Hard Bastard:A Second Chance Mafia Romance(2)

By: B. B. Hamel

I could hear the urgency in his voice and it made my blood run cold.

“Is everything okay with Mom?”

“You need to come home, sweetie. We need to talk.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be there soon.”

He hung up the phone and I slipped mine back into my bag.

My mom had breast cancer. It was pretty advanced, and she needed to go through round after round of chemo plus surgery. It had been hard on our family lately, but she seemed like she was improving, or at least that was what my parents were telling me.

If it wasn’t the case, I knew they were just trying to protect me. I hated that they felt like I was some child they had to keep the truth from, but at least I understood.

Gage gave me a look, frowning. “What’s wrong?”

“I have to go home. My dad wants to talk to me.”

He frowned. “Your Mom?”

“Maybe,” I said. “I can’t be sure.”

“Okay. Let’s go.” He stood and helped me up. We grabbed our things and quickly walked back to our car. Stress rolled through me, but Gage got us in and going right away. He held my hand as he drove quickly back toward town.

Gage got a bad reputation. Most of that stemmed from the way he looked, which was what drew me toward him to begin with. He was tall, muscular, and had tattoos all along his arms. He was the only kid at school with a full tattoo sleeve.

His family was pretty rough, though. There were rumors that his uncles were involved in the mafia. Gage lived with his grandmother because both of his parents died mysteriously in a car accident, which of course is the subject of plenty of other rumors. I asked him once about his family, but he didn’t seem to want to talk much about it. We didn’t go over his house, and mostly drove around in his car and went out on dates.

Gage wasn’t a bad person. I knew that for a fact. Maybe he had tragedy in his life and his family was a little difficult, but he was a good person at heart. I knew that he wanted to get away from all of the pain and the crime that he was surrounded by, but he just didn’t know how. I wanted to help him, maybe save him. Maybe I could make a difference.

I wasn’t thinking about that as we drove back to my house, though. Gage dropped me off out front, kissing me softly on the lips before I got out. “Call me if you need me,” he said.

I nodded and quickly shut the car door. I walked up the front steps and he pulled away. I watched him go before going inside.

Dad was sitting in the den watching football on television. I walked in and looked around, frowning. “Dad, what’s wrong?”

He looked up at me and took a deep breath. He shut off the television. “Sit down, sweetheart.”

“Please, just tell me what’s happening.”

“It’s about our family. Please, sit.”

I sighed and quickly sat in the chair closest to me. He sat up and cleared his throat.

“I just want you to know that we didn’t plan any of this,” he said. “It just happened, and it happened quickly. I’m sorry that you weren’t consulted on any of it.”

“Dad. Just tell me what’s happening.”

“As you know, your mother has been struggling. My boss at work managed to pull some strings, and he’s getting us into an important clinical trial for a drug that could potentially save your mother.”

I blinked. “That sounds like great news.”

“It is. She’ll also get a whole new team of great doctors, all recommended to me by my boss.”

“That’s awesome, Dad. I can’t believe it. But why did I have to rush home for that?”

He sighed. “We have to move to Seattle.”

I stared at him. “What?”

“I’m sorry, honey. We have to go, and we have to go tomorrow. The trial starts soon and your mother can’t be late. I know this is so last second, but it’s her best chance.”

I didn’t know what to say. I’d never left my small Virginia town before, let alone moved across the country. And we were supposed to be leaving the next day? That was insane.

“How are we going to move in a day?”

“Well, we’ll all fly out there. I booked the tickets already. We’ll live in a hotel while we find a new house. I’ll sell this one and have movers bring our things out when the time is right.”

I shook my head. “This is nuts, Dad.”

“I know. But we can’t miss this chance. You understand, don’t you?”

I wanted to get up and scream. I couldn’t move away from Ashertown. All of my friends were there, everyone I knew, everything I was. I couldn’t leave.

I couldn’t leave Gage.

It hit me just then. I was going to move across the country, as far away from Gage as possible.

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