As Amato dug up more info on Danny and Destiny, Jimmy was sitting in his cell with Leo when a group of correction officers appeared bringing back Anthony to his cell. Jimmy stood next to the door and leaned against it like he was looking in the opposite direction. He heard laughter erupt as Anthony joined his fellow cellmates and family members. Why were they allowed to be housed in the same cell? It wasn’t hard to guess that one of the guards was either screwing up on a massive level or was corrupt. It was no secret that some guards barely made livable wages. Their lack of compensation made them the weakest link in the prison system. As Jimmy strained to hear, he felt the breeze as several of the correctional officers quickly walked away. Once they disappeared, Jimmy heard someone say, “Did you tell em what we told ya?”
“Yeah.” Was the response. “They bought it, I think.”
“Good, we don’t need them knowing everything.”
Interested, Jimmy listened on, “Just make sure Danny and his bitch gets thrown under the bus.”
“Good riddance” Jimmy heard another person say.
“Yeah, sorry son of a bitch, at least he got Stephano and we didn’t have to start a war but Fenetti is still alive and she was part of the deal. Punk ass, can’t even kill a broad. I bet you if you gave Destiny that gun, she would’ve whacked ’em both.”
“Shame, we hired the wrong gun.”
Jimmy couldn’t believe what he was hearing, these guys weren’t Allunis, they were Cosimos! It all made sense, the Cosimos wanted revenge and so they went to Stephano’s second in command, Danny. They had it all wrong, Danny wasn’t gunning for his boss’s position, the Alunni wouldn’t have tolerated the betrayal. Instead, Danny had joined the other team! Jimmy had to get out of there and warn Amato. However, before he could do that, he noticed out of the corner of his eye, his cellmate charging right towards him and before he could react, Jimmy was knocked unconscious. As his limp body lay on the floor, all hope for Cassie was lost.
As Cassie’s life hung in the balance, Amato was turning up the heat on the thugs they arrested in the bistro raid. To his surprise they brought in a familiar face, and it was just the thing this case needed. Anthony Vello, was a mob associate with no loyalties, in essence, he was a rat and not a very smart one. Anthony used to loan shark, and steal for his bosses but he got caught up too many times in the system. It did something to him, he wasn’t the hardass he used to be. Prison will do that to a man, and now that he was pushing his fifties, he was most likely terrified of doing time. Amato personally watched as members of the Cosimo family would refer to him as Big Pussy, that character from the Sopranos. It had to irk him a little if not, infuriate Anthony, after all, he took many for the team. Amato wondered, if he would still protect his bosses? There was only one way to find out, leaning back in his chair, Amato, began the interrogation, “State your name for the record.”
Crossing his arms, he said, “Ant-nee Vello”
“Mr. Vello, have you been informed as to why you’re here?”
“Yeah, they said summin’ bout a murder.” Anthony answered then began laughing.
“Mr. Vello, what’s so funny?”
Trying to straighten his face, Anthony answered, “U’s guys, are trying to set us up.”
“Mr. Vello I can assure you no one here is trying to set you up.”
“Oh yeah, then how come that bitch Destiny ain’t here wit us?”
“Destiny who?” asked Amato.
Now he was getting somewhere, intrigued Amato asked, “Does this Destiny have a last name?”
“I don’t remember, they said she used to do tricks at the Sapphire Club on 9th. Damn shame, she told Stephano she was some sort of model. Pfft.” He said rolling his eyes and chuckling, “She had him hypnotized or summin’.” Taking notes, Amato was going to be sure to look this up in the database. If what Anthony was saying was true, this Destiny chick had to have been booked for prostitution at some point, but that was only if he was telling the truth.
Amato had reason to believe that Anthony was only playing the game, just to keep his head above water. There was so much more that he knew and was part of but Amato had to stay focused, Cohen said he wanted answers and so he was going to get them. “Who else is working with Destiny?” he asked.
“Dunno.” Anthony answered.
“Bullshit!” Amato said after rolling his eyes. “If you think I’m gonna believe that some stripper is shot calling you’re out of your mind.”
“Believe what you wanna, I said enough.” And he was right, Anthony threw Amato enough crumbs to distance himself from the murder charges. Hell, at this point he couldn’t even get him on conspiracy charges. So Amato pushed, “It’s common knowledge that women aren’t allowed in the mob.”
Not impressed with Amato, Anthony said, “What can I say, it’s a new day.”
Losing his patience Amato growled “Who called the hit?”
“I dunno.” “So you’re taking orders from ‘dunno’. Amato said shrugging his shoulders in an over exaggerated way. “Come Anthony, you can do better than that.”
