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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12. Chapter Twelve

A piercing whistle rang through the gym just as Jimmy shot the basketball towards the basket, but missed. The ball bounced off the rim and was caught by his teammate, a ginger haired girl also in a red bib, who lobbed the ball directly through the hoop.

"Alright sheep, class is over. Balls in the basket and bibs over there, I want four piles, one of each color and then you can get out of here!" the PE teacher bellowed, pointing to where she wanted the equipment to go.

At her dismissal, a cheer went up through the gym and everyone rushed to follow her instructions and get out of school. The week was more than half over and everyone was more than ready for the weekend, especially since Shady's little tipoff was well based and news of the Hendricks' house party was already spread amongst the student body.

After changing back into her faded jeans and worn dark green t-shirt, Ty met up with the rest of her friends in the hallway of the locker rooms. They hadn't bothered with changing out of their PE clothes and were leaning against the wall, talking as they waited for her.

"Hey," Ty called out, receiving nods and waves from them. She ran her fingers through her short locks, trying to give it some semblance of order, but gave up rather quickly and just shook her head, making her dark brown hair even more frayed.

Henry rolled his eyes at her and gestured for her to come to him so he could fix her hair. After Henry patted it down, running his own fingers through her slightly sweaty locks, Ty turned around grinning, "Thanks Rinny. You know, you're scary good at that."

"When you have to babysit a bunch of four year old cousins during family gatherings, you learn some things even if you don't want to," he rolled his eyes and purposefully ruffled her hair, making Ty glare at him.

The door to the boys' locker room opened, directing the gang's attention to it as the Rizzos walked out. They had changed back into their normal clothes with their bangs still a bit damp from splashing their faces with cold water.

Ty grimaced slightly at them. One thing she didn't like about her favourite class was the before and after in the locker rooms, which was why she rarely changed her clothes after PE. Even though there were a few girls she could stand and talk to without wanting to rip their heads off, there was a number of them that she couldn't.

The entire five or so minutes she took to change, the ones she wanted to put muzzles on were constantly jabbering on about the three brothers, especially Dante. The brothers had actually participated, even Luca who people had written off as rather puny, and the girls couldn't stop talking about their physique, the way Dante's muscles looked through his tight dark grey shirt as he shot a basket, the way Carlos' arms felt when he caught one girl who tripped, the way the boys seemed to not break much of a sweat despite easily kicking practically everyone's ass, and the list just went on and on. It was bad enough when they couldn't shut up about her friends, now with the brothers, she was scarily close to making nooses out of vocal chords.

Before either of the groups could tear the other a new one, the boys' locker room door swung open again, revealing Davie. He had changed back into his black cargo pants and dark blue hoodie, and was in the middle of trying to tame his strawberry blond locks in a similar manner Ty had, except he was much more motivated to not look like he had been hit by a hurricane. Looking up, he hurriedly shook his head and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his hoodie when he saw that Ty was watching him.

"Davie, you ready?" Ty flashed him a smile.

"Yeah, so, let's go?" Davie asked, slightly awkwardly.

Ty turned to Jimmy, dumping her bag into his arms, "Thanks for taking this and my crap from my locker, Jay-Jay."

She quickly went to Davie, grabbing his hand and pulling him down the hallway before Jimmy could protest at being her pack mule.

"Later, losers!" Ty called back, laughing.

Davie managed to move his feet and laughed with Ty until they reached the school gate where they both slowed to a stop, panting slightly.

"Sorry 'bout that, Davie," Ty smiled at him, releasing his hand.

Davie returned the smile, "It's fine, Jimmy's face was hilarious and," he grinned cheekily, wiggling his eyebrows with great exaggeration, "as a bonus you willingly held my hand. I can die happy now that I finally have your fingerprints on my hand, which I will now never wash to keep your touch permanent."

Ty rolled her eyes and chuckled at him, "Alright, but before you go on making clones of me, we getting some grub or heading straight to the mall for the movie?"

Davie cocked his head towards the student parking lot near the security guards' office, "Well I was thinking mall first for the movie and my car's over there."

"Sweet!" Ty exclaimed. "You have a car? Can I drive her? Please?"

Davie shook his head, "Sorry Ty, but I know how much of a speed demon you are especially with that accident you got into about two years ago. Besides, my dad'll kill me if I crash her." He walked towards a slightly faded red Mitsubishi Lancer, pulling out a set of keys from his pocket and unlocking the doors. He went to the passenger side and held the door open for Ty who pouted at not being allowed to drive the second-hand car, but thanked and teased him for being so gentleman-y.

Davie shut the door for her and walked around the front to slide into the driver's seat and they were soon pulling out of the parking space and onto the road towards Mackel Mall that was a couple blocks and a street away.

"So do you have a movie in mind, or do you want to just watch whatever is sooner and available?" Davie asked, keeping his eyes on the road.

Ty shrugged, "I prefer watching whatever takes the least amount of time to wait. If the movie sucks, we can make fun of it during and after."

"Haha, sounds just like you," Davie grinned.

Ty huffed overdramatically, "And what is that supposed to mean?"

Davie chuckled and shook his head, "Oh nothing, your royal highness."

