Kingpin (An Italian Mafia Romance Duet #1) - W.S. Greer

Alannah Sullivan

“Alright, so are you ready?”

I look out the window at all the kids streaming into Barry Elementary School, and it makes me nervous. My face feels hot and my hands are sweaty.

“I hate the first day of school,” I reply, still staring out the window.

“Well, technically it’s not the first day of school. You’ve been in fifth grade half a year already,” Dad answers. I can tell he’s smiling without even looking at him. When I turn around to frown, sure enough, there’s that big goofy grin.

“Dad,” I start, cutting my eyes at him. “You know what I mean. It’s the first day at this school for me, but not for them. I think that makes it worse, actually. I’m going to be the only new kid.”

Dad takes his hand off the steering wheel and turns his body towards me. He’s completely clean shaven because he’s in uniform and on his way to work after he drops me off. As corny as he is sometimes, his smile still makes me feel better.

“I know, sweetie,” he begins. “I know this is hard, and I’m sorry we had to move in the middle of the school year, but we know that’s how the military works sometimes. All you have to do is be the strong princess that you are, and you’re going to be just fine. You’ll make friends in no time, and before you know it, you’ll be running this place. Everybody is going to want to be Alannah Sullivan’s friend. You just have to get past this first day. Okay?”

I twist my mouth into a frustrated frown as I exhale and reach for the door handle.

“Okay. Thanks, Dad.”

“You’re welcome, sweetie. Now, go have a great day. I love you.”

“I love you, too.” I pop open the door as Dad leans over to kiss me on the cheek, then I’m out and headed towards the school.

I was born in San Antonio, Texas, on Lackland Air Force Base, eleven years ago. My current home, Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, is my dad’s third and newest assignment. We only got here a week or so ago, but my parents are already forcing me to go to school. Ugh. I’m not ready to get back to it yet, but they say I have to.

So, here I am, walking on the sidewalk with my red and black backpack slung behind me. I’m surrounded by a bunch of other kids I don’t know, who all look comfortable because they’ve been here forever. They’ve gotten to know each other and have grown to become friends, but not with me. I’m the new kid who’s stepping into class for the first time after half the school year has already gone by. My mom, Dana, has been telling me since before we left our last home in California that the first day is always the hardest. She kept saying it as we walked through the school a couple of days ago to get familiar with the building, and she said it this morning, too, as she drove in to her new job at Belleville Hospital for the first time. So, I’ve been trying to remind myself of what she said.

The first day is always the hardest.

I know where my new class is, so I walk straight there without looking anywhere but forward. I know my new teacher’s name is Mr. Bishop, but I haven’t met him yet. Other than his name, I don’t know anything or anybody here. So, as I walk into class for the first time, my heart feels like it might pop any second now. Especially when I stand in the doorway because I don’t know where I’m supposed to sit, and other kids are in their assigned seats staring at me like I’m crazy. It takes Mr. Bishop at least five minutes before he sees me standing here.

“Oh, hello,” he says, finally. He has a higher voice than I expected for a man his size. He’s really tall and has thick black hair that looks like it’s been slicked back with grease, and his face has a lot of wrinkles in it. “You must be Ms. Alannah Sullivan. Is that right?” he asks, walking towards me.

“Yes, sir,” I answer. I’m so nervous now, my words almost didn’t come out.

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Alannah. My name’s Mr. Bishop.” He makes me shake his hand like I’m a grownup. “You can go ahead and have a seat while I get you some text