ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.
In a game that used a single standard deck of cards, there were fifty-two cards. Each deck contained four suits and thirteen ranked cards. Each rank had only one of the four suits. For example, there was only one king of hearts, one king of diamonds, one king of spades, and one king of clubs. Therefore, five kings in a deck was a big fat no-no.
“Grandma?” Cody narrowed her eyes down at the second king of diamonds she counted. “Are you cheating?”
Soft laughter filled the room as the old madam hid her smile behind a fan made of the cards in her hand.
“Seriously?” Cody threw down her cards. “You’d even cheat your own granddaughter?”
“I warned you.” Molly chided beside Cody, sitting on the arm of her chair. “Grammy is vicious when it comes to cards.”
Cody huffed realizing why she could never beat the woman. She was a true gangster, through and through. “I didn’t know vicious equals cheating.” She grumbled.
“Oh, I guess I could’ve told you straight up… But what’s the fun in that!” Molly sang.
Cody glared up at her grinning sister.
“It could be worse,” George said with a mouth full of food at a table not too far away, where lunch was served an hour ago. And the man was still eating…between breaks. “Wait until you play scrabble with her. She makes up words that are hard to determine if they’re real or not, then dares you to look them up.” He shivered. “And I never take the dare. I’m no fool.”
“Most of those words are in Italian or Turkish.” Donya grinned wickedly, showing off the adorable crinkles at the corners of her eyes.
Cody and Molly looked at each other then rolled their eyes. Their grandmother had no shame.
One of the attendants came into the room and approached Donya cautiously. “Madam. Bilal.” And presented a mobile phone.
Donya looked up at the young male attendant and took the mobile he held out. She put it to her ear.
“Yes, Bilal.” Though the woman spoke in Turkish, Cody understood enough from what Gabe had taught her. “Oh, he did, did he?” Donya pinched her lips together as if amused. “Very well, send it…old fashion mail. And if you want to hold on to it a couple of days before you send it, that’s fine too. We’re in no hurry… Mmmhmm… That’s good, dear. Thank you for the update. Yes, my health is good.” The woman blushed. “Stop teasing this old woman and go do your job.” With that, her grandmother hung up.
“Grammie, are you still flirting with Bilal?” Molly asked shaking her head.
“I’ll have you know, he was flirting with me this time.”
“Hell, he’s practically your son… There’s something seriously twisted with this family…” Molly muttered, then stopped herself when she looked at Cody. Then she screwed up her face in a grimace. “Sorry.”
Cody waved her hand dismissively, not bothered by it. “Who’s Bilal?” Cody mouthed.
“Cousin. Tall. Thin. Angry.” Molly whispered to Cody. “You’ve probably met him. He doesn’t leave Donya’s side unless she gives him a job.”
Cody remembered one of Donya’s guards who stared at people as if he was trying to kill everyone with his eyes. Everyone except Donya. The look he gave her grandmother was so affectionate it was creepy. From the stripe in his eyebrows and the close-cut hair, he had a bad boy aura that made others want to back off.
“Bilal is Donya’s boytoy.” George blurted.
“George!” Donya admonished even as she blushed. “He’s too young for me.”
“Don’t play coil, I know that’s your majesty’s private reserve.” George stretched out the words while wiggling his eyebrows.
Cody and Molly covered their mouths to keep the laughter from erupting.
“You three…” Donya sighed standing up and turned her beat red face away. “We will continue our game tomorrow,” She said walking toward the door in her blue floor length dress that looked both simple and elegant at the same time. Her gray hair was twisted up in a classy chignon.
“No cheating tomorrow, grandmama,” Cody said.
“Its only cheating if you catch me, dear.” Donya looked back amused before leaving them alone.
“You know that old woman’s still getting some, don’t you?” George smirked.
“Georgy, behave.” Molly groaned. “I don’t want to imagine my grammy like that.”
