Why Me?

Ty, just another skateboarding high school junior, was minding her own legal business when she gets stuck in the middle of a mafia fight with guns, knives, and potato launchers, while only armed with her trusty skateboard. What does she do? Runs for her life only to get captured and asked (read: commanded) to marry one of the three sons of the don. And then people want to kill her. Obviously.

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16. Chapter Sixteen

"Yes, I have already received the full report from my subordinate and no one suspected a thing," Maurice said into the phone. His patience was wearing thin and he didn't know what he wanted to do more; throw his phone across the room and have it shatter into pieces or grab a gun and shoot a few rounds into his brat of a temporary ally.

"Good, I was just making sure. Now, I have to go, I'm receiving another call. I will contact you later to confirm our plans. Good bye, Maurice."

Before Maurice could respond, the line was cut.

"That fucking brat!" Maurice snarled slamming the phone on his desk.

A knock sounded from his door and he barked, "What is it?"

His door opened slightly and one of his men poked his shaved head into the room, silently asking for permission to enter.

Maurice ran his hand through his hair and tried to calm down. "Enter, Trevor," Maurice nodded.

Trevor entered, closing the door behind him, and walked to stand in front of Maurice's desk.

"Anything to report?" Maurice asked. Trevor and a few of his other more trusted men had the job to listen to whatever the necklace picked up and then report their findings every other day. They usually disappointed him since their target never spent much time in her house and even then, she apparently didn't keep the necklace close at hand. His men had picked up the useless conversations between her parents yet nothing on their actual target so far.

"Yes, sir. Her parents have gone to Portugal, sir, and are expecting her to join them when her spring break starts, which is in two weeks' time on the twenty-seventh. But, she seems to have sold the tickets to someone called Shady and is remaining here," Trevor reported, glad to finally have something to tell his boss. The other times he or one of his coworkers went to report their non-existent findings, Maurice had snapped and barked in frustration and anger.

Maurice rubbed his chin, a slow smirk pulling on his lips, "So she's alone. How long will her parents be gone?"

"One month, sir. They will be returning at the end of the girl's spring break which is May the fifth."

"Interesting. I'll keep this in mind. Anything else? Anything on the Rizzos?"

Trevor nodded, "The night of the storm, Dante Rizzo visited her. We weren't able to listen to them much as they spent most of their time out of range from the necklace. They seemed to have had an argument and a few hours later at around 12:40 AM, she had kicked him out. They don't seem to be on very good terms."

Maurice nodded before waving Trevor away, "Alright, if that's all, you may leave. Continue listening in on her and from now on, if anything important comes up, inform me of it immediately."

Trevor nodded, "Yes, sir." He turned his back and quickly escaped from Maurice's office breathing a sigh of relief when he was a safe distance away. He saw the way his boss had looked, the flash in his eyes, and Trevor couldn't help but pity the girl who seemed to have the unfortunate luck of getting caught between a mafia and its enemies.

X

George lay down on his bed, phone in hand and ringing. The card the stranger had given him was lying on his bedside table. He had forgotten about the card, too high or drunk to remember to call the stranger who apparently had a vendetta against the three new kids and George's four year enemy.

Just when he was about to hang up since no one was picking up, a cool accented voice answered, "I hope you are calling to accept my offer, Mr. Friedman."

"Who are you?" George questioned. He was slightly wary as to how the stranger knew who he was. The man was not the same stranger who had approached George in school, this one sounded younger.

"I'm afraid I cannot tell you that for safety reasons. I need to keep my identity a secret. Never underestimate the Rizzos."

George narrowed his eyes suspiciously but his desire for finally getting revenge was stronger. "Okay. So what do we do?"

"Leave all of that to me and my men. All I need from you and your two friends is to keep an eye on the girl and provide me with information."

"So me and my boys have to stalk her?" George wrinkled his nose in disgust. He did not want to waste his time stalking the girl he hated yet lusted after.

"In simplest terms, yes. I'll have one of my men, the same one you met that day, contact you and explain the details and specifics of your job. I don't have to tell you that these conversations are to be kept secret, correct?"

George stiffened slightly at the threatening tone the stranger spoke with. He felt his blood freeze in fear but shook it off as best as he could and gruffly answered, "Oh course. I'm not an idiot."

"Of course." George could hear the patronizing smirk in the stranger's voice. "Good. I'm glad that you've decided to work with me. It would have been a shame if you refused."

George felt the ice in his veins again at the stranger's words. He had no idea who the man was, but he knew that he was dangerous.

The man carried on, "It was nice talking to you, George. Don't do anything suspicious, if I find out that the girl or the brothers were tipped off, you do not want to know what will happen to you and your friends. You will not act without my orders or the consequences will be dire. I have business to take care of now, so I'll leave our conversation here. Be prepared to be contacted soon by my subordinate. Also, do not call this number again unless it is an emergency relating to the brothers or the girl. My subordinate will contact you in two hours so be prepared and answer all of his questions clearly and with detail. Have a good day, George Friedman."

