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.


21. Chapter Twenty-One

Ty woke up to the sound of her doorbell ringing. She groaned and rolled onto her side, blindingly grabbing for her phone. She checked the time and grumbled as she got out of bed to snap at whoever woke her up at ten o'clock on a Saturday, two hours before the earliest time she would wake up when she didn't have plans.

Ty trudged downstairs and made it to the door when her visitor rang the bell for the third time.

"What?" she snapped, throwing the door open. When she saw it was only Gordon, Ty rubbed her eyes and relaxed her scowl, "Sorry, Gordon, didn't mean to snap at you. I just woke up."

Gordon chuckled, "I can see that, Miss Jackson. Sorry for waking you up, but you have a delivery."

Gordon held out the cardboard box and Ty took it from him, looking at it curiously. She smiled sleepily at Gordon, "Thanks, Gordon. Shouldn't you be at home by now though?"

"I changed my work hours. I'm heading home right now, actually. I'll see you later, Miss Jackson."

"Oh. Okay. Bye, Gordon," Ty nodded at him since her hands were busy holding the new parcel.

She kicked the door shut and plopped down on the floor, setting the box in front of her and immediately began observing it. The parcel was the same size as the last one she had received which contained the teddy bear and the necklace that were still lying forgotten on the dining table. Unlike the last box however, Ty Jackson was scrawled on the lid of this one under the apartment building's address. There was no return address or sender name once again.

Ty opened the box and frowned in puzzlement at the contents. There was another teddy bear, this one also white but it was dressed in a dark red dress with white 'X's across the bottom. Also, this one came with an envelope rather than a fancy necklace.

Ty set the new albino teddy bear down in her lap and picked up the simple white envelope. It was blank, no text written on the outside, but she assumed it was addressed to her since her name was on the box.

She ripped open the envelope and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. It was a typed out letter and Ty rubbed the sleep from her eyes before she began to read. Her sleep-muddled mind instantly came alert with fear and her face paled as her mind processed the words.

Dear Miss Tyler Jackson,

I would call you Miss Tyler Rizzo, but you won't be living that long, I'm afraid. It's a pity, you seem like such a lively girl with a bright future waiting for you. It really is too bad that you are important to the Rizzos.

I wonder how Roberto and his sons would react to finding your corpse, bloodied and barely recognizable, hanging from a doorway. Or perhaps delivered to their front door with a video camera sending a live feed so that I can have a permanent memory of their expressions of grief, horror, and denial.

I can't forget your lovely parents, completely unaware in Portugal. They won't know what happened to their precious little daughter until they return on the 6th of May. Or, they might return early when you don't show up at the airport since you gave your tickets away. Who knows, you may or may not be alive by then.

Your time is almost out, little girl.

Ty's hands were shaking by the time she finished reading the letter the first time. She ran her eyes over it again but the words weren't changing.

She knew it couldn't be a joke from her friends because as much as they enjoy pranking each other, threat letters were a line they would never cross. Also, they would never bring up her parents unless they were ridiculously worried about her, and even then they would never, not in a million years, use the word 'lovely' – even with heavily laid sarcasm – to describe her parents, their hatred of the questionable guardians second only to Ty's.

Ty got to her feet, note and teddy bear in hand, and grabbed her skateboard that she had left by the door. She skipped going through the trouble of putting on her shoes and changing out of her pajamas. If she gave herself a moment to think, she'd begin panicking, and that was something she had to save for later.

Ty reached the lobby and walked right out of the building, paying no mind to the looks she received from various strangers as she hopped on her board and sped to her destination.

A rushed ride later, Ty skidded to a stop at the main gates of the Rizzos' mansion. After trying the gate and finding it locked, she pressed the bell for the intercom and waited impatiently for someone to answer.

"Yes?" Lorenzo's distorted voice came through the machine.

"Chucky, it's Ty," Ty answered. The urgency, breathlessness, and no-nonsense tone of her voice made Lorenzo hold off on questioning what the problem was. A single sound went off and Ty pushed open the gate just enough for her to slip past, slamming it shut behind her as she quickly made her way to the front door.

Mario opened the door just before she reached it. The moment after Lorenzo had opened the gate, he sent word to Mario and a few others to check on her. Something was obviously wrong, but they didn't know what.

Ty stepped inside and tried to catch her breath for a moment. She couldn't quite speak yet, so she simply handed Mario the letter and the teddy bear, the latter of which he frowned at skeptically. He avoided any unnecessary questions since it was quite obvious that whatever the problem was, it was serious enough for her to race all the way to the Rizzos' in a pair of short grey shorts, old neon green tank top, and no footwear. It was clear that she had just woken up and rushed straight over.

Ty put her board down and braced herself on her knees, sucking in mouthfuls of air as she waited for her heart rate to return to normal, but she kept her mind off of dwelling too long on the letter. Her mind and stability (both mental and emotional) were still recovering from her annual emotional breakdown that took place just a few days ago in the very house she was in at the moment.

Mario scanned the letter and his gaze hardened. By then, Lorenzo, Roberto, Luigi, another of Roberto's men, and the brothers had come up behind him.

"Bambina, are you okay?"

"Ty, what's wrong?"

"What happened?"

Lorenzo, Luca, and Carlos asked, respectively. Roberto prioritized his reactions and took the letter from Mario. He would deal with the immediate problem first and then make sure Ty was all right.

Roberto sent the other man away with orders to check on Bellini, as the other Italian man was immediately at the top of Roberto's suspect list. As a precaution he also told the other man to check in on the spies he had in various other gangs of New York and surrounding cities.

Ty stood up and pointed at the bear in Mario's hand and then the letter in Roberto's, "I woke up and those two things were delivered. I read the note, freaked a little and came here to show you because I'm certain that it is all your fault that I'm suddenly getting death threats."

Lorenzo and the brothers' eyes widened in surprise, even Dante was visibly shocked at the information. He hadn't revealed much of a reaction when he first saw Ty, panting and breathless from her race to their house. He had, momentarily, been taken aback by her revealing attire and got a quick flashback of the rainy night with 2-minute noodles and an unfinished game of 20 questions.

Lorenzo received the letter from Roberto and his expression turned murderous as he read each word. Carlos and Dante looked over Lorenzo's shoulder to see the letter as well, only Luca took the teddy bear from Mario.

"This came with the letter?" Luca asked Ty, turning the stuffed animal over in his hands.

Ty nodded, "Yeah." She was about to voice her guess that the first box was from the same person but Luca's eyes widened as he fumbled with the teddy bear.

"Cazzo," he cursed. Luca ignored the questions posed to him and pushed Ty out of the way, opening the front door wide and throwing the teddy bear as far as he could outside and then slammed the door shut.

