Chapter 27 - Precious Gifts

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After the man had tackled my attacker to the ground, Xander pushed me towards an awaiting car with a familiar driver while he went to talk to the man. He was only gone five minutes before he returned with grazed knuckles and the phone in his hand on speaker. I knew better to ask him if he was okay when he was so furious. Icy cold eyes that would freeze the Sahara, a tightly clenched jaw that made it look like he was about to burst with rage. Better let him cool down first.

He sat down next to me and spared me a softer glance and then his gaze tracked to the bag clasped tightly in my right hand, the bag that held my Father's gift neatly wrapped in silver tissue paper. I saw on his eyes, in that moment, the brief glance of understanding, understanding the reason for launching myself after my attacker. My left hand still trembled slightly from the aftershock of the mugging, the last of the adrenaline flooding my veins.

I was looking out of the car window, admiring the sunset so early in the evening at five, when Xander's hand engulfed mine. I turned to look at him but his gaze was firmly planted outside the window as he listened intently to Blake's voice on the speaker. The contact comforted and calmed the agitation that threatened to overwhelm me. I think he knew that. But he would never admit it.

The harsh Italian phrases that Blake spat over the speaker were lost in translation. I tried to concentrate on the words but my mind was elsewhere, darting around the flyaway images in my head with no rested thought for longer than a second.

"Ti ho inviato una foto ora. no, il coglione non lo nominerà ed Emilio non sarà in grado di farlo parlare," Xander said into the phone. (Translation: I sent you a photo now. No, the asshole won't give his name and Emilio can't get him to talk.)

"Dove cazzo eri?" Blake shot back at him. (T: Where were you?)

"Ero nei bagni quando ha pulito la sua borsa. È una piccola velocista."(T: I was in the toilets when he swiped her bag. She's a fast little sprinter.)

A pause rang through the car, louder than any silence, before Blake finally answered, "Elliot dice che la foto non porta nessuno sul sistema. Nessuno." (T: Elliot says the photo doesn't bring anyone up on the system. Nobody.)

"Some pathetic pickpocket," Xander spat.

What the hell were they speaking about? It wasn't uncommon for my brothers to swap between English and Italian whenever they wanted too, but it meant I could never keep track of their conversations and translations. It was their own secret language and as hard as I was trying in class, I had only been studying Italian for a few months. That, along with the pace of the language, meant they could be talking about what breakfast they had on Sunday for all I knew.

"I'll fucking skin that guy alive for touching her."

My breath caught at the fury rippling through Blake's voice. There was no denying it. Xander looked my way and shook his head with a small smirk. "Blake, bro, you're on speaker," he chuckled. "E non vogliamo attirare l'attenzione quando la sua famiglia si rende conto che è scomparso." (T: And we don't want to draw attention when his family realizes he's missing.)

"Since when did you become so sensible, little bro?"

"Since one of us had too," Xander laughed. "Ma stavo per dire che lo rimandiamo a casa con otto dita." (T: But I was going to say let's send him home with eight fingers.)

I caught the driver look back through the revue mirror with a blink. A small, insignificant action that still had me wondering what the hell Xander had said. Something violent if his aggressive tone was anything to go by. 

Blake's laughter rang through the phone. "Merda sadica, facciamolo." (T: You sadistic shit, let's do it.)

The frustration of being left in the unknown would usually tremble through me and push me to say something that on occasion would get me in trouble. But it was Christmas Eve and I had no intention of starting anything.

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