“You should blame that girl. She turned you in, didn’t she? They never would have implicated you if it weren’t for her. You should have killed her a long time ago!”
I remained silent, grappling with the need to kill him here and now. Keeping a cool head would keep her safe. It would end all of this.
“When? Long before she turned me in?”
“It would have saved a lot of time.”
“I can see the fear in your eyes, Mario. Why do you want her dead?” I spent so much time learning what fear was to avoid it that I recognized it no matter how well it was hidden or covered.
Anger. Bravery. Indifference. None of them compared to the potency of fear.
“She’s bad news.”
“You don’t even know her. You’ve never even met her.”
“I know you let what’s between her thighs make you forget who you are.”
“If that’s true, why is there fear in your eyes?”
“Don’t flatter yourself, son. You’re a teenager. I’m a man.”
“So what about another man?”
“Are you threatening me?”
“If I were, would you kill me? Isn’t that what happened to your partner?”
“Thomas Monroe. The real reason you want his daughter dead.”
The reason why I was given a second chance. I realized at some point while I held Monroe and wished upon wish I could take her pain away, that it was her parents who saved me. I had thanked them by hurting their daughter for ten years.
“Who told you about him?”
“It seems that Arthur isn’t the only one after you.”
“You little shit. After everything I’ve done for you?” He signaled to his men and they pointed their weapons. “I should have just killed you or let you die in the streets.”
He watched me. Waiting for me to cower and beg. When I only offered him a smile, his eyes blazed with unrepressed rage. “Kill him.”
“You haven’t changed.” The door to the gymnasium slammed shut as five men, including Arthur, walked in. Mario and his men swung around, but his guards were quickly gunned down by Arthur’s men, leaving only Mario. One of the men shot Mario in the arm where he held the gun.
“Ahhhh!” Mario screamed. When he recognized who had intruded on our meeting, his face paled from more than just pain. “Arthur.”
“Mario… it’s been a long time.”
“Big fucking mistake showing your face,” he threatened even as he clutched his arm. Blood gushed from the wound.
“I believe I was invited.” Arthur smiled and looked past Mario. “I have to say, Keiran, your work is a little sloppy, but with a little training, you’ll be one of my best. Good job.”
Mario looked back at me with accusation in his eyes. “You set me up!”
“You should thank me. I did you a favor.” I threw his words from earlier back in his face with a smirk.
“Speaking of favors… you held up your end, so I’ll hold up mine. Mario’s blood type is O negative. Kill him and his lungs are yours. I have a surgeon waiting on standby as we speak.
Shit. This was not part of the plan. I was planning for at least one death today, but it couldn’t be by my hands. If I refused, Arthur would become suspicious. I wracked my brain until I found the best excuse.
“We don’t know if it’s compatible. Keenan’s body could reject the lungs.”
“I don’t give a shit about your brother. I only said I would get you a lung. Take it or leave it.” There was no way in hell I was putting a piece of this scumbag inside my brother and using his lungs only for them to fail and kill him anyway.
“I am not going to help kill my brother.”
Arthur’s expression became clouded as we stared each other down.
“Maybe with the proper motivation, you’ll see things my way.” He turned to one of his men and said, “Bring her in.”
My heart fell to stomach. I knew without seeing who her was. She was unconscious and flung over the shoulder of the man who brought her in. When she was dropped carelessly on the gym floor and started to stir, I started forward but was held back by every gun pointing at me.
Mario’s outrageous laughter was the only sound in the building. “Did you think it was going to be that easy, kid?”
The butt of a gun slammed into the back of his skull knocking him unconscious as he continued to bleed out.
“I needed a little reassurance that this wasn’t a setup, but, after all, you did say I could have her.” He peered down at Lake, a lustful grin spreading wide. “She will make an excellent addition to my stable.”
I took one last look at Monroe whose eyes were open but had not found me.
“Do you remember what I told you, Arthur?” I watched the confidence fade from his eyes. “If you touched her again, I would kill you… even if I had to die with you.” The gun I used to kill my mother was in my hand before any of them could react.
I would have to die today. I should have died a long time ago.
“No!” I heard her scream just as both gym doors burst open and a collection of “Freeze” and “Put your weapons down” echoed.
I knew what her intentions were the moment she jumped to her feet and ran over to me.
“Lake, no!” I screamed.
She threw up her arms around me as if to protect me, and I only had a split second to realize that one of Arthur’s men still had his aim on her head.