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[Kalam New York City, New York, 1927. Height of the Great Depression and the Prohibition Act-the 'noble experiment' as it was praised by some was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America.
What a load a crap.
You think the ones who made the law are getting the shakes from withdrawals? Damn right they're not, not with their fancy liquors and cabinet brandies. You think those schmucks are standing out in the food lines just for a hunk of bread and some lukewarm soups? Live in rundown shacks where the winter cold blows right through? You think they give a shit about folks like you or me? That's why we have to take back what's rightfully ours, and it just might cost us everything...
Our family is run by Vincent Russo, he's a good man, who repays loyalty and respect with money, food and protection. Really anything your heart would desire, with enough determination and gumption, Russo could have you living fairly pretty upstate. Or at least he would, but the old man's gotten real sick, and talk says he won't last much longer. This problem seems to come at the worst time too, we've got a new family trying to muscle in on our turf, going by the name of Adamo.
They think that we're weak without the Boss, but that's where they're wrong, the Russo family will defend everything we got and nobody is going to take anything from us. Not the fuzz, not the Adamo Family, not nothing. What we got going on right now is a delicate situation, so don't go blowing your tops or get thrown in the can b'cause we need every soldier we got.
A war's coming on two fronts and we need to be ready.
[Kalam [center [b ~What Matters Most~]] [center [size10 *Please Note: Even though this is a time period RP I will NOT be restricting gender roles based on history, women can and will be allowed into the Family. However, several locations and referenced material will be pulled directly from research of New York in the year 1927.]]
1. The Family runs a multitude of businesses as shop fronts, speakeasies and gentlemen's clubs were frequent hot spots where they'll spend their downtime. Practically owning New York, New Jersey, most of Florida, and other properties of high value.
2. The Family's hierarchy is split from the Padrino, or the Godfather, Don or Head Boss; to the Sottocapo, or the Underboss; beside the Underboss is the Consigliere, or the Adviser. Below the Underboss are three Caporegimes, or just a Boss; who are the heads above the Made Men known as Soldato, or the Soldiers; and finally beneath them are all our business partners and associates and those deemed Unaffiliated.
3. The main Mafia secret drinking spot is the speakeasy named The Backroom Bar, which was actually a backroom of Ratner's. Ratner’s was a kosher-dairy restaurant on Delancey, the space was equipped with several lesser-known exits and entrance options, which made it the perfect gathering place for underworld bosses and other nefarious patrons.
4. The 'Union Club of the City of New York', commonly known as the Union Club, is the oldest private club in New York City and is considered one of the most prestigious clubs for both men and women. Access is highly restricted unless you know someone important, it's a place where the entire Family can come together and relax.
5. While having to dodge the cops and survive through the tumultuous times gripping the nation, the recent turf skirmishes with the Adamo Family have pushed you and others like you into the cross-hairs, the main key is to survive. Here's hoping you got what it takes.]
All ES rules and regulations apply.
[b [+blue Please post all required fields in PMs and send me a [i sample post of your writing] through PMs.]]
Literacy required: [Proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization], minimum of three paragraphs please. Give us something to work with.
Swearing, Violence, and Romance are allowed.
Text-talk, Cybering, and GMing are not allowed.
[+red [i Anyone caught stealing, duplicating, or hinting to any plot, story-line or characters without permission with probably be berated and humiliated.]]
You can have as many characters as you like active, but if you cannot keep up with posts due to multiple characters I will ask you to remove one or more to free up time.
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Make it creative, make it fun.
History: Giovanni came over from the Old Country about a year or two back, he's still getting used to America but he has served the Russo Family since he was a much younger man. He and a few others came overseas at the request of his Sattocapo, and when the Family asks something of you, you tend to do it without questions. When he's not fighting for the Family he's usually found in one of two places, either the speakeasy of Ratner’s or the Union Club. Nobody openly admits it, but the Russo Family owns most of New York, New Jersey and some parts of Florida; Giovanni's visited them all, and for some reason he prefers to stay in bustling New York City.
History: Adalina "Ada" Moretti moved to America with her mother Clara Moretti and her older sister Serafina Moretti when she was fifteen, her sister eighteen years old. After struggling back in the home country after Ada's father had left them to become a traveling Gypsy once again, Clara decided to take the risk of a new country and up and moved her daughters to America. A land rumored of great dreams coming true, of peace and glorious lands. What they didn't know was that America held it's own issues. In customs, they tried to change the names of this little Moretti family. That was when Clara began to raise hell, saying that she would curse the man that was making her new papers. The man flinched back and corrected everything, allowing them to keep their true names.
Once they were in New York, Clara got a job, put her girls in school and soon Clara came to own the restaurant she worked at when the old owner passed and left it to his best employee. It was here Clara had her daughters working, though Serafina at the age of twenty-five decided she wasn't making enough money for her lifestyles and she left the restaurant to work at one of the "Gentleman's Clubs" in town. Adalina had stayed with the restaurant to help her mother run it, being the manager as well as any other job that needed to be filled. She knew that if not for the Russo family, they wouldn't have been able to keep the place running. It wasn't a bad place, the food was purely authentic from the motherland, but it wasn't too popular since it wasn't considered "classy".
History: Christopher was thrown into an orphanage at the age of six, he was one of the few survivors of a gang shoot out, however, his parents were not so lucky. He never was adopted as he was labelled as a troublemaker. He often caused chaos in the orphanage and for anyone that tried to adopt him. This carried on into his school life. One day when he was fifteen years old, he got into a lot of trouble with a small group of boys and they followed him down a dark alley. Somehow, he managed to defend himself and send them down to the ground. At the time, he wasn't aware of a pair of Russo eyes that watched him. A couple of weeks passed before a man confronted him about the ordeal. At first, he denied that it ever happened. But then, the man began to promise him of wealth, food and a family that he could rely. He had accepted straight away, not knowing that he would have to repay the Russo family for their kindness. When he was first told about the kinds of missions he had to do, he backed out and went back to the orphanage. However, after another week of what felt like hell, he decided that he was just about ready to do anything for them. He started on small missions. They tasked him in delivering messages, helping in deliveries. Over the years, the tasks became harder, ruthless and bloody as his skills developed. Now, at twenty six, he is a fully fledged and loyal member of the Russo family. He no longer hesitates to kill and he even finds enjoyment and pleasure within it.
History: Felicia was born in Italy but, like most Italians at the time, immigrated to America. She was rather young when they moved and so has spent most of her life in the United States. Her family had quite a bit of money from their businesses in Italy and their wealth only grew once they had moved. Life had been rather easy for her until she met her boyfriend when she was nineteen years old. When her parents had found out that she was dating him, they kicked her out and she went on to living with him. By the time that she came to know that he was apart of the Russo Mafia, they had been together three years. At that point, she was completely and utterly in love with him and could not leave him. A year later and he proposed to her. However, they had only been engaged for six months, before her boyfriend was gunned down in Mafia fight. Filled with rage and revenge, she trained and filled in his role as Capo within the Family.
Gender: Born Female, however Gender-bends as a male.
Rank: Associate by night, brat by day.
History: Dru wasn’t born La Spada, at least not as far as she knows. No, as far as Dru is concerned, she was born Druscilla Bianca Bonamico and barely made legal status as her very pregnant mother went into labor while still aboard a cargo ship carrying Italian immigrants. As Dru’s birthing waters gave way on American soil, her mother had come to find her birth father had very quietly….went back to Italy with all their valuables except their wedding rings her mother had held onto. So here they were, an Immigrant and an American Citizen. Trapped with nothing. So of course they could only find housing on Skid Row.
It would be here that Dru would become a La Spada. No, her mother didn’t remarry – she didn’t die either. No, Bianca Bonamico made the only choice she could as far as she was concerned after turning tricks on the corner of the red-light district for eight years. A strange man in clothes better than skid row ever saw bought her oldest daughter for the same price as a pair of boy’s tweed knickers. That man happened to be Nicolao Spada, an enforcer for the Russo family. His reason for buying an eleven year old “boy” at the time? He needed his shoes shined daily. The real reason? He needed someone he could bring into the Family and heard from one of the lackeys about an Italian woman on skid row who would do just about anything for a nickel. A dollar fifty-five was a lot of nickels right?
Felicia stared up at the, seemingly, abandoned warehouse. [i Clever...] She thought to herself. The Adamo's had boarded up the windows so that no light could escape, however, they thought that they would be safe and unseen in the cover of darkness and so trucks carrying boxes of unknown cargo were moving in and out. She had found the place, but now it was getting in. They would likely close the place in the morning... If she could just find somewhere to sneak in... That was when she saw it, a door swung upon in the breeze. She watched it for a moment and when nobody came to close it, she knew that was their way in.
She was pulled from her thoughts as Dru spoke up and she looked to the woman. She was actually quite proud of who she had transformed Dru to be and she wished that the other would not dress up as a man so much. She laughed at what was said and playfully rolled her eyes. "How about you go see him like this? I'm sure he'd be happy for you to spend the night with him. Though, you wouldn't be doing much sleeping." She gently nudged the other and laughed lightly.
Dru did not know of Felicia's relationship to Alessandro, her late boyfriend had ensured to keep his work and love life separate. It was only Christopher, and potentially Giovanni, that knew. That was only because they worked with him. She didn't tell because she didn't want the pity, the sympathetic looks or the sorry's that would follow. She knew what she had to do to become Capo and she did it. As a soldier, she had had many advances from the rest of the Russo's, too many in her opinion. She always politely declined. However, when she finally reached her desired position, she had made it very, incredibly clear that she would not stand for it. The first man that had tried to take her home, she publicly twisted his arm. None dared to try again. She would receive the odd flirtatious comment, but she didn't necessarily mind those.
She waved her hand at the statement dismissively. "I'm not intending to fight. I just want to look at what they are hiding, maybe I can try stealing some. But there won't be fighting. If they catch us, we can pretend that we are drunk and become lost." She replied, taking off her jewelry and accessories. She didn't want the attention drawn to her if the light inside reflected off of the shiny surface. She also didn't potentially lose something either. She snorted at what Dru said next and rolled her eyes. "Like you would ever."
With that, she was walking with Dru across the road and to the warehouse. She tried to stick to the dark and the walls as to not be seen and soon they were slipping through the open warehouse door. She closed it gently behind her and slowly walked through the tunnels. Pipes of various shapes and sizes blocked the walls, but the dark metal was starting to rust. Rats and mice scampered and squeaked. She couldn't help but wonder when the last time this place had been used. Felicia began to see a brighter light in an opening and she referenced for Dru to duck lower.
Luckily, there were some wooden crates in the way of the door and the both of them were able to hide. She stayed like that for a moment before peering over the box.
Various men were carrying boxes and bags in and out of the warehouse, her brows furrowed slightly in curiosity. She tried to see what was in them but she just couldn't. She looked to her side and saw there was a small path between the wall and the boxes, just big enough for the two of them to walk down. They would still have to crouch and she cocked her head for Dru to follow. As they walked down, she managed to open a crate and within it, laid stacks guns. Her eyes widened slightly before she reached in and took a small one. She would need this as proof of what the Adamo's were doing, and just in case they would need to protect themselves. She opened the next one and with it came a very strong smell, she had to turn her head for fresh air. When she looked back, she saw the seeds of Opium. She took a small pouch out from her bag before slipping the little seeds into it. This was valuable information. It meant that the Russo's now knew part of what the Adamo's had in mind, and now they could plan to be one step ahead. She was about to turn around when she heard a shout.
She sucked in her breath and froze, her heart pounding in her chest as fear began to rise. However, nothing happened… Nobody approached them. Instead, the voice spoke out again.
"Joseph, where have you been? We needed you here an hour ago."
"Sorry, boss. I was just dealing with… Christina… I found some things out that could help us."