Ty focused her eyes on Davie, tilting her head to lean against the window and smiled softly, "I'll let you off for calling me that only because you're finally relaxing."

Davie blushed faintly and stepped on the brakes at the red light, turning his head to look at her sheepishly once the car had stopped, "Sorry, but you and your friends are kind of intimidating, especially when you're together. And I was paranoid that they'd castrate me for even thinking about asking you out."

"They're not that bad."

Davie raised a sceptic brow at her, "Last year? That junior with the sort of bad rep asked you to prom and they scared the shite out of him."

"He was a creep and even after I said no, he wouldn't stop bothering me," Ty defended.

"He transferred schools within the month, Ty."

Ty opened her mouth to retort, but hesitated and shut her mouth again, frowning. She eventually rolled her eyes in defeat, "Alright, you have a point, but did you really just say 'shite'?"

Davie's cheeks turned pink though he tried to scoff, "Yeah, so?"

Ty snickered, "Oh nothing, Jones."

"Jones?"

"Yes, Jones, your name's Davie, which is a variation of Davy as in Davy Jones. You know, your last name should be Jones instead of Jacobs and your name should be spelled with a 'y' instead of 'ie'. That'd be amazingly perfect, and if you ever own a boat you better call it something along the lines of the Flying Dutchman."

They spent the rest of the short ride joking around and talking about mindless nothings with Ty refusing to call Davie by anything other than Jones, Dutchman, Duchess, Captain Octopus and Locker Boy.

Davie parked his car and the two headed to the top floor of Mackel where the cinema was located along with the arcade, bookstore, toy store and a bunch of fast food restaurants and clothing stores.

They quickly ran into the shortest line they could find and scanned the "Now Showing" screen above the counters.

"The Host," they both stated almost immediately, seeing that it was going to play in less than ten minutes and there were still seats left.

Turning to face each other, they laughed and nodded. They purchased their tickets, luckily managing to get two next to each other, and quickly bought popcorn, soda and a set of nachos (Davie insisted on paying for everything with Ty letting him keep his man-ego) before flashing their tickets to an employee who let them run to the movie hall, making it just in time to see the end of the pre-show advertisements.

X

Carlos watched Ty and Davie rush past the ticket counter and get lost inside the cinema, holding an extra large bucket of caramel popcorn, a soda each and a tray of nachos. He was pretending to browse the manga section of the bookstore, keeping a steady eye on the brunette. He didn't particularly like manga, but that section was the one with the best view of the cinema.

Guess I'll have to wait until the movie's over. I've got around ninety minutes then. He put back the manga he had been pretending to flip through, tensing for a second as he sensed someone coming up to him.

"You know, stalking isn't going to be getting you any brownie points."

Carlos turned around, instantly recognizing the voice. Fred was standing before him, arms crossed over his chest as he looked at Carlos in a disapproving manner. He curly red locks were encased in his unbuckled helmet, a few rebellious strands poking out of the sides, and his board along with what looked like the handle to a pot were sticking out of the small backpack slung over one of his shoulders.

"You changed," was all Carlos said in response. Fred, between leaving school and catching Carlos being a stalker, had traded his PE clothes for a pair of baggy, worn out jeans and a blood red V-neck t-shirt that clung tantalizingly close to his frame, the neckline revealing his collar bones. His jeans sagged a little, revealing a few centimeters of his black plaid boxers that Carlos had forced himself to keep his eyes off of when they were in the locker rooms before PE.

"Yeah, I've got some errands to run for my mom and she wouldn't let me leave unless I changed out of my PE clothes," Fred explained. He uncrossed his arms and pointedly looked at Carlos and then the cinema, "But back to the main point. Why are you stalking Ty?"

"I'm not stalking her," Carlos defended. "Just...keeping an eye on her to make sure she's okay."

Fred rolled his eyes, snorting, "Yeah, and I'm an albino Sasquatch with a diet that solely consists of white chocolate dipped in vegemite."

Carlos' lips twitched into a grin as he conceded, "Okay, I was watching her and Davie, but I'm sure if she knew, she'd rather it be me than my brothers or even someone Papà would send."

"Why?" Fred tilted his head to the side, furrowing his brow and pursing his lips slightly in question.

Carlos held a groan and stuffed his hands into his pockets to keep them from reaching out to Fred. "Why am I watching over her, or why would she prefer to be watched by me rather than my brothers?"

"Uh, both and also why you refuse to say you're stalking her."

"Papà, once he found out about Ty going on a date – and don't ask me how he found out so quickly because even I'm not too sure, demanded that someone watch her and the boy to make sure she's safe. Luca for one would interrupt her date, he so much as said before I left, and Dante... he has a very short temper as you would have noticed by now. He would probably end up destroying a few shops while he waited and watched." And then there's his little jealousy issue that he still doesn't acknowledge. I doubt my fratellino idiota even knows he has a jealousy issue.

Fred nodded in understanding and indicated for Carlos to go on by circling his wrist.

Oh dio mio, are you trying to test me? Carlos moved his gaze to look just past Fred's head so he was not focused on the expecting look upon the redhead's face. I'm behaving like a hormonal thirteen-year-old who had only just discovered the pleasurable purpose of the member between his legs.

