Holding one of the highest populations on planet Earth, Brooklyn is home to a very diverse group of people. Everything from Hispanics, to Blacks, to Italians, to Polish, to whatever resides here. The income brackets vary so much here that it makes Brooklyn the perfect city to turn a hustler into a millionaire without leaving the block.
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For Rose, the week that followed her father's death passed in a whirl of events and gatherings, mournful faces that softly whispered 'I'm sorry' as they came and went; their house was abuzz with activity. Lauren was the indomitable of the three left grieving, Paul and his sister drew their power from her by the end of the week, and Lauren seemed to age an eternity through the process. No doubt she had been coming to grips with this possibility since her husband's illness first became known, and somewhere down the line, she'd accepted her responsibility in caring for her children as they made their own way through the tangles of grief and pain.
The flaring in the streets died with Big John, the Russians permitting their foes time to grieve the loss, their attempt thwarted and their own man killed in the attempt on the Cinqemani Patriarch. No one had any doubt that the violence would once again spill over into the streets of Brooklyn, but for now, a tense peace still remained. Paul took his place as The Boss with Richard Falcone as his Underboss, as it had been when his father controlled the family. Richard, for his part, was a member of the family throughout the week, grieving with the others and spending entire days at the manor, as did most of the Famiglia.
By the week's end, Rose was spent. It felt like her world had collapsed for the second time in a matter of months, and she'd barely had any time to accept the fact that her father was grievously ill, never mind the new fact of his untimely demise. For her, the grieving would last much longer, business was the farthest thing from her mind. At the top of the list come Friday evening was a quiet drink in a room of total strangers, so she slipped away from the throngs of grieving mobsters as night fell, dressed as obscurely as she could, and made her way to Manhattan with an uneventful cab ride.
'Ruby's Bar and Grill' was a favorite of Rose's growing up, the place was a haven for punks and anarchists, the likes of which all appealed to Rose in her counter-culture growth spurt of early adulthood. So it was here she sought solace, a cold beer at the bar and an even colder disposition served her well, no one seemed to pay her any attention and she counted her blessings. Obscurity was a beautiful relief after the week she'd been Famiglia.
A band was blasting at the back end of the establishment, throngs of hipsters and renegades clashed their bodies in an orgasm of bliss all around there and Rose just soaked in the sight with an air of passive ambivalence. Cohesive thoughts were few and far between, mostly reminders that her beer was sweating on the counter next to her, leading to deep pulls off the bottle, but when a man stepped forward so his silhouette took her entire view, Rose snapped out of the reverie.
"Sorry to bother you, are you here for the battle of the bands?" His voice was soft and mellow, scratchy from wear but soothing to her tastes. Overall he looked like any other hipster in the joint; his feet were clad in the tattered remains of a pair of black All-Stars, pants tight and folded-up at the ankles, gray wife beater beneath a wool knit cardigan. His hair was kept short on top but thick and long across his face, tattoos peaked from his collar and covered his hands beneath the wool-knit cardigan he wore over the wife-beater, Rose was piqued at his sudden appearance and felt sympathy for his attire; wool in this heat was a certain nightmare.
"I didn't know there was a battle of the bands," She finished her once over and eyed him carefully, he seemed unaffected by her forwardness and put a quirky grin on that peeled back the side of his mouth like he was trying not to smile. "What's your name?"
"Caleb, and yours?" One hand came forward, the other rested comfortably with a thumb through a belt loop, she hadn't even noticed the slack suspenders hanging behind him. With her own pale hand, she took his and shook firmly, noting the way his index finger pressed at her artery and the confidence he exuded.
"Rose, nice to meet you, Caleb,"
"It's a pleasure.," He paused letting the phrase hang in the air between them before continuing. "My band is playing later tonight, are you sticking around?" She took a look at the beer she held in her hand, noted it was close to empty and turned back to Caleb who was now all smiles. "If I bought you a drink would you promise to stay?"
"I might be tempted, why are you so adamant that I stay?" The hipster's eyes roamed over the crowd of fanatics as they writhed and spun in their own carnal creation, and fell back on her with renewed appreciation.
"You look like a person who's opinion matters,"
"To who? You?"
