I'm Nothing (The Family Book 2), page 3
“What are you doing here?”
“Donnie needs us back at his apartment, and you weren’t answering your phone.”
“Who dropped you off?” Tonio asked, climbing behind the wheel.
“A friend. Someone you don’t need to concern yourself with.”
He decided not to press his friend for more details. Luiz was the most private of them all. Tonio couldn’t recall when Luiz didn’t have a secret kind of life.
“You ever thought of leaving the life?” Tonio asked.
“I thought about it, saw someone do it once, and then I saw what happened to them,” Luiz said.
“They made him believe that he could just leave, just like that. The guy had a family, kids, all that shit. They killed his kids, hanging them around him, raped and killed his wife, then tortured him for hours before they finally killed him.”
“Yeah, after that I figured there were worse fates to have than being part of The Family.”
Driving toward the apartment block, Tonio tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. “We were born into a shit way of life.”
“We’re always a target, and that never changed. People think because we took the reins and killed our parents that it makes us an even bigger target. It doesn’t. We’re the same targets as we always were. Fucking assholes, everyone.”
“The only way out is death.”
“It’s what took Maria in the end.”
“Fuck, Luiz. That’s your sister.”
“I don’t give a fuck. It’s all the same kind of shit. Maria was my sister, but I can recognize a greedy bitch when I see one.”
“You actually see bitches? I thought you played for our team.”
Luiz snorted. “You thought I was gay?”
“Why not? You’ve not shown any interest in women. I don’t even know if you’ve fucked a woman, or just said you have.”
“It wouldn’t matter either way, would it?”
“I don’t give a fuck if you’re gay.”
“I’m not gay. I happen to love a nice warm pussy.”
“You leading a secret life, Luiz?”
“No. I’m just leading a life that is mine that I don’t want anyone to fucking know about.”
“So what were you doing with Zara Summers?”
“You know her?”
“Yep. She was in the class that you always cheated from. I make it my business to know these things.”
“What the fuck?”
“I make it my business to know stuff. Also, we had calculus together, and we had to work together. She’s nice.”
Glancing over at his friend, Tonio was stumped.
“We even braided each other’s hair.”
Shaking his head, Tonio chuckled. “You’re crazy, you know that.”
“It’s what they call me. So, how have you been dealing with shit since your dad died?”
“I’ve been okay.”
“You found what you were looking for on your computer?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Luiz sighed. “You took everything your father owned, Everything from his office. Don’t you think that shit is a bit suspicious?”
“Not at all. I want to know what he was into.”
“You do know you can talk to us about anything, right? We may all be fucked, but we’re bound together with each other. It’s how we survive. We always have each other’s backs.”
The temptation to blurt all of his seedy past was strong, but Tonio stopped himself. He didn’t want to talk about that shit, not with anyone.
“I just want to make sure I know what I’m up against.”
“Okay, Tonio. If you think you can handle it.”
“Can you find information out about anyone?” Tonio asked, changing the subject.
“Pretty much. I know a guy who can get me info on a lot of people. Who do you want?”
“Zara Summers. I’d like to know more about her.”
“You digging the plain girl?”
“We’re still kids. I figure we have a right to still be down with our shit.”
Pulling into the underground parking, Tonio went through the necessary security codes in order to get inside.
Parking in his spot, he made his way toward Donnie’s apartment with Luiz by his side. Even in the elevator, they both were poised and ready in case of an attack.
“Shit has been quiet,” Luiz said.
“You never know, maybe they know we’re the ones that should be in charge.”
“I wish I could believe that. A lot of people liked our fathers’ way of running things. It’s not our way. I heard the O’Mara family were pissed that we didn’t organize a union for their daughter. Donnie even helped her to travel to Italy for the year so that she could be away.”
The O’Maras were sticklers for tradition.
“God. They wanted to marry Leah off?”
“Yep, to Crotus.”
Crotus was a fat old man with a bad temper. He’d already killed two previous wives by throwing them downstairs. Tonio hated the people around The Family, and they needed to cull them real fucking fast.
Three days later
“We haven’t got enough to pay them!” her mother said.
“It’s fine, Mom. I’ll ask for an extension.”
“God, they’re not going to listen. They don’t ever listen. You pay up or they start breaking bones, and your father—if he was here we wouldn’t be going through this…”
On and on her mother kept on talking, not making any sense. Zara rubbed at her temples, trying to zone her out. No matter how many times she looked at the figures, she couldn’t pay everyone and still keep the shop. Her father passed away when she was sixteen, and her mother took over the shop until Zara had finished high school. Zara had helped out, but when high school had finished, she’d seen the stress taking a toll on her mother, and had taken over, only to see that in the past two years, her mother had been borrowing more money. It was money the shop wasn’t making.
“Mom, shut up, and just go mop, or do something. I’ve got to think.”
