Loyal To Whom — Chapter One

*If you haven’t read the preview of “Loyal to Whom?”, I’ve linked it below so you can check it out.

“You ready to lose?” Melanie’s mouth curled into an evil grin.

I leaned back in the leather computer chair, loosening my tie. It creaked softly. “You haven’t beaten me yet.”

“There’s a first time for everything” The glass chess set sat between us on the table. The wall-wide window showed us everything the city had to offer at night. The streetlights painted the roads yellow. People bustling along looked more like insects than people. I kept the light above us dimmed, but we had more than enough to see.

She was white; I was black. White always moves first. She opened up by moving a pawn to E4. Her coffee brown eyes rose from her pieces to me. A bolt of lightning cascaded down my spine. Her face still wore that famous grin of hers. Her umber complexion locked me in like freshly poured chocolate to an aspiring baker. Keeping my eyes bolted to hers, I slowly slid a pawn to D6.

“Nervous?” she plopped another pawn down down at D4, right beside her first move.

“Never” I picked up a knight and placed him on F6. She also grabbed a knight; she transported him to E3.

The talking faded as we both began to concentrate on the game in front of us.

I stole glances at her as she pondered her next moves.One of her thumbs rested on her bottom lip as she nibbled on it, focusing on her turn. Every once in a while she’d look up after removing her hand from her piece and catch my gaze. She fought back a smile and swiftly looked away.

“Mel?”

“Yes?” she kept her eyes locked on the board.

“Have I told you how beautiful you look yet?”

“Maybe- a handful of times” that got her to look up at me once again. She had a smile that could make a man forget his name and why he walked into the room. Her black dress clung to her body for dear life. The first time I laid eyes on her, I swore she was a model. After I admitted my first guess to her, she revealed that she owned a luxury women’s boutique in the part of town Ferrari’s ran rampant. The leather jacket rested on top, draped over her shoulders. The jacket belonged to me, unless you asked her of course. Long, crinkled jet black hair rested down her back and spilled over her shoulders.

“I almost hate to do this to you” her bishop stood at H6; I pushed her bishop off the board with a bishop of my own.

She rolled her eyes, but a smirk spread across her face. Her queen glided diagonally across the board four spaces as she snatched my bishop. I shot her a hurt glance.

“Don’t blame me.” she reached over and briefly took my hand in hers, “You put him there.”

Once the queen came out of her den, the game got serious.

We went back and forth trading blows, strategically moving around the board. As the game progressed, the number of pieces on the board dwindled. Her manicured nails, sporting a glossy black with a gold crown on both of her middle fingers, wrapped around her pieces and commanded them around the board with confidence. I had one more piece on the board than her, sitting at eight. However, my king had journeyed across the board to her side throughout the game and it looked like she might be closing in.

Her bishop kidnapped my queen at E4. “Growing jealous?” I asked. I took her bishop with a pawn. She moved her queen all the way across the board and swiped a rook.

“Nope. We all know who your real queen is.”

“The stunning woman sitting across from me”

“The same one who’s about to beat you at your own game.” Melanie had a firm grip on my heart just like she did on those white pieces, and she knew it long before I had a clue.

“We’ll see” I wouldn’t admit it, but a anxious boulder began to grow at the pit of my stomach. I was starting to think that she had this game in the bag.

Immersed in concentration, we battled back and forth.

She moved her queen to A8.

I placed a pawn at E3.

Her queen shot to A4.

I slid my king to E1.

One of her pawns went backward one to F4.

I moved a pawn down to F5.

Her king crept over one to C1.

My rook slithered down to D2.

Her queen escaped to A7.

Checkmate.

Game Over. She did it; she beat me at my own game.

“Babe,” her voice followed me as I rose from my chair and moved behind it, squeezing the top of it with both hands. “Good game.” I didn’t have to look at her to know she was smiling from ear to ear. She played well. Part of me filled with pride while the other part of me shriveled in defeat.

“Good game. You played well.” I nodded, finally looking up to see that gorgeous smile with my own eyes. I watched as she stood and approached me. My next wave of oxygen caught in my throat. I lowered my head as she pushed onto her tip toes , resting her forehead against mine. I could smell one of my own colognes on her neck mixed with the champagne on her breath.

“What’s my prize?” she whispered. She reached her hands up to untie my tie the rest of the way. Her movements were slow and deliberate, as if she was giving me time to answer.

“Me” I flashed her smile. She couldn’t stifle the giggle that escaped her lips. She turned her head away and took a small step back. I gently grabbed her arm before she could go any farther.

