Unleashed Ch. 13bycassandraharper©
Okay guys, the reason the submission was so short is because I moronically submitted the uncompleted version of Chapter 14 instead of Chapter 13. Here is the rightful chapter. I'm really sorry for the mix-up...at least you guys got a preview of what's to come next. Please don't burn me alive.
"What do you think about this room?"
Eithne sauntered around the room and nodded his head. "It's pretty big, but it looks the same as the other two rooms we've already seen."
"I might as well have invited Ace to come along with me."
Eithne laughed, "It's true, Maria, I don't see a big difference. I think that Ashley would be happy with either three of these ballrooms."
She frowned, "Women have to do everything by themselves," she sighed. She turned to their assistant and said that she would go with the second ballroom with the hanging crystal chandelier and checkered, marble floor.
Eithne had spent the morning with her and was ready to go home. He wanted to call Larry to find out about the evidence he had taken from Maria yesterday. He was eager to exam it and see if it was all for nothing.
"I guess we can finally look forward to the wedding now that everything is taken care of."
"When is it?"
"In two weeks. I never thought that we would finish the preparations in time," Maria said.
"Aren't you sad that you'll be losing one of your little girls?" Eithne watched her serene face twitch and wondered if she was trying to smile or not to frown.
"We all have to leave the nest sometime, right?"
He nodded his agreement. "At least she'll be close by..."
"Oh no, she's moving to Oregon or some place. I can't remember. She says that she needs a change of environment."
He nodded again. "Well, you shouldn't worry too much, even after I left my mom's I was there often."
"I hope not," Maria mumbled.
"I said that I hope so. Ashley and I have never gotten along since she was young. Then again she and Adele were always strong willed."
Eithne was surprised at the subtle sneer he heard in Maria's voice. "Adele?" he asked feigning ignorance.
"Oh where are my manners; yes, Ace and I have an older daughter named Adele. She lives in Texas with her husband and will be coming to attend Ashley's wedding."
Eithne whistled shoving his hands in his pockets. "You must have had your hands full raising three beautiful daughters. How many shot guns did you own?" he teased although he found that this was a great opportunity to get to know the more personal side of Maria.
"That's Ace's department," she told him on a chuckle.
"Really? I don't see him as a strict person."
"That's true. At times I had to be the enforcer so to speak." She noticed the surprise on Eithne's face and rushed to elaborate. "You know, go to bed early, come home before curfew, no Friday night parties..."
He laughed, "I understand." He really didn't. He was getting two different vibes from the woman. "So who was the troublemaker?"
"They were all sweethearts."
Eithne snorted. "I forgot you're a parent," he said as they left the ballroom.
"What does that mean?"
"They always think that their kid is an angel. I was spray painting walls behind my high school and my mother refused to believe them. To this day she thinks that someone else drew the mural of our family inside of the gym."
Maria laughed. "I could never picture you causing trouble. You're so quiet."
"Until you get to know me," he told her with a wink.
Maria rolled her eyes and followed Eithne out the doors to their awaiting car. The chauffer opened the door for them before returning to the driver's seat to start the engine. "I don't think so."
"What? Why don't you believe me?"
"You think that spray painting makes you a bad boy. If only you saw some of the things I've witnessed?"
"Huh?" He saw the faraway look in her eyes before they turned back to him.
"I grew up with men. I saw a lot of gangster movies in my day." She smiled. "Scarface was my favorite."
"I think it's everyone's favorite. It's a classic. Still, I would never have thought you'd be interested in violence. I've always pictured you as a well-bred woman."
"Looks can be deceiving," she responded with a raised eyebrow.
Eithne forced a "natural" laugh then whistled. He had heard enough. His experience told him that Maria had the makings of a psychopath. Was it all well hidden? Definitely. However his trained eyes could read the minutest of details concerning the human psyche. "You now, Maria, if you weren't already married and old enough to be my mother, I would have to take you from Ace."
"Mischievous, you are not, but a flirt you are."
He shrugged his shoulders innocently. "Since I'm such a flirt, I hope this means that you'll save me at least one dance at Ashley's wedding?"
"I think that can be arranged." They drove in silence for several minutes before Maria broke it. "Do you have plans for this afternoon?"
