Resisting, p.3
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       Resisting, p.3

         Part #2.2 of Men of Inked series by Chelle Bliss
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  Anthony’s fists didn’t relent as he pounded on the door.

  “Why don’t you just open it?”

  “This isn’t Ma’s and I don’t just walk in without being told it’s okay,” he said, landing another blow.

  “Pussy,” I whispered, moving around Anthony and walking inside.

  Flash laughed, following behind me as Anthony grumbled.

  “Smells damn good in here.” I inhaled deeply.

  “Hey, sis,” Joe said, walking over to hug me.

  “I brought someone. I hope you don’t mind.” I smiled, looking up into his eyes. I knew I was laying it on thick, but I was just trying to cushion the blow.

  “Who?” Joe asked, looking over my shoulder. “Really?” he growled in my ear, grabbing my shoulder.

  “Come on, Joey. He didn’t have anywhere else to be. He was in town and I told him he could spend the day with us. I know you made enough food for an entire army.” I batted my eyelashes at Joe.

  “He’s here now.” Joe shook his head, staring down at me. “Next time ask, Izzy.”

  “Okay,” I whispered against his chest, giving him a squeeze before ducking under his arms.

  Joe held out his hand to Flash as Anthony walked by and grimaced. “Nice to see you again, Sam,” Joe bit out through gritted teeth.

  “I go by Flash now.”

  I cringed at his response. I always knew Flash wasn’t the most intelligent man, but to reply to my brother in that way was just plain idiotic—or he had a death wish.

  “Whatever,” Joe said, rolling his eyes. “Welcome to my home.” He pulled Flash closer. “If you hurt my sister, I’ll fucking bury you. Got me?”

  “Easy now, City. I wouldn’t dream of it. We’re just friends.” He stood toe to toe with Joe, gripping his shoulder.

  I swear to fuck that all I could see was a train wreck. I thought I was standing in the middle of a Looney Tunes cartoon. There had to be a big kaboom coming at any second. Joe and Flash wouldn’t be parting on a happy note, but hopefully they could keep their hands to themselves for Thanksgiving.

  “I don’t care who the fuck you think you are or what MC you’re in. You’re still Sam to me and I can still whip your ass. Just so we’re clear.” Joe glared at him.

  Suzy’s arms slid around Joe as she looked at Flash. “Everything okay, baby?” she asked.

  “Just perfect, sugar. This is Sam, Izzy’s friend.”

  She released him, holding out her hand to Flash. “Hi, Sam. I’m Suzy. Nice to meet you,” she said, smiling.

  “It’s my pleasure, Suzy.” He pulled her hand to his lips and gently kissed it. “You have a beautiful home.”

  “Thank you, Sam.”

  Joe growled. Honest to motherfucking god, the man growled. I knew that my brother was a caveman, but this was beyond the realm of normal behavior. Flash looked at Joe, his lips turning up in a half-smirk before he turned back to Suzy.

  “Joe’s a very lucky man. I hope you don’t mind me crashing the party.” Sam looked to Joe with a shit-eating grin before he looked at Suzy.

  Yep—death wish.

  “Not at all. Come on in and make yourself at home,” Suzy said with a smile before stepping aside and wrapping her arms around my big brother.

  “Let’s go say hi to my parents, dumbass,” I said to Flash, grabbing his shirt and pulling him toward the living room.

  “Why the fuck am I a dumbass?” he asked, looking at me with a furrowed brow.

  I stopped, turning to face him. “Starting shit with my brother,” I whispered, glaring at him.

  “Dude, I gotta stand up to the guy. I can’t be a doormat. Show no weakness.”

  “You’re a fucking moron.” I laughed. “Ma,” I said, entering the room.

  “Happy Thanksgiving, baby girl.” She wrapped her arms around me.

  I have the best fucking mother in the world. She had to be the best to raise us as children and come out without a scratch. We didn’t make shit easy for her.

  “Happy Thanksgiving, Ma.” I kissed her cheek before releasing her. “I brought Sam with me.” I turned to him and smirked. “He would’ve been all alone today.”

  “Aww, Sam, it’s so good to see you. How have you been?” she asked as she moved toward him with open arms.

  This was pure Mama Gallo. She welcomes everyone and doesn’t hold a grudge. I, on the other hand, hold on to shit for too long and always wonder what angle the person is working when they are being nice.

