Chapter 8

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The laughter froze.

The moment the De Luca family made their presence apparent, an awkward silence settled firmly upon the room.

As the family entered the room, Vanessa took a moment to survey them.

The first thing she noticed was that all six of the men were incredibly handsome, each with dark hair and a dangerous air about them. They were all tall and broad-shouldered, with muscular builds that hinted at a life of physical activity.

Despite their imposing appearance, there was something undeniably alluring about each of them, something that caught the eye and held it. Vanessa couldn't help but feel a little intimidated by their sheer presence.

Viktor cleared his throat before saying, "You must be Officer West. I am Mr. De Luca. This is my wife and the mother of Vanessa," he gestured towards the stunned Felicity.

A look too fast to capture appeared on Patty's face before she replied in a polite tone, "Mr. De Luca, it is a pleasure to meet you in person. I believe my partner, Officer Carter, was recently in contact with your secretary, Mrs. Malton. If I may have a private word with you outside, it would be very much appreciated".

Even though reluctant, Viktor agreed, concerned about his precious daughter's wellbeing.

Vanessa gaped: her awestruck eyes strolled over the newly entered visitors. Her parents.

Her family.

They were here.

Standing right in front of her.

But that was not what grasped her undivided attention. It was the fact the woman in the red dress was a replica of the woman who tormented her for four years: her aunt.

Her aunt look-alike took a cautious step forward, her eyes shining with unshed tears.

"Hi there," Felicity said in a strangled voice. Her gaze never left her daughter's.

"Why do you look like Aunt Amberly?" Vanessa voiced her question in fear. She was never a religious person, but was this a way of God bringing her aunt back from hell?

Felicity wasn't the only one taken aback as the boys, who had been watching their baby sister intently, silently growled. Felicity clenched her fists in anger. Amberly Seilla Vacker. She didn't think it was possible to hate that woman more than she did, but seeing her nine-year-old daughter look at her in trepidation made her loathe the woman even more.

She took a deep breath before replying, "Amberly was my sister. I didn't know how jealous she was until she took you away from me. She stole you away from us."

"So, you are not Aunt Amberly?" Vanessa stammered, her mind grappling with the words 'stole you'.

"Absoluetly fucking not!" a sharp voice interjected.

The young girl tore her gaze away from the woman and settled her eyes upon the five other men that she was desperately trying to avoid. She tried to detect who the voice belong to but found it almost impossible when she noticed that the man also had a double of his own.

Seriously? Vanessa thought to her self. Why does this family have statues of themselves? Very realistic statues.

"Why do you have a statue of yourself?" she asked, splashing confusion across the room and eliciting a surprised response from Mr. De Luca, who had entered the room without Officer West.

"What?" the man with the statue exclaimed. "What do-oh!" He threw his head back and roared with laughter. "Honey, he's not a statue. He's my twin."

Realization dawned on everyone's faces.

"Oh!" Vanessa blushed, her face flushing with embarrassment. "Yeah, that makes sense."

The not-statue approached her and crouched until they were at eye level. "Hi, I'm Xavier, and I'm your big brother," he said, bringing Vanessa's hand to his face and adding in an amused tone, "And as you can feel, I am very real."

Vanessa giggled, her previous anxiety forgotten.

Xavier pointed to his twin. "See that grump over there? He's my younger twin, Xander," he said, before pointing to a taller man with sparkling green eyes and raven black hair. "That's Matteo, and the guy next to him is Alessandro. Don't worry, he won't bite."

Alessandro, slightly taller than Matteo, offered only a nod, forgoing a friendly smile.

Xavier drew Vanessa's attention back to him as he pointed to the youngest of the brothers: Angelo.

Angelo came forward, grinning from ear to ear, and hugged Vanessa tightly. "You're so cute, neonata," he said.

Although Vanessa had no idea what "neonata" meant, she still beamed at Angelo.

"Stop hogging her, Angelo," Xavier complained. "And finally, these are our parents: Victor and Felicity De Luca."

Vanessa stared at them, wide-eyed, and blurted out the first thing that came to mind: "Wow! You have a lot of children."

Felicity smirked. "Blame your dad for letting that happen, not me, honey."

"Well, my name is Vanessa, and this is Popcorn." Felicity grinned with happiness."Well, it is lovely to see you again, Vanessa."

Vanessa smiled, but it as quickly disappeared as she replayed the conversation in her mind. "What are you going to do now?"

"Now? We are going to take you home."

...

Thank you so much for the 100 votes and for all the support. I am extremely sorry that I haven't updated sooner. But I will try to rectify my mistake and hopefully update before the end of this week. I really wish you guys enjoy this chapter as much as I loved writing it.

Cheers,

CrimsonShadowMask

xxxx

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