“Can I have a lawyer?” Anthony said, ending the interview. It was like a bucket of cold water for a detective but he wasn’t a cop, he was an agent and agents had more leeway when interviewing suspects. “Okay, Anthony you can see a lawyer but these processing papers are tricky for us to hang on to. You know what I mean?” Confused Anthony just looked on while Amato started packing up his things. “If something were to happen to these papers, well, nobody’s gonna know where to put you in the jail.” This was a vague threat and Anthony didn’t take it lightly. If he ended up in the wrong cell block that could mean death. His brother was killed while being processed at Ricker’s Island. As he stood in line waiting to be given his bedding and toiletries, he was stabbed in the neck by a Cosimo who just happened to be in the next line. “God damit, it ain’t never enough for u’s. What more do you want?”
“No you didn’t.”
After that the only sound in the room was the buzzing from the clock on the wall. Amato noticed Anthony breathing really hard as he struggled to stay loyal to his boss. Fixated on his face, Amato watched the anguish of a man who had to finally stand on his own. No bosses, no crew, no help. As his walls shattered, Anthony covered his face with his hands and took a deep breath, “If I say anything, I want immunity.”
“I swear, if you give us the boss, you won’t have to face the death penalty.”
“Aiight, Danny Marchesi, ordered the hit on Stephano and Cassandra.”
Standing up, Amato said in his most professional voice, “Thank you for your cooperation in our investigation, I’ll be sending you back to holding until we work something out with the DA.” Seeing Anthony’s body almost deflate as he realized what he was really doing, Amato repeated his promise, “If you testify, you will most likely be put in witness protection and you won’t have to worry about retaliation.” Not like it mattered to him, the life that Anthony knew before was over, no matter how things turned out. Amato couldn’t bring any comfort to him because there wasn’t anything he could do. All he could do right now was find Danny and Destiny before they carried out their hit. That’s if they didn’t do it already. Amato knew the pressure was on both Danny and Destiny to flee New York and they were most likely heading off to some country without an extradition treaty. No matter how he looked at it, time was running out for Cassie.
As Cassie tried to fight her way back to consciousness, she forced herself to open her eyes. When she did a shooting pain griped the left side of her head. She moaned in agony and writhed in pain in the chair. Taking a deep breath, she found it hard to inhale because of a broken nose. Tilting her head just a bit made her see stars from the concussion she received when she hit the concrete floor of the basement. It took a long while for her to get her bearings, but when she did she recognized exactly where she was. Cassie also remembered who was responsible for her current predicament. Even in her weakened state, her first thought was revenge. At least the beatdown didn’t kill her spirit even though it was slowly killing her body. She forced herself to not focus on the pain, instead, throwing all her mental energy into figuring out an escape. Things didn’t look good for her, they had zip tied both arms and legs to a chair and duct tape was fixed across her mouth. She couldn’t make a sound, let alone move, which was going to make escaping difficult at best. The only thing she could hope for right now was for Amato and the Feds to swoop in and rescue her but that was unlikely. Law enforcement was always a day late and a dollar short when it came to these sorts of things. She never thought in a million years that she would prefer jail to a bullet in the head but she had something to live for. Now it was up to her mentally challenged heroes in blue to find her and save her.
The more she thought about it, the more hopeless it felt. Her arms were beginning to feel numb from the lack of circulation and a part of her wanted this to all be over with. As her thoughts turned dark, Cassie wondered was there a special prayer you were supposed to say before you were murdered? The Catholics always had a saint for everything stemming from; illness, employment, and even betrayal. She remembered her father having a medallion of St. John of the Cross, who was the patron saint of betrayals. Though he rarely went to church, he took the whole saints and angels thing seriously. He had medallions and even prayer books all dedicated to the saints. What was the point, Cassie asked her brain which brought up the memory? None of this brought any comfort to Cassandra who felt like the clock was ticking away. What if this was her time? Well she thought. at least she went down fighting like a soldier in a war where the enemies and battlefield were always changing. It was a miracle she lasted this long. Yet there was still a piece of her that wanted to live just to stick it to her enemies.
Meanwhile in the old townhouse that Stephano shared with Destiny, she and Danny were putting the final touches on their soirée. With only their most loyal soldiers, their crew was cut down to size after the Fed raid. Danny promised them if anyone got caught up in the Fed’s net, he would spring them from jail. It was a promise he had no intention of keeping, because after this live execution, he and Destiny were leaving the country. They would have no choice, he knew they wouldn’t be popular after this stunt. Though he was dead, Stephano still commanded respect and his loyalists would make sure to take out his killers. It had to be known by now that he was one of the gunmen. The Alunni had their own people placed in the all of the major police precincts and were probably already shining up their guns for retribution. His mistake was not getting full support when he did the deed. That was his own fault for letting Destiny pressure him into making a move that he wasn’t ready for.
