Lou Sorrento had known my father since they were kids. Both of their fathers together ran one of the largest crime organizations in Boston. Lou and my dad grew up knowing nothing else. It was something that was taught to them at a very young age. It was as if they had no choice but to choose that lifestyle.
My father wanted different lives for my brother Jimmie and me. He wanted us to have this successful life, full of the best education money could buy, but he forgot one thing: to leave that criminal life behind. So even though he wanted it to be different for Jimmie and me, we still were surrounded by it every fucking day: the drugs, the money, and the hits. In the end, it cost my father’s life and turned out to be Jimmie’s and my fates.
My father was in charge of the organization. I guess you could’ve called him a mob boss. After his death, Lou took over and became the ultimate boss of them all. He made deals with other mobsters and cartel groups with whom my father would’ve never dreamed of doing business. He gained enemies in the process. To make a statement that he was not one to be fucked with, he killed people, only Lou’s were not simple, one-shot-to-the-head murders. No. Lou loved to make his enemies suffer, torturing them for days or even weeks. Once the word spread around about how Lou handled his business, he became indestructible. No one even thought to touch or even look at Lou Sorrento.
After finding parking, I entered the three-story brick building located in Dorchester Bay, an area of South Boston. This was the “finance business” my father and Lou started over thirty years ago. It was also a spot where we all met up when he wanted to speak with any of his men immediately. Anything that involved trades or deals was handled at my Club. We’d get together and hang around in the VIP room to discuss the details. Stacy, a longtime family friend and Lou’s assistant, greeted me from the front desk. “Marky!” She slapped her hand against her hip as her bright red lips spread into a wide smile. “How’s it possible that you grow even more handsome, every time I lay eyes on you?” She lifted her right hand, pressed her fingertips against her lips and blew a kiss. “Gorgeous! You’re the spitting image of your father.”
Smiling, I shook my head. That was a compliment I received a lot, especially from those who knew my father very well. I was told that I not only resembled him, but I also talked, walked, and thought like him, whatever that meant. Either way, I’d always felt privileged that I was left with those traits of his. “Thanks, Stace. I’m gonna check in with Lou.”
Deciding to skip the elevator, I jogged up the staircase toward the third floor and barged into his office. The smell of burned cigar filled the room. Lou was seated behind his desk with a cigar in hand, surrounded by a cloud of smoke. The smirk on his face annoyed me, which caused me to snap. “What’s so fuckin’ important that I had to run down now?”
Lou’s jaw tightened as his nostrils flared. I held back a smirk as he straightened his jacket after putting out the cigar. When Lou was about to lose his temper, he had a habit of flexing his neck from side to side and cracking it, which he just did, but with me and my brother for some reason, he kept his cool just a little longer than he would with others. “Why the fuck are you soaked?” His tone was low and grew with irritation.
Quickly looking down at my appearance, I snapped my head back at him as my arms flung in the air. “It’s pouring out, what else could it be?”
“Don’t you have a fuckin’ umbrella?
“What do you want, Lou?” I don’t have time for this shit. I was ready to get out of here and go back to Mia.
His chest heaved as his breathing grew rapid. He was clearly irate. “I want to know,” he hovered over his desk, and yelled from the top of his lungs, “WHO THE FUCKIN’ RAT IS!” I just stared at him.
He had lost his fucking mind.
During the next five minutes, I simply nodded and listened to his instructions. My main focus was Mia at that moment, and I just said whatever he wanted to hear. Once we were done, I flew out of there and hopped back into my car.
As soon as I stormed through the front doors of my house, I jogged up a few of the steps, when a tiny voice stopped me in my tracks. “Uncle Marc?” I spun around, knowing already I would catch sight of my adorable niece at the bottom step.
She stood there with one hand on her hip and the other on the wooden railing. “Hey, Elle, what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in school?” I swore I had the cutest niece ever. Her smile won me over every single time.
She rolled her eyes as she answered, “Um, it’s Saturday, Uncle Marc. I don’t have school today. Jeez.” Fuck, was it Saturday? My days usually tended to blend together. Elle perked up a little and lifted her hand in front of me. “Look at my nails, Uncle Marc. Mia took me to the mall, and we got mani-pedis yesterday. Do you like ’em?”
Bending down, I reached for her hand and humored her by inspecting her nails. “I think, hmmm.” I brought my attention back to her light green eyes and gave her a serious expression. Her smile faded as her face mimicked mine. “I think . . . I love them.” I winked, and, with that said, her face lit up with the biggest, most adorable smile.
“I knew you would love ’em!” She squealed. I kissed her forehead and ruffled her dark brown hair before she turned and ran in the direction of the living room. Shaking my head with a laugh, I turned on my feet and jogged back up the stairs.
When I swung the door open, Mia was seated on the bed. Her back and head were leaning against the headboard. The bed sheet was wrapped around her chest, revealing her shoulders, so I knew she was still naked underneath, but she didn’t look happy.
“Not even twenty-four hours have passed since we made up and you run off.” Shrugging a shoulder, she added, “Just like that.”
What could I say to that? I closed the door behind me and made my way toward her. “I left a note.” My tone was low as I looked by the nightstand, but the note was no longer there. She raised her hand, revealing the piece of torn paper she held.
“Thanks.” She muttered in a sarcastic tone.
Letting out a deep breath, I sank down beside her on the bed. “Mia, I had to go. I wanted to wake you, but you looked too peaceful.”
Mia turned her head to stare at me for a long time before responding. “Where did you go?”
I promised no more lying, and even though I knew the truth would do nothing but hurt her, this was what she wanted. “I had to see Lou.” She shut her eyes, slightly pursed her lips, and shook her head.