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Tirone: Chapter 49

Jo

“You look nervous,” Enzio said.

I filled my lungs with air and adjusted myself in the backseat of his car. He was sitting next to me while Armando Lanza was in the passenger seat. I was nervous. Too nervous to even make eye contact. “It’s not every day that you come face to face with the monster you’ve been running from all your life. It’s not easy, even when you’re about to kill him.” I fixed my gaze at the window, distracting myself with the Texan starlit sky. “I don’t mean to be rude but can you please call Laius again to make sure everything is set in place?” I wished he could have been here with me, but it was impossible. He had to be at the meet before us and hide well to set the ambush.

“Everything is set, Jocasta. I called him before we moved, and he confirmed his location at the bayou. You don’t have to worry about a thing.”

“I just wish I could hear his voice before we arrive. It’ll help calm me down.”

“We’re almost there. You’ll be running into his arms in no time.”

I sighed and let my gaze travel with the road. It was so dark close to midnight, but the headlights and the moon lit the road enough for me to see where we were going.

The road to the bayou wasn’t as narrow as I’d imagined it’d be, and the river was nowhere to be seen. I wasn’t from Houston, and I’d never been to this side of town, but I’d looked it up when Enzio said it was where we were going to meet the Larvins. This road and the scenery looked nothing like what I Googled.

“Are you sure this is the right way? This isn’t the road to Sims Bayou.”

“We’re not going to the bayou. We’re going over it, to the abandoned bridge by the park. This is a shortcut.”

I’d read so many books to know when a mafia boss mentioned a shortcut, it meant a speed ticket to a blood fest. Enzio Lanza must have figured out our deal was nothing but a decoy. My heart faltered. “I really need to call my husband.”

Click!

I hated that sound more than I hated my stepmother. The feeling of a cold muzzle on my head was a close second. “Enzio, we have a deal.”

“The last time I made a deal with a Bellomo girl, I lost my enforcer and my best ally. I’ll never repeat that mistake. What? You didn’t think I knew you were a Bellomo girl? The Larvins know, too.”

My eyes squeezed shut. How could I have been so stupid? “How?”

“They found your burner phone when you were Utah running back to Chicago. It looked like you didn’t have time to delete your log or dispose of the sim card. It took a while to trace, but eventually they found out who you were calling.”

My lost phone. All this time, it was with my fucking father. Fuck. Coldness bit my limbs, and my breath accelerated. No, I needed to keep it together. I couldn’t go through another attack. I needed all my strength and consciousness. “Where’s Laius?”

“The Larvins have him and the rest of his crew. Like I said, you’d be running into his arms in no time, only both of you will be hugging in a fucking grave.”

“No. No, please. Leave him out of this.” I couldn’t go through that again. I couldn’t be the cause of killing another person I loved. “This whole thing was my idea. He hates the Bellomos. He hates Michele. He blames him for my mother’s death. He’d never make a deal with them.”

“Save your fucking lies to someone who’s stupid enough to listen.”

“The Larvins want me, not him. Let them kill me, I don’t care, but you have to leave Laius out of this.”

“It’s too late, Jocasta.”

Panic numbed my legs and constricted my chest as the car stopped to a halt. In a split-second, I was dragged out of the car, zip ties held my wrists behind my back, and Armando Lanza pushed me down on my knees in the mud.

Headlights flashed in my face. Then silhouettes of men came out of the cars. The shadows approached, my heart thrashing with every step, until I was surrounded by a circle of men in dark suits and guns pointing at my head.

I glanced up, my throat bobbing with a swallow. The circle opened and another dark shadow went through. I squinted to make out the face, but it was too dark. Then, the mud sank with a loud sound, and the man in the shadow crouched down in front of me.

His face hit me like a train. He didn’t change much. Only a few wrinkles here and there, but his fierce features remained intact. Bald hair that used to be strawberry blond. Blue eyes with yellow tones like that of a snake. Hard, protruding cheekbones. Sharp nose. Thin, harsh lips. Declan Larvin, the ruthless king of New York. My fucking father.

When you looked into the eyes of your enemy, what were you supposed to see or feel? And when that enemy was your creator and shared your blood, did it make any difference?

“You look so much like do mam,” he said in an Irish accent.

“Don’t mention her on your tongue. Where’s my husband? Laius!”

“Unfortunate man. He should have learned the lesson I taught him twenty-five years ago and stayed away from anything that was mine.”

“Keep my husband out of this. I’m the one you need, the one you’ve been afraid of all those years. Finish the job for your precious wife. End the threat that’s been keeping you up at night.”