Felicia drew her attention to a man with dark grey hair, clad in a suit and a stern look in his eyes. His accent was strong and she could only assume that this was Ivan. The men worked around him, not daring to look at him. He also had this air of power. She next studied the man he was talking to. Tall, slender. Blonde hair and lime green eyes. She felt like she had seen him before, but she couldn't recognise where. Before she could think of more, she heard shuffling feet behind her and it was as if she came back to life. She ushered for Dru to hurry along and soon they were out of that warehouse.
Druscilla gritted her teeth as she stared at the warehouse in front of her. Her cheeks puffed out when she huffed and gooseflesh broke out along her arms from the lack of her usual clothing attire. The bouncy curls of her natural hair that she kept hidden under a boy’s wig usually no on full display and annoyingly falling into her line of sight.
Beside her Felicia stood as if she wasn’t the Devil himself. Druscilla pouted, the lipstick on her face making her appear as though she were trying to give a sultry look. Her whole evening had sucked on this outing from the very moment Felicia had decided to force her into the monstrosity she was wearing now. A backless perfect for dancing white cocktail dress.
Druscilla almost hoped they would have had to deal with that man at the bar in a more physical sense. It would have served Felicia right for Druscilla to stain the dress in bloody blotches. Her body still shivered from the man’s advances at the bar, completely out of her element in seducing men. For the love of it all she spent most of her damn time dressing and acting like one, seducing one had never been a perceivable thought.
Now here she was, dressed like a bar fly and her ribs aching something fierce while Felicia wanted her to sneak into a warehouse and find the dirty goods on the bastards who were the cause of her pain and suffering. When this was over, Druscilla was getting so drunk she hoped not to feel or see straight for three days.
[+mediumturquoise “La prossima volta, donna, sto aiutando il Capo Chris a riorganizzare violentemente i volti. Potrei anche iniziare a flirtare con lui anche su di te. Non mi prenderà su di esso e mu trasformerà in una drag queen.”]
Men didn't date men, but Druscilla wasn't a man. She didn't find anything odd about her statement and didn't think of the reactions that would come if she actually flirted with Chris. He was dark and cutthroat. If anything he would just give her a box to her ears and leave her with a warning. It would still be worth it to get back at Felicia.
Druscilla eyed her friend, whom she often did openly flirt with when she was dressed as a man. Felicia was a beautiful woman – hard and uninterested in men with her full heart for good reason – but never the less a beauty. It was amazing none of the other men had attempted to take her to bed and even more that she had been able to prove herself a strong a powerful leader. Druscilla appreciated her friend for that strength and saw her as an exception to life’s in-laid design of what women could do. In her own eyes women still only could reach one way in life when they came from nothing. She feared being nothing as a woman, feared the life she had grew up watching with her own eyes.
Druscilla’s hands gripped the sides of her dress, hating that she found it pretty. She hated that her body, lean with muscle from fighting other boys was now tight curves and almost delicate looking at a distance. Looking at her now, her papa would probably throw her in a brown bag and push her into the nearest car trunk to hide her away.
Strangely the thought had a smirk trace Druscilla’s face, the expression was so ‘Dru’ in nature. Maybe she should wear the dress home, if only to have her papa see what her darling friend and Capo did to her. She wondered if Felicia could hold her own against her papa. If she were a betting man, she would put money down on her old man. You didn’t get to be a personal bodyguard of the Don for nothing.
[+mediumturquoise “Felicia,”] Druscilla’s English was heavily accented. [+mediumturquoise “I can’t fight, si. In and out, no beatings.”] She traced her ribs as if to express why she was saying they couldn’t get into physical confrontation.
Druscilla understood the importance of dealing with this uprising violent group, but she wasn’t stupid. Her ribs were cracked, no doubt a couple broken. Sweat was already building along her neck and back just from standing. She needed a drink, some pain medication, a fucking lie-down. Pain was burning up her side and she felt like she would cry if she were a lesser woman.
Her eyes fluttered closed a moment as she leaned against her friend. [+mediumturquoise “Forse ti accompagno a quell gioco di caccia all’uomo al bar la prossima volta. Se sopravvieremo a questo.”]
She didn’t mean it, not really, but it was fun to watch her friend’s expression. They both knew that Druscilla was a prude and pure as the day she was born. The girl lived her life as a boy had seemed to have an unexplainable fear of giving in to being the beautiful woman she could be in her friend’s eye, she knew.
[+mediumturquoise “Dai, capo. Ripassiamolo cosi posso tornare da Dru.”]
After saying goodbyes, Christopher headed back home. There wasn't anything more he could do without Giovanni and he didn't see the point in waiting around to discuss more about the Adamo's, they could always continue that conversation tomorrow. He also made a mental note to talk to Felicia again, try to find out more information on the Adamo's.
He reached his apartment, but found that the door was already unlocked. He frowned slightly as he was sure that he had locked it, no, he knew that he had. He reached into the inside pocket of his pinstripe suit and slipped out a gun, he cocked it and slowly entered the apartment. His footsteps against the wooden floor were quiet and carefully placed, he felt his heart beat through his chest, his muscles were tense and his grip tightened on the gun in hand as heard the tap running in the kitchen.
He took a breath, to steady himself when he neared the doorway. He mentally counted to three before rounding the corner and aiming the gun at the person. He had briefly closed his blue eyes, but when he opened them he was met with a familiar pair of lime green. He sighed in relief and chuckled to himself, lowering the gun. "Joseph... You can't just break into my house." He tried to sound annoyed, he tried to feel it too. But as he saw an innocent, playful smile on the other man's lips, he chuckled again.
"Sorry Chrissy. I'll let you know next time." Joseph said mockingly, setting down the glass of water in hand on the counter and walking over to Christopher. By this point, the gun was back into his pocket. "I missed you." This time, the words were softly spoken and Joseph grabbed Christopher by the jacket and tugged him closer. "I just didn't want to have to wait to see you. I knew you would be free and I finished work early... I didn't want to waste the opportunity-"
However, the other man was cut off from speaking as Christopher finally closed the gap between them and softly pressed their lips in a kiss. With arms wrapped around one another, the secret lovers took their time in savouring the moment until the second it was broken. "It's fine Joey, I just wasn't expecting you... But I'm glad that it was you that broke into my apartment and not somebody else." The two laughed at that and they spent the rest of their night talking, eating and just being with one another. Their time spent seemed to fly by and they were hesitant to depart from eachother, with their relationship being a secret, and illegal, they had to be careful to not get caught...
It had all started when the both of them found each other going to the same bar every Thursday night. Polite nods and smiles turned to conversation, and before they knew if they had become very close friends. They told eachother anything and everything, Christopher felt happy when he was with Joseph and soon felt himself falling for the other. At first, he denied it. He couldn't like another man... He shouldn't like another man... It wasn't possible, right? Then, once he realised he did have feelings, he punished himself. It was wrong to like another man this way. Men only belonged with women and Christopher tried to date other women. He was left unsatisfied. One night, he had gotten ridiculously drunk, trying to drown his feelings out, and Joseph had to take him home, otherwise he would have slept on the streets. After plenty of struggles, he was being settled into bed. However, his intoxicated brain decided that it was a good idea to tell Joseph everything, tell him exactly how he felt. As it turned out, the blonde male felt exactly the same.
That was two years ago, and they have been hiding their relationship in secret ever since. It was hard. Sometimes they went weeks, months without seeing each other. Sometimes, they would pass on the street and would either have to act like they were strangers or just good friends. Christopher still struggled with his sexuality, he still thought that it was wrong. But, he just could not help himself. He loved Joseph, with every fibre in him and he would be torn the day that they could never see eachother again.
He went to bed, alone, feeling both satisfied and miserable. His heart filled with both joy and sorrow. This wasn't healthy, but... What else could he do?
[Right [pic https://i.imgur.com/dWQrQrU.jpg]]
Felicia wore a sympathetic look when Drucilla swayed as she stood up and she wrapped her free arm around the other woman's waist. Though she was always careful to ensure that she called her by the right name and used the correct pronouns, Felicia could never see Drucilla as anything other than a woman, and at first, she had been rather uncomfortable with how Dru acted so much like a man. Over time, she'd learned to play along with the act and had even fooled some people into thinking they were together. It was quite amusing.
After the comment from the bartender, Felicia continued her walk to the bathroom so that she could at least wipe away the blood and reduce some of the swelling. Soon enough, they entered the women's bathroom and she led them into a stall, shutting and locking the door behind her to give them some more privacy. She hadn't wanted to talk about her task out in the open, but, there were very few women in the bar now and very few men would come into the bathroom unless it was an emergency. She set Drucilla down on the toilet seat before getting set on cleaning the woman up.
"I'm going to be doing more than just putting you into a fucking dress, [i amore]." She said to her teasingly, wiping away the darkened, dried stains of blood. "Whilst the other Capos are trying to control the Adamo's from the outside, I'm going to be working from the inside. Getting some intel and reporting it back to Signora Gallo." She started pausing for a moment to place some plasters over the open cuts, then she began to wrap some ice into the hand towel, tied it up and instructed Dru to hold it to her eye. She swallowed thickly, disgusted with herself, before continuing. "I went to one of their places last night. Found a book full of receipts. He's my way into their gang, I can pass off as his girl before slowly working my way in... But, I need help and I want you. They won't recognise you as a woman and I can't do this by myself." She further explained, wrapping more ice into a hand towel and telling Dru to lightly press it against her ribs.
"However, I'm technically your boss, so you can't say no and I'm sure you want to get revenge on what those bastardos did to you, si?" She said with a playful smile. "Right, you stay here and I'll ask the bartender to get us a cab." She stated, standing up and going to do just as she had said. After finishing and supporting Dru to the cab, they soon found themselves in Felicia's apartment. She walked the woman to her room and laid her down on the bed. "Get some rest, tesoro. I'll wake you when it's time to go." She said gently, but in a way that she wasn't going to take no for an answer. She needed Dru to be in her best condition, just in case something were to go wrong.
In the few hours that she was asleep, Felicia cleaned her apartment to pass the time and thought of a plan for tonight. She hoped that the Adamo she had slept with would have a friend, someone for Dru to talk with, if not, both of the women could charm him. She wasn't going to go back to his place that night, but she needed information.
If luck were on her side, he'd get so drunk that he would tell everything that he knew to her. However, that was highly unlikely to happen, but she hoped that she could get at least one small shred of information. It would be better than starting with nothing. She then woke the woman up and ran her bath. Whilst she left the other to her privacy, she decided to start getting ready herself. Felicia did wonder when the last time Dru ever looked like a woman or why she even dressed like a man at all, she made a mental note to ask later. She slipped into a loose dress that stopped just above her knees, wore matching gloves that ran up to her elbows, wrapped a set of pearls around her neck and finished her look off with a head piece make-up and a pair of heels. Then, she began to lay out clothes for Dru and she chuckled to herself at the thought of the others' reaction to what she had to wear.
"Get changed into these and when you're done, I'll do your make-up. I don't want any complaining." She stated, exiting the room. Ten minutes passed and she was called back in. The two made conversation as Feli painted the others' faces. Time seemed to fly by as one taxi ride later and they were in the bar. She sat in the same spot the night prior, she even had the same drink. Everything was identical, except for her companion who was sitting on the stool identical, looking incredibly unhappy. She took a sip of her drink and rolled her eyes.
"Stop looking at me like that. It's not even that bad. You look better than you usually do." She said teasingly and then quickly downed the rest of her drink in one, gesturing for another. "Right, please be as feminine as possible… And flirty… Just follow my lead, okay?" It was asked as a rhetorical question, but before Dru could even think of replying. A familiar voice called out from the doorway of the bar.
"Alyssa!" She turned her head to the man and placed on a sultry smile. "Johnny, fancy seeing you here." She replied as the man approached. She felt sick to her stomach and when Johnny wrapped around her waist, her skin began to crawl. She wanted him to get off of her… But, she had only just started to get somewhere… She couldn't blow it all up, she'd never get revenge for her Alessandro, for her Bambino Lovino… If it meant making sacrifices and suffering, then so be it. She placed a gloved hand on his chest and looked up at him.
