“My fingers were stuck.”
“Yeah, sure they were.” After downing my drink, I went and searched for the perfect bowling ball. I settled for a nine-pound orange one. Walking toward the edge of the lane, I straightened my position and scooted lightly toward the right. Staring down the lane, I focused on the first pin. Keeping steady, I swung my arm back and tossed the ball down the lane with no hesitation. All I could hear was the sound of the ball rolling along the wooden surface at a rapid speed until it collided with the middle pin. My eyes and mouth spread wide open when all ten pins were knocked down. Strike! Turning, I ran toward Marcus, who was just as shocked as I was, and jumped into his arms. “Oh my God, I got a strike on my first try!” I squealed.
“That’s awesome.” He laughed.
The next few rounds, I continued with my strikes. I was on a high, beating Marcus. He was failing miserably. I found it hilarious that he came up with a ludicrous excuse every time he missed the pins or didn’t bowl a strike. The more I drank my martinis, the looser I got and the better my aim was getting.
It was beginning to get crowded in the bowling alley. Groups of people chatted and sang along to the loud music playing. The lights were dimmed as colorful strobe lights flicked through the space. I was actually having a really great time.
It was Marcus’s turn again, so I decided to help him out. I walked up behind him, and he must have sensed I was near, because he looked over his shoulder. “Here, let me help you.” Placing my hand behind his, I straightened the ball in his hand. “You want to have a straight angle.”
“Mia?” He arched a brow.
“Shh, listen, don’t be discouraged if you don’t win. It’s a learning process. You’ll get better with each try.” I threw his words back at him then innocently batted my lashes.
Laughing, he shook his head. “I’m not sure if I should kiss you or kill you.”
Looking aside, I raised a finger toward my chin. “Mmmh. Decisions, decisions. I would prefer the kissing.” I nodded and looked back at him.
His eyes brightened as his smile widened. Tossing the ball in his hand down the lane, without bothering to see if it hit any of the pins, he turned to face me. He picked me up in his arms. My legs wrapped around his waist as he kissed me eagerly. He bit on my lip playfully, forcing me to laugh.
He slightly pulled away from our kiss, allowing me to rest my forehead against his. The humor in his eyes was gone. “What would I do without you, Mia?”
Tightening my arms around his neck, I pulled him in closer to me, our lips mere inches away. “You’ll never have to find out because I’ll always be here, Marcus. I’ll always be yours.”
With that, he gripped the back of my neck, pulled me in, and kissed me hard and passionately.
After our date, Marcus drove me home and parked in front of my building. We continued to talk, laugh, and make out like two teenage kids for what seemed like hours. I wanted to take him in the car or even ask him to come up, but I was not giving in too easily. With my insides throbbing and aching for him, I pulled away, kissed him one last time, and wished him a good night. I spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling and smiling about how wonderful it felt to spend time with Marcus. A night of pure fun was just what we needed after all the heavy drama we’d been through. Sighing, I shut my eyes and hoped that things stayed this way.
It had been almost a week since Mia and I had rekindled our relationship, and everything was going smoothly. We met up for dinner or drinks three days out of the week. It was hard for us to meet up with our schedules, between her attending school and my working at the firm or meeting up with the guys, but somehow we made it work.
It was a Thursday late night, and I was in Lou’s office. Lou called in all of his men, but he wasn’t there yet. I stood by the far right wall of his office as I heard the door open. Jimmie walked in with Vinnie. He nodded when he spotted me and greeted the other guys before making his way towards me.
Once he shook my hand, he stood beside me and crossed his arms. “What’s going on?” Jimmie whispered as he leaned in.
“I have no fuckin’ clue.”
“Vinnie was about to drop me off at home after a job when we got the call to meet here.” He ran a hand over his face and breathed out a heavy sigh exhaustedly.
“Who was the job with? I just had one with the Quincy boys.”
He nodded, knowing who I was talking about. “It was with the men in little Italy, James’s men.”
“Yeah, I know who that fucker is.”
“Yeah, he wasn’t too keen on you either. He said you were a wiseass if he remembered correctly.”
“I was fuckin’ seventeen, and it was my first deal.”
Jimmie chuckled at that.
For the next forty minutes, we stood there in the office observing everyone. Buddy was leaning against the wall, humming a tune as he tapped his foot against the marble floor. Gio sat on top of a desk, scrolling through his phone. Vinnie and Al stood by the door, discussing the previous night’s boxing match. Lou had more men who worked for him, but we six were his main guys that were given specific, important, top jobs or assignments.
Before we arrived at Lou’s office, some of us were on a job with the Irish cartel. Carrick Boyle a.k.a. Rick was in charge of his family crime organization in Quincy. Rick and his men were known as the Quincy boys. Rick had done business with Lou for many years, gaining a respectable and trustworthy relationship. Everything worked out smoothly with the transaction, so I couldn’t pinpoint what could have caused this meeting.
Our heads swung toward the door the moment Lou stormed in. He stopped midway into his office and glared at his nephew. “Are you fuckin’ dumb or something, Gio?”
Gio’s brows molded together in confusion. “Huh?”
Lou waved his hand toward the antique mahogany desk. “Get the fuck up! That desk is a fuckin’ original, imported from Sicily.” He snapped his fingers eagerly.
Gio jumped off the desk, inching toward the far left with both his hands raised in surrender. “Sorry, Uncle Lou. I had no idea.”
Lou shook his head, walked behind the desk, and hung his suit jacket onto a coat rack. “Yeah, well, I guess that education I paid for was a fuckin’ waste.” Gio shrugged and then placed his phone into his back pocket.
The six of us moved closer toward Lou, forming a U surrounding his desk. Lou placed his wallet and revolver on top of a stack of papers and then eased down into his chair. Once he was situated, he took a long hard look at each and every one of us, not saying a word—just taking his time, scrutinizing the six men before him. I straightened my shoulders as I shoved my hands into my front pockets. Jimmie, to my right, had his arms crossed and was intently focusing on Lou, while the others waited patiently.