarette to bring my nicotine levels back up; then I would be ready to face the world.

Pouring the hot water into my mug and stirring it until the granules had created the drink I was desperate for, I moved to the French doors and stepped out on to the balcony where I sat on the steps and lit a cigarette; inhaling deeply before glancing to my right; where Ayden’s house was situated. It didn’t seem like she was up yet – no life to the house that had been empty for months but just as I was starting to turn back to Bud; I caught sight of her.

Running up the beach; her hair tied back and her pretty features red and sweaty. From what she was wearing; I could finally see the kind of body that she had – long and lean – she was really beautiful; even seeing her like this made my heart make a desperate attempt to leap from my mouth. Seeing me, she raised her arm and waved at me. Ok time to smile like an idiot, jackass – the smile spread and I waved back to her.

“Hey neighbour,” she smiled coming to a stop near her gate.

“Hey you.....how was your first night?”

“There was a few teething problems, but nothing major,” she replied kicking the stone that was near her gate.

“I’m glad,” I nodded.

“Listen I was thinking........why don’t you come over tonight; I’ll cook!” she suggested; a hint of confidence with a splash of uncertainty in her voice. My heart melted back in its place.

“You cooked for me last night.......” I pointed out.

“Well not technically; you cooked the meal, I just had to heat it up – it’s not exactly cooking for you,” she giggled softly using her hands to flatten and smooth down her hair.

It was actually quite sexy to see her flustered; it made her come across as more than what I had assumed her to be. When we had talked last night, I had worried that she was just the spoiled little girl of a big bad boss man but she had totally come across as very independent and in control of her own life and willing to work for what she wanted.

Granted Daddy had purchased the house and the building for her business but it was her determination to do well that made her stand out from other spoiled brats that I had met.

“I can see that I can’t convince you that you did cook for me last night,” I chuckled and she nodded her head in agreement, “ok then, I would love to come over!”

“Good,” she looked straight into my eyes and smiled even brighter, “come over about 7.30?”

“I’ll be there,”

“Great, I’ll see you tonight then,” she smiled before heading inside her home and closing the French doors behind her.

I fell back onto the balcony; hardly able to believe that I had gotten through yet another conversation with her. I was always a little nervous about approaching women that I didn’t know – I think it came from my younger years when I was in school and didn’t really have much confidence to talk to the pretty girls.

People were quick to assume that being famous was problem free and that the life was perfect where nothing bothered you. But the truth is that; you just never know if someone is either talking to you, or interested in you because of what you do for a living or if they are interested because of the person you are.

Being famous was however, great if you wanted a one night stand, or a open relationship but for getting into something long term and committed – it could be hard and sometimes, really lonely. From what I had seen of Ayden; she seemed to be a genuine girl, who didn’t really go in for all the fame stuff; if she did I assumed that the media would have reported who she was; but she was unknown where her Father never seemed to be out of the headlines lately. I don’t know he managed to keep her and brother hidden but he did and it showed that fame wasn’t something that Ayden really looked for in people.

Man, I had to get a grip on this before I had this girl on a pedestal so high that not even she could live up to the image. Plus there was a chance that she was just being kind because I had given her a meal last night. I knew that it wasn’t always easy to move into a new place and make friends.

Anyway, I headed back inside – I had to go into the studio today, to lay down some tracks for my upcoming album. I wanted to get it done so that I was back in time for my dinner date with Ayden; the Mobsters daughter. And not just any mobster; the ‘boss’.

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PostSubject: Chapter 4 - Another Meal.............   Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:58 am

Later that night;
Ayden’s POV;

By inviting Christian over to have a meal with me tonight; I had ensured that I had company again, and it was an added bonus that he was a hot. I couldn’t put my finger on what made me feel so drawn to him but I did and I never thought that I would ever feel anything like this. I knew that it wasn’t love – because I was a sceptic when it came to the types of myth’s that surrounded the whole idea of love.

For example, I couldn’t understand why people could meet and instantly know that they were going to marry or that they’d spend the rest of their lives loving that person. Love wasn’t about instant attraction – lust was about instant attraction and I was used to feeling that with guys; but instant love – come on; no way! Love came from the heart and getting to know someone – lust was a chemical reaction in the brain that responds to the sight of someone that you are physically attracted too and I knew that a lot of people were happy to believe that it was love. I knew that I was in lust with Christian – Hell I wish I could just jump his bones right this minute.

Knowing that he was coming over tonight, I had spent the day putting away all the stuff downstairs and it was now looking much more like a home. I had arranged the living room the way I wanted it and I had set the dining table more for decoration than for the necessity of using it.

My Dad had spent years trying to teach me etiquette as he called it; but I had never been the girl who liked formal, shit – I didn’t even go to my prom because it was all about the dresses and suits and all that other bullshit that came with teenage drama.

My Father felt guilty that I had, had to grow up so quickly, but in truth – I was glad because I had never truly fit in at high school anyway. I stuck to the ‘family’ code and only hung out with friends that I had always been around, which gave me a limited amount of friends. High school was lonely for me – it didn’t matter who I was, it didn’t matter what I wore or what kind of music I liked; I just didn’t fit in and people were scared of me because of who my Father was.

It wasn’t any wonder that my first relationship didn’t come until I was university. It wasn’t that much of a big deal to me; I wasn’t like those other kids in my school – I didn’t spend my time mooning over some pathetic jock that had more muscles than he had brains. I had never been into that whole popularity deal; it was just pointless – life wasn’t about fashion, it was about getting a good paying job so that you could afford to do what you wanted. I think that was one of the reasons that I had kept my head down throughout school – I just wanted to get the grades so that I could have a good paying job which would mean I didn’t have to rely on my father for his money.

And now here I am in the position where I am opening my own business. It was definitely something that I took seriously. My Father had insisted on loaning me the money to buy the building, I had wanted to go to a bank and apply for a business loan but he wouldn’t hear of it. At first, I had tried fighting him on it and even though it had impressed him; it hadn’t made him change his mind. My Father hated banks with a passion – he thought they were all charlatans who fleeced the honest worker of their hard earned money. The majority of my Father’s money was placed all over – some in his many businesses, some with his lawyer and some with his accountant and the rest was floating around the house somewhere; he had never divulged where he had it hidden. Of course, he had a bank account, but he never put more than what was needed in there.

Lighting a cigarette, I moved to the French doors and pulled them wide – happy with the Italian smells that filled the room. Garlic, oregano, tomatoes, herbs of many types and it was all topped with the subtle touch of the home made white sauce I had made for the lasagne. In fact the smells were making my stomach rumble angrily. I had been so busy during the day that all I had, had to eat was my fruit salad when I had come back from my run along the beach and a slice of toast around midday.

The front doorbell began to ring as I enjoyed the solitude and I felt the excited flip in my stomach reach Olympic status (if the Olympics ever added such a thing that is). I do tend to let my mind get carried away when I am thinking of analogies; you’ll just have to bear with me. With my cigarette in hand, I moved back into the kitchen and then through to the front door from there where I pulled it back and felt the smile on my face widen when I was met with those most amazing blue eyes that I had seen last night and had dreamt of when I had finally fallen asleep.

“I didn’t know what to bring, so I got you this, since I know you like it!” he smiled as he handed me a bottle of the expensive red wine that I had been drinking the previous night.

“You didn’t have to do that,” I smiled ushering him inside and locking the door behind him.

“Are you kidding? You’re feeding me for the second night in a row........”

“You cooked last night, like I said, all I did was heat it up in the oven,” I led the way to the kitchen where I placed the bottle of wine on the counter and moved to the fridge, “what can I get you to drink?”

“A beer would be great thank you,” he replied glancing to the front room where my new fluffy babies were lying in a huge basket by the roaring fire. “It looks like they’ve settled in,”

“Oh yeah; it’s like they have been here longer than I have,” I smiled, “Glass or do you want to just drink from the bottle?”

“A glass would be great if it isn’t too much hassle,” bringing those eyes back round to look at me; it was like looking into a blue glacier lake – such bright and haunting looking eyes. My legs suddenly felt completely boneless and I had to lean against the counter to pour his beer before falling to the floor.

“It’s not hassle at all,” I managed to reply in a fairly calm voice although my insides were literally ripping with the intense wave of lust that was coursing through my veins.

No – even now, facing this man who was gorgeous beyond any comprehension, I could still think clearly enough to know that I wasn’t in love – I was in complete lust. The kind of lust that wanted to rip those cloths from his body and tie him to my bed and refuse to let him leave until I have had my fill of him.

“It looks like you’ve had a busy day too,” he commented smiling as I handed him his glass of beer before turning and looking around.

“Yeah – I woke up this morning and just felt that kick of energy that made me want to get it all done. I don’t like living in a mess.......”

“You don’t?”

“No! My Dad says that I am anally organised and clean.......I say eh, what does he know!” I laughed and was elated when he chuckled along with me.

It was the kind of heart warming chuckle that made you feel safe and brought back memories of my Papa Santiago. Whenever he was around; I was the one who could be found with him. We did everything together; I would stay with him and his 3rd wife, Alicia for weeks at a time and it never bothered my parent’s because they could see just how much papa doted on me.

I remember my Mother telling me once that I was the apple of every male’s eye in our family, especially my papa. Sometimes it was hard to believe that he was dead – just the mere thought of it would slice through my heart and leave me gasping for air. I still missed him tremendously but it had been his time – liver cancer had claimed him at the right time for him I guess – his 3rd wife; Alicia had died of MS only 2 months before my papa joined her. My Dad had said that it was because he just couldn’t bear to live without Alicia. Seemed a little too much like romantic twaddle to me but I didn’t disagree with him.

“I bet you’re not that bad!”

“Trust me – I’m more vigil than the health service in this country!” I smiled before sipping my wine. “I think it’s just because I had to look after my Dad and brother after my mom died and our aunt Barb had to head back to Italy,”

“It seems like you took on a big responsibility,” slowly the 2 of us moved towards the living room where we relaxed into the same spots that we had been in the previous night.

“What’re you gonna do?” I asked hearing the heavy influence of my Father’s accent flowing through my lips, “Dad was always so busy with his work, and Elias was.......he was so young when it happened that he didn’t truly understand it. All he knew was that Mom had gone out one night and she hadn’t come back and that she wouldn’t be coming back,”

“Sounds like it was tough,”

“No it really wasn’t compared to how many kids have to live. Besides; being Italian means that family has to come first and I just knew that my mom would have wanted me to step up and do it; she never liked the thought of me and Elias being raised by nanny’s or anyone other than herself,”

“She sounds like she was an amazing woman,”

“She really was.......she was just this bright force of light in my life. I was always being praised by her for some reason or another, I was always by her side when I was at home and she would let me play with her shoes and her cloths, she’d put make up on me but don’t get me wrong; when she was mad – you’d know about it!” I smiled as my head fell back against the plush sofa cushion, “when she first left; it was so hard to remember that she wouldn’t be walking through that door any second, she wouldn’t ever pamper me or Elias when we skinned our knees from playing rough and she wouldn’t be there to cradle us when we had a nightmare, or when we had the flu,”

“I can’t even imagine what that must be like – I am lucky to have both of my parents still here,”

“It’s tough, it’s the little things that you remember most – like the scent of her hair, the perfume that she always wore or the little way that she’d dance around in the kitchen, the way she cared after the extended family whenever they came to the house,” turning my head to look at him, I could see that he was watching me intently, his blue eyes sparkling, “I only wish that I can turn into half the woman she was!”

Whenever the ‘uncles’ came to the house; my mother would go straight into hostess mode – coffee or whatever drink they requested, sandwiches were placed out with other little nic naks for them to eat. The house often smelt of cigar smoke, but my mother didn’t smoke but she never once complained – she just dealt with it the way she could. Fragranced candles, pot pourri and other little smelly items littered the house. My father had called it hippy, new age, bullshit that was marketed for the gullible. My Mother had come from an extremely free loving family back in Italy – it was just a part of who she was.

Sometimes my Father could be cruel to my Mother – he would belittle her, he would run around on her but at the same time; he treated her like a princess. Anything that she wanted; she could usually get him to give into her.

“I bet that you are already,” Christian complimented me and successfully pulling me out of my memories.

“Thank you, that’s really sweet,” I nodded, “it’s a pity you won’t get the chance to meet her,”

“I think that I can see what she would be like through you,” his eyes caught the photo of me and Mom taken when I had been about 3 years old, “is that her?” he pointed to the photo.

“Yeah that’s her,”

My Mother with her wild black hair – it was naturally curly and it just couldn’t be tamed, she had eventually given up trying to control it. However, it was her eyes that called you in – deep mud brown that just made you feel like you were sinking into them. A thin set mouth that always seemed to be smiling; her lips were a natural cherry colour. Deep dark olive skin that always seemed to glow healthily. My mother was just a remarkably beautiful woman. I felt bland compared to her – but my Dad always told me that I looked more and more like her with every passing day.

Even after having had 2 children; she kept her size 4 waist – looking at her, I swear it sometimes felt like looking at an angel. And even though sometimes, my Father was cruel to her – no one ever questioned his love for her.

“You look like just her,” my new friend commented seriously.

“I don’t know about......”

“Trust me, you could be sisters instead of mother and daughter,” he interrupted me.

Unlike other women my age, I didn’t feel the need to feign embarrassment; I accepted the comment for what it was and felt a warm glowing bubble in the pit of my stomach. In all honesty; he couldn’t have paid me a better compliment if he had tried.

“Thank you,” I smiled feeling my head tilting down somewhat and the bangs in my hair fell over my face and thankfully hid the creeping red that had started at the base of my neck.

Christian’s POV;

As I stared at the picture of Ayden’s mom; I could read almost everything that was being said in that picture. Love, protection, adoration and happiness. The woman was undoubtedly gorgeous – she was almost shining from the photo, but what I noticed instantly – what Ayden was now; the way she looked – she was more beautiful than her Mother was.

“Dinner will be ready,” Ayden stated getting up and moving to the kitchen obviously happy to be getting away from the topic of her mother.

I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for her to lose her mother at such a young age, and then on top of that; taking on the role of housewife and ensuring that her little brother was taken care of. It showed a strength in her that many women her age, hadn’t experienced. My lust for her was growing steadily with each passing moment of getting to know her.

“Do you like Garlic bread?” she asked me glancing over her shoulder as she pulled a large glass dish from the oven that was steaming and the burst of scent in the air made my mouth water hungrily.

“Yeah, I do!”

“Good – now all of this is homemade so if there is something wrong with it; please tell me!” she smiled again.

It didn’t seem to me that she ever really stopped smiling; she looked like the kind of girl who was an eternal optimist. I liked it and it was definitely addictive. I found myself wanting to spend more and more time with her – I guess that was my heart’s way of saying that it was finally ready to move on.

“I’m sure it will be perfect,”

“Don’t say that until you’ve tasted it,” she laughed pulling a long roll wrapped in baking foil, which I found out was the garlic bread, “my garlic bread is usually a hit though!”

I watched as she moved around the kitchen as if she were at home in it – much the same way I was when I cooked. I loved to cook; I found it relaxing especially after the hectic schedule I had to keep with work.

“Do you want to sit at the table? Or we can have it in the living room,”

“Dining table is fine with me,” I admitted glancing over and seeing the way she had set it. Candles in the middle of the table, glass wear and plates were already placed there.

“Ok dining table it is,” she nodded while she served up 2 large plates of lasagne while I moved to the table and lit the candles. “You don’t have to do that if you don’t want too, I only put the candles there for decoration,”

“I like it – it’s nice and warm, not to mention romantic!” had I really just said that? With the quick snap of her neck; it was obvious that I had indeed just said it. Flashing me that smile again, I knew that I hadn’t been completely off the mark about what was going on between us.

Moving over to where I was stood, she placed the plates on top of the ones that were already there and then she made her way back to the kitchen area and began slicing the garlic bread. The smells that were floating around the room, were nothing short of mouth watering – I could feel that familiar bubble in my stomach that I got whenever I was hungry.

“It really smells great,” I added as I moved to the counter to watch her work.

“It’s my grams recipe, handed down to the women in the family in every generation; this is the first time that I have attempted to make it,” she informed me.

“I’m sure it will be as amazing as it smells,”

We both moved back over to the dining table and as if they had been aware of food – the puppies came trotting around the back of the sofa and lined up watching us as we sat down to eat. I couldn’t help but laugh.

“There is nothing worse than having huge large brown doe eyes looking at you, and those blue ones aren’t much better!” she laughed nodding to the husky puppy in the middle. “I’ll be right back,” placing the fork down on the plate, she rose from the chair and gently gathered up the dogs and moved to the laundry room where she had, had them the previous night.

I waited for her to come back, taking the chance to check out the art work that she had placed on the walls – most of it was cinema posters for the likes of Scarface, Goodfellas, The Godfather and other un-mob related. I noticed one for The Lost Boys and I had to admit that she really seemed to be into the Gothic side of life; she had a lot of dark figurines around the room, her photos frame were all in black wrought iron and the colours in the house were dark and warm. Then there was the way she dressed – tonight she looked casually beautiful in a floor length skirt and a claret red handkerchief top that showed more flesh than I had assumed possible.

“That’s better – now we can eat in peace,” she smiled sashaying back into the room and moved with all the grace of a big cat hunting its prey. Sitting down, she lifted her fork and we both tucked in.

The minute the food hit my tongue; it was like a burst of amazing tastes – my pallet was trying to ascertain some flavours from the others but I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than the fact that the food tasted amazing. Better than anything that I had ever cooked in my life.

“Oh my God!” I mumbled.

“What’s wrong? Does it not taste good?” she asked stopping with her fork almost at her mouth as she looked at me in horror.

“Ayden, trust me when I tell you that it tastes better than it smells, which I actually thought couldn’t be possible. I have to get this recipe from you.......”

“The only way you get that recipe is if you marry me,” she giggled, obviously without thinking because the minute that she said it, she blushed deeply, “I’m sorry, I didn’t want you to think........I wasn’t hint.......can you just forget that I said that?”

“Why? I was going to say that maybe one day I will marry you,”

“Oh God you’re not one of those people who believes in love at first sight are you?”

“God no!” I chuckled reaching for a slice of the garlic bread, desperate to taste it.

“Thank God!” she laughed placing her fork on the side of the plate and reaching for a slice of garlic bread too, “it’s not that I would knock you for it, but it just isn’t something that I believe in personally!” she admitted using her fingers to tear the slice in half.

“I don’t either. I think that for the most part; people confuse love for lust........” I replied biting into the slice and almost choking when her head snapped up and she looked at me in wonder, “what? What did I say?”

“You just said the very think that I always say,” she laughed.

“Great minds think alike I guess,”

“So it would appear,” we fell into silence for a few moments. I liked her a lot, there was just something about her that made me never want to leave her side. It was beyond her physical beauty – there was a deeper beauty; something rooted so deeply inside her that once you were in her sights; you should just give in and accept that you wanted her. “So tell me about your family?”

“My family – well like I said, I still have both of my parents; they are great and amazingly supportive of me and my little sister Jennifer. I had actually gone to college to study art; but then I was hit with the acting bug and when I told my folks about wanting to come to LA – they were both behind me from the get go,”

“They weren’t scared of losing you?” she asked using one of the sides of her torn slice and soaking up the sauce from the lasagne.

“No,” I smiled watching her, “the thing is; me and Jen were always raised with a strong sense of family and the commit that we have to each other. I guess they just knew that we knew what was important, regardless of where life took us,”

“It sounds like you’re all really close,”

“We really are,” I admitted, “I know that if it weren’t for them – I wouldn’t be here right now, doing a job that I don’t think that I could ever tire of you know?”

It had been difficult for my Mom when I left Norman, Oklahoma to move out here to LA in search of what almost everyone who came here was looking for. There was the chance that I would fail, she worried about me and money – so every week without fail; my bank account would be topped up with a couple hundred dollars to keep me going.

“So what does your sister do?”

“She’s a real estate agent,” my little sister Jennifer, had married her high school sweetheart almost the minute they had left school and she had her first child within 9 months of being married.

I admired her deeply; she had refused to give her baby away or to have a termination. She worked in a diner in town all the way up to giving birth and then she once my nephew Joshua had been born, she applied to go back to night school and got her qualifications to become a estate agent. She had worked hard and she had achieved what she had desperately wanted to achieve. Daniel, her husband was a mechanic working for his Father; so he knew that he had the business coming to him when his dad was gone, which from all recent accounts wouldn’t be long.

A long term alcoholic; his liver had started to fail and now he was dealing with jaundice and other drinking related issues. To be honest though; my sister and her husband had their lives mapped out and that was good for them – it gave them the stability that they felt like they needed.

“You said she was married.......have they got any kids?” Ayden enquired as she sipped at her glass of wine.

“Yeah they have a little boy who is 8 years old now, Joshua!”

“I like that name,” Ayden nodded.

We both seemed to turn quiet at the same time while we ate – it was a nice silence though. Not one that appeared when you didn’t really know someone and you were trying to keep the conversation going. It was obvious to me; that we had no problems in talking to one another – this was the second night that I had spent here with her and the more we talked, the more I found myself liking her. There were hidden depths to her that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to explore.

The soft gentle crashing of the waves on the shore just beyond our back yards, was a nice touch to the meal we were sharing. However, there was one little thing that was bothering me – her Father. The man was notorious and I was already intimidated by him. I just hoped that he liked me; because I had the sneaking suspicion that if he didn’t like me; he would do whatever he had to, to stop his little girl being with me.

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PostSubject: Chapter 5 - It's Fun.   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:00 am

Ayden’s POV;

I really don’t know what I had been so nervous about all day. Christian was a nice guy and he was actually fun to hang out with. There was the added pleasure of the fact that my eyes didn’t seem to hate looking at him. In fact; it seemed like they couldn’t get enough of looking at him – every line on his handsome features had been beautifully moulded into the structure; making him look definitely unique and more handsome than I had realized the previous night.

The way his golden mane of hair reminded me of an alpha lion in the desert – long, shining and unpredictable. But the most striking detail of him was his eyes; they were a shade of blue that I had never seen in my life.

“What about you? Do you have any nieces or nephews?” he asked me before stuffing some more of the lasagne into his mouth.

“No!” I shook my head, “my brother is younger than me, and I told him that if he had kids before me; he’d be found sleeping with the fishes,”

All of a sudden he snapped his head up to see if I was joking, I presumed, it wasn’t exactly a secret to him anymore who my father was and what he did. My Dad however, would have a fit if he knew that I was developing feelings for this man; first off the mark – he was in no way Italian and secondly; he was part Indian; from what he had told me the previous night.

“I’m joking Chris,” I offered a lopsided grin and he outwardly let his shoulders relax from the tight position that they had formed into, “let’s get this out of the way yes? I can tell that you know who my Father is........so ask me what you want and I will answer to the best of my abilities!”

Grabbing my glass of wine, I gulped it down and reached for the bottle to pour another glass full while my dinner companion seemed to be mulling over my offer in his head.

I always felt that it was easier to get this conversation out of the way relatively quickly in any circumstance; whether it is a possible boyfriend or even a friend. Some people were funny about who they hung out with, just like when I had been younger when the parent’s had stopped their children hanging out with me. At first, when I was younger – it had hurt me to think that because my Daddy didn’t do what the other fathers did – they wouldn’t let their kids play with me. I just didn’t understand people and their prejudices and because of that; I tried my hardest to never judge someone from what they appeared on the outside.

My Dad had toughened me up though – he assured me that it wouldn’t always be that way but it was best I get used to it at an early age – because when I was older, I would realize that I couldn’t please everyone all of the time and that there were going to be people out there who would do what they could to put me down just to make themselves feel better. And it wasn’t that I thought Christian was like that, but I could see that he had a nervousness about him that was endearing if I was truly honest.

“Really?” he asked raising his eyes to mine.

I desperately wanted to reach across the table and gently brush the one loose strand of his hair out of those eyes. Those eyes were too beautiful to be hidden from the world by anything.

“Of course, there is obviously stuff that I can’t talk about but I’ll let you know if you ask a question like that,”

“Is your Dad really a Boss in the mob?” somehow I knew that he would ask that question first.

I hadn’t known because we shared any kind of special bond – it was just that, that particular question is always the first one that people ask. The mob, or the mafia, whatever you want to call it, were somewhat of a fascination to people, regular people that is. I suppose it is understandable to an extent – but growing up in that lifestyle; you don’t really find it that fascinating. Growing up in it is actually tiresome.

“My Father is the ‘boss’ of his business yes,” I answered carefully, “he is in charge of what he does and people answer to him!”

“You don’t call it the mob or mafia do you?”

“No....we’re family – end of and family always takes care of one another,” this was a rehearsed answer but it was the one that made sense without me actually having to say the words.

The truth was – when I had hit my teenage years; I had resented my Father for who he was. I hated that he was never home and that I had to entertain his new wife – I hated the fact that I could sometimes hear them arguing in the middle of the night about the whores that my Father was sleeping with; in the end he had driven her to trying to take her own life.

Thankfully, I had found her in time – she is now in a mental facility where they keep her safe and understand her problems. It was the best one in the state and my Father paid her fees every year like clockwork. Deep down, I knew that he had loved her in his own way and I knew that he stills goes out to see her every month. I haven’t visited her myself; I just don’t want to think of her that way. It’s bad enough that I have the memories of her lying passed out on the kitchen floor having taken what appeared to be almost a full bottle Percocet and downed the whole lot with a bottle of vodka on top.

“What was it like growing up in a family like that?” he asked wiping a slice of garlic bread around his plate to soak up the remaining sauce.

“I guess it isn’t all that different to anyone else’s family really. I had to live by the rules that my Dad set, I was to keep to curfew, I was to look after my little brother, I was to cook and keep the house clean and for all of that, I got an extremely generous pocket money and had my own credit card by the time I was 16 years old.

“We’d have family holidays in Italy where we would be introduced to our relatives and it wasn’t an option to not go, or to go away with a friend’s family for holidays. I always had my ‘uncles’ around whenever I needed anything, their wives always looked in on me too – just to make sure that I was dealing with everything. Like I said it’s an extremely close knit family,”

“You didn’t have raids on your home or anything?”

“Not as many as you would think,” I laughed softly, some people assumed that it would be like what they saw on the TV; the FBI always showing up with warrants and stuff. When in actual fact; it really wasn’t like that at all.

We knew that it was dangerous from a young age, and we’d had it drummed into our head that in no way, shape or form that betraying your family would be punishable by death. We were to keep our mouth shut and we had heard stories of the FBI taking some of the other kids in the ‘family’ and trying to get them to talk about what they saw in their homes.

“The truth is the FBI try to crack down on supposed ‘organised crime’ but those ‘families’ are always ready and have made provisions for such things,”

“Like what?” he asked me.

“Just their placements of their money, their paperwork and stuff,” that was really all that I could say to him about that – I knew what would happen if I said too much and I really had no desire to be clipped for any reason, letting alone telling someone something that I shouldn’t have.

“I take it that everything looks to be above board when they are searched?” he asked me and I just nodded my head.

My Father had once shown me how it all worked – his money was placed in several places around the area where we lived, some was with his lawyer, some with his accountant, some in a business of a friend as an investment etc, and it wasn’t really as complicated as people seemed to think it would be. My Father ran a strip club and an office that provided rental vans; those were his ‘legal’ ventures for the outside world to see.

“Did you ever take advantage of what your family is?”

“A couple of times,”

“What did you do?” he asked me.

“Well I was in 6th grade and being bullied by this group of kids, whose family had a beef with mine – but at that age, they weren’t aware of what they were getting into. But the bullying got so bad that they had literally thrown me down a stairwell at school and I had very nearly broke my neck – when my Dad found out, he was mad as Hell – but the thing with my Dad is that he always raised me to stick up for myself, he told me to take shit from no one – and that night; he gave me permission to say anything I liked to those kids if they started on me again.

“So the next day, I was in gym and they were making fun of how gangly I looked – I didn’t develop until my late teens, anyway they were poking fun at me about being a pancake chest etc, so I just walked up to the ringleader and told her that if she didn’t shut her mouth – her parents wouldn’t be at home the following day when she got home from school and no one would ever know what happened to them,”

“What happened?” he asked completely enthralled apparently by my story telling.

“Well.....she turned white – have you ever seen a black person turn white? I honestly, didn’t think that it could happen but believe me it does. She started stammering – and then announced that she was getting bored of playing with me anyway and walked off,”

“I take it that she didn’t bother you again?”

“Nope and neither did her scrummy little friends,” it amazed me that I was still bitter about that – but to be honest, I had every right to be – they pushed me down a flight of concrete stairs, they spat in my hair, they spat chewing gum in my hair one day – which had led to me having to get all my hair cut off, they would knock my lunch out of my hands in the cafeteria and they started nasty rumours about me around school.

Thankfully, I had my friends around me – my ‘family’ once the word got out about what I had said to that girl, people started avoiding me and my ‘family’ it was suddenly like we were the high school version of the mob.

“So when was the other time?”

“Excuse me?” I asked snapping back to the moment

“You said that you took advantage of who you were a couple of times,”

“Oh yeah, I was just out of high school, and me and my friends had decided to go out to a new club that had opened. We were so clearly underage and there was no way that I should have done what I did – but when the bouncer refused us entry; I had pulled him aside and advised him it would be a good idea to let me and my friends inside and then once inside – I spent a fortune on my credit card for alcohol,”

“What did your dad do?”

“Went absolutely ballistic to be honest, he forced me to get a part time job over the summer in one of the local supermarkets as a bag packer and every cent I made went back to him until I had paid him a quarter of what I had spent back,”

“Why a quarter?”

“Because if I was to pay him the whole lot back, I would still be working in that supermarket packing bags,”

“Holy shit!” he chuckled softly.

“He forgave me eventually, and it was a lesson learned for me,” I smiled back remembering that time vividly.

I had seen my Dad mad at Elias over the years, but he had never been mad at me – at least not that mad. I don’t mind admitting that he had scared the Hell out of me. Elias was the kind of kid who had gotten off on the fact that his father was who he was – and he had made fatal mistakes sometimes, in admitting to people who he really shouldn’t that his father was a gangster, which was what Elias called him. To me he was just Dad.

Of course I had witnessed some things that I wish I never had – but what is that in the grand scale of things? I had my Father, I had lost my Mother and then eventually my step mother – in the end, who my father was or what he was; didn’t matter, it only mattered that he was there.

Christian’s POV;

There was such an air about this girl – it was impossible to interrupt her when she was talking and for the first time in the longest time; I wanted to know everything there was to know about her.

“It doesn’t sound to me that your ‘family’ isn’t at all like what they are portrayed on the big screen,”

“They’re not,” she admitted, “the closest anyone ever got was either The Godfather or The Sopranos!”

“The Godfather is actually one of my favourite movies,” I informed her and in no way was expecting the words that came from her mouth next.

“Actually, I’ve never seen it.......my Dad loves it and refers to it as being the only movie made of the ‘family’ ever!” she smiled, “he takes those things really seriously,”

“I can imagine,”

From what I had heard – the FBI were desperate to catch him for all the illegal activities that he had going on, but he was always 2 steps ahead of them. And it had been reported that he was one of those ‘bosses’ who didn’t mind getting dirty for the work he did. There were reports that he had killed people who had mistaken him for someone who would allow betrayals.

“I know I have had a privileged life – there wasn’t a time that I couldn’t have what I wanted. It didn’t matter what it was – I was given it. I didn’t like the fact that I was treated differently from my friends though,”

“Did that happen a lot?”

“Actually it did. Being from the background that I was; I had been refused the pleasure of picking my own friends.......I couldn’t make friends with the kids at school because they would eventually want to come to my house and that just wasn’t permitted, so I had to hang out with the other kids from the ‘family’ but because of who my father is; I was always treated like the princess!”

It was obvious that this girl wasn’t the kind of person who enjoyed being the centre of attention. It was refreshing to see in this town; it was like everywhere you went – there were girls and women trying to make it in the entertainment industry. Life was all about them, and they couldn’t even be bothered to pretend that they were interested in anyone other than themselves!

“Anyway, enough about me......I feel like I have been talking forever,” she smiled waving her hand in the air, “tell me about you,”

Me? My life seemed to be dull compared to what she must have seen and experienced through her life. I was just a small town guy – I hadn’t been in the middle of any kind of illegal activities. My mother and father; were normal down to earth law abiding people, my little sister was pretty much the same – married her high school sweetheart and settled down in a lovely home with their kids.

“What do you want to know?”

“Well where did you grow up? I guess with that accent, you’re not from LA!”

“That’s right; I was raised in the south – mostly Oklahoma and Texas,”

“I’ve never actually been in the south before,”

“Really? Well maybe I could take you with me when I go down to visit my family?”

“Really?” she asked happily, the smile spreading over her face once again, “I wasn’t hinting......”

“I know,” I replied. Ok I had to tell her that I was attracted to her.

“It’s kind of nice to have someone that I can just hang out with, especially a guy....it’s been a while since I have allowed it to happen,”

“Bad experience?” I enquired.

“Oh no, no, no – we’re talking about you, not me!” she replied, “so what are your parent’s like?”

As I sat there watching her; slowly sipping at her wine as she munched on the food that she had prepared; it was clear to me that she was easily one of the most beautiful women that I had ever encountered. It wasn’t just in an outwardly way – it ran through every fibre of her being. Not only did she listen to what you were saying but she genuinely looked like she not only cared but was interested about what you were talking about.

“Well my Mom; she’s probably one of the sweetest women that you could ever meet – the real stay at home country mom. Always baking cakes and muffins, always around if you needed to talk and never has a bad word to say about anyone,”

“She really sounds like a dream,” Ayden commented and in many ways, I could imagine that since she had lost her Mother – mine own mother would appear like a dream that she had never got to experience.

“She definitely is. It was her who encouraged me the most to follow my dream, she just told me point blank – if I didn’t at least try, I would end up regretting it for the rest of my life,”

“I agree with that – life is just too short to think about what if’s you know?”

“Absolutely,” chugging the bottle of beer down my throat, I watched her over the top of the candles.

“And what about your Dad?”

“My Dad is a man’s man you know the kind? Goes out to do a day’s work, doesn’t complain about anything and runs the household when he is at home. He doesn’t believe in people taking shortcuts to where they want to be. Drinks beer and whiskey every night and for as long as I can remember; he’s never skipped a day’s work regardless of whether or not he was ill,”

Growing up, I had watched my Father and I had admired him, I never wanted to be anything but like him. I know most kids say that their fathers are their heroes but he really was mine. Having the same work ethic as he did; I lived every day trying to use his principals and ethics.

“He sounds amazing,” she smiled softly at me. “And your little sister Jennifer, that was her name right?”

I had made a slight passing comment about my sister the previous night and here she was remembering her name. It truly amazed me at just how much attention she paid to me when I hadn’t even really noticed myself. This home; she had turned into a calming palace – incense burned on top of the fire place, candles scented the room perfectly and the dark colours contrasted with a cosy feeling that made me never want to leave.

We continued to eat while I talked about my home life; it was a comforting topic for me, after hearing about her family and what she had lived through. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the types of things that she must have witnessed. I didn’t, however, want to impose on her too much; she had been loud and clear about talking of the ‘family’ and I didn’t want to be a reason that she got into trouble. For some strange reason, I couldn’t bear to think of something horrible happening to this girl. Then of course, I wanted to slap myself – I had only met her yesterday and I was just becoming more and more invested in her.

“So....I was thinking that I was going to take a stroll down to the building I bought tomorrow – I was wondering if you wanted to come with me and give me your opinion?”

“That’s sounds great,” I nodded smiling off handedly as her phone began ringing.

“Excuse me,” she excused herself and made her way to the phone that was perched on the wall and began speaking.

I couldn’t hear a word of what she was saying because my brain had gone onto a singing melody – she wants to see me again; it kept going over and over in my head as if I had just won some kind of trophy. I hated feeling this way when I wasn’t even sure that she felt the same way. I figured that she did, if the way she looked at me was anything to go by but there was that side of her that appeared secretive and hidden. God did I want to delve into that side of her!

“.......no you’re forgiven,” she laughed into the receiver, “yeah everything is here, I am slowly making my way through the unpacking.............yeah if you guys can come over at night.......? well I am going down to the building to make sure that everything is in order for the builders and stuff coming in on Monday.......ok that sounds like a plan, about 8 yeah........? K say hi to Mark for me, love you........” with that she hung up and I felt my heart plummet to my bowel somewhere.

“Boyfriend?” I asked holding my breath in the hope that she said no.

“No........oh God no; my best friend Draven......she was meant to come over and help me move in but she only had her little girl a couple months ago so she is still in that I don’t want to leave my baby mode,”

“I have to say that I am glad,”

“Why?” she asked easing into her chair and looking at me with large innocent dark eyes.

“I was going to do this later, I wanted to get to know you better – but would you like to go out on a date with me sometime?”

“Of course, but why are you glad?” she asked so matter of factly that I wondered what the Hell I had been so worked up about.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“That’s it, what?” she asked back using the napkin at her side to ease across those lush lips that I wanted to taste.

“You don’t need to think about it?”

“Well no........we were together last night, you’re here tonight – I just figured that those were dates; if I didn’t want to be around you – I wouldn’t have invited you over here tonight,” she replied and I couldn’t help but smile, “what?”

“You’re an enigma,”

“I do what I can,” she giggled softly, “can I get you some coffee or something?”

“Coffee would be great,” I nodded, “so you do want to go out sometime?”

“Yes!” she glanced back to me and smiled that bright smile that was slowly becoming more and more beautiful to me. The thought of going at least one day without was becoming more and more impossible to imagine let alone it actually happening. “is it still ok for you to come to the building with me tomorrow?”

“Yeah of course,”

“Good well, how about you come back here tomorrow night – you can meet my best friend and her husband who are bringing Chinese food with them?”

“Sounds like the perfect way to spend my last day in LA,”

“Last day?” she whirled around to look at me so quickly that I was worried she would seriously injure her neck.

“Yeah I have to head back to Portland for filming,”

“How long will you be gone for?”

“A couple months at most,” I admitted and noticed the way she sagged slightly from the news.

We both turned silent as we processed the news about me leaving for a couple of months. I would try and get home at weekends, or whenever I had a couple of days break; but I didn’t want to tell her that in case it didn’t work out that I could make it home.

I hadn’t planned on meeting a girl when I was home, Hell I hadn’t been on the market for months and now here I was; thinking of getting into something with a mobsters daughter. Was I crazy?

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Join date : 2011-03-18
Age : 39
Location : Elgin, Scotland

PostSubject: Chapter 6 - Impressed and Surprised   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:01 am

The following day, walking along the beach;
Christian’s POV;

Last night had ended far too early for my liking; but at least I was happy enough to go home with the knowledge that a) she actually seemed to like me as much as I liked her and b) I was getting the entire day to hang out with her. I hadn’t been this eager to spend time with a girl since Caitlyn and even now; I don’t think that I was as interested in her as I was with Ayden.