He was going to have to lay down the law when the coast cleared, he couldn’t have some chick bossing him around. When this was all said and done, he would have one less enemy at his back. Whatever happened, this had to work or they would both be dead. Fenetti was too dangerous to let live. She took down the Cosimos and they are still reeling from her betrayal. It was unlikely they would ever recover. “Hey! Snap outta of it!” Destiny yelled from across the room. Embarrassed that he had been caught daydreaming, he yelled right back, “What?”
“I set up the cameras, and the chairs.”
Looking at his right hand man Tommy, he nodded his head and ol’ Tommy was off to the bedroom where they had Casssie tied up. She was carried, right to the chair in front of the camera.
Clapping her hands, Destiny was as giddy as a school girl with a new vibrator. “This is perfect, I sent out the invites, I hope enough people show.”
“Look babe,” Danny began, “I don’t think this is such a good idea.”
“Don’t you dare, we agreed!” she snapped while sticking her acrylic nail in his face, “I helped you, now it’s your turn to return the favor.”
“Alright, but you’d better hurry this up, if they catch up with us, we’re as good as dead.”
“We’ll be fine,” she said glaring at him, “Grow a set.” And with that she left the room while Danny burned with embarrassment. This was the second time she had disrespected him in front of his crew and she was going to have to pay for that. Maybe he would leave her at the border when he fled? He smiled at the idea but kept his mouth shut. He couldn’t trust anyone with his real plans. Heck, he didn’t even really know what those plans were yet. He had a private plane all gassed up and ready to go anywhere in the world but first he had to finish Fenetti. Later on, he’d deal with Destiny.
When they got to the station downtown, they were allotted an interrogation room to conduct business. Before they started on their first suspect, Jimmy disappeared to do his part in the investigation. As the officers brought in their first suspect, Amato watched as they cuffed him to the chair. After he was settled, Amato began to read his file aloud in front of him, “Gianvanni Polenzi, 53, Brooklyn Heights. Says here; burglary, armed robbery, assault, and attempted murder which you are still awaiting trial. Tisk, tisk.” Throwing the file on the conference table, he sat up in his chair and looked him dead in the eye and said, “I’m not gonna bullshit you, if you aren’t careful, you’ll be putting yourself right in the middle of a murder investigation. You don’t want that, considering you’re already about to be put on trial for another murder. You see, judges and juries don’t like psychopaths.” Gianvanni rolled his eyes in front of him, pissing off Amato. “Look shit stain, I’m gonna find out where your boss is and when I do, I’ll be sure to send you all first class to hell.” Not impressed, Gianvanni stared at him, defiant and silent.
As Amato was going through the proper channels, Jimmy was going the alternate route and suiting up to go undercover in the holding area. Using his tools of the trade, he went to what was called, the green room, an area where officers went to transform themselves, kind of like a Hollywood dressing room. Inside were wigs, prosthetics, and makeup. Having decided on a more ethnic look, Jimmy grabbed a kufi, a type of headwear which some Muslims used as a sign of persecution. He has worn this disguise before so the jailers and some of the regular inmates would be familiar with him. He needed that credibility. The mafiosos he was dealing with were old hats and could smell a cop a mile away. If they were suspicious, that could put his life in danger. He had heard stories of undercovers being stabbed in the neck, and one being thrown from a second story floor and onto a commissary area. He wasn’t gonna let that happen to him. So he put the kufi on his head, and began his transformation into someone who could blend in seamlessly. As he looked into the mirror he saw his face was missing something, and so gave himself a scar on the left cheek. When he was done, he looked different enough to move through the jail population without setting off any alarms. All he had to do was put on his baggy, hunter green pants and white t-shirt and he was all set. When he was done, Jimmy signaled for one of the rookies to escort him to his new abode, next to the Alunni thugs and began surveillance.
As the door slid open, Jimmy noticed he would be cohabitating with another inmate. He was a scruffy, and thin tattooed man. Studying his face, Jimmy ascertained that he was in his forties or late thirties. His face looked worn and the gang tattoos didn’t help him look any younger or healthier. As soon as the door slammed behind him, Jimmy began unpacking, “Whaddaya in for?” asked the tattooed man. “Armed robbery,” Jimmy answered. “Oh yeah, note or gun?” the man asked. This was a way inmates tested newbies, it was their way to gauge how dangerous an individual was. It was also for bragging rights. The more violent the crime, the more impressive you seemed. Although Jimmy wasn’t looking to be a seen as a serial killer, he also didn’t want to be seen as a punk, so he answered, “Gun.” Unfurling his sheets and blanket, Jimmy began making his bed while the man continued checking him out. “What crew ya ride wit?”
