Alright, another new story! I know I know, I write too many of them...well this one is coming along nicely, I have a few chapters written and I hope to keep going. To all my Making Him Believe readers, don't worry! I am working on that one too!

FYI: The bold marks the beginning of a paragraph. Ok?


Chapter One


His smile still haunts me, that subtle curve of his beautiful lips, the flash of white when he laughed, and the sparkle that came into his eyes. Why? Why does his image stay even after all these years? Why can't I escape the love that he showed me? In such a short time, our love blossomed out of the darkness of my life and exploded into something terrible and awe inspiring.

Why does his love still fill me? When I feel the world closing in on me, all I have to do is think of his amazing blue eyes, or his deep voice, and I feel whole, prefect. There is no way to explain to my family. They can never know how I care. It's like I'm dying, slowly every day. I feel a piece of my heart tearing away from the whole and withering as each hour creeps past. How am I supposed to pretend that I can't love him? How do I make the pain go away? He seems to have moved on, why can't I?

I must be strong, but moments like this always pull me back. They take me back to the pain I try to ignore. I survive, but only just so. I must pretend it's over. It isn't over. It will never be over for me, but for him? For him, it ended the day he walked away at the park and let me fall into my abyss of anguish. For me? For me, it goes on and on. Two years have passed since I've heard his voice. Two years have made me into a different woman. Two years have destroyed me inside. But not him. I hear about his life. I hear about the women, the parties, the late nights. I see that smile in my mind, and I break down again.

The sound of a door slamming pulls me out of my melancholy thoughts. I turn around and look out my window. Aunt Patricia is leaving, again. She had moved into my home four times since the death of my mother. She always lasts a few weeks, and then my father drives her away. It is never intentional, it is simply how he is. Aunt Patricia throws a duffel bag into the seat of her car and slams the door. As she walks around to the driver's side, she pauses and looks up at me. Aunt Patricia is the only one that knows everything. She knows about him and she knows what it does to me. Her brown eyes meet mine and she searches for the pain she knows I'm feeling. Every time, I try to hide it, but I cannot. She is the closest thing to a mother that I have. She smiles sadly and nods to me. I smile back, knowing she will feel better about leaving if she thinks I am happy. Aunt Patricia blows me a kiss, climbs into her car, and drives out of my life. It doesn't matter that she might come back, she is gone. Everyone eventually leaves me. I hate to sound so depressed. I am truly a happy and upbeat girl, or I was. It is his image that makes me go back to this sadness. I stand up, run my hands though my long tangled hair and walk out of my room.

Dad is sitting at his desk, in his office. I approach slowly, dragging my feet. It is always a trial to deal with Dad. His opinions and his stubborn nature make him hard to handle. He must always have his way, and if he doesn't, well, you don't want to know what happens.

"Mallory? Where are you going?" Dad calls out to me, his thick New York accent a familiar sound. I freeze and turn to look at him from out in the hall.

"Aunt Patricia's gone again," I say in answer, walking into his office. Dad is typing on his laptop, but his eyes are on me. People say that I look like my mother, and not a bit like Dad. Sometimes I agree, I have Mom's brown hair and her short and thin frame. However, my eyes are all my own. Mom had green eyes and Dad has blue, mine are brown. When I was little, I thought that it was terrible, because I didn't look anything like my Daddy, and my Mom had the wrong color eyes, but now I think I'm unique. I don't look like Dad, and Mom is gone. I look like Mallory Varinski, myself.

"I noticed," Dad says, looking back down at the computer screen.

"What did you do this time?" I ask, feeling a little daring.

"Why do you assume it was me?" he asks. I shrug and fall into the chair in front of his desk.

"Isn't it always?" I sigh.

"The first time was all her fault," Dad defends himself. I am barely listening now. We go through this every time she leaves. The first time, Aunt Patricia left because her son was sick and needed to be taken care of. The other times were all Dad's fault.

"I know Dad, but what happened this time?"

"She wants me to start dating! Can you imagine her nerve?" He still isn't looking at me. Sometimes he doesn't look at me because I remind him of Mom. I wish I didn't have to look in the mirror everyday and think of Mom.

"She really shouldn't have suggested that," I whisper. Dad nods and continues typing. After a few moments of silence, I stand up and stretch. As I walk out the door of Dad's office, he calls out to me.


"Uh huh?" I turn around and look at him.

"Stay close to home today," he commands.

"Why? What's happening?" I ask, never one to accept total authority. As the daughter of a mob boss, I know that danger is real, but I like to be included.

"Do as you are told, and don't argue." His voice holds some of that fear that he rarely shows. I nod and continue on to the kitchen.

Dad is into some bad things. I didn't know when I was little that he was a mob boss, he really doesn't seem like one. I mean, he wants everything his way and he is domineering and intimidating, but to a child that isn't always apparent. Dad messes around with illegal things, things I don't want to know about. So when he asks me to stay close to home and he sounds scared, I know to obey.