Bud was pounding along the water edge – which was his favourite part of the beach. It didn’t matter which beach we went too; so long as he was given the freedom to run; he was perfectly content.

It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining high in the sky, the sky was free from any cloud and the light baby blue seemed to shine just a little brighter with the sun up there next to it. It had actually been a long time since I had seen the sun and moon in the sky at the same time but there it was today. The lingering moon desperately trying to cling onto some more of the night but the sun wasn’t having it. The ocean itself seemed calm and happy to crash waves gently on the shore before rolling back out again. Already the beach was beginning to fill with the sun druggies, as I called them. It didn’t matter if it was just a tiny glimpse of the sun; you’d see the same faces applying sun lotion and lying until they are suitably baked. It had never been my style to sun bathe.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Ayden remarked gently bumping her hips against mine.

“Just thinking about life at the beach,”

“It can’t be that bad, can it?” she smiled at me before turning her focus onto Bud who was happily splashing in the narrow water.

“It’s certainly gotten a lot better since the day before last,”

“You’re a charmer ain’tchya?” she giggled as the heat stained her features and she avoided looking at me.

“Only when it’s deserved,” I admitted smiling at the thought of making her blush.

I had gone home a long time after our meal last night. I think it must have been about a quarter to one when I left. Being only next door, I was glad that I didn’t have to go far. But we had spent the night talking and telling tales of times gone by – the more we talked, the more I found her to be insanely easy to talk too. I found myself wanting to tell her absolutely everything about myself – leave no stone unturned so to speak.

“I kind of like it,” she replied simply.

No arguments, or faked humility which was especially rare for women in LA – all they seemed to want was praise upon praise about everything to do with them. Oh their hair is fantastic, they look so thin, they are so tanned, their makeup is to die for and my all time favourite – if you can get me a part on a TV show; I’ll blow you. It was ridiculous and it was beyond fake to the point where I had stopped spending so much time at the beach house.

I had come here after the first half of Leverage’s 3rd season was finished because I felt like I was strung out. I had been working and touring at the same time, which isn’t an easy fete, may I tell you. I had needed more than anything else in the world, peace and tranquillity.

“Well that’s good to know,” my smile seemed to only make hers even more bright until I was sure that she had literally surpassed the sun in exuberance. I’m turning into some cheesy schmuck who can’t talk sense for seeing how beautiful a girl was.

The truth was – I had never had a problem with women in the past. But straight off the bat, I had known that this girl was different. Watching her confidence when she had been coming back and forth to her new home, seeing the way that she interacted with people and being so sure of herself and her calmness and assertiveness was catching and I couldn’t help but watch her with willing eyes to see what she was going to do next.

“Are you sure that you want to do this?” she asked me making a turn towards the path walkway that was adjacent to the soft sand.

“Absolutely” I smiled at her, “there’s nothing that I want to do more at this moment than come with you and hear all about your plans for your new venture,”

“You’re spoiling me with all these compliments you know?”

“Maybe – but I am just being honest is all,”

“Thank you,” no fake brushing off – just pure acceptance of what I said. Could this girl be cooler? The only thing that would make her perfect was if she had beer or whiskey flavoured tits – stop it! I scolded myself quickly. I had just met her and I sure as Hell didn’t want to start thinking about her body parts because I would only end up a) making myself frustrated or b) wouldn’t be able to concentrate on her and what she was saying for staring at said tits. “Chris?”

“Mmmm?” I mumbled distracted from what I had just told myself not to do.

“My face is up here,” she waved her fingers in front of her face, “not down there!” she laughed moving her fingers back to her chest, which I had to admit was extremely impressive.

“I’m so sorry......I don’t want you to think that I am some kind of creep............”

“Trust me I don’t; besides – I’ve been giving you the once over since last night,” winking at me – she turned and continued walking with no shame in her posture what-so-ever.

“You’ve been checking me out?” I hurried along until I caught up with her.

“Mmhmmm, it doesn’t bother you does it?”

“I feel....so.........so..............objectified!” I feigned shock and she started to laugh.

“I can see why you’re an actor – but if I really believed that little line, I would say sorry but since I don’t, I won’t!” she laughed as she stopped outside a rundown old building that was on the promonard.

“This is it?” I asked.

“Yeah what do you think?” she turned and looked at me expectantly.

“I think it’s a bucket of shit,” I smiled and she started laughing heartily and I was more than grateful that she took that in the way that I meant it. So many people took life way too seriously and to see this woman who wasn’t ashamed to laugh, wasn’t ashamed to admit what she was thinking or wasn’t embarrassed to take a compliment – it was really refreshing considering the entire state of LA was so self obsessed.

My Father had always told me – ‘son don’t take life too seriously, ‘cos it’s short and you only get one!’ I always tried to remember that when I worked, played or even toured and recorded. It was all temporary as my Mom would tell me often. My Parent’s may be work classing but they never forgot what was important and they never once put their work or themselves above me or my little sister and I admired them immensely for that.

“Well of course it’s a bucket of shit now.......it’s been vacant for almost 3 years.......”

“3 years? Doesn’t that tell you something?” I asked smiling and watched as she tilted her eyebrows up to reach her hair line, “that it’s a shit heap?”

“Funny! If you must know it’s been used as a hideaway for the homeless people who like to be near the beach,” she told me and I could see something like regret flashing in those beautiful pools of chocolate eyes, “I felt so bad having to get them moved on..........”

“Hey don’t sweat it – I know that they are actually talking about opening a homeless shelter further along the promonard for them, they’ll have somewhere to go soon enough,”

“Really?”

“Yeah it’s gonna be down near the beach gym as far as I am aware – we can take a walk down there later if you want?”

“Thank you Chris,” she smiled, “you really know how to make me feel better,”

“Not a problem princess,” the minute the word was out of my mouth, I felt somewhat strange and then extremely concerned as a look flashed in her eyes. “What’s wrong?”

“My Mom used to tell me that I was her little princess – my Dad did too until we lost her – I just haven’t heard that since I was a little girl who idolized my Mother,”

“I’m sorry......”

“No don’t be, it’s kind of nice to hear it again,” she recovered with the grace that I had come to expect from her as she turned toward the building, “so do you want to see inside?”

“I don’t know – is it gonna collapse in on us?” I smiled at her again.

“Will you stop – the inspector said that it was perfectly safe as long as we don’t bang the doors until my contractors get the steel beams in for support,”

“Alright but if anything happens to me – I’m gonna sue........”

“Chris, sweetheart, if anything were to happen to you; I’d be gone too – good luck trying to get money from me,” she laughed and gently pushed the door over and stepped inside. “God it needs a fucking good clear out,” she coughed as the scent of stale beer, piss and vomit mixed into a revolting aroma.

“You’re not wrong,” I agreed trying to hold back the retching that seemed to suffocate the back of my throat – I couldn’t stop myself from making an awful noise, which seemed only to make her retch too. “Ok tell me your plans – take my mind off that God awful smell,”

“Well ok – what I was thinking is having the front area and out onto the boardwalk as the coffee shop, I mean you have to admit that this building is huge and will give me the option to wall off sections and make the most of the space,” she was excited, I could hear it in her voice, “so I want to get rid of this front door and replace it with French doors that can be held open or closed in the colder weather you know? Then in this huge window to the right of the door, I want to place a soft cushioned window seat and then maybe place some large comfortable sofas so people can sit and chat or read.

“Then I want to put a wall here, with a door that will lead to the internet cafe area – I was thinking on having all the computers against the wall and then in the middle make some more work areas, so that people who have their own computers can work too.

“Then I would put another wall with a door leading into the back where the book store would be and since you mentioned the idea of live music, I have come up with an idea to do comedy nights, inspirational talks, karaoke nights, live music, poetry nights etc – that way I can make the most of the idea; so a stage will be placed in the library area......so what do you think?” she asked finally turning back to look at me; her arms dropping back to her sides; she was one of those people who used her hands to illustrate her plans.

“Do you want my honest opinion?” I asked her.

“Of course, that is why I wanted you to come today – so I could explain my plans and see if someone could agree with what I have in mind,”

“I honestly, think that while your ideas are great and extremely well thought out – I just think that if you try to put all of those ideas into one building; its gonna be too complicated and crowded,”

“Really?” she asked me, her eyes watching me closer than she had done since I had met her. It did make me feel a shiver crawl through my entire body – like that feeling when people say someone just walked on my grave.

“I do – the walls that you plan on putting in; is just going to make this place look and feel crowded. Where it is a huge floor space; I really think that just keeping it as a coffee house; with maybe a few books for sale at the back and maybe a stage along one of the side walls will make it a much more welcoming business,” I admitted after I had looked around. “Do you have the space up the stairs?”

“I do,” she admitted.

Upon hearing her admit that she had the above floor in her possession also, I grabbed her hand and led her up the stairs that was one of the vocal points in the building and began to lead her up there with an idea in mind. Hopefully it was an idea that appealed to her upon hearing it.

Ayden’s POV;

This was the reason that I had requested Christian’s presence of my new business. It was always good to get someone else’s opinions on what you were planning on doing. It hadn’t occurred to me that the place and plans that I had would make the building appear busy and somewhat confined; which would be a shame considering the size of the of the place.

With high ceilings and large windows; it was large and seemed spacious – I didn’t want to bring that away from the place. It was good that Christian felt comfortable enough to really give me his opinion.

“So what you could do up here – is maybe have a couple rooms for VIP events, and some of the rooms could be used as dressing rooms for the acts that play here,” he suggested as we stepped into the landing at the top of the spiral staircase.

“Were you a real estate agent at some point?” I giggled softly looking down the long hallway – just like the bottom floor, the rooms up here were large and spacious.

“No, I just think that it would be a pity to put in walls and stuff when you have such a large circumference,”

We both walked down the hallway and into the room at the end of the hallway – it was a large room that didn’t have a window in place. The room was dark and had a smashed mirror running along the large wall of the room, bulbs were littered around the edge of the mirror but they had also been smashed. There was a table and even some makeup pallets lying on the counter that lay under the mirror. It made me wonder what this place had been before I had purchased it.

“You’re pretty awesome you know that?” I told him honestly.

I had never had a problem reiterating my opinions or objections – I had been raised to be confident in myself and my abilities and I think that it had served me well for my life as an adult. I had to thank my Father for that.

My mind had already wondered on to tonight; my best friend Draven and her husband Mark were coming over for the evening and I had invited Christian to join us. Draven was the first in our ‘Family’ to marry someone who wasn’t Italian. She had faced some real strong criticism for her choice, but she had stuck to her guns and giving Mark his due – he had held fast to his wife and never backed down, even when her Dad had threatened him and his life. In a way I think that Uncle Tone had respected Mark more for his stubborn personality than he would ever vocally admit too.

Draven and I had been as thick as thieves when we were younger at only 4 years older than me; we had managed to hang out and have fun with one another. Because of her; I had found my niche in the world; I was what most people called Gothic. I wore mostly black, I had my dark makeup, I had my home decorated in the dark warm colours and most of my accessories in the house were dragons, or angels, or skulls etc.

The truth was all of my friends were dating or married to famous guys. Growing up, even when we were older – if there was something that we wanted; we asked our Father’s and they made it happen. And like most young women, we were into the music scene and the whole celebrity deal. In a weird way – because of who our father’s were; it was like they were classed as celebrities themselves. The public never seemed to tire of hearing about the ‘mafia’.

There was my other best friend Claire who was Draven’s little sister; she was married to Alexander Skarsgard and had been for about a year now. Then there was Brittany who was my Uncle Spike’s daughter and she was married to the actor who had played Greg in the hit show; Dharma and Greg, Thomas Gibson, they had been married for 2 years and had 2 children, Chase and Adrianna. Some people, were sceptical about how the guys felt for my friends and whether they had been coerced by our father’s but you only had to see my friends with their men and know that there was no way that they had been paid off or threatened into being involved with my friends.

“So you could maybe make this one of the dressing rooms,” Christian’s voice brought me right back to him and the moment.

“Yeah; it looks like it was used as a dressing room before,”

“Do you know what this place was before you bought it?”

“Not a clue, I’m going to look into it though,” I replied determined to find out what kind of business had been here before.

“That would be a good idea,” he agreed, “have you thought about any names?”

“I was thinking of Omerta,”

“What does that mean?”

“Secret,” I informed him and watched his head begin to shake in agreement with my idea.

“I like it,”

“Why thank you Mr. Kane,” I laughed and felt the warmth spread through me when he chuckled along with me.

Even when we had walked along the beach together; it had felt like the connection between us had been building and I had sincerely enjoyed the banter that we had partaken in. I hadn’t had that with a guy before – with Vince it had been always serious, all the time.

It had even been drama filled when we had gotten together. Being almost 6 years older than me, when we had gotten together – he had still been living with his girlfriend, Alison. At first he hadn’t told me about his girlfriend; he had been so attentive and caring that it hadn’t even crossed my mind to ask him if he was dating anyone. We seemed to be together all the time, so I had absolutely no idea when he spent time with Alison but it was like the dream relationship between us, or so I had thought.

When had I first found out about Alison?

I had been with Vince for about 3 months when she had called my cell number and explained who she was to me and listened and thankfully believed me when I had explained that I had no idea that he was already living with someone. She had explained to me that she figured as much because he had apparently done it before. That very night; I ended the relationship with him. I gave him the ultimatum that it was either her or me; and he had chosen her, at first. About 2 months later; he was on his knees begging me to take him back because he had made a mistake. Not only that; but he had managed to convince my Father that he was ready to be with me and only me.

At first I had been completely cautious around him, I didn’t trust him at all – whenever he called me, or went out with his mates – I wanted to know where he was and where he was going. I think he knew that it was his debt to pay for the way he had behaved in the past because he never once got mad at my clinging and possessive attitude towards him.

And then he had started working for my Father and that was when I started to calm down – my Father was a good judge of character and when it came to business; he never employed someone whom he didn’t fully trust. For almost a year things had been great and then he had gone and fucked it up for himself by stealing from my Dad. And it was the morning after my Father had found out about the betrayal, he was stomping around the house like a bear with a sore head – he was snapping, he was slamming doors, he was muttering to himself and then screaming at everyone he came in contact with. I knew that if my Father got his hands on him in that state; he wouldn’t have a chance in Hell to live and see another day.

So I had climbed into my Mustang and headed over to Vince’s house where I found him in bed with another woman; it was then that I knew there was absolutely no way that this man was ever going to keep it in his pants, there was no way that I wanted to live my life that way.

Even in the midst of all of this, I knew that he didn’t deserve to die – so I made it clear to him that my Father was on the war path and if he valued his life at all – he’d pack up his shit and get the Hell out of town before he was sinking into the ocean to sleep permanently with the fish. 2 hours later – he was gone, disappeared without a trace and thankfully, my Father never knew that I had tipped him off.

“So do you want me to bring anything tonight?” Christian asked me.

“No – just yourself, I am going to order in Chinese food – you do like it right?” I asked as we moved to the room opposite to find that it was exactly the same as the one that we had just been in and would make another good dressing room.

“Absolutely, I’m a southern boy through and through – which means I will eat pretty much anything that is put in front of me!”

“Well that’s good to know,” I smiled at him.

Vince had tried to call me a couple of times after that – to explain and try to get me to forgive him; but I avoided all his calls and ignored the pleading notes to listen to him. I had told him to run, but he didn’t seem to get the fact that by sending notes to my home from wherever he was – was one of the riskiest moves that he could take. Eventually he seemed to get the message and the notes stopped and then slowly the phone calls stopped and I haven’t heard from him in over 2 years.

“Do you think that your friend will like me?”

“Yeah, I think that they will – you might know Draven’s husband – Mark Wahlberg?”

“I’ve heard of him but never actually met him,”

“He’s a really cool guy actually – a lot of people said that their marriage wouldn’t last because they got married almost 3 months after they met but they are going strong and they are happier than anyone could have predicted,” I informed him of the company that he would be in tonight.

“That’s good when love wins out,”

“You’re a romantic?”

“Who isn’t?” he chuckled as we checked out the other rooms up on the second floor.

There were about 4 separate rooms up here, and one of them would be perfect for my office and then we could have 3 different VIP rooms for parties and friends etc. I could almost picture it all coming together perfectly. My vision had always been extremely vivid and I knew exactly how I wanted this place to look.

I just had to get in touch with my contractor to inform him of the changes that I wanted to make to the place. At least today was only Saturday, so I could call him when I get home and arrange to meet him here tomorrow hopefully, and we can go over what I now have in mind.

“Never met a guy who has willingly admitted that before,”

“Yeah well, you’ll soon get used to the fact that I am nothing like most guys,”

“I really am beginning to get that,”

My dreams last night had been intense – Christian and I had been making love over and over. I had to admit that it had been an extremely long time since I had, had a wet dream but damn was it worth it. Looking at him now; standing in the light of the sun; the golden shine in his hair making it look like he had a halo above his head, the intensity in his blue eyes that were watching me closer than ever and the smile that curved his beautiful lips upwards – I was feeling more and more turned on by the second.

Even though I was turned on by him, I refused to be the one to admit it. I wanted to.......I needed to know how he felt about me first. And maybe then I could admit what I felt for him. The of course there was my Father to contend with also – he certainly wouldn’t like me being involved with a man who wasn’t Italian.

I had never been in a position where I hadn’t known how to handle my Father though and now was no different. I just had to make sure that what was between us was going to become something before I introduced them to one another.

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PostSubject: Chapter 7 - Friend's Approval   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:03 am

Later that night, Ayden’s house;
Ayden’s POV;

What a day it had been – Christian and I had reworked my idea for the building I had purchased and now, as I stood at the cooker, I just knew that I had the perfect plan. I just couldn’t wait to get it started and then opened. It was important for me to be independent and start earning money so that I could pay my Dad back. Although he had stated that he didn’t want to be paid back – I couldn’t just take the kind of money that he had forked out on me; I had to at least give him some of his money back. At the end of the day; I wanted the business to be mine one hundred percent.

My Father was a business man at the end of the day – and if I didn’t give him some money back; he would find a way to make my business into something that he wanted. I knew that he didn’t do it intentionally; but he didn’t have very many people around him that said no to him or his demands.

As it was Sunday tomorrow, I had planned for my contractor to come by the house so that we could draw up some new plans. I really think that with Christian’s help – I had come up with the perfect way to utilize the space and the location. I always had it in the back of my mind; that I was lucky. Not many people, who had just earned their degree in business, could afford to open their own place straight off the bat. I was in the position where my Father was wealthy enough to loan me the money, or in his eyes – just give me the money and I would be forever grateful to him for that. But I was 26 years old now and I had to sink or swim on my own.

Stirring the sauce for the cannelloni that I was preparing for tonight’s meal, my thoughts fluttered towards my Mother. Around this time of the year; she was always on my mind. Just coming out of summer and into fall; it had been her favourite season. She had loved the colour of the leaves when they fell; the rustic oranges and soft breeze in the air. I could remember that the house always smelt of Italian dishes – especially at this time of the year. I didn’t have many years of memories with her; but the ones that I did have; were precious to me and I would treasure them forever.

Whenever she was cooking; she’d have me sat on the counter top next to her; I was, what she had called, her official taste tester. I could remember sitting on that counter and watching the way the sun would bounce from her naturally golden blonde hair and the sparkle in her dark eyes – she’d sing Frank Sinatra to me (he was her favourite musician). I would listen, like any eager little girl who worshipped their Mother, to the stories of her life back in Italy. My Grandparents were grape farmers; selling their product to wine companies; they had managed to buy a beautiful villa in the countryside where they had retired and just enjoyed their lives with one another until my Pops had died of pancreas cancer, my grandma following only 2 months later. My Mom had told me that my grandma just hadn’t wanted to live without her soul mate and that had been my first taste of romance.

“Are you decent?” Christian’s voice filtered through the French doors at the back of the house and the puppies who had decided that it would be a good idea to get under my feet, quickly started yapping and clambering all over one another in their eagerness to get to the guest.

“Yeah of course.....but be careful you don’t trip over the little monsters,” I replied smiling as he came into view and handed over a bottle of red wine – a very expensive red wine. “I told you that you didn’t need to bring anything,”

“I’m sorry but I was always told never to show up somewhere empty handed,” he gave me that lopsided smile of his that I was growing quite accustomed to seeing.

There was something exciting but calming about that smile; there was a warmness to it; something that just made me want to melt and trust him with every little secret that I had in my life from birth right up to this moment. What I had found was that when I talked to him – unlike most guys; he paid exact attention to you and he always wanted to know more. I could tell that he definitely had an inquisitive personality.

And when we talked it wasn’t all one sided – he’d reveal little bits about himself to me as he had done earlier in the day when we had gone for ice cream after coming up with the plans for my business. One thing that he had said that surprised me was the fact that he was part Indian – he was a descendent of the Cherokee line.

“Am I early?” he asked placing the wine on the counter and helping himself to a beer from the fridge.

“It’s cool........” I replied, “the truth is, I am so not used to having this much free time without being interrupted so you are kind of doing me a favour,” I smiled at him as I moved to the fridge and pulled out the egg pasta sheets I had purchased.

“I would imagine that it was nonstop at your daddy’s place?” he said sitting behind the counter with the puppies scrambling at his feet for attention.

I had always thought that you could judge the type of man by the way he was around his Mother and animals – if even half of that was true then I had found a decent guy. Seeing him with the puppies and the way he interacted with them so easily and then seeing him with his own dog Bud; I had found it amusing that we both talked to our pets as if they could understand us, or even talk back.

Tonight he was dressed in a pair of jeans with rips at the knees; they seemed to fit against his legs as if they were a second skin and a white long sleeved jersey that did little to hide the true definition of his impressive body and then there was the fact that he had drawn his hair back so that it wasn’t falling in his eyes – those eyes – I swear they made me feel weak every time he settled them on me.

“So did you get your flight sorted?” I asked him.

He had told me that he usually drove to Portland, but he wanted to stay here in LA with me as long as possible so he would just fly into Portland the night before he was due to start filming again. I was more than a little flattered to hear that he wanted to spend time with me – I know that it must seem that we were rushing into things; but the truth is – we haven’t even kissed. All we had really done was admit to one another that we were attracted to each other – I knew from my point of view; I wanted to be cautious with my heart.

Then of course, there was my Father to contend with. For as long as I could remember he had been ranting on about me marrying an Italian man and giving him perfect Italian grandkids. There was no way that he would accept Christian who wasn’t Italian and was part Cherokee Indian. I had listened countless times of how my Father wasn’t a racist; but believed that all races should stick to their own kind and have no such thing as mixed breeding. Sometimes, I swore he thought of people as horses – all the mixed breeding and sticking to your own thread of race for mating. Thankfully the world didn’t work that way.

“Yeah I did, I leave late Sunday night,” he informed me before sipping on his beer.

It was comforting to know that our friendship had sort of just naturally built – I appreciated having him around. I honestly, hadn’t thought that being on my own would be so.........lonely.

In our home with our Dad; there were always people around. My uncles and their kids were roaming around at all hours, sometimes ending up sleeping in one of the many spare rooms. It had been relaxing to go to bed and hear people moving around and chatting; it was like a security blanket and to go from that to absolute silence was somewhat scary. I had even taken to turning on the TV in the front room and just leaving it playing – just to fool myself into believing that there were people in the house with me.

“I’m only out there for a couple weeks and then I will be back,” he explained, “and I thought that we could maybe go on that date when I get back?”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I smiled brightly trying to hide the fact that I was terrified of him leaving. For some strange reason; I felt safe knowing that he was just next door.

‘I really could slap myself,’ I muttered to myself, ‘no one has tried to come after you before – there is no way that anyone would be stupid enough to try it now!’ besides I had never needed a man before – I don’t see why living on my own should change my entire personality.

Thankfully the front doorbell rang and saved me from making a complete idiot of myself. I quickly excused myself and made a beeline for the ringing door. Pulling it open, I found my friends and their men stood on the doorstep waiting to be let in. Unlike at my Father’s home, I made sure that all doors were locked except the French doors since I spent the majority of my time near the kitchen.

“I really like this place,” Draven announced reaching across and hugging me tightly.

“Thanks, come on in guys,” I smiled as I pulled out of the hug. I wasn’t what you would call a very touchy feely kind of person. Maybe if my Mother had lived – I would be different.

My Dad always told me that my Mother was the kind of woman who always felt the need to hug the people in her life and always offer a shoulder to cry on. But she had been murdered and I had been raised by numerous maids and my Father when he was around and he wasn’t what you would call a very affectionate man. Of course, I knew that he loved me and would do anything for me, but when it came to hugs and kisses – he wasn’t that way inclined.

Mark, Draven’s husband hugged me briefly as he always did, knowing that I wasn’t one of those women, but he was always the affectionate kind; even with his friends and people accepted him this way, as did I. Draven and Mark had met when Mark had first hit the media as Marky Mark and the funky bunch. Draven had been nuts about him and, as all ‘Family’ Father’s; her Dad wanted her to be happy and arranged for her to go back stage at one of his shows.

“Are you moving in ok Ayd?” Mark asked me.

“Yeah, I have pretty much finished unpacking but upstairs is still a mess,” I replied as Brittany stepped over the threshold and hugged me – most of my friends were in the same position as I was when it came to being affectionate with people. “Hey honey,”

“Hey you,” she replied stepping aside as her fiancé Thomas followed her footsteps.

Thomas Gibson – the very astute SSA Hotchner in the TV hit show, Criminal Minds. However, Brittany had adored him since he had starred in the sitcom; Dharma and Greg. It wasn’t until he first started in Criminal Minds before she had the fortune to meet him at the studio where she had managed to secure herself a place as wardrobe/makeup tech. Brittany had always been into fashion; she had gone to college and earned all her qualifications, then applied for a job with the TV station, CBS and was placed on the show where she met her future husband. From the way Britt told the story; they had been instantly attracted to one another and it hadn’t taken them long to form a friendship and then eventually decided and agreed that it was worth the shot to make it work as a relationship. And here they were almost 6 years later and they were planning their wedding.

“Thomas, how are you?” I asked hugging him.

“I’m good thanks Ayd, how about you?”

“Yeah I am great,” I smiled happily, my thoughts turning to Christian for a fraction of a second before Claire hugged me so tightly, I swear she was trying to break bone.

Claire had gone against what her Father had wanted and became the manager of his tire business; she worked her ass off in the Hollywood location. Not only was she amazing at what she did but she also managed to pull in a healthy celebrity clientele – and that was exactly how she met her husband; Alexander Skarsgard, who most people recognized as Eric Northman from the hit show True Blood.

“Where’s the guy?” Claire asked me.

“Excuse me?”

“The one you told Draven about on the phone the other night?” she asked giving me the look that said, don’t hold out on us, or we will embarrass you in front of said man. I knew when I was fighting a losing battle and quickly gave in; hushing my voice I quickly told them about Christian who had remained in the kitchen where I had left him.

They listened while I explained who he was and how we had met and about the time that we had been spending together since we had met. I admitted that I was really attracted to him – it had been the first time in forever since I had felt attracted to someone and they felt the need to point that out to me. I didn’t actually mind to be honest – we were all that close to one another, that we knew that there was no harm intended in the jibes.

Alexander gave me a quick hug that had mimicked Mark’s from a few moments previously. Claire had been working on a car at her garage (she wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with the other employees) when Alexander’s car had spluttered into the forecourt and promptly died. I am not versed in the mechanics of cars, all I know is that it had something to do with the engine and I pressed no further. Apparently; Alexander had been smitten from the minute he had set his eyes on her; he sent her flowers and then asked her to have dinner with him – it hadn’t taken them long after that to become an inseparable couple.

An hour later;
Christian’s POV;

Everyone was sitting around the table – it amazed me that there were 3 other celebrities sat here, and Ayden seemed to think that it was just natural. Not many people would be able to act so cool about this. But as I was quickly learning; Ayden was nothing like any woman that I had ever met before.

After my initial nerves and shock had passed, I started to calm down and relax into the evening. Alexander, Thomas and Mark – were actors whom I had heard of, and seen their work; I had to admit that I admired them immensely.

Sitting around the dining table, we were all tucking into the meal of cannelloni that Ayden had prepared and the fresh garlic bread which was placed in the centre of the table. It felt nice to be a part of something so exclusive; at least it was exclusive in my eyes. I had never even known or heard of these guys being involved with the mafia. Obviously they were – accepted otherwise I figured that they wouldn’t be with these women if their father’s objected to it.

The meal was perfect – I had always thought that I was a good cook when it came to Italian cuisine but this was.........it was how I imagined the food would taste if we really were in Italy. The smell of the garlic and herbs clung in the air; adding an extra aroma in the room.

“So Christian,” Draven began, “Ayd tells us that you are an actor.......”

“Yeah that’s right,” I nodded finding being under the spot light by these people somewhat intimidating.

It was more than obvious that the girls were close; I had the impression that they would do anything for Ayden and vice versa. It was an imposing feeling – for whatever reason; I had an image in my head of these girls running their Father’s business and doing it with as much force as their Father’s were reported to have.

“I actually saw you in Angel.......you’re really talented,” Brittany told me.

“Thank you,” I blushed heavily.

“Well if you knew he was in that show – why didn’t you tell me about his hot little butt?” Ayden demanded of her best friend and only succeeding in making me even more embarrassed.

It was definitely one of the things that I liked about Ayden; she didn’t mind what she said. It was like she was completely without an internal sensor when it came to voicing her opinions. There was something sexy about that. It was something that definitely pulled me in towards her – and I was aware of being completely smitten.

Actually, the thought of going back to work was somewhat depressing. Having spent every day with her since she had moved in; it was already feeling comfortable and meant to be. I wasn’t usually the kind of guy who thought about fate and love and romance but there was something about this girl that made me want to be one of those romantic saps who would do anything for the woman in his life. Sad, I know but what can I do?

“I’m sorry,” Britt laughed, “it never crossed my mind to mention it since you were so anti-men at the time!”

“Britt!” Ayden exclaimed and it was the first time I had noticed her really blushing.

“Sorry,” her friend grinned at her while Ayden flipped her off.

It truly was a family; it was obvious from the way they were with one another. There was a closeness about them all; even the men seemed to be included in on the intimacy of the group.

“So......you guys got any war stories to share about Ayden?” I asked.

“Oh no!” Ayden sighed dropping her head towards her plate and concentrating on the last of her food.

“Oh yes,” Claire laughed. “Let me see.......there was the time that we snuck out of her Dad’s house, after he specifically told us no, and we crashed a Metallica concert,”

“Claire please don’t,” Ayden voiced her displeasure at the topic of conversation.

“What? It’s not exactly a bad story........” Claire smiled turning her attention to me – beautiful blue eyes met mine, “apart from the part where you flashed James Hetfield and he requested you go backstage afterwards,”

“Claire please......”

“It’s not that bad,” I jumped in, “in fact it’s pretty tame compared to some of the things that the girls of my age were up to in their teens,”

“See.......he isn’t put off by that!” Draven announced laughing.

Ayden made a grumping noise as she mouthed the last of her cannelloni and sipped at her wine as her cutlery clattered loudly against the plate. Slowly that bright smile I was getting used to seeing began to spread over her face. It didn’t really seem out of character for her though – she had this wild spirit about her that I didn’t imagine could be tamed by anything or anyone.

It was Thomas who stood up first and started gathering the plates. Mark and Alexander quickly followed suit and I stood but Ayden put her hand out to stop me.

“You’re the guest......you don’t need to do anything other than sit on your butt,” she told me.

“Hey what are we – left over liver?” Alexander asked.

“You’re family, stop belly aching and just get on with it!” Ayden announced sticking her tongue out at him.

Ayden smiled at me as she got up and moved to the living room with Brittany and Claire – they were huddled together talking quietly as they sat on the sofa as one joined group.

“So Christian.......” Draven started, inching her chair a little closer to mine, “you seem to be really into my friend?”

“I really am,” there was no point denying it – my feelings towards her were probably obvious for the world to see.

“You know that she means the world to me.......in fact she is like my little sister. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for her; she’s been through some........let’s say that the last guy she dated was a scum sucking bastard and he didn’t even deserve to lick her shoes!” I had to figure that the protective speech was going to come, “I wouldn’t want to see her go through all of that again,”

“Again?”

“It’s not my place to tell you – Ayd will tell you when she is ready.”

“I can see that you are absolutely protective of her,”

“I am!” she replied meeting my gaze; her eyes determined and somewhat scary looking.

“I can promise you that I won’t hurt her.......not in any way; at least not intentionally,”

“I can live with that,” she nodded her head and the look faded until she was back to friendly girl that I had been spending the evening with, “you know who she is and all, I take it?”

“Yeah,” I nodded.

“And I am assuming that she told you some stuff about the ‘family’?”

“She did, she was very vague about it all, but I got the picture,”

“Good. I assume that I don’t need to tell you not to talk about whom she is or what kind of ‘family’ that she comes from?”

“Not at all,” I nodded once again.

“I think that we’re gonna get on well,” she leaned across and pecked my cheek before getting up and moving towards the kitchen where the guys were rinsing out the dishes and then placing them in the dishwasher that was situated just under the sink.

Ayden beckoned me over to where she was talking with her other friends. Happy to follow her orders, I stood and pushed my chair back under the table and made my way over to the other sofa in the living room.

I really liked the way she had decorated this room – the walls were a deep shade of claret red and every other wall was decorated in a white paint that set the red off just perfectly. The only way to describe Ayden’s taste in decoration was that it was Gothic. All of her picture frames were black iron, all of her pictures that hung on the walls were fantasy art (mostly Angels) and her sofa was a black fabric plush that felt like sitting in a room full of cotton wool. A beautiful silver and crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling and gave the room a nice warm glow.

Ayden was a very distinct woman; I had figured that out after the first night that we had talked.

“Chris?”

“Yes?” I replied snapping back into the moment.

“Brittany was just saying that Thomas is taking her to ‘Impact’ for her birthday in 2 weeks time......is there any way that you might be able to come back for that?”

“What day?”

“Saturday,” Brittany replied.

“Yeah, I don’t see that being a problem,” I replied nodding my head.

“Great!” Ayden winked at me and that was all it took for me to smile like a virgin having their first crush.

“Ayd was telling us that you are leaving tomorrow night?” Claire asked kick starting the conversation once again.

“Yeah. It’s a bit of a nuisance since I have just met her and all, but needs must you know?”

“Yeah – we’re all pretty used to having our other halves having to be away from us from time to time,” Alexander announced walking in to the room with Thomas and Mark following on behind with Draven taking up the rear.

I could hardly believe that I felt so comfortable with these people, after feeling pretty nervous all day. I had thought that they would hate me, or think that I didn’t fit in with their little crowd but from what I had experienced here tonight; they were accepting and made me feel like a part of them.

The evening began to fly by at a quick rate – a rate that made me feel nervous. I had to leave tomorrow – I would be gone for a whole week and for the first time ever; I didn’t actually want to go back to Portland.

Ayden’s friends were just getting ready to leave a couple of hours later when the front doorbell rang. Ayden went to answer the door and a few moments later she came back with her Father trailing behind her.

“Christian, I’d like you to meet my Dad,” she announced blushing, “Daddy this is my neighbour, Christian!”

My heart made a leap for my throat and my stomach curled into a tight ball. I was stood here in front of the ‘boss’ from the mafia and I felt like I was going to somehow get him offside or make a complete fool of myself. This definitely wasn’t the way that I had envisioned this night ending.

The huge bulk of the man stepped towards me and extended his hand – taking a silent deep breath, I accepted the hand and shock it while I told him it was a pleasure to meet him.

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PostSubject: Chapter 8 - Intimidated   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:04 am

[font='Cambria'][b][i][u]Carlo Santiago’s POV;

[/u][/i][/b][/font][font='Georgia']When Ayden had first announced that she was thinking about moving out – my first reaction had been absolutely no way. After what had happened to Lillian; I had been determined to keep my children as close as possible for the rest of our lives; but the more that Ayden talked about moving out – the more I realized that I was expecting the impossible.

Unlike Elias; Ayden had a free spirit but she was extremely cautious. I didn’t have to worry about her the way I did with Elias. My son was a free spirit and he never thought about the consequences when it came to the things that he did and the people that he allowed in to his life. At least Ayden had been in a position where she had revalued her life and what she was doing. Vince; that parasite who had latched on to my little girl and sucked her dry until there was barely anything left of the little girl that I knew and loved.

Looking at her now, you would never guess that she had been through what she had. The spring in her step was back, her carefree nature was back and most of all (and maybe the best thing) her smile was back.

Vince had worked his way in with me too – he was happy to take all the advantages that I threw his way; like work, like the cars and the cheap items that I managed to secure. The only thing that he was unwilling to do was remain loyal to the ‘family’ and I couldn’t have people like that on the street – he knew way too much. So when Ayden had begged me not to do anything to him, I had agreed on principal. It definitely hadn’t been me who had hunted him down, beat him to within an inch of his life and then dumped him in the ocean. No I had kept my promise to my daughter – I hadn’t touched him.

I was proud of Ayden; she had gone to college – something that I had never had the opportunity to do, she had aced all her exams and she was a qualified business woman, which was why I hadn’t had any problems in lending her the money she needed to start her own business. I knew that she would make a real go of it and I knew that it would be successful. People just seemed to flock to my little girl and I knew that she hated being called my little girl now that she was an adult but in my eyes that is exactly what she was always going to be.

There was someone new in the fold, I knew everyone in this room apart from one person. The man that my daughter had moved to stand beside. Draven and Mark had been together for a long time and they were as happy as they had ever been. Claire and Alexander were the same as were Brittany and Thomas. What I couldn’t get my head around was the fact that the girl’s parents were happy about their kin dating outside of the Italian race. If there was one rule I had for Ayden; it was that she was to settle down with a nice Italian boy, who knew the meaning and value of family. But it wasn’t my business to get involved with my daughter’s friends love lives.

“Daddy, what are you really doing here?” my little girl asked as I greeted the others in the room warmly.

“I just wanted to check on my little girl,” I explained to her and watched as she rolled her eyes at me, “Bella!” I warned tilting my head and she sighed before instantly backing down.

Ayden was feisty; she always had an answer to no matter what you threw at her but she never gave me back chat. At least not for the past 10 years. When she was a teenager; she was a nightmare and I had often wished that my wife was still here to take care of her, so I could stand back and just be the Father that I always was. Lillian had always been good with the discipline when it came to the kids – she was just a natural Mother who could get that impossible balance of loving and stern.

“Well I am doing ok...........as you can see!” she replied, the smile warming her features into a mirror image of her mother.

Everyone had said that Ayden had gotten my wives looks – she had the same cat like slanted eyes; with my colouring; deep and warm brown, she had the same thin lipped smile as her Mother and the same high cheek bones that could cut glass as Lillian – sometimes it pained me to look at her because of how much she reminded me of my late wife. Where Lillian’s hair had been surfer blonde – Ayden had my colour of hair; naturally midnight black.