"Luca, what the hell?" Carlos demanded. Ty hadn't been prepared to be pushed to the side, so she wasn't able to collect herself and if it weren't for Carlos reacting fast enough to grab her and help her get steady on her feet, she would have acquired a number of new bruises courtesy of the hardwood flooring.

Luca held up a single finger to Carlos and closed his eyes. Everyone stared at him in confusion and just when Roberto was about to question his youngest son, the unmistakable sound of a muffled explosion registered in everyone's ears.

Luca pulled back and opened the door to reveal the front yard that was now decorated with burnt, scattered pieces of the white teddy bear.

"Holy shit," Ty breathed shakily. Her knees buckled beneath her and she fell to the floor, staring at what used to be an albino teddy bear and an impeccable lawn.

"It was heating up and I could feel the explosive through the stuffing. It was located in the head behind the eyes. I had remodeled a similar explosive a few months ago, so that's how I knew it was a bomb," Luca explained. He reached for Ty and helped her to her feet since his brothers, his father, the twins, and Lorenzo were still staring in surprise at him and the now unidentifiable bear.

"There was something else in the bear. There might be traces of it among the debris," Luca added. "Don't worry, there was only that one bomb, it's just stuffing and other teddy bear bits outside now."

Immediately, Luigi and Mario went to see if Luca was correct while the others saw him in a new light.

"Someone tried to blow me up," Ty stated, finally realizing what exactly had just happened. She wasn't too surprised by Luca's knowledge of explosives seeing as she had seen him fiddling around with sparking mechanical things she would never understand a number of times.

Carlos gently led her to the intricately carved table that was pressed up against the wall near the door. He moved the miscellany to the side and helped Ty sit up on the table.

Luigi and Mario returned looking grim-faced and Mario held up a thick black case.

"This was in the center of the explosion," Mario stated.

Luca snatched the case from Mario and Mario held his tongue. Luca was the one who saved their lives by figuring out that the stuffed animal was a bomb, so Mario wasn't going to say anything if Luca wanted to examine another object from the Build-A-Bear: Explosive Edition.

Luca opened the thick case and pulled out a simple tape recorder. He handed it to Mario and looked to his father, "We should probably listen to it. The bear's main purpose was for injury not death, although depending on a couple factors, death could have been a possible outcome. This is probably just a threat. Can I have this case? I want to experiment on it."

Roberto looked between his seemingly innocent son and the thick, black, protective case. He knew Luca was often doing god knows what with all sorts of weaponry and mechanics, but he never suspected his son to be almost supernaturally adept. He had heard the comments that centered around his youngest and he wished those insignificant ants could see how truly brilliant the young boy was. He knew Luca was often compared to his brothers, the genius Carlos and skilled Dante, but no one saw how he could turn a broken tape recorder into a disposable bug that could be planted almost anywhere. He was greatly underestimated.

"Yes, but first we have to see what's on the tape," Roberto said. "And don't blow up any more of the house when you're experimenting."

Luca controlled his elated grin and nodded, leading the way to the closest room. Listening to the device that was placed in a rigged teddy bear at the front door wasn't quite appropriate for some reason. Also, now was not the time to be ecstatically happy about a new project. Someone tried to kill Ty, one of the few people he actually liked as a person, and even though everyone but the girl herself had a common prime suspect, they needed to make sure.

Ty hopped down from the table and at the look she received from Carlos, she shook her head, silencing him.

"I almost got blown to pieces. I'm going to listen to what's on there," she stated, daring him or anyone else to stop her.

No one argued with her even though they could see that she was shaking. It wasn't too noticeable but the others could still see the tremors coursing through her arms.

The group found themselves spread around in one of the smaller sitting rooms. Ty was sitting on the couch between Carlos and Lorenzo, Carlos putting a supporting hand on her knee as she wrung her hands in her lap. Roberto was sat in the adjacent armchair, chin resting on his clasped hands, elbows on his knees. Luca and Dante stood on either side of the armchair, Luca holding the black case and Dante had his arms crossed over his chest, expression unreadable, although his gaze did flicker dangerously when it landed on the couch. Luigi and Mario stood opposite Ty, Lorenzo, and Carlos on the other side of the small coffee table, Luigi holding the tape recorder.

Roberto nodded his head almost imperceptibly and Luigi pressed the play button, setting the recorder down at the center of the table. All eyes focused on the device, ears on alert.

There was silence for a moment followed by crackling, the movement of clothing, and air. The room held its breath when finally, a cocky voice sounded, "Hello Roberto."

"Maurice," Roberto growled, his suspicions confirmed at the other man's voice. As soon as Maurice's voice came through the device, everyone but Ty recognized him and tensed.

Ty had no idea who the man was, but she felt anger fester within her. That was the man who tried to kill her. She hated how arrogant he sounded with the simple two words and realized that he had made the recording with the assumption that Ty would have been blown to smithereens or at least majorly injured. She managed to get out without a scratch and thanked her body's autopilot for going to the Rizzos' as quickly as she did. She made a mental note to profusely thank Luca as well, for he was the one that had actually saved them.

"I do wish I could have seen your face when your precious little soon-to-be nuora was almost blown to pieces. She might survive, or she might not. What do you think of the bomb? My boys set it up, rigged it to go off at the estimated time it would take for her to get the box, open it, read the little letter, and then panic. Which hospital are you putting her in? I might pay her a little visit. A 'Get Well Soon' teddy bear and a few roses this time, maybe."

Ty's knuckles were completely white at this point, hands clenched tightly with her nails digging into her skin, about to draw blood. The others were in similar states; tense muscles, scowling faces, and the urge to kill. The only one that seemed even relatively calm was Luca, but despite his aloof façade, he was mentally configuring a device that would do unspeakable damage to Maurice Bellini's physical and mental state.

"Until then, tell her I said hi and that I'll be seeing her very soon. Ciao."

Silence filled the room at the end of the short recording. No one dared to say a word.

Finally, unable to take the heavy silence, Ty sighed and put her face in her hands, "Someone tried to kill me."

Lorenzo and Carlos each put one arm around Ty, Carlos rubbing her back in a comforting gesture, and Lorenzo squeezing her shoulder, rubbing up and down her arm.

Dante narrowed his eyes at the closeness between Ty and Carlos. When did they become so close? he grumbled to himself before knocking the thought away. What the hell am I thinking? Bellini is finally making his move!

"What are we going to do?" Luca asked, looking to his father who was glaring at the recorder and frowning in thought.

Roberto stood up and a silent message passed between him and Lorenzo. "Lorenzo, I want you and the boys to go with Ty to her house. Pack whatever you need and come straight back here. While Ty is packing, look around for the bug that Maurice planted there. Luigi, I want you to find Brody and Landon and get as much information as you can on Maurice. He's going to act again soon and we need to be prepared this time. Mario, you come with me."

Everyone got to their feet to follow Roberto's orders, but Ty simply frowned at him, "Wait, what? Why am I packing?"