"I just had to come see you again, especially after last night… It was so good that I knew I had to have another with you and had to share it with my friend Lizzy." The man's smile turned to a proud grin and his eyes seemed to glaze over with the images of the possibilities. He eyed Dru up hungrily and tightened his grip on Felicia. "But first, how about a few drinks?" She snapped her fingers twice and told the bartender to keep the drinks coming and to place the bill on Johnny's tab.
A few drinks turned to several, they moved from the bar to a private booth and Felicia tried to do most of the talking, knowing that Dru would not want to flirt with this man. However, he would turn his attention to her and she would have to speak. She handled him surprisingly well. But, no matter how hard the both of them tried, he never once spoke about his work. Accepting defeat, she called for a cab.
It wasn't until they were waiting for the taxi, did he let something slip. He hiccuped and leaned into Felicia's side. "Y'know, my boss is so rich. He bought this big warehouse by the doc's on the other side of the city. I'd tell you what's inside but… that's a secret." His words were slurred, his body relaxed. He was just about to kiss her cheek, but she had already left with Dru, using the taxi they had called for him to get to the warehouse. There had to be something there.
Adalina finished up on the phone when someone came up to the register to pay. She quickly wiped at her face and tried to compose herself. Too late, she realized that the man that came to pay was one of the men from the Russo's table. He offered her a sum to fit the bill, more than enough to cover his meal and the others at the table. She tried to smile for him and began to reach for the money before he stopped and asked her what was wrong. She tried to play it off, but the look he gave her was one she could not argue with. Glancing around she leaned in softly and told him what she had heard in the phone call. He gave her the money and she rang up the bill and gave him back his change. That was when he offered to get her a cab to the hospital.
[#8f0600 [b [i "No, no, per favore, non potrei accettare una cosa del genere. La famiglia Russo ha già fatto così tanto per me e la mia famiglia. Non sarebbe giusto violare di più la loro ospitalità. Non posso lasciare il ristorante fino all'orario di chiusura, comunque, se lo staff lo scopre, non saranno in grado di concentrarsi sul loro lavoro ..."] ]] She pleaded and tried to tell the man she could walk, but he wouldn't hear of it. When he paid for his meal he went back to sit with his table once more. It was awhile before the restaurant began to calm down for the night. After the last meal was sent out, she went and placed the closed sign on the door. Taking a deep breath she tried to calm herself and made her way to the back, calling all the staff together to finally share the news.
They cried or gave prayers, asking for details and she tried to give them what she could. She explained that they didn't need to bother with cleaning up, she would handle it. All they needed to do was to make sure the last of the customers were paid out, then lock up and go home, she would be back later to handle full closing and cleaning. She told them to be with their families for now, and that the place would be closed for a couple of days until she could get things sorted for her mother's funeral, and they, of course, were all invited. She gathered her things and locked up the office, wishing everyone good night before following the Russo man outside where a cab waited for them both. She slid in first, keeping her hands clasped tightly on her lap as she tried to keep her emotions composed until she was absolutely sure it was her mother in the hospital morgue. After he gave instructions to the driver he spoke to her, always in Italian, and asked her what she knew about the Adamos.
[#8f0600 [b [i "Temo di non sapere molto. Sapevo che la famiglia Russo ci ha aiutato a tenere aperti i nostri affari sin da quando ero bambina. Questi uomini di Adamo sono entrati nel ristorante oggi come se possedessero il posto ... dopo i loro pasti uno è venuto da me e mi ha detto che potevano pagarmi più soldi di quanti ne sapessi cosa fare se fossi diventata la sua donna e gestire invece il ristorante per la famiglia Adamo. L'ho cacciato con una mazza ... ha detto che mi sarei pentito delle mie azioni."] ]]
She wasn't sure how he would take all this news, and she kept to Italian as not many knew their language and she was sure the cab driver didn't need to know what was being said. And another thing she was absolutely sure of, was that she and her family business were placed on the Adamo radar. She was sure that the Russo family wouldn't take kindly to others trying to move in on their territory, and she and her mother had been nothing but loyal to the Russos for their help in keeping their business afloat. A thought came to her and she had to bite back any tears of mixed emotions. Had her mother truly collapsed on her own due to her sicknesses? Or had someone done something to her mother? Her mother had not been in the building when the men came, her mother had already left, but had they seen the woman leave? If they did anything to her mother, she would use more than a bat to teach them that she wouldn't take kindly to anyone harming her family. She already had issues with her sister.
[#8f0600 [b [i 'Merda...."] ("Shit....")]] she cursed to herself mentally. She needed to tell her sister of what had happened. But how? Her floozy sister said she was going to be out of town for a while, and she left no forwarding address or telephone number. This wasn't going to go well, she was not going to keep her mother in the morgue until her sister returned. It was disrespectful to the dead, as well as she simply couldn't afford it. She still had all of her mother's medical bills to pay, as well as now she had the funeral arrangements to take care of. Her mother had life insurance, but it wouldn't be enough to cover everything.
The restaurant needed renovations, their apartment was falling apart because the landlord was a prick and Adalina refused to date the man. She and her mother were too proud to ask for any help. Both raised in the mindset that you have to work hard to live your life. Her sister only gave so much every once in a while, and it still wasn't enough since her sister had champagne taste and never wore the same dress more than twice. She sighed and rubbed at her face a moment before she began to toy with the many necklaces that hung in varying lengths along her chest. One thing at a time, she would tell herself as the Hospital loomed in closely. They pulled up to the main doors and she asked the driver to go round to the emergency entrance. He seemed to grunt at first before doing so.
She thanked the Russo man for the ride, unsure if he was going to follow her or not, she was on a one-track mind now that they had reached the hospital. Adalina was a little shaken, her nerves and composure were on by a thread. She made her way into the doors and to the main desk where she asked the woman about her mother. The woman didn't seem to understand and she realized she was using Italian in her nerve wrecked state. She switched to English and tried again. The woman would point her down the hall to the morgue section. With a shaky breath and the tinkling jingling of her "Gypsy" like jewelry, she made her way to the morgue where she spoke with the Doctor in charge. She didn't even look to see if the Russo man was behind her, she was barely holding it in right now. Her mother was all she had since her sister was less than familial.
The man moved towards a wall of doors, checking a couple of names before he would open one, and slide a long table out. There was a body, covered in a white sheet. A familiar smell lifted to her nose as she stepped closer. A shaky hand came up to press to her mouth. The man gently pulled the sheet back to reveal the old woman on the slab and Adalina lost all her strength and composure, her knees giving out from beneath her.
[#8f0600 [b [i "Mama! No, please, non lei!"] ]] She cried. The Doctor stepped back to give her some time with her mother, where she leaned in to lay her head against her mother's head, whimpering prayers for her mother's soul. It was now true, The Lady Moretti had passed.
Giovanni had read the small note Adalina had left them, yet he didn't have time to address it before the things with the mother, and the daughter, and the numbers... A lot of the others were definitely into the idea of Signora's daughter, shamelessly giving numbers and flirting with her openly which made the poor woman blush and apologize. After their meals were delivered, Giovanni nudged Christopher's arm, showing him the note with a knowing gaze-they were getting bolder.
It was a brief moment of solemn understanding but then they would turn back to their dinners and things resumed merrily without a hitch. Giovanni was still in a good mood besides the note, they sorted out the men at Giuseppe's and would sort out this lot as well. One thing about Italians is just because food was finished did not mean the dinner was over, they all sat around and talked with each other like it was their grandmother's barbecue in the summer. Giovanni took this time to take care of his check, walking up to Adalina at the register and pulling out plenty of cash to cover it. It was a wonder why Giovanni refused to get a car, as he could clearly afford one with his position.
[#0089c7 "Ciao. Credo che questo coprirà... Cosa c'è che non va?" [i 'Hello. I think this will cover... What's wrong?']] He noticed the sounds of her sadness first, it was subtle, like she was desperately trying to hold it in but Giovanni was an observant man. He lit himself a cigarette as he listened to the woman, immediately feeling his heart shatter in his chest when he heard the news. He wanted to also talk to Adalina about the Adamo's, but it was not the time. Giovanni lost his father shortly after they had come to the States, living in poor neighborhoods with most of them being discriminated against for being immigrants meant that his father lacked the help he needed to get better. His mother took it the hardest.
[#0089c7 "Posso prenderti un taxi? -Per l'ospedale." [i 'Can I get you a taxi? -For the hospital.']] The two of them talked for a bit, he could figure that Adalina would not like the idea of leaving the restaurant, but this was her mother. The people, here especially, understood the importance of family; Giovanni wouldn't really allow Adalina to brush off with objections after paying for his meal he walked back to their table, nodding his head to Christopher.
[#0089c7 "Signora Moretti has passed, the young lady doesn't want to... come dirlo? [i 'how to say it?'] -Leave the restaurant alone. It will give me an opportunity to learn more about what happened with the Adamos."] It looked like he paused, looking back to Adalina before taking another hit from his cigarette, he could feel his body begin to convulse and shake internally. [i 'Damn these shakes.']
[#0089c7 "Everyone, take the rest of the night. Enjoy."] The men smiled and nodded to being cut loose for the rest of the evening, Giovanni wished the other Capo to have a good night before he would escort Adalina via cab to the hospital. Adalina was stubborn, but Giovanni was too and he refused to take no for an answer, now was not the time to be cold. This was a time where everyone needed to come together-for each other, and he wasn't going to let Adalina go alone. On the way with the cab allowed Giovanni the opportunity to learn more about what the Adamos wanted with the restaurant. Attempting to get a monopoly on shops was on thing, like Giuseppe's, but the restaurant was a critical place just like Ratner's for the Russo's. They wouldn't give it up so easily,
[#0089c7 "So... Dimmi cosa sai degli Adamos." [i 'Tell me what you know about the Adamos.']]
[center [b ~*~*~]]
Across the city, towards the harbor the Adamo Family settled in on another warehouse, quickly moving crates and boxes inside the cover of the shadows; several members stood guard and watched over as a new shipment of guns and drugs would pull through from the shipping containers. For every ten hauls, two would be caught by police, the force of the police were getting stronger in the streets and dock areas. Even then the Adamos worked quickly and efficiently, breaking open boxes with crowbars and pipes.
These guns would definitely come in handy in dealing with the Russo's, into the evening they'd work, sending out more ammo and parts to the rest of their bases towards the southern half of the city. [https://imgur.com/zMWYY62.jpg Ivan Adamo] watched the workers bent carrying the weight of the newest shipment from the top office of the warehouse, relishing the thought utilizing the arms in crushing the family who gave him such dishonor, who insulted him deeply. The Padrino of the Russo Family dismissed Ivan when they last saw each other, waved him off like an annoying fly buzzing around his white-haired head.
Ivan did not forget and he did not forgive, barking an order to his Underboss to put the next stage in action, they had enough opium brought in to get many of the populace hooked. Most people would be using opium to help them sleep, to relieve pain and even to calm crying children; in times where hunger, cold and lack of shelter were at an all-time high people would be clamoring for any sort of relief. Once the masses were in the palm of his hand he'll be racking up territory in no time, though Ivan knew the interference from Russo's underlings would be a definite problem.
Drucilla was never so happy than now to see her papa. As whiskey burned down her throat and blood dripped down her face, she couldn’t help the strange tingling it all sent down her spine. Sure, she was bruised and broken, but she was alive. And unlike most girls her age, she knew deep down she would rather wear bloodstains than jewelry.
Blood wet her lips, traced the line of her neck, and stained the cotton shirt her mother had just washed the day before. As a woman, the scene would be terrifying, horrifying even! But as a man! As a man she looked heroic in a way, someone who did something for her people.
A chuckle fell from her lips as she lifted whiskey to them again. What was this silliness she was thinking? If her brothers in arms knew she was a woman, they’d scold her and coddle her for her actions. She would be trapped with guards thanks to who her papa was and stuck in terrible dresses. Worse yet she may have to give in and marry someone later on!