I missed my wife as much as I had when she had first been taken from me. People didn’t understand the way I lived my life – they mostly asked if I loved my wife, how could I have cheated on her? Well, it isn’t something that is easy to explain.....the way all of the guys lived in the ‘family’ had their little affairs, especially after their wives had, had their children.

Having Ayden around was like a constant reminder of what I had lost and wanted back more than anything else in the world. Yes, I had dated since my wife died, but I hadn’t dated seriously; there were a couple of girls that I saw now and again for my own sexual gratification. As far as I was concerned; no one could take my wives place in my heart or in my life. My children were all I needed and the thought of Ayden moving out had been a tough one to accept, but at the same time – it was like a relief; not having her around and being reminded so much of Lillian.

“I can see,” I nodded, “who’s your new friend?”

“I’m Christian, pleased to meet you sir,” the man stepped forward extending his hand.

“You too,” I nodded shaking the offered hand.

“Well, we’re going to head off!” Draven announced.

“Don’t leave on my account,”

“No we’re not, we were just planning on leaving anyway,” Mark said.

Out of all the guys who were with my daughter’s friends, Mark was the quietest. Some people thought that he was conceited because he was so quiet but it wasn’t that; he was just the kind of guy who didn’t speak much; if he had something to say he would talk but if he didn’t; then he would just sit and observe in silence. I think that it was one of the reasons that he and Ayden had gotten along so well from the moment that they met.

Ayden wasn’t the type of girl who had to fill all silence with inane talk. My daughter had become almost a mute when she lost her Mom; it was like she didn’t feel the need to talk anymore, she would go about her little aged business and start to take up the position of housewife that her Mom had been.

Ayden left the living room, which meant that I was left standing here with her new friend. Throwing myself down onto the sofa, I watched as he stood where he was – right in front of the fire place; his hands stuffed into his pockets and a smile fixed on his face.

“So Christian what is it that you do?” I enquired.

“I’m an actor and a singer,” he admitted looking me straight in the eye. I had to give him that – people who held eye contact while in conversation usually tended to be the kind of person that you could trust. But I would be lying if I said that I was impressed with the fact that he was in the entertainment field.

“You successful?”

“Relatively sir,” he replied remaining stuck in the spot where Ayden had left him.

Opening my mouth to ask him what his intentions with my daughter were when the girl in question came back into the living room and flopped down on the sofa next to me and looking at me questioningly.

“Look, I am gonna head off.......” Christian began.

“You don’t have to,” Ayden jumped in, the tell tale sign of her being interested in a man – she was eager to spend time with him.

“No but......my flight is later tomorrow but I still need to pack and you have your Dad here,”

“Don’t leave on my account!” I announced.

Christian mumbled something about having to pack for his trip tomorrow, so Ayden excused herself after Christian had told me that it was nice to meet me, then she walked him to the French doors that led out on to the porch. Moving back to the front room, she sat down opposite me and gave me the look that told me she was mad at me.

“What?” I asked.

“I think I should be the one asking you that, don’t you think?” she asked, “what are you really doing here Dad?”

“I told you, I came to check that you were doing alright out here by yourself,”

“I’m fine.....really!” she nodded as she slumped back into the comfortable chair and lit a cigarette.

“So who’s the boy wonder?”

“Daddy!”

“What? I am taking a genuine interest here,”

“He’s a great guy; he came over the first night that I was here and brought me a dish of spaghetti and meatballs......and I am telling you; they were almost as good as Nana’s – anyway I cooked him a meal in return and we’ve sort of just hung out every day since,”

“He’s not Italian is he?”

“No,” she sighed, “he is from the south and has part Indian in him.....Cherokee to be exact!”

“Ayd.....”

“Daddy don’t start!”

“Listen to me young lady.......friends is all you will ever be with this boy!”

Where Ayden was stubborn; I was more stubborn. It was a thing that drove each of us mad at one another but something that neither of us was willing to change about one another.

“Ayden you know that I do not tolerate you dating someone who isn’t Italian.....”

“No you mean that you think that anyone who isn’t Italian is beneath me! Just say what you mean.......”

“Who do you think you are talking too?” I demanded getting to my feet.

“Who do you think you are bossing around? One of your employees?” she jumped to her feet and stood defiantly with her hands on her hips.

“If your Mother were alive right now.........”

“I am [i]‘not’ [/i]my Mother! Maybe she would bend to your every demand and word – God knows that she put up with you whoring around......”

My hand connected with her face before I even knew what was happening and the minute it had sounded through the room I wanted to take it back; erase the instinct that had taken over me. I had never struck my children – they were punished in the past, of course all children had to be punished but I had never used physical punishment to make them see the difference from right to wrong.

“Get out!” she hissed her hand holding the spot where I had slapped her.

“Ayd please......I’m so.......”

“You know what? You might be able to get away with threats, or even maybe actual intimidation......but I am your daughter, and I do not.......will not accept that kind of behaviour!” she spat at me angrily, “now get out!”

Moving towards her, she backed up – her eyes cold and glaring while she shook her head no. [b]“I said get out!” [/b]her voice was close to hysteria and I knew that it would be pointless trying to get her to see that I was sorry in this moment – like me; when she was mad – she never saw clearly so I turned on my heel and reluctantly stalked out of her home feeling ashamed of myself. I guess there was a first time for everything.

[/font][b][i][u][font='Cambria']10 minutes later;
Christian’s POV;

[/font][/u][/i][/b][font='Georgia']Bud and I had just sprawled out on the sofa to watch a movie before I got my packing down when I heard the slamming of a door coming from Ayden’s house and then the screeching of the fancy style motor that was Ayden’s father’s car.

I had to admit that the man had scared the Hell out of me – there was a coldness in his eyes, the kind of cold that I was sure (if it was humanly possible) they could burn through a human being. There was an air of authority to him; like he could possibly make a grown man sink to his knees in front of him. My mind had quickly ran over the things that Ayden had told me about him and I couldn’t help but feel a tremble emit from deep in my gut. I had suddenly felt like I was a little mouse caught in the sights of a venomenous snake.

But now; here I was stood in my kitchen and wondering if I should go and check on Ayden. The way her Father had stormed out of her house and screeched out of the small cul-de-sac area; it was clear to me that they must have had some kind of argument. I was unsure of how to play it – we had both admitted how we felt about each other and that was a huge step, not only for me, but I had the feeling that it was a big deal for Ayden too. Maybe if I went over there; she’d think I was being way too forward, but if I didn’t go over there; she’d maybe think that I wasn’t interested in the way I had said I was.

“I don’t know what you’re whining at Bud – you see a female you like, you trot up to her; sniff her butt and then just get down to business!” I muttered at Bud who had sat at my feet and made a small wounded whine that drew my attention.

Quickly, I drained my bottle of beer and headed out of the house and towards Ayden’s house before I changed my mind. I knocked on the French doors but no one came to the door; trying the handle to find it unlocked, I eased inside and locked up behind me. I had learned enough about Ayden to know that she was extremely safety conscious.

[i]“Ayd?! Ayd are you here?” [/i]I called out as I moved towards the laundry room where she normally kept the puppies during the day.

My stomach was curling tightly as I heard her mutter and a loud thumping noise come from upstairs. I climbed the steps slowly until I reached the second floor and then followed the stream of light to the master suite and then into the en-suite to find her sat in front of the mirror holding a cloth to her face.

“What happened?” I asked inching a little closer to her.

“I.....I-uhm....fell over, I think I had much more to drink than I even realized,” she tried to laugh but it came out as a painful hiss.

“Not buying it..........” I admitted, “do you want to try it again?”

“Let’s just leave it yeah?” she asked turning and looking at me.

The left side of her face looked red and swollen a little bit; her lip was split and bleeding. It was a good thing that she wasn’t an actress cos she was really bad at lying that much was obvious; I don’t know how she had expected me to believe that those injuries were caused by a fall.

“Did your Dad do this?” I asked brushing her hair away from her face and taking the cloth to put some more water on, and then placed it back against her face and lip. Doing the majority of my own stunts, and cheographing most of my fights, I had, had my fair share of cuts and split lips, so I knew how to treat the injuries.

“Chris.....”

“Did he?” I pressed more firmly.

“It was an accident, he didn’t mean to.......”

I could feel my lips tighten with anger; my heart began to race almost triple its normal beat. It was the kind of reaction that I would have towards any woman who had been hit by a man; there had been many morals instilled in me when I was growing up in the south but the major one was that you always treat a woman with respect and you never, ever raise your hand to them.

“What happened?” I asked through clenched teeth.

“My Dad has very strict rules......I argued with him, told him that I wasn’t one of his employees and that he couldn’t intimidate me into doing what he wanted, I pushed his buttons – I deserve.......”

[b]“You did not deserve this!” [/b]I responded passionately. Placing the cloth back into the sink, I reached for the disinfectant and a cotton swab and proceeded to dab at the cut above her lip.

“I shouldn’t have......”

“Look at me,” bending over so that I was level with her face and staring into those mystical eyes; that held power over me in a weird way that I couldn’t describe, “men are not supposed to raise their hands to women; end of story! You should have the right to voice your opinions without fearing retribution for your point of view!”

I could feel her trembling against my leg that had brushed against hers when I had knelt over to look into her eyes. Placing the cotton swab on the edge of the immacutely clean sink, and wrapped my arms around her; gently pulling her close to me until her head was resting against my chest. There was a moment of hesitation from her before her arms wrapped around my waist and clung to me tightly.

“What made you snap at him?” I asked brushing my fingers through her hair and feeling her begin to calm slowly.

“It’s nothing important,” she replied holding me tighter now as if she didn’t want me to look at her.

Granting her wish, I remained stock still and didn’t press for more details, if she just needed me to be quiet and comfort her, then I could do that. I had to admit that I actually felt comfortable myself, there was something right about having her in my arms and feeling the strength in her tiny frame holding on to me.

“I know that we don’t know each other all that well,” she finally said pulling back and looking up at me, “but I was wondering if maybe.........you’d stay with me tonight?”

“Of course,”

“I’ll help you tomorrow with your packing, since you were supposed to be doing that tonight!” she offered a small smile before wincing in pain.

“You don’t have to do that, I don’t mind staying,”

“Thank you,” she nodded softly, “I must look a mess though!” turning towards the mirror, she fluffed out her hair and sighed, “surprisingly I don’t look all that bad!”

Could this girl be any cooler?

There was no false modesty – no fishing for compliments, no trying to get compliments by insisting that she was a mess and that was an extremely sexy quality that just added to the sexiness that was all Ayden. It was like her own special brand of sexy; that no other woman had ever possessed, at least none that I had met.

“What do you say; we go make some garlic bread and put on a movie?” she suggested turning to look directly at me.

“Sounds good!” I agreed nodding.

“Great!”

Smiling at me once again, she breezed past me and out into the bedroom. Much like the decoration on the bottom floor of the house; her bedroom was deep, dark and warm purples with one black wall; there was an air of Turkish style to the room. Coloured nets hung from the roof; giving the room a nice soft and comfortable feeling to it. The bed was a 4 poster with thick black velvet curtains tied to the posts and the carpet was black and fluffy. Bookcases that was full of photos, little nic-naks and figurines of dragons, angels, demons and the like.

Ayden was a Goth – at least that was the image that she gave off but she had admitted that she wasn’t the type of characteristic Goth that society expected. For one, she had never thought about killing herself, she never self harmed and she didn’t listen to death metal or the other kind of music that went with being a Goth. Fantasy art prints were hung from the walls – angels, dragons, unicorns, demons and skulls. Artificial roses of all dark colours were placed around in black and red vases.

“You know – I am sorry if I am ruining your evening!” Ayden stated glancing at me before she started pulling some of the things out of the fridge.

“No you’re not, trust me........” I admitted, “before I came over; I was sitting having a beer and trying to have a conversation with my dog,”

“You do that too?” she giggled as she pulled a bowl out of one of the cupboards.

“You too huh?” I chuckled, finding her little giggle infectious.

“Oh yeah – I get all my best advice from my dogs!”

“How so?”

“One bark for yes and 2 for no!” she smiled as her eyes met mine for the briefest of seconds before you went back to getting all the things that she needed to make the bread that we had decided to have, “so what movie do you fancy watching?”

“What you got?” I enquired.

“The room just to the left of the front door is the study – all the DVD’s are in there,” she explained, “go pick whatever you want to watch!”

“Cool,” I replied turning to head in that direction, “what’s your favourite genre?”

“Action and horror – I can never pick between the 2,”

“Sounds like it,” I chuckled and rushed out of the way when she threw a handful of flour towards me.

Letting myself into the room she had directed me too, I was surprised; all 4 walls from floor to ceiling were stacked with DVD’s and books and CD’s. The books were mostly horrors; the likes of Dracula and The Shining. The CD’s were a wide range of musical genres; rock, country, pop, dance, and Indie. Moving towards the DVD’s; I noticed that they had been placed in genre; drama, comedy, horror, action and Thriller.

It was obvious to see that she was widely eclectic in her tastes of almost everything. It was quickly becoming one of the things that I liked the most about her. Of course, there was also the fact that she didn’t come across as fake in any way what-so-ever.

There was nothing that I could do but think of her as I searched through the vast array of movie titles. My Mom had once told me that when you weren’t looking for love that was usually when it came along. She had said that it was something to do with the pheromones in your body; when you were looking for a girlfriend; there was a lick of desperation about you that you give off without knowing but when you weren’t looking – you came across as just a laid back type of person and that was obviously attractive to the opposite sex.

Pulling out a couple of DVD’s and checking out the synopsis before putting them back. A lot of the movies I had seen. A lot of them I hadn’t even heard of. Eventually, I picked an action and comedy movie called Drive and headed out to find Ayden just placing the dough, that would be our garlic bread, into the oven. Holding up the movie I had chosen; the smile spread across her face.

“That’s one of my favourites........we’re so on the same wave length!” she stated as she pulled out a beer and a bottle of wine.

I moved into the living room and turned on the entertainment system while she poured the drinks and came in after me. We settled down on the sofa cuddled up to one another and began to watch the movie.[/font]

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Age : 39
Location : Elgin, Scotland

PostSubject: Chapter 9 - Getting Ready to Leave   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:06 am

The Following Morning;
Ayden’s POV;

The quiet attempts at barking woke me from my slumber and it became instantly obvious that there was an arm wrapped protectively around my shoulder and I could hear the faint and steady heartbeat of Christian. My body froze; Christian – he had come over to check on me after my Dad left last night.

Great – now my Father was on my mind. We had, of course, had arguments before last night but he had never raised his hand to me. Even when I was a brat in my teens; he would take things away from me; things that were important to me or he would ground me. Elias was the same; our Father had stated that he didn’t believe in hitting children just to get a point across. Obviously that had changed.

I still couldn’t believe that he had hit me – there had been pure rage in his eyes; the kind of rage that everyone was always talking about him possessing. Because he never showed that side around me or Elias; I had never believed that he could look so evil. And he did look evil; the kind of evil that people associated with the likes of Charles Manson. I am a proud person but I am not too proud to admit that he had scared the Hell out of me. I never thought that I could feel that way about my own Father.

I can hear you ask if I would change how I handled things? The answer is absolutely definitely not – who I spent my time with was my choice; not his. At least not anymore. When I was growing up; I had allowed him to dictate who I was friends with; and at the time, I had understood why but now that I was out here in the world by myself; I didn’t have to do as my Father insisted anymore.

Besides; I really like Christian – not just because I am attracted to him but because he is great company and he can make me laugh. With him; I’m treated like an equal – when I had been with Vince; he had always treated me like second helpings when it came to my Father. Yes; he treated me like a princess when he wasn’t out whoring around but the minute my Dad called and asked him to do something – everything else was dumped and pushed to the side. I didn’t have to even worry about that with Christian. I knew that he liked me for me and not who my Father was or what he could do for him.

No - my Father wasn’t going to make me chose; besides for all I know; this thing with Christian might not even pan out into anything more than just a mutual attraction to one another. I would definitely like it to be more than that; but sometimes life just didn’t go the way you wanted it to go.

Lying here next to him; listening to the beating of his heart, feeling his arm wrapped securely around me and the scent of his aftershave – I felt comfortable, I felt safe and I felt warmer than I had in a long time. My eyes finally fluttered open and I could see the TV was still on – displaying that familiar static reflection. Apparently the DVD had finished and just switched itself off. Looking down towards the floor; I could see the puppies sitting there looking up at us with questioning looks on their faces. I didn’t want to move – Christian was obviously still sleeping and if I made any attempt to get out of his arms; he’d wake up and I imagined that he was having a peaceful sleep because his heart beat hadn’t changed in any way since I had woken up.

My mind went back to my Father – I couldn’t help but wonder if he felt guilty about what he had done, or even ashamed. I didn’t expect so; my Father was a tough man – he never apologised for the things that he did and he never backed down from any argument. My face still felt tender and I wondered if the attack had left a mark behind or if it would just be my lip that was swollen. I hoped so. I had to go to the cafe tomorrow to meet the builders and ensure that they got started on the work. I had decided that I was going to be the project manager on the job and that meant that I would have to be at the building every day.

“Mmmmmmm,” Christian stirred; his lean body stretching out, “oh God – did we fall asleep?”

“’Fraid so,” I smiled, glad that I could finally move – I had managed to knot my neck up from the position that I had slumped into, “do you want some breakfast?”

“What you got?” he asked removing his arm from around my shoulders and finally stretching out properly.

“Pretty much anything you want,” I told him getting to my feet and greeting the puppies by scooping them up into my arms and moving to the French doors where they could go out in the garden to play for a little while. It was perfectly walled in; so there was no chance of them getting out.

“What are you having?” he asked me, getting to his feet and following me to the kitchen.

“I usually have a fruit salad or toast.......I think maybe toast today!” I admitted opening up the bread bin and pulled out a loaf of brown bread.

I was a bit of a health freak – I ate well, I exercised regularly and I detoxed my body every month. I drank fruit smoothies whenever I got the chance, I rarely drank coffee – I usually drank water during the day and because of all of that – I felt like my complexion was as perfect as it could be. My only vices were smoking and drinking wine but I usually drank red wine; and if you believe modern medicine these days they say red wine is good for the heart; maybe not in the quantities that I tend to drink but still.

“Then toast is fine with me,” he smiled running his hand through his hair before rubbing his eyes and yawning at the same time.

“Sorry if you didn’t get a comfortable sleep.......”

“I must have done; if I am uncomfortable I won’t sleep, at all!” he informed me moving to the French doors and watching the puppies running around and playing with one another. I still had to come up with names for them – I wasn’t always the greatest at picking names that was for sure.

Last night when he had come back over – he had enquired what had happened with my Father; I had to beg him not to ask; I couldn’t very well say oh well you see my Dad doesn’t want me seeing you.......’cos you’re not Italian. Even just saying that in my head I could see how ridiculously racist my Father was being. Sure he would say that he wasn’t racist; he doesn’t discriminate against anyone who he encounters but that is a pile of bullshit; he hated the idea of me just hanging out with Christian and he had voiced that opinion to me and in my eyes; that made him a racist.

“Did you have a good time last night...........? At least until my Father showed up,” I asked him as I placed 4 slices of toast into the toaster and moved over to the doors beside him and watched the puppies bouncing all over one another and playing happily.

“I really did, your friends are really nice........and welcoming,” he glanced at me for a second and smiled; making my knees wobble desperately, “even after your Dad had left – I had a better time!”

My heart leapt, my mouth turned dry and I felt like some silly little school girl with a crush. At least we were both aware that we were attracted to one another; and I didn’t have to stand here wondering what he thought of me. That was one of the worst things about meeting new guys.

“I really enjoyed the movie......well at least what I remembered of it!” he chuckled scratching the 5 o’clock shadow that had formed on his handsome features; making him look more rugged and handsome than ever. Be still my beating heart! Corny I know but oh well – you can just get over it.

“Yeah it’s one of my favourite movies of all time,” I nodded handing him a cigarette before lighting up myself. “However, I do believe that I promised to help you with your packing since you stayed with me last night, which I thank you immensely for by the way,”

“You’re welcome honey, I wasn’t about to leave you alone in the state you were in. And yes you did agree to help me pack,” he replied, “but I won’t hold you to it if you have something else to do..........”

“I do have something to do actually........” I teased and watched his face turn in to a questioning glance, “help you get ready to leave. I was thinking that I could drive you to the airport if you don’t want to take your car?”

“You don’t have to do that,”

“I want too – besides; it’s not a completely selfless act......”

“No?” he was now openly staring at me and it was almost like his hands were touching my body – stroking me, feeling every inch of me and I could feel the start of a tingle at the base of my spine; pleasure – began to course right through me and I wondered why this had never happened to me before but I wasn’t about to question it.

“No, if I give you a lift – that will mean that you will need a lift when you get back into LA and I can come get you; meaning that I will get to see you sooner,”

“You’ve put a lot of plan into this I see,” he chuckled wrapping his arm around my shoulder and gently pulling me into his side and kissing the top of my head, “of course, that could mean that we could just go on ahead to have our first date.........”

“First date? You’re planning on having more than one?”

“You bet I am!” he informed me as the toaster pinged – the indication that the toast was ready.

Reluctantly, I removed myself from his arms and felt a strange sort of vibe making me want to stay right next to him. Even though we hadn’t had a date yet (well a proper date) we were surprisingly comfortable with one another. The kind of comfort that only comes from years of being together – but we had only just met. If I didn’t feel so comfortable with these feelings for him; I would most probably be alarmed at how much I didn’t find anything wrong in the way we were with one another.

It was getting harder and harder to remember that we had only met a few days ago.

“Do you want marmalade or jam?” I ask him as I drop the hot toast onto the cutting board.

“What kind of jam?” he asked me resting his elbows on the counter of the kitchen top and those intense blue eyes watching me intently – there was something about those eyes that made me want to melt and give into him completely. I had honestly, never seen eyes so unusually blue. Just when you thought you could tell what colour they were – they’d change or get caught by the sun or whatever light and they would appear completely different.

“I have strawberry and raspberry,”

“What you having?” he asked still watching me with such interest I felt dizzy from the weight of that stare.

My Father had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. There was no way that I was going to stop hanging out with this man just because he didn’t have Italian blood in his veins. Christian definitely made me feel content; it was something in his aura that just leaked comfort and safety that I hadn’t felt with Vince. I had the feeling that he would be the kind of guy who would support anything that his girlfriend wanted to do – and he certainly wasn’t afraid to give compliments; a quality that I found undeniably sexy.

“I’m going with my favourite.......”

“Strawberry?”

“Wrong!” I laughed, “unlike most people – strawberry isn’t my favourite; raspberry is!” I admitted, “to be honest; I only buy the strawberry because I know that my friends are strawberry freaks,”

“You surprise me,”

“Is that a bad thing?” I asked pulling the jam from the fridge when Christian had nodded that raspberry was fine with him.

“Not even a little bit,” he winked and smiled at me, “so how are you feeling after last?”

“I’m a lot calmer. Thank you for staying with me last night,” I told him as the front doorbell rang – echoing out through the bottom floor of the home. “Excuse me,” he nodded while I moved towards the front door.

And there on the doorstep is a flower delivery man; holding a bunch of my favourite flowers – Orchids and a note hanging out of them. I didn’t need to read the note to know that they were from my Father. I knew that he was a classic man in that moment – he hit me and thinks that sending flowers and some sappy sorry note will make me forgive him. Not bloody likely!

Christian’s POV;

It really shocked me - the fact I felt so comfortable with Ayden and we had only known one another a few days. There was this connection between us; the kind of connection that I had never truly believed could exist before. Seeing her last night after her Dad had hit her; had definitely made this surge of anger rise within me. It had shocked me at first; because I had thought that what I was feeling was just lust – but it suddenly hit me just how seriously I was feeling for her.

“Io onestamente, non può credere che pensi appena che un pugno di Orchidee ed una nota che dicono fottendo spiacente mi prenderà per lo perdonare per ciò che ha fatto!” she was ranting as the sound of the wrapping on the bunch of flowers rustled as she moved towards the kitchen, “Ho pensato realmente che mi ha saputo. .......selfish, lo stronzo bigotto!”

“Bigoted?” I asked – thankfully, I had majored in Italian at school; I didn’t know all of the words that she had ranted but bigot was one that I did remember because the teacher we had teaching us had been extremely bigoted. When she finally appeared in the room carrying the large bunch of beautiful Orchid flowers, which she promptly discarded into the trash can that was situated just by the French doors.

It truly amazed me – she had been crumpled on the sofa next to me all night, yet she woke up and she looked more naturally beautiful than before. Watching her, seeing the way she stewed – there was an undercurrent of strength there. I had sensed that she was strong but seeing her like this – her true anger; she was more than beautiful. It was like looking into the eye of a hurricane and seeing the calm centre; a beautiful space right at the core of the angry wind.

“Yeah,” she replied simply before continuing her rant, “after all the years that I have lived with him, after all the things that he has seen me through – he thinks that actions are what is important to me? I have never met someone so God damn infuriating as my Father!”

Now that she had disposed of the flowers, she moved back to the counter and poured the coffee into the mugs for us and handed me my plate with toast and my mug of coffee before grabbing her own and moving back to the living room where we had spent the night curled up with one another.

I wasn’t in anyway ashamed to admit that her Father had intimidated me; I could hold my own in many situations – but something about that man had made my blood run cold. I had, for the first time since I had known her, been thankful to leave Ayden’s house last night.

“Thank you Chris,”

“For what?” I stopped munching on my toast and turned to look at her – she was staring into space – her food untouched and her coffee still in the mug.

“For coming to check on me last night,” she said, “you really didn’t have to do that but I am glad that you did. I really couldn’t have handled being alone last night,”

“I was happy to do it Ayd, you........it’s not like spending time with you is a chore,”

“I’m glad that you think that way,” she smiled and finally turned her eyes to meet mine.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” she smiled again, “after what you did for me last night, the least I can do is answer your questions,”

“Was it because of me that you and your Dad argued last night?” I questioned her and watched so closely for her reaction. The thought had played on my mind when she had asked me to drop it the previous night; after all that we had talked about since meeting one another; she had never been vague about things – she had been open and she was the kind of woman who seemed to prefer being honest with the people in her life.

Dropping her head; she stared at her food while her fingers ripped and tore at her toast. A deep sigh slid through her beautiful lips – and before she answered; she licked the jam from her fingers and turned to look at me.

“I really didn’t want to tell you........”

“Ayd I am so sorry – if I had known that it would cause this much trouble then.......”

“It’s not your fault,” she interjected, “I don’t want you to even think that. My Father has always had this idea that I would marry an Italian boy and give him pure blood Italian grandkids that he could teach the Family business too. The thing is Elias isn’t – hasn’t ever expressed an interest in getting into the family business and I know that it bothers my Father that his only son is snubbing the way he makes a living.

“Of course there is absolutely no way that he would take me into the business – it’s no place for women apparently. So my sole function is producing Italian babies that can carry the Family name into the future. It never occurs to him that I might not want children, or that I might find a man who isn’t Italian but who I want to spend my life with you know? Not that I am saying I feel that way about you – I just want the option to get to know you better.......does that make sense to you?”

“It truly does,” I nodded in agreement with her, “so he doesn’t want you hanging out with me?”

“No!” she shook her head in response. “It’s ridiculous – I love him to bits, and for the most part we get along really well but, damn it when he goes off on one – it’s like world war 3 has erupted and we’re both on opposing sides,”

“Would it make things better if we didn’t hang out?”

“I am not backing down on this Chris,” she was fierce in her reply, “the minute I give into him – he thinks that means he can run my life for me. I am 26 years old and he has raised me to know my own mind and I know that I want to get to know you better and I want to hang out with you and I want to go on a date with you to see if we can build something on top of the lust that we feel......well, I assume that you feel the same lust that I feel,”

“No question about it!” I smiled at her and grabbing her free hand, “well I have an idea that might help........”

“What’s that?”

“Why don’t we keep what we have on the down low for now? See where it takes us and if we do build something then we tell him what is going on?”

“You mean you really still want to get involved with me after all of this?”

“What can I say?” I chuckled as I brushed my thumb lightly over the top of her hand, her skin was warm and soft, “I have always been the kind of guy who doesn’t back down easily.......and I know that your Dad is unlike anyone that I have come up against before but what I feel for you is strong enough that I want to at least try and see where this goes with us, if you still do?”

“Like I said – I ain’t backing down on this one,” she was firm and determined in her answer, leaving me with no questions that she wanted to try as much as I did, “besides – it might be fun sneaking around.......”

“It is kind of sexy!” I chuckled leaning in and resting my head against hers, “we’ll have fun,”

“I bet we will,” slowly she wrapped her arm around my shoulders, “we’re gonna have to get moving if we’re going to get you ready in time for your flight though,”

Nodding, we finished up our breakfast double quick and placed the dishes into the dish washer and then she grabbed her shoes after freshening up a little bit and we headed over to my place. She was happy enough to leave the puppies playing and yelping in the back garden of her place. They really were quite content being there and it seemed kind of cruel to stuff them back inside the house – so she poured water into a couple of dishes at the bottom of the porch and followed me over the wall and into my own garden.

It was only 8 in the morning; but the sun was already high in the sky and warming the air, a few scattered tourists and surfers were already on the soft warm sand – getting ready for a day of sunbathing or surfing before they had to go to work. I counted myself as extremely blessed that I could enjoy this place every morning when I was at home and with Ayden moving in next door – it just added to the need to come back as soon as possible.

“Wow......” Ayden breathed in as we entered the kitchen of my home.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she shook her head, “this place is beautiful,”

After seeing the way that she decorated her own place – I wouldn’t have thought that my decoration would appeal to her in any way. I used rustic colours in my decoration, I had warm and worn furniture; all with a country feel to it. Growing up in the country had defined who I had become as an adult and I was completely comfortable in the way I was, I was at ease in my own skin and I knew that I liked what I liked. It was the same kind of sense that I got from Ayden.

There was a unique style to her and the way she dressed, the way she talked, the way she decorated her home and all the other little things that I had noticed about her. I loved that she seemed to just do her own thing and be who she was without caring about what people thought of her or said about her.

After having changed from her cloths from last night – she was now wearing a pair of ripped and tattered stone washed jeans with black leggings underneath, a ripped and sliced t-shirt with a pair of vampire teeth imprinted on the front – the rips and slices weren’t from over wear; it had been purchased that way and it suited her and the personality that she had. The long ebony hair was shining in the light and looked silky smooth and soft; her cat-like shaped eyes were sparkling with enthusiasm and determination. I watched her for a few moments as she wondered around the dining area – looking at the photos on the wall.

“Are these your folks?” she asked pointing to a picture that I had taken of my parent’s the day I had left Norman to come to LA – they were sat on the porch at the ranch we owned – the porch swing making them squashed together but their smiles were happy and relaxed, the way they always were.

“Yeah that’s my Ma and Da,”

“They look so happy together – they are a beautiful couple Chris,” she turned and glanced at me for a moment before turning back to the pictures, “and is this your sister Jen and her husband?”

“Yeah,” it was fascinating to see her taking all of this in. There was something in her eyes – a soft disappointment that I couldn’t place but didn’t want to ask her about.

Yes I felt comfortable with her; I felt like we could talk about absolutely anything in the world but it seemed to me that this was a private thing for her. There was a silence coming from her, a sad and overwhelming kind of grief that I guessed came from the fact that she didn’t have a Mother and hadn’t had one for the majority of her life. I couldn’t even imagine how difficult that must be for her on a daily basis and as much as she showed the world that she was dealing and getting on with her life – I could tell that there was a part of her that still grieved for the woman whom she hadn’t had nearly enough time to get to know.

“You guys seem really close,” she commented as she came to the photo of me, my ma and my da and sister Jen with her husband. We were all linked in a hug and smiling happily at the camera – it had been an Easter weekend a few years back that the photo had been taken; we had arranged a huge egg hunt on the ranch for Jen’s kids and we were all painted up with face paints and were laughing like a real family.

“We really are,” I nodded, “I can’t wait for you to meet them!”

“Really?”

“Of course,” I smiled as she moved to my side and touched my arm lightly, “if you are going to be as huge a part of my life as I think you’re going to be then; you have to meet my Family!”

“I’d like that very much,” she beamed up at me, “but right now – we need to get you packed!”

I could tell there was no point in arguing with her – she had a set determination planted on her gorgeous features and it wasn’t hard for me to just submit and do as she said. So we spent the next few hours packing up my suitcases and taking care of the things in the house and she promised me that she would look after Bud for me while I was away.

Then she drove me to the airport and I was transported out of her life with such speed that I was left somewhat disorientated. Life suddenly felt kind of empty without her spark surrounding me.

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PostSubject: Chapter 10 - Apology   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:07 am

Later that night, back at the beach house;
Ayden’s POV;

Saying goodbye to Christian had been tougher than I had imagined it would be. It felt a little strange if I was being honest – I had only known him a few days but already it seemed that I had known him longer. I was glad that I had met him – he was a great person; he listened when I talked, he could talk to me about almost anything and it would be like a spark; taking us on to more topics of conversation.

Now that I was home, I was giving the down stairs a once over before heading up to the second floor to unpack the rest of my boxes. The puppies were already up in my bedroom – completely worn out and asleep on the heat pad that I still left them on for periods of time – it seemed to keep them happy and content; and it allowed me to get things done.

Moving to the French doors, I closed them and ensured that they were locked before moving towards the front door. Just as I was about to turn the key when the doorbell rang loudly making me jump from the surprise.

Instinct screamed at me that it would be my father and there was no way that I was getting away with not talking to him. I swear the man was more stubborn than a bull – he wasn’t going to let this go anytime soon. When he got it into his head about being right there was no way to deter him and I had a feeling that I would have to sit and listen to him talking for hours. That wasn’t a prospect that I was relishing to be honest but I knew that it was definitely best to get it over with.

Christian and I had decided that we’d keep us on the down low for the moment until we saw where this attraction took us. And while we did that; it was best that my Dad didn’t know about that. There was no point in pissing him off before anything could even get started. Christian and I would handle the rough road when the time was right but for the moment; we had to remain cautious about being seen together – he would just put a huge spanner in the works and try to come in the middle of what we were building.

“Che vuole lei?” by asking him in Italian what he was doing here would get my point of being angry across right off the bat.

“Non essere come ciò,”

“Don’t be like what?” I snapped back holding the door at the small creek I had created when I opened the door.

“Angry with me,” he pouted in a way that usually encouraged me to forgive him, “I made a mistake – but you know that I am just looking out for you!”

“No Dad I don’t know that,” I felt myself become as angry as I had been the previous night, “all I can see is you not trusting that you have raised me well enough to know my own mind and someone who thinks that people who aren’t from Italian descent are beneath you!”

“I don’t............”

“Yes you do,” I spat at him, “you met Christian last night and because he isn’t Italian you dismissed him and told me not to hang around him, it’s pathetic and I don’t want that kind of attitude around me,”

“Can I come in so we can talk about this?”

“No,” I said holding the door a little tighter, “I am in the middle of unpacking and I don’t want to get distracted,”

“Ayden come on......”

“I’ll call you later Dad,” and with that I closed the door behind me and leant back against the wood; my breath fast and slightly erratic.

I just wasn’t ready to have this conversation with him – I hated that I was resorted to lying to him. All my life, I had talked to him about everything – we had always been completely honest with each other but now I was being pushed to lie. If he couldn’t accept Christian as a part of my life right now; then lying really was the only way to go about things.

Sinking to the floor, I rested my head into my hands and wondered how this was all going to work out.

I couldn’t help but wonder what my Mother would say if she were here – would she have sided with me or with my Dad? I liked to think that she would be open minded enough that she would take my side on this, but deep down – I knew that she was as proud of her roots as Dad was.

Christian was nothing at all like the guys I had met in the past – he was funny and managed to make me laugh without any kind of pressure, he could hold a conversation and didn’t have to ask every 5 minutes what it was like to grow up in the house that I had with the Father that I had and of course there were the kind of people who only wanted to be around me because of who my father was and what he could do for them or someone they knew.

Christian had made no attempt to ask anything more of me than to just get to know one another and he was perfectly happy to remain in the sidelines until the time was right. I had the distinct impression that he would be the kind of man who respected women and their opinions and that was something that was extremely sexy to me. When we talked it was like there was no one else in the world for him that he would rather sit and listen too – that was something that I hadn’t experienced, this way, before. Of course there was also the fact that I was attracted, beyond all reasonable thought, to the way he looked. It had been the first thing that had attracted me to him – the way his eyes were the most intense and rare colour of blue, the lopsided grin that highlighted the scar on his top lip and the way his golden hair tumbled around his face like a lions mane. Yes there was no way that I couldn’t be attracted to the man.

My Father pounded on the door a little more and then after a few moments; it seemed like he gave up and everything turned silent. Scrambling back to my feet, I moved to the living room, grabbed the phone from its cradle and pressed the number 1 on auto dial and waited for one of my best friends to answer the call.

“Speak,” she answered on the 2nd ring.

“Dray it’s me, Ayden!” I replied.

“Hey you, what’s up?” she asked me as I grabbed the cigarettes from the side stand and lit up.

“I need you to come over,”

“Why? Things gone sour with the new boy toy already?”

“No........” I inhaled and exhaled before continuing, “well not directly,”

“What did your dad do now?”

“Come over and I’ll tell you?” I enquired desperately. “I just need some support and the chance to vent! Oh and can you bring my gorgeous little God daughter?”

“Ok,” she replied, “do you just want me and her; or can Mark come too?”

“Just you 2 for now, if you don’t mind?”

“I don’t mind at all, it will give him a chance to go and catch up with Donnie,” she replied happily, “I’ll be there in about 20 minutes ok?”

“Thanks Dray; you’re the best!” I hung up and fell back into the soft comfort of the sofa and wondered about what I had agreed to do with Christian.

It just didn’t feel right to lie to my Father; I hadn’t lied to him since I was 17 years old. When I had tried to tell him that I wasn’t drinking alcohol at the party Brittany had thrown one Saturday night – Britt’s mom and dad had come home earlier and gone completely ballistic. My Father was called and saw the state of everyone else but I hadn’t had all that much to drink since I had been out with Vince before the party so I didn’t exactly look as drunk as the other’s but my Uncle had informed my Father, after I had lied and said that I hadn’t been drinking, that he had seen me with a bottle of beer in my hands.

I had vowed that I would never lie to him again because he could always read through my lies no matter how miniscule that it was.

Now I had to worry about him finding out about me sneaking around behind his back but.........Christian was worth it. Even though we had only met a few days ago; I just knew that he was a good man and someone who could enrich my life more than it already was. I could see myself really falling hard for him and I hadn’t had that feeling in the longest time.

There really was no point in starting unpacking upstairs until Draven arrived – she’d be happy to help me, since she was a little bit of a control freak. Sitting here, I didn’t know what to do with myself until she arrived so I just lit another cigarette and wondered over into the kitchen to prepare coffee for when my friend arrived.