George didn't have time to respond before the man hung up, leaving George to stare at his ceiling, almost terrified. The man's tone was deadly and George knew that his words weren't just empty threats, they were oaths.

Blinking, he sat up and opened his side table drawer, pulling out a plastic bag filled with his new stash of marijuana and a lighter. His Saturday just got a whole lot more complicated but he wanted to enjoy the fact that he was on the stranger's side instead of against.

X

Carlos found himself walking past the skate park on his way home. He had decided to walk to a nearby bookstore and his feet had led him in the direction of the skate park even though it was the longer way back home.

I'm behaving like a stalker, he sighed, slowing down as he was just about to pass by the entrance to the park, eyes scanning the area for the boy who drew him there.

Just as he hoped, he spotted Fred with Ty, Drew, and Grant, sitting at the benches that were set up to the side. They were laughing and it looked like they were taking a break from skating to eat, empty burger wrappers being shoved in a plastic bag to be thrown away, and their helmets lying by their side with their boards served as evidence. Without realizing it, Carlos' feet once again moved on their own and before he knew it, he was waving at the gang, "Hey."

They all looked up in surprise before making some form of greeting to the Rizzo as he approached.

"Carlos, what're you doing here?" Ty asked the question that was running through everyone else's mind. "Again."

Carlos shrugged, "Went for a walk and was on my way home. Saw you guys and decided to say hi." Actually, I wanted to catch a glance of Fred because my infatuation with him is leading me along the path of a stalker.

"Two of you are missing," Carlos noticed.

"Jay's practicing for a gig he managed to score at some café," Drew answered.

"And Rinny's at his house, finishing up some art projects," Grant added, tossing their trash in the nearby trashcan.

Jimmy was called up by a café that had sent flyers out looking for a musical act a couple weeks ago. He had auditioned by playing his guitar but it was a college band that got the spot. Fortunately for Jimmy, it seemed that they had dropped and Jimmy was the café's second option. So, he had holed himself up in his room, perfecting a few songs, some of which were originals, like he did every time he managed to get a gig or was going to perform somewhere.

Henry, on the other hand, had gotten the objects he had requested from the gang and after thanking them, had locked himself up in his attic-slash-studio so he could finish his old projects to work on the new one he still wasn't telling anyone about. All he said about it was that if it turned out how he wanted it to, it would probably go into his portfolio for when he was applying at art schools around New York.

Carlos nodded, and unable to hold back any longer, looked to Fred, subtly trailing his gaze across the boy's body. "It looks good on you," Carlos complimented him with a small smirk. Just like I thought it would.

"What?" he frowned, confused.

Carlos pointedly looked at Fred's head which resulted in Fred's eyes widening in realization before they looked away.

"Oh, uh, thanks," Fred mumbled, biting his lip as his cheeks darkened.

When his friends started snickering, knowing just how embarrassed he got when complimented, Fred pulled his brand new, simple black beanie down over his bright red ears, tufts of his curly red hair sticking out from under the fabric, scowling, "Shut up."

He had bought the beanie just the night before when he was at the mall with Jimmy and Victoria. After Ty left with Carlos and Luca the other evening, the rest of them soon split off as well. Before Fred could return to his own home and curl up with a book, Jimmy dragged him to the mall to join him in suffering as Victoria wanted to go shopping with her brother.

Fred had been aimlessly wandering a store, Victoria having forced Jimmy into a changing room to try out a shirt she picked for him, and caught sight of a few beanies. Without much thought, he immediately bought one and felt compelled to wear it that day.

But he kind of regretted it the moment he removed his helmet and his beanie covered head was exposed to his friends who gaped in surprise at him, making him ridiculously self-conscious and about to remove the article of clothing. It was only when Drew slapped his hands away from his head and Ty threatening to make him a woman that he left his beanie on.

In an attempt to divert the conversation, Fred looked around and noticed the shopping bag Carlos was holding and asked, "So, what books did you buy?"

The others rolled their eyes at the typical Fred question. If it had to do with books or reading, Fred was immediately hooked.

"You guys have your book lover talk, we're gonna go back to skating," Ty chirped, pulling Grant and Drew to the biggest ramp in the park after grabbing their gear and beginning to talk about a bet. She had an ulterior motive for leaving the two alone and Fred knew it, sending her a quick glare which she responded to by sticking her tongue out at him.

Carlos sat down on the bench and handed the bag over to Fred to look through as he answered, "Nothing much, just some of the books you told me about the other day."

Fred grinned knowingly when he pulled out a manga, "07-Ghost?"

Carlos shrugged, "I was looking for Black Cat but the store didn't have it, so I thought I'd try that one instead."