“Uh, huh. Live in the land of denial all you want, Cupcake, but you know better. Cody, have you noticed that all the men in the mansion are younger than her by at least ten years? And the only older staff are women?” George leaned back in his seat, folding his arm over his chest in satisfaction.
Molly’s shoulder’s slumped in defeat.
Cody’s jaw dropped. She never noticed before. But now… “Holy shit, Grandma’s a cougar! Get it, Grandma!” Cody yelled.
George fell out laughing as Molly ran over to punch George in the arm.
One of the female attendant’s eyes grew huge in shock.
Cody laughed and joked with her sister and brother-in-law most of the afternoon which helped to get her mind off herself and Gabe.
Molly and George flew in from the US yesterday and were only going to stay a couple of days. Since they arrived, Molly and Cody talked, argued, watched movies, and hung out with their grandmother. George ate and slept.
That evening while Cody shadow boxed and kicked at the training room mirror, Molly sat on the floor and discussed the wedding that her sister determined was going to happen with or without Gabe. The wedding wasn’t scheduled until the next year, but Molly started three years ago just to make sure everything was perfect.
“Purple looks the best on you. It brings out the green in your eyes.”
“Why do I need three outfits?” Cody asked as she slammed her fist into an imaginary attacker.
“One for the wedding ceremony. One for greeting the guests. One for dancing… I’m thinking I should line up some lingerie as well for that night.” She giggled wickedly. Cody was starting to like it better when her sister didn’t like her and Gabe being together.
“Speaking of wedding, where’s that ring anyway? Did you take it off? Pawn it? Or…” She stopped when Cody pulled the necklace from around her neck displaying the sparkling engagement ring in the light. In order to keep people from asking too many questions, Cody kept the ring under her shirt. Since she and Bailey were officially “breaking up” soon she thought it was best not to have the ring out in the open during their fake relationship.
She didn’t want anyone to mistake Gabe’s ring for something Bailey gave. It would not only piss Gabe off, it would bother Cody as well.
“It’s been over a week do you miss him?” Molly asked.
“Correction: one month and nineteen days.” Cody punched left, right, uppercut. Then she performed a spinning kick.
“So, you miss him.” Molly only nodded.
“Do you not want me to?” Cody asked looking back at Molly who flipped through a bridal magazine that had all kinds of colorful tabs marking the pages.
“I honestly don’t care as long as you’re happy. I’ve given up trying to consider my family normal years ago. It’s never been normal. Mom and dad were barely civil to each other, and those were the times when my mother contained her temper. My grandmother and father are crime bosses. My sister is in love with our father… I think I’m the only fairly normal one in this family.” Molly’s head jerked up with pride.
“Only if you consider a billionaire heiress who shops religiously and married a professional football player, normal.”
“Hey, I married him before he was pro, thank you very much!” Molly pouted.
“Sorry, princess, you’re right.”
“Of course I am, Princess Molly Number Two.”
“I swear I’m going to kill Bailey.” Cody grumbled as Molly laughed.
While they began arguing, the door to the training room opened and a big guy walked in wearing a tight shirt and sweat pants. His short hair curled just at the ends and his familiar face made Cody run toward him and jump in his arms.
“Hey Queen Kickass.” He chuckled holding her tight.
“Okay, you’ve squeezed my sissy enough. Hands off.” Molly ordered and Mario stepped back sheepishly.
“My two oldest are here if you want to see them, Molly,” Mario said.
Molly gasped, big green eye widened in delight, before jumping up, grabbing her magazines, and darting out the room.
Cody snorted. She knew Molly would be dressing those girls up and playing with them like dolls. Though Cody loved Mario’s girls, they were a little to prissy for her taste.
“Working out?” Mario asked throwing his towel onto one of the weight benches.
Cody nodded looking at the bodyguard she considered a friend.