  “Mrs. G, looking amazing as always.” He hugged her, lifting her off the ground.

  She giggled as her face turned pink. “Oh, Sam. Put this old woman down.”

  “You’re not old, Mrs. G. You never will be. You haven’t aged a bit since I saw you last.”

  Flash may be a dumbass and a douche some of the time, but he knew how to talk to the ladies. He’d fine-tuned that skill since we were teenagers. I was immune to his charm.

  My pop rose to his feet, moving toward Flash with his arm extended as he offered his hand. “Sam, good to see you, kid. How the hell have you been?” Pop asked, smacking Flash on the shoulder with his free hand.

  I turned to look at my brothers. Snarls and glares were the Gallo boys’ preferred mug of choice today. I knew deep down that this would be the longest fucking holiday of my life.

  There wasn’t a cock in the world worth this much bullshit at a family holiday. I just wanted to laugh and bust a few balls. I didn’t want to play referee.

  “Yo, Joe, is dinner almost ready?” I yelled, plopping down on the couch in an open spot. If everyone had their mouths full, they couldn’t be spouting nonsense.

  Suzy came flying out of the kitchen, adjusting her sundress as she walked. Her face was flushed and her lips looked swollen. “Food’s ready. Go sit down while Joe and I bring everything to the table, please.” She turned around and ran into the kitchen.

  Flash held out his hand, helping me from the couch.

  I smiled at him. “Thanks,” I whispered, climbing off the couch.

  “Any time, babe. Only thing better than tasting you is Thanksgiving dinner.” He licked his lips as a small grin played on the corner of his mouth.

  “Jesus. Not smooth, man. You need to work on your lines if that’s the best you have,” I said to him as we followed behind everyone else to the dining room table.

  “What the fuck is wrong with my lines?”

  “Totally not sexy. Does that shit work on the club girls?”

  “I don’t need lines with those ladies.”

  “Lucky for you then or you wouldn’t be getting any pussy. Ever.”

  ***

  “Why the fuck were you gone so long?” Flash asked as we walked into the kitchen. His face was red and he was on edge.

  Suzy, Mia, my ma, and I had been upstairs in the war room. It’s what we referred to the room as, anyway. It was filled with information about Suzy’s wedding. Everything was planned down to the last details. She’s anal that way. She’s a total overachiever who has never done anything by the seat of her pants. She has plans for her plans. There’s no room for error.

  Suzy and Joe were getting married in a week. I had been elected to be in charge of the bachelorette party and nothing else. Thank Christ. I didn’t want to be responsible for any fuck-ups. I am not a planner. I’ve winged shit my entire life.

  “We were talking and got a little carried away.”

  Flash ran his fingers through his hair, making it a bigger mess than it’d already been. “I felt like you threw me to a pack of wolves.”

  I looked around the room, taking in the sight of my brothers and Pop sitting around the living room. I knew they could be ruthless, but they were harmless.

  I ruffled his hair. “Stop being a drama queen.”

  “Izzy, why do they hate me so much?”

  “They don’t,” I said, sitting next to him at the kitchen table.

  “Bullshit,” he murmured. “Joey wants to cut my fuckin’ throat.”

  “Nah.” I
shook my head as I bit my lip. “He just wants you to know where you stand.”

  “What’s his issue?”

  “Where would I even begin?” I laughed. “Joe is protective of everyone in this family, especially me. You’re in an MC, and for that reason alone, he’d hate you being around me. He knows you fuck me, and that makes him want to rip your cock off and shove it down your throat.”

  Flash’s face paled and his Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed roughly. “You know I’d protect you, Izzy. You may not be mine, but I’d never let anything happen to you.”

  “I know, Flash, but Joe doesn’t. Let’s have dessert and we’ll be out of here in a couple of hours. Aren’t you happy you came to Thanksgiving Gallo style?”

  “Hell yeah.” He burped, rubbing his stomach. “The food alone was worth all the trouble.”

  Suzy walked into the kitchen, giving me a devilish smile as she looked between Flash and me. “Hey, guys. Ready for dessert?”

  I nodded my head, smirking at her. “Yeah. I have to get Flash home soon.”

  “Aww, really? I wanted to play cards or something.” Suzy pouted and stomped to the counter to grab the pumpkin pie.