“Me, myself and I,” Jimmy responded.
The man laughed at the response and said, “Betta watch out, the fools up in here are all cliqued up.”
“Yeah?” Jimmy asked.
“Yep, they dropped off two mafia dudes next door a few hours ago.”
As he tucked in the sheets and blanket, he declared, “I just mind my own damn business and do my time. I’ll be okay, this ain’t my first rodeo.”
Intrigued the man asked, “So you an OG (original gangster), huh?”
Snickering, Jimmy smiled then said, “Yeah, I’m a veteran.”
“What’s your name?”
“Leo, like the lion.”
“Okay Leo, what’s the deal with these mafia dudes?”
“Dunno maaaan,” he said looking rather uncomfortable.
Jimmy figured, he wasn’t be truthful but if he was going to get the truth from him he needed to earn Leo’s trust. But how was he going to make that happen? His answer came twenty minutes later when the guards started delivering dinner straight to the cells. Since most of the inmates on the cell block were considered the worst of the worst, they had to eat inside their cells. They were too dangerous to have running around free, however, the drug addicts, dealers and thieves were allowed to have dinner outside their cells.
When Jimmy got his meal, he had no clue what it was. Inspecting it with the plastic fork, he cut a small piece off and sniffed it. “What the hell is this?” Jimmy exclaimed at something grey covered in a thin brown sauce. “It’s Salisbury steak.”
“You shitting me?”
“Nah man, it ain’t that bad, all ya gotta do is dip it in your mash potatoes and it cancels the whole thing out.”
Even though he was starving, Jimmy wasn’t that hungry and so he offered his tray to his new cellie. Without even looking, Leo grabbed it and placed the tray next to his on the bed and continued chowing down. Jimmy wasn’t sure if he was an addict or homeless by the way he ate. Since he was gaunt looking, Jimmy assumed addict, so he began to casually ask questions. “So Leo, what are you in for?”
“Like you, armed robbery.”
However, Jimmy wasn’t buying it, “Yeah, bank or store?”
“Neither, I robbed some old bitch in front of the 7-twelve.”
That sounded like a junkie move but Jimmy didn’t say anything, he needed Leo to like him, like him enough to talk to him. Continuing the conversation, Jimmy asked, “Gun or knife?”
“Nope, copper pipe.” He said talking with his mouth full. As he took a sip of his little milk, he began laughing, “That old bag didn’t see it coming. I mean WHACK!” he said while reenacting the crime, “She was on her ass before she knew what was going on.” Jimmy felt the hairs on his neck stand up when he realized Leo was a psychopath. Faintly, he laughed right along with Leo and even encouraged him, “I bet she was shocked as shit?”
“Yep. And funny thing is, she kinda looked like my aunt Ronnie.” He said loudly as tiny particles of food flew out of his mouth. This wasn’t going to be pretty, if he was going to get Leo to talk, he needed to get on his level. It was quite a distance to stoop but Leo didn’t seem all that dangerous—now. If Jimmy could keep him entertained, he knew he could get Leo to spill any secrets he may have. Boredom and a personality disorder were things he could work with, he was an awesome interrogator, all Jimmy needed was an angle.
As Jimmy was wondering about his next move, two guards appeared next door and announced that they were taking both inmates to homicide. Homicide? This was confusing to Jimmy, was Fenetti dead?
“Hey Cassie, ya alright?” Jimmy asked softly. When he got no response, it concerned him. That’s when he really started to fight in order to free himself. Using the prong in his belt, he started to slowly began to feel for the pins in the lock. One by agonizing one, they clicked until the shackle popped at the top of the lock. It was a miracle, he slid out from under his chains and made his way to Cassie. She was bleeding from the head and was starting to make gurgling sounds as if she was aspirating on her own blood. It didn’t seem to him that she was going to make it to Destiny’s public execution party. He had to get help but in order to do that, he was going to have to leave. Jimmy didn’t have any doubt in his mind that he could pull it off but he didn’t know if she would be alive when he came back? Fate didn’t hand him a good hand in this situation but he knew he had to get out, so he began to prepare himself for escape.
Taking his belt he wrapped it around his hand, placing his middle finger through the metal buckle. It was now a crude set of brass knuckles. He saw inmates do this kind of stuff in prisons. To even the odds, he took Cassie’s belt too and connected the lock to the buckle. He could now use it like a pair of nunchucks. He was no Bruce Lee but he knew how to inflict damage with his new makeshift weapons. He pitied whoever he hit, because he was gonna do damage. He already began coming up with various scenarios in his head as to how this was going to go down. As he mustered up the courage to head off to war, he wondered if he lost, would they ever find his body?