Dru shuttered, his good eye opening at the sound of people coming in. The noise rose as his brothers spoke in various tones, though the name ‘Adamo’ passed everyone’s mouth leaving a bitter aftertaste. Taking a third swallow from the glass, he heard his own father’s voice speak up, telling someone about what had happened.
A stiff neck rotated his head a moment, his auburn hair messy and matted hung low on his forehead. From his position he could now see several important people speaking with his father. Though he had never interacted with the two men, he knew a little about them. One was old school and honor bound while the other enjoyed the fight and the kill.
Both were good looking men in their own way. One was roguish looking with deep eyes and a weary face, the other was suit and tie. Looking at them, it was amazingly hard to imagine that one was a cold-blooded killer while the other was a man of heart. At least from Dru's perspective.
Alas, what did he really know though about the two men. Neither of them ever really interacted with Dru on a personal base, so he wasn’t on their radar as anything but ‘Spada’s son’, however the third power player coming in from behind them…
[i ‘heh she came all the way here? Was it to see me?’]
Dru watched as that shapely figure moved in his direction, as though making a beeline for him through everything. She was a dangerous woman, but she was his friend sharing his secrets too. One might think they were dating, if not for the professional tone the woman took with him. But the small smile on Feli’s face was enough to ensure Dru that his friend was worried about his current state. He watched her leave him for a moment to gather things from the bar.
When she came back, he could only give her a frightening smile as he pushed himself from the table.
His body swayed a moment – from blood loss or whiskey, he would never tell – but he managed to get his feet back under him. [+mediumturquoise “I can walk amore,”] he mumbled as he leaned into Feli’s left side, lips briefly brushing the girl capo’s hair.
Getting himself as straight as he could, Dru groaned and motioned for Feli to get a move on. He wasn’t sure how long he could remain standing with the pain coming from his ribs. He needed them wrapped so they would set right and he needed a hot bath.
A brother from the bar gave a whistle and called out to their capo in a cheerful way to make sure Dru got a good sponge bath. Though it was said in jest, Dru couldn’t hep but give the man what seemed to be a fierce and frightening smile.
[+mediumturquoise “The Capo always takes good care of me,”] Dru purred, winking at Feli with his good eye before throwing his arm over her should to help him walk with her. Quieter now, he leaned to Feli’s ear.
[+mediumturquoise "Che compito potresti avere per me tesoro ... È meglio non indossare un cazzo di vestito."] Drucilla grumbled in a more feminine Italian voice, unworried as Feli knew she was a woman.
Christopher noticed the look of surprise on Giovanni's face and he couldn't help but feel a small sense of pride. He was used to the other members, and Italian members of the public, being shocked that he could speak Italian. Most Americans were too ignorant to learn any language other than English and so there was a stereotype, but, he liked that he wasn't one of them. He nodded his head at the plan formed and he grinned to himself slightly as he pictured what he would do to Giuseppe. It boiled his blood to think of that coward of a man, he would take great pleasure in giving the shop owner exactly what he had deserved.
Felicia was only really half listening to the other Capo's conversation. She wasn't going to be involved in the dealing of associates and the Mafia's territory. No, she had been tasked to tear the Adamo family from the inside out. She was to gather information, gain their trust and make them believe that she was one of them. All the while informing the Russo's of their rivals plans. It would be a tricky task. She would have to analyse her every move, her every word and, at the first sight of trouble, she would have to leave. No one but the Underboss and the other Capo's knew what she was doing, it would be better that way. Some of the Soldiers weren't exactly quiet and could accidentally leak sensitive information.
Seeing as he had no choice in the matter, Christopher didn't bother to answer the question of him driving and instead just got his keys out at the ready.
Soon enough, the three of them were walking into Ratner's. The familiar smell of stale beer greeted them at the door, Christopher did the same as Giovanni, walking around the place and gathering a small group to take with him. As well as visiting current associates, and the scumbags, he intended to try and persuade more to join. They needed the power and partnership right now, plus it would mean one less associate for the Adamo's to snatch. That name... That cursed name sparked so much hate when spoken. There wasn't a member of the Russo family that hadn't been affected by the rival gang and it showed. Each one of them had a grudge, and each were itching to teach the bastards a lesson.
Meanwhile, Felicia headed straight to Dru. Her task did not require a group of men nor did it require brute strength, no, it need brains, charisma and an uncanny ability to lie without being caught. This was why she thought of Dru, or rather Druscilla. The associate lived her life as though she were a boy, but, the moment Felicia had laid eyes on her, she knew what she was hiding. To her, it was obvious and she could not understand how Dru was able to fool so many. But, she supposed that others either were ignorant to the obvious details or simply just did not care enough. Either way, in public, she spoke to Druscilla as if she were a man, however when it was just the two of them, she would speak to the other as a fellow woman.
They were quite the unlikely friends, an associate who gender-bended as a man and a mother filling in her dead boyfriend's role as Capo. When Felicia first joined the Russo's, she had intended to only establish professional relationships. It wasn't due to the idea that she thought she was better than everyone else, as some members thought of her, but rather that if they died, they would be another loss for her to mourn. She had lost her family, apart from her sister, she had lost the man that she had loved and she had lost her child. She just couldn't take any more pain. But, as fate would have it, Feli and Dru ended up spending a lot of time together and had silently established themselves as friends.
They did not talk about their personal lives much, and there was plenty of information that Felicia had not told the other, but they did trust each other. That was the another reason why she was asking the associate to help her. She knew that the other woman would have her back when needed.
[#483D8B "How about we get you cleaned up? Its not good sitting in your own blood... Plus, I have a task that I think you might be interested in."] Felicia stated, looking down at Dru. Despite her mannerisms and tone being professional, a soft smile played at her lips. She didn't wait for an answer as she walked to the bar and asked for some rubbing alcohol, some bandages, ice and a hand towel. She was given all of the item and then cocked her head to the bathroom for Dru to follow. [#483D8B "Can you walk?"]
As they waited in the shop, Christopher had to keep his hands in his pockets. When they had stepped in, he wanted to tear the place apart, his anger boiling inside of him as he was reminded of how Giuseppe seemed to react to kindness. He was fiercely loyal to the Russo's and would do anything for his Don, he could never repay his debt after everything that had been done for him. That and the fact he found excitement in destruction, it was like a thrill and he felt his truest self when creating chaos. He'd never admit it, but, he even liked killing. Especially to the one's that deserved it, unfortunately he could not kill Giuseppe, even if he could make it look like an accident, he was on orders to not kill.
After a moment or two, he just couldn't stand around and wait for the owner to come in, so, he walked to the front and began to talk to the clerk about where the man was. It was ironic that Gregorio would walk in at that minute. Christopher saw the fear in the man's eyes and in an instant, the Adamo's were ordered to attack, allowing the Shop Owner to slip away.
By the time Giovanni told him to go, the Capo was already after him. He had to fight through a couple of the Adamo members, but they were nothing as he swung the hilt of his gun to the back of their heads, knocking them unconscious. Gregorio didn't get that far, the man was probably in his mid-fifties and of a short stature. When Christopher caught up to him, he yanked him by the collar of his shirt and then slammed him against the wall.
The Shop Owner tried to beg, to be given a second chance, to be able to apologise, but, the American man had already made up his mind as his fist connected to the others nose, after that it was to both sides of his jaw before meeting his nose again. Then, he punched him in the stomach before throwing him to the ground and proceeded to kick him in the stomach and the ribs. Giuseppe pleaded for Christopher to stop as he groaned, cried and spat blood. But, his voice fell on deaf ears.
The Capo was just considering smashing Gregorio's brains out on the concrete wall when he snapped out of his trance. There was blood on his clothes, his hair a mess and an unnerving calmness about him. He stomped down onto the mans left hand, hearing a bone chilling crunch. That was when he finally decided to speak. He crouched down and looked Giuseppe dead in the eyes. [#FF4500 "Avevo grandi aspettative per te, amico mio. Dimostrami di nuovo di sbagliato e faremo molto più di un semplice pestaggio." ]
He stood back up and after fixing his shirt, he rejoined the others with a happy grin and even a small spring in his step.
Some of the upper members of the Russo family disagreed with Christopher's trigger happy ways and found his enjoyment in violence distasteful and it was probably why he wouldn't get much higher than the rank of a Capo. But, his methods worked and with fast and easy results, no one really complained and if any of the foot soldiers had a problem with it then they were too scared to say anything about it.
He soon found himself in some fresh, clean clothes that did not have a speck of red anywhere. He looked just as new as he had that morning, save for the cut under his eye. He always did love coming to these types of restaurants, not the ones that claimed to be Italian, but the real ones. It gave him an insight and an understanding to the people that he worked with, that and the food always tasted great.
He sat with Giovanni and took the menu with a thank you. He found the words of Signora Moretti amusing until she had began to practically offer her daughter them. He practically hid behind his menu at that, though it was still quite funny and he felt sorry for the poor waitress he had to endure numbers being handed to her.
Giovanni was pleasantly surprised that the other capo was fluent in Italian, it allowed him to be more comfortable; the third capo jumped in relatively easily, and he nodded at both their suggestions. He took a moment to think, mapping a decent route that would save them the most time in his head. Giovanni talked with the two of them equally, screwing the lid back on his flask as he did so before putting it away.
[#0089c7 "Andiamo prima da Ratner's, poi a Giuseppe's, prendere alcuni ragazzi e dare loro una lezione sulla lealtà. Possiamo andare a Moretti's dopo..." [i ]] Not having to focus on translating into American English was so much easier for Giovanni, the only reason he and his family even moved to America was because the Don asked him to. Vincent must have wanted to bring people from Sicily to help the Family as his health deteriorated. Then to Christopher, [#0089c7 "Guiderai?" [i ]]
The Italian didn't really give Christopher an option to refuse, Giovanni did not drive as he was still adjusting to the different laws and saw no issue with sharing a vehicle in these dangerous times.
[center [b ~*~*~]]
Ratner's was decently vague on the outside save for the large block lettering declaring its name across the front windows, the owner stood with the bartender, watching everyone like a hawk, Giovanni and the others would go through one of the many back entrances to not raise suspicion. The inside was much more interesting than the outside, the Back Room bar was filled with light and life. Booths lined with red cushions seated around oaken tables, the room was scattered with tables and chairs, with the bar taps stocked and the soft glow of yellow bulbs allowed for a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The large section of bottles lining the back of the bar was a welcomed sight, but Giovanni was there on family matters, he started going around to each member of the family, those soldiers and began forming a crew to take with him. He hardly had to even [i mention] the name Adamo and several associates were jumping at the chance to enact revenge on those louts. He got to a table with an older man with a beat up kid sitting opposite him, the boy was nursing several cuts and bruises, looking like he lost a fight with a Sicilian wolf.
[#0089c7 "Cos'è successo qua?" [i ]] He didn't really need an answer to know who messed with the lad, for the hundredth time today Giovanni heard the name 'Adamo', it made him grit his teeth in seething anger. The Capo spoke mostly with the scarred man who needed no introduction, Spada was respected and declared one of the most loyal men to the Padrino. He listened to the man intently, giving the boy another once-over glance; from what he heard the fight was bad on both sides but Giovanni was nodding with small approval as he heard how the youth handled it.
[#0089c7 "The men you fought, could you describe them?"] Giovanni asked Dru, knowing the others could be potential targets as the boy was roughed up pretty bad, Giovanni wouldn't ask them to join in a scuffle, but they could use his information. They would spend maybe an hour here at Ratner's, let the lad catch his breath, maybe having a few drinks while the capos would talk to the owner.
By the time they got to Giuseppe’s it was around noon, so it wasn't very troublesome to act like they were shopping for a new suit. Except they had to be expected, right? The Sicilian was on high alert as he 'faked' looking around the store; he kept an eye out for signals from his partners, lightly touching the gun that he got as a gift. On the way over he made sure to load the gun, he was not hoping for a shoot-out but he'd be prepared for one. When everyone was in ideal positions, one of their men flipped the sign to closed and locked the front door, Giovanni let Christopher take the lead in asking the clerk for Giuseppe.