Just as I settled down at the kitchen counter, to wait for the coffee to be ready, my cell phone beeped with the sound of a text arriving. Pulling it from my pocket, I couldn’t help the smile that came to my face when I saw Christian’s name flashing on the tiny screen. Quickly opening the message, I was grinning like a whore in a sailors bar. ‘Just wanted 2 let u know that I’ve arrived. Missing u already....its weird isn’t it? Talk 2 u soon, love C xoxox’ I couldn’t stop smiling; he missed me. I’m kind of glad that my own feelings of missing him weren’t just one sided.

‘Glad that u arrived safely. I’m missing u 2. Can’t w8 2 c u either, love Ayd xoxox’. I typed back and sent it; closing the phone and getting up to pour the coffee into the mugs.

Yes, it was worth hiding from my Father – I was completely sold on the idea. I really did like Chris; he was fun and he was sweet and he cared about real things – he’s just perfect for me. And I just want the chance to see if there could be anything more between us than the attraction. For all we know; we might just not be compatible with one another. It made sense to do it the way we were – there was no point in pissing my Father off for what could potentially be nothing other than sexual attraction.

I missed my Mom at times like this – I missed her every day, but some days were worse than others. Some times were worse than others and this was one of those times. I knew that she would probably agree with my dad but then I had the feeling that she would be a little bit more diplomatic than dad was. I also had the feeling that she would at least give Christian a chance.

Was I being too hard on my dad?

Should I have just accepted his apology?

See this is what happens whenever me and him argued – I was always the one left feeling guilty and unreasonable. But this time; he really had pushed me too hard – he had never hit me before. Even when Elias and I were kids he never hit us. Our punishment was having things that we enjoyed being taken away from us; he had never raised his hand to either of us, regardless of how rotten we were being. There must have been times when we had really pushed him hard and he had always managed to remain in control. And I had done many things to push him to the limit – I had drank underage, I had stayed out all night when I was 15 years old, I defied him at every turn and still he had stuck to his ‘no hitting’ rule. If I had, had to deal with me at that age; I would be black and blue.

Yes, remind me to never have children! I just don’t think that I have the patience to deal with them. I am fine with other people’s babies cause at the end of the day you can hand them back, but one, or more, of my own – no thank you! Draven had always stated that when I found the right man, then my opinion would change. I couldn’t see it personally.

I did however, adore Draven’s little girl – she looked exactly like Draven. The same large pretty eyes, the same full lips and they both had a temper that could rival the devil. My Dad always said that it was the Italian heritage that gave us our tempers but I had rarely had to use mine in the past. I was more the type to wait and wait and then serve revenge on a cold dish as they say. Elias told me that I was spiteful. I didn’t know about that; I just knew that I didn’t take being betrayed very well.

Elias and I were pretty close. We had, had to stick together through the years – Hell I had practically raised him and I had done an ok job if I do have to honk my own horn. My brother knew who he was; he knew what he wanted and how to go about getting it. He knew right from wrong and he was respectful of everyone who was older than he was. It had been tough and there were times when I questioned whether I was doing the right thing or if I was giving him bad advice; but Dad always told me that if he was going to school, getting good grades and not getting into trouble then I was doing fine. Great parenting we had huh?

20 Minutes Later;
Draven’s POV;

Ayden and I had always been the closest out of our friends; it was because we were so close to the same age. I can still remember in high school; once we had all crowded around Ayden when she was being bullied – her Father had given her permission to handle it in any way that she saw fit – we had become known as the high school mafia. People were nice to us, they would move when we walked into the cafeteria and they would offer to do things for us; including homework.

Knocking on her front door; I tried the handle to find that it was locked. So I rang the doorbell and waited for her to open up and let me in.

“Thank God you’re here.......” she sighed happily, “it feels like I am losing my mind!”

“What the Hell happened to your face?” I demanded gently grabbing her chin and pulling her face back around to look at me. There was a red stain on her cheek; her lip was split and swollen slightly.

“Come in and we’ll talk about it,” she ushered me into the house; stuck her head out the door and checked in both directions before coming back inside and locking the door behind us.

“What’s going on? I have ‘never’ seen you like this honey,”

“Come on through; I made coffee!”

Ayden was a strong girl – when she lost her Mother she had stepped up and she had literally run her house single handedly. Her Dad never really noticed just how much she had done; at least that was the impression that he gave off. Ayden always argued that he appreciated everything that she did but no one really saw any sign of him doing so.

No one ever mentioned it or tried to stand up to him; he was the ‘boss’ and that meant he was not to be questioned. Family had an order in our society and when you were head of the family – you were automatically respected regardless of what your opinion or actions were. It was a role that entitled you to basically act like a git and get away with it and also have every demand met; no matter what time of the day or what people were in the middle of. I can remember when I was about 11 years old; I had been put forward to read my poem out at talent night at our school, my Dad and my Mom had turned up and were on their best behaviour; they didn’t do one thing to embarrass me, which is a true accomplishment for a parent. Anyway, I had just taken the stage when my Father’s cell phone had started ringing – it was Ayden’s Dad, Carlo; demanding that my Father come and help him with a situation at his business. My Father was unable to object and so he had missed the recital. It was something that I had never been able to forgive because it was when I finally realized that my Family was nothing like anyone else’s at school; except my other ‘Family’ members.

“Don’t tell me that, that Christian did this to you?” my voice was clipped and dripping with anger.

“He didn’t........” she turned and looked at me firmly to push her point across even more, “he could never........he respects women way too much to be able to do something like this,”

“Then who?” I demanded taking the mug of coffee from her and sipping it before moving to the sink and pouring some cold water into the mug so I could drink it straight away.

“It was my Dad,” she admitted copying my movements and then leading me to the living room where we had spent the previous night talking and laughing; completely unaware of what was going to happen to Ayden.

“Your Dad did this?”

“Yeah,”

“Why?”

“Well you know what he is like about me dating an Italian man...........when he met Chris last night, he didn’t like it one little bit and he demanded that I stop hanging out with him and that I was in no way what-so-ever to date him!”

My whole life, I had never seen Carlo raise his hand at Ayden or Elias. Instead of psychical punishment – he was the type of man who would withhold the things that his children loved the most – like Ayden’s CD player (she had always loved all kinds of music and it was her release) and Elias’ computer which he was always playing when he was younger. Hell, even now – when he had spare time you could find him playing on the Xbox or the playstation; he had every possible game console on the market at the moment.

“And he hit you?”

“Well, I might have mentioned that I wasn’t one of his employees and that I am capable of making up my own mind!” she admitted curling her legs so that her feet were tucked underneath her. Resting her mug on top of her knee as she gave me that look – the one that said she thought she was to blame and the way I could see it; it was about time that she stood up to her Father.

It’s not that I didn’t like Carlo – it was just that sometimes he really had unrealistic goals for Ayden. All through her teenage years he had not only expected her to keep the house relatively tidy but he also expected that she bring home ‘A’ marks only, any time it slipped he would stop her from doing anything until she brought her grade point average back up to all ‘A’s.

“God damn Ayd – were trying to get a raise out of him?”

“No!” she fell back into the folds of the plush sofa, “what I was trying to do was get him to see that he can’t control every single aspect of my life! You know?”

“I know honey, but you – you know better than to push him like that,”

“Dray; I have done everything possible to keep that man happy – I went to University because he wanted me too, I studied business because he wanted me too and I put my life on hold to do all of it. I am an adult now and I............I want to really start living my life!”

“I’m not saying not to do what you want but.......if he has forbid you from seeing him; how are you even going to......”

“Well we talked about it......me and Christian that is, we talked about how we were going to go about this and we agreed that until the time when we know whether this is something serious or not, we’re gonna just keep it on the down low!”

“Ooohhhh risky,”

“Dray don’t.......”

“It’s sexy and you guys will have so much fun,” I told her.

“You really think so?” she asked me smiling shyly. “I mean you know that I amn’t very good with men,”

“I know,”

Sometimes I felt bad for the way that she had been forced to live but the majority of the time, I didn’t think about it because Ayden didn’t wallow in how bad she had it, she celebrated the fact that she was made to focus on her studying and that she had the qualifications to ensure that she was an independent woman.

When I had met Mark; it was instant attraction. We both were attracted to one another and it hadn’t been a problem for us to get together. My parents weren’t all gung ho about me only dating Italian men. As long as I was happy that was all that mattered to them – and as long as Mark treated me well and provided for me they accepted him and welcomed him to the family.

“So he was here when Daddy went off on his little rant then?”

“No, he actually left not long after you guys had,” she explained to me, “he came back over. He saw Dad leave like he had a bullet up his ass and he came to check that I was ok and found me in the bathroom trying to clean up!”

“Did you tell him what happened?”

“Actually I wasn’t going too and I didn’t – he stayed with me all night but then this morning........”

“Wait he stayed with you?”

“Nothing happened......dirty mind!” she giggled softly.

“Mmmmm if you say so,”

“Anyway; he was still with me when Dad decided to have flowers saying sorry to me, and because I didn’t think that he would know Italian I had a little rant but he recognized the word bigot so I ended up confessing to him,”

“How’d he take it?”

“He was actually surprisingly great.......he offered to stop seeing me, but there was no way in Hell that I got a bruised face and split lip for no reason, so he came up with the idea to stay private with what we have until we see where it goes,”

“I have to admit that I think that is really the best idea,” I admitted.

Last night when we had gotten home; Mark and I had talked about Christian and how he came across as being completely 100% smitten by my friend. If Mark noticed it then it was definitely something that was real. My husband wasn’t what you would call overly observant when it came to other people; he found it difficult to read people as easily as I could. Then again, I had been raised in an environment where I had to be able to size people up all the time.

With our family; you just weren’t ever sure why people wanted to be around you, or why they came to you with a certain offer – you learned very quickly how to read the signs of being deceived or being taken for a ride.

“You do?” she asked, “cos I wasn’t all that sure!”

“No honey,” I grabbed her hand, “if you really want to get to know this guy then you need to keep it quiet; you know what your dad is like,”

“True,” she sighed, “but what did you think of him?”

“Well he is definitely gorgeous,” I admitted, “not Mark hot but hot in his own right,” I winked at her and she finally laughed, “and he really did come across as being completely smitten by you!”

“Can you tell that the feeling is mutual?”

“Well let me put it this way – if I hadn’t believed it before, I would now – what with the messed up face and all,”

“He’s amazing,” she sighed dreamily, “when I am with him; it’s like nothing and no one else exists. He makes me laugh, he listens and it’s like he truly is listening to what I am saying and he is caring; I saw that when he caught me in the bathroom cleaning up last night,”

It was good to see her with that glow on her features – it had been way too long since she had allowed a man to get close to her let alone have her swooning all over him. It usually wasn’t her style; she was self reliant, and she liked her life that way but everyone needs a little human touch once in a while. Just like Bruce Springsteen sings about.

Mark had told me that if it got serious with Ayd and Christian; then he would have no problem sitting down with Christian and telling him what it was like coming into the family. And I knew that Britt’s man Thomas and Claire’s man Alexander would help out too. It was important for new people to understand the way the family worked and what was expected of them.

With the guys taking care of Christian, my sister Claire and Brittany, and myself would help Ayden with the transition. She may not realize that it would get difficult to deal with; but we would be right there for her. Ayden was like a little sister to me, although she was almost the same age as I was; we were close and it would be something that no man – would ever come in between, not even her Father. Now that the talk was over, we both moved up to the second floor and began unpacking her stuff. It felt good to have some adult time; especially after spending the majority of my time with my daughter. I loved her deeply and protectively but damn I needed my own space.

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PostSubject: Chapter 11 - Standing By Your Friends   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:09 am

4 hours later;
Mark’s POV;

Draven was always the type of girl who would drop what she could to be at the side of her friends when they were going through anything. With a huge and kind heart; it was difficult to get her to stop worrying when things were going on.

Like the time when Ayden had found out her boyfriend had been fleecing her Father. Ayden was desperate to ensure that her Dad didn’t go out and do anything stupid and the stress that she was feeling had transferred in to my wife. It wasn’t that I minded because like I said; Draven had always been that way; even when we had met and Ayden was like a little sister to my wife.

Besides, when she had rushed off to help out Ayd it meant that I got to spend time with my little girl; Bella. Usually I was off on location, or going to auditions – it was hard to find the time to spend with my daughter and I missed so many things; like the first time she smiled, or the first time that she sat up on her own – Dray and I had sat down and talked about it and we both agreed that I wouldn’t be doing movies back to back anymore. I wanted to be at home now; I wanted to put my career on the back burner for a little while. I had been working so hard for so long that I truly never got to spend any quality time with my wife and now that we had a daughter; it just put everything into prospective for me.

I really couldn’t complain about my life – honestly, I had made enough money to be able to live comfortably with my family for the rest of our lives, I had amazing friends that were really my friends (when I had first got into the business; I had a bunch of people who called themselves my friends but when my record career didn’t pan out; they were gone quicker than a whore getting out of church) and my family were accepting of my career and Draven’s family had welcomed me from the beginning and it made such a difference in how me and Dray had developed our relationship.

Of course when I had been told that we had a request from the mafia; I had been way too terrified to say no to what they were asking. It turned out that Draven had enjoyed my musical career and had been devoted to hyping me up to anyone and everyone that she met. That kind of devotion had impressed me immensely. There was no way to deny that she was beautiful.

My initial reaction to meeting her was one that was very much characteristic of the person I had been back then when I had been riding on the coat tails of my brother’s career. I think I had said to my manager that I wanted to bang her; yes typical bloke I know. At the time; it wouldn’t have mattered if I had wanted to bang her or not; the fact that she was part of the mafia had, at first, made me very cautious of how I treated her and my usual tactics were definitely a no go – especially if I wanted to keep my knees.

Instead of bedding her straight away; I had given her my number and told her to call me anytime. We ended up talking on the phone all the time – we were like best friends for the first year of knowing one another. I enjoyed talking to her – she made me laugh, she wasn’t all serious and uptight like most girls of her age. There were things that this girl had seen that could break the most strongest of minds and it was sexy to me that she didn’t see what was so special about where she came from. I hadn’t met anyone who wasn’t interested or fascinated by the mafia, and if people said that they weren’t interested by the customs were lying.

I remember the first time that we went on a date – it had been Draven’s prom. Granted she hadn’t planned on going but I didn’t want her to miss out on it and then end up regretting it. It had been arranged that we were going to have our first date that night so I had sneakily planned the entire night. The limo was booked, her dress was bought, her jewellery was on loan from Tiffany’s and corsage was a beautiful white lily that blended with her baby blue floor length gown. When we had arrived; it caused a big stir but I quickly realized that Draven and her family practically ruled the place – people were afraid of them. I watched kids do absolutely anything that Draven and her friends requested of them and being teenagers; Draven and her friends took advantage of that fact.

“Honey I’m home!” my wife called out as she entered the front door of our home – which was about 4 miles down the coast from Ayden’s new home.

“I’m in Bella’s room!” I called back to her and waited for her to come and join me.

Bella was fast asleep in her cot; her little body flat out and her arms curled up so that her thumb was just lingering close to her little rosebud coloured lips. With a head full of beach blond hair; she had the natural colouring of my wife, she had the hazel coloured eyes of my wife and the same shaped mouth as my wife. I couldn’t see any of me in her at all; but Dray always said that she had my temper. Great I give her something bad while my wife gives her all the good stuff.

Glancing up as she walked into the room; her long chestnut brown hair flowing down her back and out of view, her hazel eyes highlighted by the smoky coloured eye makeup that she continued to wear and her lips full and plump with their ruby red colour.

“Hey,” she smiled and moved to where I was sat on the rocking chair where she had nursed our daughter, “how long has she been asleep?”

“About 10 minutes,” I admitted.

“She’ll be good for a couple of hours then,” getting up she reached for my hand and pulled me up. Quietly we crept out of the room and half closed the door over so that we could hear her if she woke early.

When I had first cut back on my work; it had pained me because Bella had acted as if she didn’t like me but Draven explained that it was just because she wasn’t used to me being around all the time. Slowly she had warmed to me; due to the regularity in her routine now and it was like being given the most amazing present in the world. It had taken me a while to get used to her routine and her little personality traits that were already coming through but now that I had formed that bond with her; I never wanted to lose it.

“What’s up with Ayd anyway?” I asked while we moved into the kitchen to make some coffee. My wife was one of the biggest coffee junkies that I knew.

“Carlo hit her last night.........”

“He did what?” I felt my eyes bug out of my head. “I mean what happened? Why did he hit her?”

For as long as I had known Ayden and Carlo – I had known that they had a tempestuous relationship but I had never heard of Carlo raising his hand to her. They both had vicious tempers and didn’t hide them; especially with one another but it had never gotten physical between them in the past.

“Carlo doesn’t want Ayd to see Christian again,”

“Why?”

“He’s not Italian!” she sighed, “it’s ridiculous that he thinks he can just control her life like that you know?”

“I take it that she had something to say about his demand then?”

“Oh absolutely; you know Ayd – once she has something in her head, it’s hard to budge her. This time, I think that he pushed her too far.......”

“I would say so,” nodding as I rested on the counter while she busied herself with filling the coffee pot, “did you see the way they were looking at one another last night?”

“Yeah it was kind of intense wasn’t it?” there was no way that my wife wouldn’t have been aware of it – she was very perceptive when it came to watching people.

I nodded before moving out into the front room and flopped down on the sofa. My thoughts were on Ayden – I had gotten close to all the people in Draven’s life but Ayden had been the one whom I had been around the most. It was easy to talk to her – much like Draven; Ayden didn’t think that she was owed anything just because of who she was and what she came from. Britt and Claire were the exact same way but some of the other ‘kids’ from the mafia were spoiled, they expected to have everything handed to them when they wanted it and they had absolutely no respect for anyone.

Yes Draven had begged her Father to try and get me to meet with her – but there was more to her than that. Draven was a driven young woman; she had worked hard through school, went to beauty school and became a hairdresser and cosmetic technician, it was all her own work – no favours had been called in on her behalf.

“Is she hurt?”

“She’s got a faint stain of a bruise on her cheek; her lip is split but I think it’s more her ego that has taken a bashing than anything,”

“What did she say to him?”

“Well she told him that she wasn’t one of his employees and that he couldn’t demand her to do anything,” my wife fell down onto the sofa next to me, “she is just fed up of his demands you know?”

Ayden had studied hard at school because coming home with anything less than a grade ‘A’ average meant that she would be punished and then when she finished school Carlo had demanded that she go onto university and get a degree in business management. None of it had been her idea; she had been forced into it by her controlling Father. It was like he had pushed her into putting her life on hold for him and for her brother and she had done it without complaint and now it was like she seemed to be willing to put her foot down.

“What are they going to do?”

“Ayd said that Christian suggested that they carry on seeing one another in secret – until they see where it goes with them, I have to admit that makes sense you know? There is no point in making waves when they don’t know if what is between them will last,”

“It definitely makes sense considering her Dad’s reaction,”

“It just pisses me off – hasn’t he taken enough from her? I mean I remember when we were kids; I’d go to their house with my Dad but she wasn’t allowed to play until she had done the washing and cleaned around the house. Sometimes I thought that he was punishing her for the fact that Lillian was murdered and leaving him behind with such a huge reminder of her,”

Being married to Draven; I had heard quite a few horror stories about the things that happened within the family and such, or with people who betrayed them but the one story I had heard that really disturbed me was the story of how Ayden’s mother had been murdered.

On her way to meet Carlo at a new fancy restaurant she had been followed and when she came to a train track; she had stopped as the lights requested of the drivers but the car behind her had rammed into the back bumper and pushed the car until it was on the tracks and stuck – the train had already been in view – Lillian had watched in what I could only imagine as horror as her death came hurling towards her. The fear that she must have felt must have been paralyzing and I couldn’t imagine what had gone through her head at that moment but she had died on impact apparently.

Now that I was a family man, I could even entertain the thought of being ripped from my family’s life like that. That was the reason that I tried to remain as distanced as possible from Draven’s family; especially the business side of it.

Resting her head against my shoulder, she sighed heavily and I just knew that she was now pondering on the fact that Carlo had hit Ayden and there was only one way to get her mind off that and it was by doing this; “Come on you......upstairs and into the bathroom, I’m going to run you a nice warm bath and you’re going to relax!”

“You’re too good to me you know that?” she let out a long heavy breath before allowing me to pull her to her feet.

“I do what I can,”

Scooping her into my arms, I began the trail up to the attic where we had renovated into the babies suite and our master suite. The house was originally a bungalow but the rooms downstairs were our guest rooms. Usually it was the girls that stayed over – if they had a night out and were too drunk to make it all the way home to their own houses. The house was usually always bustling with people – from her parents and their business associates to friends and other various people. The men from her family had to always find unsuspecting places to have their chats and the kids houses were always a safe bet to be able to do that.

Lighting some candles around the edge of the sunken bath tub and then helping her slide into the water, I kissed her head softly and then left her in peace to relax.

Claire’s POV;

After meeting Christian the other night; I could see just how much my friend, Ayden was into him and I just knew that, that would end up being a problem. Carlo was an insistent man; he liked things done his way or no way and I knew for a fact that he had planned on Ayden marrying an Italian man. My Mother was the one who told me – she had been asking about my friend; because she thought that Ayden was being pushed unfairly with the household chores, the continued pressure to get good grades and look after her brother.

Carlo had apparently told the family of his plans for his only daughter – she ‘would’ be marrying an Italian man who could come into the business and eventually maybe one day run the family since Elias had absolutely no intention in following in his Father’s footsteps. Unfortunately in Carlo’s eyes; whatever Elias wanted to do – he was granted a free pass each and every time.

Alexander was soaking in the bath – something that he liked to do when he wasn’t called on set to work. At the moment he was in the middle of filming season 3 of True Blood; but today he wasn’t needed so he stayed at home with me. Lying in the bath with him; my back resting against his chest I couldn’t stop thinking of what would happen between Ayden and Christian.

“You’re so tense baby,” Alex whispered in my ears as his fingers massaged the tops of my shoulders tenderly.

“I know,” I sighed, “it’s just that I can’t stop worrying about Ayd.......”

“Ayden is a big girl now,”

“No you don’t understand..........” my husband had always been the one who insisted that he didn’t want to know anything about the family and their business dealings which was his right after all.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that.........Carlo has a very specific route that he wants his daughter’s life to go in and this man; this man always gets what he wants because he is the boss!”

For a few moments, my eyes rested on the large wall mounted TV screen that was placed above the bath, my favourite movie was playing – Anchorman. I absolutely adored Will Ferrell. The man could keep me amused for hours on end but today I was pondering too much on the state of my friend’s life and what dear old daddy was going to do when he realized that Christian and Ayden were interested in one another in a romantic sense.

“I know that you don’t want to know about the family – and as they say, ignorance really is bliss but Carlo puts a Hell of a lot of pressure on Ayden; he has from the moment that Lillian was murdered and we had to sit back and watch as she grew so quickly before her time and we couldn’t say anything because he is the boss and that means you never answer back and you don’t question his actions.

“My Mom always said that Carlo was too hard on Ayden – he had her taking care of the house from the age of 9 years old until she moved out basically, she had to take care of Elias; and believe me that is no easy fete – the boy is a lazy arrogant and spiteful little bastard and I can’t stand him at all. If Ayd came home from school with anything less than a grade ‘A’ average – she was yelled at and punished. For a long time she was basically just a house wife and student – she never got to spend time with her friends, she never got to do all the things that we were doing and she wasn’t permitted to go to prom; it was beyond ridiculous but like I said you just couldn’t say that to Carlo!”

“I honestly, didn’t realize that she had, had it so bad!” my husband commented as his chin gently rested on top of my shoulder and I took comfort from the fact that my parents weren’t in any way like Carlo and insisting that I marry an Italian boy.

So long as he was trustworthy and good to me then they accepted him and even treated him as part of the family.

“Yeah well no one thinks that she had it bad because look at her – she has the best of everything and she is beautiful; people just assumed that she was stuck up because she never went to party’s with the other kids in school, she never hung around in the usual haunts that we did when we weren’t in school,”

Being from the ‘family’ we were always feared in school – the kids never said anything bad about us and they never did anything without including us; it was a weird set up to be honest and one that still left me feeling cold inside because I knew that I had been respected just because my father was part of the ‘family’. I guess you could say that it had been my first taste of experiencing respect – which isn’t really something that most teenagers get to feel.

“You do know that Carlo scares the Hell out of me right?” my husband enquired and I had suspected as much and it made me love him that much more that he wasn’t afraid to admit it, “I mean – it’s not just cos of the ‘family’ thing; I mean I love your parents it’s just that there is something extremely cold about Carlo!”

“I know,”

“It’s kind of how I managed to create Eric into my own character you know?”

“Yeah I got that,” I smiled with pride at how much he had brought his character to life to the point where you couldn’t even imagine anyone else playing the role. “My Mom once told me that looking in to Carlo’s eyes is like looking into the very pits of Hell!”

“I get that!” his response was instant as if he had been thinking the very same thing.

Reaching out of the bath to the little stand we had placed next to it, I grabbed my mug of hot chocolate and sipped it lazily. I would be the first to admit that I enjoyed the life that I led – my Dad had hired me to work at his tire company in LA – the pay was good and the hours were flexible, which suited me considering the hours that my husband kept.

The shrill ring of the phone pierced through the silence that had risen between me and Alex, who was the one who reached for the phone. “Hello.......? Yeah hang on,” handing the phone to me I placed it to my ear.

“Yeah?”

“It’s me,” Draven announced, “we need to get together with Britt and go over to Ayden’s,”

“Why?”

“Carlo hit her last night,”

“HE DID WHAT?” immediately I was upright and handing my mug back to Alex who took it and placed it back on the little table stand.

“They got into an argument about Christian and how Carlo doesn’t want her dating someone who isn’t Italian and he demanded that she cut him out of her life right away. Ayden got defensive and started yelling at him about not being one of his employees and that she doesn’t just sit around and take orders from him!”

“Ouch!”

Ayden really should have known better but the thing was – everyone has a breaking point and I supposed that after all these years; my friend was entitled to lose it just like everyone else did. I was surprised that it hadn’t happened sooner if I was being honest.

“What kind of damage was there?”

“She’s got a split lip and the faint staining of a bruise but other than it’s more her ego that has been beaten,”

“She always was proud,” I admitted feeling angry just at the thought of what Carlo had done to her, “has he even apologised?”

“He sent her flowers this morning..............”

“Flowers? Does he not know her at all?” I questioned, anyone who is anyone knows that actions mean nothing to Ayden; she would rather being spoken too than get flowers; she just felt that gestures like that were too easy, “what did she do with them?”

“Well they were sticking out of the kitchen waste bin,”

“My God, I can’t even imagine what she must be feeling right now,”

“She’s pissed off!”

“No shit!” I sighed falling back against the hard chest of my husband and thanked God silently that I had the life that I did and didn’t have to worry about my parents going against me in anyway.

“She just said that she is sick of living her life the way her Dad has mapped it out for her and that she is old enough to make her own decisions and I have to be honest.........I think it’s about fucking time!”

“Me too,” I admitted, “so what time are we heading over there tonight then?”

“Well I thought that we could maybe grab some pizza and get there about 7?”

“Sounds good to me,”

“Ok well I will pick you up about 6.30 yeah?”

“Ok I will see you then; by the way it’s just us girls right?”

“Absolutely,”

“Cool, see you in a little while then,” we said our goodbyes and I placed the phone back onto the table and sank a little further into the water and felt guilty that I was glad my life wasn’t anything at all like Ayden’s.

“What’s happened?” Alex asked gently stroking my arms with his hands.

“Carlo hit Ayden last night,” I sighed.

“What? Why?”

“It was to do with Christian but I have a feeling that more stuff came up than that, Dray said that Ayd is a little bruised but not badly, which is a bonus I guess!”

“What about Christian?”

“He isn’t Italian,” my head started shaking on its own with disgust, “it’s fucking pathetic – he raised her and when he did that; he wanted her to know her own mind, so why try and control her now. I know that he always stated that he wanted her to marry an Italian boy but no one ever really thought that he was serious!”

I know that I hadn’t thought that he was serious, I just thought that he would have preferred it if she married an Italian boy but wouldn’t make her get married to someone who was from Italy. Now it seemed that we had all been wrong in that assumption and it pissed me off.

It’s not like Christian seemed to be a bad guy, but Carlo wouldn’t have taken the time to talk to him and see that he was a good guy. From the minute that we had walked into Ayden’s new home it had been obvious that Christian was smitten with my friend and vice versa. Isn’t that what parent’s really want for their children? Someone to dote on them, someone who loves them unconditionally and someone who doesn’t run around cheating on them? Carlo really did sometimes defy logic explanation.

“So I take it you are going round there tonight?” my husband asked.

“Yeah you don’t mind that it’s gonna be just a girls night do you?”

“Not at all,” he smiled at me and I knew that I had lucked out when I had met him; he really was someone who enriched my life for the better, “it’s not like I didn’t know how loyal you are to your friends when we got married, so please don’t ever feel like you have to ask my permission,”

“Thank you,”

“I love you,” he stated beginning to kiss along my shoulder blades and I knew that he was now in the mood to stop talking and do some action.

My body surrendered to his lips, my breath became lodged in my throat and my heart and pulse were racing at a million miles an hour it seemed. This was the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with and I was just thankful that I didn’t have to betray my parent’s for it.

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PostSubject: Chapter 12 - Support   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:10 am

A couple of hours later;
Alexander’s POV;

Claire had left about an hour ago with Draven to go around to see Ayden and give her the support that she needs. I had always liked Ayden – she was a straight shooter; if there was something on her mind – she’d just let it out, if she was mad at you; she didn’t hide it. Claire told me that it was so she could resolve the problem and get on with her life. Apparently; it had been a tactic that her Mother had used.

While the girls were out supporting Ayden; I had invited Mark and Thomas round to the house to play poker. It was rare that we all had the same time off and since the girls were so close, it meant that inevitably we were going to become friends and spend a lot of time together. So here I was setting up the poker table that was usually stored in the cupboard in the front hallway. Claire was a neat freak – she had a place for everything and everything had to be in that place. Not only was she a neat freak but she was a clean freak too. Any sign of a crumb; the little hand Hoover would come out.

“Alex you here?” the sound of Mark calling out filtered through to the kitchen where I was setting up.

“Kitchen!” I called back.

We were a haphazard kind of group – people wouldn’t put us together as friends. But we were, brought together by our women. The girls were close; they had, had to be when they were in school. Kids could be cruel, but it had been made worse by the fact that the ‘Family’ had insisted that they stick together and not let outsiders into the pack. It wasn’t a surprise that I had become friends with the guys and vice versa – I liked my life this way. Not only did I have an amazing wife but I also had brilliant friends and Family that surrounded us.

“Hey,” Thomas strode into the kitchen with all the confidence that his TV alias had.

“Right on time as usual,” I replied moving back to the counter to grab the nibbles that we’d have during the game.

Pretzels, pigs in blankets, cheese cubes, mini cocktail sausages and pineapple chunks. The beer was chilling in the freezer; where I had placed it 5 minutes before and the cigars were lying on the table. Everything was set for a good night of poker and probably gossip – but you didn’t hear that from me.

“We have to take advantage of the guy time when we are offered it.........and even now when it has been thrust in our laps!” Mark chuckled as he moved to the freezer knowing that the beer would be there.

We made idle chit chat as we got set up for the night, which was usual for these evenings. Our house was always busy with people coming and going but these nights were the one time that things became normal. Everyone knew not to interrupt us and it was times like this that I enjoyed more than anything (except when I was with my wife, obviously).

Claire knew that I was slightly uncomfortable with the entire ‘mafia’ thing that she had been born into. In the beginning people had assumed that I was with Claire because of who her Father was and the truth of the matter is that I am with Claire in despite of who her Father is. Growing up in Sweden I had been raised with morals and I had a strong dislike of organised crime but I didn’t mention it or try to discriminate her parent’s because without them, there would be no Claire. Her Father was actually a nice guy.....scary, but nice none the less.

“So did Claire tell you what happened with Carlo and Ayden last night?” Thomas enquired as he reached his outstretched hand with the lighter in it around the table so we could all light our cigars.

“Yeah,” I nodded.

Carlo and Ayden had always had a volatile side to their relationship but it had never sunk to physical violence before and I knew that Ayden had a memory like an elephant. When people crossed her; she never forgot and she would bide her time until she could get back to them.

I could still remember when I had first met them – Claire had taken me over to their home. The minute we stepped inside the front door; we were met by the sound of Ayden screaming angrily at her Father about how she had the right to pick which ever course for Uni that she wanted but he wasn’t allowing her to do that because he said she would only mess it up. If I were to be completely honest; I did wonder how she put up with him. In fact as I had deterred over time; Ayden took crap from no one except her Dad.

I had once asked Claire if she knew why Ayden was like that and she told me that it was because her Father had basically pushed her into the Motherly role; after he lost his wife and Ayden knows that she could have had a much worse upbringing if she were born into another family and in all honesty, it wasn’t something that Carlo allowed her to forget either.

“I honestly, can’t believe that he would do something like that to his own daughter,” Thomas announced placing his cigar on to the edge of the ashtray. “We all know that they have a tempestuous relationship at best but it has never escalated to violence before,”

“Not that we know of,” Mark injected dealing the cards.

“What do you mean?” Thomas asked him.

“Well.......that’s just it; they have always been volatile with one another; who’s to say that it hasn’t been going on longer than this?”

“You think that Ayden would keep her mouth shut if her Father had been hitting her?”

“I don’t know............all I can see is a man who refuses to give up the control on his daughter and that isn’t a...........it can’t be a good thing for Ayd,” Mark stated and I knew deep down that he was right.

Carlo insisted that Ayden go to university, he insisted that she study business and he told her what kind of man she could date – it was control at the most extreme. I couldn’t even imagine how Ayden had put up with it for her whole life.

I knew that Claire still wondered what had happened to Vince; Ayden’s last boyfriend. The news that he had been using Ayden and taking advantage of Carlo’s generosity had spread like wild fire. Carlo’s anger and rage could be felt through the rest of the family down to the order that had been put on Vince’s life was he to be seen. All anyone knew was that he had disappeared and no one was taking the credit for putting him down.

“You never know,” Mark nodded his head, “when you are being subjected to something like that; I don’t think that it is so easy to just come out and say something to anyone. Ayden is proud – we all know that – maybe she just doesn’t want to be seen as weak,”

“No way!” I interjected.

I had gotten to know Ayden pretty well since I had met her and I had to say that there is no way that she would stand for such treatment. Ayden had the fiery temper of an Italian woman who knew exactly how she wanted to be treated and there just was no way in Hell that she would put up with Carlo continuously beating her.

“What makes you so sure?”

“Well look at the way she reacted to what he did last night................? The minute he raised his hand to her she told him to get out and when he sent flowers this morning, she threw them in the waste bin,”

“Maybe she had just reached her limit last night,” Mark suggested.

Out of us all, Mark was the one that she was closest too, and he did know her better than I did, but there was just something niggling at me that this had been the first time that Carlo had reacted violently towards her.

“I don’t know,” Mark sighed slumping back in his chair; running his hand over his chin and using the other to take a deep drag on his cigar. “We are close that is true but I know that there are things that she doesn’t talk to anyone about and I just can’t help worrying that this is one of those things,”

“Well I am sure that we will find out when the women get home tonight,” Thomas added throwing his chips into the middle of the table to call the bet.

“No doubt!” I chuckled thinking about how much ranting I would have to listen to from my wife when she came home.

When it came to the girls; they weren’t only close, they were extremely protective and loyal to each other. It was a bond that had formed when they were kids – the ‘family’ had assured that it had remained strong through their lives and the girls didn’t question it anymore; they were just who they were and they always stuck up for one another. I’d hate to see someone stupid enough trying to take them on.

“So Tom – how are things with Britt and the little peanut?” I asked trying to steer the question on to another topic.

We had all just learned that Brittany was pregnant and she was loving every second of it. Unfortunately; her hormones were playing havoc with her emotions; one minute she was happy and pleasant and then the next minute she was angry and resentful; especially towards Thomas for making her pregnant. For all of us it was funny, but for poor Thomas it was awful.

“They are fine;” he clipped back, “she is going through a phase of wanting to eat spaghetti and ice cream..............”

“Together?” Mark choked on his cigar.

“Yes; it’s awful......”

“How’d you know?” I asked trying desperately to hold back my chuckle but failing miserably.

“She made me try it!” he replied, “apparently, I had been complaining about it so much that she insisted that I try it to see that it wasn’t as awful as I thought it was............trust me it was worse!”

Mark and I were unable to hold it back any longer and we burst into laughter – the image of Thomas trying desperately to look like he enjoyed eating the spaghetti and ice cream. The combination alone was enough to make you gag.

“That’s nothing – I remember when Claire was pregnant; she had this craving for salad cream, which I had to order from the UK specifically, with roast beef, egg, ice cream and ready salted chips!” I can still remember how grumpy Claire would get if she couldn’t have her favourite snack.

“That’s just wrong!” Mark made a face that looked an awful lot like a grimace.

“Like you weren’t in the same position,” I chuckled as I remembered how Draven had demanded McDonalds French fries and chicken soup for every single meal she had.

Not to mention that she had, had terrible emotional outbursts – no one could do anything right, we were all conspiring to fuss over her and not allow her to have a life while she was pregnant. The minute that the baby was born however, she had returned to normal instantly, she had even apologised telling us that it was like she was a prisoner in her own body; she could hear and see everything that she was doing but she just couldn’t control herself.

It had all been worth it in the end – Claire and I had, had a beautiful little girl Emily, who was now in her bed and fast asleep, at the age of 4 years old; she was like a little old lady. Not only did she have her Mother’s looks; she was also, smart and liked to let everyone know it, she was mentally beyond her age by years. We had, had to have her tested for certain medical problems because she was that smart. In the end it just turned out to be that she was exceptionally smart.

“Oh God don’t remind me,” Mark chuckled shaking his head as if he were trying to shake the images from his head. “I don’t ever want to go through that again,”

“What about Dray? Doesn’t she want a large family?”

“Yeah,” his shoulders slumped, “and she is not exactly subtle in her reminders,”

“Tell me about it,” I smirked; Claire was exactly the same way.

Coming from a big family like hers, she wanted to also have a big family – she had seen how lonely things had been for Brittany when she was growing up and she didn’t want to put our children through that.

Ayden’s Place;
Brittany’s POV;

It was shocking to see the mess of Ayden’s face. Everyone knew that Carlo was a passionate man who preferred people do as he requested of them. Ayden had always pushed the boundaries with him though; but she would eventually back down and do as he asked. This time – Ayden wasn’t willing to back down and she was in full on rant mode.

“...........Fotte incredibile. .....my la vita intera che mi ha detto di fare, fotto 26 anni vecchi non fottendo 6 so la mia propria mente!” to translate she had just ranted that he is unbelievable.........my whole life he has told me what to do, I am fucking 26 years old not fucking 6 I know my own mind!