Slowly, he crept up the basement and made it to the door, which was unlocked. Destiny and Danny must of forgot to lock it and that was mistake number one. Quietly, he peeked his head out of the door, and looked up and down the hallway. There was nobody around, was this a setup? He never knew the mob to be so messy, when they kidnapped someone, they usually killed them immediately. There was little mercy and little tolerance for showboating. He knew that once the other families heard about Danny’s plan there would be consequences, the old school didn’t like attention. And they didn’t tolerate soldiers crossing the line and killing their bosses and installing themselves as king. Was this why Danny was riding with such a small crew? It didn’t matter Jimmy told himself, he had to get through this alive and well enough to make it back home. Stealthy, he emerged from the door and closed it quietly behind him. He saw a bright light in the north part of the building, avoiding it, he went south. He didn’t want any confrontation if possible. When he got to the end of the hall, he stood still with his knucks ready but again there was no one to be found. What the hell was going on he thought to himself?
Proceeding into the kitchen he found himself alone and figured the staff of the bistro were sent home while Boris and Natasha executed their evil plan. Seeing a door, Jimmy bolted towards it and spent a good thirty seconds unlocking the latches and chains. Within in moments he was outside and he took off southbound towards a tiny alleyway. Picking up the pace, he got further and further until he almost got to the corner, when a fat guy emerged from nowhere. Jimmy knew he had to get the drop first before the guy knew what was going on so he didn’t break his stride and went straight at the guy. When he was at arm’s length, Jimmy saw the guy reach into his waistband, so lunged himself at the guy, hitting him with his belt. With all the might he could muster he directed the belt, lock and all at the guy’s face. The surprise attack had the guy flat on his behind and Jimmy jumped on top of him trying to wrestled the gun out of his hand. It was fast and brutal, Jimmy had no mercy on the poor bastard. He had him beaten within seconds and his reward was a shiny new gun. Looking around, he saw no one in sight except a homeless lady digging through the dumpster at the corner. Casually as he could, Jimmy crossed the street all the while keeping his eyes peeled for anymore Alunni surprises.
With his heart racing, and the adrenaline still flowing Jimmy found the nearest public space which was a furniture store. There, he startled the cashier who thought the store was being robbed. He had to explain that he was a cop and needed to use the phone, handing over her cell, she threw it on the counter, still not trusting his story. When she saw he called 911, her opinion changed. He asked to be transferred to the department’s dispatch and gave the code words: Tom & Jerry. Immediately, he was patched through to one of the local dispatchers and when she answered, Jimmy requested to be put through to his supervisor and gave another code word: Argos. Within seconds he was on the phone with Agent Cohen who was at the office seeing over the manhunt.
“This better be good, I’m in the middle of an impor..”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re busy!”
“Glad you noticed,”
“Where the hell are you? We’ve been…” Before Cohen could get the rest of the sentence out, Jimmy began talking over him, “Never mind, I was captured by the Alunnis with Fenetti.” “What?!?” exclaimed Cohen.
“Bring backup to Matteo’s Bar & Bistro and bring a bus.”
“Are you hurt?”
“No, but Fenetti is.”
“Alright, I’ll be there in a..” At that point Jimmy just hung up, he had neither the time, nor the patience, to deal with Cohen. He had been through enough without having to play nice with someone he couldn’t respect. For Jimmy this was just another bad day at the office and the future held no promise that it would get any better.
Stopping in his tracks, he recognized the voice, “Fenetti, is that you?”
Looking over her shoulder, Cassandra glared at Jimmy and moaned again, “Shiiit!”
“Nice to see ya too, bitch!”
“Fuck off!” she yelled as the room swirled around her.
“Not fucking with you period,” Jimmy said as he continued trying to pick his lock.
“What the hell is going on?” she demanded to know.
“We’re about to be butchered because of you,” he answered her.
“I didn’t have anything to do with this!” she exclaimed.
“If you weren’t such a shady bitch, me and Amato wouldn’t have been running all over this town looking for your dank ass.”
“Keep talking troll and I’ll shove my foot straight up your ass.”
“Bring it Princess!”
“Oh the language!” A loud nasaly voice said. Shocked, they both looked up and heard footsteps coming down the basement steps.
Though her instincts told her to run and hide, Cassie didn’t. Instead she awkwardly stood up to meet her fate as Jimmy could only look on. Slowly from the staircase emerged none other than Destiny Van Holsten, Stephano’s ex wife. The sight of her made Cassie sick to her stomach and she began to feel just as bad she did before. Nonetheless she fought the urge to not tremble, Cassie would not allow this woman the satisfaction of intimidating her. If this was the end, then she was determined to die with a little dignity.
