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Chapter 5 “Goddamn It!”

  • In the back of my mind, I knew life for us just wasn't in the cards. A relationship. A marriage.
  • I barely allowed a friendship. I didn't want this life for her.
  • If it wasn't me, it was going to be another son of a bitch who'd drag her into the flames with him.
  • I couldn't allow that to happen, not after knowing how pure her heart truly was. My brother would be good to her.
  • He'd treat Eden like she deserved. She was his whole world, and I wouldn't expect anything less from him.
  • But what was worse than what I was currently encountering? I couldn't face her. I didn't want to congratulate her and tell her how happy I was for them.
  • More lies and no truths. The reality of our love story was that it was over before it ever had a chance to begin.
  • Being married to me would kill her, slowly, day by day, until no pieces of her soul were left. She'd lie with her words, and she'd give me her body.
  • But I'd be left with nothing but the ash of the woman I burned with me. It was better this way, She had him and He had her. They had each other while I had nothing.
  • Slowly, I stood on wooden legs and then turned to my brother.
  • "Tristian." I held out my hand, surprised it wasn't shaking with the rage I felt trapped in my body demanding to be free.
  • "I'm happy for you, brother." The room fell silent, they all knew and they fucking knew. I sacrificed my happiness to ensure he received his.
  • Tristian's eyes flickered with sadness before he cleared his throat and reached out, taking my hand in his with a firm handshake, a gentleman's handshake.
  • Why did I feel like I was going to fuck him up? "I'm going to head out; I have a few things I need to take care of." I sidestepped him, not giving him or any of the family a chance to say shit.
  • My 1961 convertible Lincoln Continental was parked in front of one of the many Sinacore mansions, just waiting for me to take it on a joy ride.
  • Unlocking the doors, I stepped in and fired up the engine.
  • Instantly, I slammed my hands against the steering wheel until it didn't hurt anymore until I didn't want to start a war within The Famiglia.
  • With my brother. My flesh and blood. I needed to get my shit together, I was trained to not feel emotion, and there I was feeling bullshit I didn't think I was capable of.
  • It was confusing, tearing at my insides, making me feel like less of the man I was born to be.
  • My hands shook as I finally gripped the steering wheel and hit the accelerator until it was pressed against the floor of the car. Driving was a blur.
  • One big fucking blur. All I saw was her face her Blue eyes, striking red hair, full lips, and her Laughter.
  • God, I'd die to hear her laugh as she did with my brother. She loved him. I knew that everyone loved him as well. It was complicated.
  • We were complicated. More so now. A sharp curve loomed ahead, and I eased off the accelerator as I followed the road, then once again jammed the gas pedal to the floor and punched through the turn, trying to shake off the unrelenting visions of what I'd just seen and heard.
  • Turning up the music, I blared it as loud as it would go. With the hope, it would tune out the images of Eden, of Tristian, of the life they'd have together.
  • It hammered loud and hard into my mind, mimicking the pounding of my heart and the ringing in my ears.
  • I sped through the night. Going over seventy-five miles per hour, pushing eighty, ninety, one hundred.
  • Fucking furious I'd allowed this to happen. I couldn't get to my final destination fast enough, flying by vehicle after vehicle across the valley, my foot heavy on the accelerator until everything I sped by was simply another huge blur.
  • Switching lanes and dodging cars. I wanted to feel nothing.
  • "Goddamn it!" I roared into the crisp night air as I slammed on the breaks in front of Elliot's, which was a complete shit show of a dive bar in the Bronx, New York.
  • Every single virus and bacteria known to mankind probably teemed in its old leather wingback chairs and sticky bar tables. However, it was ours.
  • Or it had been. Ever since we used our fake IDs on her sixteenth birthday.
  • This was the place I'd lost her only eight months ago, gave her away like she meant not a damn thing when, in fact, she meant everything to me.
  • I put my car into park, cut the engine, and then got out, shoving my hands in the pockets of my slacks to keep from strangling whoever waved at me first.
  • I kept my head down as I jerked the door open and made my way to the last empty barstool at the back of the bar. Fuming from the inside out.
  • "A bottle," I snapped at the bartender before he even had time to ask what my order was.
  • Thank fuck, he knew what I drank. A bottle of Jack and a shot glass appeared in my line of sight. I said nothing.
  • Shoving the shot glass away from my hand, I simply grabbed the liquor and chugged until my lungs ached, and I needed to breathe. Damn, she was going to look beautiful in a wedding dress.
  • Another long swig. Would she wear white? Had she been a virgin before Tristian? Or did I let him claim that too? Chug, Chug, Chug.
  • He loved her. I'd protect them from afar. Watch as their love continued to grow for one another. A son, a daughter, one big happy family.
  • Did I drink half the bottle? I used to own her soul. It wasn't enough since my brother always owned her heart. The room blurred around me, the same way my focus had blurred in the car.
  • I began to feel numb, withdrawn, alone & lonely. Until I heard the sweetest voice I'd ever known.
  • "Thought I might find you here." Eden's soft tone was so quiet, and yet it felt as though a clash of thunder or a streak of lightning bolted across my body.
  • I didn't have to meet her eyes to know she was judging me. Her narrowed stare pointed directly at me and then the bottle as I brought the glass up to my mouth.
  • She sat down next to me, murmuring, "You heard."
  • "I heard." She grabbed the Jack out of my hand. The only woman brave enough to do so.
  • "What are you doing?" she questioned. "What does it look like?" I answered.
  • She didn't hesitate in replying, "Feeling sorry for yourself." We locked eyes.
  • "You don't have a right to be pissed, Romeo. I hope you realize that." I jerked back.
  • "Are you fucking serious right now?" She bit her bottom lip and looked around.
  • "You're drunk, okay? Let's just get you" "Home."
  • I barked out a laugh, "Funny, since home has only ever been wherever you are."
  • I hadn't meant to say it out loud, but there we were. At a standoff, a battle.