|| Luke ||
The Granati family is one of the most powerful families in the mafia today. The Don is the old man and the heir to the title are his two sons. They've been around since the late 2005 and have slowly been building up their empire throughout the years. Now that they're after my ass things aren't looking too good. We have to get to New York immediately.
I went down to the vault before typing in the code and opening the metal door. I immediately began stuffing the bag I was carrying with stacks of money. I had Calum, Michael, and Jacob do the same. Ashton was getting Hazel out of the safe room and David unfortunately died in the attack. My flesh wound was now bandaged and I had to suck it up and continue my task.
"What are we going to do about the Granati?" Michael asked.
"First of all, it's obvious that this isn't over. This is just the beginning. We need to get all the money out of here, it's likely that they'll come back and attack the house. Take anything that is of value." I said.
"What about the drugs?" Calum asked.
"Leave them but take the pills, we can't lose those," I told Jacob and he nodded before exiting the vault. We were packing the last of the money when Hazel appeared at the door way of the vault. She fiddled with the strap of her backpack. "You ready?" I asked her. She nodded.
I picked up two of the duffel bags and carried them outside. It was nearly two in the morning and there was no sign of life. My eyes drifted to the snuffed out symbol that was burning on the dirt just minutes ago. I opened the trunk of the Cadillac and opened the secret storage I had before putting the two bags in. I closed the storage shut and locked it.
Hazel threw her backpack in the back seat and opened the door before getting in. I'm surprised how much of a good sport she is about this whole situation. She doesn't complain and she doesn't seem to mind at all. No matter how much danger she gets into, she doesn't tell me anything about it
I met with the rest of the guys. I crossed my arms as we stood in the darkness. The moon being the only light there is. Calum threw his cigarette on the dirt and used his boot to extinguish it.
"I'll meet you guys in Philly," I finally said. They nodded and we each shared a quick hug and a pat on the back before getting into our separate vehicles. Hazel smiled at me and I rested my forehead again the steering wheel. I felt her small hand rubbing circles on my back.
"It'll be okay," She said. I turned my head to look at her. She smiled at me once again and I returned it. I stood up straight and brought the engine to life. Philadelphia here we come.
I realized that this traitor case was really getting to me. It was getting to my head and it was getting under my skin. This is exactly what Thomas wants, he wants me to start getting paranoid, but what if he's right? There could be a mole in this system. Not to mention the recent attack in Chicago, the Granati family is no joke.
"You okay?" Hazel asked pulling me out of my thoughts.
I nodded, "Yeah, I'm great. Why you ask?"
"You have this look, I like to call it Luke's Thinking Face. Your eyebrows pull together and your eyes narrow and you just stop talking for a long period of time," She said.
I snorted, "Luke's Thinking Face?"
"Well I couldn't think of a better name!" She defended. "But seriously what's wrong?"
"Just this thing with the traitor," I said. "It's really starting to get to me."
She took my hand in hers, "Listen to me carefully when I say this. Everything is gonna be okay, I guarantee it. We'll make it out alive and I'll be back to Malia in no time." She whispered that last part to herself. She yawned, "Well, I'm gonna get some sleep." She reclined in the seat and used her sweater as a pillow.
I rode in silence the rest of the way. The only sound was Hazel's steady breathing. My mind drifted back to the note that Ashton had given me. I reread the lines in my head.
After the summer solstice
The state of mind must be smart
Your arms will not be enough to save the thing you love the most
In a haze, everything will be gone, taken away because you don't deserve them
Tree of Life burned to the ground
You will be left alone
To die in sorrow
And never find out
I never gave it any thought after I read it the first time. I began breaking down the lines in my head. Maybe taking it in one by one will help me. Summer solstice. The summer solstice in on June 20. Today it's the 17. A dead line. The state of mind must be smart. State of mind. I dragged my hand through my hair and called Ashton.
"Luke, what's up?" He asked. I put him on speaker phone.
"Remember the riddle I got?" I asked.
"Yeah, what about it?"
"I'm trying to break it down right now," I replied.
"Okay, do you think it means something?"
"It had to mean something, they wouldn't just send it for nothing." I continued. "So it started with 'After the summer solstice.' The summer solstice is on the 20th of this month. Which means it's in three days, This is a deadline."
"Okay," He trailed off. "but 'The state of mind has to be smart'? What's that suppose to mean?" He asked.
"The state of mind is mood and mental state at a particular time," I heard Calum say. "But what if it isn't talking about the state of mind at all." He paused. "Wait, The Empire state of mind. You know that song right? You know the one that goes like New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of," he stopped snapping and singing. "You guys don't know that song?"
"So the song talks about New York?" I asked.
"Correct," He replied. "Which is what I'm saying. They're not talking about the state of mind, they're talking about the Empire State, New York."
"So there's a deadline of getting to New York before the summer solstice?" Michael asked. "But why?"
"Let's move onto the next line," Ashton cut in. "Your arms will not be enough to save the thing you love the most."
"Arms?" Something clicked in my head. "The second amendment." I blurted out.
"What?" Calum asked.
"The second amendment says you have a right to bare arms. In this case arms means weapons. So my weapons will not be enough to protect everything I love."
Everyone fell silent. I kept my hands on the steering wheel. My gaze drifted to Hazel. She slept peacefully. Her curly brown hair was covering her face.