"You are going to be staying with us," Roberto answered. Before Ty could argue, he continued, "It is not a suggestion, bambina. It is for your own safety. Was this the first package you received?"

Ty wanted to argue but it was more out of habit than actual desire. She was reluctant to return to the apartment. She didn't want to be alone. She would have said she would stay with one of her friends, but she didn't want any of them to get dragged into this mess. She doubted that this Maurice person would be hesitant to harm anyone she was close to.

"No it wasn't. I got another package a while ago but that one didn't fucking blow up," Ty answered. "It was a teddy bear and a necklace."

Dante's eyebrow rose at that. He remembered the necklace and teddy bear he had seen when he made his impromptu visit to Ty's.

Roberto nodded, "Be careful. When you get there, don't say a word. I want you all to be as silent as possible, we don't know where the bug is but I'm betting that it is the first package you received. Get back here in an hour, two hours tops, understood?"

The boys and Lorenzo nodded and soon everyone made their way out of the room to do their own task. Ty's group headed to the garage, Lorenzo leading the way followed by Dante and Luca with Ty and Carlos trailing at the back.

"Are you alright?" Carlos asked her softly.

Ty nodded, "Yeah, I think. Just kind of shaken up. God, I almost got killed."

Carlos put his arm around her and squeezed, "We won't let anything happen to you. Bellini went too far this time, we'll catch him and he'll suffer. I promise."

Ty didn't respond and the two walked in silence to the garage where the others were waiting for them, already in one of the Rizzos' smaller cars. Ty slipped in and ended up between Dante and Carlos, Luca was in the front with Lorenzo.

"When we get there, we need to watch what we say. Luca and I will look for the bug, while you three pack. Bambina, try to only take what is necessary. If you need more things, we'll buy it for you," Lorenzo said as they drove out of the estate.

Ty nodded and sank back into the seat. She was used to packing some clothes when she spent nights at her friends' house, but that was only because she had wanted to avoid her parents. This time, she was escaping potential danger by some psycho with a grudge.

The ride was silent, everyone preoccupied with their own thoughts and soon, Lorenzo pulled up in front of Ty's apartment building. They got out after Lorenzo parked and made their way inside.

"You bambini go on up, I'll be right there," Lorenzo said to them as they waited for the elevator. "I'm going to talk to the receptionist and a few others."

The brothers and Ty nodded and Lorenzo went to ask the receptionist if she had seen who delivered the two packages to Ty.

The others went on up and were soon standing in front of the door to Ty's apartment.

Ty took a deep breath, wary of entering the apartment. She hadn't locked the door when she left and was paranoid about the Maurice guy having someone waiting in the house for her.

"So no talking?" Ty asked. She was stalling but she couldn't help it.

The brothers nodded and Ty took another breath before she opened the door. She hesitated a moment before she made a move to step inside, but Dante pulled her back. Wordlessly, he pulled out a gun that he had put in the back of the waistband of his jeans, and kept it poised in front of him as he stepped into the apartment.

Everything looked the same as the last time he had been in the apartment except for the opened box that had been left on the floor.

Dante nodded for the others to enter and he made his way upstairs with Ty right behind him and Carlos taking up the rear, while Luca looked around the first floor for the bug.

Luca eyed the teddy bear and necklace that were still on the dining table. He walked over to the items and fumbled with the toy, checking to see if it had any hidden secrets that could cause potential harm.

Meanwhile, Ty, Dante, and Carlos made their way upstairs as silently as they could and quietly closed the door behind them once they were in her room.

Wordlessly, Ty mechanically found her duffle bag while Dante and Carlos checked her room for a bug.

While Ty packed, Dante and Carlos checked every inch of the room, every viable spot for a bug to be hidden. They were all quite certain that the bug was in the necklace or teddy bear downstairs, but they didn't want to take any chances.

Just as Ty was almost finished packing, the door opened and Luca stepped in. He closed the door behind him quietly and answered their questioning stares, "The bug is in the necklace. The teddy bear is normal so we don't need to worry about another Build-A-Bear Bomb."

"You're sure?" Carlos asked.

Luca nodded and moved to take Ty's bag from her. She was about to refuse, but Luca gave her a sympathetic look. "You're shaking."

Ty looked down at her hands and saw that he was right; they were faint, but the tremors in her hand were noticeable. She stepped back and sat on the edge of her bed, holding her head in her hands.

Carlos sat down beside her and rubber her back. "It's going to be alright, dolcezza."

"We won't let anything happen to you," Luca promised, sitting down on her other side and hugging her, resting his head on her shoulder.

Ty snorted at their words. She looked up and smiled cynically, "You can't promise any of that. You're not some kind of omnipotent being."

"True, but we'll do our best to keep you safe and our best is leagues above the best of the more average folk," Carlos counted, successfully drawing out a sincere smile out of Ty.

"Cocky, aren't we?" Ty answered without skipping a beat.

"No, just confident," Carlos grinned.

Ty raised a skeptic brow at the statement.

Luca, seeing Ty was much more relaxed now, added, "Haven't you heard? Wisdom comes with age. You should listen to the elderly."

Ty chuckled at that and ruffled Luca's dirty blond locks. "Doesn't that mean you should listen to me?" she teased.

Ty looked up at Dante who was scowling at the floor and instead of asking what crawled up his ass and died, she asked, "Oi, Dainty, when's your birthday?"

Dante looked up and a tick formed in his jaw at the sight of Luca practically cuddling with Ty and Carlos sitting so close to her with his arm over her shoulder. There was barely any space between their bodies, and Ty was still wearing her flimsy pyjamas that were way too revealing in Dante's opinion.

"You listening? Birthday, bro, what is it?" Ty repeated when Dante took too long to answer. He was pissed, but she didn't know what about.

"19th of July," he answered curtly, not quite certain as to why she would suddenly ask that.

Ty beamed at that, much to the surprise of the three brothers, and cheered," Ha! I'm older that you too! So, according to Luca's statement, you gotta listen to me."

She grinned cheekily and stuck her tongue out, biting down on the tip lightly.

Dante rolled his eyes and forced himself not to smile at Ty's adorable behaviour. Carlos had successfully distracted her and brought back the real Ty and even though Dante knew he was being stupid, he wanted to be the one who could make Ty less afraid of the situation.

"Get your shit together and put on some clothes so we can leave," Dante answered tonelessly.

Ty rolled his eyes at his behaviour. Can't the guy take a joke? Jeez.

Ty got up after prying Luca off of her and went to her closet to find something to pull on over. She felt too lazy to actually change clothes and she felt awkward about changing in her bathroom with the brothers sitting in her room a door away. The idea just seemed weird.