He shook his head, "I think that I'm going to cuddle with Jessica and watch a couple movies."
"Really?" Maria showed extreme interest in Jessica's activities. "What has she been up to lately? It's been a while since I've stopped by her wedding boutique."
"Nothing much. We've been holed up at home relaxing. She has cancelled all other appointments just for Ashley's wedding. She's extremely focused," Eithne replied.
"Oh, you should let her know not to work herself to death. I wouldn't want anything happening to her."
Eithne hid his reaction at the subtle threat in Maria's words. It was as if she had insulted him personally. "No need to fret, love. I keep Jessica stuck in bed as much as possible."
"Just like a man. Should I take you home?"
"No thanks, I'm going to stop by boutique just to be troublesome." He smiled innocently and Maria rolled her eyes.
All conversation ceased after that brief discussion and Eithne forced himself to not reveal how disgusted he truly was with the woman sitting beside him. Even if Maria's investigation turned up clean, he no longer held a respectable opinion of her. She was a snake. He waved as her vehicle drove away, his smile dying once she disappeared from view.
He entered the establishment, the cool breeze of air conditioning accosting his warm flesh as he made his way toward the back offices. He briefly scanned the floor for the girls along the way then knocked on their door.
"The sisters stayed home today."
"Chun Li, how are you?"
The bombshell exotic beauty smiled at him in welcome as she opened the office door. "I'm doing well. What brings you here? Planning a wedding?" Her black eyebrows rose questioningly and Eithne actually blushed. She had the ability to make him feel awkward and underage.
"No, I just came by for a visit, but I guess I should get out of your hair since Jessica isn't here." He could have called her the Cheshire Cat from the broad grin on her face as she slowly nodded her head.
"Nothing Irish boy. I gotta get to work." She winked at him as she sauntered off into the bureau.
Eithne got the sentiment that the flirty Asian knew something that he didn't. Sometimes he didn't understand women.
"I'm bored," Dasha complained as they all sat around in the practice room. They were watching Grecko practice launching knives into moving targets. So far she had castrated a homeless man, decapitated a pregnant woman, and stabbed a baby in the heart.
"Grecko, are you okay? You're hitting everyone," Jessica called out.
"I think that she's getting restless again," Dasha whispered. They had been home all weekend and had decided to stay in as an alternative to heading to work. Perhaps they should have reconsidered.
"If I don't get some action, I'm going to explode," Grecko yelled nailing an old woman between the eyes. She joined her sisters on the mat and pouted.
"Is Marc not taking care of home?" Jessica teased before starting her set of sit-ups. If Eithne was home he would probably have a heart attack. He would definitely frown upon the hundred sit ups and push-ups she was getting ready to do. Speaking of Eithne...
"Funny, Jessie, really funny. You should consider a job in standup comedy since we've been sitting on our lazy asses for the past three days," Grecko snapped.
"You are really moody," Dasha pointed out.
"I know, I'm so sorry," she apologized. "I just feel so caged in. We're literally two foot steps away from nabbing Daddy's killer, but we have to take it slow because we're getting our asses handed to us too much. We have to tighten up, y'all."
"Yeah y'all," Jessica snorted with laughter. "You sounded like you just got out of the back hills of Kansas."
"I'm serious, Jessie, Marc we can handle on our own, but Marc and Eithne are difficult to dissuade when they team up against us."
Jessica rubbed her abs deciding to alternate between sit-ups and push-ups so that it would be less painful. "It's not as if we didn't know he would be a thorn in our side from the very beginning," he gasped.
"Since we're on the subject of the Irish handful, you do realize that we haven't discussed what's going to happen in the future," Dasha said getting on her hands and knees to join Jessica in push-ups.
"What do you mean?" Jessica enquired curiously.
"Don't play innocent."
"Then quit playing dumb," Grecko chimed in. "We never asked Eithne how long he intended to stay or if he intended to extend it."
"So?" Jessica replied nonchalantly.
"Stop it," she replied pushing her sister until she fell over. "Don't act as if you're not worried. You love this man, don't you?"
Jessica cleared her throat in discomfort. "I do, you both know that I do, why are you asking?"
Dasha sat up beside her breathing slightly heavily, "Don't get defensive, Jessie. Grecko and I are only looking out for you. We don't want to see you heartbroken when he packs up his bags and heads back to the land of magical rainbows and leprechauns."