“Ayd come on try and calm down,” Draven tried to soothe the ranting woman who was stomping back and forth in the living room angrily.

“Calm down?” she practically barked, “the man is fucking intolerable. I can’t keep fighting with him on this – it’s my life not his. I want to live it the way I want not the way he wants,”

“But you told me earlier that you and Christian have already planned to see one another in secret..............”

“How long is that going to last though?” she fell down onto the sofa finally giving up on her marathon stomping. “Sure we can have a secret relationship – we can hide that we are a couple from my Dad but he will find out eventually and then what?”

“You stand tall and firm!” Claire announced, “look at me and Alex........my folks didn’t want us together but it proved fruitless,”

Ayden just stared into the distance; her hands slapping her thighs in an angry manner and it was only because of how well I knew her that I knew she was still seething underneath the bravado that she didn’t care. I knew that growing up for her had been hard and I knew that no one really knew just how hard but she was strong and she was fiercely independent and head strong. It was what I admired about her and the fact that when she had something to say – out it fell without remorse or concern.

Carlo had raised her to be upfront and in control of herself at all times. Some people said that Ayden was the female version of her Father. I had tried to see it plenty of times but just couldn’t see it – Ayden was in no way as ruthless as Carlo, she wouldn’t sell her friends down the river and she never ordered any of us around. In fact Ayden was the type of girl who didn’t mind other people making the plans; she definitely couldn’t bring herself to hurt someone physically; maybe verbally yes but throwing punches etc; no way it just wasn’t her style.

Moving to the little area she had caged off for the puppies to play in, I pulled out the little grey and white puppy which was definitely a husky. “Have you picked names for these little guys yet?” I asked as the little puppy licked my face and bounced around on my lap.

“No,” Ayden replied sharply, “you go ahead and name then honey,” her tone turned back to her normal happy self.

Smiling happily, I placed the puppy back into the little pen area and just sat back watching them interact with one another and listening to the chat between me and my friends. Sitting here with the girls definitely made me feel less like a fat lump with this baby growing in my stomach. It had been a terrible pregnancy so far; my emotions were all over the place and it was hard to keep them buried half the time and I knew that I was being a complete bitch to Thomas.

I felt so bad about that – I loved Thomas; I wouldn’t have agreed to marry him or even have his child if I didn’t and I could see the look in his eyes when I was snapping at him or picking at the things that he did. All the little things that he did for me; like making tea and bringing it to me in bed, he’d do the majority of the housework before I got up and here was me nitpicking at every little detail and telling him basically that he was useless. I hated being so out of control of my emotions – it wasn’t me at all but I kept hold of the fact that I would be holding my little baby in my arms soon and all of this would just feel like a distant memory that can be forgotten.

“Are you going to call your Dad?” Claire asked softly as if the blow of tone could calm Ayden down.

“Lei fotte per scherzare me?” are you fucking kidding me? “No; there is no way that I am calling him. Look at my face for fuck sake..........and the bastard thinks that by sending me some flowers with a card that says sorry is going to get around me? Well he’s got another fucking thing coming!”

Ayden usually only swore in Italian cos she thought it sounded sexier than saying it in English and the fact that she was swearing in English was a sign of just how mad she was.

“I swear he is gonna have to come here and hands and knees and beg my forgiveness before I even damn well contemplate it!”

Ayden had most definitely inherited the Italian temper – she was quick off the mark with insults and she had absolutely no problem expressing herself vocally. It was something that I admired in my friend because I was somewhat shy..........at least when I wasn’t pregnant it would seem. I definitely had that gene in me but it was so easy to squash down when I wasn’t carrying a baby inside me.

“I just can’t believe that he hit me you know?”

“Yeah we’re all on the same page with you there,” Draven nodded throwing out the cigarettes.

The girls had offered to move when they had a cigarette when they had found out that I was pregnant, but the fact that I was a smoker myself had prompted me to tell them not too – if the only way I could smoke was by passive smoking then I’d chance it. Some people said that it was a stupid risk – I told those people to go fuck themselves.

“I don’t think that I have ever been this angry with him before; he......he has pushed me and pushed me my entire life and I have bended to his will, done everything that he ever asked of me and now; because I am interested in a boy who isn’t Italian – he starts with this caveman attitude of picking a husband for me..............it’s not like I am marrying Christian, in fact I don’t even know if I want to get married!” lighting her cigarette only stopped her talking for a mere second, “of all the things that I have done – I have basically put my life on hold to do the things that he wanted me to do.........well I’m done; I’m not doing it anymore. I have moved out and that means change – it’s time for me to be my own woman, not someone that he wants me to be!”

“Buono per lei!” Draven smiled. *English translation; ‘Good for you!’

“I think that Christian was right though – we should keep it on the down low until we figure out what there is between us you know?”

“Makes perfect sense honey,” Claire smiled at her before taking a long deep drag on her cigarette.

“I do like him you know?” she asked and we all nodded, “what did you guys think of him?”

My first impression was that he wasn’t Ayden’s type, especially after she had dated Vince, but then the more time I spent around them the previous night, the more I could imagine them together. Christian was clearly smitten with my friend and Ayden, well being that she was a little more hard to read than he had been; I had eventually seen that admiration that she felt for him when she looked at him in the living room when we had all sat down to chat.

I had always thought that he was good looking, even when he had, had shorter hair back in his Angel days. The longer hair suited him better though, I had to admit. There was something amazingly chilling about his eyes – they were a kind of blue that I had never witnessed on a human before and when they looked at you; you just felt like you wanted to melt.

“Well I thought he was delish......” Draven admitted, “the way he looked at you.......it made my heart flutter to think, that with him, you’d be more than alright, he is clearly smitten honey,”

“Thanks honey,”

“Even though he isn’t my type, I could see the way he looked at you too and I think that he will definitely be good to you and treat you right............we can’t really ask for more than that can we?”

“This is true,” Ayden nodded a dreamy looking stare in her eyes as she slowly turned towards me.

“Hey I always thought that he was a hotty but Dray and Claire are right – he is so into you, just the way his eyes never move far from where you are in the room and when he does look at you..............wow it’s like the temperature in the room spikes!”

“Thanks Britt,”

“Not a problem,” I smile back to her and go back to watching the dogs interact with one another. “And it’s kind of sexy hiding your relationship, having secret little get-a-ways with one another.............it’s all sordid and romantic,”

Ayden was definitely into the whole romance notion. Some people said that it was the only girly quality that she had and sometimes, I thought that too but that was just the way she had been raised. Carlo had dumped so much responsibility on to her shoulders that she had grown up quick.

I remember one time we had been staying at her house; it was like a big slumber party deal and Carlo had insisted that she do all of her chores before she could join us and have fun. When she had finally finished and joined us, we sat playing truth or dare and she had admitted that sometimes, when she was cooking, or doing laundry, or making beds, or helping Elias with his homework, she would think about a man on a big black Harley would come and save her from the life that she was living. I couldn’t help wondering if maybe Christian was going to be that man for her.

Ayden needed to believe that there was something else in this life apart from being a glorified housekeeper. Yes it had helped her for when she moved out and knowing that she was capable of running a household but what kind of childhood had she had? Not a great one by all means.

Ok so she had been given pretty much anything that she wanted, as like the rest of us had, but she was never allowed to just enjoy her teenage life. Curfew was set ridiculously early, she was to do all her chores before going out which would sometimes take so long that she’d still be trying to finish it all before curfew hit – it was ridiculous and I knew that my parent’s had fought over it a lot over the years.

My Dad thought that Carlo was doing Ayden a favour; grooming her to be the perfect wife and how to run a household, my Mother on the other hand kept telling my Father that Ayden was a teenager, a child who was unhappy and confined within reigns that her Father unrealistically placed around her. I agreed with my Mother, as most of the kids our age did, no one at school knew what was going on with her, just that she was distant and that she was acting a Hell of a lot older than her years, people who were outside of our group spread rumours that she was dating an older man and that they were going to run off together. It was a bloody nightmare for Ayden and all they cared about was the rumour mill. Whispering behind her back because they were too afraid to say it to her face.

The sound of Ayden’s phone ringing pierced the silent air around us and I caught the smile coming to her face when she checked the caller ID. “Hey handsome...........yes I am ok, I told you not to worry about me.............” getting to her feet she moved out onto the decking at the back of the house to talk to whom I assumed was Christian.

Draven moved to the bookshelves in the study where Ayden kept all of her DVD’s and started rummaging for something for us to watch.

Claire stretched out on the sofa and finished her cigarette in silence, while I carried on watching the puppies, trying to get a feel for their personalities and hopefully then I could give them names that suited them individually.

Non vivere la sua vita per qualcuno altro perché che non vive; was what my Mom always said to me and I had to admit that it was true in this instance. Ayden was ready to move out on her own; and my Mom’s favourite quote was perfect for her – Don’t live your life for someone else because that isn’t living.

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PostSubject: Chapter 13 - Missing You   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:12 am

Ayden’s POV;

The first time that Christian had called – the girls had been here so he had offered to call me later. I thanked him for that; it was important to me that my potential partner understood that my friends were a huge part of my life and nothing would ever come in the middle of that. No matter how much I liked the guy.

In fact we were our own little family, within ‘the’ family. For years we had been there for one another. When I had found out about Vince; it had been my girls that I had turned to. All of them were there for me; we pigged out on junk food, they listened when I wanted to sob and when I wanted to rant, they were there when I went out for the first time afterwards and they held me up when all I wanted to do was crumble and fall apart. They warded off the guys who kept trying to hit on me; because they had actually listened when I had said that I didn’t want to be with anyone ever again and I knew now that they were giving me space to get together and that when the right guy came along, I would know it and to be honest, I didn’t know if this thing with Christian was going to be a long term thing or if he was just my rebound guy; but they had left that decision up to me.

‘perfect by nature, icons of self-indulgence, just what we all need, more lies about a world that, never was and never will be, have you no shame? Don't you see me?
You know you've got everybody fooled,’
the start of my favourite Evanescence song started to play and disturb the air around me. The sound of Amy-Lee’s voice sparked the memory of the video where she is supposed to be some big model but it isn’t who she really is – like she is playing a part in the real world instead of it being the other way around. Weirdly it made me think of my own situation – my Father moulded me and wanted me to be the perfect daughter, do as he said, and follow his rules.

‘look here she comes now, bow down and stare in wonder, oh how we love you, no flaws when you're pretending, but now I know she, never was and never will be, you don't know how you've betrayed me, and somehow you've got everybody fooled, without the mask where will you hide? can't find yourself lost in your lie,’ the problem was that I had pretended for so long to be what my Father wanted that when it came down to it; I didn’t really know what the real me was really like. This was what moving out was supposed to be all about; me getting to know the real me without my Father being around constantly to tell me who I was.

‘I know the truth now, I know who you are, and I don't love you anymore, it never was and never will be, you don't know how you've betrayed me, and somehow you've got everybody fooled, it never was and never will be, you're not real and you can't save me, somehow now you're everybody's fool,’ it was painful to think about what I had become – this wasn’t the person that I had wanted to become. I had wanted the chance to grieve for my Mother, I had wanted my Daddy to put his arms around me and tell that he loved me and that everything would be ok. I had never gotten that; I had never been allowed time to mourn my own Mother – my hero, she had been such a beautiful soul and spirit, the day she was taken from us; my life turned duller and more complicated.

Picking up the photo of my Mother that I always had sitting on my dresser drawers; it was a picture of her on her wedding day. Dressed in a beautiful princess style wedding dress; she had a fake fur shrug over her shoulders and she was laughing and holding her hands up into the air; trying to catch the snowflakes that were falling. The picture had been printed in black and white; giving it a much more elegant look and as I stared at the picture – the moment that had been frozen in time – and I brushed my fingers over the outline of her face.

“What am I going to do Mom?” I asked looking down at the photo that was now collecting a small puddle from the tears that were falling from my eyes. “Dad is just getting out of control......it’s not like I haven’t done anything that he wanted; I did everything in the house when you were snatched from us. I became a wife and Mother in one; not that daddy ever touched me that way....I just mean in the sense that I did all the work around the house, I mended his cloths when they called for it, I cooked the meals, I took care of Elias and............I am moved out now – I want my own time for me, I want to be left to spread my wings and just find out who I am!”

Most of the time that I wanted to talk to her, I would do this or sometimes I would go to where we had buried her and talk to a stone. I knew that she wasn’t there; I knew that her soul and spirit had moved onto the next plane of existence, but it gave me a sliver of peace to think that she could hear me and would reply to me if she could. “I really don’t know what to do Mom.......he’s never hit me before; yes we have a volatile relationship and yes I know that part of it is because I am as stubborn as he is, but hitting me was something that I had never feared from him before and now........just because I am interested in a guy who isn’t Italian, he thinks that he can start hitting me to get me to do what he wants.

“How is that fair? I want to see where this thing with Chris goes. I know that you would have probably agreed with Dad if you were here, but I know that you would have at least given him a chance instead of condemning him without trying to get to know him!”

My little rant was interrupted by the ringing of the phone, placing the photo back onto the dresser I placed the phone to my ear and pressed the answer button, “Speak!” I stated.

“It’s just me......is this a better time?” Christian’s southern tone hummed down the line and my heart do a little flutter.

“It is indeed,” I smiled flopping down onto the bed ensuring that I wasn’t going to squash one of the puppies in doing so. Using the remote control, I turned the stereo down so that it provided nothing more than back ground noise. “Sorry that I wasn’t available earlier but my friends were giving me free reign to rant as much as I wanted and I needed to take advantage of that,” the soft and warm sound of his rumbling laughter warmed my deepest core.

“Well I am kind of glad that I wasn’t there for that,” he chuckled softly.

“Thanks,” I replied sarcastically, “actually; it’s probably best that you weren’t here,”

“Have you at least spoken to your Daddy?”

“No,” I was adamant that I wasn’t going to talk to him.

What was the point? He was never going to see things from my point of view, he was never going to actually try and accept that Christian was a part of my life and he would be for the foreseeable future.

Looking to my Mother’s picture; seeing the way she was laughing and not having a care in the world – I wondered what my life would have been like had she not been murdered. I might have actually been allowed to have some semblance of a life. I might not have had to put my life on hold to take care of the family until Elias was old enough to stand on his own two feet. Would my Father still be this domineering in my life? I liked to think that my Mom would have kept him busy enough that he wouldn’t be so invested in my life but the truth was; my Mother was no saint – yes she was beautiful, yes she was my hero and yes I had always wanted to be as beautiful as her but the truth was; she had actually agreed with my Father’s principal of sticking within your own ethnicity. I would have just been as alone as I was now if she were alive.

“Anyway enough talk of the bigoted asshole, how is it being back at work?” I enquired rolling on to my side and scratching the little German Sheppard that was sprawled against my back.

“It’s ok actually,” he sighed.

“Really? Cos you sound like you are miserable,”

“I think I have just gotten used to having you around,”

“Ditto,”

“But other than that, it’s fine!” he informed me sounding a little more like the man I had been getting to know before he had whisked away back to work, “we have a late call in the morning, so I am just having a few beers and then calling it a night!”

“No sexy little thing keeping you company then?”

“Hell no,”

“Well, please don’t stand back for my sake; it’s not like we have even had a proper date yet and we haven’t stated that we are exclusive so............”

“No, I don’t want too,” he replied, “but how fucking cool are you for suggesting that?”

“Just don’t want you to be miserable out there,”

“So long as I can talk to you I am more than ok,” he replied and the sound of him chugging back a mouthful of his aforementioned beer filtered down the connection before he started talking again, “the truth is, I just don’t want to mess up whatever is happening between us. So you don’t need to tell me to go and spend some time with whatever women are available ok?”

“Ok,” I replied feeling myself silently celebrate the fact that he didn’t want to see anyone else.

There was something deep inside me that hadn’t truly meant that I wanted him to go out and see other women, in fact I was more than a little too eager to get this thing between us exclusive. But I was way too stubborn to admit it out loud. At least in front of him; I knew him well already, but not well enough to be that vulnerable with him.

Falling back into the comfort of the cushions, I listened as he told me about his cast mates and how well they got along with one another. I hadn’t thought about checking out the show but now that I had met Christian; I felt the need to check it out at least; even if it is just to show support of my new friend. It sounded like they were having fun though; Christian was telling me about him and Timothy Hutton making a video for Christian’s myspace page. I loved the fact that he was always informing his fans of what his life was like and what he was up to in his life.

“.....so I am definitely home on Friday night,” he stated.

“For how long?” I enquired eagerly, maybe just a little too eagerly.

“Until Monday night,”

“Great – do you have any plans?”

“I do actually,” he replied and I felt my stomach drop.

“Oh!”

“With you stupid,” he offered chuckling once again, “I was thinking of maybe having a cookout on the beach on Saturday night and I thought that it might be our second date?”

“Second date.......?” I giggled, “we haven’t even had our first one yet!”

“Well I was planning on having that on Friday night when I get back.......if you’re still picking me up, I thought that we could maybe go and catch a movie?”

“Ahh the infamous go to the movies for a first date so we don’t have to fill those awkward silences......”

“God you’re so cynical!” he chuckled, “I just thought that you might be like half of the female population who would be dying to see Twilight or Harry Potter,”

Ok not to get ahead of myself, or to place him on a pedestal but could this man be more perfect for me? Not only had we only just met, but he knew me better than I would have given him credit for. It wasn’t that the Twilight movies were great – I just liked to see how they adapted them into the movies, since I had read the books over and over again. The point was I was really disappointed in the movies; they were in no way a patch on the books. Harry Potter now; that was a better option because once again I was a huge fan of the books – I was definitely into all the Vampire’s and magic type of genre in TV, Movies and Books.

“Well I am in no rush to see Twilight........”

“You don’t like them?”

“I loved the books but as for the movies; not so much. I just like to see how they have adapted the movie from the books,” I admitted honestly.

For the following 2 hours, we chatted – and it was as relaxed as it was when he was here. It amazed me to think that we had only known one another for one weekend basically because already – it was like we had been friends for years. The only worrying thing for me concerning the growing relationship and that was when the talk came about our exes. We had covered it barely, so I knew that there would be a time when the real, in depth talk would come and I wasn’t looking forward to that.

Looking at the one wedding photo that I had of my Mom and Dad together and I smiled; knowing more than before that I had to follow my heart and let it take me wherever it wanted to take me and if that meant Christian then so be it. My Father would have to accept it just like Draven, Claire and Brittany’s Mother and Father had to when they had married outside of the Italian ethnicity.

Thomas’ POV;

By the time I had stumbled into my house – the lights were out and there was no sign of Britt anywhere. Moving into the kitchen, I poured myself a glass of water before heading up the stairs to where the master suite was situated and found her passed out in the middle of the bed; in a star shape – the position that would guarantee that I would have to wake her to get into the bed.

Moving into the bathroom, I gently closed the door behind me so that I wouldn’t wake her just yet. I always preferred to shower when I got home from our poker nights; mainly because of the smell of cigar smoke, which made Brittany gag at the best of times; but with her being pregnant, the scent was much more potent to her sensitive senses. So I slid into the cubicle and just allowed the hot steamy water to pour down on my aching shoulders. From the first season of Criminal Minds; my shoulders have given me so much bother – my character in the show was always so tense and stern, some say update and anal, but I just like to think that he is good at his job. But to remain in a tense state for 12 sometimes 14 hours at a time every day for at least 6 months; I guessed it was only natural that I would end up having problems.

Eventually, I began to washing myself with my thoughts on my fiancée Britt and the fact that we were having a baby together. It had happened before we had truly been ready but I guess most people are never really prepared for the chaos a new born baby makes. I did know one thing, without so much as a sliver of doubt, and that was that Brittany was going to be an amazing Mother.

I knew that she hadn’t always wanted to have children; but now that she was pregnant – she was as protective of her bump as a lioness would be of her cubs. The mood swings were the worst for her; usually she was such an easy going and trusting woman but now that she was pregnant; she was constantly on an emotional rollercoaster every single day. One minute she would be laughing happily with you and then the next minute she’d be asking you if you thought she looked fat and then get upset no matter what you said to her and break down into tears and then she would get mad – mostly at me; because I was the one who had made her pregnant. I didn’t mind for most of the time, I knew that her emotions were off the chart and I could make allowances for her.

Finally, I climbed out of the cubicle and towel dried myself off and brushed my teeth just to ensure that the smell of cigar smoke was as dull as possible, I knew that there would still be a faint trace of it but I had gotten rid of the majority.

Walking into the bedroom, I found her sitting up and glaring at the bathroom door, here we go I thought to myself. “Could you possibly make any more noise?” she snapped at me.

“Sorry baby,” I crawled under the covers.

“I’m trying to nurture a life here.........it’s not like I don’t have anything to get up for in the morning and you come stumbling in here with as much grace as a elephant in a fucking China shop!”

“I know,” autopilot switched on, “it’s all my fault, I wasn’t thinking sorry baby,”

“That’s your problem Thomas – you never think!” she sighed sliding back down so that she was lying on her side with her back to me. “Go to sleep!” and with that she turned silent once again and I silently thanked God for it. My hangover was beginning to set in and the last thing I needed was to listen to her constant belittling comments.

Yes, I had to remember that she was pregnant and not in control of what she was feeling. I could carry on making allowances until the baby was born.........I had to carry on making allowances.

Staring into the darkness, I felt my eyes beginning to fall shut, the warm and welcome feeling of unconsciousness was closing in on me and pulling me in but it was too slowly.

“I’m worried about Ayden,” my fiancée voiced as she leaned over my shoulder; her head resting on top of mine. I was glad that she was back...........I didn’t know for how long, so I turned around and pulled her close to me.

“What do you mean?”

“You should have seen the mess of her face Tom......he really hit her good,” she sighed draping one arm across my stomach as her head fell onto my chest happily.

“How is she dealing with it?” I enquired.

This topic was something that had practically dominated our poker game tonight – we were all pretty protective of Ayden; since she was the one of us who wasn’t in a relationship. And then of course, after what had happened with Vince – we liked to just make sure that the guys she was interested weren’t going to fleece her again. Not that there had been any guys to be honest, Christian was the first one that I had met and Mark had stated that there really hadn’t been anyone since Vince. Mark was the one who knew Ayden the best since he had been in her life the longest.

“She’s a mess – she’s ranting in Italian, she’s cursing in English; which you know she never really does!”

When I had first heard the reason behind why Ayden didn’t curse in English – it had made me laugh so hard that Brittany had, had to slap my back just to get my breath back to normal. Ayden thought that cursing in English sounded crass and vile, but in Italian there was more flare and it didn’t sound so vulgar.

“He left what looks like a handprint on her face – it’s pretty red and a little swollen, at least that is what I thought when I saw her, and her lip is split............I just can’t believe that my Uncle Carlo is capable of such a thing,”

Brittany was probably the one who believed in the ‘family’ the most. There was no shame in her when she heard stories of the mafia, she was extremely grounded by the whole thing and it was kind of sexy to watch her with all these big scary guys who doted on their kids and spoiled them as much as money would enable them to. Being the youngest in our little group; she was protected by everyone – we ensured that she never went anywhere alone at night time, when we were out; someone always stayed by her side and I was happy to live that way until she was a little older. At 21 years old; she was surprisingly mature for her age and so talented that it amazed me and I had been hers from the moment that she had set those beautiful hazel coloured eyes on me.

“What happened exactly?” I enquired remembering that I was supposed to be paying attention to her, not thinking about her.

“Well from what she has said tonight – after we left, Christian decided that he would go home too and that was when Carlo started in on her about marrying an Italian boy and that guys like Christian were not in his plan basically.............”

“Has he learned nothing from his daughter over the years?”

Anyone with even a vague recognition of Ayden knew that she was not the kind of person who could be told what to do for very long. I figured that she had probably reached her limit with her Dad taking the liberty of planning her own future for her. Not that I could blame her for that to be honest.

Over the years, we had all had to sit back and watch the way Carlo monopolized his daughter’s life. Telling her what to wear and what not to wear, how to wear her hair and forbidding her from adding some colour to the all over black, which studies that she would be taking when she went to University, which again had been his idea and how she was going to marry within the Italian community. It was hard to believe that Ayden stood back and accepted this treatment because if anyone else even so much as thought of telling her what to do; they would be told to ‘fottere via’ – fuck off in English. See Italian cursing is actually much more elegant.

“In all honesty I think it is about time that she stood up for herself with that man,” Britt commented, “she apparently told him that she wasn’t going to be pushed around and that she wasn’t one of his employees who would bow down and do as they were told, and that was when he slapped her!”

“Slapped her?”

“Yeah that’s what she says he did but I swear to you – it looks like some fucking slap!”

“What did Christian say?”

“Well from what Ayd said; Christian was the one who suggested that they keep their relationship quiet for now; until they see where it is going and then if it does develop into something more, then I guess they will be honest with Carlo,”

“How do you think that will turn out?”

“I don’t have a clue................I am just praying that it doesn’t back fire on them,”

“Back fire on them?” I enquired.

“There have been stories through the ages about Father’s disowning their children because they marry outside of the heritage,”

“Are you serious?”

“Deadly,” she admitted snuggling a little closer, “why do you think I was so pleased when my parent’s finally accepted you?”

“You should have told me,”

“There was no point babe,” she trailed her fingers up and down my chest, “there was no way in Hell that I was giving you up.............”

“You mean you were prepared to pick me over your family?”

“Of course I was........”

“But I wouldn’t have let you do that,”

“Why do you think I didn’t tell you?” she replied lifting her head to look at me, “Tom I love you..........I have from the moment that I met you and there was no way in Hell that I was going to allow my family to run you away from me. It was my decision to make and I made it; and if I am going to be honest, I would choose the same every time,”

“I love you!”

“I love you too,” she admitted placing her head back down on my chest and I could feel the cold tears falling from her eyes and I cuddled her closer to me. Once again the dreaded hormones were making their presence known.

Out of all the things, this admission from her was the one that made my heart swell with the unconditional love that I had for her. I don’t think that she quite knew just how much I would have sacrificed for her either but now wasn’t the time to tell her – it just wouldn’t seem sincere after what she had just admitted to me.

I knew that her parents weren’t happy about us in the beginning – they had wanted Brittany to settle down with an Italian boy – but things hadn’t ended up that way. I knew that they were still a bit off with me, but I could bear almost anything as long as I had Brittany at my side and I knew that it would take them time to get used to the fact that I was now a permanent fixture in their daughter’s life. It didn’t matter what happened between us as a couple; I would always be a part of her life because we were having a baby together.

Well Britt was having the baby but I had contributed all of 5 minutes work as she liked to remind me on numerous occasions. I didn’t mind because at the end of the day it really was her doing all the heavy lifting. Sometimes it was like I was feeling the effects from her – with the way she snapped, I had learned that the hormones were just completely out of sync and then when she was complaining about being sore and unable to stand, I would rub her swollen ankles and when she was throwing up in the toilet, I was there holding her hair from her face, when she was craving ridiculous blends of food, I was the one who would make it for her.

I knew better, however, than saying that out loud because the hormones would be on me in a second – minimizing my contribution and the things that I had to put up with when she was suffering from hormones, swollen ankles, sickness, stupid food cravings and the piles that she had to live with on a daily basis.

Honestly; I wouldn’t want this any other way.

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PostSubject: Chapter 14 - Sight for Sore Eyes   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:13 am

5 Days Later, Portland;
Christian’s POV;

I had gotten through the week; there were moments when I had seriously doubted that I would last. Like every morning waking up with the evidence of the wet dreams I was having in my boxer shorts. I felt like I was a teenager again; nervous about talking to the girl who plagued my dreams, nervous when the phone was ringing, nervous to think about our first date coming up and nervous about how much she was into me.

Ayden and I had talked every night on the phone; well I say every night, but what I mean is most nights. There were 3 days when I had early calls so I was in bed really early – those night’s we didn’t chat but when we did chat – the conversation was easy and comfortable between us. We both watched ZombieLand at the same time and laughed at all the same parts; here I was talking about all the things that we had been doing and I realized that I had become the kind of guy I had always hated – and right now, I didn’t care one little bit. The only thing on my mind today, all of today, was the fact that it was Friday, which meant that I wasn’t only going back to see Ayden in LA; but we were going to be having our very first date.

My mind had been on the date since I had left LA a week ago; I had made the right calls and booked a table at ‘The Grill’ in Hollywood, which was the most romantic and intimate little restaurant that I knew of. I planned on taking her to The House of Blues after that for some dancing and maybe a few drinks. I know it seems weird that after all the time we have spent together that this is us finally going on our first date.

“And we’re going to meet this mystery lady tomorrow night right?” Beth, who played Parker on the show, asked me as we all huddled together in the airport waiting to board the plane.

“Yes Beth...........”

“Ohhhh touchy!” she giggled poking my sides playfully. The point of the matter was – Beth was a lot like the character she played and I often wondered if Dean Devlin (the creator of the show) had known her personally beforehand.

With a goofy sense of humour that would most definitely be appreciated by the British, she had a vulnerable side to her – the kind where you just wanted to wrap her up and keep her safe from all the asshole guys that she tended to date. And she was an amazing photographer; I had paid her some money to take some professional shots of me for my new and improved website. In all honesty; we were a close cast. Aldis and Timothy usually came to my shows and Timothy’s son even filmed my video for ‘The House Rules’.

“It’s just good to see you like this,” my friend commented resting her head on to my shoulder.

“Like what?”

“All soft and thoughtful about a girl,” Beth informed me as if it were completely out of nature for me, “not that you’re not a good guy; ‘cos well, you know you are a sweetie, but I have never seen you direct all of those things at one girl, it’s refreshing and a new side to you that I like,”

Ok, could I be more mortified!?

“Please change the subject,”

“Why?”

“Because I really don’t know where this thing with Ayd is going.........sure I would like it to go further than what we are at the moment,”

“So what’s the problem?” she asked cocking an eyebrow and looking up at me, yet still managing to keep her head on my shoulder.

“I keep waiting for the ball to drop,”

“I don’t understand,” she stated, “come and get some coffee with me,”

Nodding, I rose to my feet after she had moved from my shoulder and I stretched, which my body definitely needed after sitting in one spot for more than 2 hours. Being an active person; I was nearly truly comfortable just sitting around doing nothing and that was the reason that I usually drove to get to work. This was how much this girl was changing my life – I hadn’t even kissed her yet and she was changing me and the way I lived my life and went about my daily routine.

Beth ordered the coffee while I took a seat in the window alcove and was reminded of Ayden’s plans for her own coffee shop. I was glad that she hadn’t taken my remarks to heart and had actually thought about them and seen that I was actually trying to help her.

“Ok spill it,” Beth stated taking the seat across from me and placing my paper cup of coffee on the table for me to drink when I felt ready.

“Beth this girl is so......she’s amazingly cool,”

“Ooooook!” Beth replied drawing the word out a little longer than necessary.

“What I mean is; she is so much fun to talk too, she isn’t like most women in LA – I can give her a compliment and not have to worry about her being all ‘oh stop’ ‘I’m not that pretty’ you know the deal right?” I asked and my friend nodded, “with Ayd it’s like I tell her she’s gorgeous and she just smiles and compliments me in return – it’s such a small thing but it carries so much weight to it. She is an amazing cook, she has this view of the world that makes everything feel refreshing and......and that is so sexy!”

“And the problem is?”

“The problem is............I keep waiting for the penny to drop,”

“I truly don’t understand,”

“Beth – there is no way that one woman can be this cool without flaws.......and that is what I am waiting for. Maybe she has a third nipple of something, or maybe her body is covered in boils...............”

“Come on, you can’t be thinking that............”

“I have to,” I sighed dumping my head down onto the coffee table, “’cos if I don’t – I’d be walking around with a permanent hard on!”

At least I made someone laugh – Beth was giggling into her paper cup after spitting out her mouthful. Sighing I remained where I was; my head resting on the table, my mind racing with thoughts of seeing Ayden again. But what I had said to Beth was true – I had tried to imagine Ayden as being completely ugly underneath her cloths; it just wasn’t possible that this girl could be as cool as she was and have the perfect body too.

“Chris; why don’t you just go with it?” Beth eventually asked me; when she had gotten her laughing fit under control.

“My experience has taught me to be cautious,”

“But there is being cautious and there is being overly suspicious, you are going to ruin what you feel for her before you get started...........she may not be perfect, but what’s wrong with not being perfect? She could just be perfect for you,”

What I enjoyed about being in Beth’s company was that she was extremely perceptive when she was around people. It was like a natural thing for her to know where and when to push someone to talk. And right now, she completely realized that I didn’t want to talk about why I was questioning this thing with Ayden.

The truth was – I had thought that Caitlyn had been cool – I had thought that she was the perfect girl for me and then she had turned into my worst nightmare. Not being able to do anything without running it by Caitlyn first, not being able to just go out for a beer with my mates, not being able to be out of touch with her for even a day; it had driven me half way crazy.

Deep down, I was praying that Ayden wasn’t going to turn out the same way as Caitlyn; but there was that niggling little doubt that I was going to get caught out again and I just don’t think that I could live through another relationship like that. But then again; could I go through the rest of my life wondering what if about every girl that I met?

If I did go through life that way; I was going to end up really lonely. Ayden was a cool girl – she had all the things that I liked about women – looks (obviously) a sense of humour, intellect and she was tough. After all that she had been through; I figured that it had toughened her up but she just had this shell about her that was hard yet not completely impenetrable. In the short space of time that I had known her; she had let me in. We talked, we laughed and that was what was important, at least that was what my Mother always told me. She had always said that – it was important to be attracted to your partner, but what was more important was being able to talk to one another – because passion dies out. You have to be able to live with that person for a lifetime and I could actually see me and Ayden getting along well even when the passion died. Not that I am saying we are going to be together for a lifetime; cos it was still too early to tell but I just meant that if it was to be a long term thing then we’d have to be able to get along with one another and now I am aware of rambling like a crazy man.

Timothy was the next to come and plonk him down into the seat where Beth had been sitting moments previously. Slowly I lifted my head and my eyes met his and he gave me that reassuring fatherly smile that he used on all of us. Being so far from home; he liked to be helpful to me, Beth and Aldis since we were roughly around the same age as his kids back home in the UK.

“When is your flight out of LA?” I asked in an attempt to move his mind along from talking to me about Ayden.

“Monday.......I plan on taking full advantage of the 2 week break,” he smiled and crossed his legs, placing his hands on his knees in a move that reminded me of my grandpa. “I am, however, looking forward to your beach party cookout on Saturday night,”

“Me too,”

“Well I suspect that your eagerness has to do with your new lady friend am I right?”

“Tim............”

“What? You have been banging on about her all week, it is only natural that we are going to be curious,” he commented, “but I am a little concerned about you,”

“Why?”

“You’re sitting here with your head resting on a table and it isn’t because you have a hangover!” giving me that look – the one that said; try and tell me that I am wrong.

My sigh was heavy and loud; but it didn’t deter the man sitting opposite me for one second as he remained staring at me, waiting for me answer, or waiting for me to try and tell him that he was wrong. There really was no point because he had that determined air about him; the kind of air that always meant he was gearing up to give out the advice. And it wasn’t like I didn’t need it.

“You’re nervous about this girl?”

“Am I that obvious?” I chuckled nervously and finally picked up my coffee and sipped at it.

“Only to those who pay attention,” he replied smiling at the young waitress who approached our table and ordered himself a plain black coffee before turning his attention back to me, “I can see that you are completely besotted with this girl but there is something.........you’re nervous or scared and I haven’t ever seen you be either of those things, so what gives?”

Resting back into my chair, I allowed myself to explain the situation and I even ventured into telling him about Caitlyn. I never talked about Caitlyn to the new people in my life; it was a part of my life that was over now, and that meant that there really was no point in dwelling on it.

But this felt like the right time, and the right person to open up to about what had happened and why it had made me so apprehensive with women since. Every word was so cold and shut off, almost like I was an observer for the entire thing. I didn’t want sympathy; I wasn’t that kind of guy – I never told people because I wanted attention, I never told them because it was none of their business and I had the right to a private life as much as the next person, which was one of the reasons why I didn’t go out there and court the media in anyway what-so-ever.

Later that Night, LA House of Blues;
Ayden’s POV;

It had been a wonderful night – we had talked, we had laughed and we had enjoyed a few silent moments where we had just basked in our own idol thoughts. I enjoyed those moments the most because there just wasn’t any need to fill the silence – we were completely comfortable with one another.

When he had first stepped off that plane earlier, my eyes had felt the joy that swept through me at him being back in my life. I could hardly believe that I had become so attached to him in such a short space of time to be completely honest. Being the girl who was always cautious when it came to matters of the heart – I felt scared that I was allowing my feelings to rule my head and heart. One thing that I was absolutely sure about was the fact that what my Dad wanted from me – he wasn’t getting. I enjoyed my time with Christian and if that meant that I was putting my Father’s nose out of joint then so be it.

“You look distracted,” Christian said above the loud bass guitar of the band The Goo Goo Dolls, who happened to be one of my favourite bands and I was pretty sure that I had mentioned that to Christian. I just knew that it would be something that he would do – he would have arranged me to meet them if he could have, he wasn’t to know that my Father had already gotten me that pleasure when I was a little younger and first discovered the band.

“I’m just thinking about things is all,”

“Anything that you want to let me in on?” he asked me.

“Well usually this is something that most people say should be kept until the 3
rd date – but since we have been spending all this time together, I think that maybe it would be a good idea to get it out of the way tonight,”

“What’s that?” he enquired tipping the beer bottle back against his lips and gulped down the liquid.

“Our pasts,”

“Define pasts?”

“Our exes to be exact,” I replied and watched the way his body stiffened at my words and I couldn’t help but wonder what was in his past that made him react that way.

“We really should talk about it shouldn’t we?” he asked and there was an underlying sliver of hope to his voice, the kind of hope that wanted me to say that we could just skip past this part of getting to know one another.

“I just think that it would be a good idea to get it out of the way, what do you think?”

“I wish that there was some way to skip this process............”

“Well I do too, but I don’t think that there is to be honest. Besides – it’s always a good thing to get everything out in the open,” I confessed, I didn’t want to go into this thing with Christian blind and I didn’t want to have any secrets from him.

“You’re right,” he nodded placing his bottle back onto the table that was between us, “but not here,”

“No it can wait until we go home,” I agreed – being in the middle of a crowded bar wasn’t exactly the place that I wanted to talk to him about something so personal.

When he smiled at me, I turned back to the stage where John Rzeznik was just telling the crowd that they were taking a 5 minute break to get something to drink. It was at that time Robbie Takac noticed me and began weaving his way through the crowds to where I was sat with my date.

“Little Ayden,” he gushed happily pulling me out of my chair and into a tight embrace, “how are you chick?” he asked pulling back.

“I’m good thanks Rob, how’s you and the guys?” I enquired just as Johnny approached with Mike; who both proceeded to hug me so tightly that I was taken aback. I hadn’t thought that they would remember me at all.