He laughed slowly, calmly. “You give yourself too much credit, plobóg.” He rose to his feet and addressed Enzio. “Thank you, Enzio, for reuniting me with my lost daughter. I’ll take it from here.”

“I’d like to stay,” Enzio said. “Furore thought he could play me. I’d like to have a word with him when you’re done.”

“No. No!” I screamed.

Declan nodded at him and then smiled at me touching my cheek. “It’s been a pleasure to see you all grown up. Sadly, our time isn’t meant to be long.”

Adrenaline and hate surged in my blood. I’d never been afraid of death. If anything, I’d been waiting for it. But I didn’t survive all these years, carried all these burdens and suffered at the hands of strangers and family alike to die like this, without a fight and putting the life of another person I loved in danger.

“You can kill me all you want, but it won’t be long until the dirt that swallows my body chokes you, too. Michele, my only father, won’t rest until you’re a fucking corpse.” I twisted my head to look at Enzio. “You, too.”

“You got a mouth on you, plobóg. Let’s see how long you can keep that attitude up.” Declan gestured, and one of the cars opened. A couple of men came out and brought another man with them. He had a bag over his face, and his hands were tied behind his back. He fought, but they quickly subdued him with two blows on the head with the back of their guns and brought him to his knees across from me.

“You motherfuckers! I’ll make you pay for this!”

I gasped at the voice. “Tirone!” Oh my God. Enzio said they got Laius and the crew, but Tirone was at the hospital. What the fuck? How did they get him? How did they kidnap Tirone? I did all this to save Laius, his son and the brothers. But they got all of them. They were going to kill all of them.

“Jo!” He squirmed, trying to come my way, but they held him like their lives depended on it. “Fuck. Take that shit off my head now, you fuckers! What did you do to her?!”

“Nothing yet.” My so-called father removed the bag, revealing Tirone’s face where blood trickled down his forehead and a bruise formed around his unpatched eye. “I don’t want to start without you.”

 “What the fuck?!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “What is he doing here? Why did you bring him here? He has nothing to do with any of this.”

Ty huffed and cursed. “If you fucking touch her, I swear—”

“Stop yammering, pup,” Declan said, gesturing again at his men. The car opened again, and they led someone else out.

I tried to crawl to Tirone, tears springing to my eyes at the sight of him all battered because of me. He tried to reach me, too, but the brutal men holding both of us wouldn’t let us out of their grips. He swore, threatening to do horrors to them, screaming at them to get their hands off me. Despite all the ways Tirone had hurt me, I’d never wanted to see him hurt let alone dead. I’d never forgive myself if anything happened to him.

“I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done to you. Forgive me, Jo. I beg you,” he beseeched me. “I love you. I’ve never loved anyone like I’ve loved you.”

“I loved you, too. I still do, and I forgive you.” When you were on the edge of death that wouldn’t only take you but everyone you ever cared about, too, it was easy to forgive the darkest of sins and forget the worst of pains because none, no matter how grotesque, could compare to your own in this very moment.

“Well, well, well, I’ve heard the rumors, but I didn’t think they were true.” Declan laughed. “The father and the son? Plobóg, you turned out to be more of a hoor than your mammy.”

“Fuck you!”

“I have a better idea. We’re going to play a little game,” Declan said as the second man arrived. He was close enough for me to see the patch on his cut. President.

“Laius!” I cried out.

“Jo! What the fuck did you do to my wife?!”

“I’m not going to do anything. She will.” Declan removed the bag over my husband’s head. Laius, too, was bruised and blood matted his hair. “I’m saving the whole show for you.”

“What fucking show? Stay away from my wife, you fucking son of a bitch. I’ll fucking kill you and your entire family if you lay a hand on her or my son!”

My heart shattered in pieces. “I’m so sorry. I should have listened to you. I don’t know what I was thinking. I ruined everything. I’m so sorry.”

“No, baby. You’ve done nothing wrong. No one will hurt you ever again. I promised to protect you, and I will. You just have to trust me, all right? I love you, Jo.”

“I love you, too,” I sobbed.

“Ah, how heartbreaking!” Declan mocked. “But we’ll have to cut this lovely scene short.”

Guns clicked, ready to fire. I kept my eyes on Laius, praying for a miracle to save him. I was a glad I was about to leave this life. I couldn’t live with any more guilt. Hell was far more tolerable.

“If you or your men take another step near my wife, you’re all fucking dead,” Laius threatened.

Declan switched his gaze toward him. “You’ve got big balls, Furore. You, your son, your wife and your entire crew have been captured by me. All of you are helpless and under my mercy, and you’re still making threats? I give you ten points for courage, and I’ll do you one kindness. I’ll let you keep one member of your pretty family. Who will it be?”

