Authors: Jordan Silver
All Rights Reserved
ID 31882766 ©
The room was filled with cigar smoke and whiskey fumes. Men in suits, and some down to their silk shirts and slacks, sat around the table, all in deep concentration. All except Andros, he was among the youngest there, but had the least to lose.
While most were playing for keeps, some to cover other debt, some to break even, the kid was playing just for the love of the game; the thrill of the next big hand. His billions were safely tucked away; this was his play money.
Every month give or take, he took The City by storm. He'd built a rep as a pro, but the truth was, he had no formal training. He'd learned at his grandfather's knee; the old sea horse had taught him that and plenty more.
In the beginning, when he'd been an unknown to the gambling world, people had called him a thief, a card cheat. No one believed that one man could have that much luck at the tables. The kid, as he was fondly called had, the Midas touch.
After many head bashings and the truth about what he did with most of his winnings leaked, they'd changed their tunes. Of course once they realized who he really was
, everyone wanted to be his friend. Andros didn't make friends; he didn't trust anything with a heartbeat.
Alec Petridis came into the room. Mr. Big
-shot with the loud mouth and the flashy clothes. He had a hard on for Andros. Jealousy and envy were the culprits that fueled that particular hatred, plus the fact that Andros blatantly looked down his nose at Alec, and made it a point to let the other man know exactly what he thought of him, with just a look.
There were voices raised in salutation, as the men around the table noticed the new comer. Each man had a hot new thing on the arm of his chair; their good luck pieces. Not so Andros, he just had his two bodyguards behind his chair, eyeing down the whole room.
Most of the men in the room understood that the guards were there, not to protect Andros from the room, but to protect the room from Andros. It was something his grandpa had implemented a while back, when the hotheaded youth, who'd been twenty-two at the time, had leveled a room because of a slight.
When he got like that, it took both men to reign him in, which was funny, because each of them were built like a Mack truck, while Andros, though not small, was more wiry than muscle bound.
Alec noticed Andros sitting at the head of the table
, looking like he owned the joint. He hated everything about the other man, his wealth, his looks, the way he carried himself like he was a fucking king.
Most of all
, he hated how everyone else pandered to the guy, like his shit didn't stink. While he Alec, a made fucking man in the Bonata family, barley got the respect and honor he deserved.
c I wanna go over there." The words came out slow and a little stilted.
No one had noticed the young girl standing in Alec's shadow; most turned to look, again except Andros.
"I said later Jenna, fuck."
"Al who you got there?" Jimmy two toes peered at the sweet young thing from head to toe. She was a shy little thing
, the way she hid behind Alec, but when she peaked out at him, he knew right away something was off. The girl, or at closer inspection woman, had something wrong with her upstairs.
"It's my kid sister, pain in the ass. Why my moms thought I should let her tag along with me and Tina
, I don't fucking know; now Tina's in the lady's room and I'm stuck with the gimp.
"Alec come." The girl pulled on her brother's arm to get him to move. It was the bright lights and clashing sounds of the slot machines that had caught her attention.
Alec, after hours spent on the drive up, was at the end of his rope. He hated having anything to do with his sister. She was an embarrassment, and he wondered not for the first time, why his parents hadn't gotten rid of her twenty- one years ago when she was born?
"Stop pulling on my fucking arm Jenna damn, I said no already."
He pulled his arm away roughly, as her lips started to tremble and her eyes filled with tears.
In her innocence
, she understood rejection very well; she could never understand why her big brother hated her so much, when she loved him with all her heart. In fact she loved everyone like that, even the mailman who’d sometimes brought her candy when mom let her sit out on the porch to wait for him when she was younger.
Mom and dad loved her she knew, because they were always telling her; and even Tina, her brother's wife was kind to her. But not Alec, and he was the one she most wanted to love her. Love thy brother as thyself, that's what the priest at St. Ignatius had said a long long time ago and she'd never forgotten it.
The ringing of a winning slot caught her attention again, and in her way of forgetting things from one minute to the next, she'd forgotten that the already frazzled Alec had already told her no twice, and not so nicely either.
She'd learned over the years to gauge his moods, and steered clear of him most of the time. But momma had said, 'Alec, you be a good boy and take Jenna, let her see the sights, she's been cooped up in this house all day.'
When she pulled on his arm, this time before she could form the words, his arm came down across her mouth drawing blood.
Now the men in the room had all gone back to their game of high stakes poker, except for a few who kept sending her furtive looks, with lascivious thoughts behind each one. To a man they all felt the same thing, damn she might be slow but she was fuck hot, what a shame.
When the big man smacked the girl hard enough to draw blood, not too many reacted to her cry of pain. But three occupants of the room did. Two, because they knew their boss was about to lose his shit, and the third because he was about to lose his shit.