When Gregorio came out of a back room he froze in place upon seeing them, the color draining from his face in realization, the Adamo thugs made themselves known as Gregorio ordered them to attack. They rushed the Russo members and that was what Giovanni was waiting for, Giuseppe fled during the attack to the back of the store, intent on using the Adamo gangsters as distraction.
[#0089c7 "Axton, dopo di lui. [i ]] Giovanni called out right before getting into a brawl with one of the brutes, guns weren't something to bring out in midday-that was how the polizia got involved, but he'd repay the Adamo for every blow and then some. Giovanni was trusting Christopher enough to bring Giuseppe down-no doubt fighting several men on their own-as they'd fight the other soldiers. The capo took and gave a few hits, punching the man in front of him and pushed him with a shoulder to the gut, Giovanni shoved the grunt into a floor-length mirror, causing it to shatter upon impact.
Broken shards crunched under foot as Giovanni began slugging the downed Adamo into unconsciousness, he knew the others were handling themselves just as well when they outnumbered the goons the Adamo's left to cover the store. He felt the stinging of a cut above his brow, his right eye watering and swelling shut from the nasty hook he received. He hoped the other capo managed to grab Giuseppe before he could get away, he'd like to break a few fingers or send him to the Butcher for his disloyalty.
You never came back from the Butcher though.
When everyone subdued the Adamo grunts, Giovanni ordered the men dragged to the back so they could finish dealing with Giuseppe. They'd probably send a couple cleaners to take care of the thugs, extracting valuable information would be a decent distraction. Giovanni let Christopher have his fun with the owner, loosen him up to their way of negotiation before they posed the offer of rejoining the Family network. Everyone made mistakes, this one could just be deadly, let Gregorio mull on that if he valued his life.
[center [b ~*~*~]]
It was safe to say that the Russo family left Giuseppe’s Suits and Socks a little worse for wear but victorious in their goal to regain lost territory. It was one out of a hard dozen or so but it was worth it. Not only did they get their point across to Giuseppe but it was also a stark reminder to the surrounding businesses just who the Russo's were. The same point was then [b inflicted] on the Adamo soldiers, they would show Gregorio some leniency but none could be seen for the opposing made men. Perhaps it was the main reason Christopher was assigned to work with Giovanni, the other capo had a certain skill that Giovanni lacked. Giovanni's skills were more suited to firearms, smuggling and dealing in the black market with business intelligence than the darker aspects of the Family. The Russo Family owned New York completely and no new upstarting family was going to change that. The thing was coercion took a while, and it was getting late into the evening by the time they settled with the man and the Adamo gangsters.
Giovanni felt pretty confident by the time they swung into the Moretti owned restaurant called Giardino d'Italia, he was sporting a sharp shiner and several cuts and bruises but he handled himself fairly well and the Adamo gangsters were terrible fighters. [i 'Just like the old days back home.'] Even though they were roughed up, nobody really batted an eye at their appearance, either out of respect or fear, everyone in the restaurant kept their heads down. He gave a wincing smile to the hostess, passing the menus around as he ordered a coffee.
The ruckus in the restaurant had his attention, a short old lady was stubbornly standing her ground with their waitress, when Signora Moretti came to their table Giovanni could not help but note the similarities between his mother and Moretti. The pestering was still the same, anyways.
A beautiful woman clamped her lips around the hand-rolled cigarette she just placed to her mouth to keep herself from screaming. A loud shriek wouldn’t bring anything good down on her head, not behind Ratners of all places anyways. Her lace gloved hands trembled instead as she timidly reached out to poke the slumped and bloody figure leaning against the wall of the establishment.
Head down, chin to chest, Dru had been leaning weakly against the building for what seemed like days now. Besides blood stains and sweat, the poor cotton knickers had also soaked up the grime of the alleyway ground causing a chill in the nether regions. On what could have been a delicate face at one time, blood was now crusted and bruises had taken over the left eye, cheek bones, and lower jaw. Not to mention a nasty bruise on the right side of pinkish-red full lips, a split upper lip, and various scrapes.
To put it nicely, Dru appeared to be like some homeless miscreant. If not for leaning against Ratners, an establishment owned strictly by the Russo Family, the poor flapper probably would have screamed for the police. As it was, she hadn’t uttered even a squeak of a sound and was gently shaking Dru’s shoulder with a trembling hand.
[+mediumturquoise “Ti spavento? Eh eh non esserlo, la sono Famigilia.”]
The words came out gritty, a scratchy laugh and coughing followed after. The woman watched as the seemingly young man groaned and tried to stand, his short almost petite body fell back against the brick wall for support. Luck was on the beat and bruised side that the flapper was Italian and understood the man had said he was in the Russo Family. Only a crazy person would come to Ratners and claim to be in the family.
“Stay there, I’ll get someone.”
The flapper rushed back into the establishment, her cigarette having fallen from her lips when she spoke to the beat up young man outside. As she funneled back through the secret door into the speakeasy, her eyes ran wild over the various Russo men relaxing for the evening. Of course Russo men were trained to be observant, so when someone saw the worried look on the flapper’s face, several men got up to help her.
“What’s wrong Roxy,” a large built man put his hand on her shoulder to steady her, his eyes noticing the red stains on her white lace glove.
Roxy’s voice shook as she stared at the men who had come to help, “A-a man in the alley,” she squeaked out.
Before the girl could finish men were rushing out through the door to deal with whomever was out there. Seconds later a man rushed right back in and headed directly to a far dark corner where a scarred up man who looked to have seen rough times sat. This man was Nicolao Spada, a man also known as Don Russo’s Sword. He was an enforcer and an executioner.
“Spada…”The man before him licked his lips. “È tuo figlio, è Dru.”
The man stiffened in the corner, his face changing from the calm nothingness it had been to rage as he rose from the table. The men who had left coming back in carrying Dru between two of them.
Drucilla used all the effort she could to lift her head, she had been told her papa was inside. As both Spada’s eyes connected, well eye in Drucilla’s case, a glass of whiskey shattered on the floor.
[+mediumturquoise “Dovresti vedere gli altri uomini papà. eh eh cazzo Adamo,”]
This set Drucilla into another coughing fit as she tried to laugh the pain off, refusing to be weak. Blood droplets sprayed from her lips, the metallic copper taste coating her tongue letting her know something was very broken inside. The men on either side of her sat her down gently in at her papa’s table and men all over the speakeasy started slamming glasses on the bar and raising a fuss, the name Adamo passing from mouth to mouth.
Nicolao was a proud Italian man. The child in front of him was not born from his loins or from his blood, but he loved that child very much. The child had always been a fighter and when he took her in, he had continued to raise her as one.
When he had first brought up the idea of adopting a child to his wife, she had been acceptable to the idea – but they were Italians. Adoption in America was hard. So he bought a child instead. A boy, he had thought at the time. A child he had watched survive the streets of skid row and one of full Italian blood just like himself. He was proud of this child and had grown to love him.
So when his wife had discovered the boy he had brought home was really a girl, Nicolao had done the only thing he could have done.
[i [b ‘Non sei una ragazza, bambino. Tu sei mio figlio. Un giorno potresti non essere mio figlio, ma la figlia di qualcuno. Fino a quel giorno ti comporterai come un uomo, sarai un uomo.’] ]
Drucilla reemembered the words her papa had told her. She had accepted them, already weary of what being a woman could mean for her in life having lived in the red light district. She would never let that become her. She would never become the woman who gave birth to her.
[b “Dru, stai bene?”] Nicolao asked his son.
Having relxed a little in the chair, Dru let his head fall back and his one good eye close. [+mediumturquoise “Rotto, malconcio e assetato.”]
Nicolao saw someone cleaning up the broken glass that was originally his then lifted his eyes to the barkeep. [b “Porta mio figlio del whisky.”]
The barkeep nodded and quickly poured a glass for the beaten member of the Russo Family. Meanwhile Nicolao nodded to some of the less aggrivated men in the room who took off from the speakeasy to inform the higher ups that his son had been in a brutal fight with Adamo men.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/tU8rr6x.jpg]]
[#8f0600 [b [i "Ehi, idiota! Stai mettendo troppo condimento sul pollo!"] You're gonna dry the chicken out and it won't cook properly!"]] Adalina exclaimed from the kitchen as she was helping to prepare a couple of dishes while one of the cooks was on break. She was used to working whatever place needed to be filled. She would have fired some of these people a long time ago and hired in better workers, but not everyone knows how to make true Italian dishes, and not all waitresses knew what they were doing.
[#125613 [b [i "Non iniziare a dirmi come fare il mio lavoro, Adalina! Solo perché la signora Moretti è tua Madre, non ti rende il mio capo!"] ]] Said the cook next to her. She growled and cursed at him, thankful that the dinner rush hadn't started yet so that it allowed her to cook while the cooks prepped up for the night what the lunch had depleted. She debated taking a swing at the man with the skillet in her hand. [#125613 [b [i "Cucino da prima che tu nascessi, penso che saprei come condire un pollo!"] ]]
[#8f0600 [b [i "Prima di tutto, sono cresciuto con le ricette della mia mamma, quindi non puoi dirmi come preparare quei piatti! Questa è la mia storia familiare! Non sapresti come condire un pollo se ti venisse in mente indossando un abito da sera! Ora fallo bene o puoi pulire la cucina alla chiusura stasera invece!"] ("First of all, I grew up on my Mama's recipes, so you cannot tell me how to make those dishes! That is my family history! You wouldn't know how to season a chicken if it came to you wearing an evening gown! Now do it right or you can clean the kitchen at closing tonight instead!"]] This caused the man to grumble on and curse in Italian under his breath as they continued on. Anyone that didn't understand Italian and would hear the shouts from the kitchen would possibly think the ordeal to be either funny or disturbing.
Adalina finished with the dishes needed and left the kitchen to the cooks as the other came back - late - from his break. She grumbled to herself about needing better help around here. She wasn't sure why her mother put up with these fools and why they wouldn't see her as the boss when she basically ran the place as it was while her mother was sick. She sighed and washed her hands and headed to the front as she dried her hands on an apron and then tossed it into the hamper and slipped on her waitresses apron that she'd left in the office under lock and key since it still held the envelope from Serafina in its pocket. She unbound her wild raven curls from the leather tie and let it fall around her face from under one of her usual head scarfs, causing her large hoop earrings to jingle their charms slightly.
She spoke with one of the waitresses - the wife to the incompetent cook - about his mouth and rude attitude. The woman could only apologize and shrug saying he was that way when she married him. Adalina tried to figure out what made the woman say yes to [i that] proposal. She groaned before hearing the jingle of the chimes on their door. Looking up, Adalina took a moment and recognized those of the Russo gang. She didn't know them by name at all, but they'd been here a few times to speak with her mother as well as dine in. She told the girls that she'd handle their table and for the one to go tell her husband to make sure he took care in those dishes or she'd have his [i virilità] (manhood) for it.
She wrote a quick note about what had happened with the Adamos before and slipped it into the menu. It wasn't safe to speak about business like that in the public, especially since saying the wrong thing could get someone hurt. After tucking away the note, she moved to the door, placing a smile on her face, her many necklaces and bangles clicking together as she moved. Dressed in a long black skirt that held a wrapped around hip scarf that matched the one in her hair, a rose-colored, off the shoulder blouse cropped above her midsection, a black silk vest, and flats, she made her way to the people at the door and offered her usual sweet smile and she prayed they'd not heard the bickering in the kitchen just moments ago, she knew they understood Italian just fine.