"Yeah, I mean you strike me as unique in a way that I don't really find around here that often, and I'd love it if you'd stay. Maybe we could do something afterward?"
Their conversation continued over another beer, ordered by Rose who steadfastly refused Caleb's offers for paying. But, she agreed to stay, and when he left she watched him carefully, mindful that there were enemies everywhere and this man before her was a total stranger, mindful too of the cut of his pants and the way that he walked.
His band took stage not long after his disappearance, Caleb himself taking center stage with an Ibanez hanging around his torso and his cardigan long gone, sleeves on full display. Around the stage, the lights dimmed and Caleb took the mic in his hands with a kind of energy that seemed to feed off the tension in the room, his body hunched over the device in his hands and a look of total abandon plastered on his features. Lights flicked on as the other guitarist started in on a howling, distant note and Caleb circled him in anticipation, racing back to the front just in time to deliver a raspy, otherworldly note high from the back of his vocal cords.
"I just want to believe in something, I don't care if it's right or wrong," Came the opening, and as he continued the rest of the band kicked in and the tempo changed, turning the powerful, soulful beginning into a raging tempest of punk fusion. Their set was mostly covers, but the crowd was enthralled by the punk spirit imbued upon such a menage of genres and song, the room seemed to vibrate with the band's intensity along with the roaring monitors.
By the end of their set Rose was clapping, hooting, and cheering with the rest of the crowd as she stood on the precipice of the throng watching eagerly. Long gone were the thoughts of her father; her questions of identity and the overarching 'What Now' were put on the backburner, all she wanted at that moment was to learn this man's last name and see what he had planned for the night.
When he caught up with her outside she was smoking and sweating in the heatwave stricken New York nightscape. Cars raced by and she glowed in the nightlight, an enchanting image to her Big Apple Prince and they took off on a walk going nowhere, just wandering around Manhattan, slipping into random bars for reloads and chatting until their legs were wobbly and they were holding each other to stand up.
His apartment was in Washington Heights, and she didn't like the idea of her brother's Inquisition at this new 'life' development, so they called a cab and went to his place, the night devolving over a shared bottle of red wine and a haze she'd never clearly remember.
The next morning came late for Rose, the night a blur. The sheets she found wrapped around her body smelled nothing like her own, she was confused and bolted upright as awareness took over. Nothing in the room was really memorable to her, nor was there another occupant, but as she sat there with eyes like saucers, hyperventilating and sweating in the stale flat air, she recalled Caleb at the bar and pieces of the night they'd shared.
God damnit Rose.
There was noise from another part of the apartment, shut away by the bedroom's door and she got up from the bed in a state of undress, remedied quickly with the clothes she found on the floor and scooted out of the room carefully, eyes peeled and scanning for anything she might be missing. Where were her boots?
"Morning sunshine," Came the soft ooze of Caleb's voice. He stood in a doorway down the hall from her wearing an apron with a pair of incredibly short shorts beneath, and watched her bewilderment with mild amusement, leaning against the doorframe and beating around something in a large steel bowl.
"Morning. Sorry, I think I need to get going. Do you know where my boots are?" His eyes broke from hers, there was a look of resignation on his face but he smiled weakly and pointed with a nod of his head to the end of the hall, returning to the kitchen with his bowl.
"Are you sure you can't stay? I'm making banana chocolate chip pancakes, my specialty," He called back, answered swiftly by a voice she didn't recognize.
"Specialty? That's practically all you eat," Rose stepped into the kitchen with a ball of nerves in the pit of her stomach, this was no time for fraternizing, why had she let herself do something so reckless? Paul was going to have a fit. The second voice was another man she found in the kitchen, working on a crossword at the aisle separating the kitchen from living room. He was pasty, wore glasses, and his mid-length black hair was a mess of curls on his head giving him the appearance of a bedraggled dog. She peeled her phone from her pocket and tried to turn it on, but nothing happened and she realized it had died overnight.
God DAMNIT Rose!
"This is one of my roommates, Joshua. Joshua, this is Rose," She nodded and the roommate nodded back, his eyes scanning her briefly before returning to his crossword, no real interest seemed apparent from his look.