Ty found a baggy purple hoodie that belonged to Jimmy and a pair of shorts that she was sure used to belong to Grant. It was designed to look like a pair of boxers and the gang had a running joke about a time when Ty wore them for a bet and she got the most disgusted looks from the girls and teachers in school while many of the guys were dying to know who she had slept with since Ty wasn't known for promiscuous behavior.

As Ty pulled on the clothes, she could feel the gazes of the brothers. One of them was burning into her back but she wasn't sure as to whose it was. It was slightly unnerving but at the same time, she felt her body flush.

Finished, Ty turned back around and Carlos and Luca got to their feet, Luca grabbing Ty's bag.

Dante pushed off the wall and put his hand on the door but just before he turned the handle, he looked back and asked Luca, "Did you destroy the bug?"

Luca shook his head. "It would raise suspicion if they no longer had access to their bug. I didn't want to tip them off, so we should remain quiet, especially Ty. They probably think that their bomb worked and she's been hospitalized."

Ty gulped at the thought of how close she had been to getting injured because of a bomb. Sent by people she didn't even know!

Carlos and Dante noticed how she paled slightly, her hands clenched into tight fists with white-capped knuckles.

Dante was about to move to her, his body acting on autopilot, but Carlos beat him to it. He put his hand to Ty's back and rubbed smooth circles through her hoodie to relax her.

Carlos leaned towards her and whispered into her ear, "It'll be fine. I promise. I'll do everything in my power to make sure they don't touch you, dolcezza." Carlos took his hand off of Ty's back and got her to unfurl her fingers so he could hold her hand, giving a reassuring squeeze.

Ty nodded, more to herself than to Carlos, and let out a deep breath. What the hell am I doing? I'm tougher than this. Snap out of it!

"Andiamo," Dante grunted, glaring at Carlos and Ty's clasped hands for a moment before forcing his gaze away.

Ty, as always, was oblivious to Dante's reason for his sudden ire while Carlos couldn't help but smirk and purposefully kissed the side of Ty's head, much to her surprise.

She silently raised a brow at him but he simply shook his head and gave her a smile that told her he wouldn't say anything, no matter how much she badgered the blond.

Dante bit his tongue to prevent himself from growling and opened the door, reigning in his temper to make sure he didn't make a sound.

He led the way out, once again brandishing his gun. Luca followed directly behind him, Ty's bag in hand, and Carlos led Ty by her hand.

The group quietly crept down the staircase and Dante stopped them at the last step, taking another look around the apartment in case someone had come in.

After seeing that they were still safe, to an extent, he continued towards the door and quietly turned the handle and slowly swung it open, silently ushering the others out with Carlos taking the lead and Luca taking up the rear to make sure Ty was between the brothers.

Dante quietly closed the door behind him and they quickly went to the elevator and pressed the button for the ground floor.

Silence filled the elevator. Even though they had escaped the apartment without any trouble, everyone was still tense, waiting for an ambush of some kind. They tensed even more than was thought to be possible when the elevator stopped on the 4th floor.

Someone was getting on.

Dante had his hand ready to pull out his gun and Carlos pulled Ty behind him. Luca dropped Ty's bag behind him and reached into his pocket to pull out some kind of weapon he hadn't had the chance to test yet. It was supposed to behave like a taser, but with a much higher voltage that would paralyze the victim for five minutes. If it worked.

In the stretched out seconds that they waited for the metal doors to slide open, Ty had one thought running through her mind, Of course it's the fourth fucking floor.

The doors slowly slid open and everyone was ready to attack if need be. They only slightly relaxed when an old woman entered the elevator.

"Oh, Tina, darling, I haven't seen you in so long, dear!" the elderly woman exclaimed cheerfully as she entered the lift. She then noticed the three rather attractive boys who made her wish she were fifty years younger and asked, "And who are you three gentlemen?"

Ty decided to speak up, forcing a smile even though she wanted to whack the old lady over the head with her own walking cane for calling her that accursed name. "Hi, Ms. Gartland. These are just some classmates of mine."

The brothers still looked at the old woman warily, not trusting her cheerful demeanor.

Ty, noticing their rather hostile looks, pulled Carlos down a little to murmur in his ear, "She's lived here since before my parents moved here and she has never gone past this floor."

Dante glanced at their closeness, feeling his rage and irritation levels increase by the second. What the fuck is happening?

Carlos softened his expression and played the part of a polite gentleman flawlessly with a charming smile, "It's a pleasure to meet you Ms. Gartland. I'm Ezio, and these are my brothers Vincent and Marcelo." He gestured to Dante and then Luca as he said their pseudonyms.

Luca followed Carlos' lead and gave the plump woman a small, shy smile, "It's nice to meet you."

Dante, antisocial and rude as always, simply nodded at Ms. Gartland, but he didn't relax in the slightest.

"Oh, wonderful," Ms. Gartland chirped and had she not needed a cane to stand, would have clapped her hands together. She noticed a bag on the floor and asked, "Where are you headed?"

"A friend's," Ty answered shortly.

Ms. Gartland frowned at that, "Is it one of those hooligans you spend your time with?"

Ty gritted her teeth at that and all pretenses of being polite left her mind. "That is entirely none of your damn business, old lady."

Ms. Gartland was shocked for a moment at Ty's language and attitude before she collected herself and said, "This is what those boys have done to you. Being rude and using such bad language. You should be friends with some nice girls, not a bunch of unruly boys. And what are you wearing, dear! You look like you just woke up and those clothes do not fit you at all. You'll never get married to a nice man if you keep dressing like that."

Ty clenched her hands at that but before she could make a scathing remark, Dante beat her to it.

He stepped towards the elderly woman and narrowed his eyes, "You want her to be like the bitches at school? The superficial fakes, just because you were one of them a couple hundred years ago? Tell you what, fossil, she's fine just the way she is. Unique, annoying, gorgeous, brash, bold, confusing, and everything else you never have and never will be. Her clothes suit her just fine, they're part of her personality and she doesn't need a man to make her happy or safe, she does that on her own with her friends. Also, her name isn't Tina."

All eyes were on Dante in surprise. No one expected that kind of outburst from him of all people, and his words were completely out of character except for "annoying", but "gorgeous" and "unique"? Never would anyone have thought he would use those words to describe the girl he has made sure to openly hate.

No one had time to respond because the elevator had reached the ground floor moments later, the metal doors sliding open, and Dante strode out as calmly as ever though he was still on guard.

Carlos pulled Ty out of the elevator and Luca followed, grabbing Ty's bag on the way. Ms. Gartland stayed frozen in the elevator, even after the doors closed and the elevator was called to a higher floor.

"Ready to go?" Lorenzo asked them. He had talked to a few people in the lobby; the receptionist, doorman, and some of the janitors, but still did not get any useful information. The doorman he had questioned had begun his shift after Ty received the package and Lorenzo wasn't able to convince them to tell him the name of the doorman who had been around when the package was delivered.

