“Manuel heard what I was doing behind his back and tried to become the alpha of our home. He started making rules for us to follow like this was his house. Like he had created this—built all of this,” he growls, holding his hands out and scanning the room.
“His first rule was for me to butt out of the cartel business. I refused. I still did my part. It was my job now—my role to carry on this family business. Lion told me not to give up or back down—not to let it tank, because he needed us to make things work for himself. I did it for him, because I promised and I owed him. The second rule was to show up for breakfast at the same time every morning. Seven exactly. Every single day. I did that, not because he wanted me to, but because I rather enjoyed having breakfast with my mother. I didn’t want her feeling any lonelier than I knew she was. He expected me to slip up with that, but I woke up before the sun had even risen to take care of business, answer to the guards and the men and go to the docks sometimes. I never slipped up. I was punctual and still running the men my father left behind. He envied what I was capable of—hated that I was catching on so quickly at such a young age. He knew that one day we weren’t going to need him anymore, and that the Molina cartel would still be ours.
“So one morning he decided to try to make an example out of me. He wanted to make a statement.” His breathing grows heavier. Thicker. His jaw ticking. “He had all of the guards in the dining room, posted, waiting, as we ate breakfast. I didn’t know what they were doing. At the time, I didn’t care. It was my birthday. I had just turned eighteen. August 22nd. I thought they were there to wish me well without actually speaking on it. To show respect.” He shrugs. “I remember it being me, Mamá, Thiago, and Manuel at the table. Mamá had the chef make my favorite pecan pancakes with hot syrup. It was supposed to be a good day.
“We ate some. There was a lot of casual talk between me, Mamá, and Thiago. Manuel was quiet, and intentionally being ignored. I’m assuming he became fed up, because after a while he finally cut in, started with some bullshit talk about how he was running things now, and that he didn't need me to do it. I fired back. I told him I knew what I was doing, and it's what my Pa would have wanted. He got pissed then.
“Thiago was worried, cowering. He never spoke back to Manuel and Mamá never spoke up. She knew not to butt in unless necessary, but I wasn’t like them. I was livid. How dare he tell me what the fuck to do on my birthday? How dare he try and belittle me? How dare he treat me like some worthless child? I remember cursing and cursing at him, spewing my hatred. The vile words didn’t fail me. I meant them all. My rebellious tongue made him want to hurt me. And he did. He hurt me by harming the only family I really had left.
“He pulled out a gun, put it to my head, told the butlers to bring out more food, and told me that I had to finish it all. Every last bite. There were loads of pecan pancakes, eggs, bacon, and sausage. It was way too much to eat for just one person, especially me. But the plates kept coming out. The supply seemed endless. I refused at first, told him to kiss my ass and to go fuck his mother. I shouldn't have said that, because he turned right around and said, ‘How about I fuck yours instead?’"
I gasp, eyes stretching wide. Draco isn’t looking at me, but at the painting, eyes hard, fists clenched, seething. "Oh no," I breathe.
"He had paid one of the guards extra to hold their gun to the back of my head while he yanked my mother out of her seat and forced her over the table, right in front of all of us. He ripped her skirt from the back, exposing her while unbuckling his belt. He told me if I tried to move or do anything to stop him, he would make her suck his cock, too. He told me to eat it all, and that he wouldn't stop fucking her until I finished.
“So, with tears in my eyes, I continued eating. All while he continued to fuck my mother—his own goddamn sister,” he spits, and he’s fuming now. Fists clenching and unclenching, glaring hard at the mutilated portrait he’d created.