"If you're making pancakes then I guess I can stick around, do either of you have a charger I could use for this?" Rose held up her phone and Caleb pointed to one of the drawers on the kitchen's counter.
"I'm glad you changed your mind," The grin he made was like the cheeky half-grin he'd used the night before, and his eyes sparkled with renewed enthusiasm. "There should be a mess of cords in there, maybe one of them will fit your phone,"
They made small talk as Caleb threw batter on a pan and fried up a batch of his pancakes, Rose scrambling through the tangles of cords and then trying to work a single one out of it, and Joshua picking away at the crossword he puzzled over. According to him, the pair had met in school, both were working on becoming nurses and their third roommate was an aspiring engineer named Tyler. Evidently, none of them were New York natives.
"So why come here then?" Asked the woman, her phone now charging on the counter where she sat next to Joshua, eyeing his crossword with absent eyes and wondering about her brother. Did he know she was alright? The consequences of her actions seemed yet to reveal themselves, but she waited patiently for her phone to charge up.
To her question Caleb shrugged and flipped the first two pancakes. "New York is something you hear about all your life, figured why not?" Joshua didn't even offer a motion, aside from filling in one of the pieces that spanned across his crossword.
”He convinced me to come along. Fucking gorgeous bastard,” He pointed with the eraser at Caleb who just smiled and flipped him the bird at his back, Rose called almost called shenanigans when Joshua shot one back.
”So you've known each other a long time?” The question seemed moot from what little she knew about the two, and the previous response seemed an almost assurance that this was the case, but she asked anyway and observed their auras of mutual respect with a discerning eye. Had she missed something in her hazy recollection of the night's events?
”Our moms were besties so we've always been around each other, I don't know if you'd say we're close but-” Caleb's answer was cut short by the flight of Joshua's pencil, which clattered harmlessly against a cupboard and rolled across the floor.
”We're basically brothers,” Their auras seemed to solidify and she silently released the tension she'd been keeping in her lungs.
”So um...weird segue I know, but what exactly happened last night? From the time we left that diner till this morning is an almost total blank,” Joshua seemed amused, self-righteous prick. Why was he acting like he'd never had a wild night? Rose figured she was just projecting but hated him that moment regardless.
”Nothing that you didn't agree to,” The chef stopped midway through a new batch and looked up at her with a hint of trepidation that melted away to humour that lit his eyes like a firecracker in a dark alley. “You crashed on my bed, I took the couch like a gentleman,” Now Joshua's look made sense and she kicked herself for feeling such animosity, and for making Caleb sleep on the couch as well! He was well put together, even the morning after.
”Well...” Rose meant to continue but her phone was vibrating, roaring on the counter seemingly releasing all of the tensions messaged to it the night before. Twenty-four missed calls and half that number in texts, all from Paul. They quickly dissolved from 'Where you at?' to 'You'd better be fucking joking' and she immediately dialed his number, leaving the kitchen conversation suspended for the moment.
”Rose?” Her brother's voice was a mixture of dread and rage, she swallowed hard and simply replied with a 'Hey'. “Jesus! What the hell's the matter with you Rose?! Are you okay? I've been trying to get a hold of you all night! Where have you been?!” His torrent of questions tore through the phone's speaker and she quickly turned down the volume to keep it discreet and only received a glance from Joshua, un-approving in his mannerisms.
”Sorry Paul I was just...out. I'm fine, I just needed some space, I'll be home soon okay? We'll talk about it then,” He hung up before she'd even fully finished and her skin turned pink in frustration. Caleb turned then, pancakes looking delicious in the pan he held before him.
”Are you staying to eat? Or should I make this to go?” She spent the time she wasn't scarfing pancakes to explain that the call was her brother and that she needed to take off. Caleb said he understood, she wasn't convinced, but the pair swapped numbers and info regardless, agreeing the night deserved a repeat.
His name was Caleb Smith.
When she left the apartment, Rose decided to stop at an atm at the nearby convenience store and pick-up a new pack of smokes while she was at it. When the display read her balance she felt rooted to the spot, sweat began to snake down her spine and the air of the congested store seemed to carry a weight that physically pushed her body downwards, towards the floor.
