Chapter 33: Come down

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'I watched as the light left the room I started talking you down, Just breathe for a moment or two we can figure this out, But you said you needed silence so I don't make a sound'

Walking along the beach, Lilianna watched the water meet her ankles and pull away again as the waves rolled across the shore. Her lips were titled up at the corners, a ghost of a smile lighting up her face.

"Why psychotherapy?"

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes as she kicked out her foot, sending wet sand into the water ahead of her. "Honestly, I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know? Why did you just choose criminals out of all the things you could have done with your life? There has to be some kind of meaning behind it all, right?"

"Well I guess there is, but I'm not sure I know what that is exactly. All I know is that I was applying to universities and when I was looking through the options, Stanford's criminal psychology program stood out in my mind. I had read a book years before, Sons of Cain. It's the history of the evilest serial killers to ever exist. That book stuck in my brain. I had reread it so many times since then that when I was given the opportunity to study the same people I had read about, I jumped at the chance."

"That's it?"

"Well, the only other thing I can think is that the idea of breaking someone down from the inside would bring me some kind of personal closure. Maybe it would do some kind of miracle and put me in a better headspace after all the pain I had been through after my mom's death."

"That sounds more like you."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

The two stopped walking, staring at each other in the middle of the coastline. "Nothing."


And they started walking again.



"Why did you lie to me about your relationship with your dad when we were at Tollsada Bay?"

"Honestly, I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know?"

"This interaction sounds familiar."

"I answered your question, why can't you answer mine?"

"Because the reason I don't want to admit is a total dick move."

"A dick move, huh? That's not really out of character for you. I don't know why you would choose now to keep your rude lips shut."

"My rude lips? Did you not just insult me yourself?"

"You know what I mean."

They walked in silence for a few more steps before he took a deep breath.

"I didn't want your partner to catch on to who I was. It was so hard to wipe Terrenco Venetta from government files when I became Vendetta. Casper, bless his soul, stayed up for hours hacking and coding and working to keep my identity a secret. Who wants to hear the story about a lost, lovesick teenager who faked his own suicide to become a criminal? A teenager who had a good life and decided to toss it all for drugs and a crazy revenge plot for his murdered girlfriend? It's boring and cliched and stupid. I didn't want people to see me like that. I wanted the world to be scared of me, not think I was a pity joke."

"That actually makes sense."

"And my dad, I couldn't ruin his name and legacy with this life that I live. This shitty life that I chose and he repeatedly told me to leave behind. He cared about me up until the end. Then I got so into the hardcore drugs that I couldn't see straight and that was the breaking point when he shut me out of his life. When he died I regretted it all. It's what got me to stop doing the drugs and hand the selling to Klein. I got all my dad's inheritance and I used it to build my mom and sister a stable life and then invested the rest into the family mansion for me and the boys. I wanted to create a living space that allowed us to step back from the gang for a minute and live."

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