The boys nodded and Lorenzo took Ty's bag from Luca, swinging it over his shoulder. He smiled at Ty and patted her shoulder, "Let's go home, bambina."

Ty frowned at his word choice. Home was a place that she wasn't sure existed for her. The apartment certainly wasn't her home though she would sometimes call it that just for convenience's sake, but it was just a word. Her friends' houses were safe houses, places she could go to when she was in need of an escape.

Ty shook the thoughts from her head and simply followed the Italians to their car, buckling up in the back once again. Lorenzo closed the trunk, Ty's bag safe in the back, and slid into the driver's seat, starting up the care and driving back to the Rizzo mansion.

"Did you boys find anything?" Lorenzo asked.

"The bug was in the necklace. I let it be so they wouldn't get suspicious," Luca answered him.

Lorenzo nodded and after a moment asked, "Are you alright, bambina?"

Ty nodded, "Yeah, I'm good." She hesitated a second before adding, "How long am I going to be forced to stay with y'all?"

"Until Bellini is locked up or dead," Dante answered bluntly. No one denied his answer and Ty sank back into the seat as if it would wrap around her and take her away from the ridiculous situation.

She was a normal teenaged girl. She had five equally crazy best friends, parents who she hated, a hobby she fell in love with, mood swings, anger issues, a job, and homework she constantly avoided doing. Now, some rival gang she knew nothing about was targeting her and she was forced out of her apartment for an indefinite amount of time.

And it hadn't even been a month since all this crazy bullshit had begun.

"Did you…did you find out anything?" Ty ventured.

Lorenzo shook his head, "No one downstairs knew who delivered the packages. There was a doorman but I couldn't get them to give me a name without sounding suspicious."

"Doorman? You mean Gordon?" Ty questioned. "He's the one who gave me both packages."

"Do you know his last name," Lorenzo asked, eager for information.

"No, sorry. He takes the night shift, but he changed it so his shift ends at around 10 in the morning. That's when he gave me today's box."

"Grazie, bambina. That's incredibly helpful."

"Don't harass him," Ty demanded. "He's a good guy, I've known him for a couple years and he's the only person I like in that building."

Lorenzo nodded, "I'm only going to see if I can track him down to answer some questions."

The car ride was silent after that. Carlos, on her left, stared outside the window, imagining his red haired volpino. Dante, on her right, had his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes closed, but he was still on alert, aware of everything happening around him. Luca was in the front fiddling around with an old music cassette, muttering to himself and drawing up plans in his head. Lorenzo drove smoothly, his thoughts ranging from how to deal with Bellini's sudden attack to making Ty feel safe and who he and Roberto should pick to watch over her just in case.

Soon enough, they drove through the gates and Lorenzo parked the car in the garage with the rest of the vehicles owned by the Rizzo group members.

Everyone got out and Dante took Ty's bag from the trunk before silently marching into the house.

Ty ran after him to get her bag but he simply ignored her.

He only stopped when he climbed to the second floor and entered a room that was two doors from his own.

Ty followed him in, ready to tear him a new one for ignoring her and running of with her bag, but stopped when Dante dropped her bag on the neatly made up bed covered in maroon sheets and creamy yellow pillows.

"This is going to be your room. Carlos' to the right, I'm next to him, and Luca's next to the bathroom on the other side of the staircase. There's another bathroom on the opposite wall, two doors down. You can use whichever one you want, but if you use Luca's watch out for his contraptions," Dante explained. "Dinner's at eight, breakfast's at seven on weekdays, lunch is between noon and two. Just grab some food from the kitchen. Don't leave the house without telling anyone, no inviting people over unless Papà or Lorenzo have approved. Absolutely no sleepovers, here or anywhere else."

"Anything else, my lord," Ty drawled mockingly.

Dante ignored her sarcasm and nodded towards the almost bare desk pushed against the wall adjacent to the door on the left, "There's a laptop on the desk over there that you can use. It's got Skype and other shit. You can call your friends but they can't come over. Some of Papà's men are checking your phone and laptop for any extra bugs or taps and depending if they find anything, you might get them back. You can use the phone over there if you want to make phone calls."

He turned around to leave the room but stopped and turned around just before he stepped out the door, eyes directly trained on Ty.

Ty raised a quizzical brow, wondering if there were any more rules that she may or may not follow.

"One, last thing," Dante said. "When's your birthday?"

"Why do you care?" Ty question suspiciously. She didn't really know how Dante, the Rizzos, or really anyone could use her birthdate to her their advantage, but she wasn't taking any chances. Even though the Rizzos had vowed to protect her, she was still slightly wary of the group, even Carlos and Lorenzo who she pretty much already really liked.

Dante bit his tongue to calm himself of his irrational irritation and answered, "You can't be that much older than me."

Ty stared at him for a few stretched seconds before bursting into a fit of closemouthed laughter. "You – you're that bothered by me being older than you?"

Dante grunted, "Just answer the damn question, stronza."

Ty released a few more chuckles before sticking her tongue out at him, "That's none of your business, turdbutt."

"Turdbutt? What happened to your usual array of profanity?"

"I'm tired, go away," Ty defended, reverting to a four-year-old and huffing exaggeratedly so she wouldn't pout.

Dante sighed and rolled his eyes, turning to leave. Without looking back he quietly added, "If you need anything, we're right next door."

With that, Dante left the room, leaving Ty utterly confused by his behavior.


"I'll go see your Papà and tell him what we found," Lorenzo told the remaining two brothers after Ty chased after Dante out of the garage.

The oldest and youngest Rizzos nodded and the three left the garage. Lorenzo went straight to Lorenzo's office, while Carlos and Luca headed upstairs to go to their rooms.

"I wonder if Dante's pushed her onto the bed yet," Luca murmured absentmindedly.

Carlos chuckled, "He's still clueless even though he was clearly the most worried and paranoid of us all. And, when that stronza anziana was berating Ty, he told her off in a way I'd never expect him to."

Luca nodded, "And, he called her gorgeous. I didn't even know he knew the word."

Carlos laughed, "How long will it take our brother to get his head out of his ass?"

Luca shrugged.

By then, the two had reached the top of the main staircase, the point at which they would have part ways to reach their individual rooms.

"Buona notte, Luca. Try and get some more sleep. Warm milk usually does the trick," Carlos said to him warmly.

Luca stared in surprise at his oldest brother's words, but managed to nod and return, "Buona notte."

Carlos nodded and gave his youngest brother a small wave before heading towards his room. Luca stood still for a moment longer, staring at Carlos' back, wondering what was going with his family and if Ty was some kind of angel.


After Ty sorted her belongings, she went to the desk and brought the computer over to the cozy bed she would be using for however long she had to stay with the Rizzos.

Sitting cross legged, her back leaning on some pillows she put up against the head of the bed, she turned on the laptop. After a few moments the login screen came up and Ty frowned at the only user of the computer.

