Chapter One: Family And Fights
It was one of those days where a thunderstorm was inevitable. It was barely half three when the dark, angry clouds converged overhead, ringed with white, the last speck of goodness within them. The air was thick and damp, clinging to my skin like sugar dissolved in water then painted thickly over my body.
"They're here." My older brother, Drew, sidled up to me, jerking his head out through the window towards the car that was backing itself into our drive. He bared his teeth out the window and growled, as if the people within the car could hear and see him.
I snorted and swatted a hand at him, tidying away the things on my bed so we can sit down.
"Behave." I instructed him. "We don't want anybody getting suspicious."
"They come from a different world. They think people like us only exist in books and TV shows. How could they get suspicious?" Drew chuckled, helping me to tidy away.
He came across my Glock 37 and ran his hands over it appreciatively, admiring its smooth finish and the way it held easily in his hands.
"Oi!" I snatched it off him, hurrying away to hide it under the piles of the clothes in my draw. "Just because yours is chipped don't mean you can go stealing mine!"
"It's not stealing if I'm the one that smuggled it." Drew pointed out but backed off the moment I gave him The Look.
"No more of that talk either. And the guys ain't to come round to the house, you got that? Spread the word or whatever. I ain't having anybody getting suspicious and if those goody-goodies find out we're in deep shit. So tell them before the cops do."
"Gotcha. Jeez, calm down already." He came to stand behind me, his arm snaking around my shoulder and pulling me towards him in a brotherly hug, so rarely seen from him. We both stared out of the window and down on the driveway, watching them as they got out and started to make their way towards the door. "What is it about them that gets you so spooked, hey? They're toffs, pure and simple. They ain't gonna be able to hurt you, are they? Not with our guys around. Not with me around. You know this. So why'd you let them get to you?"
I stared down as the innocent family moved around, unaware of the watching eyes. Elodie, Jake, Aunt Selene. Uncle Ant hadn't come with them, staying at home to work. Aunt Selene was only dropping Elodie and Jake off before returning home. So it was only them.
Elodie, as if sensing my eyes on her, glanced up towards my window. As I attempted to draw back, Drew's arm kept me there, staring down on her. I wasn't sure if she saw us.
Aunt Selene left an hour after they'd arrived, giving her children a hurried kiss on the forehead before rushing out the door like some kind of bat out of hell. Mum instructed me and Drew to show Elodie and Jake where they were sleeping for the next few months. Although Jake was my age and Elodie was Drew's age, Elodie was sleeping in my room and Jake was sleeping in Drew's. It didn't make it easy for us to hide our things, or sneak out, but it made it a challenge.
And there was nothing more I liked more then a challenge.
I showed Elodie to my room and told her where to put her stuff.
"Don't worry, just chuck it anywhere. My rooms untidy enough as it is. What's one more pile of mess?" I told her, turning my back to start shifting through my school stuff, trying to find any receipts or documents that Elodie might find that would make her suspicious.
"Oh, thanks." She smiled patronisingly down on me before tucking her bags away neatly in the corner. I resisted the urge to tell her to tip all her clothes out into the middle of the floor and roll around in them.
I wrinkled my nose in disgust as I tried to be polite. Posh toffs from Buckinghamshire didn't do that sort of thing.
"So, you going to the sixth form at my school?" I asked instead.
"Yes. Nothing like Buckingham Grammar, I suppose, but what can I do when this sort of thing happens?" She gave me that sickly sweet, false smile again. I wanted to be sick. I did gag before I composed myself.
"Indeed." I murmured instead. "I hope you fit in."
"I certainly don't!" She declared. "Fitting in would be such a drag. Being normal is boring."
"Being noticed is dangerous." I told her calmly.
She rolled her eyes.
"Don't be so melodramatic, Jo. What's dangerous about living in the out skirts of Manchester, in a place nobody's ever heard of?"
"It's not so far from Manchester." I pointed out, wondering what she would say if she found out I was one of the leaders of the most notorious and dangerous gangs in Manchester. Probably scoff.
I raised my eyebrows at her but said nothing, slipping pieces of paper and little packages behind my back as I started to back out of my own room.
"I'll leave you to unpack." I told her before turning and shutting the door firmly behind me.
Drew was waiting for me on the landing, his own hands filled with pieces of papers and packages.
He cocked one eyebrow at me, smirking.
"How's it going, little sis?" He asked with a smirk.
"She was lucky the Glock was across the room." I replied darkly.
"Aw, calm down. She's only a toff. What harm can she do?" He asked comfortingly.
"Oh, a lot. She ain't listening to me when I tell her attention can be dangerous. She wants to be noticed."
"Then let her." Drew shrugged, seeming uncaring.
I glared at him.
"She's family, remember? Although she might be a stuck up brat with no care for anybody elses feelings but her own, and and overly developed sense of her own importance but she is still family. We can't allow her to draw the attention of the other gangs to herself. We know what will happen."
"Then we spread the word she's related to us and nobody's to touch her." Drew seemed to have no care in the world on how to protect our new family members.
I shook my head.
"That's to dangerous. There will always be some cocky youngster who thinks they'll be able to kill one of us and get away unharmed."
Drew laughed and drew me into a one armed hug, surprising me once more with his affection. He ruffled my hair playfully.
"You worry too much little sister. Nobody's going to harm Elodie or Jake. We'll get some of the guys to go around with her discreetly. She'll never be alone."
"Oh, alright. You win." I allowed unwillingly. "But if I come home one day and find our either of them have been even remotely hurt there will be hell to pay."
"Nobody will be saved." Drew agreed, his grin slipping off his face as he registered the seriousness of the statement.
I nodded with satisfaction then.
"Good." I then grinned up at him. "How's Jake doing?"
Drew laughed easily again, striking a stupid pose.
"He's so in awe of his amazing older cousin that he doesn't know what to do with himself."
I giggled and pressed my hand to my mouth to cover up the noise.
"I wonder what he'd do if he knew these and the guns were in the same room as him?" I wondered with a laugh, tossing the packages high up in the air then catching them with one hand.
"Probably wet himself. He's no hard man, however much he trys to make out that he is."
Drew then glanced consideringly at the packages.
"What are we going to do with these whilst they're here? We can hardly drop them off at any of the guy's house, it'll be gone and used up by the time we come to collect it."
"No." I thoughtfully stared at the ones in my own hand. "We could always have Vinny pick them up."
Drew shook his head.
"Nuh uh, no way. Vinny ain't gotta be trusted, Jo."
"You can trust him when you've gotta gun to his head. He's awfully trustworthy then."
Drew cast me an amused glance.
"Don't take your frustration out on Vinny, Joey. He may be a pratt and a wimp but he don't deserve to be killed, nor can you waste your first kill on such a guy."
"Fine." I said grudgingly, my hands gripping the packages tightly. "Suppose we could always put them in the old pot down by the river. Nobody goes near there anymore."
Drew mulled it over before nodding.
"Seems like our best option. We'll meet the guys tonight and get them to do it. We can't be going out every night like we used to. They'll get suspicious."
"Imbecilic toffs." I grumbled and Drew smirked again.
"Well, aren't you the word genius tonight?"
I pulled a face at him.
"Jo! Please don't tell me my beds the sofa bed!" Elodie trilled worriedly from my room.
I looked at Drew and rolled my eyes.
"Leave some of that stuff for me, just in case." I instructed him.