Was she high, or was the comma in the wrong place? With her phone now charged she made a quick call to the bank and left the store card in hand, without a new pack of smokes, the news she had discovered knocking away the desire for any sort of nicotine. But the teller she spoke with said there didn't appear to be anything wrong, though the fact she couldn't explain where the money had come from rubbed Rose all the wrong ways.
Hell, she thought, might as well do something with it!
Paul texted Rose to meet him at 'Underworld Billiards', a local haunt in Bensonhurst that had been a part of her family for generations, and even now was a cornerstone for the Cinqemani operations in Brooklyn. Managed by the infamous Luis 'The Bald' Scalise, the hall doubled as the headquarters for one of the largest gambling rings in the city and sat dormant most nights and every morning, operating as it did on 'Mob Hours' and used mostly for family business.
Next door sat the combined offices of the family's lawyer and accountant, Michael Blumenthal and Jose Perez respectfully, who handled most of the Cinqemani's legalities and managed the books as well. Situated as they were worked out perfectly for the family; the back door of the offices led into the same fenced off lot that the hall used for 'staff parking'. Wrapped by a seven-foot high-security fence, the lot was accessible by a single deadbolted man door, and the automated rolling gate, both of which were constantly monitored by a bank of CCTV cameras in the depths of the Billiards Hall.
The monitor bank covered every square inch of the exterior of the building, and most of the footage inside as well, with only the background 'Employees Only' areas not watched. Their feeds recorded onto a massive storage server that sat blinking in a closet within the cramped security room, where you could always find one or two Cinqemani goons taking their turn at the watch.
So, when Rose rolled to a halt in front of the Hall in a brand new white Audi S5 Sportback, the two soldiers in the security room had no idea what to expect. She got on the phone with Paul seconds later, the Bluetooth in the vehicle a huge step up from riding around in the backs of cabs.
"Hey bro, can you open the gate?" There was the start of a response then Paul reversed and came back at her with a question of his own.
"You have a car?"
When Rose was seated the introductions began, hardly necessary for anyone in the room, but according to Paul this was the first major meeting since their father had fallen ill, and some things had changed. At the head of the table was The Boss, Paul, commanding in his new role as Patriarch, and Rose was seated just to his left, a spot traditionally reserved for John's consigliere, most recently Paul himself.
The placement didn't go unnoticed to the other men at the table who eyed the bosses sister with a wide variety of emotions. Some, mostly old-timers, shifted between contempt and respect, knowing of her place in the family though not entirely sure of her presence here and in the Famiglia itself. Others, newer faces that Rose didn't really recognize, could barely hide their disgust, and others still held their faces stoic in appreciation of her father and all he'd done for them as Boss.
To Paul's right was Richard Falcone, the Famiglia's underboss, and the children's godfather. Next to him was Luis Scalise. Nicknamed 'The Bald' from his total lack of body hair, Luis was one of the oldest members of the Famiglia and one of its biggest earners too. The Billiards Hall was his hang out in-fact, a place he ran like a well-oiled machine, putting out the spreads and fronting out the cash for the majority of the degenerate gamblers in Brooklyn, including a large number of it's most influential residents.
Luis was joined by his second-in-command who stood directly behind him, away from the main table and leaning against the bar against the far wall of the secluded 'Members Only' room. His name was Jesse Imperator, a middle-aged man with cropped salt-and-pepper hair and a clean shaven face, Rose could recall his presence growing up, occasionally swinging by at family events back in the days when he was a lowly soldier and before that, associate.
Girardo Agosti was the next at the table, his overall demeanor screaming well-off, from the custom tailored suit to his well-slicked hair and manicured hands, bling adorned five of his eight fingers, and an expensive looking watch joined his glittering gold chains. He was, of course, another Capo; all the men at the table were Capos in the Famiglia, and Girardo controlled another of the family's staple rackets: Prostitution. Operating from a skeezy hotel on the belt parkway, not only did he make a pretty profit off the building itself, but the fourteen off-the-books rooms and the nine hookers he ran there all paid dividends, most of which he kicked up to Paul, the boss. Like Jesse, his second-in-command leaned behind him against the bar, a man Rose didn't recognize named Mathew Giannino.