"They set up an account for me?" she asked aloud. She clicked on the image of a skateboard with her name under it and was redirected to the desktop with a picture of her and her friends at the skate park. Even Shady was included, sitting on the ground and watching the gang try and push each other off their boards.

Ty immediately felt anger at the fact that the picture was clearly taken without her or her friends' knowledge, but she had to grudgingly admit that the picture was pretty good. She was tempted to take a copy of it and save it for herself.

Ty took a quick glance at what programs the laptop had installed and saw that Dante was right. There was Skype, the whole latest Adobe package, the latest Microsoft Office with all the features, Chrome and Firefox, a couple of programming and simulation software, and so much more.

Ty ignored all the other things she might eventually poke around at and opened up Skype, signing in and hoping that at least one of her closest friends were online. She could have called them on the phone Dante had spoken of, but she had the urge to physically see them, make sure that they were alright. She didn't want to physically meet them though because she was worried that they would get targeted by being around her for too long. She didn't want any of them to be in any sort of trouble because of her and her newly messed up life.

Luckily, Grant was online, and Ty immediately sent him a video chat request.

Grant answered not five seconds later and she was immediately shown an image of all five of her most trusted childhood friends hovering around the webcam.

They were all over at Jimmy's since Grant was tutoring the shortest of their circle of friends and Drew and Fred decided to join in the tutoring session since they needed quite a bit of help to pass an upcoming math test. Henry joined them so he could practice some real life sketching, capturing Grant's face of frustration and the others pulling their hair out on problems they had no idea how to solve.

"Hey guys," Ty grinned. Her eyes widened in shock when she saw that Fred had a bandage wrapped around his forehead. "What the fuck happened to you, Red? You're alright, right? You been to the hospital? Who did that to you?"

"Calm down, Ty, Jay and I were messing around with a Frisbee and Jay has the shittiest aim—"

"I do not! You ran into it!"

"—It's just a little scrape, just bled a lot since it's a head injury," Fred answered, ignoring Jimmy's interruption. "This shit happens all the time, why're you so freaked out?"

Ty sighed and saw that her friends were already worried about her even though Fred was the one with a head injury.

"Wait, where the fuck are you?" Henry questioned, noticing that Ty was not in her room.

The others realized the same thing and all gave her questioning looks, demanding answers now.

Ty bit her lip, unsure how to tell them that she was now being targeted by some other gang leader who had a whole lot of something against Roberto. After a moment, she decided to just tell them everything that had happened since she woke up and Gordon gave her the package with the death threat. It was easiest to start at the very beginning after all.

When she finished recounting her day's adventure, the boys were slack jawed, concerned, and furious.

"You were almost blown up? By a fucking teddy bear?" Drew raged.

Fred frowned worriedly, "Are you sure you're alright, Ty?"

"You've been spied on?" Henry gave his two cents of anger and disbelief.

"We're coming over right now," Jimmy declared, already getting up and moving away from the laptop.

"No!" Ty interrupted, halting the boys' movement and speech. "I'm fine, totally okay, alright? I just wanted to talk to guys, you do not need to come over and baby me. Roberto was damn serious when he said he would make sure nothing happened to me and I don't want you guys dragged into this mess. If any of you end up harmed because of me, I will never forgive myself, so please, just stay safe," Ty said pleadingly.

They all were ready to argue, but Grant, always the rational one of the group, told them to stop. He looked back at the webcam and nodded, "We understand, Ty, but the same goes for you. Don't do anything stupid and stay safe. We'll be seeing you in school, right? It's just this week and then we've got spring break."

Ty sighed in relief, grateful that she didn't have to argue with the boys. After her shitty and rather scarring day, she didn't want to end up fighting her friends. "Yeah, definitely. But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be left alone. At least one these Rizzos are going to be my shadow now because of some dick called Maurice. I just wanted to give you guys the heads up."

They nodded, but the boys still wanted to go over and make sure that Ty was actually alright.

"You going to work?" Jimmy asked. If Ty was going to say yes, the boys would make sure to dissuade her. Even with her constant claim that she was alright, none of them believed she was well enough to go to work for a couple hours.

Ty shook her head, "No, I'm going to call Travis after this to tell him I don't feel too well. I just really don't feel like going to work after today."

"Take care, Ty," Henry nodded in agreement to her decision.

"I will," Ty promised.

Drew hesitated for a second before bringing up the annual topic, "How're you holding up? Think it's going to come up anytime soon?"

It took Ty a moment to realize what he was talking about and was surprised that she had forgotten. With all that had happened, her annual meltdown had totally skipped her mind. Even after the meltdown she was usually quiet, somber, and just not her usual snarky self.

"It actually already happened," Ty mumbled quietly, reliving the moment in the shooting range and fighting down an awkward blush.

"What? When?!" the boys exclaimed together in a jumble of consonants and vowels.

"Calm yo tits, it was on Thursday. Shit's been happening and I didn't get a chance to tell you that your shift is over for another year."

"Were you okay? Are you okay?" the boys once again asked together, making it near impossible to pick out each of their individual voices.

"I'm fine, I'm fine!" Ty insisted. "I…I, er, Dante was there… I hit stage four on the same day and I just wanted to get out of the apartment but I didn't want to go to you guys and I somehow ended up at the Rizzos'. Dante pissed me off and I found this room, he pissed me off more and I ended up breaking down…But anyway, I'm totally fine now guys. The only thing you need to worry about is getting me a kickass birthday present."

None of them really believed that Ty was as fine as she said, but they didn't push, knowing that it would be no use with her stubborn personality. Instead, they joked around a little bit longer before Jimmy's mother called them for dinner.

"You guys go eat, I still have to call Travis," Ty told them, making shooing motions with her hands.

The boys said their reluctant goodbyes, once again making Ty promise to tell them if anything happens and to stay safe, and Ty disconnected the Skype call. She closed down the computer and set it on the side table that only held a lamp and a simple, but definitely expensive, black, cordless phone.

Ty picked up the receiver and typed in Travis' number. She didn't have too many numbers to remember, just the gang's, Travis' and Shady's, really. Her parents' were stored on her cellphone only so she knew when to avoid the call.

After almost five rings, Travis finally picked up, "Hello. This is Travis Garrison speaking."

Ty stifled a giggle at his formal tone and mimicked it in a mocking manner, "Greetings, Travis Garrison of New York. This is the Demon Queen of UnderHell partaking in a vocal conversation through the medium of a telephone."

"Very funny, Ty," Travis drawled, dropping the polite façade. "Any reason you called other than to make fun of me?"

"Uh yeah, actually. I'm not feeling too good and I know it's really late notice but I really am not up for work today. Sorry. Can I get a makeup shift maybe next week?"

"Are you alright?" Travis questioned, immediately switching to a concerned tone.

"I'm fine, I'm fine. I'm just not feeling too good and just need some rest."