Walking towards Cassie, Destiny’s black and white sheath dress made her look terribly out of place in a situation like this. Behind her, was her new benefactor/boyfriend, Danny Marchesi. Immediately Cassie demanded to know, “What the hell is this?”
“A celebration silly, tonight we celebrate the life of Stephano Rimaldi while his fiance tragically disappears.” Destiny answered.
“Tisk, tisk, you were always irresponsible Cassandra,” Danny snickered, “But not showing up to your own fiance’s wake, that’s disappointing.”
Being mocked by dumb and dumber made Cassie seethe and she lunged at Destiny but luckily for her, Danny grabbed her by her hair and pulled her back just a few feet out of range from Destiny. That didn’t stop Cassie from spitting on her, which is right when she felt a carefully manicured hand slapping her across the face. Like a sick threesome, the two got off on torturing Cassie knowing that her beloved could do nothing. As Cassie was restrained by zip ties and held by her hair, Danny looked over at Jimmy and said, “It’s gotta hurt to see the one you risked everything for getting gutted.” It was then Jimmy realized they thought he was Agent Amato, knowing there was a way to save Cassie, he said, “I think you got this all twisted. I ain’t her boyfriend.”
Putting her pimp hand down, Destiny walked over to Jimmy and looked really hard at him. “Holy shit, Danny, you got the wrong guy!”
“Don’t listen to him, he’ll say anything to trick us.”
“No, he’s not the guy I saw in the newspapers. He wasn’t this small.”
“Hey, who the hell you callin’ small, Barbie?”
“Oh shut up, Frodo!” Destiny said with disdain.
“Damn it! I knew I should’ve checked before we pounced,” Danny lamented, “At least we got her,” he said yanking again on Cassie’s hair.
“Yeah, two outta three ain’t bad, but still it would’ve been nice to kill her while he watched. The fact that he’s a fed just makes it yummy.” She said laughing like a psychopath.
Taking his gun out of his waistband, Danny put the barrel to Cassie’s head and looked at Destiny, “You want the honor?”
Taking the gun from him, Destiny surprised everyone when she pistol whipped Cassie instead. “Wish I could do it now, but she’s the entertainment.” Lifting up Casssie’s head with her index finger, she explained, “We’re inviting everyone here tonight to watch the great Cassandra Fenetti get capped in the face. We’re even live streaming it on social media.” As Cassie’s face began to bruise, Destiny added insult to injury, “I would tell you to clean up and get yourself together but what would be the point?” As soon as those words left her mouth, Cassie headbutted her, knocking Destiny right on her ass. Though he didn’t mean to, Jimmy snickered and had to conceal his amusement at the events unfolding.
It was no laughing matter however when Danny unleashed several punches to Cassie’s face. Unlike Destiny though, Cassie continued to stand upright and took the punishment. Outraged, Destiny kicked Cassie in the knee all the while shrieking, “You think we’re playing?” As Cassie grunted in pain, she was down to one knee that’s when Danny went in for the final blow punching her in the temple. Cassie collapsed in a heap on the floor still restrained and remarkably quiet for someone getting the stuffing beat out of her. Disturbed by what he was seeing Jimmy yelled, “Hey! You made your point, back the fuck off!” This enraged Danny who wasn’t done dolling out punishment. He took the gun off the floor and was stopped by Destiny who said, “No! He could be a bargaining chip.” Stroking Danny’s face, she explained, “He’ll be useless dead.”
Looking back at Cassie, who was unconscious Destiny growled, “Fenetti, on the other hand is dead.”
Signaling him, while she fixed her messy hair, Destiny said, “Come on, we got a party to plan.” Relieved that it was over, Jimmy watched as they slithered up the stairs and back to whatever pit they crawled out of.
Meanwhile at the Matteo’s Bar & Bistro, Jimmy was bound and trapped in the basement of the neighborhood hot spot. When he first gained consciousness and he didn’t like what he saw. Every instinct in his body told him this was a mob hit in the making and he had to get out of there. As Jimmy scanned the room for a door or window, he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. Quickly, he put his head down and pretended to still be unconscious. The footsteps were slow and purposeful, they were also heavy, either the guy was huge or he was carrying something. “Careful, the boss said he wanted everything done exactly his way,” a raspy voice said.