The Capo in charge of the Famiglia's security was next to Girardo; Matteo De Vivo had a reputation as being relentless, ruthless, and ferociously loyal to the family he served, his knuckles showing the wear of numerous fights, caved in, cracked, covered in scars, his hands were the hands of a brutal warrior and told the bloody tale of his life. For his side of operations, Matteo shadow-ran a local gun and archery range, a place closed off to the public for the most part, barring a pre-made appointment for range usage. Located as it was below a classic Italian Delicatessen, with a Chinese food warehouse in the back, the range was hard to find even when you were right on top of it, the perfect place for the Cinqemani Famiglia to train.
Of course all of the weapons on site were legal, soldiers kept their 'work' pieces in their vehicles or nearby at their homes, and the range was constantly in use by family members training day and night. When Rose had been younger she'd begged Uncle De Vivo to let her use the range, guns had fascinated her as a child, and one of her dearest memories of youthful rebellion were the times he opened the range to her and she could go bananas with the weaponry.
Finally there was Ivo Amendola, the newest of the families Capos, he was in control of all the Famiglia's narcotics trades, a racket the family hadn't traditionally been accepting of until product starting hitting their streets and poisoning their demographics. Now it was their control, Bensonhurst for sure was an iron box of Cinqemani controlled substances, brought in through the King's Plaza Marina. A stash spot nearby served to house their goods, and down the block sat a quiet mattress sales shop where Ivo ran his crew from.
Cameras were posted at all of the families establishments, wired directly into the bank here in the Billiards Hall and the private monitoring system Paul had installed in his office at the manor. While Matteo ran roaming patrols of paired off soldiers who mostly sat in coffee shop parking lots or cruised the streets looking for trouble, the other capos kept their own shooters close, the war had already begun and none were to be caught unaware.
Once the introductions were made and the pleasantries exchanged, Paul started off with a quiet moment to honour their father, the great man who had built the family from obscurity to notoriety and accepted the capo's condolences before beginning the meeting officially.
”As you are all well aware, my father was attacked only hours before his passing in a brazen assault on the hospital, an assault where the enemy lost one and the other fled, wounded. Now, some of you may believe this defence to be attributed to an off-duty cop present at the time, some of you probably know who it is I speak of, but I'm here to clear with you that it was, in fact, my sister, Rose,” He indicated with a hand to the blonde to his left. “Who defended our father, myself, and my mother, and killed the attacker in cold blood,” There seemed to be a shift in the atmosphere of the room, and Rose's eyes caught the changes in the way the Capos assessed her, there appeared now to be a level of respect amongst them all.
”So I want to start by thanking her, all of us, thanking her, for fighting for the Famiglia and taking the fight to the enemy,” A round of agreement went up from the crowd gathered, and a peaceful applause started up, to which Rose merely nodded, feeling more shame than appreciation from the display before her. Paul continued on once the noise had died down.
”If anyone should have a qualm about her sitting here at this table then speak up, but know that in my eyes she has earned her place and deserved to be respected," None of the capos seated at the table spoke up, their moods showing a level of peace and acceptance now at her position at the table. Matteo seemed particularly amused, his eyes locked on the young blonde's, obviously remember the times they'd spent at the range down the street, maybe he was even proud of his own rebellion against her father's wishes?
”Good. Let's get down to business then, shall we?” Before the group, spread out over the entire table, was a massive map of the Brooklyn borough. Small red pins joined larger blue pins, and a number of green pins as well, picking out important sites across the area. He explained the pins first: red were Russian affiliated businesses, blues Cinqemani, and the green were Brooktown 6ers, the source of the newest conflict itself.
Rose hadn't clearly heard what it was that had sparked the violence, knew only that it had started as a beef between the 6ers and the Russians and had spilled over to her Famiglia through their affiliation with the street gang. She made a note to ask, but Paul spared her the embarrassment and began to explain in order the sequence of events that had led to their current situation. To start one had to understand that the 6ers moved a major amount of product for the Cinqemani Famiglia, around half of their total monthly supply, a deal they'd worked to spare the Italian's the reputation for stepping on their product, something the 6ers did relentlessly. It translated to a massive increase in profits, and for the five or so years that this agreement had been in place both parties had prospered wonderfully.