“What if I don’t like that prize?”

“You’ve never ‘not’ liked it before”

“First time for everything” She flung the tie over her shoulder. I briefly watched it sail across the room before resting my gaze back onto her. She took one of my hands in hers, intertwining our fingers and began tugging me towards my own room. I delivered her prize.

My phone buzzed on the nightstand.

An annoyed groan escaped Melanie’s lips, but she didn’t open her eyes. She refused to remove her head from my chest.

“Who would want you at this time of night — besides me?” she asked.

I grabbed the phone, “Hello?” I had no idea what time it was, but the stars were still dancing outside my window.

“Jaxon” a cold voice flooded my ear, sending a chill throughout my body.

“Yes?”

“Boss is ready for you”

“Where?”

“Address will be sent to you shortly. Don’t keep us waiting” Click! I laid the phone back on the nightstand.

“Who was that?” I glanced down to see her eyes open and on me.

“I gotta go”

She lifted her head to get a better view of my face. She gently shook her head to move the hair from her face. “Where?”

“Mel-“

“Jaxon”

“Babe, come on”

She sat up without bothering to cover herself.

My eyes darted around the room until I found her bra. It was laying on the grey wooden floor with her dress and heels. Displeasure filled her eyes. I planted a kiss on her cheek and pulled her into a hug.

“You sure you want to leave?” she gently pushed me away and straddled my lap.

“I have to” my words trailed as I broke our gaze. My phone buzzed again; that had to be the address. I should’ve had my clothes on by now. I really should have been in the car by now.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can. We can get breakfast when I come back.” I gave her a peck on the lips then tapped her leg, signaling for her to get up.

“I’ll make it up to you-“

“You better” she said. I slid out of bed and she took my spot, resting her head on my pillow. I yanked on a pair of black dress pants. I pushed my arms into a white button up and shoved it down my pants after I buttoned it up.

“You’re in a hurry” she commented.

“A little” I grabbed a black tie from my collection and tossed it around my neck, getting ready to tie it in a Windsor knot.

“If I find out you have a wife -“

I paused from tying my tie and shot her a look that stopped her statement dead in its tracks. “What? No. You know I don’t have anyone but you” She watched me from the bed. “Don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what?” she asked.

I grabbed my bottle of Kilian’s Black Phantom cologne, and sighed. I should have sprayed it before putting on the shirt, but she was distracting me with her little fit. I undid the tie, and sprayed once on each exposed wrist. I went into the collar of my shirt and sprayed once on my chest.

“Who are you trying to smell good for?” she asked.

“Melanie” it came out firmer than I intended. I crossed the room and grabbed a pair of loafers. I leaned down and kissed her forehead before sitting on the edge of the bed.

“I just have to take care of something” I told her.

“Don’t be gone too long.”

“I’ll try my best.”

I rushed down to the garage and backed out in my second love — my menacing all black Audi A5.

Good thing I paid if off before I lost my job. I held a thumb on the address until the map application on my phone loaded up. Nerves danced in my stomach; I was on my way to meet the head of the Gambino family. The roads were nearly empty at three in the morning. Streetlights illuminated certain spots along the paved streets. Dave East’s Kairi Chanel album bumped through the speakers. With one hand on the steering wheel, the other reached for my phone. I hadn’t been gone but maybe ten minutes and Melanie’s name was already popping up on my screen.

I know you missin this.

A second later, a picture of her appeared under the text. She held the phone up with an extended arm with a pout on her face. The sheets barely covered her. If this hadn’t been so important, I would’ve circled back home.

I pulled up in the bare parking lot of Damiani, a high end jewelry store Mason Gambino bought. Damiani in gold letters stretched across the glass double doors. As I headed towards the entrance, the suited doorman slowly opened the door. The marble floors sparkled under the lights. Mahogany displays held countless watches, necklaces, cufflinks, and bracelets stretched across the spacious room. One hand rested on his abdomen, ready to reach for the pistol he kept under his suit coat. The other hand held the door open.

With a grin, I said “Una domo in aeternum” One family forever.

He stepped back and allowed me to enter with a small nod. Marcel stood behind the main counter. Mason Gambino owned it, but it was Marcel’s baby. He ran it and gave the Gambino a whopping sixty percent of his earnings. However, Mason’s connections got Marcel everything he needed at a heavily discounted price. He looked up as the door closed. A smile spilled across his face. “Mr. Jaxon”

“Marcel, good evening” I reached a hand out for him to shake.

