all except your negatives, I’ll wear around my neck like teeth. Evidence that I have killed.
We'd be right to be scared; anybody else would be. Thinking they'd lose her, but not us, I never questioned her ass, never thought I'd lose her -- I was right, too. Again.
Call Jacinta difficult, it'd save us all the trouble, huh. Marina and I thought she'd die in childbirth, weak baby, noosed by her own umbilical cord but that's just how she is. Heir, the first born, two of the same and I smiled thinking she had my eyes. The softest moment I ever had, Marina didn't want to hold her but I had to; for a godfather I never thought I'd have a soft spot. Snake around my ankles, Jaci in my arms, Marina called me an idiot. In that smile that let me know she still loved me, I never questioned it. Wrinkles around the corners of our mouths, she wasn't wrong. My mother'd say the same shit, soft spots make the coziest bullet holes.
Things have changed, I kept trying to tell myself. First five years, Marina and I and Jacinta and Luzia and- god why did we have so many kids. We expected some to die, they were all weak ass babies but fuck. We run a gang not a fuckin' day care. Violetta was a sick baby, she wasn't supposed to live as long as she did but that's the thing with serpent blood, we don't die that easy. We don't die, one part father, one part Salazar -- these things are different. We are a different breed of people and I was a shit heir, I'm a shit father. Of all the things that could kill my kids, the fuckin' games, huh?
I'd be damned.
Marina held my hand at night, staring at the ceiling and these things aren't out of our control. One of the Summits brought us a fuckin' parting gift like we were grieving already, people expect the worse -- I guess it's fair. I don't know what my mother would have done, if I could do the same as her. Snake tattoo on my collar bone, blood in my bite. I would've died, huh. Hand on my heart, Jacinta's siblings weren't ready. That means I didn't do my job, I was fine with Jacinta in the games, I'd be damned if my own heir died. I wasn't scared of that, not with her soaked in her own blood -- that's part of the job. When she volunteered, I knew she hated my ass, victors can't be heirs; too much attention.
Can't be pressured when your dead, I understand it.
I really do.
But we raised them all the same, hardest on Jacinta but you always make back ups- you never forget the ones you've lost. I cursed Jaci under my own breath and moved on, rebellious kids want to fuck their own lives, spit on the Salazar name, I've made amends with her. Heir to heir, not father to daughter; I realize she hates me, I always knew she and Luzia would. The other three don't understand and they don't have to, gang threats and fear like that. We sent Jaci away for her own protection, hardened on Luzia, taught Violetta and the younger two self defense all because Marina wanted me to. Her idea, my decision, I've always been a push over. Maybe things would be different with Lorenzo, who fucking knows.
We don't see eye and eye, my wife and I. In the way that she understands what makes sense, but she's never lived through that shit. Rival gangs and threats and I didn't want the younger three being involved, we keep Jaci or Luzia alive and they don't have to worry. I think I forgot what legacy meant, Leo, Lorenzo and I, we had it different. We all three had the same shit, my mother didn't care like that. Heirs first, children second, fourteen year olds don't need to live like that. Maybe it should have just been me, I don't know. I lost a brother in an alleyway, Leo didn't talk about it, our father got thrown in a river, that's how shit was. We weren't scared after that, we both knew if we died we didn't have to put up with the shit but I won, lucky little middle child.
But it's not the same- not with my own kids. Soft spots come with being human, it's stupid but I don't regret it, not when I get to be proud of them in ways that don't belong to gang deals and turf wars. I don't know.
Maybe it's my own mistake. Jacinta won and I wasn't upset at her, disappointed with the volunteering shit but I understand it. Marina probably hates her for it, but I fucked up. Four scared kids, a victor on the name -- I fucked this whole thing up, huh.