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Copyright 2013 by Angela Richardson. All rights reserved.


Norahs cousins wedding. THE START OF AN IDEA. (At the end of Pieces of Lies - Book 1.)

I stood on that balcony watching the space between me and Norah grow further and further apart. She had chosen him. She was chasing after him. The him being Clint Weston. I couldnt believe that we finally had our moment, but it passed us by like something caught in the wind. I touched my lips, remembering the kiss we shared. I couldnt forget our kiss, even if I tried. Our kiss, to me, was something out of movie. It was a kiss filled with passion, excitement, friendship and memories. It was a kiss that could easily be filled with more...become everything that the word love encompasses. But as much as I felt our connection in our kiss, I also felt a stifling distance. Norahs heart had opened up to someone else in a way Id never seen before. When she used to tell me about Samuel, there was indeed a burning desire in the way she spoke about him, although I never believed that he was ultimately what she needed. I didnt feel that Samuel would be her destiny. But now with Clint, she was all starry eyes, upside down rainbow smiles, and there was something cosmic in the way she moved. She had...changed. How did such a short time of dating Weston over shadow years and years of our friendship? How did it so quickly smother that low burn that was always between us? Can true love work that quickly? From a brief encounter? Is it really like the books claim it to be? NO. I refuse to believe that what I felt when we first met could be anything but friendship. There was more in our connection and comradery. We were in sync. We were soul mates. We could confess to each other our deepest secrets and fears. We could lean on each other for strength and for guidance. We could make each other laugh and we could make each other cry. We could finish each others sentences and fight about nothing just for the sake of it. Yes, what we have is special. What we have is more than these fleeting feelings she has for Clint Weston. I mean, I have loved her since I was thirteen, and here at McLaren was supposed to be my opportunity to claim what we had always pushed aside for the sake of friendship. It was finally our time to become united. She wasnt supposed to be with Clint. Not the guy she met at that party. But

then again, I was never supposed to have taken her to that party to begin with. She should never have been involved from the start. My last minute decision I had made for the evening, had changed the one path I thought we were on together and split it in two. It was a night that was felt like a pinpoint in time because Norah had finally gotten to see who I had really become since leaving New York. I was a shadow of my former personality. A somewhat distorted copy of her teenage best friend. Something or someone darker. And she had seen it because I let my feelings towards her and my goal with the Lappell win over what was the right thing to do. I can still feel the crippling shame of my rash emotional decision for that night. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying not to think about the gaping hole in my heart when she wasnt around, and the rage that constantly simmered under my skin. I was however, smart enough to use that controlled darkness and channel it towards my goal in finding a way to get back a lifestyle that I once had when I was happy. A life with money, prestige and Norah. There werent many rules I wouldnt break to get back the time in my life when Norah and I were the closest. When my parents were alive. But that was a time in my life in which I had both wealth and status. And what better way to gain that lifestyle and money than to be accepted into the highly unattainable Lappell secret society. They were going to serve me well. They would open a lot of doors, and offer up to me, quite literally on a silver platter, a lot of connections that I could use to my advantage. The Lappell were a means to an end. Joshua. The deep sound from over my shoulder sent shudders along my limbs, right up to my eyes that burst open. I turned around, a little taken back by his presence before me, but quickly stood tall, trying to appear confident in my stance as he approached. Mr. Rossi. I said, attempting to match the husky depth in his voice, knowing a strong deep voice was as good as a firm handshake. It had to have presence to get respect. He nodded, seeming pleased with how I acknowledged him. Probably because he could also sense my nervousness and could smell my fear, which I could admit, was an astute observation. Have you seen Lenorah? he asked, moving towards the terrace railing, his curious brown eyes peering over the balcony as he waited for me to respond. My strong steady voice suddenly changed to something I knew would sound squeaky and feminine. His very presence could unravel all my control and turn me into a vulnerable little girl. She went to make up with Clint. I informed him. I didnt want to tell him where she went, but being honest was probably a better option in this situation then being caught out lying to his face. I watched to see how he would react to his only daughter fleeing a family wedding and chasing after a guy who had recently lied to her about is involvement in their relationship. His chin tilted down, his lips moved back and forth like he was talking without talking, but then nodded and stared out into the darkness once more. If he was debating about what to do regarding her sudden departure, he was keeping it internal. You couldnt read his face.