“You know what will go well with that shirt? One of my Bulgari pieces” he pointed to the glass. A neat row of watches worth drooling over laid comfortably in the display.

“Soon, Marcel, I promise. Mr. Gambino is waiting for me.”

“Best not to keep him waiting” he offered me another smile as I headed towards a door in the back marked Employees Only.

A dimly lit hallway connected the jewelry store to another building Mr. Gambino had built behind it. I followed the burgundy carpet to the end of the hall where an elevator waited for me. With a push of a button, the steel doors slowly glided open with a ding. I hopped off on the top floor, where his office sat. A big, muscular man with a bald head leaned against the wall beside his door. His head turned at the ding of the elevator. Even with his dark sunglasses on, I could tell he was glaring holes into me. I forced myself to keep my head held high as I approached the office door.

“Jaxon –“

“ID” he spat.

“It’s Jaxon — “ he pushed himself off the wall and took a step towards me. My hand flew into my back pocket to pull out my wallet. “Alright alright.” I opened the black wallet and showed him my driver’s license. With a grunt, he retreated and knocked on Mr. Gambino’s door. He waited a moment before opening it.

“Jaxon” his voice boomed into my ears as his eyes met mine.

The head of the Gambino family sat in a huge, leather computer chair behind a desk fit for a king.

“Mr. Gambino” I stood in the doorway; the bodyguard nudged me in and closed the door behind me.

“How have you been, son?”

“Good, sir”

“Have a seat” he motioned to a chair on the opposite side of his desk. “James, get Jaxon something to drink. Whiskey sounds good, yea?”

“Of course” I turned around to see James shoot me a glare before heading to the full sized refrigerator in Mr. Gambino’s office.

“It’s time, my boy”

“Time for what, sir?”

“For you to prove your loyalty to the family”

“I haven’t done that?”

“Are you questioning me-?”

“No, sir” I quickly blurted out.

His eyes glided towards a picture on his desk. I watched as a smile spread across his face.

“James, text my daughter for me. Tell her I hope she’s sleeping well and daddy will set up a lunch date soon.”

“It’s three in the morning, sir” James said

“She’ll wake up to it” he snapped.

“Yes, sir” James placed a glass in front of me and another glass in front of Mr. Gambino.

“Jaxon, I bet you didn’t know I even had a daughter”

“I did, but we’ve never met.”

“After you do this, maybe I’ll let you meet her.” he turned the picture around for me to see. My chest tightened; I forgot how to breathe. Melanie’s beautiful face was staring back at me. I knew that smile all too well.

“Beautiful, isn’t she?” he asked, then quickly added “Don’t get any ideas.”

Little did he know, she had some ideas of her own that she liked to act out with me. Ideas I’d never say to his face — not if I wanted to live.

“She is, sir” I nodded, trying to hide my shock.

He took a swig from his glass after sitting the photograph down. “You know what you have to do”

“I do, sir?”

“It’s time to prove yourself to us- before you can call yourself a Gambino officially.

“What do I need to do?”

He leaned down in his chair. I heard him open a drawer from his desk. He placed a pistol on the desk. It was a Ruger MK III — sleek, black, and powerful.

“Who?”

“Someone close to you. We don’t need anyone having you torn between loyalty to us and loyalty to them. I know you don’t have any family, and I know your friends are all mostly Gambino- affiliated.” He said, then shifted his gaze to James. “However, James tells me there’s a special someone in your life. So — handle that.”

A lump the size of a golf ball formed in my throat. “You — you want me to kill my girl?”

“Yes. Is there a problem?” There was a big problem, but he didn’t know it yet. He had a picture of my special someone on his own desk, and he wanted me to kill her.

“No. I don’t see one” I lied. I tightened my grip on the arm of the chair. The room felt like it had begun to spin violently. My throat began to feel like a desert. I forced my eyes not to go anywhere near her picture.

“Good.” He leaned back in his chair. “Can’t have you out here distracted. All women are distractions. A smile and that look they all know how to pull off — and it’ll have a man doing foolish things. This is for the best. Understood?”

“Yes, sir” Damn! How was I going to get out of this?

I’ve been working on this short story for a minute after running across a writing prompt. I hope to finish it. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. Let me know your thoughts so far. I hope you enjoyed this first chapter, and I hope you have an amazing day!

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BFoundAPen

BFoundAPen

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"My pen isn't afraid to speak the truth" - Marsha Ambrosius