Dropping the pen on the paper that had so many scribbles on it, Zara wanted to cry. Life was so unfair. She should be out, partying at some frat house, or staying up late to study, maybe even having sex with some guy who was a complete and total asshole, losing her virginity. No, what was she doing? She was trying to get out of her family’s mess, but she couldn’t find a way out.
Her stomach was cramping, she hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and she was losing weight. Yeah, that shit totally surprised her. All of her life she’d been having trouble with her weight. She’d gone on many diets, none of them working. Now, life threw her nothing but stress, and she was losing the pounds.
Nothing like no money to stop you from eating.
The hours passed, and no matter how many times she looked over the sheets with all the numbers, she couldn’t make any sense of it.
Later that night, her mother stood beside her as they looked at the five large men who’d come into her father’s old office. She was filthy from the day of making pizza, and she couldn’t stop shaking. Why did her father ever get mixed up with these men? She didn’t understand it, nor did she ever want to know.
“So, all these numbers, you can’t pay me?” Lucien West asked, sitting back in her father’s chair.
He made the chair look so small, and it creaked beneath his weight. He wasn’t a fat man. No, his muscles were from hours spent torturing people.
“I’m not trying to hide anything from you. That’s why I’m showing you all the figures.” Her mother was no good, bent head, and like she’d given up on life. Moments like these, she hated her mother. “We just need an extension.”
“I have given your father plenty of extensions.”
“He’s not here. He’s dead.” She di
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. I’m new. Give me a chance, please.”
Lucien glanced up and down at her, sitting back, and rubbing a finger against his lip. She didn’t like the way he was looking at her.
“Take Mrs. Summers out for a little bit. Zara and I need to have a little chat.”
“No, it’s fine. They can stay.” She didn’t want to be left alone in this room.
“Take a seat, Zara.” One of the men pressed her down into the chair across from Lucien. She listened as her mother was marched out of the office.
“I can get you the money.”
“Zara, in circumstances like these, I tend to break a person slowly. I give them enough to want to work, but make sure they know not to cross me.”
“Is this where you break something of mine?” she asked. This had to be the scariest moment of her entire life.
“You see, with you, it’s different. This is not your debt. I have to say I’m surprised you’ve lasted this long in paying me.”
“I haven’t even made a dent. Your interest rates are ridiculous.”
“It’s a shame your father didn’t have your kind of brains.”
“We both agree on that then.”
“Yes, we do. Tell me, what would you be doing if you weren’t in this situation?” he asked.
“Erm, I’d probably be studying, or partying. One of the two.”
She didn’t like the way he was looking at her. Avoiding staring into his eyes, she stared down at the notebooks on her desk.
“Are you a virgin?” he asked.
That she couldn’t look away from. “What?”
“There are ways of wiping this debt clean.”
Zara wasn’t an idiot, and she wasn’t going to pretend, not even in this moment. She shook her head. “No.”
“I’m not a whore.”
“I wouldn’t be able to sell you. Men like to fuck, but they also like something pretty to look at.”
She didn’t even feel insulted.
“Why do you ask?”
“Because I happen to like you, Zara.”
“Yeah, right.” She cringed as she didn’t even try to hide the sarcasm.
“I’ll let that slide. I’ve never had a virgin before. I’d like to make a trade.”
“Give me your cherry, and I’ll wipe the slate clean.”
“You want to have sex with me?” she asked, totally shocked. She was plain, not worth selling, but he wanted her virginity? Ew. This guy had to be in his late thirties. Sure, he was a handsome hunk, but she didn’t want her first time to be with a guy who was old enough to be her father.
“I’ve never had a virgin, and I have to say I like the idea of making you bleed.”
She froze. “No, it’s not going to happen.”
Not for her mother, not for her father, and not for some shop she hated. No, she couldn’t do it.
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yes, I’m more than sure.” The very idea made her skin crawl. There was no way she’d ever be able to let this man lay a finger on her in any of way for pleasure. Zara doubted there would be any kind of pleasure. He wanted her to bleed, which was just sick, disgusting, and sick again.
Lucien stared down at his fingers, then flicked some imaginary fleck of dust off his jacket. “Are you sure about that?” He held up his hands stopping her from answering. “I want you to think about the opportunity that I’m giving to you.”
“There’s nothing to think about. I’m not going to sleep with you because of a pizza shop.” She couldn’t help the shudder. “You should be ashamed of yourself. You’re old enough to be my father.”
He started laughing, only the sounds coming from him reminded her more of a serial killer than humor.
Dread started to fill her as she realized exactly what she had done. This man, he wasn’t the kind of man you pissed off, and that was exactly what she’d done.
“Do you really think you’re in any kind of position to insult me?” He got out of her father’s chair, and rounded the desk, gripping her arm. He tugged her up, and the pain was instant. The fingers wrapped around her arm were so tight that they would leave a bruise.