"And I refuse to call what I am doing 'stalking' because stalking is where two people go on a romantic walk together, but only one person knows it. I was simply tailing Ty, not having a pseudo-romantic prance."

"Where'd you get that definition from?" Fred laughed. Carlos chuckled though his eyes had returned to take in Fred's face. His light brown eyes danced in amusement and Carlos admired the way the boy's freckles slowly grew more emphasized as Fred's face reddened from laughing.

"Not sure where, but it may have been on 9gag or Tumblr," Carlos admitted. "So what are your errands exactly?"

"Hm? Oh nothing much, I just need to buy some things from the pharmacy, deliver a pot thing to one of my mom's friends and check on an order at the skate store. Oh and I was also looking for a few books for myself."

"Where's the rest of your gang?" Carlos looked around the bookstore, eyes skimming over shelves only to see unknown faces.

Fred shrugged, "Buzz is tutoring and the others are probably either at Sal's, the skate park or someone's house playing video games. We're not always glued to the hip."

Fred moved closer to Carlos and reached in front of him to the bookshelf, picking up the manga that Carlos had put back. He missed Carlos stiffen slightly at the close contact when his arm had carelessly brushed past Carlos' side.

"Sweet, it's finally in stock," Fred grinned at the manga in hand. "Now I just need to find The Night Stalker."

Before Fred turned to head towards the young adult fiction section of the store, he motioned for Carlos to follow him by cocking his head, "C'mon, mate. Instead of stalking – or as you prefer, tailing, my best friend, help me with my errands or at least give me some company."

Without waiting for Carlos to respond, Fred used his free hand to grab Carlos' wrist and pull him towards the other end of the store and into the aisles that contained books written by authors whose last names ranged from A to E.

"Found it!" Fred cheered in triumph, holding up a book with a black cover and white text that gave a clue to the novel's thriller and suspense-like nature. "This has got to be my lucky day, finding both of them in stock."

Carlos smiled softly at Fred's excitement. The little – and Carlos could rightly call Fred little seeing as Carlos himself towered over most by a good few inches – redhead was grinning from ear to ear, hugging both the manga and paperback novel to his chest.

Fred practically skipped to the cashier and Carlos trailed behind him, waiting by the exit of the store as Fred paid and met with Carlos, still grinning happily.

"You really like to read, huh?" Carlos commented as the two began walking towards the escalator to go down.

"Yep. Even though the gang and I love skateboarding, we each have something else we love just as much, maybe even more. Buzz's a soccer fanatic, Jay will murder anyone who messes with his guitar, violin or other music related things, I love to read, Rinny's completely devoted to his art, and..." He thought for a moment and chuckled, "I might have to rephrase. Almostall of us like something other than skateboarding. Drew and Ty are pretty much obsessed with it. They sold their souls the moment we first saw someone skateboarding at the skate park when we were like four or five."

Reading, huh? Carlos stored the information away. He glanced down at Fred whose arm was occasionally bumping into his and Carlos continuously fought the urge to grab it and link his lean, Mediterranean bronze fingers with Fred's thin, long and pale ones. To divert his attention, he looked forward again, stepping off of the escalator and following Fred to his next errand location and said, "Speaking of your friends, I was a bit surprised at how easily you let Ty go on her date. I was expecting you all to be a lot more threatening towards Davie seeing how protective you all of her."

"Well, I'll admit that we did give the last guy quite the scare, but Davie's cool and Ty really does need a break. She needs to hang out with someone who isn't going to be walking on eggshells around her. Someone who doesn't know literally everything about her life. It's like the whole spilling everything to a complete stranger thing 'cause you'll never see them again." Fred's previous glee had died down and he grew slightly pensive.

Eggshells? So there is something going on with her right now and it doesn't have to do with my family. The problem with her parents, maybe?

Putting his questions and suspicions aside, Carlos looked at Fred and saw that he was now frowning in thought. He was upset and Carlos did not like that one bit.

"What's your favorite color?"

Fred looked up at Carlos, his lips twitching between a confused frown and a curious smile. "Random much?" he chuckled, raising a brow.

Carlos shrugged, smiling, "Well it seemed that the topic needed to be changed and that was the first thing that came to mind. So what is it? I'm curious."

"Don't laugh," Fred ordered before looking forward again towards the slowly approaching rather empty pharmacy. Before Carlos could question why he would laugh at what Fred's favorite color was, Fred answered, "...Red."

"Red?" Carlos repeated. "Like—"

"Yes, red, like my nickname that I hear more often than my real name. And my favorite animal is a fox, like my last name. People just seem to find it absolutely hilarious," Fred grumbled.

Carlos bit the inside of his cheeks to stop a smile from appearing on his lips. It was just so hard to keep his emotions in check and off his face around the redhead who was now visibly sulking.

Fred turned to look at Carlos again as they entered the small pharmacy and glared accusingly, "You're laughing! I knew I shouldn't have told you."

He huffed and quickened his pace to walk down an aisle, getting away from Carlos. He pulled out a crumpled list from his pocket and proceeded to pick up a box of Strepsils, Advil, and Paracetamol. He briskly walked towards the end of the aisle and picked up two packs of Band-Aids before being tugged back into a firm chest by his elbow.