"Okay, and it's fine. You need a break anyway. Don't come back to work until you're completely better, alright? We'll organize your makeup when you're really fine."

"Thanks, Tractor, I owe you one," Ty grinned.

"You owe me many 'ones', Tylenol," Travis rebutted.

"Tylenol? Really? That's honestly the best you could come up with after knowing me for seventeen years?" Ty couldn't help but patronize the older man.

Travis huffed, "Unlike you, I'm a nice person. Insults don't come easily to me. Anyway, your friend Shady called me up and said he's up for a trial."

"Really? That's great!" Ty cheered. "I'm gonna call him. I'll see you later, Travis."

"Bye, Ty. Get well."


The line cut and Ty was immediately typing in Shady's number. She was ecstatic that he had finally decided to try out working at Blue Moon and no longer have to worry about getting caught dealing alcohol and cigarettes to underage teens in high schools.

"Hello?" Shady asked sleepily. He'd had a long day of bartering with a college kid who wanted a huge load of beer and scotch but for a price that would make Shady lose a lot of money. He had finally stomped his foot down and told the older boy to either pay the set amount or completely lose all his reputation when his party has no alcohol. Shady won that round.

"SHADY! YOU FINALLY CALLED HIM!" Ty screeched into the phone.

Shady winced and held his ear, "Hello, Tyler. I'm fine, a little tired, what about you? And yes, I know what you mean about hating people who scream through phones and cause eardrums to rupture."

"Hehe, sorry 'bout that, but you called Travis! He told me you're going for a trial shift!" Ty couldn't contain her excitement.

"Yeah, I figured why not? And I can actually put down working at Blue Moon as a work experience."

"Damn right, Shades. Maybe Travis can get us a couple shifts together. You'll love working there, well, except for most of the customers, they're mostly a bunch of bitch-dicks with trees up their asses. But the employees are amazing and so is Travis. Just beware of Judith, the head cook. She will coddle and baby you for your first three weeks, and even after, she is the motherliest mother hen around."

Shady chuckled, "Sounds fun." He yawed and then sleepily said, "I'm sorry, Tyler, but I'm exhausted."

"You sound it. Get some rest, Shady, I'll see you in school on Monday."

They said their goodbyes and Ty was once again left on her own in a room she was not familiar with.

Might as well try and get some sleep. I really can't stomach eating right now, she thought to herself, getting up to turn off the lights.

Once she was shrouded in slightly unnerving darkness, Ty carefully made her way back to the bed and crawled under the covers, tossing Jimmy's hoodie and Grant's shorts onto the floor, and pulled one of the creamy yellow pillows to her chest.

She closed her eyes and hoped that she'd be able to fall asleep.


Ty crept downstairs. She hadn't been able to sleep for more than three hours and finally decided to just let sleep and rest be an unattainable dream for the moment.

I'll just grab something to drink, she told herself before leaving her given room.

She was only going to get a glass of water, maybe a beer or two, and then go right back to the unfamiliar room to just close her eyes, maybe get on YouTube to play some music so she could keep her mind away from the new developments.

She hadn't expected to be sitting at the counter watching Luca make her a cup of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows. She had said that she was going to just get some water, but the manipulatively adorable dirty blond had convinced her to join him for a late night (technically early, really early morning) drink.

"Er, thanks," Ty mumbled when Luca set her drink down in front of her. He then took his seat to her left and resumed drinking his cup of hot chocolate that he had prepared almost ten minutes prior to Ty's arrival.

They drank in a silence that deemed uncomfortable, while Luca didn't feel any awkwardness in the air. He only felt Ty's discomfort and self-inflicted tension. By his estimate, Luca figured that Ty would break the silence within the minute.

"So…" Ty trailed, unintentionally proving Luca's theory correct. "I wanted to, um, thank you, for you know, saving my life and stuff."

Luca smiled and nudged her shoulder with his, "You don't need to thank me. It was nothing. And it is technically partially my fault you were targeted in the first place, me being a Rizzo and everything. I'm just glad you're alright and I was actually useful for once."

Ty frowned at his choice of words but didn't press. She wasn't sure how to anyway, so she simply changed the topic.

"You do this often? Wake at three in the morning and make a cup of hot chocolate in a B-rated, horror movie-esque, dark mansion? I thought I was in the beginning of a Supernaturalepisode when I saw that the only light was from the kitchen."

"And do you investigate mysterious circumstances with no backup, weapon, really any sort of way to defend yourself? Luca fired back almost teasingly, knowing that Ty was giving him his space. He let his eyes consciously san Ty's attire and raised a fine brow, "And only in your pajamas?"

"Shut up, I asked you first," Ty huffed, taking a large gulp of her drink, wincing as the almost scorching heat of the liquid scalded her tongue and throat.

"Fair enough," Luca acquiesced. "I have trouble sleeping. Sometimes I come down to the kitchen to get a warm drink, most of the time though, I do some tinkering. Now will you answer my question?"

Ty nodded even though she wanted to question him some more, "Usually, I'd have my skateboard to attack any intruder with or I'd get to the kitchen to grab a frying pan or knife or something. And PJs are easy to move in so don't diss 'em."

Luca chuckled at that and Ty was about to question the reason for his sleeping troubles, but Luca took his chance to ask her another questioned. "And what is it that keeps you from slumber, dolcezza?"

"First off, I only let Carlos off with calling me that. I don't need or want another one of you Rizzos calling me something like sweetheart. Secondly, it's none of your damn business why I'm having a little trouble sleeping tonight."

Ty got to her feet and chugged the rest of her drink, hissing at the pain the heat caused the sensitive interior of her mouth. She quickly rinsed out the cup at the sink, and left the smooth white cup next to the other cups and dishware that were to be done in the more convenient time of day by Carlos.

Even though the Rizzos had more money than they really knew what to do with, Roberto still handed out basic household chores to his sons on a rotation cycle. The boys weren't too fond of it.

"Good night, Luca," Ty curtly stated and left the kitchen before Luca could respond, leaving him sitting with his drink on the counter, trying to figure out what exactly he had said to trigger such a reaction from the unpredictable girl.


Dante and Carlos ran into each other as they exited their rooms, just minutes before Ty had gone downstairs.

Carlos was busy texting Fred for most of the night before he demanded the redhead get some sleep since Carlos could tell that his new secret boyfriend was clearly exhausted by the sloppy, typo filled texts. Carlos almost regretted sending a few subtly naughty texts to his adorable little fox. He planted images in his own head that crept into his dreams, waking him up before he did something that would make him unable to look at Fred without feeling horrifyingly embarrassed with his prepubescent teen-like conduct. He was also worried about Ty and Marcus Bellini's threat towards her.

