4| Anger and Arrogance

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I was still in a bad mood when I walked out of Vicky's apartment. There weren't many people that loved me, but even when they did everything always held a condition to it. Vicky loved me because of everything I could give her—the money, the authority, the fame that came with being my woman. My brothers loved me because I was the oldest, the pressure of my father's expectations sat on my shoulders alone and for that, they had more freedom than me. Then there was my father who loved what I could do for him—how I could get rid of his enemies, how I could increase his profits and how I could expand his empire.

But love wasn't meant to have conditions.

My mother had been the only one to love me properly and now she was dead.

I got into my car, staring at the steering wheel and wondering if my life would ever change. The door closed with a slam as I started the engine.

Change had walked right through the doors of my father's pub yesterday, with her blonde hair and fearful audacity. Change had hit me, insulted me and run away from me—and at this moment I realised maybe she was all that I needed.

My Mercedes was much flashier than the cars you would see in Cullfield, it was a signature of who owned it. I fixed my hair in the rear-view mirror, dragging my hand down my face and looking down at my phone. I let out a breath of relief when I saw no missed calls from my father and I pulled out of my parking space.

I drove around town slowly, taking my time and prolonging the inevitability of going back to the evils of who I was—but life was laughing at me when I stopped at a red light and saw him.

James was standing on the wrong side of town laughing with a group of girls he should not have been hanging around with, and before he could run I left my car idling in the middle of the street. I grabbed him by the neck as the girls around us let out a shriek, scurrying away from my attack.

"You motherfucker!" I gritted my teeth at the man who had ruined everything not even a couple of weeks ago. "You have some balls showing your face around here when you know just how badly I want to beat you up." I cursed, shoving him against the brick wall with my hand still wrapped around his throat.

My half-brother struggled against my aggressive grip, his face turning red.

"Freddie—I swear you've got it all wrong, I would never—

I punched him in the face before he could finish his sentence, then I grabbed him by the jacket and dragged him back to my car.

The conversation we were about to have needed somewhere private because even though the people of Cullfield knew who I was and what I was capable of, I couldn't be caught beating the shit out of someone in the middle of the street.

"Get in the fucking car," I told him, and he complied because he didn't have any other choice. He had almost fucked everything up—all the planning I had done and all the money I had spent to take down the gang he was getting cosy with, but I had failed because he was a fucking snitch and I had paid for it with my blood and bruises.

"You don't have to do this Freddie, your father was the one who—"

I slammed his head against the dashboard. His nose hadn't been bleeding when I had decked him one, but now it definitely was.

"Shut the fuck up," I told him and after that, he didn't say a word.

James had grown up with me so he knew when my mind was set, and right now I was too angry to try to think straight—like I didn't have enough on my plate and now he was here fucking everything up even more.

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