"Oof," Carlos gasped at the impact of Fred's skateboard and a cylindrical metal object to his chest. He released Fred who turned around with a slight frown and Carlos winced slightly before apologizing, "I'm sorry, Fred. I didn't mean to laugh, and I think I held it in quite well. But anyway, I wasn't actually laughing at your answers, I was smiling at the way you were pouting and grumbling. It was—"

"I swear, Carlos, if you say cute, so help me god, I will cut your tongue off and shove it through your ears," Fred interrupted, eyes narrowed in warning.

Carlos held his hand ups by his head in surrender though he was fighting another smile. Fred's expressions were just so smile provoking, especially when he was turning his favorite color in frustration and annoyance.

"Okay, don't shoot, I wasn't going to say that," well I was, but as much as I enjoy seeing you get angry because you're so adorable, I don't want you to carry through with your threat, I rather like my tongue where it is. It's a lot more functional in my mouth, and in my hormonal fantasies, yours, "I was going to say that the expression just looked funny on you. And that it was a bit amusing that you have such a reaction. That's all."

Fred narrowed his eyes suspiciously, trying to tell if Carlos was lying but gave up. He simply looked down at the list his mother gave him to see if he had gotten everything that was needed from the pharmacy.

"Am I forgiven?" Carlos asked.

Fred shrugged, "Hmm... Maybe. Maybe not. Being called cute is a huge pet peeve of mine."

Fred yelped when he felt his body crash into a chest and his face was pressed into the crook of Carlos' shoulder, where his arm curved into his neck. He dropped the items in his hand and struggled, but Carlos' arms around his torso were like flesh coated steel bars.

"Hey! Lemme go!" Fred ordered, his cheeks and ears turning pinker and pinker.

"Nope, not until I am forgiven," Carlos responded. And I rather like having you this close to me, volpino.

Fred struggled for a moment longer before shouting, "Alright! Alright! You're forgiven so let me go!"

Carlos released the flustered redhead, slightly disappointed at no longer holding the soft, supple body, but seeing Fred's flushed face and emphasized freckles almost made up for the loss of contact.

Carlos bent to the floor to pick up the dropped items and shot Fred a guiltless smile, "What's next on your errand list?"

Fred tried to calm his breathing along with his racing heart and looked down at the list after scanning the store to see if there were eyes on them. He breathed a small sigh of relief when he saw that it was still rather empty and the employees were on the other end of the store by the cashier and seemed to have ignored the commotion they had made.

"Uh, I need to deliver a pot thing to my mom's friend who owns a hair cut place on this floor. Then I just need to check on something at the skate store on the ground floor and that'll be it." He was trying to mentally cool his blush, but he could still feel the ghost of Carlos' hold on him, and he didn't find it as creepy as he probably should have.

"Let's go then. We can get ice cream or something after."

"Uh yeah, sure..." Fred trailed, watching Carlos walk to the cashier and dump the items in front of the employee. She eyed him up but Carlos seemed oblivious to the middle-aged woman and her obvious visual molesting.

Fred walked up to the counter and used the money his mother had given him for the errands and then the two quickly left the store, Fred leading them to the salon on the other side of the floor. They stopped at the entrance of Lock and Cut and Fred scanned the busy salon until he spotted who he was looking for.

"Hey, Mrs. V," Fred smiled at a petite woman with golden curls artistically held up with a claw hair clip.

"Oh! Fred darling!" Mrs. Visvitch grinned. She hurried her way to the entrance of her store, her long purple skirt swishing at her black heels, and enveloped Fred in a tight hug, kissing his cheeks.

Fred grimaced slightly and pulled away as Mrs. Visvitch giggled, "Sorry honey, but I felt like I haven't seen you in ages. Oh and who's your friend?"

"Oh, this is Carlos. He's um, we kind of just met actually. Er, and Carlos, this is Mrs. V since no one can pronounce her name," Fred introduced.

Mrs. Visvitch eyed Carlos, mentally analyzing him and almost immediately deemed him a hottie who she wouldn't mind her daughter dating if she was seventeen instead of seven.

"Hello, Mrs. V. It's a pleasure to meet you," Carlos smiled politely.

"Well, pleasure to meet you too, Carlos. Now Fred, your mother said you were coming by to give me something?"

"Oh yeah, one sec." Fred slipped his bag off his shoulder and pulled out a small cooking pot, holding it out to Mrs. Visvitch. "Here ya go, Mrs. V. And we gotta go now, still a few errands to run and all."

"Alright, honey. Give your mom my thanks and tell her that we really need to plan that all girls night out soon. And you sir, need a haircut. I can tell even with that unflattering helmet on your head."

Fred rolled his eyes, "I'll cut it eventually. Bye, Mrs. V."

They left and headed to the ground floor, Fred sighing, "Sorry about that. She's super...lively."

"It's fine, but I think your hair is just fine as it is. You look good with longish curls even if they are trying to escape from the confines of your helmet. I'd bet that you could pull of a beanie."

Fred felt heat crawl up his neck and spread into is cheeks. He looked away, clearing his throat, "Uh, thanks, but it's a pain sometimes. Especially in the mornings."