“I know what I’m doin,’” answered a very annoyed and out of breath accomplice. Jimmy listened hard for any other voices or footsteps but heard none. He still couldn’t be certain there were only two of them, for all he knew there could be ten more thugs upstairs. Escape wasn’t looking good. As Jimmy listened on, he heard dragging sounds then a thud, quickly, he peeked and saw a body being dragged across the floor. His heart raced as he tried to discern whether this person was dead or alive. Did it really matter? There was nothing he could do, he was chained up like a dog which meant, this poor SOB was on his own. Closing his eyes again, he kept his head down and made sure not to move. As the men took off for God knows where, Jimmy was left alone with a body in the middle of the basement floor.
It was only after the door closed did Jimmy dare to open his eyes again. Taking a deep breath, he calmed himself down and looked around for a way to get out of his chains. To his disappointment, the room was completely bare, these guys were smart and weren’t taking any chances. They seemed to have thought of everything; the windows were covered, the door was steel, and there were shackles on the floor as well as chains hanging from the ceiling. However the most disturbing part of the décor were the drain traps on the floor. It was becoming crystal clear to Jimmy; this place was a slaughterhouse. Like cattle, he and his new roommate were going to be butchered. This was not how he imagined his life ending.
As Cassie poured the champagne, there was a knock at the door. Knowing who it was she yelled, “It’s open!” Instead of Stephano, several armed bodyguards entered the building and immediately began a security sweep of the place. Turning over several tables, Cassie shouted, “Hey, no breaking stuff!” One of the goons smiled at her and proceeded to open the ladies restroom door and peeked inside for any ambushes. As they swept the entire room, they went back to the entrance and gave the all safe signal. Within seconds, Stephano appeared with a huge grin on his face, “Ad victorem ire spolia!” (To the victor go the spoils) he said feeling like Julius Cesar. With his coat draped on his shoulders, he looked like a great Roman conqueror as he slowly approached Cassie. Accepting the glass of champagne she offered, he declared, “It went smooth as silk. They didn’t even so much as talk shit to us, let alone put up a fight.”
“Good.” Cassie answered raising her glass.
As their champagne flutes clanked, Stephano asked, “Now it’s confession time, how did you know about the gas stations?”
Figuring it was time to come clean, she answered, “My father ran the gas stations, and when he died, my brother took them over. The Cosimos replaced him with a half-assed hood.”
“God, you’re ruthless.” Stephano said admiring her darker side.
“We’re not done yet, the Cosimos will be back and when they regroup, they’ll throw everything they got at us.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll handle the dog fights.” He said reassuring her. As he did, he made a gesture to one of his men who immediately left the room and returned with a large black, Hermes Birkin bag. Handing it to her, he said, “As per our agreement.” Looking inside, Cassie saw several stacks of cash neatly piled inside. “You remembered.” She said rather impressed by the $10,000 handbag.
“I remembered, I remember a lot of things.” He said caressing her cheek.
Smiling up at him, she asked, “What about Destiny?”
“She ain’t gotta know.”
“But she will, when I tell her. You know me, Stephano, I don’t play second to no one.”
“Stop bustin’ my balls, I’m doing the best I can here.”
“Alright, but I’ll only accept this for so long. I’m not a patient woman.”
“Yeah, I know,” he said in a murmur. As he leaned in to kiss her, a scuffle broke off, outside. The sounds of cursing and loud thuds could be heard as Amato and Jimmy fought their way into the room. With their guns drawn, they entered through the door as Stephano’s security team tried to pin them down. Waving his hand in the air, Stephano said, “Calm down everybody, what’s the matter here?” as though he didn’t know.
This was Stephano’s big moment and upon seeing him, Amato realized he was just a pawn in a bigger scheme. Infuriated, he seriously contemplated blowing Stephano’s head off right there and then. As his hands shook, Cassie immediately stood between the two men and said, “You can’t, you’ve come too far to blow this now. Let us do what we gotta do.” Bewildered Amato looked at her and asked, “You can’t be serious?” And through a broken heart broke, Cassie answered, “Do you want this to be over or not? With the Cosimos gone, we’ll both be free. No more running and no more hiding. I know it sounds like a dream, but we’re close now. Just let me go.”
Amato had to force his fingers to slowly unwrap themselves from the trigger. As he did, Stephano’s men backed off and rallied around their boss. Walking out the door, Cassie didn’t look back, and as Stephano followed her lead, he looked at Amato and adding insult to injury he mocked, “How did you think this was gonna end?”
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.
It was all being set up, Jimmy and his crew were preparing to play supporting roles to Amato’s takeover of Clark’s gas station on 105th. They surveillanced the station for the entire day coming back with photos of both the outside and inside of the building. Jimmy pinned them to a corkboard next to the bar and as he finished, another group of his boys came in with the names and addresses of the men employed by the gas station. Jimmy’s right hand man, began running these name through the PNC (Police National Computer) and even the NNCP (National Name Check Program) to see who they were. As expect, most of them were petty criminals while a few were internationally known for drug dealing. So they knew what they were dealing with now, a drug depository for the city.