"That's not nice," Grecko whispered.
"So I over exaggerated, but I'm still right. You have to breach the subject or you'll be laid up in bed wondering why he left."
"Look," Jessica sighed tired of the discussion. "If Eithne wants to leave, far be it from me to force him into staying."
"Isn't that what we did in the very beginning? Why can't we keep him here forever?"
"Wouldn't that be illegal?" Jessica wondered.
"We're in the mafia, should we really give a shit?"
"I'm just saying," she mumbled unashamed of her argument.
Jessica felt antsy. Talk of Eithne's departure immobilized her. Her mind was numbing and her emotions—just know that she was becoming quite unstable.
"Jessica, what's wrong?" Grecko catechized when she began to wheeze.
"Too much exertion," she lied.
"This is why I told you to rest."
"The Leprechaun has returned! And he has the big guy in tow," Dasha replied greeting both of the men. She smiled when Eithne immediately went to Jessica and lifted her from the floor. He plopped her down on a bench then glowered at her in a manner she would like to say was menacing, but it looked as if he was fighting a smile.
"Don't start," she mouthed to him. He leaned over and kissed her soft lips before squinting his eyes at her and pretending to zip his lips.
"So, Mr. Forrester, I have a question for you," Dasha said slowly.
"Shoot away, love." His head snapped in Jessica's direction when she began to energetically shake her head no and silently threaten Dasha. "What? Am I missing something?"
"No, you're not missing anything," Jessica declared anxiously.
Grecko rolled her eyes. "We were all worrying about how long you would be staying," she professed.
Jessica gasped in shock, "You traitor! I expected this from Dasha not you, Grecko."
"You wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't spilled the beans," Grecko predicted then eyed her expectantly.
Jessica glowered at her with a withering stare yet opted to remain quiet. She felt betrayed by her own two siblings. This was not a conversation that she wanted to have. Of course, she was aware that she couldn't hold onto Eithne forever, but there was a part of her that thought she would be pushing him away if she brought up his departure.
Eithne looked at Jessica and found her glaring at her fingers she was rapidly twisting into knots. It reminded him of that day he took her to the art gallery and she freaked out on him. She was nervous about something and wasn't in the mood to admit it.
"Is that what's got you so riddled, love?" he asked kneeling before her.
"It's nothing," she denied. "Just don't listen to them."
"I think that you should," Dasha refuted with a positive head nod from Grecko.
"Jessica, sweetheart, talk to me. I thought that we were passed this stage?" Eithne coaxed. Her brown eyes met his face and he saw them mist over. Her bottom lip trembled and she looked away.
"We're going to practice some archery at the other side of the room," Marc practically shouted. Emotional women made him nervous and agitated, somewhat robotic even especially when it came to Jessica because he wasn't used to witnessing this vulnerable side of her when it wasn't involved with revenge on her father's behalf.
"Yes, I did promise to show you my skills," Grecko agreed grabbing Dasha and dragging her along behind them.
"Traitors," Jessica mumbled. She took a deep breath in preparation for Eithne's persistence. "What?" she demanded when he stared at her.
"I'm waiting on you to tell me what's going on in that beautiful head of yours."
She did not want to talk about it, but if that's what he wanted she would do it. "If you're ready to leave, I'm not going to keep you here. That's all." She shrugged indifferently.
Eithne chuckled humorlessly, at her cool attitude. "Don't take that tone with me. You know that if you attack me, I'm only going to keep fighting until you back off."
She frowned then sighed before recommencing. "My treacherous sisters and I were deliberating your sojourn and they think it best if I—if we—talked about where things would go between us. Dasha thinks that we should kidnap you—"
Eithne laughed, "Well, that's already been done. Shouldn't you all concoct another plan?"
"The whole point of us releasing you is so that you wouldn't hang it over our heads all the time. Yes, it was involuntary, on your behalf, in the beginning; however you can't deny that everything is copacetic right now."
"I don't regret getting mi arse kicked, Hellion. I'd like to think that our meeting was destined. Nevertheless, you're right, I'm leaving. I have to go back to Ireland. I need to make sure that my family is doing well."