The 4 of us stood chatting for a few moments before it even occurred to me to introduce Christian to them. Once I had introduced them, they began talking to one another, leaving me to just stand and watch for a few moments, before they moved on to the bar to get their drinks.

Watching them, I was suddenly aware of just how much some people would pay for a life like mine. Growing up; I had never wanted for anything. If I was into something – my Father would accommodate me as much as his money could buy. I was protected and I knew that I was loved, maybe somewhat over bearingly, but still – I truly didn’t have anything to complain about on the whole. I had my health, I had money in the bank and I was about to endure on a great opportunity to open my own business. What did I really have to complain about?

I said my farewells to the band and smiled towards Christian who was watching me closely – as if he were trying to read my mind.

“So how do you know them?”

“My Dad arranged a meeting with them for me...........they were very hospitable with me,” I explained.

“Did your Dad do that a lot?”

“Whenever I got into something new,” I tried to laugh it off but then became aware of how up myself I sounded. “God I sound like one of those spoiled brats on the likes of that ‘My Sweet Sixteen’ reality show on MTV!”

“Good job that I know the difference then!” he smiled and winked at the same time and I swear in that moment; I could have ripped his cloths from his body and take him right there in front of the crowded club.

Swallowing hard, I picked up my first and only JD and cola of the night. I didn’t often drink spirits; wine was much more my deal, but I only ever drank wine when I was at home. Jack Daniels and Vodka were the only spirits that I would touch. Plus it was a rare occasion that I was out on the town so I liked to try different things and I had found that I really liked Jack Daniels, Vodka was the kind of drink that I partook in whenever I wanted to forget things in my life – because it always had the habit of giving me an amnesia style hangover the following day.

“Listen do you want to just head back to mine?” I asked him.

“You’re not having fun?” he sounded terrified that he had messed up the first date we had.

“Yes I am having fun – the whole night has been wonderful. But I just want to talk to you and we can’t do that in a crowded bar can we?”

“You make an excellent point,” he nodded his head and we both vacated the table we had been sat at – instantly it was snatched up by another couple who had practically been sucking the faces off each other for the past hour or so.

“So Mr Kane – what happened to the movie?” I enquired.

“Well after you said that about the using the old and tried method of the risk free date............it got me to thinking that I didn’t want our first date to be like that, so I booked the table and then I heard that the Goo Goo Dolls were playing H.O.B’s and I remember you saying that you liked their music..........”

“I really have had fun you know?” I told him honestly.

“I’m glad,” he smiled across at me as we stepped out on to the busy street.

The House of Blues always had a queue around the block of people waiting to get inside. It was definitely one of Hollywood’s landmarks. What I liked about it was that it reminded me of an old time motorcycle bar mixed with a little house with the picket fence around it. The building was exactly like a ranch style house, and on the outside there was a black coloured fence surrounding the building. I had never seen anything else quite like it, if I were honest.

As we walked slowly, I felt the warmth of Christian’s hand sliding into mine and it felt like the most natural thing in the world to do. Instinctively my body moved in closer to him and we carried on walking in silence.

It was a beautiful night – the sky was cloudless, so the dark midnight colour scattered far beyond where our eyes could follow. Small pin pricks of light scattered over the dark like little jewels. We decided to take the stroll along the beach which would eventually lead us right to our properties down the coast. It would take us about an hour but with the right company that time would fly by.

“Do you want to start this talk now?” Christian enquired once we had made our way to the water’s edge and strolled through the small scatter of water.

“I don’t see why not,”

“Do you want to go first?” he asked and I had the feeling that it would take him a little bit longer to gather his composure for whatever it was that he was going to tell me.

“Sure,” I smiled across at him, it felt good not having to crank my neck every time I wanted to look at him. Being the same height as me; it was a treat to be able to watch him without almost crippling myself. “Do you remember that I told you that I haven’t had much experience with men?”

“I remember,” he nodded, “it seemed a little strange to me; considering the way that you look,”

“Thank you,” I blushed for the first time this evening, “well the thing is; I haven’t had much experience for a couple of reasons. The first being my Father – if you hadn’t noticed he is rather domineering and a complete control freak. Rather than date in high school, he expected me to get good grades and graduate top of my glass, which now, is something that I appreciate more than I could ever put into words. Obviously you know that he wants me to only date Italian men – which are harder to come by these days, well at least if you want a good Italian man.

“My second reason requires a much more detailed explanation, maybe we could just sit down here and do this?”

“Sounds like a plan,” he smiled and we moved back up the sand so that we could sit down without fear of getting completely soaked. “Just whenever you are ready,”

“Ok,” I started pulling my legs against my chest, “well I met Vince when I started college. It was my first day, I was completely lost and I literally bumped into him. We ended up getting one another’s date organizers muddled up and I ended up with all his details and vice versa.

“Luckily we ended up having the same English period together so we managed to swap everything back and from there we sort of just bonded. We sat next to one another, mainly because they were the only 2 available seats left. We went for coffee after that class and from there we were a couple. It all happened so fast that I became completely caught up in the romance of it.

“After we had been dating for a month; he introduced me to his family; a really nice Italian family who had migrated to the states in the late 60’s for a better life. Once I had met his family, I took him to meet mine and my Father was instantly impressed and accepted him into the family fold without question. Before I knew it Vince was doing deliveries for my Father and they were always huddled together talking ‘business’. It hadn’t bothered me, I was just glad that I had made my Daddy happy.

“We had been together about a year when I started to get those gut feelings that something was wrong. But whenever I talked, or tried to talk to Vince – he’d tell me that it was nothing and that he was always busy working for my Father. It wasn’t until about 4 months after that, that I had found him selling some of my Dad’s stuff to people that he shouldn’t be selling too ‘and’ to make it worse, he was pocketing the profits for himself, so essentially he was robbing my Father. Not a good idea whether you are in with him or not. I managed to cover it for a little while and then 2 months after that I found him in bed with another woman.

“My Father went ballistic, threatening to hunt him down and chopping his body into so many little pieces they would never be able to put him back together again.....that was when I did something really stupid,” I admitted stopping and staring out to the darkness of the water.

“What did you do Ayd?” Christian asked.

I took a deep breath and brought my eyes back around to look at the man sat next to me and in that minute – I decided to tell him the one thing that I hadn’t told anyone. I trusted him that much.

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PostSubject: Chapter 15 - Secrets Confessed   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:15 am

Christian’s POV;

We had a brilliant time tonight. I hadn’t really expected anything less than that to be honest. From all the time that we had spent together; it was a natural conclusion to our first date that we would just be like we had been since we had met. I was enjoying myself; even though we were partaking in ‘that’ talk – the talk that I had been dreading having and I was glad that she had gone first.

It amazed me to think that she had only ever really dated one guy – for someone as beautiful as she was; I had assumed that she would have dated much more than even I had and I had never been stuck for a date.

Timothy had reminded me that – it is better to have regrets than to sit in the future wondering ‘what if’. It was definitely true – I could potentially miss out on something spectacular because I had been burned by one girl. I didn’t want to live my life that way. Now that I was here by her side, I realized once again just how much I didn’t want to end up wondering ‘what if’ with this girl. I had to bite the bullet and just let what was going to happen, happen.

Deep down, I knew that not all women were like Caitlyn. I was fairly certain that Ayden was absolutely nothing like Caitlyn. And I was now, more than willing to take the chance that she was going to be different from my last girlfriend and as I sat here listening to her tell me about her ex-boyfriend; I could see that this girl was more than I had even thought she was originally.

It was one thing to feel used by someone but then to hear that, that same person had taken advantage of your Family’s generosity was like a slap in the face but she was holding her head and she was explaining it all with a lack of emotion in her voice; if I didn’t know better I would have said that she was reciting a story that she had heard from someone else. It was the first time that I saw her lack enthusiasm about the things that she was talking about and then she turned towards me and said.........
”that was when I did something stupid!”

“What did you do Ayd?” I asked and watched her staring out into the ocean.

Following her gaze, I was prepared to give her all the time that she needed to gather her composure or whatever it was that she needed to tell me whatever it was that she had done. The sea was so vast, so dark that even on the horizon; you couldn’t see where the ocean ended and the sky began; it was like they both blended together in the distance.

It was a night nice; there wasn’t even the sign of a breeze but the air remained cool enough that we were comfortable just sitting here talking on the soft sand. The beach was almost completely deserted – there was what appeared to be a beach party a little way in the opposite direction from where we were. I could hear the muffled sound of Metallica playing on the stereo – a few guys were playing football while it seemed the other party goers were sat around the fire place. The ocean was calm and crashing waves gently and lazily on the shore.

For me, it felt like the absolute perfect ending to the perfect first date.

“I told Vince to run,”

“What?”

“When my Dad found out about what Vince had done to him and to me; he had flown into the wildest rage that I have ever seen. I remember that it was the first time that my Father had really scared me – sometimes, I think that he looks at me and blames me for taking Vince into our life.

“Dad was putting out the word that if Vince were to be seen – he was to be detained by whoever saw him and transported to him wherever he may be at the time. The world that I live in; I have to sit back and watch the people around me and my Father and my Brother bending to the will of my Father and that isn’t something that I take lightly, believe me..........if you don’t believe anything else of what I am about to tell you, please believe that one.

“Anyway, I had been hiding the fact that he was stealing from my Father – I look back on it now and I don’t know why I would do such a thing. Maybe it was one of those stupid notions that I was in love with Vince.......I don’t know. Anyway; it was my Uncle Spike who ended up catching Vince out and he had told my Father without a moment’s hesitation and that was when my Father asked me if I knew anything about it. I had 2 options when he confronted me – 1. was to lie and the second was to ‘fess up and tell him everything, which of course would result in me being treated the exact same way as Vince.” She began to explain and I felt my eyes bug outwards at her statement at the end of what she had explained so far.

“You mean that he would have killed you?”

“Maybe not actually killed me, but he would certainly make me wish I was dead.” Her response was so matter of fact, so resigned to the notion that she would have to face some kind of horrible punishment – it made me want to take her away from all of this, to show her the life she could have, “anyway – I realized that I couldn’t admit the truth and as much as I hated what Vince had done to my Family; I couldn’t very well leave him to the sharks so I rushed over to his apartment to tell him to pack a bag and get out of town as soon as possible.

“I knew that I was risking a lot, I knew that what I was doing was betraying my Father and all that he held dear to him, but I couldn’t just stand back and allow someone to be killed, no matter what he had done.

“When I got to Vince’s apartment – I found him in bed with another woman. It was like I automatically went into autopilot – even through the fog of him having betrayed me twice; I knew that he didn’t deserve to die. Obviously I wished that he was dead and I don’t know how I was able to assess the two and see them for what they were; but I threw his bag at him and told him to run and that it was for his life because my Father was on the warpath for the double crossing he had done.”

When she turned to look at me, I could see the weight that had lifted from her just talking about what she had done. It amazed me that she had been able to think so level headedly in such an emotional moment – it showed the kind of person that she really was. No one could have blamed her if she had just stood back, after finding out his indiscretions, and allowed her Father to get his hands on Vince.

“No one knows what I did..........and I need it to remain that way, so please do......”

“I’m not going to say a word to anyone honey,” I admitted honestly. “I think that you acted with grace and with compassion.......you shouldn’t be punished for that!”

“Thank you Chris, that means a lot to me considering the fact that none of the people in my life will see it that way,” she admitted rooting frantically in her bag for her cigarette’s; to save her shaking hands, I placed my own over the top of hers and pulled my own pack out of my pocket and offered her one. “Thanks,” she smiled shyly.

“You’re welcome.” I smiled at her, “It must have been difficult for you to keep that burden to yourself?”

“It really was...........is. I still hate Vince; I don’t think that will ever change but – no one deserves to die over cheating and stealing, I don’t care who they are; I would do the same thing all over again if I had too,”

“Well I think that it shows, not only a strong mind, but someone who can see past the way things in her own life and society to where what is right and wrong – that takes a strong person to be able to do that,”

“Thank you,” once again; there was no false modesty with her – she just accepted what I said and thanked me for the compliment. It was more than refreshing now; it was something that I really was in awe of.

Especially after walking in on her boyfriend slipping it to someone else – that had to have burned badly. All the times that I had heard stories of women being cheated on – they were the ones who needed to exact revenge. Ayden seemed to just take it all in her stride and not let it bother who she was in the future.

“Did you ever think about getting revenge on him at all?”

“Honestly, for a few seconds I thought about what it would be like to let my Dad take care of him but then I just figured that karma would come around in the future and make him pay for all the wrong that he has done,”

“You believe in all of that?”

“Yes I do,” she nodded before inhaling deeply on her cigarette, “it comes from my Mom – she was............my Dad said that she was a new age hippy – she wore long skirts and shawls – she pleated her hair, she wore only natural products and she was always burning incense and candles in the house. My Dad told me that she had, had a huge Buddha tattooed on to her back but I don’t remember that,”

“You know, I know a few people who have lost their parent’s at a young age and they are usually so depressed and unsure of how to handle it all,”

“I think that when you are young it is much easier to deal with loss; it’s like your young mind can deal with it easier and get through it because we have such small capacities of running thoughts. Not that I am saying that I forgot my mother quickly, because that isn’t true at all but it’s like children are so innocent that they can put things in to perspective and adults really don’t give them enough credit for that,”

We sat there, side by side watching the calm water and the hypnotic sky smoking our cigarettes and all I could think about how unique this woman sitting next to me was. There wasn’t just the fact that I was attracted to her looks, there was more about her than I had been willing to admit up to this point. Of course, I had been aware of the fact that she was different but it was only now that I was beginning to see just how different she was.

“Anyway, what do I have to complain about? I had her for a few years – those memories are with me forever, no one can take them from me – some people don’t even get to know their birth parents,”

“This is very true,” I nodded.

“And I still had my Dad – even though it was sometimes like living with Hitler, I don’t think that I would be half as confident and content as I am if it weren’t for him,” she admitted, “sure I hate that I have to be what he wants, and I have to do the things that he wants but what is a little bit of hate in the larger scale of things?”

“You do know that you are a very unique individual don’t you?”

“I’ve been told before,” she giggled. “I just see me as myself though,”

“Well please don’t ever change, because you are one of the coolest people that I have ever met,”

“Thank you,” she nodded her head and took one last draw on her cigarette before throwing it off into the wind.

The party down the opposite end of the beach seemed to be drawing to a close as the party goers started to disperse in different directions. It seemed that there was a few who were remaining by the camp fire and snuggling down for what appeared to be a night of partying. Otherwise the beach was completely deserted and it was so peaceful to just sit here with Ayden and talk about our lives like this.

I knew that my time of talking about my past relationships was coming up and I was unsure of how to explain the things that happened, or if Ayden would think me cruel for just walking away from Caitlyn without getting her help. I knew that, that was just my own guilt voicing in my head but still – there was a strong possibility that Ayden would find my actions unforgivable after how she had reacted to Vince and what he had done to her.

Ayden flopped back onto the sand and stared up into the stars, her eyes almost twinkling with the same brightness of the stars over head, “don’t you think it’s just the most beautiful sight in the world?” she asked turning to look at me.

I nodded as I fell back next to her and we both just stared – there were no clouds, just masses of stars that sparkled with life and vibrancy. A light breeze was beginning to gather but it was welcomed after the hot sticky day it had been. I really didn’t want this night to end, I was having so much fun with Ayden that it felt like a shame to have to say goodbye at some point soon.

Honestly, I didn’t know what I was complaining about – it’s not like I lived miles away from her and have to wait to see her again. She lived right next door and she had agreed to come to the big beach party that I was throwing the following evening.

“So what about your relationships?” she enquired once we had been laid there for a few moments and the silence had relaxed between us.

Gathering all of my emotions together, I prepared to explain what it had been like to be with someone like Caitlyn.

Ayden’s POV;

I hadn’t intended on telling Christian all of that – but it just seemed to be the ideal way to showcase our relationship. It was easy to open up to him, it was easy to talk to him and it wasn’t hard to believe that he would keep what I had told him to himself. I trusted him and that fact had hit me like a ten ton truck – after Vince I hadn’t thought that I would ever trust another man but here I was sitting next to this man and just feeling overwhelmingly content and confident that I could tell him anything and know that it wouldn’t be repeated to anyone else.

“Where do you want me to start?” he asked me.

“Well, how about how many women have you dated?”

“By dated do you mean long term or short term?”

“Both,” I stated and just stayed where I was lying on the soft sand staring at the sky – it was more than obvious that he was finding this hard, so I didn’t want to make it harder by staring at him while he was trying to talk.

“Ok I have dated maybe 12 women,”

“Did you sleep with all of them?”

“Yeah,” he nodded in accordance with his words.

Now there was only one thing that made me lose my confidence and that was knowing that he had slept with so many women. But then again 12 women wasn’t all that bad on the scale of things. I knew that Vince had slept with probably 3 times that many.

“Have you slept with more women than you have dated?” I asked.

“No,” he shook his head, “growing up, my Dad always taught me to respect women; I was never into one night stands – I won’t lie and say that I have never been tempted because of course I have. Doing the job that I do – it’s hard to not be tempted by the kind of women who come to the shows and such,”

At least he was being honest with me – that had to count for something and in all honesty; I didn’t expect him to have been a saint before me. I just had to hope that when the time came for us to sleep together; I could be more than enough for him.

“So tell me about your last relationship?” I enquired. “I really don’t think that we need to talk about the other’s, is that ok with you?”

“With me? God Ayd you are definitely one of the coolest chicks I have ever met!”

“There really is no point in dragging up the whole past, is there?”

“You are absolutely right,” he nodded and turned his head back to look up into the sky before he began talking, “my last relationship was with a girl called Caitlyn. We met at the Rainbow Room, she was there with some of her friends and apparently they had been there to see me perform.

“We got talking at the bar and it seemed like she was a really cool girl, it was easy to talk to her and she was funny. We exchanged numbers and she called me the following day........my mate Jensen told me that, that should have been the warning bells but I honestly couldn’t see past her at the time. We went to a soccer game for our first date – she knew all the rules, she was vocal when we watched the game, she drank beer and she swore like a sailor – it was sexy as Hell.

“After that date we were pretty much inseparable and it was so good to begin with. It was fun to hang out with her but then it was time for me to go back to work and then I would be heading out on the road between my work schedule. That was when things started going wrong,”

“What happened?” I asked supportively as I he turned silent.

I figured that he was just trying to gather his thoughts to articulate them to me but there was something about the way that he was purposely avoiding looking at me that made me wonder if I shouldn’t have pushed him into talking about this yet.

“Well it started with constant phone calls – it got to the point where she was calling me every hour and when I was working, which of course would piss off the people that I was working with. Then whenever I was home – she would call the house at all hours, if I wanted to spend the night hanging with my friends; she’d get pissed at me or she would insist on being there. When we did go out together – she would hang off my arm as if she owned me – I know that sounds really bad, like I am trying to make it sound worse than it was but it got so bad that I just stopped doing all the things that I loved because it wasn’t worth the Spanish inquisition that would follow.

“I knew that she had been burned in the past – her previous boyfriend had been married and hadn’t even told her that he had kids let alone that he had a wife.

“But I am always honest and up front with the women in my life – I am a one woman guy. I don’t have it in me to cheat – sure I look; what man doesn’t? But actually acting on those thoughts no way; it isn’t me and it sure as Hell isn’t the man that I want to be.

“We’d argue all the time, it was like a war zone between us – she couldn’t believe me when I said that I was with only her and I couldn’t understand why she just couldn’t believe me. The end came when I had to rush home – my little sister had been pregnant and.........well she lost the baby and I wanted to go home and be with her but Caitlyn wasn’t having it. She wanted to come with me and be introduced to my Family and she wouldn’t listen when I tried to tell her that it was better if this particular time I went alone.

“We argued for what felt like hours; in the end she demanded that I stay and refused to allow me to go. That was when I knew that I couldn’t carry on the way that we had been. I told her that I was going and that when I came back I didn’t want to see her ever again,”

“How did she take that?” I asked.

I didn’t and had never been able to understand those women who felt that they were defined by the fact that they were in a relationship or not. It actually baffled me and in a way I knew that I had my Father to thank for that. By pushing me to work hard and get qualifications so that I could look after myself and not rely on any man for anything what so ever; he had ensured that I was a resilient woman and didn’t need to depend on anyone except for myself.

“Well, I left and went home to be with my Family, which was where I was needed and where I wanted to be. I had been home for about 4 hours when my cell phoned and it was Caitlyn’s best friend, Katrina – she was at the hospital and Caitlyn had taken an over dose..........”

“Oh my God, I am so sorry Chris,” reaching out; I placed my hand on to his arm and he finally turned to look at me. “What happened?”

“Thankfully they had gotten to her in time and they pumped her stomach and she was kept overnight for psychological evaluation,” he explained to me, “of course I was going to fly back and check that she was ok; but it was Jensen’s girlfriend, who was incidentally a therapist, that told me that by going straight to her side would give her the wrong idea. It was the hardest thing that I had ever done – I felt as if her trying to take her life was my fault..............”

“No it wasn’t,” I felt the need to literally bang him on the head to make him believe that this wasn’t his fault, “you can’t reason with people who are that mentally unstable. You were honest with her, you laid it out on the line for her but she just couldn’t get past what happened to her, that isn’t your fault,”

“You know you missed your vocation – Jensen’s girlfriend told me the same thing,”

I nodded knowing that he was giving me another compliment, I swear this man was spoiling me 100% for other men. I had never been complimented so much in my entire life. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t like it.

“It sort of made me stand back from relationships,”

“That’s more than understandable babe,” I replied turning on to my side to face him and he quickly copied my moves, “seems like we’ve both got scars,”

“I would say so,” he nodded and smiled at me.

It was the kind of smile that reeked of relief, I don’t know if it was relief that he had gotten it off his chest, or if it was because I hadn’t completely freaked out and blamed him for what had happened, but it was definitely the trace of relief in that smile.

I couldn’t even begin to imagine what he had went through with Caitlyn. I had never had to deal with those kinds of feelings from myself or from any man that I have been with considering that I had only ever been with Vince. I do however; know that I would have lost my temper with her a Hell of a lot quicker than Christian obviously had. What it did show me was the fact that Christian was a remarkable man.

I think that he stayed a lot longer than most men would have – I think that it shows the kind of boyfriend that he would be. And more than anything, I was now ready to take that step with him. The step that would bring us closer than we were now. Hell if I hadn’t trusted him completely and irrevocably then I wouldn’t have told him the entire story of Vince and what had happened. I had no regrets in telling him either – he was everything that I had began to believe him to be and more.

“What are you thinking?” Christian asked gently reaching over the space between us and wiping a loose strand of my hair behind my ear and just kept his hand resting on my cheek; his thumb tenderly rubbing my cheek softly.

“Just how much this feels right,” I started, “sorry I don’t mean to make it sound like I am miles ahead of where we are at but I just want you to know that I like you a lot and I enjoy when we hang out with one another............”

“But?”

“But I still think that we should take things slowly?” I suggested, “are you ok with that?”

“Of course I am babe,” he smiled warmly at me – the kind of smile that you just knew came from the heart. “I think that if we were to rush into it – we’d end up doing it all wrong and I don’t want to do that,”

“Me either,” I smiled feeling myself trembling from what I just knew was coming.

We had hung out a lot since I had moved in next door to him, we had talked and we had admitted how we felt about one another and now the only thing that was left – was to have our first kiss and I just knew that it was on his mind too.

“You do know that you’re beautiful right?”

“Its always nice to hear it,” I giggled and he chuckled along with me softly.

Slowly he inched his way a little closer to me as a huge tremble raked from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. My breath hitched in the back of my throat and my heart felt as if it had become suspended in my chest.

Why were my lips throbbing?

God, I wanted him to kiss me. I wanted it so badly but was too frozen to even try and rush this along.

The soft caress of his thumb on my cheek bone send tiny waves of pleasure to cover my entire body like a blanket, his lips seemed closer – when had he closed that distance between us?

Suddenly our bodies were pressed together and I could feel his soft and warm breath caressing my face like a lovers touch. Everything was surreal, I could hardly believe that it was happening the moment was perfect, the company was most definitely more than perfect and we had been having such a wonderful time that this seemed to be the most natural conclusion.

Just like that the feel of his lips brushed against my own and when I closed my eyes and gave myself over to him; we became locked in the most amazing and heart thumping kiss I had ever experienced. With a movement that was teasingly slow and precise I could feel myself leaning further into his warm embrace. Our bodies became tangled as our lips drove us higher into the oblivion of that first kiss experience.

For hours we just lay there, kissing and holding on to one another. By the time the sun came up – we were still lying there, kissing and lazily lying wrapped up in one another. I really couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the night!

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HarleyMac
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Join date : 2011-03-18
Age : 39
Location : Elgin, Scotland

PostSubject: Chapter 16 - Something's Gotta Give   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:16 am

Sometime after sunrise;
Ayden’s POV;

‘God this felt like the most amazing dream that I have ever experienced. The tenderness of his lips moving against mine and the strength of his powerful arms holding me close. There was absolutely no space between us – we were sticking to one another desperately.

My heart was still in overdrive, my legs felt boneless from the intensity in which he was kissing me. If I had ever doubted the way he felt about me then this would have more than made it crystal clear. With the heat from inside him; which was pressed hard against my body – we seemed to fit together like a puzzle coming together – he had managed to keep me warm the remainder of the night out there on the beach. Somehow we had managed to make it the half mile up the beach and were now stumbling into the kitchen of my home. It was almost like we just couldn’t stand to unlock our lips to get inside – we were hungry, we had been hanging out for a while and then we had let one another know that we were attracted to one another but had to be apart for a week – it had all been leading us to this moment now.

Christian pushed me hard against the large Fridge that was just to the left inside the French doors. My stomach flipped excitedly as he showed me his dominant side and I could only moan out to show my pleasure at what was happening. My tongue met his in an urgency that I hadn’t expected to feel.

Grabbing a fist full of my hair he pulled me back from the fridge where I had been pinned and whirled me around until I was pressed against the counter where he quickly assisted me until I was sat on the edge and his fingers were trailing down my sides and I was shivering in desperation to feel more of his touch.

With our mouths still attached, I could feel the rough trace of his fingers against my legs as he began to ride my floor length skirt upwards. God it felt so good to feel a man’s touch again! There was only so much that a ‘toy’ could do. The callous fingers from his guitar were raking further up my legs and still he made no motion to stop kissing me. I felt alive again. I felt like I was wanted and desired – something that I hadn’t really thought about feeling a lot after Vince had disappeared into the night.

The softness of his tongue brushing against my own stirred something in the pit of my stomach and when I opened my eyes to look at him – there was nothing but carnal passion staring back at me. Those perfect blue eyes, the unique tint in them was flaming brightly with the lust that we were both feeling. Using my hands, I lifted myself up so that he could ride my skirt around my waist and he was so instinctive understanding instantly why I had made the move and the skirt was out of the way in a matter of seconds.

My chest was heaving; I was breathless from the lack of air and from the insatiable hunger that was coursing through every vein and erogenous point in my body. Starting again at my ankles; those calloused fingers trailed soft feather like lines up and up and up until he was sliding his whole hand up over my thighs and around my ass to pull me closer before sliding those same fingers back around my waist and his palm grazed firmly over my panties and left me sucking air into my system desperately.

By rubbing his hand over and over my panties; pushing hard against my pussy was making me wet. I had never had a problem with being turned on but this was more than being turned on – this was excitement, this was cardinal, this was primal – my want and my need were stronger than I had estimated for this man. Before I knew what I was doing, I was pushing myself against his hand and he pulled out of the kiss for the first time; his eyes blazing and his breath as ragged as my own.

“You don’t like this top do you?” he asked running his finger down the front of my shirt.

“It’s not one of my favourites no,” I admitted and then watched as he ripped it from my body and threw it to the floor leaving me exposed with my skirt around my waist – my black lace panties on show and the matching black and red bra barely containing my tits.

“Just as I thought,” he stated.

“Excuse me?”

“All week, I was trying to convince myself that you had to have something wrong with you – that you couldn’t be this perfect but I would fight myself and I now know that I am right – you are gorgeous!”

“Thank you,” I smiled tilting my head and allowing my hair to tumble down in front of me like a waterfall, “you’re not so bad yourself babe!”

“Thank you,” he shared the smile with me and I could feel the air sizzling with the pent up frustration that we had been feeling.

Then he was back to driving me wild – his fingers hooked under the sides of my panties and began the deliberate motion of dragging them down my thighs and licking his lips as my cunt came into view and I was gulping for the much needed air. Usually I would be concerned about doing this here but – he had worked me into such a frenzy that I would be begging could I find my voice, which I couldn’t.

“Lie back!” he ordered me and I succumbed without complaint.

I really liked this side of him, the side where he wasn’t afraid of telling me what to do, and the side that was dominant and damn hot as sin itself.

“Take off your shirt!” I ordered only to be silenced by one of his fingers pressing against my lips.

“There is going to be plenty of time for that,” he promised his voice husky from the lust that was dominating both of us. “Right now; this is all about you princess!”

Slowly, his body sank down and I could feel the tender touch of his lips at my ankles; the sparks in my body felt like a motorbike being fired up. There was a gentleness about the way he was handling me but it was firm and assured almost as if he knew my body already. Moving at a steady pace up my legs; his mouth placed feather light kisses to my flesh and I could instantly feel my thighs shaking the way they do after having mind blowing sex. And this was just beginning – God help me by the time he is finished with me.

Now that my panties were removed it seemed that he couldn’t control himself as his fingers quickly found their way back to my pussy, that felt saturated by this point and when his fingers danced over the outside of my opening I felt my body tense with the anticipation before he growled out low and primally.

“You’re so wet!” he grunted and then it was like my whole body exploded in a fashion it never had, as his tongue ran from bottom to top, “mmmmmmm and you taste so fucking good!”

My entire being was shaking, even my soul, or so it felt. I had never been made to feel like this before – his tongue slid into my cunt a little more and once again he licked from bottom to top; this time because he had parted the lips his tongue grazed lazily against my clit and had me literally moaning out in the pleasure that it sparked inside me. My eyes were beginning to roll back in my head and that was when he used his fingers to gently pull back the little hood that hid the clit from view and began rocking his thumb back and forth on it and then changing directions as his mouth moved back down to my pussy and eased his tongue into me and my back was instantly off the counter as he stimulated me to the point of no return.

The vibrations of his growls spread through me like wildfire and just when I felt like I was going to completely combust; he’d add more pressure – pressing a little harder against my clit with his fingers as he circled, stroked and pressed against the little bundle of sensitive nerves. With his face completely buried against my mound, I was more than a little surprised at the length of his tongue and the reach that he was getting inside me. All my inner muscles were trying desperately trying to clamp around his tongue and hold him still inside me but he was too powerful with his movements and just as I felt myself give into my fate – he began to drag his tongue out of and move slowly up to my clit and gently began to suck the little hub into his mouth; his tongue beating at it frantically while his fingers took up the position where his mouth had just been and I exploded in a fashion that had everything magnifying.

Pleasure was so intense, I couldn’t stop myself from crying out, my ears felt like they were popping, my mouth was salivating profusely and my hearing seemed to become that of a bats – ringing upon ringing was pushing in around me and slowly I was becoming more separated from the moment – like I was being sucked down a tunnel and away from the man who was giving me such amazing pleasure..............’

Sitting bolt upright, I was breathless and I could feel the throbbing pleasure still pulsing through my womb and spreading to every nerve ending in my body. I had never felt anything like it in my life and now I had been pulled away from it by the ringing front door bell that wouldn’t just stop.

Christian and I had remained on the beach until the sun had started to rise over the horizon. We lay in one another’s arms just kissing and holding one another. It was the most intimate moment of my life and yet it had been just 2 simple little acts. I never knew that I could feel so connected to someone without having sex.

Whoever was at the door wasn’t going to get the best welcome in the world. I had crawled on to the sofa when I had left Christian at his gate and had promptly fallen asleep with thoughts of my evening still fresh in my thoughts, which of course would explain the dream that I had just had. Not that I was complaining about the dream – it was the most action I had seen in a while – I was complaining about being woken up and pulled away from that wave of pleasure that had began.

“What the Hell do you want?” I glowered at my Father who was behind the door.

“Come on Ayd, I have given you a week to calm down..................”

“To calm down? Are you taking the fucking piss?” I demanded angrily, “You hit me and you think I am the one who needs to calm down?”

“I’m sorry about that...........and that was why I sent the flowers.......”

“What part of me makes you think that flowers would sweep this under the carpet as if it never happened exactly?” I turned away from him; leaving the door open so that he could follow me into the main area of the house, which was what he did – closing the door behind him.

“I just wanted to let you know that I was sorry and that I wanted you to know that I was thinking about you,”

Was he really standing here and saying this to me? Could he not see how utterly ridiculous he was being? It just made my blood boil in my veins and not in the good way that dream had – oh no the dream was long forgotten at this moment in time.

“Sorry for what? Telling me what to do or for slapping me?” I charged at him flipping the switch on the kettle to make my morning coffee.

“Entrambe mia bella figlia!” both my beautiful daughter, which was what he always called me when I was in a mood with him over his attitude towards my life.

“Il padre che non sono bambina più!” if only he would listen to me when I told him that I wasn’t his little girl anymore. “Besides after your little display the other night, Christian doesn’t want me as anything but a friend now,”

“Why? What’s wrong with him?” he demanded.

It was that old crazy logic of his that made me smile and the ice began to thaw. Just because he had told me that I wasn’t to date this guy; it still bothered him to hear things like he didn’t want me in that way anymore. He was the biggest hypocrite that I had ever known in my life. But at the end of the day he was still my Father – of course that didn’t mean that I liked him all of the time either.

“There’s nothing wrong with him daddy,” I jumped into defend the man who I had spent the most amazing night with, “he just isn’t looking for a girlfriend at the moment........”

“Why? is he unable to.....you know perform?”

“Dad!” I exclaimed holding up a mug to which he nodded, “I didn’t exactly enquire about something like that,” I laughed as my Father seemed to relax and took a seat at the counter while I busied myself with making the morning coffee.

As he always managed to do – he had disarmed me and I stopped being so mad at him. Don’t get me wrong, I am still mad – but it’s just like he can take all the fight out of me in a heartbeat if he wants to. And of course there was that little white lie I had told him about me and Christian being only friends – I had to just keep up the pretence and hope that he didn’t figure it out because there was no way that he was going to stop me from being with a man who made me so happy; instead he should be welcoming Christian with open arms after what he had known of Vince.

Later that Night, Beach;
Christian’s POV;

Ayden had popped over once her Dad had left this morning to tell me that she had made up with him and that he now believed that we were just friends and nothing more. It wasn’t the ideal situation to be in but it was the only one that we could have – at least until we are either more established with the relationship or we do just become friends.

Obviously I didn’t want the latter. After the way things had gone last night – the fact that she had placed a Hell of a lot of trust in me spoke volumes to me.

“How was your date last night then?” Aldis enquired moving over to me as I watched Ayden talking with Beth and they were both laughing and seemed to be getting along like a house on fire.

“Better than expected,” I nodded turning to look at him for a few moments.

“Well I’ll give you the fact that she is beautiful,” he stated, “and I really do hope that things work out for you,”

“Thanks man,” I smiled lighting up a cigarette just as Ayden plonked herself down on the large log of wood that I kept in my back yard for the beach parties that I threw. The fire was blazing high in the sky and the shadows it made creased over her face making her look more heavenly than possible.

“Beth seems to be getting on well with her,” Timothy announced as he approached me and Aldis with Gina who nodded her head in agreement with Timothy.

“Who doesn’t Beth get along with though?” I asked smiling as Ayden motioned me over to where she was sat, “’S’cuze me guys,”

They all groaned playfully as I grabbed my bottle of beer from the rest on the grill where I had placed it to grill the burgers and hot dogs for eating. Now Timothy was left in charge; Aldis couldn’t cook to save his life so there was no way that I would have left him to cook the food.

Sitting by herself; she had curled her legs under the off the shoulder long sleeved top that she was wearing and hugging her arms around her legs. With her messily piled high on her hair – she looked so down to earth, so normal that you wouldn’t even guess that she was the daughter of a mobster. Not that I knew what a Mobsters daughter would look like.

“You ok?” I asked her wrapping my arm around her shoulder and felt elated when she let her head rest down on my shoulder.

“Never better.....you?” she asked back helping herself to my cigarette and taking a long drag on it before handing it back.

“I’m great!” I honestly replied.

It was a nice night for the party – the air was as still as it had been the previous night when we had sat down in the soft sand to talk about the past and then spend more than 2 hours just lying in the sand and kissing. It made me hard just thinking about the way that she had kissed me so passionately – matching everything that I had put into it and holding on to me so tightly that I swore she was fearful of me disappearing.

The water was a little more choppy tonight – the waves were crashing with more force onto the shore but we had kept an eye on it, there wasn’t any way that we could control it anyway. The smell of the cooking food masked the scent of the beach and I was reminded of just how lucky I was – it was a very beautiful place to live and I knew that there were many people out there who just couldn’t afford to have a roof over their heads.

“No regrets about last night?” she asked me and it was the first time that I had heard a hint of uncertainty in her voice.

“Absolutely none!” I assured her and there she was back again, smiling and accepting my answer without questioning it. “You?”

“None what-so-ever,” she replied leaning in and kissing my cheek, “thank you for inviting me to this,”

“I’m just sorry that your friends couldn’t make it,”

When I had invited her to come along to this tonight, I had told her that she was more than welcome to invite her friends, I had liked hanging out with them and thought that it would have been a perfect time for me to get to know them a little better and vice versa but unfortunately they had, had other plans. Plans that Ayden had cancelled to be here.

“You’re not wishing that you hadn’t cancelled on them?” I asked quietly.

“Are you kidding? Spending a whole night feeling like the odd one out and dealing with guys coming on to me.............no thanks, you can keep it! I would much rather be here,” she admitted stroking her hand up and down my forearm, “plus you’re here so it’s a no win...........”

“Oh really?”

“You know it babe,” she winked at me before resting her head back down onto my shoulder.

The scent of her coconut shampoo was lingering under my nose and it was as if all my senses had come to life. She was this amazing woman and she was an enigma at the same time. I felt like I knew everything about her but in reality I was just scratching the surface of who she was really. And I couldn’t wait to get to know her better – I was caught in her sights and I didn’t want to be anywhere else ever again.

“So what are you doing tomorrow?” she asked me.

“Well I was gonna have a chill out day at my place............want to join me?”

“What’s a chill out day?” she asked intrigued.

“You’ve never just taken a day out, to lounge around in sweats, and eating junk food and watching movies all day?”

“Those are break up nights to me,” she laughed, “we’d do that whenever one of us was dumped or split up with our boyfriends, not that I ever had any until Vince but I never knew that men actually do that to pass the time!”