Mr. Rossi then gazed up at the sky the way Norah did only minutes beforehand when she was in front of me. I watched him as his eyes studied the moon. His mouth parting slightly at its grand appearance. I had always compared Norah to her mother having seen many pictures before. There was no mistaking where she had gotten her beauty from, but as I watched Mr. Rossi take in the glory of the night like it was art, I also saw Norah and the way she also looked at the world. There was a part of this man and who he was that was also a part of Norah and the woman she had become. Perhaps I needed to take a closer look in how Mr. Rossi operated. I knew what he did and what he was capable of. I had seen it first hand, and despite his obvious flaws and the horror I know Norah had witnessed in her teenage years, she had never once stopped loving him. Mr. Rossi breathed heavily, like he had come to decision about what he should do about Norah, and then looked at me again. I was still standing in the same spot staring, waiting for him to speak. I felt immobile while he was there, like I needed his permission that I could move or be excused. It was odd how much control he had even without speaking. He grinned at me and reached into his coat jacket and pulled out two long Cuban cigars. He motioned one towards me, and I shook my head. I had never been a smoker and I didnt have any intention of starting tonight. His grin changed, his mouth forming a hard line as his hand holding the cigars motioned towards me again. This time, I took a cigar with hasty fingers. I mustnt offend the mobster, I thought to myself. Mr. Rossi retrieved a cigar cutter and then a lighter from his coat pocket. He cut both ends of our cigars and then lit them. I watched him handle his cigar, waiting to see what he would do next. I knew there must have been an easy way to smoke a cigar and make it look like I had done it before. I was a fast learner after all. You only needed to show me something once and it was etched into my brain for life. He sucked on his cigar and started puffing on it like it was the most natural action in the world. The smoke that erupted from his mouth, hung around his head like dense fog. Now against the dark night sky, with the smokes lingering effect around his head, he suddenly resembled that of an evil god. The image was scary enough to force me to start taking quick puffs, mimicking him, trying my best to look like a seasoned pro. I instantly began coughing up a lung like a kid who had tried smoking for the first time. The only difference being the fact, that by age, I was no longer a kid. It was then Mr. Rossis smile returned to his face, and his body seemed to relax as he leant on the terrace railing looking entertained by the knowledge I was a virgin cigar smoker. His shoulders became straight, turning towards me and then he shrugged. So...just like that? he said, staring at his Cubans red burning tip on its end. I cleared my throat trying to catch my breath, and inhaled sharply with as much clean air as I could take in. Huh? I asked him, clearly confused and stunned by his question as I breathed out. I didnt want to have to ask him to elaborate, but I was genuinely uncertain about what he

was making reference to. Although I suddenly wished that I had been a lot more articulate in my response than to use the word huh. I still wanted to make a good impression, at the very least. With my daughter I mean. His free hand moved in a waving motion towards the door. The same door Norah made her escape. Just like that. You let her go? I swallowed hard at what just came out of his mouth. I had known this man since I was thirteen, and in all that time, he had never once asked me about my feelings or anything resembling my intentions towards his daughter. I couldnt even form sentences in my head because the shock. I knew I had to be careful in how I approached the topic, because to Mr. Rossi, there was nothing more important on this planet than his daughter. My voice was all soft and sad as I choked out a response. I cant force her to be with me, sir. Obviously he wasnt oblivious to my feelings towards Norah. He pushed off the railing as he moved closer, wanting to make sure I could hear him better, dropping his face lower so that the conversation would be for our ears only. You know Joshua, when I first met Lenorahs mother, there was another man in the picture. A man who said he loved her more than me. A man, she may have even actually loved more than me. I watched his dark brown eyes turned almost black at the thoughts and the images passed through his mind. It looked like a very painful memory. One he didnt like to remember. I coughed again, the smoke still suffocating me like two hands around my neck. But I was going take this opportunity to ask him the most important questions I may ever need an answers to. So, what did you do? How did you win her over? I stuttered, breathing heavily as I pushed the questions out. Oh, that, he began. That was the easy part. He took slow steps closer to me, and leaned in like he was going to whisper a secret. He looked both ways before he spoke in a low, yet terrifying voice that chilled me to my very bones. I killed him. The words I killed him felt like they were being carved into my skin on my head, like an imaginary tattoo. Killed? Was he being serious? Is that really how he captured the love of his life? The eerie silence from those three words caused my heart to beat frantically against my chest. That, combined with the smoke, made me want to be sick. The sense of dread swirling inside me further created a feeling of light headedness as I tried decipher the true meaning to his words.

Could he have really done something like that for love? Where his wife was concerned, had he become the last man standing because he had taken the other player out? A million different thoughts and ideas consumed me. Ideas that should have never crossed into a mind like mine. Ideas that formed and then mutated to become maybes and possibilities. Ideas that shouldnt be entertained or put into motion. Ideas that were wrong, but felt right because I could use them to my advantage in my quest for love. Then Joe started laughing at me. Guttural laughing that clouded my new ideas and brought me back up from the darkness I had mentally slipped into. My stunned face had not moved a muscle. He pat me hard on the back and shook his head, like he was joking. He kept laughing until he was certain I understood that he just had a sick sense of humor. I faked a laugh along with him like I believed it was a joke, but there was something in the way he said I killed him that felt real. It sounded like it was the absolute truth. Like the extent of his love for that women took him to the edge and back. He would have done anything for her, and anything to have her. There are certain tells you learn about people that you are taught in the Lappell with facial expressions, tone of voice and body language, and let me tell you, when Mr. Joe Rossi had said he had killed the man who was competition for Norahs mother, h e was not being funny. It was no joke. It was the most serious sounding three words I had ever heard. I couldnt read him before when he was assessing Norahs actions, but in this moment and in that chilling phrase, he was an open book. And in the commotion of emotions, all I could see was one thing in my head. It was one clear reality that was shining brightly in my hopeful eyes. Mr. Rossi had won. He married the love of his life and had Norah because he did what he had to do. And that in itself told me that maybe there was something in the way he worked. He pat my back one more time, raising his eyebrows, and then walked back into the wedding hall. I watched him walk away, thinking about what he had said and what it actually meant for him and for me. There was only one conclusion I could reach. My heart finding a new vision and a new hope for my future. Mr. Rossi had just taught me that yes, you can have the girl of your dreams...if you are willing to sell your soul to the devil. And the truth of the matter was, that I would pay any price, for Norahs love.

Copyright 2013 by Angela Richardson. All rights reserved.