"Oh," Jessica replied hiding her disappointment. What was she expecting him to do, completely abandon his family and cleave to her for dear life? "So when will you be leaving?"
Eithne shrugged, "I was thinking that we could leave after all of this was over."
"Oh okay," Jessica responded dejected. She stared at her swinging legs then realized what he had just said. "Wait what?"
He chuckled in amusement, "I was hoping that you would return home with me to meet my family."
"You know, my mom, step-dad, siblings..."
"Huh?" Jessica repeated still in shock.
"All right," Eithne sighed. "I will speak in a manner in which you can understand." He cleared his throat and masked his accent as he spoke. "Eventually, you and I will buy tickets to take a trip overseas," he began with hand gestures and all as Jessica continued to stare at him stupefied.
She shook herself out of her stupor and waved him away, "I understood that."
"Then what has you so confused, love?" He caressed her cheek waiting for her to assemble her thoughts.
"Why would you want me to meet your parents? Why would you want me around your family?"
Not once did Eithne entertained the thought that Jessica would never be interested in that part of his life. He felt like an asshole for jumping the broom. "Talk about counting your chickens before they hatch," he mumbled.
"I mean, you know what kind of person I am. I'm filthy and covered in blood. Why would you want to bring me anywhere near them?"
He tried to tame the shock from his expression. Why would she belittle herself that way? Didn't she realize by now that he loved her no matter what her past contained? He looked down at her twisting finger, noticing that she was wringing them so hard that it looked as if she would pop her knuckles out of place. He gently laid his hand upon her own and waited for her to meet his gaze.
"Jessica, I can't believe you would even contemplate such horrible notions. I love you, what don't you understand about that? And if I love you my family is going to love you because you make me happy and that will make them happy too. I don't want to withhold any part of my life from you," he told her.
"But—but why?" She was confused about her future. So far for the past ten years she had only been focused on ridding the earth of the scum responsible for taking her father's life. She didn't know what she or her sisters would do afterwards. Maybe they would leave the mafia and invest all of their attention on running the boutique. Then again she had grown up in the mafia. She hardly knew anything else.
"I told you that we were getting married, love, did you think that I was blowing wind up your arse?" He kissed her hands, massaging her knuckles. "My mother is conservative and she would like to know the woman I'm giving my heart to before we actually take that step. What's there to be afraid of?"
"We never grew up with great role models except for after meeting Jessica and being taken in," Grecko whispered. "I'm sorry for eavesdropping, but Jessica has the tendency to wail like a banshee when she's nervous and I'm pretty good at calming her down."
"That's all right, no harm done."
"Jessie never knew her mother and Daddy was all that she ever had...in fact, he was the only real parent that Daria and I ever knew. After he died we just never learned how to function with another adult figure. I guess you can say that Ace was there every now and again, but it wasn't the same. Jessie meeting your mom is a big deal for all of us especially for her since her mother died when she was so young."
"Why don't you two come out," Eithne suggested to Dasha and Marc. He knew that the trio had been there all along. "Look, so that everyone is at ease I'm going to tell everyone at the same time. Jessica and I will get married, however, I'm not proposing until I have taken her to my homeland and she gets to know a part of me that she hasn't seen yet. Then and only then will there be a wedding. Those are my intentions with your dear sister. Any objections?"
"Does that mean that you're staying with us?" Dasha asked for clarity.
"Yes and as soon as all of this bullshite is over I'll be sweeping Ms. Whitaker out of here without complaints."
"That works for me," Marc said with a smile. "She could use a change of scenery. We all could."
"Don't give me those eyes," Eithne chuckled. "I'll fly you all out after we have at least two weeks alone together." He nodded his head when Jessica's eyebrow rose in surprise.
"Mi mom's big on family she'll be looking forward to meet them after seeing you."
"What about a ring?" Grecko broached toying with her long hair.
"Sweet!" Dasha squealed doing a backflip. "Now let's get to practicing. According to Jessica, you need to learn some self-defense. How about we put in some work?"
Now it was Eithne's turn to act dumbfounded. "Huh?" He even looked behind him as if he had been mistaken.
"You with the Irish accent, hazel eyes, and really shaggy brown hair that you should definitely think about cutting. Get your lanky ass over here so that I can teach you a few protective moves."