Dante was sick of his train of thought. It kept circling back to the girl just two doors down from his. The way she, even though clearly terrified and still in shock from almost getting blown up by a Build-A-Bear teddy bear, held her ground and didn't break down into a sobbing mess. That led him to think about the time in the firing range when she let herself be at her most vulnerable state with only Dante around. That in turn reminded him of how she felt in his arms when he had awkwardly tried to hug her and she actually found comfort in his arms, hugging him back. Or he'd think about the way he reacted to the old woman in the elevator and how he was always feeling irrational irritation and anger whenever something related to the bothersome brunette.

The two silently acknowledged the other's existence and made their way downstairs.

They noticed the light in the kitchen and guessed that it was Luca since he was usually in the kitchen or dining room when he wasn't able to sleep.

They heard mumbling and the closer they got, they realized that Ty was with their little brother.

"…saving my life and stuff." They heard Ty retort.

Luca said his bit and the older brothers stayed against the wall, listening in. They frowned at Luca's response to Ty's thanks but carried on listening.

They didn't hear much though because as soon as Luca asked about why Ty was unable to sleep, a flip switched and she instantly turned cold, bidding Luca a curt goodnight and storming out of the kitchen, not noticing Carlos and Dante pressed up against either side of the door.

The two glimpsed inside of the kitchen to see Luca staring thoughtfully down at his cup before shaking his head and finishing the drink. He didn't get up, but instead pulled out a small machine made of cogs, tiny chains, and a small metal pole. He turned the cogs and closed his eyes, listening to metal rolling on metal before he dismantled the object and quickly put the cogs, chains, and pole in a different manner so that the cogs were on one end of the pole in a circular manner. Luca held onto the bottom end of the small pole and began rotating his wrist in quick circles, making the cogs move as fast as he could make them and eventually managed to get a few golden sparks from them along with a crackling kind of noise that brought a small smile to his slightly fatigued face.

Carlos and Dante looked at each other, neither knowing if they should pretend they hadn't seen anything or go inside and check on their brother.

The choice was taken from them though when Luca, still watching his little contraption, said, "I know you two are there."

Carlos and Dante went into the kitchen, Carlos grabbing two cups of water and handing one to Dante, who nodded a silent thank you, before sitting down in the seat Ty had left.

"So she's having trouble sleeping?" Carlos began, sipping his water. He pretended that he and Dante had only heard the second half of Luca and Ty's conversation, but he wasn't sure if Luca fell for it. Carlos eyed the spinning cogs carefully, wary of the sparks that flew out every once in a while.

Luca stopped spinning the pole, much to Carlos' relief, and nodded, "I'm not too surprised actually. She's lived a pretty normal life so far. We pretty much turned her world completely upside down and now she's already been targeted."

"We'll get the bastardo once and for all and everything will go back to normal," Dante stated, taking a large gulp of his water.

"I don't want everything to go back to normal. Back to normal means no more Ty, and I like her," Luca argued. She's the first person in a long time to actually give a damn about me, he added mentally, remembering the way she had defended him against Adreana and was honestly interested in his tinkering.

Carlos nodded in agreement, "She's a bit rough around the edges, but you can't help but adore her. It'll be pretty dull around her if she were gone. Wouldn't you say so, Dante?"

Dante briefly thought about Ty no longer being in their lives and couldn't even imagine it. She had already stolen most of the space in his mind and simply not having her around just didn't seem like a possibility in the future. He couldn't help but see her always being her reckless self, causing some kind of mayhem.

Nevertheless, he snorted, "She's a pain and is only giving us more trouble. Things'll be better off when we don't have to babysit her."

With that, before his brothers could put even more thoughts into his head, Dante finished his water and set the glass in the sink, quickly leaving the kitchen and retuning back upstairs. He reached his door and halted to a second, peering down the dark hallway towards Ty's door. He shook his head and entered his room, determined to keep the grey eyed girl away from his confused thoughts.


Ty had gone straight back to her temporary guest room and laid down on the floor, eyes staring up at the ceiling even though everything was shrouded in darkness. She hadn't turned on the lights when she took her trip to the kitchen or when she returned.

She knew she was being unreasonable and was quite the bitch to Luca only moments ago, but she felt like her life was no longer in her control. Even before, with her parents dictating every step she had to make, Ty disobeyed them and did what she liked. What she enjoyed. What she felt was being true to herself.

Now, her fingers were losing their strings and she herself was just being pulled along with little say. She was, without her consent, drawn into a battle between two groups who didn't think twice about spilling the blood of their enemies.

Ty loved to shoot and hack people up, spill their blood to cover every surface, but virtual people in videogames, not real life. She enjoyed blowing up NPCs and the avatars of people from around the world, not almost getting blown up herself when there was no respawn.

Ty rolled onto her side and used her bent arm as a pillow on the carpeted floor. She just hoped that the grudge bearing psycho would be dealt with soon and none of her friends would get involved like she had.

She did want her life back to normal, but that meant no Carlos, Luca, Lorenzo, Roberto or even Dante.

Sure, she was constantly baring fangs with Dante, but she actually enjoyed some of their simpler arguments. He fought her square on and let her release a lot of pent up emotions. Yes, he was a dickhead, and said things that made her murderous, but there were times when he was actually nice, in a Dante sort of way. And Carlos, she enjoyed his company and he was very similar to Travis in that older brother sort of way. Also, she wasn't blind to the way he and Fred had been stealing glances at one another and how Fred seemed lighter in a sense. Luca, he was just adorable to Ty. He was a genius and his inventions were interesting, even if they were rather dangerous. He was like a little brother who loved to show his creations to people who might care, which was unfortunately too few, much to Ty's disbelief and anger.

Lorenzo and Roberto, though quite overbearing, gave Ty something she hadn't experienced before; a father figure. Her grandfather was her grandfather, the only adult she trusted and showed her the affection a young girl needed, but now she was beginning to slowly warm up to the two Italians. They genuinely cared for her, even if Roberto had lost his mind in making her his sons' fiancée, but he worried for her safety even though she hadn't even known them for long. It had only been almost a month.

Ty rolled onto her stomach and crossed her arms, resting her forehead against the crossed limbs. Her head hurt from overthinking things, something Grant had said she did a lot, contrary to the aloof and carefree image she portrayed of herself.

"Fuck me," she grumbled, closing her eyes and rolled onto her other side. Her right arm was bent under her head and her left hung limply over her stomach. She tucked her legs in under her and curved her spine so she was almost a ball on the floor. Her breathing evened out and eventually, she managed to calm her mind enough to go back to sleep.


Italian Lingo:

bambina - little girl/child

cazzo - fuck (lit. balls)

nuora - daughter-in-law

ciao - hi/bye

bambini - children/kids

dolcezza - sweetheart

andiamo - let's go

grazie - thank you

volpino - little fox

stronza - bitch

stronza anziana - old bitch

buona notte - goodnight

bastardo - bastard

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