In a move made by a rogue agent of the 6ers gang, a prominent Russian, one of the Russian captain's own family members, had died as a result of the heavily stepped on product. Fentanyl overdose was the autopsy's result, and when word spread through the grapevine that it had been a black that dealt her dose, the backlash was swift. The dealer himself was found dead in his apartment showing signs of heavy torture and strangled with a plastic bag, next came a succession of attacks on the Brooktown 6ers supply chain, culminating in an attempt to ambush the monthly trade-off between the 6ers and their Cinqemani partners.
Ivo Amendola had been there by a series of unfortunate events, watching as two of his men were gunned down and almost lost one of the main smugglers he used to bring in the product, luckily Matteo had heard about the rising violence and had made the call to supply the drop with set of heavies who managed to repel the attack. From here, the violence became the family's as well, or at least that was what everyone assumed when one of the biggest poker games the family ran was knocked over.
There were still no leads on the attackers, Matteo had employed the Famiglia's own private investigator, a man who's office sat just above the Italian Delicatessen that Matteo shadow-ran, and still nothing had come up other than the culprits were likely Russian associates. Finally, there was the attempted hit on Big John Cinqemani himself, and Rose gave her version of the events that transpired as well as a description of the two men who had led the attack.
The men knew both whereas Rose only knew the one she had killed; the other's name was Ismail Vasilyev, a nasty fellow well-known for being the go-to hitman for the Russians in Brooklyn. He had a dozen or so reported hits under his belt, but they knew too that he was aging out in a business where youth prevailed and reasoned that this was the reason for Viktor's presence. Rose took the information the capos shared and filed it in the back of her mind, perhaps this Ismail would re-surface and she knew she needed to be prepared.
So now the discussion moved on to a briefing on what the Russian's were up to throughout Brooklyn, delivered by Girardo Agosti who, while acting as the 'Captain of Hospitality' also handled the juicy gossip of the Brooklyn underworld. A job he excelled at, thanks to his network of sex workers and the likes. To Rose the Russian operations seemed focused around weapons and heroin, two things that Cinqemani's weren't very heavily involved in. It seemed to that this violence might bring about the perfect opportunity to take over these rackets for themselves.
The topic of what was to come next for the Famiglia was heated, and Rose kept her words to herself as the capos argued and fumed and raged at each other, each idea more ludicrous than the next, all agreeing that something needed to be done, but none could agreeing on what that next thing was. Paul seemed detached, the feuding around the table was not the only thing weighing heavily on his shoulders and to bring him back to earth his sister placed her hand gently on his arm, smiling at him as he looked up from his reverie.
It was all it took, he seemed to awake from the haze of melancholy and stood up from his seat, immediately silencing the other men with a firm fist to the table.
”That's enough out of all of you! Keep your goddamn bickering to yourselves, we need to organize a retaliation and this is leading nowhere. If there's nothing else, I think it's time to adjourn, we all need a break for the time being,” No one raised an objection so he continued. “We'll re-convene sometime soon, but first we need to find a solution to the violence. If you're needed, you'll be called, otherwise just handle your business the best you can and keep the mattresses out,” With nothing else to say he sat back down and the capos nodded all around, moving away from the table to handle their own business, turning to their respective seconds and chatting amongst themselves. Rose and Paul sat together, silent in the dim room as men took their leave out the back door and into the parking lot.
“I'm glad to hear you've become a better shot,” Said an aged and coarse voice from over Rose's shoulder, and turning her head, her eyes locked on Matteo De Vivo's. Like flint in dirt his eyes stared back, his imposing silhouette hunched and growing less intimidating with age, but the scars he wore gave all the credit he needed and she stood from her seat to accept his warm embrace.
“Your training helped, a little anyways,” She laughed as did he, his low and phlegmy, leading to a small tremor of coughs as they separated.