“Agh!” She cried out as he tightened his hold. His other hand wrapped around her neck, tugging her close.
Tears sprang to her eyes as he cut off her airway, making her fight.
“You see, Zara, I’ve killed women like you for a lot fucking less. I give you an option, and you think it’s an insult. Baby, you’ve got no idea what I can do to you, but I’m going to show you.”
He shoved her forward, so her body crashed over the desk. The impact of the hard wood winded her.
I’m totally fucked.
Me and my big fucking mouth.
Yes, it was a lot of fucks, but the occasion called for it.
Lucien stepped behind her. He pulled on her hair so she had no choice but to follow the action, and once again, his hand was cutting off her ability to breathe.
She clawed at the hand at her neck, trying to fight him.
“You see, Zara, it’s time for you to fucking learn your lesson.” He released her neck, and she gasped out, panting for breath. The hand that was on her neck moved down to cup her breast.
She tried to buck against him to get him off, but that didn’t happen.
“Let me go,” she asked, panting.
He pressed his cock against her ass, and she tried to fight him, to get away.
Slamming her back down on the desk, she cried out. The tears spilled easily from her eyes as he held her in place. The hard ridge of his cock pressed against her ass, and she tried to contain her sobs.
“I tried to be nice, and now you’re making me show you.”
“Fine! I’ll do it. Please, not now, not like this. Please.” She begged for him to stop.
“Do you really think you’ve got a choice right now?” He started to touch her, and Zara fought. Lucien only showed her exactly how he intended for her to submit, with violence.
After the third meeting at Donnie’s, Tonio wanted the chance to relax and take a break. Nothing was coming together at his father’s laptop, nor was anything going well with The Family. The outpouring from their colleagues was less than desirable. No one wanted a bunch of teenagers controlling millions of dollars worth of illegal business. It was kind of pathetic. They were more than happy to torture said teenagers to mold them into taking over, but now, they wanted them gone.
Donnie had already taken out three hits on men who’d come after him. Tonio had killed many people in his life, but so far, he was being left alone, and that scared him more. He was used to being the one that was chased, not to doing the chasing.
At the end of the two hours of negotiating, and coming up with a plan on how to tackle their current problem, Tonio had wanted something to eat, and to also see Zara again. Pizza and Zara were a good mix as far as he was concerned. There were three men close to the family who had also been close to their fathers. The information they had suggested these men were working on not only a takeover, but also a mass kill as well. They were waiting for the right moment to take out all four of them. Tonio wasn’t interested in dying today, or any other day.
Driving down toward the pizza shop, he saw the sign read that it was open but the lights were out. In the back, he saw there was light, and when he glanced at the time on his dashboard, he saw it was only ten.
Zara opened late.
Climbing out of his car, he made his way toward the door. Tonio caught sight of a goon and paused.
Why the hell would Zara have goons in her shop?
He recognized them as he’d grown up with them, and
Opening the door to the shop, Tonio made sure he had his hand wrapped around his gun.
“The shop is closed,” one of them shouted on a grunt.
“Sign doesn’t say so.” Tonio gripped the butt of his gun as the guy came toward the front desk.
Most of the time, he was recognized for being part of The Family. However, in rare circumstances, some people failed to do so, as did this guy.
“Listen, punk, get the fuck out of here now.”
Tonio reached across the counter, grabbing the bastard’s tie, and slammed him face first on the marble counter. Drawing his gun, he pressed it against the man’s face.
The man grunted, then tried to squeal.
Out of the back, another man came rushing out. Tonio held the man down, and pointed the gun at the other.
“I see we’ve got a problem here.”
Another man came out.
What the fuck?
“Fuck, that’s Tonio Guzman. He’s part of the mafia,” the third one said, holding up his gun.
“Ah, I see, a goon who knows when to be fucking respectful.”
“You don’t need to be here, Tonio,” the third man said.
“It’s Mr. Guzman to you!” He pressed the muzzle of his gun against the man’s head until he screamed like a little bitch. “Now, tell me, why you’re here.”
Silence fell around him.
“Tell me why you are or I’m going to start going psycho, and no one is leaving this quaint little pizza shop alive.”
The sudden feminine scream that echoed through the shop twisted something in Tonio’s gut. He remembered many feminine screams, and how he had to keep on doing what his father said even as they begged and pleaded with him to stop.
Lifting the gun up, he fired at the third man’s leg, then aimed at the second. “I’ve got an itching in my hand right now. What the fuck is going on?”
“We work for Lucien West, and we’re collecting a debt.”
He pulled the man up and slammed him down, knocking him out. “Have a good sleep.”
An older woman who looked a little like Zara came out of the backroom with her hand pressed to her mouth.
Just as she was about to speak, Tonio heard the screaming.
SAM CRESCENT SERIES:
Other author's books:
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