“What the fuck?! You want me to choose between my wife and my son, you sick bastard?”

“It’s either one of them lives or both of them die. It’s up to you.”

“No, it’s up to me,” I said fast. “Laius, you know what you have to do. Choose Tirone. Now.”

“I’ll fucking kill you if you do,” Tirone barked. “She has to live.”

“Shut up!” I screamed at him, and then my head whipped toward Laius. “Please. I can’t live with this. I just can’t. Please, Laius. Choose your son. I’m begging you.”

“Shut the fuck up, both of you!” Laius snarled at Declan. “I’ll never make that fucking choice. They’re my family. You don’t kill your family.”

“Hmmm…well, you’re no fun.” Declan pulled his own gun, and both Laius and Tirone writhed to break free from Declan’s men. “But she is.” My pathetic excuse of a father gestured for his men to untie my hands. Then he stood before me, handing me the gun backwards. “Remember this game? Let’s make it a little more adventurous. You don’t look like you care about your own life, but you do care about the men you love. I wonder if there’s one you love more than the other.”

Not this nightmare again. Please. Not again.

“If you want your husband to live, shoot the boy. If you want your lover to live, shoot the husband.”

Past visions of the horrific situation I was made to endure by the hands of the same man flashed before my eyes. I’d become that terrified, little girl again, being ordered to murder someone she loved. I’d become that girl that had made the wrong choice and ended up killing her own mother instead of saving her.

“Jo, no! Jo, listen to me. Don’t take that fucking gun. Don’t listen to him. Whatever you do, don’t take the gun!” Laius shouted.

“Take it, Jo,” Tirone said. “I know you want to. Do it. Have your revenge, little faerie. I can’t live in a world where you’re not mine anyway. Do it and save him. He’s the man you chose.”

“No, Jo, don’t listen,” Laius begged me. “Don’t let that piece of shit that doesn’t give a fuck about his own blood win again. Don’t let him put that on you one more time. It’ll eat you up. No matter what you do, it’ll eat you up. Don’t take the gun. He’s toying with you. Don’t believe a word he says. He’s not gonna let any of us live.”

The world spun as my body turned to ice. The hammering in my chest echoed in my temples, and my breaths were as sharp as razors.

If you don’t take the gun, he’ll kill the three of you. If you do as he asks, there’s a chance, even if slim, one of your men will live.

Kill Tirone. He fucking raped you. He put you through hell.

Tirone is just a boy. He’s starting his life. How can you live with his blood on your hands?

Save your husband. You put him in this shit. It’s the least you can do.

You put Tirone in this shit, too. You can’t just kill him. He’s been protecting you since the day he met you. He’s loved you more than anything. And he’s Laius’s son. Do you think your husband will forgive you if you kill his son?

“Give me the gun,” I whispered.

Declan put it my hand. “Atta, girl.”

“Jo, baby, please, don’t,” Laius sobbed.

“It’s okay, little faerie.” Tirone smiled at me. “I’m ready.”

My eyes misted as I held my husband’s gaze. “Forgive me.”

“No. Don’t pull that trigger.”

“I have to.”

“No, you don’t.”

“If you don’t shoot now, I’m giving the gun to the prodigal son,” Declan said.

“No! I’ll do it.” I wouldn’t let Tirone kill his father. Laius had to live. So did Tirone. They had to have a chance to be the family they should have been before I entered their lives.

“Jo, please. Just wait,” Laius said. “Remember what you told me you should have done before for your mother?”

I should have waited. For Michele.

“That’s the only thing you have to do now. Trust me, baby.”

I blinked, deducing what he was saying. Did he have a way to tell the Bellomos where we were? Were they coming after all?

“Feck this shite.” Declan rolled his eyes. “Give the boy a pistol. Let him end this bollocks.”

“I said I’d do it!” I held the gun with both hands. Waiting might bring the rescue that would save us from the mob, but it wouldn’t save the Lazzarinis from the pain of my existence in their lives. There was only one solution to all the problems I’d ever caused.

I nodded to myself, a strange peace washing over me when I made my decision. “No more waiting.”

My smile bounced between Tirone and Laius. “I’ve loved both of you. Now, it’s time for you to love each other.” I pointed the gun to my head.

“NOOOOOO!”

“JO!”

Finger on the trigger, slowly, I closed my eyes. As my life flashed before them, glimpses of Tirone and Laius finally breaking free from their captors and lunging at me passed by. There’s no saving me now, boys. It’s time you saved yourselves and each other.

Bang!

Bang!

Bang! Bang!  


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