“Ah, topolino you honour me,” His smile was bigger than life, leaving Rose little option but to smile herself. She felt a pang of pity at how the massive man had degenerated since the last time she'd spent any time in New York, had actually asked Paul at the wake for their father if Matteo was sick as well. Paul just shrugged, did she think he went to the doctor at all? “I just wanted to speak to you and let you know, you need anything, anything at all, you come to me yeah? The range is always open to you and yours, it's the least I can do,”
When he left her standing there the other capos made an effort to wander over and similarly offer their own services to her, none of them had ever been as close to her as Matteo, but nonetheless they were family and she appreciated them all. Soon the building was practically deserted, Paul and her being the only two people left in the members only lounge, while security patrolled the inside of the building and generally fucked around. She went back to where he sat and leaned against the table, looking over the map but watching her brother from the corner of her eyes, he seemed off today. Maybe it was the meeting, or maybe it was something else, she hated the thought of having to ask, but saw no real alternative.
“Rose...” He started, and she looked up at him as his eyes lifted from the floor, full of melancholy and indecision. “I was with dad when he died. You know, he saw everything. Saw you enthralled in the battle and you know dad, perceptive if anything else. He told me something to tell you, something I don't even want to say,” There was a pause in his recollection, Rose now saw that the turmoil in his eyes came from this, the words their father had spoken to him, words that Rose thought she already knew.
“You don't have to tell me, Paul. I know it's hard for you, and y'know it's not worth it to see you like this,” She made her face soft and turned the corners of her lips, saw the tension release from his shoulders and he smiled finally, the first time all day.
“He told me to let you go. He told me that he saw you for the guerriero you are, for the first time in his life he felt like he truly knew you, there on the floor as he watched you take aim and...” The recollection trailed off, Paul thinking that his sister was still soft there in the part of her soul that had chipped away from the taking of another's life, but her heart was steel now and she just kept smiling.
“He's known me all my life, Paul. Dad's always been- was always,” Now it was her turn to pause, the steel of her heart scratching at the misuse of the present-tense. “A little melodramatic, you know? He just never knew what I was capable of, always wanted to protect me from the dangers of the world, but I've been to the Shadowlands, and I've made it back here and I'm still your sister,”
At that moment came a muffled pop from somewhere outside, startling the two from their bonding as a burst of automatic gunfire tore through the silence of the room. Without thinking, Rose sprinted from the area and to the security room, Paul just steps behind her as she burst in on the one soldier left watching the monitors. War was spilling across the neighborhood.
“It's the fuckin Russians!” Swore the mobster at the desk, grabbing for the radio and the burner phone, one to tell security what was happening and the other to call Matteo's roaming patrol. Rose took the phone as he pressed the only speed-dial, all the phones having been replaced the day before as they were every week.
“Get me a fucking gun!” She barked at him then as the phone was answered. “Underworld Billiards, now!” The mafioso on the other end first questioned why a woman's voice was shouting at him, then realized it had to be Rose Cinqemani and dropped everything to head to Underworld, just a couple blocks away. Meanwhile, the soldier on security duty had opened up a small safe next to him and pulled out a nine-mil and an Uzi, the smaller of the two he handed to the bosses sister.
“You motherfucker you take the pistol! Gimme that!” She slapped the pistol into his hand and snapped the uzi into hers, Paul barely registered her actions as he eyed the monitors.
“Looks like they're across the street, mostly taking cover behind the parked cars there,” Gunfire had been almost constant in the seconds since it had begun and Rose broke from the room with a handful of extra magazines she forced into the waistband of her jeans, beelining for the front door where the others on security were gathering. One of the men had a shotgun, Rose stole it from his white knuckle hands and cocked out the shell he'd loaded, just in case.
“Let's go, follow me!” She put her shoulder into the door and felt its heavy steel frame give way, a second later the shotgun was leveled across the street and she was blasting out double-o buckshot from the hip, scattering the exposed Russian's into cover and providing the chance for her backup to spread out from the door and take cover for themselves behind the parked cars they found there.
