Luiz was tired, and instead of going home to pass out for the night, he needed to see his girls. He didn’t know when he’d started to think of Raine as his, but he had. She was part of his world, and it was all his fault that she’d never be able to live a normal life.
Pulling up outside of Xander’s house, he stared at the plain house. The point of Christie and Raine being here was for them to lead as normal a life as possible. With Donnie’s latest revelation, their life wasn’t going to change anytime soon. He couldn’t risk bringing his little girl into his world. He hated doing this.
There was no other way for him to draw her into his world.
Christie didn’t deserve it.
Neither did Raine.
She was too sweet.
This was his battle.
Climbing out of his car, he made his way up toward the house. He didn’t knock, knowing there was no need to. Xander told him he was family, and he was supposed to just enter.
“Anyone home?” he asked, calling out to be heard.
“Daddy!” Christie ran toward him and threw herself into his arms.
Pulling her close, he held her tightly. “Hey, baby girl. You had a good day?”
“I’m making brownies.”
“With Raine?” he asked.
“Where’s Raine? Is she sick?”
“She’s on a very important date.” Christie smiled at him. “Xander told me so.”
The pain that slammed into his chest was not what Luiz expected. “Date?”
He lifted her up into his arms, and walked toward the kitchen. Xander had on an apron, and was reading through a recipe, frowning.
“What the fuck does she do?” Xander asked.
He didn’t like bad words around Christie. There were many reasons Luiz kept his little girl away from him.
“Sorry. I’m just wondering what Raine puts in these damn brownies to make them taste so good.”
“I need to go to the toilet,” Christie said.
Lowering her to the floor, Luiz watched her go, and turned back to Xander. “She’s out on a date.”
“Raine, yeah, she is.”
“Do you have anything against her dating?” Xander asked.
“She’s raising my child, and I told her not to go out. You said you didn’t want the hassle of a girl constantly dating.”
Xander held his hand up. “Stop right there. Raine didn’t organize this. I did.”
“I made her go on this date, and don’t worry, the kid is harmless that she’s with.”
Luiz felt betrayed. Xander had been the closest thing to a family for him, and yet he was betraying him.
“How could you do that? What about Christie?”
“What about Raine?”
“What about her?”
“Since she was fifteen years old, she has been helping me take care of Christie, studied hard, cleaned this place up, and done everything you asked of her without question.”
“So? I promised to protect them.”
“And in order for her to keep living, she has to forget the chance of her own life, is that it?”
Luiz frowned, not knowing what to say.
“Raine didn’t want to go tonight. She wished I hadn’t made her. She’s twenty-two years old, Luiz. She’s never had a boyfriend, or felt love.”
“She has Christie’s love.”
“That’s not the same thing and you know it.”
Xander stood tall, placing a hand on his hip. “You’re pissed off that another guy is with her.”
“I am, Luiz. I’m a grown ass man. What about you?”
“What does this have to do with Raine going out on a date?” He faced off with Xander, wanting any reason he could to hurt the man.
How dare he make Raine go on a date?
“What you need to think about is why it hurts you so much.”
“It doesn’t hurt me.”
“You’re lashing out, wanting to piss me off, Luiz. That’s new, even for you. What the hell is going on? Just the other week you were telling me how the end of The Family was coming. You were prepared to take Christie into your life, and keep her there. What’s changed?”
“The Family has changed. That’s what.”
“What do you mean?”
Luiz checked to make sure his baby girl couldn’t hear him. “Donnie called us all into the office today. If we don’t continue to take over, there will be others determined to take our place.”
“So? Didn’t you boys think of that?”
“I thought of it. I figured I wouldn’t care.”
“The only way someone will be able to take over from The Family, and to come to power, would be to hand over all four of your bodies. The moment you killed your parents, and slaughtered your enemies, you made yourself the target, Luiz.”
“I know that now. I don’t need this shit with Raine.”
“You care about her?”
“She’s my daughter’s auntie. Of course I care.”
Xander shook his head. “I’ll let you be delusional. I don’t have the energy to fight with you, and it’s incredibly boring to do so. Just know that life is short, and you know what you want, Luiz. Stop fighting it.”
Rolling his eyes, Luiz took a seat at the kitchen counter. “What’s the kid’s name?”
“Bradley. He’s a good boy, and he’s had his eye on Raine for a while. She was worried you would think she was breaking your rules.”
“You’re telling me that when you look at Raine, you don’t feel anything?” Xander asked.
“What do you feel?” Luiz answered with his own question.
Seven years he’d been part of Raine’s world. She was there to listen to him, to guide him when it came to his little girl.
“I feel protective of her. She has been amazing, Luiz. You should realize that.”
“I know she has given everything up for herself. I appreciate that. I really do.”
“You do?” Xander asked.
“Of course. Lora would want me to take care of her.”