[#8f0600 [b [i "Ciao! Bentornato al Giardino d'Italia. È da un po 'che non ci visiti. Sono Adalina Moretti e oggi sarò la tua cameriera. Il tuo solito tavolo è aperto, se mi segui ..."] ]] She led the Capos to a table where they could each sit with their backs to a wall and see all of the restaurant without turning their backs to them. The table had been there since the original owner had the place, and it was made very clear that the table was to be left open if at all possible in case any of the Russos came in. The others were seated at the tables surrounding that one. She sat a menu before them all, careful not to let the note slide out as she sat that menu in front of one of the Capos, then took their drink orders and left them to themselves to take some time in their order. As she was prepping the drinks, the door chimes jingled again and when she looked up, it was her mother. [#8f0600 [b [i "Mama!"]]] she cried out in aggravated surprise.
[#440085 [b [i "Ho detto che sarei tornato, e lo sono. Non iniziare a provare a castigarmi come un bambino. Sono una donna adulta e posso essere nel mio ristorante."] ]] the old woman called back as she made her way to the back with the register and the service stations. Adalina was seething as her Mama came to the register and leaned in to hug her. [#440085 [b "I came to do the books, as I said I would."]]
Adalina looked to her incredulously. The woman had been gone maybe four or five hours tops, just long enough for the lunch rush to subside and the dinner rush to start. She knew her Mama had done this on purpose. If she was here soon enough, the dinner rush would start and she'd feel obligated to help out when they got busy. [#8f0600 [b "Mama, you are not stupid, and neither am I. You know very well that it is too soon for you to be here to do the books. The books are done at closing [i AFTER] the dinner service. Stubborn old woman, you need to get back home and rest before the dinner service starts. You are absolutely NOT working tonight."]] The old woman scoffed at her daughter and shook her head before looking out over the patrons. It was then that Mama Moretti noticed the group that was settled into the Russo corner and she took on a serious face.
[#440085 [b [i "Perché non mi hai detto che erano qui?!"] ("Why did you not tell me they were here?!"]] she snapped at her and smacked her daughter in the back of the head causing her to yelp as she continued prepping drinks. Before she could answer the woman made her way out to the group, smiling at them all before stopping at the Capos' table. [#440085 [b "Welcome! Welcome! So glad to be seeing you all again. If you have any problems what so ever, please do let me know!"]] Adalina went out with a large trey setting drinks down in front of everyone as she grumbled to her mother about going home. [#440085 [b "Stop being rude... also... this is my daughter, Adalina. And gentlemen... she is not married or has children..."]] This was the old woman's way of saying her daughter was single and without the baggage of a previous. Adalina nearly spilled the tray of drinks but thankfully saved them as she hissed at her mother to be quiet. [#440085 [b [i "Adalina! Ti ho insegnato maniere migliori di così, e non dirmi di tornare a casa quando sono tua Madre. Qualcuno di questi gentiluomini sarebbe diventato un genero genero. Stai esaurendo il tempo prima di diventare troppo vecchio per sposarti!"] ]]
Adalina could only murmur apologies to them as she finished setting out drinks and took their orders for food. She could only blush when a few of the men would pass her a napkin with their phone numbers. She gave polite smiles while blushing deeply and put the napkins in her pocket and then escorted her mother from the tables and towards the back. After a while more of arguing, Adalina had won as the woman had grown tired. She hugged her mother and offered to walk the woman home, but she claimed she was fine and that no one would harm her on her way home. They lived several blocks from the restaurant but they'd made the walk every day several times for many years. Clara gave a wave to the Russo gang as she left and Adalina sighed and called out to the kitchen to get their butts in gear on the order, and called out what they needed then hung the ticket up for the cooks.
It was a slow day so the dinner service didn't get too busy, which left Adalina the ability to take care of the large group as they were served their meals and refills on bread and drinks. maybe a few hours had passed, and Adalina had not been able to find a moment to speak with the Capos of the Adamos. She knew they had gotten the note as it wasn't inside the menu when she picked them back up. She had just served a round of refills and more bread when the phone began to ring. None of the other girls could answer, so she excused herself to answer it.
[#8f0600 [b [i "Cia,] thank you for calling [i Giardino d'Italia] how can I help you?"]] She had been thinking someone was calling for a take out order as sometimes they do if they are willing to pick up the order as they didn't do delivery like the pizza places. There was a pause as a woman's voice asked for her. [#8f0600 [b [i "...sì]... this is Adalina Moretti...."]] The woman on the line went on to speak, causing Adalina's complexion to pale and her eyes to widen. She switched to Italian as she spoke up. She asked if her mother was alright and paused, whimpering when the answer was given.
She had to bite back tears as she stared into nothing, listening to the call. Her mother had fallen on her way home, stopped breathing. Someone had found her and called the ambulance, but she did not make it. They needed her to come to the hospital to identify her. She quickly spoke up in Italian with emotion cracking her voice that she didn't want to alarm the staff and that she would be there once the restaurant was closed to identify the body. She hung the phone up and took a couple of breaths before turning towards the register behind her. The dinner rush was only a couple more hours, and she would worry about clean up later, she would lock up right after service. The hospital was on the other side of town, and by then the busses would stop running, she'd need to get to the hospital as soon as was possible, and going on foot would take some time of its own.
The crack in between two curtains allowed a stream of sunlight to shine into the room and hit Felicia in the eyes, she squinted and shifted onto her side so that she wouldn’t be disturbed by the light anymore, however, just as she was considering going back to sleep, she remembered exactly where she was and she suddenly opened her brown orbs.
She glanced at the man beside her and was glad to see that he was still sleeping away. She shifted again to see if he would wake, but he didn’t even stir. So, she slowly climbed out of bed, careful to not disturb him, and she slipped on her clothes from the previous night. She didn’t put her shoes on just yet and she quietly crept about his apartment, looking for a study of sorts or even a safe, something that was used to store information.
The man that she had slept with was a part of the Adamo family, the Russo’s family current biggest rival. She had found out a couple of weeks back about him, but needed to make sure that she was perfectly placed to not seem suspicious. Her opportunity arose when he visited a bar, she had sat herself at the bar and he spotted her as soon as he walked in. He had ordered her a drink and they got to talking, she had laughed at all his jokes and flirted with him all night.
She tried to ask him about his work, but, he always diverted from the topic. So, after a couple of tries, she left the question be and instead suggested that they take their conversation back to his place. He didn’t think twice about agreeing and took her to his apartment. One thing lead to another and she ended up staying the night.
She took the opportunity to see if she could learn anything about the Adamo’s. She soon found a study and began to quickly look through all of his drawers, files, paperwork and books. She just needed something, anything to give the Russo’s an opportunity. Either this man didn’t keep the paperwork, or his position in the mafia was not as high as he had bragged. She sighed in annoyance and was just about to give up until she found a book of receipts, she flicked through and figured out that these receipts were evidence of the Adamo’s paying their associates.
Her eyes narrowed as they fell on a familiar name of ‘Giuseppe’s Suits and Socks’. It seemed that the coward who owned the shop had decided to change side and she couldn’t help but feel disgusted. The Don was sick and in his need, associates were leaving. “[#483D8B Bastardo].” (Bastard). She was thinking about taking the book until she heard a loud groan from down the hall. It seemed her friend had woken up. She swiftly put the book away and tidied things up to how they looked before. She exited the study and, luckily for her, he had gone to the bathroom. So, she moved and sat on his bed, waiting for him.
She was taken from her thoughts as she heard him whistle at her. She smirked and looked over at him.
“[b Now that is a sight I could get used to].” He said, grinning and studying her from his position in the doorway of the en suite. “[b Its a shame that you have to go, I could really do with a second round].”
She laughed softly before picking up her shoes and putting them on. “[#483D8B Unfortunately, I have to go mio amore, but you gave me your number and if I get lonely, I’ll give you a call].” She said walking over to him. He pulled her in for a deep kiss before letting her go. She smirked at him one last time before leaving. She travelled down the stairs and used the buildings phone to call a taxi. It soon arrived and she gave the driver the address of her sisters place. He noticed the bruises on her neck and the dress she was wearing and shook his head slightly before driving off.
The journey was spent in silence and she was thankful for it to have ended, she paid him before leaving the cab and walking up to her sisters home. She had known about the meeting in the Dons mansion and so asked if she could get changed and refreshed at her sisters. The woman was twenty seven years old and called Antonia, she was the one family that hadn’t disowned her and she was incredibly thankful of her. She entered the house, not bothering to knock, made herself known.
“[#483D8B Anyone home]?!” She called out and heard her sisters voice from the kitchen. She walked in and the closer she got, the more she could smell hot, buttery toast and cooking eggs. She entered in and found three children at the table, patiently waiting for their breakfast. There was a six year old, a five year old and a one year old. They looked over to her and their faces lit up.
“[b Zia Feli]!” (Auntie) The two oldest cried out, leaving their chairs and rushing over to hug her. She laughed and crouched down to their level to hug them properly. That was until the children noticed their mother scolding at her and they quickly went back to their seats.
She stood back up and smiled sadly at the one year old in the high chair. He smiled brightly at her and made grabby hands, insinuating he wanted to be picked up. Thats exactly what she did. She picked him up and rested him onto her hips and gave him a long hug. She almost didn’t want to let go, but she felt tears prick her eyes and so she slid him back into his seat. Antonia noticed this and gave her sister a hug.
“[b Your clothes are in my room, and I’d cover those marks if I were you].” She said softly and pulled away, giving a sympathetic look. Felicia nodded her head and wiped at her eyes before going up to her sisters room.
Antonia was a good woman who married a good man who was a very successful lawyer, they had plenty of money and it allowed Antonia to be a housewife and look after their children. She would always be in debt to her sister. Lovino was the name of the one year old and was actually her son. She had fell pregnant with him shortly after Alessandro, her late boyfriend, had proposed.
She remembered being so happy. Her parents hadn’t approved, she hadn’t cared, she was starting a family with the man that she loved. But then, Alessandro was shot. Right in the heart and Felicia was left to grieve the death of her boyfriend and give birth to Lovino. What made everything worse was her decision to take the position of Capo for the Russo’s. She didn’t want that life for Lovino, he was a child and he deserved to live a normal life, with two parents in a stable home. So, she gave him up to Antonia.
A year later and she knew that she had made the right decision. That didn’t make things any less easier and she cried whilst having a shower. Her sobs being muffled by the hot water hitting the floor. She didn’t feel any better after her shower, but she could at pretend. She covered her neck with heavy foundation and it faded the marks. She slipped into some high waisted trousers, a blouse and a pair of small heels. She pulled her hair back with her usual read headscarf, leaving out her blonde fringe. She said her goodbye to the family, called for a cab to go to the Don’s mansion. She arrived, paid the driver before going inside.
It seemed that she was a little late to the meeting, but the underboss excused her and she sat down with the other two men. She cognised the both of them. Giovanni de Luca, an Italian man, and Christoper Axton, an American man.
Both of them had been apart of the Russo family much longer than she had, but she did not let that intimidate her. It actually reminded her of her skill as a Capo and she listened as the Underboss spoke to them. She wasn’t surprised upon hearing the state of their Don. She knew it had been coming and hadn’t exactly been hopeful, she had stayed loyal though and that was what mattered.
Christopher listened carefully to everything the Underboss said and felt slightly disheartened at the news of their Don. It seemed like the man wouldn’t make it and he was left to wonder what would happen if the Don passed. He had glanced at Felicia when she walked in and silently sat down. He didn’t know her that well. She had only been a Capo for about a year and he hadn’t been given the chance to have a proper conversation with her. He had known her late boyfriend though, the two got along quite well. Despite what happened being a tragic tale, he couldn’t help but admire her a little. After the meeting, he walked off with Giovanni. He nodded his head at the questions asked.
“[#FF4500 Si, sono io e conosco l'italiano].” He answered. He may have been American, but, as soon as he had became a member of the Russo family, he had ensured to learn their language. He had gained a lot of respect in doing so. He listened to Giovanni’s suggestions, but, just as he was opening his mouth to speak, Felicia beat him to it.
“[#483D8B I suggest you check out Giuseppe’s Suits and Socks. I got hold of a receipt that showed there had been a lot of money paid to them from the Adamo’s].” She said, beginning to walk with them. She hadn’t bothered to tell the Underboss, the other woman had enough on her plate as it were.