That evening, I lay in my bed, dressed in my favorite fluffy bunny pajamas. My television droned on quietly across the room. My eyes were focused on the ceiling, and my ears were focused on the driveway. I was waiting for Dad to come home. Three hours ago, he left in the Lamborghini, he told me he'd be right back. I normally wouldn't be afraid, but Dad had warned me. He knew something bad was going to happen. That scared me. I climbed out of bed and walked to the window. All was quiet in the yard below. It was times like this that made me hate that Dad was who he was. Normally, I don't approve of illegal actions, but I can ignore what Dad does, except when he is in danger, or when he brings that danger home to me. Finally, I hear his car pull into the driveway. I peer out my window, through the slated blinds. Another car is following Dad's car. I watch as he opens his door and steps into the light cast by the porch. I gasp. Dad looks terrible. His clothes are ripped and dirty, smeared with dirt and what I hope is not blood. I turn around without thinking and run down the stairs so fast I am afraid that I might fall. I scramble to the door and pull it open. Dad is standing in front of the porch, staring at the car that has pulled up to the curb. The doors of the car open and four men step out.

"Dad!" I cry out when I see that the men have guns. This is not my first experience with guns, and I hate them. But mostly, I fear them. Dad turns and sees me. His face, lit with the light from the porch, goes pale.

"Mallory, get away. Run." I stare at him as if I haven't heard what he said. "Mallory!" he shouts, and turns back to the approaching men. I can't move.

"Varinski," a man says, spitting on the cement at his feet.

"Giuseppe," Dad returns. My mind reels, this is it then. Dad has been waiting for this moment since Mom died. I stare past Dad at Domani Giuseppe. The man is tall and large, with brown hair and a pistol in his hand. I had met Domani two years ago, and it had been a disaster.

"We've had enough of your meddling Lucio," Domani says to Dad.

"You will never be rid of me Domani," Dad replies and it is almost like he is goading the man, trying to be killed.

"Oh, I think we can turn the tables," Domani laughs. He motions to the three men and they walk toward Dad. Fear tightens my stomach. Sweat beads on my neck and forehead. Why did he have to provoke them? Why did he have to take it this far? It takes me a moment to realize that the men have passed Dad and he is turning to look at them. The next moment, I realize who they are coming for. My eyes widen.

"No!" Dad shouts. I turn and I run.

I know my house and the neighborhood around it better than anyone. I stumble though the hallway and out into the living room. I can hear the sound of my pursuers. The sliding door is closed and locked, so I avoid it, unlocking it will only slow me up. I run to the door that leads into the pool house and bang it open. The men behind me are close. I can hear their heavy breathing and the pounding of their feet. The pool house is dark, but I know my way around. The furniture in my house hasn't been moved in years. I run around the couch and into the bedroom. The door there is locked, but I had anticipated the men tripping over the furniture. I can hear their curses as they stumble in the pitch black. My hands find the lock and I flip it. Before the men can come into the bedroom, I'm out in the backyard and running for the side gate. The gate will lead me past the front yard, but it is my only route of escape. As I slam into the metal gate, pushing it open, my pursuers come out into the backyard. They stumble after me, through the gate. I can feel the pads of my feet ripping as I run across the rocks on the side of our house, but I can't stop for the pain. I find myself wishing that my brother, Andy, were not in California, where he ran to the day he turned eighteen. I haven't seen him for four years, and I want to see him before I die. Because I am sure these men are going to kill me. I finally reach the other gate and go tumbling through it. I barely have time to register the fact that Dad and Domani are still standing in the front yard as I go barreling past. However, what I see in front of me makes me stop. Two men are standing at the end of the driveway, their guns trained on me. I turn around and see that I have only one pursuer. At some point, two of them had doubled back. The man behind me walks forward slowly. I don't know what to do. I am sure he will shoot me if I run toward him. I am sure I'll be caught if I run forward. In a split second, I turn and rush the men at the end of the driveway. Maybe I can get around them, somehow. A pop sounds behind me and I feel something brush my head, stinging. I fall to the ground, a reflex defined after years of self-defense classes, and roll. The man comes running toward me. I know that I am caught, I cannot escape. He reaches down to grab me and I kick him. He curses and aims the gun down at me.

"Stand up," he orders. I stare at him and then do as he commands. As soon as I'm on my feet, the other two men grab my arms. My hands are forced behind my back and handcuffed.

"Bring her over here," Domani calls out. My eyes shoot to Dad. He watches, motionless, as the men march me over to his enemy. I stop next to Domani and look up at him with hard eyes. He will not see my fear before he kills me. "It is lovely to see you again, Mallory." Domani's breath is hot on my face. I stare at him. He has never been my enemy, and I have never seen this side of him. However, I only know him a little and not enough to judge his character fully.

"I can't say the same," I say with more bluster than I possess. Domani laughs and turns to look at Dad.

"I have to tell you, Lucio, this girl is something else. It is interesting that she is your daughter."

"She isn't," Dad says. I turn to look at him with surprise. What? It seems that his remark has surprised Domani also, because he doesn't say anything.

"Say that again?" I listen to Domani speak, but my eyes are on Dad.

"Mallory isn't my child." Dad is calm. I find his words hard to believe, impossible in fact.

"That can't be true," I say. Dad's eyes flick to mine and I see his fear. Is this just a ploy?

"Your Mother and I were separated for a year, in 1989. Domani will remember this because he tried to attack me then. I do know who your father is, but it is not me." Dad's eyes roam over me and then back to Domani. I feel as if I have just been slammed into by a car. I am not the daughter of Lucio Varinski. I am the daughter of Angelina Varinski and a man my Dad knows. Can I even call him Dad still?

"It doesn't matter," Domani says, pushing me away and pointing his pistol at me. "You still love her as if she is yours."

"Leave her out of this," Dad says.

"I think not," Domani says. He nods to a man standing behind me and I hear the sound of rustling cloth and wind. Something slams into my head and white lights flash around my eyes. Then I know nothing more.