“Oh yeah of course we do,” I informed her, “usually I would watch sports but if you are gonna come over we’ll watch movies,”

“Why?” she asked.

“Because you’re a woman.........women tend not to do the whole sports thing!”

“Ahh shows how little you know me!” she announced, “for one I LOVE wrestling.........”

“Wrestling is not a sport,” I chuckled, “it’s entertainment sport – all fake and rubbish storylines!”

“Hey!” she giggled and it warmed my heart to hear her laugh like that.

Once I had listened to her story about what had happened with Vince; I had felt this overwhelming need to protect her more fiercely than before. I knew that it was premature to be thinking of the long term since we had only just met and all, but there was something about this girl that felt like home.

“Ok we can we watch some wrestling if it makes you feel better!” I offered.

“You are spoiling me!” she laughed once again and it was at that time my friends from the show came over to join us.

“I haven’t even started yet princess,” I whispered into her ear and felt the quiver that raked through her frame. “Hey guys,” I commented as my friends sat down around the fire.

Of course there were other people here tonight – Jensen had come with his new wife, some of the guys that I had worked with on Angel were here and some people from other work I had done. I always tried to get along with the people that I worked with because it definitely made work much easier to bear – especially now that I had Ayden to come home to.

“Hi,” Timothy was the one who extended his hand to Ayden because he had yet to be introduced to her. The older man was almost like a mentor to me; after the years that he had been in the business, he had mastered his craft through solid hard work and not causing waves on the productions that he was a part of.

“Hi it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Ayden smiled up at the older man.

“You too,” my friend replied as he took a seat next to Gina – being more of his age; they had bonded easily as friends. “So what are you guys talking about?”

“My Father!” Ayden admitted, “He’s not very good about seeing me with men,”

It was a little small lie but it made me see things a little more clearly for Ayden – she had been living with this her whole life and I bet she had always had to make up little lies, or bend the truth to another version that most people would be comfortable with hearing. That had to take a massive amount of strength to do it constantly and especially with the people that she genuinely liked or even felt close too.

“May I ask if you are a single child?” Gina enquired.

“No.....I have a little brother Elias,” Ayden divulged – it amazed me that she could talk about this stuff as if she were just a regular girl. And then of course there was the fact that she managed to stretch the truth into something that must be hard for her.

“So you are his only daughter?”

“Yeah that’s right,”

“That will be the reason right there........Father’s always tend to have a much harder time letting go of their little girls,” Gina smiled warmly at Ayden, “give him time he will come around!”

Ayden and I both knew that there would be no coming around for Carlo any time soon. I didn’t actually get why he was so bothered – it’s not like I was a bad guy; I would never hurt his daughter and he would know that if he had taken the time to actually talk to me instead of making a snap judgment upon sight.

“What about your Mom?” Aldis enquired and I could have slapped him; not that he knew that she had lost her Mother; it was just my natural need to keep her protected and safe that made me mad at him.

“My Mom died when I was young,” Ayden replied as open and as calm as she had been when she had told me for the first time.

“I’m so sorry,” Aldis’ face fell and he reached out to touch her hand (it was his way; he was very much the touchy feely kind of guy) and Ayden smiled and allowed him to take her hand, which, for her was a huge deal. “I didn’t mean to.......”

“It’s ok Aldis,” she smiled brightly, “it was a long time ago now and I can handle it much better than I did back when it happened,”

As always her grace and composure astounded me – the only time I had heard her get mad was at her Father that night he had come round and hit her. Not that it had been his purpose to come and hit his daughter. Anyway; Ayden always seemed to possess this inner calm that shone through – making everyone else around her as calm.

With my arm wrapped around her shoulder, she inched a little closer to me until she was resting against my frame completely and it just felt right – to be sitting here with her, to have her in my arms and taking comfort from me – it was the most natural feeling in the world.

The wind kept the fire swaying in a hypnotic dance, the beach was quiet and peaceful, and we were all just sitting around the camp fire; enjoying one another’s company and talking about life and all the things that we had done. Naturally, my friends wanted to hear about Ayden who happily explained where she came from and how life was for her growing up without a Mother and then they moved on to the subject of what she did for a living. I just sat next to her silently, listening to her talk passionately about what she was about to embark on and I could feel my life sliding into the place that it was meant to be.

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PostSubject: Chapter 17 - Everything Changes   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:17 am

The Following Day;
Carlo’s POV;

Now I was glad that Ayden and I had made up after our little tiff – it had pained me and made me miserable when she hadn’t called me after I had sent those flowers. We had never gone a full week not talking to one another before and my employees had begun to complain that I was wondering around like a bear with a sore head.

I knew that she was still upset with me but it was for her own good that I was putting my food down. There was just no way that she would be happy with a man like that one I had met in her home.

With the help of Draven’s Father I had gotten the name of the man had done some research on him. Apparently he was an entertainer of all kinds, a jack of all trades as my Mother would have said, which would be something that would worry Ayden – my daughter had a huge heart and she worried about the people that she cared about – it was part of what had made her an amazing woman. Then of course; there was the fact that Christian was part Cherokee – I could absolutely, no way have an Indian descendent come into my inner circle. Granted they were apparently an extremely savage race and that would come handy in my line of business.

“Dad?” Elias questioned coming into the kitchen and moving to the coffee percolator to pour himself a mug of coffee.

“Yes son?”

“Did Ayd say what she was doing today?”

“Nope, why?” I asked folding the paper and setting is aside, to talk to my son and enjoy my mug coffee.

“Well I haven’t been over to see her new place – I thought that I might head over there today and check it out,”

Elias had always looked up to Ayden; I knew that Ayden hadn’t had an easy life – she had propelled herself into the role of being the woman around the house but I should have stopped her and insisted that she enjoy her childhood, but selfishly; all I had wanted to do after I lost Lillian, was throw myself into my work and solidify my reign as ‘the’ boss.

Whenever Elias had problems with homework he’d got to Ayden – mainly because she had become a proper little student. I had asked her once why she was so Hell bent on getting such good grades and she had told me ever so innocently that she knew that her Mom was a Angel in Heaven now, watching over us and she didn’t want to make her Mom disappointed or ashamed of her. Coming from such an innocent mind – it had moved me to tears and from there I had kept on her back about getting good grades.

When Elias was getting older; he had started getting into trouble with the wrong crowd and it had always been Ayden who smoothed things over. She had gone to meetings with the teachers when she was around 15 years old, she ensured that Elias always had his homework done before he got to get out and she was the one who washed and ironed his cloths and ensured that he always wore clean clothes and she fed him. In the absence of her Mother – she had flourished into an amazing little girl who had always done what she could to please me – except of course when she had been going through that rebellious stage that all teenage girls seem to go through.

“Well it’s Sunday so I think that she will be home – she said something about not working on the Sabbath,” I informed my youngest child.

“Ever the dutiful daughter huh?”

Elias always complained that I wasn’t as proud of him as I was of Ayden – but the truth of the matter was; once Ayden had gone to University – it had been just me and him most of the time and he had started breaking away from the Family home at that point. I didn’t know his friends anymore, I didn’t know where he was hanging out, I didn’t know what he was planning on doing with his life and I sure as Hell didn’t even know if he was dating. If he had given me so much as an inclination of what he was doing then I would most definitely be proud of him and his accomplishments.

“Elias,” I grumbled low in my throat.

“Yeah, yeah I know!” he mumbled turning to face me, “you love us both the same,”

“I do!”

“Might help if you actually showed it.............”

“Showed it?” I demanded angrily, “you don’t have a nice home to live in? You don’t walk around in the best of label brands? You don’t have a nice car? You don’t have a healthy allowance...............? Can you please share with me how I can show you more?”

“I don’t know Dad............maybe show an interest in my life?”

“I ask you all the time what you are up to and all I get in return is – busy, or my personal favourite – you wouldn’t care!”

“It’s not like you’re fighting me is it?”

God it was times like this that I missed Lillian the most – I just didn’t know how to be a Father.

Looking at me son who is standing with his back to the window and leaning against the sink counter; feet crossed at the ankle, mug of coffee in his hands and watching me as if I were some stranger and not his Father. Well at least I wasn’t the only one doing that – most of the time, I would watch him and just wonder how he could be my kid. I didn’t know what kind of music he was into, I didn’t know what kind of movies he liked, I didn’t know if he drank beer or spirits – it was ridiculous but he really was a stranger to me.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked slamming my mug onto the counter.

“You’re the Father – figure it out!” he snapped back as he turned and slammed his own mug into the sink and stalked out of the kitchen, “I’m going to see my sister; see ya whenever!”

The front door slammed shut behind him and was followed the loud guttural roar of his mustang engine coming to life.

Maybe I had been a bad Father – it certainly would explain the way my children talked to me sometimes. The honest truth was that I didn’t want to look at my kids when Lillian was first gone; because they were everything that she and I had ever wanted together and seeing the small similarity in them; made me feel like I was losing her all over again. I knew that made me selfish, I knew that I had failed them as a Father and as much as I wanted to go back and change it; I couldn’t and I had to live with the fact that I didn’t know my children as well as I would have had Lillian not been ripped out of our lives.

Ayden had gotten her Mother’s caring spirit – whenever she caught me crying over my loss; she’d wrap her tiny little arms around me and tell me that it would be ok – that Mommy was looking over us and keeping us safe and that she would never be gone as long as I didn’t forget her. It had been eerily insightful for her to have said that when I asked her where she had gotten that – she had told me that her Mom had appeared to her in a dream and that she told Ayden to tell me that she will always be around.

“I don’t know if you’re here Lilli and I don’t know if you can even hear but damn baby, I wish that you hadn’t been taken away from us,” I stated out loud, “our son is like a stranger to me and I know that it was partly my own doing...........but I don’t know how to reach him, I really need help!”

Maybe it would help, maybe it wouldn’t but right in this moment; I didn’t care if it did or didn’t; I was at the end of my tether and I didn’t know what else I could do.

Lillian’s Mother had always said that you couldn’t raise a child if you didn’t show them love and affection; I had stupidly believed that what I was doing was the right thing but by working all the time – my children had grown into independent and strong adults who didn’t need me. God that hurt.

Had I messed up my children’s life by my arrogance and ignorance?

All I knew was that my daughter, although being sufferingly independent, she wouldn’t forge relationships with men for long periods of time, in fact in the past year or so; she has been completely single and only now has she started to take an interest in a man – who was completely inappropriate for her, which made me wonder if that was why she wanted to be with him.

My son – Hell I didn’t even know if he was dating, I didn’t know if he was even gay or straight, although he knew that without a doubt being gay was absolutely not an option for him to entertain.

How did I fix this mess? I had absolutely no idea of what to do or how to get to know my children – I had always been of the opinion that the Mother was the one who needed to know the children while the man went out and earned the money that would put food on the table.

Ayden and I had even argued about her going into business for herself – I had just about come to terms with the fact that she wanted to work, but having a business of her own; I was sure that she was going to fail and that wasn’t because I didn’t have faith in her I just believed women were better at running the household than being out there trying to do something that they are not capable of. Of course my daughter had put me firmly in my place. That in itself had half convinced me that she could indeed do it.

However to be safe; I had insisted that she took the money from me – so that when she failed; it wouldn’t go down on her credit report.

The opening was coming up shortly; I just hoped that she had read the market correctly and that she was opening this business somewhere that she could make a profit from. I may not believe but I knew that it would crush her spirit if it didn’t work out the way that she was hoping.

But right now; my main concern was my son and how I was going to get over this hump with him. We may be arguing; but I did love my family very much.

45 minutes later, Ayden’s Beach House;
Elias’ POV;

Ayden and I were sat out on the decking of her home – it was so beautiful and almost peaceful here despite the torrent of people who were lying baking in the sun or playing in the surf.

“.........he’s just so fucking insufferable,” I complained to my sister.

It had always been apparent to me that our Father was more proud of Ayden than he was of me. Ayden went to college, Ayden wants to go out there and work (despite his belief that he thought she was going to fail) Ayden got top marks in her exams, Ayden did this, Ayden did that and it really pissed me off.

If he had taken even half of an interest in my life as he did with Ayden’s then maybe we would get on a lot better than we do right now.

“I don’t know why you’re so surprised by that,” she admitted, “look what he did to me last week just because I disagreed with him............”

“What did he do?” I enquired picking up the little Doberman puppy into my lap and allowed him to chew on my belt buckle.

“He didn’t tell you?” she asked watching me shake my head, “he’s fucking unbelievable, I should have known that he wouldn’t tell you,”

“Tell me what? What’s going on?”

When I had arrived 15 minutes ago; I had met Ayden’s friend Christian who had apparently stayed the night when he only lived next door. It wasn’t hard to see that they were taken with one another; the way he had watched her; the way his body moved in accordance to hers – it was all very intense and it was suffocating to be around if I were to be honest.

“Dad hit me,”

“HE DID WHAT!?” never in all of our years; had our Father raised his hands to us, that didn’t make me disbelieve my sister though – she wouldn’t say something like that unless it were true.

“Yeah – split my lip and left a huge red mark on my face for a couple of days,” she sipped at her coffee before handing me a cigarette, and then lit her own.

“Why?”

“He met Christian – & huge surprise, he didn’t want me dating him. I disagreed, he got angry – I got angry back and told him that I wasn’t one of his employees whom he could order around – he hit me then I told him to get out,”

“You fell out with him over a man?”

“Yeah – go figure!”

“Well it is a little shocking; since you have been so anti men for a while,” I pointed out the truth to her before gently hooking her chin and turning her to look at me so that I could ensure that she was ok and not just covering up.

“What are you doing?” she asked; her mouth slightly askew from the way that I was holding her chin.

“Checking to make sure that there aren’t any lasting marks,” I informed her, “now shhh!”

Once I was happy that she had seemingly been truthful about the severity of the injury ‘he’ had caused her. Just because I sometimes resented her for the way Dad looked out for her and involved himself in her life; I would never turn on my sister and I would always take her side over our Dad’s because to be completely honest – he had left her to shoulder the responsibility of raising me, cleaning after me and all the housework that came with being a Mother. Of course the point was – she wasn’t my Mother, my Mother had been murdered because of him.

Ayden had cared for me, she ensured that I was always presentable, she even started going to parent/teacher meetings and she was my sister. I had often hoped that one of my teachers would question why it was Ayden coming to see them and not my Father because Ayden hadn’t really had what you could call a life. And I had only just realized that about 6 months ago when she had stated that she was moving out.

“I’m fine,”

“Yeah now you are,”

“Christian came back and checked on me,” she admitted blushing slightly.

“You really like him huh?” I commented and she nodded her head, “and Dad doesn’t want his little girl dating outside of the Italian heritage,”

“Got it in one,” she sighed, “it was actually Christian’s idea for us to get to know one another before we go public with what is happening between us,”

“Oh secret love affair – dangerous and exciting and sexy as all Hell!” I admitted. “I really think that I am gonna like this guy,”

“I hope you do Elias – he’s amazing; it’s like he can see into my soul – we click and I never thought that I could have that kind of thing with a man, you know me – I love romance but I just thought for sure that it wouldn’t happen for me. We talk for hours, like last night – we stayed out on the beach until the fire had burned out, we were talking and laughing and we just moved inside and stayed up talking to one another more. He’s just.........he gets me,”

“Look at you blushing,” I nudged her gently and she smiled. “Can I ask you something?”

“Of course,” she turned and smiled at me happily.

“Can I move in here with you?”

“You want to live here? Why?”

“Come on you know better than anyone what it’s like to live in that house with that man,”

“I do,”

We would often sit up for hours talking when we were younger and we always agreed that our existence was lonely. Ayden had been the one who understood better that Dad was coping the best way he could but even then; she disagreed with the way he was coping. Even to this day – he was hardly ever at the house when I was there, and when he was – he’s usually occupied with work or some sort of deal that he was making.

“Have you spoken to him about this?”

“I’m 25 Ayd, I don’t need his permission,” I argued my point, “like before I headed over here is the perfect example – he thinks that throwing material possessions at me will make me feel loved and included with his life. He just doesn’t get the fact that I don’t want him to buy me things – I want him to sit and talk to me, I want him to offer to go for a drink with me or to a soccer game – it’s not about money!”

“You’re really sure about this?”

“Never been more sure of anything,” I admitted, “come on Ayd; you practically raised me and we do get along with one another.......I can help keep your secret,” I offered trying to clinch the deal.

“All right,” she smiled, “but you have to live by my rules!”

“Of course,” I jumped out of my seat and pulled her to her feet and hugged her up off the ground, “You name it and I will do it,”

I give respect to those who show me respect and Ayden had raised me; she had put her whole life on hold to look out for me and ensure that I was always cared for; that meant that she would have my respect for as long as we both lived.

“Ok – rule 1. you make a mess – YOU clean it up. Rule 2. no parties unless cleared by me. Rule 3. you get a job and you pay your way – I’m not a charity. & rule 4. the most important rule – you give me space whenever I ask for it and you never come knocking if my bedroom door has a white cloth on it!”

Those weren’t so bad. In fact those were perfectly acceptable since it was her home.

“Eeeewwwww you have no idea what kind of images you have just sparked in my head do ya?”

“Suck it up little brother,” she laughed plonking back down onto the lounger on the decking. “And you will help with the housework,”

“Wait a minute now you’re just making up rules,”

“Yeah that’s my prerogative – being the woman and all,” she laughed stubbing her smoked cigarette out in the ashtray that was placed between us on the decking table.

“Ok fine,” I faked grumpy and she just laughed at me before nudging me to look at her.

“I’m glad that you’re going to come stay with me,”

“Me too,” I smiled and settled back into my seat a little more. “So tell me about the stud........and how far you’ve gotten just without the details,” I scrunched my face up.

“I haven’t slept with him........God I’m not easy you know!” she scolded. “We had our first kiss on Friday night and that is all that we have shared is a few kisses here and there. Like I said we mostly talk and – it just feels right with him, when I am around him – I feel free and I feel safe and scared all at the same time,”

“Scared?” I asked confused.

“Vince!”

That cocksucking douchebag had really burned Ayden – she had believed that he was the one. Like she had already told me; she was a romantic at heart – she liked to believe in soul mates and fate, not the whole love at first sight though, which had confused me but obviously made sense to her.

It had been the first time that me and our Dad had agreed on something. And it was the only secret that me and my Dad shared with one another.

We had kept it from Ayden – when Dad had found out about what Vince had done to him and to his daughter, well it was only a matter of time before Dad got his hands on the little douchebag. Ayden had begged and pleaded with Dad to just let it go, not to hurt Vince. I have to admit that it showed the kind of person that Ayden had become without a Motherly figure around; she had strong morals that you wouldn’t have thought possible. Anyway Dad had promised her that he would leave Vince be. I had thought that he had to be honest and then I had caught him coming home covered in blood.

I confronted him about it and he had given in and told me that he had gone after Vince – he had apparently caught him packing up his car to leave town. Dad had used outside help on it, from I had been able to muster – he had called in a favour with someone out in New York who didn’t have links to our ‘family’. They had bundled him into a van and driven out to a deserted building that Dad knew was deserted and derelict.

They had tied him to a chair and then Dad had cut off one finger for every grand that Vince had pocketed without telling Dad about. Then they had cut out his tongue so that should he survive – he couldn’t talk. Dad stabbed him in the gut and they left him there naked to die, which apparently he had – Dad had found out from one of the cops that he had on the payroll.

We had agreed that Ayden never needed to know what Dad had done and I was happy to keep that a secret because the kind of person that my sister was – she wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt that she would undoubtedly feel. I helped Dad clean up and we burned the clothes that he had been wearing in the back garden and we had never mentioned it again.

Anyway, since then Ayden had confided in me that Vince had been cheating on her – I swear her grace and forgiving nature definitely didn’t come from Dad. Ayden had always told me little things about Mom; not that she had many memories of her, but the little things that she could remember she shared with me, never leaving anything out and she had stated that she thought Mom was the level headed in the marriage – she was the one who allowed people to say what they felt and she would never condemn anyone before hearing their side of the story. I liked the thought of my sister being like our Mom – it made me feel safe in a weird way.

However, I had worried about her a lot after the disappearance of Vince; she never spoke of him, she didn’t even shed a tear. The only thing that she said was that she would never allow herself to fall in love again, and that no man would ever get close enough to hurt her the way Vince had.

With the spirit that she had – it was a pity that she had begun thinking that way. She really did have a lot to offer to the right person at the right time and just maybe this might be the right guy and this could be the right time. Something had driven her to buy this place; she normally hated the beach, which was why I was so surprised when she had told me where this place was but seeing it now – I was blown away to be honest. It was peaceful and more beautiful than I could have imagined.

“Well I am glad that you have met someone who seems nice,”

“He is – you’re gonna really love him when you get to know him,” she told me grinning from ear to ear, “and Dad would too if he just gave him half a chance,”

“Forget Dad, you do what is going to make you happy chicka,” I told her, “la sua la sua vita!” (translation – It’s your life!).

“Ringraziarla il piccolo fratello!” (translation – Thank you, little brother!).

With that, we moved inside and Ayden showed me upstairs and into the room that would be mine – by the standards of Dad’s house; this was like a tiny bedsit apartment but I didn’t care, I would be away from him and be able to just do what I wanted to do, obviously within my sisters rules – but that I could live with. Anything if it meant that I got out of Dad’s house.

Hell, I would spend my time cleaning toilets with a toothbrush if it meant that I could be by myself away from him and his negativity that was stifling and I didn’t want to get caught in the corrosion of it. Ayden always said to me; ciò è la vita and she was more than right – translation; that’s life and I was truly beginning to understand what it really meant.

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PostSubject: Chapter 18 - Space   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:20 am

Later that day, Santiago Home;
Ayden’s POV;
Elias had been deadly serious about moving in with me and once I had said yes; he had pestered me and pestered me to go back to Dad’s house and help him pack up his stuff. Thankfully Dad was out so Elias had decided that he was just going to leave him a note telling him what was going on.
After I had argued with him for 45 minutes that it wasn’t a good idea to do it that way; he finally agreed so we sat down in the front room and waited for him to get home. God knew where he was – we had tried the shop but no one had seen him all day, we tried his cell but it was switched off. I wasn’t overly concerned, I had always said that my Dad had 9 lives like a cat and he’s only been through 2 of them.
The first life he had lost was when I was merely just a tadpole in my Mom’s tummy; he had been stabbed in a gangland scandal – Dad had told me that he nearly didn’t make that because the knife had punctured a lung and he had been badly beaten on top of it. After that stabbing; he started carrying a gun everywhere he went because he said that he had realized that there were people out there who wished him harm. I remember being scared after he told me about it – I didn’t want him to leave the house, I’d hide his car keys, I’d barricade the doors so that he couldn’t get out and I faked being seriously ill in the hope that he would just stay home with me. When he was in the house; I’d stick to his side like glue.
The second time that he nearly died wasn’t all that long after my Mother had been murdered. Obviously he had gone out there and tried to find the people responsible; he had thought that he had gotten a lead and he had stupidly gone out there on his own to avenge my Mom – he had always said that it was his problem and his responsibility to hunt them down and kill them for her. He wouldn’t accept help from anyone; not even the crew that were loyal to him to a fault.
It was late on a Thursday night, when he had put Elias to bed and told me to get on with my homework and grabbed his keys saying that he would be back in a couple of hours. So I did my homework and when 3 hours had passed; I had called Draven and Claire’s parents and asked if they knew where he was. Obviously they didn’t but they came right round. Draven, Claire and their Mom stayed with me and Elias while their Dad went out to look for my Dad.
It was only 40 minutes after he had left that the phone rang and then simultaneously the doorbell rang. The phone call was the hospital, and the police were there to tell us what had happened. Apparently, my Dad had gone in wherever it was; like the big man and didn’t even think to case the place out first; there were 5 big guys in there – they unloaded a gun into my Father and left him there – they thought that they had killed him but my Dad is a fighter and he crawled to his car and had apparently tried to call Draven’s house at the same time as I had been on the phone to them, so he had, had no option but to call 911. My Father; the man with all the luck in the world; he was fucking lucky that those bullets had miraculously missed every major organ in the body.
It was that night, that I just knew that my Mom had been watching over him. He should have died, he should have been ripped from us too but he had beat the odds, 3 months later he was in rehab getting used to walking and all the other things again.
My Mom used to appear to me in my dreams a lot in the beginning; she’d sit with me in her favourite places and talk. I’d wait patiently until night time when I could go to sleep and see her again, the beautiful vision that she was always seemed to shine that little bit stronger than wherever she set my dreams in. I’d get hugs that felt so real that when morning came I was always winded that they were just dreams and I’d remember that she was gone and not coming back. Eventually, she started to tell me that I didn’t need her anymore and she’d stay away for a few nights then come back, I knew now of course that she was preparing me for when she left for good.
I knew that I wasn’t to tell anyone about the dreams; because I knew that they wouldn’t believe me or they would think that I was crazy; one of the two – I didn’t care to know which.
“He’s here,” Elias announced as the sound of Dad’s car tore into the drive way.
“Great,” I remained where I was sat as Elias jumped to his feet and straightened out his clothes.
For all the times that my brother slagged our Dad off; I knew that more than anything it was a defence mechanism for him; he greatly craved our father’s approval but Dad just didn’t know how to interact with a son.
For him it was easier with a daughter – because in our culture women had a place and we knew it. I gave him special liberties that made him think that he was getting what he wanted but in reality I liked to think that I was in control of my life despite his sometimes unwanted guiding hand.
“Get up!” Elias hissed at me.
“No!” I muttered looking at him as if he had lost his mind. I had never once treated my Father the way that his crew and Elias treated him. I respected him of course, but I didn’t stand up when he came into a room, I didn’t bow to his every whim like they all did – in my eyes; he was my Dad but that didn’t make him God. And I wasn’t going to start treating him as such now.
“Ayden.......what are you doing here?” he asked stalking into the room with all the air of the man who was in charge.
“Gee it’s nice to see you too Dad,” I muttered carefully inspecting my nails which were in dire shape at the moment. I really needed to make an appointment with Britt to get them sorted.
“You know what I mean smart ass!”
“Elias wants to talk to you about something,” I stated bringing our Dad’s attention to his son finally.
“What?” Dad asked removing his knee length black woollen jacket and throwing it onto the sofa then taking a seat next to me in no way attempting to show the same level of respect to his son that he had done for him. It pained me to see the way Elias’ face fell a little bit.
Elias wasn’t a bad kid – sure he could be lazy and sometimes he didn’t think before he did things but it wasn’t because he did it on purpose; he just found life exciting and he wanted to experience so much before he got old. Maybe I was overly protective of him since I practically raised him but I just wished that Dad would treat him like a son and not an after thought.
“I’m moving in with Ayd!” straight to the point was exactly how I had told him to play it.
“I see,” Dad nodded, “did you put him up to this?” turning to look at me he waited for my reply.
“Of course not,” I snapped, “he came to see me and he asked if he could move in with me and I said of course,”
“Why do you want to leave so badly?” he asked turning back on Elias who looked somewhat like a deer caught in headlines for a fleeting second.
“It’s not like you and I get along all that well is it?” Elias stated standing back up to his full height.
“So you don’t even want to work at it........” Dad started, “that’s just typical of you Elias – you start something and then when the going gets tough you hightail it out!”
“This isn’t exactly hightailing it – we’ve never gotten along,” Elias bit back, “just admit it Dad – I embarrass you!”
“Well if you actually did something with your life then I might have a reason to be proud of you!”
This was just typical of Dad – where he was a good man; he was strong and he provided for us our whole lives but when it came to personal attacks on him as a Father he’d come out swinging. I wasn’t the only one who saw it as a sore point for him. Brittany’s Mom had once told me that Dad reminded her of a bear with a wounded paw. And she had been right; he was exactly like that and he didn’t have to be.
What he couldn’t see was the fact that Elias loved him, Elias would do anything to make him happy but Dad just wasn’t willing to see it. It sometimes felt like he almost wanted Elias to fail at everything.
“Dad!”
“No Ayd; he needs to learn that dosing around this house and leeching off me is unacceptable behaviour, I’m not letting him do that to you,”
“He’s not!” now I was on my feet and standing in front of Elias – it was just like old times – but this time, I didn’t have to stay and watch this Family tear a little further apart than it already was, “he is getting a job and he’s going to be doing things around the house and he has promised that he will contribute with the household chores too,”
“I give it a month,” our Father muttered loudly, “he can’t help himself – he’s just a lazy bum who has had things too good for far too long,”
“You don’t give him a chance,” I spat angrily feeling those motherly instincts coming to the surface.
“It’s ok Ayd!” Elias mumbled from behind me.
“No it isn’t!”
“You’re damn right it’s ok,” Dad announced as if he were talking to one of his employees again and that was one thing I despised about our Dad, “he’s a lazy worthless little bastard and he needs to grow up.......he won’t last 5 minutes without me!”
“Dad – that is enough!” I seethed angrily, grabbing Elias’ arm and pushing him towards the door, “that’s it – he’s definitely coming with me now! You need a reality check or you’re gonna end up losing both kids!”
Pushing Elias a little harder until we were both storming to the front door and out of it. With all of Elias’ things already in my and his own car, we both separated to get into our cars and started the journey home.
My head was buzzing – I had never heard my Father talk to Elias like that before – sure he had gotten mad in the past but today; just hearing the venom in his voice it was like he had lost the plot. Elias was his son; he was supposed to love and protect his son not degrade him like that. I had caught the way Elias had shrunk from the insult almost as if it had been a physical attack on him.
Stopping at a red light; I noticed Elias pull in behind me and he gave me a weak smile but he wasn’t fooling anyone; I could see the tears falling from his eyes. Dad had really hurt him this time and I didn’t know if Elias would ever really recover from that. My little brother wasn’t ashamed to show his sensitive side and I knew that freaked my Father out – he thought that Elias was gay, but even if he was; what did that mean? That he wouldn’t love him – Hell sometimes it looked like he didn’t love him and he didn’t even know whether his son was gay or straight. I knew that he was straight; he had confessed to me once that he had, had a crush on Draven, which apparently was still present from what he had told me earlier.
I also knew that when we got home – Elias would appreciate time alone, so the minute I pulled into my driveway; I bid him farewell and good luck with the unpacking and I headed over to Christian’s house. Thankfully he was awake and I fell straight into his arms where I took the solitude and comfort that I needed after that little display that my Dad had put on at the house. Holding me close; Christian moved us into the front room and eased us into the sofa before telling me to tell him all about it.
I just had to hope that he wouldn’t be put off by it – and with that, I let out the whole sorry story and as I knew that he would be, he didn’t say a word until I was completely done and then he tenderly wiped my tears away and pulled me back into his embrace, kissing my head and telling me that I was the most amazing woman he had ever met.
Why didn’t it feel like I was though?
Mentally scalding myself for a weak moment of doubt – I never liked to doubt myself, the minute I started doing that; then that was the minute that I became someone that I most definitely didn’t want to be. I had been raised to believe that I was capable of anything; I was told that I was to never doubt myself because there would be plenty of people out in the world already doing that. I had done the right thing and that was the only thing that mattered – my brother Elias was not staying in a house with our Father so that he could be belittled and scathed at every given opportunity.
A couple of Hours Later, Ayden’s House;
Christian’s POV;

Lying on Ayden’s bed with her lying opposite me and looking into my eyes; it truly felt like we were in the right place with what was happening between us.
Elias was downstairs with his friends – from what Elias had said; they were having a few beers and playing the X-Box. It had been Ayden’s idea to come up to her room – she didn’t want to really leave her home with all of her brother’s friends being there; which was understandable – she had a pride in the way she kept her home and it didn’t include having spilled beer on the carpet or broken furniture around the place.
“Thank you for today Chris,” Ayden said curling one arm under her head and resting it down, still watching me and smiling.
“It’s not a problem.....anyone would have done............”
“No they wouldn’t!” she insisted, “most people would have run in the opposite direction at a million miles an hour,”
“Well I guess I am made of stronger stuff then,”
“What was it like living in the country?” she asked me genuinely interested in my life and it was something that I was surprised by.
Being who she was and what she had come from – I had assumed that the country would definitely not be her thing but she had already expressed a desire to go home with me at some point; to see where I came from and meet the people who were the most important in my life.
“Quiet...........compared to your life, I would say that it was downright boring,” I explained. “It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your business and with who your Father is, I am fairly certain that you guys wouldn’t have fit in,”
“Trust me – my Dad stands out no matter where he is,” she sighed, “but I want to know what your home town was like and I want to know what you did for fun,”
“Well the town was like one of those little back town places; you know the kind you see on documentaries and scary movies?” I asked and she nodded her head, “it’s much bigger now though – it’s expanded its city limits they even have their own multi-plex now, which trust me is huge news,” I chuckled and then shivered slightly as she scooted towards me and rested her head on my own curled arm.
Lying here in the comfort of her own room – the room that she had decorated in the rich warm colours gave the feeling of being tucked away from the world; in here we were just alone in the bliss of one another’s company. The one place that I couldn’t think of where I would rather be.
“I take it you didn’t have all of the glam and glitz that Hollywood has?”
“Absolutely not – the biggest pull for the kids was the lake on the outskirts of the town,” I told her.
“What were you like as a kid?” she enquired; those big dark eyes looking up to me with a look that said she was completely interested in hearing all of the things that I had to tell her.
Growing up – I hadn’t really been too different to the other kids of the town. We knew that we were from a small place and that it was nothing at all like the real world – we all craved to get out and see the world, the real world that seemed unable to penetrate the town. Norman was so small that everyone was in everyone else’s business – there was absolutely no privacy and no secrets in the town.
I had been into soccer, the wrestling team was a huge release and something that afforded the chance to get out of the town – which meant that almost everyone was interested in partaking in the event. Educationally I was average; I didn’t stand out and I didn’t lag behind either. I had plenty of friends, and we were always talking about moving onwards and upwards in the world when the time came for us to leave school.
“Did you live in Norman all your life?” she asked me.
“No – my parents were a part of the rodeo – they actually met through it, and we moved all around the Midwest. We finally put down the Family roots when I was in the 8th grade. That was where I settled and made some close friends and the rest they say is history.........”
“Did you always want to be an entertainer?”
“No,” I chuckled softly, “when I left high school – I went to university to study art history but I just didn’t feel like it was for me and that was when I decided that it was time to move out and try my hand in Hollywood,”
“That’s incredibly brave,”
“Not really,” I answered gently running my fingers through her long hair, “there was only 2 ways it could end up – I made or I didn’t, luckily for me I made it!”
“How did you make it?”
I was aware that there wasn’t all that much information out there about me and my private life and that was the way that I liked to keep it. I loved and adored my fans, but I needed a little slice of me just for me. I had always been honest about that with them and they respected me for it. It was also a good thing for when I got into a new relationship – there was things that they could hear from me that they hadn’t already read or heard on some fan site. It just made things more normal for me.
“I actually started working for a talent agency company – it isn’t there anymore, which is a pity. But in exchange for me delivering scripts – they sent me on auditions,”
“They didn’t pay you? What did you do for money?”
“I waited tables, I worked in bars and nightclubs, I even did security for a bar once,”
“Is that where you got this scar?” she enquired running her finger lightly across my top lip.
“No I got this on a movie I did – there was a lion on set and it had been playing with the crew and I had gone to pet it – we started scuffling with one another playfully and he swiped his paw at my face, thankfully it only left one little scar,”
“What was your first role?” she asked me.
“It was for the TV show; Fame; LA in 1997 – it didn’t last, which was a pity cos I really enjoyed it and the cast had great chemistry,”
“I’m sorry, it must feel like you are on the hot spot with all the questions that I am asking you,” she replied shyly dropping her head down so that I couldn’t see her face but I gently hooked my thumb under her chin and turned her back up to look at me.
“I don’t mind, I like that you want to know about me,” I told her, “but......I have been lying here and thinking about doing one thing,”
“What’s that?”
Slowly closing the space between us; my lips caught hers in a long, slow and leisurely kiss that had us both melting in towards one another. Sliding my body down the bed until I was level with her and I wrapped my arms tightly around her until she was pressed hard against me and obviously feeling the strength of my attraction to her throbbing against her stomach and she moaned out passionately.
Wrapping her arms around me tightly; her tongue met mine in a soft crash as we became completely embraced at the height of our attraction towards one another. Still my fingers brushed through her long silken hair; feeling the smoothness as if it were sand slipping through my fingers; gently grazing the back of her neck eliciting a low moan from deep inside her.
There was no rush for us to jump into bed – just being this close to her was more than enough. In fact I was a little worried that if I rushed it – I would end up being a disappointment to her; like I would explode way too easily or quickly. It was definitely better if I allowed myself to become slightly immune with kissing her before attempting anything else in the manner of physical contact. Gently pushing her on to her back; my own body half pinning her to the bed.
“Ayd!? Ayd!?” Elias’ voice echoed up to where we were.
Groaning out loudly, I moved away from her lips as she flopped her head back onto the pillow; her hands wiping the hair from her face, “What?” she called back.
“Dad has just pulled up,” he warned.
Elias was obviously in on our little deceit to Carlo – he couldn’t live here and not know what was happening between us so in a weird way; I was more than a little thankful that he had given us the heads up.
Ayden was up instantly, smoothing out her clothes and brushing her hair then turning back to look at me. “You stay here – no matter what you hear ok?”
“Ok,” I nodded.
I would remain here – but the minute that things sounded like they were getting out of control – I would weigh in. There was no way that I could sit back and listen to her being hurt by him again. That just wasn’t something that was in my veins. I had been raised to respect women and to step in when something like violence was happening to them.
Ayden didn’t need to know that right now though, so for the moment I agreed with what she insisted and got myself comfortable on the bed when she moved out of the room and down the stairs.
“What are you doing here?” she asked following the sound of the door opening.
“I came to see you and Elias,”
“We’re not interested...........”
“You will be,” Carlo insisted angrily, “considering the fact that I could have this house swept out from underneath you!”
Bastard! It took all of my restraint to remain where I was. Just because things hadn’t gone his way – he was throwing a little hissy fit that wasn’t even worthy of a child at the age of 2.
Something must have happened because I heard the front door close but no sound of Ayden coming back upstairs, sneaking slowly out of the bedroom, I sat down on the top stair and listened to ensure that she was ok. I wasn’t interested in what Carlo had to say – I was just concerned about Ayden.
There was a lot of mumbling coming from down in the front room of the house and then I heard the sound of Elias’ friends hightailing it out of the house and shutting the door behind them.
“This is my house if you hadn’t noticed,” Ayden charged at him, “you really have to learn that coming in here shouting the odds isn’t going to get you what you want. Elias is living here with me right now, I have stopped seeing the guy that I was truly interested because of you – you won ok? Just let us live together and get on with our lives and we won’t bother you!”
If Carlo responded to that, I didn’t hear it. Everything turned somewhat silent and when the sound of soft conversation drifted up to where I was sat – sounded like things were being worked out between them. Quietly getting to my feet; I moved back into the bedroom and lay down on the bed, still keeping an eager ear out for any sound of her getting hurt and closed my eyes to wait until she came back to me.
I had learned a long time ago how to remain alert and hearing things around me while I allowed my mind to wonder. Right now, my mind was on Ayden and all the things that I was feeling for her – it had already far surpassed anything that I had felt for Caitlyn.
It was kind of scary – when I had gotten out of the relationship with Caitlyn, I had been so completely adamant that I wasn’t going to ever jump head first into anything until I knew the girl properly and knew what she was really like. With Ayden; it was so easy to get swept up in the emotion of what I was feeling. It scared me because I couldn’t control it and I wasn’t used to not being able to control my emotions. I was out of my depth and I had no option but to accept it.