When she popped down into cover behind a white Ford Transit, she tossed the shotgun back to the mobster she'd lifted it from and drew the Uzi from behind her waistband. His eyes were glued to her, looking like the second coming of Joan of Arc as she popped out the other end of the tiny van and peppered the other side of the street with a burst of nine-mil. Return fire was scarce now, her actions resulting in a shift in the fighting that found the Cinqemani's dominating the gun battle. A call out in Russian went up from the far side of the street and the fire coming from them intensified, keeping the Italians down in their cover briefly as the Russian's broke off the engagement and scattered away from the battle, retreating down back alleys and into buildings across the street.'
Rose took a chance in the hail of bullets and ripped a burst around the side of the transit, barely able to see what she was aiming at as she tucked her head in and only really revealed her weapon. Yet she managed to catch a retreating Russian with a lucky buck of the Uzi and watched as he tripped into a pile of garbage before she retreated back into full cover.
Not long after that the gunfire died out completely and the Italian foot-soldiers crossed the street under the cover of their compatriots to ensure the Russians had fully dispersed. Bodies lay on both sides, the Italians seemed to be the unlucky majority of the losses, but luckily Rose had turned the tide at the right moment and won the day, however Pyrrhic it may have felt. Cars started peeling out as the gate slide open electronically, and Rose ducked back into the Billiards hall, depositing the Uzi back into the security room after a quick wipe of her prints, to where Paul stood open mouth gawking.
“What the hell was that?!” He shouted, his face turning flush but regaining control almost immediately.
“Something needed to happen,” She retorted, and now glared at the mafioso who was also blankly staring at her. “Where were you?” He seemed to snap out of it and turned back to the monitors, organizing the clean up as best he could, unable to really defend himself. Telling her she didn't seem to need his help felt like a mistake while telling her he really needed to stay here in the office felt like an even bigger mistake. A lose-lose all the way around.
“Just...get going. The cops'll be here any second, you don't want to be around for it,” Rose nodded and left then, not knowing what else to say really and just hoping that the event wasn't going to cause too much grief for her brother. Yet again he was left to clean-up, but she felt it better than someone else cleaning them all] up.
Her Audi had taken a round to the front driver side fender and she swore loudly, genuinely angered that such a beautiful new car, her first real luxury since coming back, had been so mistreated. Still, the engine revved like a glorious beast and she left the scene to little fanfare, passing a small white van that had parked in the middle of the street where two men were loading the Russian she'd wounded into the back. She'd be sure to see him later.
Caleb Smith and his roommate Joshua as an NPC Contact
1x Brand New 2018 Audi S5 Sportback in White, damaged lightly in the attack on Underworld Billiards with a bullet hole in the front driver-side fender. Deduct the cost of it, plus repairs as that will be the next place she'd go. I can just detail it in the next piece if not.
An increased respect for Rose Cinqemani amongst her Famiglia
The general layout for the Cinqemani Famiglia as detailed, I will go into more detail in the coming pieces, just wanted to lay out the basics.
The Underworld Billiards Hall as a hangout for the Scalise Crew, owned and operated by their leader, Luis 'The Bald' Scalise. Layout and security as detailed.
The Capos of the Famiglia (Agosti, Scalise, De Vivo, Amendola) as NPC Contacts
Anything else I missed? And critique, please
It is a rather interesting piece to read. I like the development and the pacing and generally the way you are handling everything. One thing I do feel important to comment on regarding your piece is your usage of Italian. You see, Italian is a language which has gendered verbs. In particular, you used the masculine guerriero to describe Rose. In actuality, you probably should have used the feminine guerriera. It's a little thing, so don't take it too hard.
I really like the dynamic between Paul and Rose, by the way.
All of your requests are therefore Approved.
I will take the money for the Audi and the Repairs now on he caveat that you actually roleplay getting them done.
Please transfer $65,000 to me.
I really like the dynamic between Paul and Rose, by the way.
All of your requests are therefore Approved.
I will take the money for the Audi and the Repairs now on he caveat that you actually roleplay getting them done.
Please transfer $65,000 to me.
BEHOLD, THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT IN THE UNIVERSE; THE SINGULARITY ENGINE! THE PERFECT MARRIAGE BETWEEN MAN AND MACHINE. THEIR BEAUTY WILL BE HAUNTING. CAN YOU SEE ME NOW FAAAAATHER? YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE AGAIN.
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