Truths & Chains – Chapter Fourteen

A/N: Sorry for the late update! I was exhausted yesterday and completely spaced it. I won’t make you wait until next week, so here’s a Tuesday update for Truths and Chains instead 🙂


Elias lined up his shot and knocked the cue ball into the eight ball. He couldn’t help but smile as the ball dropped into the corner pocket. “Get absolutely wrecked, Minetti.”

Vito snorted, but he didn’t respond.

Elias turned toward him. Vito leaned back against the wall, hands wrapped around his pool stick. Elias walked up to him and poked him in the chest. “What’s the matter, grump? Tired of sucking at pool?”

“Pfft. I won a round.”

“Yeah, with luck.”

Vito snorted. “My ego’s a little bruised, is all.” He laid a hand over his heart. “This song and dance we’ve got goin’ is making me doubt just how gorgeous I am.

Elias couldn’t help it–he laughed. “Oh, you’re gorgeous, Minetti. I promise you that.” He walked his fingers up Vito’s chest and wrapped them around the collar of his jacket. “I just take a bit more work than the rest of your nightly endeavors.”

One corner of Vito’s mouth lifted. “I’ve noticed that. And believe me, I’ve accepted the challenge. But I’m still wounded.”

A part of Elias knew it was one of Vito’s charming and playful routines, one he probably used on just about everyone that didn’t sleep with him within an hour of their introduction. The other part of him was worried he really was losing Vito. He hadn’t gotten anything on the man. The only things he’d gathered from their time together were facts about his tattoos and what the hell they were. But that was it.

It wasn’t exactly enough information to write a revolutionary, first-page article on the man.

So, hands still wrapped around Vito’s jacket, he leaned up and kissed the tattooed giant.

Vito groaned, reaching back to lean his pool cue against the wall. His hands moved to Elias’s face, tongue pressing against his lips. A bit more willing to do anything for the story than he thought, Elias parted his lips and allowed Vito to deepen the kiss.

When Elias broke the kiss, Vito held him in place, forehead leaned against his. “This mean you’re comin’ home with me tonight?”

Elias managed to shake his head. Much like he’d been surprised by Vito’s charm the night they’d met, he was surprised Vito was actually good at kissing. It made sense, but surprise seemed like his default when it came to dealing with someone like Vito Minetti.

“I can’t keep playing this game, Elias.”

He stepped away from Vito, giving either side of his jacket a little tug. “Then quit.”

Vito scoffed, grabbing his pool stick. “Ain’t a quitter.”

Elias let out a breath. He’d played his cards right this time. He wasn’t sure how many more times his luck would pan out that way before Vito decided he wasn’t worth the time investment. “Good. Another round?”

Vito looked down at his watch. “Excuse me for a sec?”


“Thanks. Want another beer?” Elias shook his head. “Okie-dokie.” Vito leaned his cue up against the pool table. He walked behind Elias, dragging his fingers across his lower back. “Just need to make a quick phone call. Set up the next one for us.”

Elias did his best to fight back a shiver, but the little smirk on Vito’s face was a good indicator of his failure. “Don’t be gone too long. Last time you made a phone call, you ditched me.”

Vito smiled before kissing a spot just beneath Elias’s ear. “Not goin’ anywhere this time. I’m banned from anywhere but here anyway.”

Elias reached back, managing to grab the sleeve of Vito’s jacket before he could leave. “What’d you do? Get yourself marked down a security threat?”

Vito laughed. “Nah, just annoyed the shit out of my boss one too many times.” He pulled his jacket from Elias’s hand and gave his fingers a little squeeze instead. “Rack up a new game. Back in a few.”

Elias watched Vito head toward the front of the bar. Once the man disappeared out the door, Elias put in two quarters and set up for another game. With some free time to kill, he grabbed his phone and finally checked the text message his father had sent him earlier that evening.

Dad: You skipped work today

Elias: I didn’t feel well. I worked from home

Dad: You knew damn well we were going to show up today with a cake. You made us look like we were completely out of touch with our own child. We were lucky that intern was the only one who saw us.

Elias sighed.

Elias: I’m sorry, Dad. I didn’t know you guys were planning on showing up today.

Dad: Do you really expect me to believe you thought we wouldn’t show up for your birthday?