Fred sifted through the rest of Carlos' selection, surprised and slightly flattered to see that all of his new purchases were books that Fred had recommended to him since they were his favorites that Carlos hadn't read. He also managed to get him to try out a manga which was a success in itself since Carlos had been extremely reluctant to try them out when they spoke about it at the mall.

Fred frowned slightly as he pulled out a bright green piece of paper, eyebrow cocked as he showed it to Carlos, "Samantha sure is eager." He felt irritated by this unknown Samantha who had written her number down on the paper along with a rather bold yet straightforward note that gave her the image of a prostitute.

Carlos's brow furrowed in thought and then rolled his eyes in annoyance as he remembered, "I'm guessing she was the cashier. I thought she was going to jump me right then and there at the store."

"Too bad for her that you bat for the same team," Fred responded carelessly, feeling slightly smug that Carlos seemed rather annoyed with the Samantha person as well. He only realized what he blurted a moment later and his eyes widened as he stumbled, "Shit. Sorry."

Carlos waved his apology off, starting to feel a bit awkward, "No it's fine. You have nothing to apologize for since it's true."

"Yeah, but I still shouldn't have blurted that out loud," Fred countered. He'd feel incredibly bad if he had forced Carlos out of the closet since according to Ty, they were the only two who knew of Carlos' sexuality. The thought reminded him of the rest of his conversation with Ty and he immediately felt embarrassed and self-conscious, his temperature spiking up a few noticeable degrees.

"Well, um, anyway, here," Fred handed Carlos back his bag, flushing slightly when Carlos' fingers brushed his. Changing topics and avoiding the elephant in the room, Fred offered, "Anyway, I've got all the English volumes of Black Cat, you could borrow them if you want."

"Really?" Carlos' brows rose high, trying to tone down his excitement and surprise. He let Fred change the topic since he didn't want the boy to be uncomfortable around him and he himself didn't quite know what to say. Carlos could easily talk his way through almost anything, having practiced the skill a multitude of times due to the number of events he and his brothers had to attend, the one topic he couldn't though, related to his sexuality.

Fred nodded, "Yeah. And you can borrow some other ones if you want instead of spending unnecessary money on something you might not like."

Money wasn't really an issue for Carlos but he avoided mentioning that and simply sent Fred a warm smile, "That sounds great. I've got some books myself if you ever want to borrow some."

Fred felt his stomach tingle at the geniality of Carlos' expression that seemed to act like a cup of steaming hot chocolate on a cold day and warmed his body. "Uh, y-yeah, sure," he stuttered, redirecting his gaze so he wasn't looking at Carlos anymore. He tried looking down at his chest, but that only made him remember the pharmacy incident and there was no way he was looking any lower than that so he just looked to the side, hoping that Carlos wouldn't notice his weird behaviour.

Carlos glanced at his watch to avoid looking at Fred. He could feel his self-control dwindling away the longer he spent admiring the boy he couldn't get out of his head. Watching his reactions and the light blush that decorated his cheeks nearly drove Carlos insane, maddened with desire to pull the redhead flush against his front and bite down lightly on that pale pink bottom lip. Staying in the closet be damned.

"Looks like I gotta go, I guess I'll see you at school on Monday then," Carlos said, forcing himself to keep his mind and body in check until he could at least leave the skate park and get to the safety and privacy of his room. He was going to curl up on the arm chair in his room and start reading one of his new purchases because even though he knew he was being ridiculous and sappy, he felt that he could get closer to the person who could very well hold his heart captive.

Fred nodded, "Uh, yeah, see you Monday, Carlos."

Carlos turned around to leave but stopped a few steps away, looking over his shoulder as he left Fred one last parting remark, "You really do look good in a beanie, Fred."

Fred turned completely red and gaped as Carlos chuckled and walked out of the park. He was only snapped out of his trance when Ty flung herself onto his back and nearly sent him toppling to the floor.

"Fuck, Ty, don't do that!" Fred scolded her, managing to regain his balance as Ty jumped off of him and slung her arm around his shoulder. She looked at him with a wide, creepy grin and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, pointedly glancing at the Carlos' disappearing figure as he left the park.

"Shut up," Fred ordered, removing himself from her and picking up his board and putting on his helmet before walking to the ramp where the Drew and Grant were starting up a friendly little competition with some other skaters.

"I didn't even say anything!" Ty tried to sound insulted but she was grinning far too much.

"You were thinking it. And don't you even start, Tyler," Fred said seriously. I don't even know what's going on

Ty wanted to press but didn't, instead dragging Fred by the elbow to join the others. She'd find out what had happened later by either interrogating Fred or going after Carlos. She wanted to ask him how he managed to get into her apartment without the keys anyway. For now, she was content to skate with her non-artsy friends and have an insane amount of fun to make up for waking up with a killer hangover two mornings in a row.

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