  “We can stay,” Flash interrupted before I could reply.

  I glared at him, not really in the mood to play cards with the family. “Fine. We’ll stay.”

  His smile grew wide as Suzy yipped and jumped up and down. “Heck yeah! I’m so excited!”

  As she walked out of the room, I kept my eyes glued to Flash. This was going to be a very long evening.

  “What time do you have to head back?” I asked him, hoping it was sooner than later.

  “I’ll leave whenever we get back to your place. I just have to be back tonight. I don’t have a curfew, Izzy.” He laughed, standing and walking to the counter to grab the other pie.

  I put my head on the table, lightly smashing it against the surface. I hated bringing anyone with me to family dinners, even Flash. I always felt a sense of being restricted or tied down. They were two things I never wanted to feel.

  I avoided relationships like the plague. I never begrudged anyone happiness, but togetherness wasn’t for me.

  Chapter 4

  Tears stung the back of my eyes as I stood in the bridal suite at the church and stared at Suzy. She looked amazing. I’d worried this day wouldn’t come, especially after the bachelorette party.

  I’d kind of fucked up. She’d said no to male strippers, but shit… I never listen. Joe had flipped when he’d caught the scent of the guy as it lingered on her skin that night. Their entire relationship had almost exploded into a million tiny pieces, but their love was too strong. Plus, Joe had decided to take the stick out of his ass and apologize to her for acting like a complete caveman asshole.

  I’d marked that shit down on my calendar because it wasn’t likely to ever happen again. Gallo men aren’t quick to take the blame for shit. They grunt, smile, and move on.

  “She looks stunning, doesn’t she?” Mia asked, nudging me in the shoulder.

  I slowly nodded, unable to take my eyes off her. “She does.” I turned to Mia with a small smile. “When am I going to see you in a wedding dress?”

  “Oh,” she said, her cheeks turning pink. “I’m just waiting for Mike to ask me.”

  “Haven’t you two talked about marriage?”

  “He’s mentioned it a time or two, but I’m not pushing it on him.” She shook her head and sighed.

  “I need another sister-in-law. You’re like my sister already, but I need it official and on paper.” I smiled, happy that there were finally some females inside the family circle after years of dealing with the boys.

  She laughed, tossing her head back, and held her stomach. “You’re more demanding than my mom,” she said, wiping the corner of her eyes.

  “Hell yeah. I’ve gone too many years surrounded by testosterone. I need vadge in this family.”

  Mia and I stood side by side and stared at Suzy as she fussed with her dress and checked her makeup before moving closer to the mirror.

  “You look beautiful, Suzy,” I said, walking toward her.

  The dress had a form-fitting bodice with a thick ribbon and a flower around the waist. The V-shaped neckline plunged just far enough to show off her chest. The bottom was comprised of loose tulle that kissed the floor and shifted when she walked. Suzy always looked amazing, but today she glowed.

  “I’m so nervous. Why am I so nervous?” she asked, turning toward me and taking a deep breath.

  I grabbed her hands, wanting to avoid messing up her dress. “You’re going to be fine. Everything is ready. Don’t stress.”

  “What if he changes his mind?” Her eyes grew wide as she said the words.

  I shook my head, my mouth set in a firm line. “You can’t be serious. My brother is so in love with you. Why would you even think that?”

  “I don’t know. I feel panicked.”

  I touched her forehead, thinking she had to be sick. “No fever,” I said as I removed my hand. “Calm the fuck down, Suzy. Joe loves you. I’ve never seen him so sure about anything or anyone in his life.”

  She blew out a breath, touching her stomach and smoothing the fabric. “I know,” she said, looking down at the floor.

  “Are you sure, though?” I asked.

  “I love him,” she stated firmly.

  “Is it enough?” I asked, cocking my eyebrow.

  “Izzy, you’re such a Debbie Downer on love,” she said, laughing. “I can’t wait until you find ‘the one.’”

  I doubled over in a fit of giggles. “You must clearly be ill. I don’t want ‘the one,’” I said, making air quotes. “I’m perfectly happy being single. The last thing I want is a ball and chain to tie my ass down.”

  “Uh huh,” she said, looking in the mirror again.

  “Izzy, when are you going to stop lying to yourself?” Mia interrupted.