They ended up talking about books and movies, Fred becoming determined to find a manga that Carlos would like with Carlos silently letting the redhead do as he wished. When they reached the ground floor, they saw an ice cream store just a few feet from the skate store and Carlos suggested he buy the ice creams while Fred did whatever he had to do.

"Alright, sounds good. I'll have a chocolate chip cookie dough and if they don't have it then mint chocolate chip, and if for some unholy reason they have neither, then whatever is the chocolatiest," Fred told Carlos, digging into his pocket for his wallet.

Carlos grabbed Fred's arm and shook his head, "Ice cream's on me. I can hold onto your stuff while you go check on whatever you're checking on."

Fred was about to refuse but Carlos had already taken Fred's helmet and somehow managed to twist Fred around and steal his backpack. Grinning smugly, Carlos pulled the bag over his shoulder and held the helmet by its straps, "I'll see you in a bit but you may want to hurry or I might end up eating your ice cream as well."

Fred took off running into the skate store, hollering over his shoulder, "If you eat my ice cream, I'm telling Ty you were stalking her! She's gonna eat you alive!"

Carlos chuckled, walking towards the small ice cream store with Fred's belongings. After nabbing a table and setting down Fred's items upon it, he stepped into the short line and quickly scanned the selection of ice creams. He smiled politely at the bubble gum chewing employee and ordered two ice creams, both in medium sized cups.

When he paid the teenaged boy, he turned around and took a seat, waiting for Fred as he took a bite of his double chocolate fudge, sucking on the plastic spoon.

He didn't have to wait long since he soon saw Fred walk out of the skate store, waving to a Mohawk headed employee who was at least thirty and could have been a stereotypical biker.

Half way towards Carlos, two boys of around the same age stopped Fred in his tracks. The taller of the two was a blond wearing a green plaid shirt over a white undershirt paired with some sort of designer jeans. His friend, a brunet, was dressed more simply in a black hoodie and faded jeans that had rips and tears in them. They both grinned at Fred in a manner that he had learned to be wary of.

"Hey there, haven't seen you around here before," the brunet of the two drawled, eying Fred from head to toe, pausing at his lips, collar bones and hips, shamelessly checking him out. The brunet clearly liked what he saw if running his tongue over his lips was of any indication.

His blond friend nodded, "Yeah, I'm sure we'd have recognized a cutie like you."

Fred gritted his teeth, hands clenched tightly, "What did you say?"

The blond stepped closer to Fred, using one hand to cradle Fred's hip as he leaned in, whispering in his ear, "What's your name, cutie?"

By now, Carlos had shot to his feet, ice cream long forgotten as anger surged through his veins. He was halfway out of the ice cream store, just about to march over and rip the blond's arm off of Fred followed by breaking a few bones when he saw the blond hunch over with a groan. Carlos stood stock still as he watched the scene.

Fred had punched the blond. With not an ounce of restraint, too.

"Hands off, Blondie, and don't ever call me fucking cute again. In fact, I never want to see either of your fucking faces ever again, understood?" Fred scowled at the two. He turned to the brunet who was staring in shock and growled, "You have ten seconds to take your friend and get the hell out of my sight."

When neither moved out of paralyzed surprise, Fred began to count in warning, "One. Two. Three."

He didn't even make it to four when the brunet pulled his blond friend along as they ran away, disappearing in the mall crowd.

Fred ignored the spectators and stomped past Carlos. He plopped down in the seat and shoved a large spoonful of the slightly melted chocolate chip cookie dough into his mouth as he fumed.

Carlos slowly returned to his seat opposite Fred and picked up his own ice cream, not taking his eyes off of the flushed redhead. "Now I know you can get really angry, but that was something else," he commented.

Fred growled and stuffed another mouthful of ice cream into his mouth, biting down on the plastic spoon hard enough that Carlos was worried it might snap. "Every fucking time I'm alone, some creep comes up and calls me a fucking cutie. I am not cute, goddammit!"

He stuffed another large spoonful of ice cream into his mouth before grimacing, dropping the spoon into the Styrofoam cup, and holding his head, "Owowow! Brain freeze!"

Carlos bit his lip to hold his laughter. "Stick your thumb to the roof of your mouth, it'll help," he advised, demonstrating with his own.

Without hesitating, Fred followed the instructions and sighed in relief after a moment. Carlos swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing at the sight of Fred with his eyes closed in bliss and his thumb in his mouth.

Oh merda, he thought, stiffening his body in a desperate attempt to control himself.

Fred opened his eyes and grinned around his thumb, "Thuudhe, youdths ahr a theniush!" Realizing that he couldn't exactly speak properly with his thumb in his mouth, Fred tried again after wiping his saliva on his jeans, "Thanks man, can't believe that actually works."

Forcefully keeping his gaze from Fred's lips, Carlos shrugged, "No problem, so what'd you have to check at the store, or is it some big secret?"

"I was just checking to see if an order would be coming on time. It's for Ty, her birthday's coming up and the gang and I have been saving up to get her present. It's not a car or motorbike, but we know she'll love it."

"What is it?" Carlos asked, intrigued.

Fred put his finger to his lips and smirked secretively, "That part is staying secret. You're the only person outside of the gang who knows. I don't need to threaten you not to tell anyone else, right?"