“[#FF4500 How did you find that out?]” Christopher asked her, a confused look settling on his face. “[#FF4500 And do you know of any others?]”
“[#483D8B Went to a guys place last night, he’s a part of the Adamos and this morning I found a whole book full or receipts. I couldn’t get the book but I plan on seeing him again].” She replied.
Christopher nodded his head, and his confusion was replaced by one that showed he was impressed. He then looked back to Giovanni. “[#FF4500 We’ll have to visit them… Though, I do suggest that we go to that restaurant owned by Moretti. Haven’t been there in a while].”
Giovanni was called shortly after hanging up with his mother, the Underboss called all three caporegimes to be briefed on the latest developments going around the compound. Giovanni had been in America long enough to know who the other capos were, a man named Christopher and a woman-he never got the broad's name come to think of it. Most people thought that women were soft-hearted, but not these type of molls, they'd rip your heart out. Nobody was fooling Giovanni however, he knew they all had the capacity to be animals, America's people were just as rough and cold-blooded as Italy's.
[#0089c7 "Un lupo travestito da pecora." [i ]] Giovanni muttered to himself under his breath absentmindedly, losing himself in his evaluations and thoughts while he waited for the other capos to join them. The Underboss was another wolf in disguise, a woman by the name of Sophia Gallo, Giovanni did not talk with her much but he'd heard stories. Sophia was middle-aged, married with four children but it was [b very] clear that she was the one to wear the pants in the family. Her man worked as a dock supervisor, working long but highly honest shifts hauling cargo on the harbor.
Signora Gallo definitely knew the ins and outs of the family, currently holding the record for the longest interrogation session ever. It ended up looking more like a butcher shoppe at the end of it, but how she managed to keep the person alive and conscious for it all... She was efficiently calculated, a master of subterfuge and covert operations that required a more finesse touch. Since the Don was sick all their orders and inquiries went through her, with advice from the consigliere she acted as regent for their family. Sophia sat at her desk like a bank clerk clearly invested in several papers she was filling out and stuffing into envelopes to be delivered on behalf of the family business. Only when the others arrived, quite hastily, did the woman begin to speak filling the room with her crisp icy voice.
[#eb5f00 "Everyone sit. I'm very certain you've all heard about the new family moving in, this 'Adamo Family'. I've got twenty-seven letters on my desk here of complaints and calls for help from our local venue associates. Shops destroyed, property damages, burglaries, I even have one saying a couple of Adamo thugs broke several bones to get their point across with our more stoic friends."] She motioned to her relatively daunting pile of papers, she apparently was sent cries for help and bills asking for assistance in paying. Most importantly the people asked for protection, the Russo family were 'dirty' in a lot of ways, but Vincent Russo didn't always act in murder or brutality. Sometimes a guy needed an arm twisted to see their way of things, but it was never really fatal unless someone warranted lethal force. Shop owners and grocers weren't really the type to die for a few bucks.
[#eb5f00 "I've got even more letters here stating how businesses are changing to the Adamo's, they think they don't need us anymore. Now I hear I have two associates in the kitchen bleeding all over the place, what I want to know is what are we going to do about it?"] She paused as if expecting an answer but then continued, the Underboss pointed to both Giovanni and Christopher. [#eb5f00 "You and you, I'm sending you out on reconnaissance, take a few soldiers for a crew and cover the city. I want you to bring our businesses back to working order, station a few guards if you have to to watch over the places. These Adamo bastards will be ratted out like the vermin they are, and I want it done quickly. While you are out you get the layout of the streets, find out where they're lodging. I've enough to worry about..."] Sophia looked up at the ceiling, towards where the Don would be resting with an extremely worried look on her face. In a split second it was gone, then she turned to the third capo who apparently had quite a bit more to do than they did, was that a good or bad thing? Maybe the Underboss thought their investigations would be too time consuming to give additional tasks.
It wasn't very often Capos worked together, usually each of them would control a crew of soldiers, a gang of sorts under their command and they'd all work on several diverse tasks. The fact that Signora Gallo put two Capos together spelled big, big trouble; most likely Giovanni and Christopher would split duties, one would take businesses asking for protection, and the other would take the businesses that strayed from the Family. Remind them of what that decision actually means.
All four of them talked for a short while, well, some of them talked and the others, like Giovanni, just listened. The Underboss wanted to bolster their relationships with local businesses, while still trying to maintain their carefully laid boundaries and crush the opposing family who is holed up God-knows-where. It was simple in words, check in with long-standing establishments, give a little encouragement to stick around-take care of a few nagging things in the neighborhood maybe. Those that turned them down or betrayed them for the Adamos would be dealt with accordingly. You don't turn your back on this Family, not after everything Vincent Russo has done for them. Dropping the old man in his greatest hour of need...
They were still reminded to keep the Padrino's worsening condition under tight wraps, for now everyone outside just heard that the old man had fell down with a cold and fever. The Underboss told them what was really going on, it started off with a fever then coughing and gasping, the Don unable to get air, he started spitting up blood this morning as the coughing got worse. He was emaciated and enfeebled, tormented by nightmares of looming death. The entire upper floors of the manor were being sectioned off to stop any spread-the consigliere suggested Vincent take rest at one of his beach homes down in Florida, even Jersey, or vacation in Cuba-but he refused.
They were dismissed relatively quickly, the Underboss was still busy writing out letters to send to families with the Family's support. No doubt money and other means of protection would be filtering through the manor's doors. After they left Giovanni finally spoke to Christopher, they needed to work together to cover the most ground.
[#0089c7 "Axton, right? Giovanni De Luca."] Giovanni wasn't the best with a whole lot of names, but he knew faces fairly well. Giovanni also looked to be the older of the two, so he gave another introduction just in case one forgot like him. [#0089c7 "Tu parli Italiano? [i ] I was thinking about checking in with our most well known places first. Ratner's and the Union Club, a few ristoranti [i (restaurants)], we can go from there throughout the city."] It was still extremely early so the faster they got to each establishment the better their chances of getting ahead of the Adamo goons.
[#0089c7 "You have any preferenze [i (preferences)] or contacts you could use?"] Giovanni frequently lapsed into Italian, he hoped the other capo understood him at least. Patching the damages done by the Adamo family were going to take some time, they'd have to also keep their movements quiet, the last thing they'd need would be the polizia getting in between the two rival mobs. Giovanni walked with the other as they talked, he suggested visiting Ratner's first to gather some men and women for their crews, taking a few from the manor here as well would give them decent size gangs to get the jobs done.
Ratner's was also a very big hot spot of information, the speakeasy 'The Backroom Bar' was the main selling point of the establishment. This was the Prohibition after all, tell someone they couldn't have something and people go nuts. Speaking of the Prohibition, Giovanni felt them already-the dreaded shakes-the withdrawal from alcohol was incomparable; from his pocket he withdrew an engraved hip flask, took a swig of the hard liquor and then offered it to the other capo before they went outside. If they lost Ratner's it would be a very dangerous problem...
Christopher watched the crimson liquid of blood wash from his hands and down the drain, a small, satisfied smile at his lips as he was coming down from the high of his last kill. He hadn’t intended to be so violent, quite the contrary. It was supposed to have been a quick, easy kill with little mess. But, it had been some time since he last murdered someone and he got carried away leaving his victims face unrecognisable.
In his opinion, the bastard deserved what he got, after all, his victim had been spreading rumours about Russo and that had really gotten him riled up. He owed his everything to the man and wasn’t about to let some scum talk bad about him. Especially now as it looked like he was laying on his death bed. Christopher refused to think like that and had some hope in him that Vincent Russo would survive for another day. Not everyone had his optimism, especially not the associates that were dropping like flies. He was disgusted with their disloyalty and had even offered to show them how to respect. But, Russo himself told him not to. That was the only thing that was holding him.
He sighed and splashed his face with the water before running a wet hand through his brown hair. He then stripped himself of his shirt and he was glad that he had worn a black one as that too was covered with red splatters, he tossed that along with his trousers into a laundry basket before making his way into his room. He dressed himself in something more suitable for bed before retiring for the night.
He woke up with the rising sun and he slowly opened his tired, blue eyes and stretched his unused muscles. He got out of bed and decided to dress himself in a crisp, white shirt, black pair of trouser, a matching tie and suspenders. He combed through his hair before grabbing his wallet, a suit jacket and a flat cap before going outside to his car after putting some shoes on. He took a long drive to the other side of town to his favourite diner. He lived in a rather nice side of town owned by the Russo family, and although there were plenty of diners, cafes and bars in the area around his apartment, he preferred the one that he was going to. He had worked there before working for Vincent Russo and so, it was quite special to him. There was the added factor that he thought the food was much better.
Once there, he sat himself on cushioned stool at the counter and ordered his usual black coffee and bacon sandwich. Since it was early, the smell of coffee was still fresh and there was the faint hint of cleaning products in the air. There weren’t too many people either, a couple of businessmen who read large newspapers, a young couple that were sharing a high stack of fluffy pancakes and a few others.
The cook was happily singing as he went about preparing food and there was a calm atmosphere to the diner. Even Christopher, who had always enjoyed causing trouble, could appreciate the serenity and he chatted with the worker on the till. He had known the other man from the orphanage. He was called Eddy. It was quite funny how their situations had turned out. Eddy, when they were younger, had this dream of becoming rich and that he didn’t care how he got there. Where as Christopher was perfectly happy with the more simple things in life. They had gotten their job at the same time at the diner, but, it was soon clear that it was him who would be earning the most money.
Nevertheless, he stuck to his roots and he never saw himself above the others. Instead, whenever he looked in the mirror, he still saw the same orphan boy.
“[#FF4500 So Eddy, business good]?”
He asked the other, he liked to make sure that the diner was running smoothly. If they ever needed it, he would offer a deal for them with the Russo’s, but, as expected, Eddy nodded his head.
“[b Business is great as usual. But… I have been getting these guys that come in… They mostly stick to themselves. Apart from when they keep offering me this deal…]”
The last part of the sentence caught Chris’ attention.
“[#FF4500 What kind of deal? Like, co-ownership of the diner]?”
“[b Nah, like… They want the diner to be an associate of the Adamo’s. I told the boss, he says he doesn't want to get involved in gangs and to just say no. But, they’re getting real pushy and demanding].”
Christopher had his eyes locked on Eddy as the man spoke, it seemed the Adamo’s were growing with every conversation he heard about them. He found it disgusting that they were starting to make their move only when his boss was sick.
He was pulled from his thoughts as Eddy quickly nodded to an approaching man. He couldn’t help but narrow his eyes slightly as the man entered and he took a sip of his coffee, that had just been placed in front of him, allowing the bitter taste to distract him from speaking to the Adamo. But, as usual, he couldn’t help but listen in on the conversation between Eddy and the man. He took his order, but, his tone seemed to quickly change to rather threatening. He offered the deal that Eddy had already rejected and his childhood friend politely declined. This didn’t seem enough and the Adamo grabbed Eddy by the collar. However, he didn’t get to say another word as Christopher was off his seat and and delivering a blow to the mans jaw. He quickly let go of Eddy and stumbled to the side, as he was recovering from the shock, Chris took out his gun and pointed it at him. Its silver glinted in the light and the man turned to glare at him, holding his jaw.
“[#FF4500 Get out].”
He snapped and at first, the Adamo just stood there, glaring at him before eventually leaving. Christopher watched him leave before putting his gun away. Instead, he gout out his wallet and paid for his uneaten food and half full cup. He also handed Eddy a card that had his number on it.
“[#FF4500 I gotta go, but, if they come back and start threatening you again, call me. You might want to tell your boss about reconsidering working with a gang. The Russo’s are good, they’ll offer protection from dirt bags like that].”
He said to him, before giving a polite smile and walking out of the diner and to his car. He cursed under his breath, checking his watch as he sat down in the vehicle and decided he would make his way over to the manor.