  “You two bitches need to slow your roll. I’m not the dating type, let alone the marrying kind.”

  “It’s time.” Ma clapped her hands as she sang the words.

  “Someone do my veil. I’m too nervous!” Suzy shrieked, shaking her hands.

  “I got it,” I said, stepping in front of her and reaching behind to take the thin material. Then I placed it over her face, smoothing it to not block her vision. “Good?” I asked before moving away.

  “Yes,” she replied. “It’s now or never.”

  “Suzy, you two were meant for each other. I may not want it for myself, but I have no doubt there’s no one else out there for my brother.”

  “You’re right, Izzy. Let’s do this crap.”

  I chuckled, trying to cover my mouth. “You don’t always talk like a Gallo, but you’re one at heart.”

  She giggled nervously, moving toward the door. I grabbed her short train, not wanting it to get stuck on anything. When Suzy’s father saw her, his face lit up like a Christmas tree.

  “There’s my girl,” he cooed, holding out his arms.

  “Hey, Dad.” She wrapped her arms around him, trying to avoid touching his tuxedo with her face.

  He backed away and stared at her. “You look beautiful, Suzette,” he said, holding her shoulders and taking her in.

  “Thanks,” she said, linking her arm with his.

  The music from inside the church filled the corridor where we stood. Nerves filled my belly as it flipped inside my body. I couldn’t imagine how Suzy felt. Some would say that I love to be the center of attention, but having hundreds of pairs of eyes staring at you as you try to walk in a pair of five-inch heels and not fall on your face has to be daunting.

  As I started down the aisle and smiled, I knew that no one was really looking at me. Their eyes were trained on the back of the room, waiting for a peek at the bride.

  Joe nodded at me as I moved into the pew and then turned to watch Suzy. He glowed. When Suzy came into view, his face lit up, his eyes grew wide, and a giant smile spread across his face.

 
I never thought he’d fall so head over heels for anyone like he did for Suzy. I would’ve never put the two of them together and thought, Fuck yeah, that’ll work, but for some odd reason, it had. Her innocence had captured his attention, but we all knew she was a freak underneath that put-together-teacher exterior.

  Joe looked handsome in his tuxedo. His hair was freshly cut and styled, his face cleanly shaven. Sun-kissed skin made his blue eyes stand out. All of my brothers looked killer today. Rarely did they all dress up, but weddings were the exception. Joe was the first out of the five of us to be married, and we knew it would be a while before another wedding would take place.

  Mike and Mia had met months ago and were the next in line. That would only happen if my brother could get his head out of his ass and pop the question. Anthony and I were the two holdouts on relationships of any sort. We were the free birds of the group.

  I turned, taking in the sight of Suzy as she glided down the aisle. I could see the smile on her face even through her veil as she locked eyes with Joe. They were in a trance, staring at each other as she made her way toward the altar.

  When Suzy stopped at the altar, the priest said, “Who gives this bride away today?”

  “I do,” her father answered, releasing her hand and lifting her veil. Then he placed a chaste kiss on her cheek before stepping back.

  Suzy and Joe mouthed some words to each other, which looked like “I love you,” as they held hands. After, they made their way to the center of the altar and stood with the priest.

  I sat back, watching the beginning of their happily ever after. I wiggled my nose, stopping the tickling sensation from the tears that threatened to fall.

  Even someone such as myself, someone against the entire institution of marriage, could grow misty-eyed at a wedding. I couldn’t have been happier to have Suzy officially become a member of the Gallo family. It only took twenty-something years for me to finally have a sister.

  Today would be a new beginning. The Gallo family would be forever changed.

  Chapter 5

  Standing in the reception line had to be the most mind-numbing experience of my entire life. Greeting people I didn’t know, welcoming them, and thanking them for coming to my brother’s wedding—totally fucking exhausting.

  Then there were the people who liked to pinch my cheeks like I was still a five-year-old girl. It took everything I had not to slap their hands away and keep a smile glued to my face. By the time the line waned and I was able to hit the bar, my face hurt from my fake smile and my feet were screaming for relief.

  I kicked off my shoes, pushing them under the bar and help my hand up to the bartender.

  He sauntered over with a giant smile on his face. “What can I get you, darlin’?”

  I leaned against the bar, putting my face in my hands, and stared him down.
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