Carlos shook his head, "My lips are sealed." He mimed zipping his lips, locking them and then throwing the key away.

Fred took another bite of his ice cream, this time not over burdening the spoon to avoid another brain freeze, and pointed out, "If you seal your lips, you can't finish your ice cream."

Carlos rolled his eyes and Fred grinned cheekily, reaching over the table to nab a bit of Carlos' ice cream and quickly licking it off his spoon.

They finished their ice cream, continuing their discussion on various books and movies, arguing over some while agreeing on others. After packing up, they exited the mall and stopped in front of Carlos' bike.

"Do you want a ride?" Carlos offered both out of generosity and selfishness. After the forceful hug in the pharmacy, he just wanted one more chance to feel the animated redhead against him without arising suspicion.

"You sure?" Fred asked though he was eying the bike with longing, amazement and a touch of envy.

"I wouldn't offer if I wasn't," Carlos assured him. "Hop on."

Fred got on behind Carlos, buckling his helmet as Carlos put his own helmet on. He looked over his shoulder to Fred, "So, where to?"

Fred put his arms around Carlos' waist to make sure he didn't fly off, not noticing the small hitch in Carlos' breathing, as he answered, "You remember where my house is?"

Carlos nodded and turned to face the front again, focusing on the road while secretly slightly regretting offering Fred a ride. He wasn't sure if he'd be able to keep his mind off of the arms that were squeezing his sides or the body pressed up against his back. His determination to make sure no harm came to Fred was his only form of self-control as he sped towards Fred's house.

Tailing Ty was one of the best decisions of my life. He smiled under the protection of his helmet.

X

Ty and Davie came out of the cinema after dumping their empty containers in the trash can, laughing and talking over each other about a kid that had puked in the back row. He had managed to dump the entire contents of his stomach directly on top of a couple of giggling thirteen year olds who dressed like they were ten-cent hookers.

"But the movie though, a bazillion times better than Twilight. This one was actually interesting and no vampire-wannabe fairies!"

Davie raised a brow at her, "You actually watched Twilight?"

Ty cringed, "It was a dare. It was either sitting through the whole movie or reading the book and I thought the movie would be less painful. It was horrible. I don't even think the fifty bucks and one week of having Jimmy be my slave was worth it."

"I know, my mom made me watch it with her, my aunt and cousins when it came out. I think I almost died from both embarrassment and just the complete and utter horribleness of the movie."

"Aww, poor baby," Ty cooed, patting Davie's head.

He ducked away and glared at her lightly before fixing his hair by running his hands through it to shake it out. "So, wanna go get something to eat? There's this place nearby that I've heard is pretty good. Or we can just grab something from here if you want."

"Let's go to this mystery place, I don't like malls all that much."

Coming to an agreement, the two headed back to the ground floor and soon left Mackel in Davie's car, Ty once again being denied the chance to drive it.

"So..." Davie started soon after they pulled out of the parking lot.

Ty chuckled, "So...you gonna continue that sentence, Cap'n Octopus?"

"Well, I was kind of wondering about the new guys. You seem to be pretty close to them. Sort of."

"The Rizzos?" Ty grimaced. "I am not close to them, they're a bunch of stalkers and the only one I can even sort of tolerate is Carlos. Maybe Luca, but only because he's like a puppy."

"What about the dark haired one, Dante?"

"What about that pissfuck?"

Davie bit down a laugh, "Wow, well you seem to not like him."

"Well I don't usually like people who punch me in the face hard enough to knock me to the floor," Ty drawled. Not to mention, drug, kidnap, choke and stalk me, and all in less than one fucking week.

"Right. I wasn't there for that but definitely heard about it the next day. But it looks like it's healing up, you wouldn't even notice it unless you were really looking. Does it still hurt?"

"Nah, it's fine now but it sure did hurt like a bitch before," Ty rubbed her jaw and then her neck absentmindedly. The bruising and swelling was gone thanks to Carlos' little first aid as well as Ty's own but it was still a tad tender.

Ty looked out the window, recognizing the road and furrowed her brow. "Hey, Jones, is the place you're taking me to Sal's by chance?"

"Sal's?" Davie echoed.

"Sorry, that's what the gang and I call it. Its legit name is Munchies during the day and Bala Borracho during the nights."

"Yeah that's the place. How'd you know?" Davie asked, surprise coloring his tone.

"That's a frequent hang out place for me and my friends. We know the owner pretty well so we just call it Sal's."

"Oh, well then at least I don't have to worry about whether or not you'll like the food then, eh?" Davie grinned.

Ty laughed and they soon parked along the curb, just a block from Sal's. Ty slid out of the car and walked around to wait for Davie who cut the engine and pocketed his keys.

Just before they began walking towards the restaurant, Davie caught Ty's hand and pulled her back.

"Jones?" Ty questioned, turning to face him.

"Uh, don't murder me, please." Davie pulled Ty up to him and took her by surprise, lightly planting his lips against hers.

Ty stood frozen for a moment in surprise and before she knew it, Davie had pulled back.

"I don't really want to get beaten up by your crew and they're most likely in there right now," Davie explained sheepishly.

"Yeah, they'd probably kill you after that little stunt, matey," Ty grinned.