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PostSubject: Chapter 19 - Understanding   Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:26 pm

Ayden’s POV;

Standing by the sofa, I glared at my Father. Of all the things that he had done to both me and my brother – he had never been that nasty. The things that he had spat at Elias had disgusted me – I knew that he wasn’t a saint but I had never thought that he could round on his own children the way he did with the ‘family’.

For the first time in my life – I had actually looked at him and not only thought that I didn’t know who he was but I hated him. I didn’t want to talk to him; I didn’t even want him in front of me let alone in my actual house.

Elias was sitting on the sofa – it was the first time in his life that he hadn’t stood to attention when Dad walked into the room. I was proud of him; proud that he had gathered all the confidence and courage that he could to remain indifferent when he came face to face with Dad again. I wasn’t the kind of person who took credit for the things that I did – I just got on with things and that was it. But my brother – if I wanted credit and wanted praise for anything; it was for the way Elias had turned out.

Dad prowled around the front room; in front of the TV so that Elias couldn’t carry on playing whatever game that he had been playing on the games console. Looking unshaven and maybe a little distressed – I could see that he had aged maybe 10 years in the space of time that we hadn’t seen him.

Crossing my arms over my chest, I stared him down until he turned away. I wasn’t a push over when it came to my Father. Of course, I had made certain allowances for him and the way that he viewed the world – he hadn’t been taught any different, but this was a new era and that meant he’d have to learn to deal with it, or end up losing both me and Elias. I had told him time and time again that we weren’t in the same situation that he had been in – he had told us outright that he didn’t want to put us into the business that he was in; he wanted us to earn an honest living and live our lives in accordance to the law. Which; no matter way you look at it – he’s a hypocrite.

“Elias, son come home?” my Dad asked stopping and looking at his son who was visibly disinterested.

“You still don’t get it do you?” Elias finally spoke up, his eyes rising to meet those that he shared with his Father. The pictures that I had seen of Dad when he was Elias’ age – they could have been twins. But I knew that it wasn’t something that Elias liked to hear.

“Don’t get what? I don’t understand what is wrong with you.......”

“I moved out to save our relationship dad!”

“What do you mean?” Dad demanded the harsh tone in his voice returning and seriously risking Elias just shutting down completely. But once again; he didn’t get it.

“You and I don’t get along........”

“I would........”

“Dad be honest – for once, be honest with me!” Elias demanded as I moved towards the kitchen to turn on the kettle and take a little detour up to my bedroom where I had left Christian.

Stepping onto the landing at the top of the stairs my eyes landed on Christian instantly. Lying out on my bed; his legs crossed at the ankles, up over his strong legs to his impressively toned upper body, to his arms which were crossed behind his head and his impossibly beautiful eyes were closed – his breath inflating and deflating his chest in an even manner. It was difficult to tell whether he was sleeping or if he was just lying there resting.

I moved slowly into the bedroom and around the side of the bed to where he was lying. Slowly bending over; thankful that his arms were under his head so that he couldn’t feel my hair tickling his flesh when I bent over and brushed my lips against his tenderly and was given the best reaction I could have hoped for; he smiled without closing opening his eyes.

“Mmmmm what was that for?” he asked lazily opening his eyes now.

“Just to thank you for hiding up here and I know that it can’t be all that fun for you,”

“Just being in the same vicinity as you – makes me happy,”

“You know that you are going to spoil me for everyone else right?”

“I do,” he nodded happily; one hand sliding to the back of my head as he pulled me into what could only be described as the kind of kiss that should have women’s clothes falling off by themselves.

I was putty in his hands – all I could do was go with the movement and that meant that I ended up lying on the bed next to him. Our tongues dancing an extremely slow erotic routine that seemed to come naturally. It all made my stomach flutter excitedly at the thought of having this man in my life – he was slowly seeping into every area of my life and I didn’t want to even try and stop him. Because just for that fleeting moment; I forgot about everything and just felt like a normal 26 year old embarking on a new romance with one heck of a hot man. And the minute that thought entered my mind was the minute that my reality came crashing in on me and I was breaking the kiss breathlessly.

“What’s wrong?”

“Looks like we are gonna be a while, I am so sorry Chris!”

“Don’t be, like I said as long as I am near you – it’s fine!”

Ok calm down Ayden! I would be the first person to say that I was a sucker for romance; for years I had wanted to be Cinderella – I prayed every night that my Fairy Godmother would come and transform me in to a beautiful ballerina and help me find my prince charming. Yes I know it’s corny and I know that it would never have happened but this guy was saying all the right things, he was hitting all the right buttons within me and I was sinking further and further into the romance of it all.

Maybe I was being foolish but I truly believed that love would prevail – if we were meant to be together then we would be. It wouldn’t matter what my Father did or said – so yes, like I stated; I knew that I was being naive and foolish to even think that way.

“Ok, I had better get back before Dad comes looking for me,” I informed him before sliding from his warm powerful arms and smiled shyly at him before I turned and hurried back down to the first floor of the house before what I had been trying to avoid happened.

We had enough going on in this house at the moment; we certainly didn’t need to have Dad going off on one because I lied to him and told him that Christian and I were just friends now. To be honest, I was kind of surprised that he had fallen for that in the first place. My Father was normally such a ruthless man; he had once told me that he could smell a lie like a fart in a car. That had been one of the reasons that I had stopped trying to lie to him because he had always managed to know.

“Ayden?” my Father called from the front room; just as I entered the kitchen from the hallway near the front door and staircase.

“Yes?”

“Can you come through here please?”

“I’m just making coffee; I’ll be right there,” I informed him as the kettle switch flicked itself off and steam slowly rose from the spout encouraging me to hurry and pour it into the mugs that had been waiting for it to be ready.

Once I poured it up, I placed them neatly on a tray and made my way back to the dysfunction that was my Family. My Father was sat on the sofa; his hands resting on his knees and his posture alert and tense. It had always unnerved me to see him like that because I knew that it meant he was either in the process of bringing a plan or deal together or someone in the ‘family’ had messed things up. In all the years that I could remember my Dad had always had a certain look that he never ventured far from – dark suits with braces and creased back hair – I don’t know if he thought that it made him look imposing or if he thought that he had to adhere to Hollywood’s image of a organised criminal, but it was his way and I strongly believed that if he were to change now it wouldn’t seem right to me.

Elias – my little brother, the one person in the world who knew what it was like to live with our Father, was sat on the love seat in the opposite corner of the room. Elbows resting on his knees and his face devoid of all or any emotion. It was more than a little unnerving to see him like that because he was so good at being open with his emotions. Which I had to admit might be my fault. I had taught him to never be afraid of what he was feeling, or never hold it back because it wasn’t the male thing to do. With his natural blond hair and dark brooding eyes – he had always been a hit with the ladies and it had taken him a really long time to even notice girls but once he had – there was hardly ever a time when he didn’t have a model gorgeous type girl on his arm. Elias had stuck with the safe jeans and t-shirt kind of look and it worked for him.

“Ok so what have you 2 decided?” I asked handing my Father his mug from the tray that I had placed on the Gothic Iron coffee table that was placed within reaching distance of the sofa. Then I handed Elias his mug and I took a seat on the large ottoman seat that had come with the sofa.

“Elias has pleaded his case and I am going to agree to what he wants,” my Father announced.

“And what is his case exactly?” my attention turned to my brother intent on hearing it from him so I was glad when our Dad remained silent.

“My initial thought on moving in here with you had been somewhat selfish on my part – I just wanted out of under Dad’s feet and I didn’t care how I did it. But since we got back here from Dad’s earlier – I couldn’t help but think that maybe by moving in here things might improve between me and him if we’re not under one another’s feet all the time.”

“And you are ok with this Dad?”

“I think that he might be right,” my Father nodded, “God knows that living with one another isn’t working out. And I do not want to be at odds with my children,”

My eyes must have been bugging out of my head because Elias started laughing heartily and it was the kind of laugh that I hadn’t heard from him in years. Just like that my Father was giving in – he had to have something up his sleeve, I knew that he wouldn’t just agree to this out of the goodness of his heart.

Dad was an insanely stubborn man, I knew that was where I got my stubborn streak from but my Father could drive a straight edge person to drink. I remember my Mom once telling me that Dad would argue with his own shadow if he could. With my thoughts momentarily distracted – my memories of my Mom played through my mind like a video on a constant loop. It wasn’t that I had all that many memories of her but the ones that I did have of her made me smile.

“You,” I turned to my Father, “what are you not telling us?”

“I don’t know what you mean,”

“Dad you never give in this easily, so come on what gives?” I pressed lighting a cigarette and staring him down.

“Ok fine,” he finally sighed, “the thought of you living out here alone really scares me; I just think that if your brother is here, I will feel a lot more settled about the entire thing!”

“Dad you have done your job......you ensured that I went to martial arts classes, you took me to the firing range, or at least your version of it, and you taught me about safety in the house; there is nothing more that you can do,”

“Well having your brother here will help me feel good about you being here,”

My Father’s version of a firing range was to take me out to the middle of nowhere line up tins on a wall and give me a gun and I had to keep practising until I managed to shot all of the tins dead in the centre. It had taken me years to get it to a fine art – mainly because I had bitched and moaned about the fact that I didn’t like guns and didn’t want them in the house. Thankfully, this had been the right thing for me – now that I had been living on my own, I had found that knowing there was a gun in the house made me feel more secure.

I would never admit that to my Father though! See as stubborn as he is.

An Hour Later;
Christian’s POV;

Hiding in Ayden’s bedroom; gave me plenty of time to think about the things that had taken shape in my life this past week or so. Firstly, I hadn’t been looking to meet someone and then in she walks; so casually, in to my life and this inwards burst of emotion seemed to explode inside me for her. It wasn’t that I wanted it to happen; but of course it had without my knowledge or my acceptance. It seemed to be just one of those things.

Moving around her bedroom; giving close attention to her little nic-naks as I went – she had an extremely distinct style to her. There was the fact that she was more than obviously into the dark side of life, but she was so upbeat all the time, not at all what I had expected from her style to be honest. I could tell that she had a taste for Angels – she had gothic style ones which were tattooed and sitting on tomes and crosses with their sexy clothing showing more than the traditional Angel, which she also had a vast array of. Of course it was obvious that she was interested in romance; most of her novels were romantic in nature, her movies not so much – there was a broad range of things that she seemed to be interested in.

I was more interested in looking at the pictures that she had in frames or tacked to the notice board by the entrance to the room.

Most of them were of her with her friends and her family, then there were a few of what I assumed was her Mother; she certainly looked like her Mother – it was almost eerie at how much they looked like one another – the only difference that I could see was the colour of their hair. Ayden had inherited her Father’s jet black colouring and it suited her as much as her Mother suited her blonde colouring.

“You having fun?” she asked breezing into the world with all the air of someone who should be important. Not that she wasn’t important of course, she was extremely important to me and becoming more so with every passing day.

“I’m just checking out your photos,” I replied ripping my gaze away from her to look back at a photo of her with Elias – both of them sitting in front of a huge Christmas tree surrounded by an array of presents.

“My nana always told me that photos were the stolen moments from time; captured and frozen forever,”

“I like that,” I nodded as I finally couldn’t hold myself away any longer and turned towards her to find her eyes sparkling as she watched me.

“What?” she enquired.

“Nothing – just for a moment, it feels like you become more beautiful,”

“Does complimenting come easy for you? Or do you really have to work at it?” she laughed taking a seat on the bed and crossing her legs happily while she seemed content to just watch me.

“When the woman I am complimenting is as beautiful as you are; it’s easy!”

“Thank you,” she smiled falling back on to the pillows behind her and in the process her t-shirt began to ride up over the smooth, soft, lightly tanned flesh. For what felt like a lifetime, but in actual fact, was only a couple minutes; I just stared at that little slice of flesh that was showing and wondering of course whether the entire length of her body was as soft as that little sliver did. “Why don’t you come lie next to me?”

She was certainly giving me more mental posture than I was capable of; if I went to lie next to her, I would want to kiss her and then I would want to strip her of those clothes and then of course that would lead of sex and I knew that not only was she not ready for that, I wasn’t yet either.

My intention was to get to know her as well as I possibly could – I didn’t want to mess this one up and if that meant that I wasn’t going to get sex for a little while then I was more than ok with that.

“Do I smell or something?” she asked raising her arms and sniffing to ensure that she wasn’t indeed smelling foul.

“No,” I chuckled scratching my chin.

“Well what’s wrong?”

“If I come over there and lie next to you; we’re gonna end up kissing, and then I will want to touch you and remove your clothes, which we both know will lead to something that we have both stated that we’re not ready for.............”

“But you managed to lie next to me earlier and kiss me?”

“I hadn’t caught a glimpse of your body then,”

“My body?” she was slightly confused but then followed my eyes to the spot where I had been staring unable to tear away, “oh.....that’s like a little bit of flesh!”

“Doesn’t matter – trust me darlin’ it takes a Hell of a lot less to get men going,”

“I know that,” she giggled pulling her top back down so that her flesh was out of view and I felt my heart rate begin to return to normal. “Now can you come lie next to me?”

“Of course,”

Giving into my fate that I was to be teased by this beauty until we were both in the same place; ready to consummate our relationship. I reached the comfortable bed and crawled on next to her; instantly she snuggled into my side and let her head rest down on my chest. My arms instinctively wrapped around her and held her close to me.

“So what are you doing tomorrow?” she enquired of me.

“Well Tim asked me to go round and help him with his renovation with the house that he has just purchased,”

“Cool,”

“You could come with?” I suggested but she started shaking her head no.

“No – we need time apart and I want you to have fun with your friend, who is a really nice guy by the way – I never got round to telling you that did I?”

“You didn’t,” I nodded pressing my lips to the top of her head, “he liked you too. And thank you,”

“For what?” she asked pulling back and looking at me. There was a look of confusion there in her eyes, she truly didn’t get why I was thanking her and that was something that I found as refreshing as the rest of her.

“For not wanting to be permanently stuck to my hip,”

“Oh that?” she smiled brightly, “trust me – no good can come from being together all the time.....and I like you, I enjoy your company and I don’t want to mess up what is happening between us,”

“Amazing!” I stated simply and honestly.

From the moment that we had started hanging out; it was almost like we eased into this pattern of being open and honest with one another and I was beginning to realize that the person she portrayed to the world was the woman that she was in essence. There was no false pretence with her – what you saw was what you got and for the first time since Caitlyn I could feel myself beginning to think that a relationship could possibly work out.

“Me either,” I admitted to her.

“Good,”

“Anyway how’d it go with your Daddy?” I asked her as she rested herself back down onto my chest; her long thin arm resting over my stomach.

“Well things have been worked out, he is happy for Elias to stay here because he thinks that he won’t worry as much. I’m not sure if that will last for too long before he is back poking his nose into our lives but for the moment, I am happy to give him the benefit of the doubt,”

“Sounds like a plan,”

“It’s all I can really do you know?” she stated, “first he is my Dad, second he threatened to take the house from me.........”

“I heard that,”

“You did?”

“Yeah sorry, I don’t want you to think that I was eavesdropping but I wanted to be close on hand to come to you if he hit you again,”

Lifting herself from my embrace, she looked down at me – a weird look in her eyes that I hadn’t seen on her before. In all the time that we had spent together, I had gotten to know the majority of the faces, looks and moods that she had but this was different; this was something that was bursting with so much emotions that it made me fear that I had upset her in some way.

Then she eased her way on top of me; brushing her hair behind her ear – her hands resting on either side of my head as she stared down at me. The height of emotion was increasing.

“Nobody has ever done anything like that for me before,” she whispered softly.

“They haven’t?” the idea seemed absurd to me.

“You sound shocked,” she laughed sitting up; her eyes still looking down at me.

“Well it never occurred to me that I would be the only person who wants to protect you,”

“Why?”

“You’re an amazing woman Ayd; you are a great listener, you make me laugh and you don’t crowd me; there is something sexy about you that I can’t stay away from,”

“Well in all honesty, I think that you have that extra something that makes me want to get to know you,”

“Thanks,” I chuckled.

Softly running my hands up and down her legs slowly; she watched me intently, lust flaming in her eyes. Like a ricochet effect; my own lust began to grow – I needed to remember that we weren’t going to take this to the next level just yet but damn I had some intense fire sweeping through me right now.

“You’re welcome,” running her tongue over her lips.

“Damn it Ayd,” gripping her shoulders and flipping her around on to her back; her legs wrapped tightly around my waist drawing my body down on top of her.

“Kiss me?” she ordered and I could do nothing but comply to the order.

My head lowered towards her and she remained still, her lips wet and shining as my own pressed down on to hers where she accepted me passionately. Running her hands up over my muscles and into my hair; softly curling the short hairs at the base of my neck – the lightness of her touch making me shiver all over.

Unable to hold myself back; my hips thrust towards her and she let out the most amazing sultry moan that also seemed to carry her hips flying up to meet my thrust instinctively and it was just that connection between us again. Maybe we should be worried, about how fast this was going, but to be completely honest, I didn’t want to think about anything other than this amazing creature still looking up into my eyes as our lips moved within accordance to the each other.

I absolutely knew that my cock was harder than I could even remember it even being and just like that; she eased her hand between our bodies and began rubbing my cock so slowly that once again I was shivering so badly that she let out a small smile and only made her rub me a little bit harder until my hips rocked without my knowledge.

“Right where I want you!” she whispered softly.

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PostSubject: Re: The Code of Silence - Christian Kane 18+ Fiction   Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:00 pm

Naturally, Sweetie, as the story progresses so does my love for it. The plot is amazing as are the interactions between characters. I love how supportive Christian is being of Ayden and I think it's a wonderful thing for her to have him there; especially since now seems to be when she needs him the most. As always, I can't wait for more. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The Code of Silence - Christian Kane 18+ Fiction   Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:02 pm

Thank you honey, I am glad that you are still enjoying it Very Happy it has now become shorter than I originally planned but a sequel WILL follow Very Happy xoxox Thank you for reading xoxo

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PostSubject: Re: The Code of Silence - Christian Kane 18+ Fiction   Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:29 am

Okay so firstly I loved the scene you set with the family Santiago in the living room, I could really, really feel the tension beginning to grow there! I was so happy to see both of the children stand their ground with Carlo, it’s about time he saw that he cannot intimidate them and treat them like employees. I think he needs to divide his family from his ‘family’ a little better if you know what I mean! You set that up wonderfully, and I was wondering what the ‘thing’ was behind Carlo’s acceptance of Elias moving in......oh lord! He still cannot just let his daughter ‘be’ can he? I mean he sent her to self defence classes, taught her how to fire a gun, and hell apart from all that she is from his loins and inherited that ‘not to be messed with’ attitude from him and he still treats her like she’s a damn china doll? FFS Carlo! She’s tougher than you think, she’s had to be to put up with you for the last 26 years!!! + Oh that little interval between the coffee making and mediating between her father and her brother, when she went up to Christian, BEAUTIFULLY detailed honey, really made the scene pop out from the screen. As I’ve said, reading them together is the highlight of the updates for me. You just make them click so effortlessly together. It’s hard to think they’ve ever been apart really.

And now onto Christian’s POV, which really helps you ‘feel’ the story, the details you add through his eyes of her home for example, just wonderful work there. I love how you can see in his mind how much he’s being pulled in by this new relationship with Ayden, yet holds himself back still in reserve of anything intimate just yet but from reading this it really looks like they are both struggling with it somewhat! As Christian says, it doesn’t take a lot to get a man going Hahahaha, and especially when they’re as beautiful as Ayden too! I like how they can comfortably talk to each other too, everything is out in the open and it’s nice that they don’t feel the need to be glued at the hip either. Both have their independence of the other, this is a good thing I feel  It isn’t healthy to spend every last second of spare time with the person you’re dating!

All in all a brilliant chapter, but the end just left me screaming for MORE!!! Arrrrrrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot bloody wait until next Sunday now!! Arrrgh if you wanna chuck me another update then feel free! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! xxxx
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PostSubject: Chapter Twenty - 'The' sex talk.   Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:15 am

I am posting this on Harley's behalf since she is once again having technical issues with the board Smile


A few Days Later;
Christian’s POV;

Even after all this time that we had spent with one another – Ayden is still the first woman that I want to talk to in the morning and last thing at night. We had gotten into this really stupid habit of calling one another at the end of the night, even if I had just left her 10 minutes previously and I always ended up calling her first thing in the morning too just to hear her voice.

I knew that it was crazy – I was acting like a crazy person. On a few occasions now; I had been thinking about getting someone to slap me in the hope that it would knock this stupidness out of my head.

All of my thoughts were being consumed by this girl and no matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried not to think about her – it was stupid little things, like the colour of a raven outside my window would remind me of her hair; yes that is exactly how bad I have it. I am putting too much effort into this and I don’t know how to stop myself.

“.......come on I want to see Vampire’s Suck!” she was laughing as we stood in the foyer of the multiplex we had chosen to attend for our 6th date now.

“You and your vampire’s,” I chuckled placing my hand to the small of her back.

“Come on you have to agree that if you’re going to be murdered; there is no sexier way to do that than by sustaining another creatures life?”

This was her argument any time that I brought up the whole vampire thing that she had going on. Of course, she was joking and she just liked the whole concept of a Vampire and what they are and need to do to survive. That was literally the person that she was – she found the level of compassion she needed for almost everyone that she interacted with.

“Ok I can see I ain’t winning this argument anytime soon,” she laughed slipping her fingers between mine and hugging my arm to her body, “so how about you tell me what you want to see and we’ll see?”

“Just so you can say no?” I chuckled stuffing my other hand into my jeans pocket.

“Would I?” she giggled brushing a strand of jet black hair out of her eye and completely missing the way a group of guys walking past checked her out.

Wearing a pair of skin tight stone washed jeans that were covered in rips at the knees and one rip near her ass, and a black loose fitting sleeveless shirt that had absolutely no back to it showing off the amount of skin that drove me wild let alone a bunch of 20-something guys.

“Why don’t we just go for pizza and just chat?” I suggested.

“Really?”Pulling back from me slightly, she looked up into my eyes, the very same eyes that haunted my dreams at night.

Ok I don’t know what we were talking about! Whenever she looked up at me like that I could happily walk straight into my own death, unfortunately it seemed to end up making me look like the biggest idiot walking. And for whatever reason; she never seemed to notice it and I was obviously reluctant to point out my short comings to her.

“Well......” she laughed, “let’s go then,”

“You’re ok about this?”

“You know; I love our little chats,” she smiled brightly once again.

“We’re so well suited,” placing my lips to the top of her head, we both turned in the same direction and began to head towards the exit of the multiplex.

“No arguments from me on that one,”

The air had turned slightly chilly in the few moments that we had been inside the building; shivering almost instantly; she inched her body closer to mine and I gently removed my hand from hers and wrapped it around her shoulder; pulling her closer to me in the hope that my heat would keep her warm in the short sprint to the car.

“I can’t believe how cold it’s gotten,” she muttered with her teeth chattering.

“I can’t believe how much you feel the cold,”

“Shut up and turn on the heater,” she was rubbing her bear arms now; trying to create heat against her flesh obviously.

“Yes ma’am,” I smiled and did as she requested before peeling out of the parking space we had parked in about 40 minutes ago.

This was the kind of relationship that I had always wanted – someone who I was comfortable enough with to tease and know that she wouldn’t take it the wrong way. Ayden was more than able to do such a thing; she gave as good as she got too. At this moment in time; I couldn’t believe that I had gotten so lucky as to have found someone like her. It was definitely something that I wouldn’t ever take for granted.

“Smoke?” she asked pulling her packet out of her bag.

“Yeah thanks,” I replied stopping at the junction leaving the cinema parking lot.

Taking a smoke from her pack; she lit up and then handed it over to me before lighting one for herself and rolling the window down just a small fraction so that the smoke could escape my truck cabin. With the road relatively busy, I took a moment to look at her – she gathered her hair and pulled it over her shoulder so that it was all gathered to one side of her head – her neck exposed to me.

My amazement was that her flesh was as soft and warm as anything that I had ever encountered in my life. Before I even knew where I was or what was happening to me – it was like I was completely addicted to her and her particular brand of drug.

Usually, I wrote songs or sang songs about guys being crazy in love and all the things that they feel, or how they mess up and want to make amends – it had never crossed my mind that those kinds of feelings were real or that I would be feeling them. Even in this simple moment of sitting in my car at a junction watching her smoke a cigarette while she was still shaking from the cold – I knew that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. She had snared me in her web and there was no place I would rather be than right by her side.

“So where are you taking me?” she asked, “’cos I think that the house of blues might just be too busy and loud for us to actually talk,”

“Smart ass – the house of blues doesn’t serve pizza!”

“Whose being the smart ass now?” she laughed lolling her head to the side; her eyes fluttering at me innocently.

“Stop looking at me like that,”

“Yes sir,” she replied stoically.

“Don’t call me that either – I am getting so many images in my head of you dressed up in a army uniform; that is so not good when I am trying to drive,” I groaned causing her to laugh at me.

“You’re too much!”

I wish I was too much – she had no idea of the filthy things going through my mind. If she did – she’d probably slap me, or find it a turn on and I’d have too much on my hands when I wasn’t even prepared.

Finally a break in the traffic emerged and I eased into the lane that would take us towards the best little Italian restaurant called Bella’s hidden off the main strip of LA. It was the kind of restaurant that was run by genuine Italian descendents. Ayden would love it hopefully, which would mean that we could come here more often. Being extremely conscious of the things that she put in her body – she rarely reached out for food that wasn’t Italian. I liked that about her – the way she didn’t mind what she ate; she would just work out that little bit harder than normal to burn it all off.

“So where are you taking me?”

“I’m not sure if you know of the little Italian restaurant off the strip called Bella’s?”

“Bella’s?” she asked her eyes widening.

“I take it you know of it?”

“Well I ought to; my Godfather is the owner,”

“Of course he is,” I chuckled softly to myself as I stick my cigarette out the window to get rid of the ash. “Maybe we should go someplace else?”

“No – Papa Joey isn’t going to run and tell Dad about it, they barely speak anymore anyway,”

“How come?”

“Well Papa Joey was real close to my Mother and when she was murdered; he had voiced his opinion on how Dad should have gone home to pick her up because there was no way anything would have happened to her if he had been with her,”

“Ouch!”

“Yeah – I was forbid from having him over to the house, I was allowed to go to his house so long as he came and picked me up, all the while being snubbed by my Father, which I think my Daddy wanted,”

Ayden had been extremely vocal about how cruel she could find her dad sometimes and how much she feared that she would end up like him. That wasn’t something that she wanted and I knew that it was one of the reasons that she bumped heads with her dad because she was fighting so hard not to become him. The pure strength of her character blew me away – it was amazing to think that she had, had no female figure around her enough to mould her into the woman that she had become – it was all her own doing. That was truly impressive.

Parking the truck on the strip, I rushed around to her side and opened the door for her and offering her my hand to help her down which she took gracefully and smiled that bright smile that made my knees weak.

Moving out of the street and down the wide alley that would take us right to the front entrance to this little getaway. Looking up at me; she smiled warmly and slid her hand into mine once again before pushing the door open and being wrapped in the soft mood lighting of the restaurant. It was a small place with no more than 6 tables for customers; but it was intimate – the lighting, the colours, the company and the menu all gave it something that most larger chained Italian restaurants fail to capture.

“Joey di papà - come lei è?” Ayden began talking in her native tongue and I was now used to some of the words, she had just stated his name and asked how he was.

“Il mio piccolo Ayden - oh il mio bell'Ayden!” translated – My little Ayden – oh my beautiful Ayden.

My attention was drawn to the small piano that had been placed in the corner was a new addition to the restaurant and it gave it an even more intimate touch that surprised me to be honest. Small fairy lights were strung up around the walls, a couple draped over the piano and small votive candles were placed on every table; already lit and sparkling in the lighting.

Ayden and Papa Joey were embracing one another tightly – the relationship that they shared was a close one; that was more than obvious from the hug they were sharing while they rocked back and forth.

Eventually I was drawn into the relationship as my girlfriend’s Godfather greeted me warmly like an old friend. I had eaten her plenty since I had found the place – I had gotten to know him relatively well. Every time I came in – he would greet me warmly and arrange me the best table in the whole restaurant. My food was always amazing – giving me such amazing bursts of aromatic flavours on my pallet. It was the reason I kept coming back for more.

Tonight was different – Joey led us through the restaurant and into the kitchen where there was a table fully set in the middle of the kitchen. The room was bustling and the minute we walked in – everyone stopped and stared openly at my date. It definitely made me feel uncomfortable.






Ayden’s POV;

Christian couldn’t have picked anywhere better than coming to my Godfather’s restaurant. It had been so difficult getting to see him when I lived at home because Dad wanted nothing to do with him. Papa Joey was a distant relative of my Mother; and they had always maintained a close relationship despite the fact that Joey had hated my Father from the minute that he met him. Joey had nothing to do with the Family business – he refused to get involved when Mom married Dad – so my Dad had branded him a betrayer of his heritage. Of course when my Mom was taken from us – Joey had been vocal about how much he blamed my Dad for the loss. And that meant he was not welcome in the house after that.

Looking at him – he reminded me of the little man in the Dolmio sauce adverts; a nice moustache that is always neatly trimmed and huge brown soulful eyes that warmed his face in a way that reminded me of good times from my younger years. Going to his house he always included me in the cooking; his kitchen warm and the hub of his home was always busy with people coming and going, it was like a real Italian family coming together. Cooking had run in my Mom’s side of the Family – of course she had wanted to be a cook but Dad wouldn’t let her. She was his wife which meant that she had to remain at home and tend to the house and to the kids.

“L'Ayden lei è la copia carbone di sua Madre. Lei è cresciuta tutto,” my Papa Joey stated. (Translation – Ayden you are the carbon copy of your Mother. You are all grown up.)

“Sì. Come Papà di affari è?” I replied as he took a seat at the kitchen table. (Translation – Yes. How’s business Papa?)

“Very well Ayden, thank you.” He replied smiling at Christian who was sitting quietly, looking somewhat out of the loop. I usually forgot that he didn’t know Italian as fluently as I did.

To be honest, Italian had been drummed into my head as my first language – my parents were extremely proud of where they came from and wanted to pass that pride to both me and Elias. I liked Italian; it was such a sexy language when spoken correctly.

“That’s good,” I smiled at my boyfriend, “it’s been so long. I keep meaning to call you and get you over but then something comes up and it’s swept out of my head,”

“You mean your Father has decided to forgive me?” he chuckled clicking his hand to one of the cooks, who smartly marched over without complaint. “2 serve di Polenta alla griglia con la Verdura mescolata,” (Translation – 2 servings of Grilled Polenta with Vegetables.)

“Sì il signore,” (Translation – Yes sir.)

“No,” I replied when he turned back to me and looking at me in a, answer my question look, “I moved out of Dad’s house,”

“Excuse me?” he asked leaning towards me, “is he feeling ok?”

“Papa – he’s not as bad as all that,” I defended my Dad. Yes, I was a hypocrite, I know that and I never pretended that I wasn’t. My Father could try the patience of a saint, God knows he drove me up the wall but at the end of the day he was my Dad, something that I had, had to remind Joey of on a numerous amount of occasions.

“Acconsento a essere nel disaccordo con lei come al solito,” (Translation – I agree to disagree with you as usual,) he replied as he always did when I stated that I wouldn’t listen to him bad mouth my Father. As far as I was concerned – I was the only person that was allowed to miscall him. “E ha deciso all'improvviso che lei è consentito datare qualunque uomo bianco?” (Translation – And has he suddenly decided that you are allowed to date any white man?)

“È un segreto, ha posato il suo piede quando ha incontrato cristiano ma amo vogliamo la probabilità vedere se può andare in qualche luogo,” (Translation - It's a secret, he put his foot down when he met Christian but I like him and I want the chance to see if it can go somewhere.)

Papa Joey smiled and nodded his head. I knew that he would understand; when his beloved Isabella died while in childbirth he had lost himself for a long time – for years he had refused to even acknowledge other women, he was so set in remaining true to his late wife.

When he had eventually decided to go back to work; he had to find someone to do what Isabella had been doing for the restaurant – the accounts, she’d also do the advertising and Joey had been so intent on the fact that no one would be able to do her job as efficiently as Isabella had, that when he hired Kathleen – he had been purposely rude to her, and pushed her to her very limits and beyond sometimes. Now that they had been married for 5 years; we all knew that he had been so awful to her because he had been attracted to her. Kath, as she preferred, was such a warm woman but she had absolutely no Italian blood in her veins.

“L'amo, è un buono uomo,” (Translation – I like him, he’s a good man.) Joey said looking at Christian and smiling before turning back to me.

“I know Joey,” I smiled feeling the flutter in my stomach – which always seemed to happen whenever I thought about him, or heard someone mention his name.

When the food arrived at our table, Joey excused himself and made his way back out into the main restaurant area to tend to his customers, which I knew we wouldn’t be expected to pay for what we eat tonight.

“I’m sorry about that babe,” I reached over the table for Christian’s hand as the waiter poured us both a glass of expensive white wine.

“That’s ok,” he smiled warmly at me, “it’s obvious that you haven’t seen him in a long time,”

“You’re right, I haven’t. Dad wouldn’t ever let me bring him in the house and he always made it difficult for me to go and see him,”

“How so?”

“He’d create more work for me at home, he’d invite his friends over and tell me to make sandwiches or pasta for them, he’d tell me that we needed shopping or that Elias was needing someone to look after him while he went out on business,”

“That’s awful,” Christian shook his head.

It never mattered to him if I was talking in Italian or English – he would show me interest regardless of that, mainly because he could pick up some words here and there if it was spoken slowly enough but usually, he’d just pick up on something that has been bothering me lately and start there for the conversation and I loved that about him. We hardly ever had silences between us because we were both so interested in the other and that was scary for me.

There was nothing that I didn’t want to talk to him about and that was why I had to bring up this subject now before we went any further in our relationship.

“I’m glad that you suggested this tonight actually, there is something that I wanted to talk to you about,” it never bothered me if people could over hear me talking – they could think whatever they wanted to think, I was who I was and I made no apologies for that, besides – the people in this kitchen were too busy working hard to bother with what I was about to discuss with my boyfriend.

“What’s that?” he asked sipping his wine before digging into the dish that had been chosen for us and I swear his eyes flashed with pleasure for a moment and I couldn’t help but smile – Papa Joey knew what people liked before they even knew what they liked. It was a true gift and one of the reasons that he was so popular and had been in business so long.

“I don’t want you to think that I am hinting for this, but we haven’t talked about exclusivity and............”

“I don’t want to date anyone else,” he piped up before I even had the chance to finish talking.

“I don’t want you to think that I am push.......”

“I don’t,” he was firm, his hand gripping mine tightly, “this is something that I have been thinking about the past few days if I am being honest – I don’t want to date anyone else, I am more than happy just dating you and I hope.......that you feel the same way?”

“I do,” I smiled happily, “but I’m not ready to just jump into........”

“We take sex as and when it comes – there is no rush and I am in no rush; I want you to be comfortable with me, comfortable with our relationship before we take things to another level,”

“Thank you Chris,” ok so I need to stop looking at this man as some kind of God.

So he understood that I didn’t want to have sex yet, and he was more than patient with me on that front, so he knew how to kiss........so well, and so he could hold a conversation; that didn’t make him perfect. It did maybe make him perfect for me because he had everything that I was looking for in a man, or everything that I would have been looking for had I been on the market looking for a man.

“There’s no need to thank me Ayd – this relationship has 2 people in it, and it would never work if one of us was miserable or pushed too far too quickly,”

I nodded as I turned my attention back to my meal – polenta was something that I had tried to cook on many occasions but always ended up messing it up. My cookery skills were good, but they just weren’t great. Hopefully one day soon, I could get Papa Joey to teach me how to become a better cook.

The explosion of taste in my mouth had my breath catch in the back of my throat – I wanted to be able to cook like that. I wanted people to have that kind of reaction to my dishes but I wasn’t a professional cook; I had to accept that. My Dad had always drummed it into my head, that no matter how good you were – there was always room to improve and there was always someone out there who was better than you were and that had been practically engraved on my brain. It made me the person I was now – always trying to find ways to better myself, and if I had mastered something I was happy and content.

“So what do you want to do after this?” Christian asked me.

“I don’t know,” I smiled at him as I reached for my wine and sipped it slowly, letting the taste mix with the after taste of the polenta. “Anything so long as we’re hanging out together,”

“Movie back at my place?” he suggested.

Elias had asked if he could have some of his friends over tonight, which had been fine with me since I had already made plans with Christian. I knew that there were some girls coming over, so I didn’t want to go back to my place, there would be a mess and I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t clean it and that wasn’t going to teach Elias that I meant what I said about him cleaning up after himself.

“Sounds like a plan,” I smiled back, “there’s no doubt that they will still be partying when we get back anyway – and I don’t want to be in the middle of that,”

“Then you can just stay at mine,” his statement was simple, his intent honest and respectful I had no reason to take it to be more than what he had said and I didn’t. I smiled and nodded, before going back to my meal.

Tonight had turned into a good night – I hadn’t expected to be sitting here in this restaurant with him. I had been expecting to be sat in the movies watching some movie and making out with my boyfriend if the movie was boring. Since we had, had our first kiss we had been kissing a lot and sometimes I had stubble rash from the amount we were partaking in. I refused to let him shave though, I loved his stubble – it made his face more handsome than I had been sure was possible.

We sat in silence while we ate for a few moments before we picked up the conversation about our date the following day. Christian, was a huge car nut, so he had booked an hour at one of the race circuits just outside of LA and we were both going to get a go in one of the race cars. It sounded like fun and I couldn’t wait to try it. I wasn’t such a car nut but I did love things that went fast and on a race circuit; there was no fear of getting in trouble with the law.

It was more than easy to see that Christian was excited at the idea, then we planned to head back to my place, have a takeout Chinese meal and veg in front of the TV with no plans for anything else. It would be the perfect Sunday. And I couldn’t wait for it – spending time with him was quickly becoming my favourite activity and it was never boring since he and I both had so much interests; there was never a lack of things to do with one another.
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PostSubject: Re: The Code of Silence - Christian Kane 18+ Fiction   Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:44 pm

Thank you Nola for posting this for me xoxox

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