Mario went to a rack by the wall that held several types of equipment and selected a pair of punching mitts. After equipping them on his hands, he took a stance in the middle of the gym mat and held them up for her. Cody used the mitts as targets, punching as Mario moved. Her long legs kicked them if the mitts weren’t close enough to hit.
The two moved around the training room, almost dancing as she worked out. Neither one spoke. But Cody didn’t need to speak to Mario to know what was going on with the man because she talked to him almost every other day. She already knew that he left Gabe to work with Val. She knew that his wife tied her tubes after they finally got a little boy. Six children and Mario was very proud of his handy work.
Because he wanted to be with his children more often, he took less hours and worked only in Italy. Val had promoted Mario as the head of the Bellini side of the bodyguards, which meant that Mario was now in charge of management, not actually guarding.
The workout finished with Cody holding up the mitts and Mario attacking. His moves were quick and brutal, so Cody had to move fast to make sure her arms didn’t take too much of his strength. She liked her arms intact, dammit!
After the last round of abuse to the punch mitts, Cody surrendered, breathing heavily and accepting the towel Mario offered.
They sat on a weight bench to rest. He talked about his oldest daughter.
“She’s getting so big…” Mario whined. “Boys are already eyeing her. The shits better think again. This is one of those times I’m glad I work for criminals. I know exactly where I can hide the bodies.”
Cody laughed. “What if she likes girls instead?”
“I know how to kill them, too,” Mario said without a bit of humor and Cody laughed harder. “You laugh, but I’m making it my life’s mission to make sure all my children stay chaste until they are at least thirty!”
“Even the boy?”
“Cody? Are you discriminating? So what if he’s a boy! I refuse to let that little rascal out of the house to run wild.”
“Like you and Gabe used to do?”
“Exactly. I know how debauched it can get. I want better for my kids,” Mario said righteously.
“You’re such a good dad.”
Mario shrugged. “I try… And despite what anyone says to you, you’d make a good mother to those twins,” he said looking into her face. “You’re caring. And loving. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Of course, it also takes a crap load of money and attention too, but that’s another issue.”
Cody smiled. “Thanks. I never wanted to be a full-time mom, just…there if they need me. There will be so many people to help them. I’ll just be another helping hand.”
“Regardless, its good you want to.” He looked down at her and sighed. “I should apologize. It was my meddling that made you tell Gabe you wanted to be in the twins’ life.”
“No, you only voiced what I had been thinking.” She looked down at the water bottle in her hand. When she first got pregnant, Mario had asked her if she wanted to be in the kids’ life. At first, she said she didn’t know, but the more she thought about it the more it made since and felt right. Even though they were Bailey and Tyler’s babies, Cody was a part of their family so even if she hadn’t given birth to the kids, she would still be family.
“It doesn’t matter if they call me mother or Cody, I want to be in their life, all of your lives.”
Mario’s hand lifted and ruffled the top of her head. “Good answer.” Placing his hands on the bench behind his back he leaned on them and looked ahead, all humor draining from his face. “While I was furious with him for what he said, I understand where that fear came from.” The man’s lips quirked a bit. “You know as well as anyone, that Lloyd doesn’t lash out. He doesn’t argue. He doesn’t show hardly any emotion outwardly. Yet, you’re the only one who can drag all the things he keeps hidden out into the open. I know he only said all those things to you out of fear that Bailey and those babies would challenge his bottom line. I think that day, when you asked him if you would be a good mother… All the fears came out and turned into that ugliness. I don’t condone it, but I understand it.”
Cody watched the man as he stared off at something unseen.
“You’re his weakness. You make him mortal when nothing else seems to. But that isn’t a bad thing. He just has to learn to deal with the emotions he’s never known before. So bear with him, but remind him, he can’t get away with that shit.”
“Hell yeah.” Cody nodded agreement.
Mario’s grin made him look so handsome before he stood to his feet. “Now, for round two.”
“More?” Cody cringed.
“Yeah, Queen. Time to get you back in shape so you can be ready to deal with that big bad man of yours.” He winked.