Chapter 9 - Safe & Protected

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I sent Maddie to go and have dinner with Harley after the tense drive back from the tattoo studio. I really needed to speak with Elijah and Mason urgently about what Maddie told me. How could I have been so foolish to leave Maddie in that room alone without anybody? I shouldn't have lashed out on her like I did, after all, it wasn't her fault. Of course it wasn't her fault, Maddie was just a little girl, she had no idea what was going on.

We should've gotten rid of those Russian twins from hell when we had the chance. Instead, we put our little sister in danger, I put my little sister in danger.

I could never show my panic in front of Maddie, she didn't need to know about this world. But when Maddie was safe inside the house, the panic really started to set in.

I passed Xander on the way upstairs to Mason's office on the third floor. He stopped me.

"Hey bro, everything okay?" He asked, probably sensing my stress. Brotherly instincts and all.

"Anna, Aidan," I growled out through gritted teeth. I saw Xander's expression morph from confusion to anger.

"What the hell?! I thought we were done with them." Xander exclaimed, with a large scowl on his face.

"Maddie, at the studio today... right under my fucking nose," I shook my head in frustration.

"You're fucking kidding me, right?!" Xander practically yelled.

"Keep your voice down." I whisper-yelled at him. Maddie could have been in her room and really didn't need to hear any of this.

"Why the fuck were they at the studio?" Xander groaned.

"I don't know. I'm gonna speak to Mase now, can you find Lijah?" I asked, in a hurry.

"Sure," Xander said and paused as if contemplating something. "You don't think they're gonna try something?" He added, concerned.

"Why would they? We taught them both a lesson last year." I reassured, but I was struggling to even convince myself.

"But with Maddie here I-"

"No!" I interrupted him, snapping. "No, they won't fucking touch her," I added, trying to keep my cool and reassure myself that Maddie wasn't going anywhere.

The more I repeated it to myself, the more I would believe it. Right?

"Yeah, of course," Xander replied with a tight smile.

I could see right behind that exterior and I knew that Xander was panicking, even if he would never show it. That's a Costello family trait, even in Maddie. Especially Xander though, he's always concealed his emotions, ever since Father died, he struggles to let anyone in and I knew why: the more people that he lets into his life and cares for, the more people could potentially be hurt. That's why he seems so cold around Maddie. He has trust issues. We all do.

"Hey, she's not going anywhere Xander," I tried to console my little brother, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Xander gave a stiff nod in return.

"I'll go find Lijah," Xander quickly turned down the stairs before I could say another word.

I sighed, walking upstairs. I couldn't help but think about Maddie's curiosity about the second floor. God, sometimes I wished, just for a moment, to be as oblivious and innocent as she was.

We all had our roles to play and if Maddie's safety meant that she saw me as the 'big bad brother' I couldn't care less, so long as she was safe and protected. The horrible truth was that although I could protect Maddie from our world, I couldn't protect her from her past.

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