Elias: I’m sorry. It was inconsiderate of me.

Dad: Thank you. A heads-up next time you ditch on anything we could celebrate, yes?

Elias: Okay. I’ll make sure to let you know next time.

Elias locked his phone and shoved it back into his pocket. Maybe he needed another beer after all.


True to his word, Vito hadn’t been gone more than ten minutes before he came back to the table. Three games of pool and at least another beer or two later, Elias couldn’t quite think straight.

“Hey.” Vito leaned down to his level, fingers curled beneath his chin. “You still in there somewhere?”

“Where else would I be?”

“Tucked away in your brain somewhere, pretendin’ you aren’t wasted, maybe,” Vito said. “You good? I haven’t even seen you get through a second bottle of beer until tonight.”

“Pfft.” Elias pushed at Vito’s chest, but he didn’t move. “You don’t wanna talk about your brother, and I don’t wanna talk about me.”

“Mm.” Vito dropped his hand. “I’m gonna call it a night, Elias. You need a ride home?”

“I drove here.”

“Okay. I’m not letting you drive yourself home.” Vito nodded toward the door. “C’mon. I’ll give you a ride back home.”

Elias laughed. “You just wanna get into my pants.”

“I mean, yeah, but not when you’re wasted. There’s no, uh… joy in that for me. Doubt there would be for you either.” Vito cleared his throat. “C’mon, Elias. I don’t feel right putting you in an Uber like this.”

Fine. But if I ever see you lurking outside my house, I’m calling the cops.”

Vito chuckled. “Deal.” He held out a crooked arm. With a roll of his eyes, Elias slipped his arm through it. He let Vito lead him through the bar and only put up half a fight when Vito paid both of their tabs for the night.

“Didn’t have to do that,” Elias said.

“Have to? No. But you’re having a bad night, and someone should do something nice for you.”

Elias tried not to ignore the butterflies that set aflutter in his stomach.


Morning came far too soon, accompanied by a vampire-like sensitivity to light and a headache that could take down a bear. Probably. Hell if Elias knew.

He rolled onto his side with a groan, reaching out for his phone with one hand. According to the nearly blinding light, it was just after eleven in the morning. Well, at least he had managed to sleep in. Sleep was usually a good start to curing a hangover.

Elias’s brow furrowed as he pushed himself up on one elbow. Setting his phone down, he grabbed the small piece of paper that had been tucked beneath it.


Left you a bottle of ibuprofen on your kitchen counter and a bottle of Powerade in the fridge. Steps one and two of dealing with that hangover you’ll be sitting on. Your car keys are in that stupid little bowl thing in your kitchen. I had my boss send a guy out for your car so you wouldn’t have to catch a ride back to the bar. It’s parked in your driveway.

Also, drunk you let it slip it was your birthday. Check your doorstep when you get up.

I’ve got shit to do this weekend, but I’ll be at Drake’s on Monday. Maybe you should be too, yeah? Hope to see you again.


Elias sat up the rest of the way, his brow still furrowed. He remembered getting a bit more drunk than he should have, and he still vaguely remembered allowing Vito to bring him home, but the rest seemed a little fuzzy. He didn’t exactly remember stopping anywhere for Vito to pick up any hangover cures for him. Of course, he didn’t remember spilling the beans on his birthday, either.

With a sigh, he pushed himself to his feet. After throwing on a clean shirt and a pair of sweats, he made his way to the front door. He unlocked it and pulled it open. A small white box sat on the step in front of his door. One eyebrow raised, he squatted down and flipped open the top.

A small frosted cake sat in the box, ‘Happy b-day, Payne’ written in blue gel ink across the top of it.

Elias hated the sting in his eyes, but he didn’t know how the hell else to react. Vito Minetti–mobster, hitman for hire, murderer, mutilator, overall criminal–had made more effort for Elias’s birthday than his parents had since his biological father died. Either Vito was incredibly determined to get into Elias’s pants, or there really was more to the ‘monster’ than what met the eye.

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4 thoughts on “Truths & Chains – Chapter Fourteen

    1. Scenes with his parents help me understand even more why he so desperately wants to be known for something other than their last name

      Isn’t he?! I’m so proud of him for caring about a birthday enough for cake 😭


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