Amato and the guys hypothesized that the drugs were imported from Sicily and flown into New York where some airport employee, would lose the cargo. The drugs would most likely be taken by truck to the gas station and the dope would be dropped off at the local distributor. Then the associates (drug dealers), would come by in droves all day long in vans, trucks and SUVs under the guise of filling their tanks. “They gotta be making millions, easy!” Jimmy said astonished. Amato looked at one of Jimmy’s men, a shady looking character wearing a black leather coat and aviator sunglasses. He looked like a hood and Amato was going to us it to their advantage. “Hey you, Sticks!” he said, referring to the man’s spiky hair. “What’s your name?”
“Caruso, Enzo Caruso,” he answered standing up from his chair.
“I want you to visit our friendly little gas station and see if you find anything unusual.”
Caruso looked at Jimmy and he gave Caruso a nod in approval. The loyalty these guys showed towards Jimmy surprised Amato. In his unit, loyalty only came if it didn’t conflict with one’s own ambition. He remembered what Cassie said about, being the best and it angered him. He had spent his whole career going above and beyond and for what, to have his colleagues stab him in the back? Yes, he had burned her, and he did it intentionally because he believed it was for the greater good. He hoped she would see that one day but it was unlikely. Recalling all that Fedelta crap she talked about, Cassie was most likely going to the grave with a chip on her shoulder. Besides, vendettas were more fun than forgiveness, and for some people it even gave their lives a purpose.
Looking over at Caruso as he was being wired, Amato saw the cold stare in the young man’s eyes and it always frightened him to see it on someone’s face. It meant they were mentally checking out. As an undercover, you had to take all of your normal thoughts and compartmentalize them. Caruso would no longer be needing them when he went into Super Cop mode. Thinking as both prey and predator, Caruso would have to walk a fine line all the while looking natural.
“Brings back memories doesn’t it?” Jimmy asked seeing the longing in Amato’s eyes. “Yeah, don’t envy the fucker though.”
“Sure you do,” Jimmy said cracking a smile. “And if you could, you would do it yourself.”
“Guilty,” Amato confessed.
“A good agent never leaves anything to chance, not unless he wants to end up iced in a dumpster.”
“Why are you here Jimmy?”
“The same reason you are,” Jimmy answered.
“Nah, that’s not what I mean, it seems like you want something more and I’m not sure this operation is going to give that to you.”
“I want to clear my name and clean up the department but you seem to need absolution. Trust me, there’s no forgiveness in our game.”
Insulted by his psycho analysis, Jimmy coldly replied, “You got it all wrong brotha. I don’t do this because I got sumthin’ to prove, I do it because it’s all I got! I’ve been spat on, stabbed, punched and kicked…”
“We’ve all been!” Amato interrupted. “And at the end of the day, sometimes it don’t mean shit.”
The room went silent, and all eyes were on Amato. Jimmy got in his face and said, “Maybe it don’t mean nuttin’ to you, but it always means something to me. This job is my life! It’s my God damn’ religion!” Tossing his drink at the wall, he yelled “If you ain’t got the balls anymore, maybe you should hide under that fuckin’ bridge with you mentor and powder your pussies!”
Not intimidated, Amato calmly asked again, “Answer the question Jimmy, what are you getting out of this?”
“I’m here because I hate every last single one of ‘em and I want to watch ‘em rot in hell for everything they put me and my boys through! I want to watch them eat shit and die! What does it matter to you anyhow?”
“Fedelta.” Amato answered.
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“Loyalty, Cassie, was telling me about it…. It’s the one advantage the Cosimos have over us. Speaking of that, where is she?”
“She took off for a smoke and hasn’t been back.” said one of Jimmy’s men. “Want me to go look for her?” the guy asked.
“Nah, it’s good.” Amato said rather nonchalantly. However, it wasn’t all good, he knew she was up to something but he had to play it cool. Meanwhile Jimmy was still holding his head as he tried to calm down so Amato decided to back off lest Mt. Jimmy erupt again.
Looking over at Caruso, Jimmy yelled, “Caruso, get the fuck outta here already!”
However before Agent Caruso left, Jimmy’s crew hooked him up with a body cam and gave him a smart phone to collect intel. As Caruso was leaving, Cassie was entering the building. Amato looked at her really hard as she made her way confidently across the room, when she smiled at him, he knew something had changed. Disappointed, he smiled right back at her then said, “Hey, welcome back!” When she came within range he hugged her tight and said, “It’s just like old times,” and he meant that in more ways than one.
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.