I stepped out into the muggy Philly summer afternoon and took a deep breath. I was trying to figure out how I felt about seeing Brenna again after all this time. The last time I had seen her hadn't been under the best of circumstances.
The smell of her sweat and her skin overwhelmed me as the sun beat down on us.
“I’m from nothing, and your father...”
“Fuck my father and his business. I don’t care who you were.”
I climbed into my car, willing myself to forget about that afternoon. I turned the engine, giving it a little gas, and pulled out into traffic. The streets were thin in the city, since it had been built so long ago, and I carefully wove my way through the slow-moving traffic. It didn’t take me long to get from O’Brian’s pub to his stately brownstone. I pulled up out front and put the car in park, looking up at the building.
It had been years since I last stayed there. I moved out pretty soon after Bren left, more or less as soon as I started making some real money with the Right People of the Mob. But it was still my first home, and the first place I lived after I had left the orphanage. It was surprisingly large on the inside, mostly because it was actually two row homes; the two entrances gave the illusion of separate homes, but they were actually a single building on the inside.
I climbed out and walked up the stoop, fighting back the memories and the nostalgia that threatened to overtake me.
What’s the worst that could happen? I thought to myself as I turned the front door’s handle and pushed it open.
Chapter Three: Brenna
It had been almost five years since I had last seen my dad. Five years was a long, long time, and I had no clue what he was going to be like in person. We hadn’t exactly left on good terms; truth be told, I regretted how I had acted with him, but I didn’t think that I was wrong.
He was a violent Mob asshole. Nobody could deny that fact.
I looked at myself in the mirror and frowned at my long brown hair. I’d always been jealous of the ginger Irish girls, and felt a little resentful that I ended up with a darker complexion. Then again, it made it easier to try and put certain parts of my life behind me.
I got up and pulled on a pair of tight dark jeans and a light blue tank top, not caring too much what I looked like, but not wanting to be a slob either. I had to admit, there were a few guys that I was looking forward to catching up with, even if they were all a bunch of scumbag criminals. Though that didn’t necessarily mean that they were bad people.
I grinned to myself. Maybe I didn’t hate criminals as much as I thought I did.
A sudden knock at my door made me look up with a start.
“Who is it?” I called out.
I checked myself in the mirror real fast, though I wasn’t sure why. Colin didn’t care about what I looked like. He was just my private bodyguard, right?
He stood leaning against the wall when I pulled open the door.
“What’s up?” I asked.
He shrugged and walked toward me. “Guys are going to be here soon.”
“Yeah, I know that.”
“Just wanted to make sure you knew.” He stopped right in front of me.
“Are you checking up on me?” I could feel my temper rising.
He shrugged. “Not really. I guess I was curious about what your room looked like.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.” I stepped aside and made a dramatic gesture, letting him come further inside. “Take a good look, Mr. Bodyguard.”
He walked in with a grin, ignoring the sarcasm dripping from my words. He laughed as he looked around.
“I haven’t been in here in a long time.”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
He leaned against the bed and crossed his arms, looking at me.
“What?” I asked, and walked over to him.
“Are you ready for this?”
“I’m not sure what you mean.”
He shrugged and grinned. I wasn’t in the mood for his crap, so I clenched my jaw and waited for him to explain.
“It’s been years, Bren. Are you sure you’re ready to dive right back into the family?”
I sighed. He was absolutely right, but I hated the implication hidden behind his words: I couldn’t handle it. I was too weak, or whatever, to deal with Dad’s people again.
“Worried about me, Colin?” I spat.
He looked surprised, then smiled. “I’m never worried about you.”
“You never seemed to care all that much, back then.”
He stood and shrugged, taking a step closer. “People change, I guess.”
“No, they don’t. Not really. What are you doing here?”
He stopped right in front of me, and I could feel the heat rolling from him. My anger faded almost as quickly as it rose, and I felt a little silly for having snapped at him.