"Next line," Calum spoke up. "In a haze, everything will be gone, taken away because you don't deserve them."
I knew exactly what this meant. Key word: haze. I knew this was Thomas' doing. He was the only one that knew that I was protecting Hazel. Now he knows that I'm slowly falling for her. This was all part of his plan. He knew I would grow a liking in this amazing girl. I was only a fool that fell for it, but it wasn't her fault. Now, I am determined to to protect her even more than I was before.
"Next line," I said.
"Okay," Michael stated, "Um, oh, 'Tree of Life burned to the ground.' That's something biblical isn't it?"
"Oh you're referring to the Adam and Eve story. I never really paid attention to it, but wasn't it the Tree of Good and Evil?" I asked.
"I don't know, I read the story when I was 7, you think I'm going to remember?" Jacob asked.
"Ustedes no saben la biblia, pinche pendejos," Ernesto cursed. "It's the Tree of Life that appears in the story of Adam and Eve."
"But how does this tie into the riddle? It has to mean something more," Michael said. "A symbol maybe."
"The circle of life," Jacob said slowly.
"Jacob, this isn't the fucking Lion King," Calum said.
"No, the circle of life is obviously about life. Now, what's somewhat similar to life? Family," Jacob explained.
"I'm getting nothing," I replied still confused. My brain was a bowl of noodles and nothing was making sense.
"Family tree, the line is talking about the family tree. Family. They're gonna go after your family," Jacob finally said.
I gripped the steering wheel, "My family? They have nothing to do with this," I was getting angry, mostly scared but I didn't dare show that.
"But this makes sense to the line of how your weapons won't save the thing you love the most. Obviously you won't be able to save them cause you're in a different country," Jacob mumbled.
"Not helping," I said.
"What are you going to do?" Michael asked me.
I remained silent. I couldn't lose my family. I haven't seen them in so long. Guilt was finally settling on me, I haven't called them or much less visited them. My mum must be worried sick, but I couldn't bring them into this mess. This mess that is my life. I wanted to protect them and not put them in danger. Little did I know that I put them in danger because I had so little communication with them.
"Next line," I finally say.
"You will be left alone to die in sorrow and never find out the truth," Calum finished.
"That's pretty self-explanatory but what I don't get is the truth. That truth about what?" I asked.
"Something they didn't want you to find out about," Michael muttered.
I began thinking hard, putting all the puzzle pieces together. June 20, New York, won't be able to protect everything I love. Taken away because you don't deserve them...left alone...the truth. Something clicked in my head and I nearly slammed my foot on the brake.
"Oh my god," I said.
"What?" Everyone said in unison.
"I know what Thomas is going to do," I added.
"What?" They asked again.
"We need to get to New York, fast. Michael, look up the nearest airport. Check if there are any flights to New York." I ordered.
"What's all this about?" Ashton asked.
"If what the note is saying is correct and I think correctly, Thomas is going to take down the New York headquarters. Our biggest and most advanced headquarters. He's going for our weak spot. We need to get there and stop him before he can even get to New York," I explained.
"But we rarely ever fly," Calum said.
"I know, but we'll have to make the sacrifice, we can't let SOPRANO destroy generations of the Gunn family's hard work. They're our family as well and we need to protect the home that they built up." I looked over at Hazel who was sleeping quietly. "Next airport we find we're gonna go to it."
It took another hour to get to the airport. I parked the car and got out to get the bags of money. No way am I gonna leave the money here. I got the bags out and handed them to Calum. I got to Hazel's door and opened it. I carefully pushed her hair out of her face. She looked so peaceful, I didn't want to wake her up.
I lightly shook her until her eyes fluttered open. She looked confused. "Hey sweetheart, we have to go."
"Where are we?" She asked.
"At an airport, we need to leave, now," I replied. She grabbed her backpack and swung it on her shoulder before getting out of the car. I closed the door and stuffed the keys in my pocket. The airport wasn't big. I saw various private jets.
"How are we gonna get a flight? These are all jets," Michael said.
"We'll bribe them if we have to," I replied. I carried one duffel bag in one hand and reached out my other to interlace my fingers with Hazel. I squeezed her hand and she held mine tightly. I didn't want to lose her.
"Can I help you gentlemen with something?" A man asked when we walked past the entrance.
"We need to get to New York," I said. "Any way you can help us out?"
"This is a private airport," He said and crossed his arms. "What's your name?"
"Luke Hemmings," I replied.
His gaze softened, "Hemmings?"
I nodded. My hand was ready to go to my gun at any given time. He nodded, "Follow me folks, plane is right this way."
I was in complete shock. Did he know who I was? I exchanged looks with Calum and he shrugged before following the pilot. There was a long jet with the stairs already down. All the guys climbed the stairs. Hazel got in before, I stopped and turned to the pilot.
"Thank you," I said.
"Anything, your father was a great man," He nodded.
I stopped, "My father? You knew him?"
"Sure did, he owned up to his name and will forever be known."
My head spun. I was so confused. My father? I never knew him as anything great. I climbed the stairs and sat across Hazel. She smiled at me. I tried to return the smile but my head was in too much of a fumble to even think of anything else. I needed to talk to my father, immediately.