He'd stayed out of the conversation for obvious reasons; he hated Alec Petridis with a passion. The loud mouth and wise guy act didn't do anything for him. He knew Alec wished he would deign to even spit on him, but he never gave the other man the time of day. Alec just wasn't his type of people.
From the moment the girl had first spoken, Andros had known what was wrong. He'd been listening to voices like that almost his whole life. First his sister Ali, before she'd died way too young, and then later, all the kids he took care of at the specially built facility he'd orchestrated, for children with all levels of autism.
He didn't like the way the prick had spoken to the innocent one, but he stayed out of it. It was family business, and only a fool got in between family. Plus he knew from experience, that someone like this Jenna was loyal to a fault and loved wholeheartedly. At least that's how it had been with Ali and now so with the others. But when she cried out that was the last fucking straw.
He was up and out of his chair before the men gathered there knew what was going on. There was a chorus of 'oh shit' coming from some factions, and the two guards, although they'd known something like this might happen, hadn't been quick enough. Some might even say they'd held back a little.
Dragging a full magnum of Dom P
erignon from the side table, he approached the other man swiftly, bringing the bottle down across his head; splitting his face open.
Chairs were scraped back, as men left their seats; the young frightened Jenna set up a screeching sound loud enough to wake the dead, and Alec writhed in pain on the floor, too stunned to know what the fuck had just hit him.
Andros turned to his two guards
, who were now flanking him. "Cash me out."
Only then did he turn to the girl
, who had given up her screaming, to stand cowering in the corner, rocking back and forth as she mumbled to herself.
He approached her nonthreateningly, eyes glued to her face and her moving lips. As he drew near
, he could finally make out the words she kept repeating over and over again.
"The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want." So innocent it almost broke his heart.
He knew what he was about to do, would bring down a shit storm on his head. Alec was a made man in one of the leading underworld families in the country.
Andros didn't give two fucks about that, but his grandpa would. Too fucking bad, even gramps knew how he felt about shit like this, he'd understand, or he wouldn't who gives a fuck.
"Come flower." He drew the girl slowly, gently from the corner, under the watchful eyes of the room's occupants. By this time, the missing Tina had returned, and was bellowing about what had happened to her husband.
She flew at him when she saw him leaving the room with the girl in his arms.
"You fucking bastard."
d be your husband, tell your in-laws, if they want their daughter back, they'll have to deal with me."
"What, are you craz
y you stupid prick? You can't just take her, come Jenna."
She tried taking the young girl from his arms
, but he shifted his body.
"The fact that you have a vagina would not stop me from breaking your fucking face. Now step the fuck off, we're leaving she's had enough for the day."
Poor Jenna didn't know what to think. The mean man had hurt her Alec, but he had the angel's face, the one she always dreamed about, so he had to be hers right? He had to be the one.
Her angel would never hurt her
, so she wasn't afraid, as he left the room with her in his arms. It had been a long time since anyone had carried her like this.
"Angel, where are we going?" She asked in her singsong voice as she laid her head on his shoulder.
"Fuck me! You?" He looked down at the young girl in his arms in awe, as memories of another time played through his mind.
Memories of something his sister had said to him once
, a long, long time ago. Had he known ten minutes earlier what he knew now, Alec Petridis would be a dead fuck.
His thoughts were in turmoil. What he held in his arms
, if his thinking was sound, was his most precious possession. Something he'd not actively searched for, but which had always been at the edges of his mind, since that day so long ago. He couldn't get to his car fast enough now, to get away from this place, to get her away. What he really wanted to do was go back, and tear the asshole from limb to limb. The fuck had dared to touch what was essentially his; the fact that the other man could have no knowledge of that bore no significance; it's just the way Andros looked at things.
Placing her in the back of the car
, he waited for his two shadows to exit the building, which they did not long after, with his winnings in hand.
They passed the half a million dollars over to him. Good, he can build the nurse's wing onto the school he had in the works for his little charges. Not that he didn't have enough money to do it outright, because he did, he just liked the idea of taking money from the fools who sat around those tables, wasting it, while so many suffered, and putting it to good use.
He heard the rumblings of course; some said he was a fool, that he was fighting a lost cause. The one and only time it had been said to his face
, the other man had been the recipient of a broken jaw and a couple broken limbs, after being thrown into a wall.
To say Andros was a hothead was like calling Vesuvius a hill. The young man spoke with his fists more often than not, but it wasn't
just because of his innate hot-blooded temper, no. It's because he truly couldn't abide stupidity in any form, and he saw injustices of any kind as stupid.
The car eased gently into the night's traffic
, as they headed back to his home in upstate New York. A rather lengthy drive, but one he enjoyed. So deep in thought was he that he didn't realize when she'd first crawled into his lap. Looking down at her, inhaling her sweet scent, he felt his heart stir.