"So, do I get another date or...?"

Ty's grin turned apologetic, "I honestly did have a lot of fun, Davie."

"But it was like you were hanging with your friends," Davie finished for her. He shrugged and held his hand up as she opened her mouth to apologize, "No it's fine. And I swear I'm not just saying that to save my pride though it did get a light beating. I will admit I was crushing on you for a bit, but after today, I can't see you as a girlfriend or something."

"So a double friendzone, huh?"

"Yep, and I guess I got a kiss and a new friend out of it. Plus, you didn't deck me so that's always a bonus," Davie joked.

Ty rolled her eyes, "C'mon, Duchess, let's go see the guys and get some food."

As soon as Ty and Davie walked through the doors of Sal's, a girl ran right up to Ty screaming, "Ty! Ty! Ty! Ty! Ty!"

"Holy shit," Ty stumbled backwards and braced herself for the attack of a hyperactive twelve year old. "Nice to see you too, Dora. How was your mother-daughter trip?"

Isadora stuck her tongue out at Ty, "Ty, you know I hate that nickname. Oh but the trip was super fun!"

"Dora," Ty mocked, "You know I don't like being attacked and having my ear drums assaulted. Where's your dad?"

"Right here, mija," Sal called out from the kitchen, walking into the dining area with two orders. He dropped the orders off at a table and smiled at Ty and then Davie to whom he held his hand out in introduction, "Hola, I'm Salvador Hernandez, but just call me Sal, this is my daughter Isadora and who are you?"

"Er, hi, I'm Davie, a friend of Ty's," Davie shook Sal's hand, cringing slightly at the Latino's rather firm grip.

"Friend? Only?" Sal inquired.

"Sal," Ty groaned, "Please don't." The last time Ty had turned up at Sal's with a boy who was not one of the gang, Sal had made like a stereotypical, overprotective father with a shotgun and scared the bejesus out of the boy.

He grinned and held is hands up, "Okay, okay, mija. Now, you two go have a seat, I'll send Izzy to get your orders in a bit."

Sal returned to the kitchen, taking Isadora with him who pouted and complained that she wanted to tell Ty about a boy she met on her trip with her mother. That resulted in Sal's eyes widening and immediately going on a spiel of how boys are absolutely no good and she was not allowed to date or even think about dating a boy until she had graduated from college. Maybe not even then if he could help it.

Isadora huffed and ran into the kitchen to complain to her mother, Esperanza Hernandez. While Isadora retained most of her looks from her father, she had her mother's pale blue eyes and her curly black hair was grown to fall to her lower back, though it was usually braided or tied up neatly by her mother. Both her parents weren't really on the tall side of the scale so Isadora was a bit shorter than most twelve year olds.

"Ty! Davie!" Jimmy called out from the gang's table. They had their stuff lying on the floor in a messy pile that had surprisingly not gotten in anyone's way. Ty's things were there too since the boys had gone straight to Sal's after school to do some work that was due the next day if they didn't want to get detentions.

Ty and Davie waved and walked over to the table, sliding into the corner booth.

"Where're the others?" Ty asked. It was only Drew and Jimmy, both having already eaten and were lazily sipping their cokes with their homework piled to the side.

"Red had some errands to run, Rinny got inspired and is on one of his 'there's-nothing-but-paint-and-my-canvas' stints again, and Buzz is tutoring," Drew answered.

"So? How was your date, or are you still on it and we just made it awkward?" Jimmy asked, leaning forward in an obnoxious manner.

"It was fun but we've decided on a double friendzoning," Davie answered.

Jimmy leaned back into his seat and nodded, "Cool. So we don't need to give you the third degree and possibly inflict bodily harm before running you out of town."

Davie laughed, but when everyone else remained quiet he stopped and turned to Ty, "Um, he's joking, right?"

The three just gave him blank looks and Davie slowly crept away until Drew cracked a smile, snickering, "Just messin' with ya, mate."

Davie sighed in relief though he internally swore to never tell them about having kissed Ty, though it was more of a bashful peck. There was a small hint of seriousness in Jimmy's idle threat. It was practically microscopic, but Davie wasn't taking any chances.

Moments later, Isadora came up to the table holding a notepad and pencil. "So what're you gonna have?"

"I'll have the usual, Izzy," Ty answered. Isadora nodded and turned to Davie who quickly glanced at the laminated menu and smiled, "I'll just have some cheese fries and a sprite, thank you."

Isadora nodded and grinned, "Alrighty. Just hold on for like fifteen minutes max." She skipped to the counter and relayed the order to the cooks before running back to the table.

"Ty! Daddy told me you got in a fight again," Isadora glared at her accusingly.

Ty sighed, rolling her eyes. Isadora was completely against Ty and her roughhousing; always berating her and the others when they showed up with bruises, cuts, scrapes, or really any form of injury, be it from their own clumsiness or skate boarding.

"It wasn't really a fight, so don't worry about it, Izzy. Now run along and help your dad take orders and shiz."

Isadora narrowed her eyes at Ty but turned around and did as she was told. Helping out with the restaurant was how she got her allowance and when she played the "sweet little girl helping her mommy and daddy" card, the tips came rolling in. No one could resist her wide pale blue eyes paired with her sweet smile and lightly accented, childlike voice with a few Spanish terms thrown here and there.