He remembered being in complete awe the first time he saw that manor, it had looked so tall, so grand, so expensive and he remembered the excitement that had bubbled within his as he walked through those halls. He had practically tip toes around the place, scared that he would break something. Now, he was hardly affected by the sight and he was soon pulling up. By the time he had arrived, the grunts that had been attacked by the Adamo were all patched up. But still worse for wear.
“[#FF4500 Who done that then]?”
He asked feeling like he already knew the answer, and for the second time that morning, he heard the Adamo name.
“[#FF4500 We need to do something about them assholes… I heard they’ve been taking away associates, claiming our territory.]"
A harsh grunt bubbled out the youth’s mouth, blood spackle rolling down a more delicate looking chin as another fist connected with tender flesh. Already the skin surrounding the left eye was darkening, a fierce swelling soon to follow. Beyond that a busted lip, a scraped cheek, and maybe a broken rib on the right side. Yet the fighting youth could only think how Mamma was going to lecture to no end when she got a look at the torn shirt collar and bloodstains.
The sound of a laughter ringing in the ear and behind that a woman’s shameful sobbing filled the dank back alley. The smell of stale rain water from the night before mixed with city grime stung the nose and destroyed the appetite. There would be no one to come running in assistance to the current predicament. However none of this was new to the youngling whose back was against the redbrick walls of the tailor shop called Giuseppe’s Suits and Socks.
Despite what outsiders may think, this particular youth was rather accustomed to such delinquent behaviors as clobbering others with their bare hands. After all, Dru had grown up as a fledgling member of the oldest crime family in New York. Before that Dru had survived Skid Row. Taking licks and getting back up was a well learned experience.
Though thinking back on it now, as another fist found its mark on a human body, Dru was clearly disgusted with Gregorio Giuseppe no matter his reasons for traitorous choices. The Family would have protected him. Heck all, Dru’s papa was one of the old time enforcers known after his last name as the Russo Sword. All Gregorio or Pia had to do is let Dru know they were being messed with. But they hadn’t and it all ended up in an ambush with him as the living boxing practice bag.
Note to self, dames are too much hassle, the youth thought with an ironic inner monologue. Said dame’s current sobbing grating on Dru’s ears as he tried to use his smaller size to avoid the fist coming towards his face. A busted lip and swollen eye was one thing, but too many broken noses left an ugly face behind. He had some self-respect one could say. That or they would say he was a cheeky bastard who liked his own face.
Of course this specific beating was not something planned for the day. All Dru had planned to do was stop by the tailor store, a known associate of the Family, and see Pia Giuseppe, Gregorio Giuseppe’s daughter and his age mate. Ever since Nicolao Spada “adopted” Dru , he had integrated rather well with the different children of the Family – If only on the surface that is.
Casually strolling through the popular tailor shop while Dru waited for Pia to start her shift, two men came in through the back. The seemingly young man had decided not to worry about them too much, though he kept them in sight just as they kept him. When Pia finally came out, her face was flushed and hair was mussed as if she had been in a hurry to brush it. Dru noticed one of the men give her a cheeky grin, causing him to frown.
What had just possibly gone on between Pia and two strangers? Where was Mr. Giuseppe?
Hands in his pockets, Dru rounded to the counter where Pia had nervously began folding socks, a question in his eyes when he saw the slight bruising on the right side of Pia’s face. Turning his profile to keep the men in his line of sight, Dru reached out and gently grabbed Pia’s soft cream skinned wrist.
A small shriek came from Pia then before she yanked her wrist back and looked at Dru with terror on her face as if she didn’t recognize him at all. By the time she did come out of it, it was too late. The two men flanked Dru by then, already one had reached out laid a greasy fingered hand on his shoulder while the other shouted at Pia. It was then the strangers had decided to educate Dru on polite manners when it came to touching what one of the men, the one who no doubt left that mark on Pia’s face, ‘touching another man’s broad.’
So here Dru was, taking a licking courtesy of Gregorio Giuseppe’s cowardice. Everyone in the Family or connected to the Family knew something wasn’t right with the Don. Not everyone knew what was happening to Mr. Russo – hire ups kept that shit tightlipped – but the ripple effect of his absence in the community was glaringly obvious. This ripple effect allowed cowards like Gregorio to change sides at the first show of power.
As one last hit clipped the opposing force in the throat, Dru struggled to lean against the brick wall at his back. It was cold against his sweat soaked shirt, alley grime adding another touch of grit to his ragged yet devilish appearance. Using the one eye he could still see through, he fixed the father and daughter pair with a fierce glare.
[+mediumturquoise “Ho tirato fuori la tua spazzatura. Fallo da solo la prossima volta o nella sporcizia che hai scelto di aggrapparti.”]
Dru grunted in pain as he straightened to leave, giving a swift kick to the face of the man he just knocked out before spitting blood on the other man.
Sure, Dru had taken a beating and had been outnumbered by the two goons, but what else was new? There was always someone bigger than you, always someone stronger. Smirking through the pain of stretching an already split lip, Dru couldn’t help but laugh at himself as he collapsed outside Ratner’s backdoor alley. His last thought before his eyes fluttered shut was how funny it was for the Adamo goons to assume he was interested in Pia.
After all, this auburn-haired hazel eyed youth may look, dress, act, and speak like a typical male street thug and rightly so. However in reality all one needs to do to see the truth is throw on a Sunday dress and pearls. Then they would know that this seemingly boy brute is really just a young woman who can’t walk in heels and enjoys fist fights with altar boys.
[#8f0600 [b "Mama! I told you to stop expediting and get off your feet! You know what the doctor said! If you overdo it one more time, you won't be getting out of the hospital this time! We can't afford more medical bills!"]] Adalina called out to her mother who was trying to fill the position of one of their missing waitresses, carrying a large tray with a family order on it. Easily a dozen plates and bowls were on that tray.
[#440085 [b "You don't be telling me what to do in my own kitchen, Adalina Moretti! I am the owner here, and if I wish to serve my customers, I will!"]] And with that, the stubborn old Italian woman took the tray into the dining room to pass out the food to the table. Adalina groaned and called out to those in the kitchen to keep going while she would round up her mother again.
[#8f0600 [b "Ma...."]] She was polite around the customers, smiling and carrying on as she took the now empty tray from her mother and then secretly dragged her mother into the back office. [#8f0600 [b "The doc only promised that you could come back here if you took it easy.... not if you were serving [i Pizzagaina] and [i Cannoli] to the customers... I mean it... you need to take it easy, your heart cannot take anymore... Just because Ronda didn't show for her shift again, doesn't mean we cannot run the place while you rest..."]]
[#440085 [b [i "E mi conosci?] I get it, I get it... You no longer need your Mama, is that it? You think you can do all of this by yourself, and you no longer need me, you're all grown up. Just kick me to the floor and [i spazzami fuori dalla porta] ..."]] The old woman fell overdramatically into her chair as Adalina rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her midriff.
[#8f0600 [b "Mama, if the doctor sees you working, he will think you do not listen, then you will lose the discounts on your medicine he is given us. We cannot afford that medicine without it! [i Smetti di essere così drammatico, sai che ti amo e voglio solo vederti meglio.] "]] The woman sighed and nodded, but she hadn't given up the fight, not that Adalina ever thought that Clara Moretti was ever one to stop fighting. The old woman agreed that she would go and rest, but only if she was able to come back and do the books after the dinner rush was over. Adalina knew she would do it anyway, and sighed to agree. With that, her mother made her way back home and left Andalina to the restaurant.
The lunch rush came and went like normal. Eddie had to be cursed out for putting the wrong herbs in a dish - again. At least he'd stopped stealing the cooking wine, from here anyway. It was damned expensive to be allowed to have that stuff here with the prohibitions going on. If they got caught with someone on their staff drinking it, they would be shit down immediately. She wasn't about to let this little putz ruing her mother's dream. The door chimed and she looked up to see a woman dressed in an extremely short skirt, high heels, too much makeup, and far too many accessories.
[#8f0600 [b "Serafina... what do you want here?"]] she asked her sister as she met her at the door. She was waving to a man in a car and giggling like a teenager. Adalina just rolled her eyes.
[#00805e [b "Don't be like that Ada....is Mama here?"]] she asked checking her makeup in a compact that she pulled from her clutch.
[#8f0600 [b "No, [i per fortuna] (thankfully), so she doesn't have to see her eldest tarted up like some nightwalker."]]
[#00805e [b "[i Mi scusi?] I'm not the one who walks around with her stomach hanging out. At least I don't have to try so hard for attention and still has no man...."]]
[#8f0600 [b "I'm not the one showing my body off for money and all of New York... At least I have self-dignity, and my stomach doesn't look a spare tire from too much [i pasticcino] (pastry). Now... Mama has no money for you to borrow, she has medical bills that she needs to take care of so go take your Joe of the week and get out of here."]]
[#00805e [b "You know you've become a bitter old [i cagna] (bitch) long before you were even old. I can at least say I make money, you can't say anything except that you take care of Mama, which is why I am here..."]] she reached into her clutch and pulled out an envelope and thrust it into Adalina's chest. [#00805e [b "This is to help with Mama's bills... You may not like what I do at the club, but I make money doing it. If nothing else, use them for the bills and medicine..."]] Adalina hated using her sister's money as it was considered "dirty" money in her opinion, but then the Russo family helped with this place as well, and that could also be considered dirty money if someone thought about it. [#00805e [b "Now then, tell Mama I won't make it to dinner tomorrow night. I'm heading to Jersey for a gig with Jimmy. Won't be back until next weekend. [i Ciao, Ada!"]]] With that her sister was out the door and climbing into a nice car and speeding off. She raced out after her sister hissing like a snake in anger.
[#8f0600 [b [i "Vaffanculo, Serafina!] You conceited mother-- Oh!"]] She stopped as she noticed a few men had come up to the restaurant and were now staring at her as she was cursing in the middle of the sidewalk. She straightened her skirt and put the envelope in her apron pocket while trying to compose herself. [#8f0600 [b [i "Scusi...] Please, do come on in..."]] She set the men to a table and gave them menus before taking their drink orders. She then smiled and headed back to the kitchen where she started prepping the drinks. The guys were asking if they were Russo men, but she didn't think so. She'd seen most of them, even if she didn't know their names. These two weren't known faces.
She watched carefully as they were inspecting the place while they sat. Russo men knew this place well, even if it wasn't some five-star place, it was a taste of home for most of them. She wondered if these men were part of the Adamo family she'd heard rumors about and decided to play it cool. They'd not done anything yet, they were simply here for a meal.
She brought them their drinks and took their meal orders, calling out to the cooks and warning them about any funny business with the food. They were customers until she kicked them out the door for a good enough reason. She went about her time doing dishes, taking care of customers, helping cook, anywhere she was needed in the restaurant was what she did. Hostess, waitress, expediter, cook, busboy, dishwasher, janitor, maintenance. She refused to lean on someone else to do what she knew how to do especially when they couldn't afford to hire any more people. The Russon boys kept them in business, but they didn't come often.
Adalina was at the register handing out tips to a couple of waitresses who were headed home from their shifts while two more came in for the dinner haul. Once the girls left, the two men came up to her to pay for the meal and telling her to keep the change as a tip. It was quite a bit of money for a tip, and one leaned on the counter to smile at her in a way that had her skin crawling. She saw the guys in the door of the kitchen watching what was happening, but they knew better than to come out unless she really needed the help. One headed out to the car, while the one who leaned on the counter started talking to her about being too pretty for this place, and that if she was to be his girl and run this place for the Adamo family, she'd have more money than she knew what to do with.
Adalina smiled sweetly as her hand below the counter went for the bat that lay there for those that tried to rob the place. She lifted that bat and took a swing causing the man to duck and run for the door calling her a crazy [i cagna] and that she was going to regret this. She chased him out of her door as she called him every possible curse a woman could call a man, heaving her bat around like a mighty sword.
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