The four of them chatted and finished off their orders before getting the bill and paying for their food, though Davie managed to pay for Ty again, claiming that technically their date wasn't over yet so she still had to let him keep his man-pride.

They said goodbye to Sal and Isadora, walking into the street. Drew ran off ahead of them, jumping onto his board as he remembered that his mother had wanted him home earlier to help her set up for a dinner with one of his father's co-workers.

"So, can I drive you home?" Davie asked once the trio reached his car.

"Thanks, I appreciate it but I'm staying over at Jay-Jay's for an indefinite amount of time."

"Huh? Oh okay. Well then, I guess I'll see you guys tomorrow unless you both want a ride back."

Jimmy shook his head, "It's fine, man. If I get in a car right now, I'm going to fall asleep."

"Thanks for the offer, but I missed my board and it's really not that far. See ya, Jones," Ty waved. Jimmy waved and said his own parting remark as Davie got in his car and drove away.

"Is there a reason you are staying at Jimmy's house for an indefinite amount of time?"

Ty and Jimmy swiveled around in surprise at the voice.

"Fuck! Holy crap, how did you do that?" Jimmy exclaimed. "Are you guys ninjas as well as mafia now too?"

Luca smiled innocently, "No, just quiet."

Carlos and Dante were right behind Luca as the trio walked up to Ty and Jimmy. They had arrived before Davie, Ty, Drew and Jimmy had exited Sal's, parking their bikes a few feet behind, but decided to stay silent and observe them before revealing themselves. Well it was really Luca's idea to eavesdrop

"And sneaking up on you is hardly a challenge," Dante added. "In fact this hardly counts as sneaking."

Before Ty could retort, Carlos stepped in, "But as I said before, why the indefinite amount of time?"

"None of your business," Ty answered coldly.

"Oh but I'm afraid it is. You're our fiancée," Carlos reminded though he personally wasn't exactly too hooked on the idea either, much rather preferring her red haired, freckle faced friend who had put Carlos in an amazingly good mood.

Before she could lash out at him as he saw she was prepared to do, he added, "And Papà will find out and then demand to know, possibly removing you from your friend's house. I do doubt that you want to be kidnapped again, dolcezza."

Ty gave them a withering glare and tightened her grip on her board. Jimmy stepped forward protectively, holding his free arm up in front of Ty to act as a wall of sorts. "Look, man, back off would you? We already told you guys at lunch today that she doesn't need you adding to her plate."

Ty pushed Jimmy's arm down, looking at him pointedly when he was about to protest, "And she can speak for herself." She flashed him a quick grateful smile though before turning her firm gaze back to the Rizzos.

"One, Carlos don't call me that again, I'm a lot more sour than sweet. Two, it really is none of your business and if you haven't already gotten it by now, I am not your fucking fiancée. And three, please just go away. Whatever the guys told you after I stormed off at lunch is probably true. I have enough shit to deal with and I really don't need or want you three and your stubborn ass father adding to it. I'm tired, so just go away. I was in a good mood and now you're killing it."

Luca pouted, "But if you need a place to stay for some reason, you should stay with us. We've got the room and it'll be a lot easier going to parties and whatever if you live with us. Like the one that's on Friday night."

Ty groaned in frustration, "Have you not heard a single fucking thing I've said? And I am not going to anymore of your stupid parties!"

"She is not staying at our house," Dante asserted, glaring at Luca for even suggesting it. It's bad enough that Papà refuses to dissolve the still unofficial engagement and making us go to that fucking school, if I have to see her in my own house daily, I don't know who I'll murder first. Her or Papà.

"Thank you! Finally one of you brothers has some sort of semblance of a mind, even if it is Dante," Ty looked at him with a tinge of relief in her features that stunned him.

She's that opposed to the idea of getting with any of us? Dante knew that he and his brothers, heck even his father, Lorenzo and the twins were pretty attractive. They all had women chase after them for either their looks, money or power, though his father had never looked at anyone other than their mother.

"Well, now that that's all cleared up, good bye." Ty grabbed Jimmy's hand and pulled him after her, away from the brothers.

They didn't follow, but Carlos called out to her, his voice lilting in amusement, "Don't forget about the party on Friday!"

Ty simply let go of Jimmy's hand to flip Carlos the bird without turning around. She dropped her board to the floor and Jimmy did the same, the both of them skating out of sight.

"Ty, you do remember that my house is the other way, right?" Jimmy smirked at her.

Ty grinned mischievously, "Yeah, but they don't."

"But they did find out where you go to school. What's to say they won't use their mafia hacker skills to find out where my house is? Maybe they already do."

Ty tried to retort but found that she couldn't. She settled for sticking her tongue out at him and lamely answering, "Shut up."

Jimmy laughed and shook his head at her as they cut through another street that was slightly longer, but would ultimately get them to Jimmy's house where Victoria would hound Ty and demand details about her little date while Jimmy would watch Ty suffer as payback for treating him as a pack mule.

___

Italian Lingo

fratellino idiota - idiot little brother

oh dio mio - oh my god

volpino - little fox

merda - shit

dolcezza - sweetness/sweetheart

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