Authors: E.L. Montes
“Oh, Ms. Sullivan.” She exclaimed in a high-pitched annoying
tone. I needed to take a few calming breaths before turning to face her.
“Yes, Ms. Connor?” I managed a slight smile.
“These past four nights, a gentleman was sleeping in front of
your door.” She waited for me to respond, and when she realized that I wasn’t
going to say anything, she continued. “I thought you should know, and I felt
very uncomfortable with the entire situation.”
I gently nodded, “Not to worry, Ms. Connor, it won’t happen
again. Is that all?”
With a smug look, she lifted Gypsy into her arms then turned to
exit the building after saying, “I suppose that is all.” God! She managed to
crawl under my skin every time.
I dropped my keys on the side table by the door after entering my
apartment. It was completely dark except for the TV screen casting light from
the movie being shown. I approached the couch and saw both Jeremy and Megan cuddled
up together, with a bowl of popcorn between their laps. Jeremy’s aqua blue eyes
shot back at me as he smiled. “Hey, Mia, just in time, we were getting ready to
.” His tone was tinged with sarcasm as he rolled “dancing”
off his tongue and he waved his hand in the air mockingly.
Biting back a laugh, I made my way around and sank on the couch
beside him. “Yeah, Mia, you should so watch it with us.” Megan said excitedly.
“Since when do you watch romance movies?” I questioned Jeremy.
Also, taking notice of the time, I added, “And what happened with your date
last night? You’re usually sunk between a pair of legs around this time. Aww,
did she send you home early?”
He cringed before answering. “Ugh, did you have to go there?
Worst date ever. And Missy over here,” he nudged his head toward Megan, “forced
me to watch it. She swears my day will get better.”
Flinging my shoes and jacket off, I made myself comfortable
beside him and grabbed a handful of popcorn. I leaned back against the armrest,
“That bad, huh?”
“Mia, it was worse than bad; it was excruciating.”
Megan rolled her eyes, clearly not wanting to hear the story
again. Reaching for the remote, she paused the movie. Adjusting in his seat to
fully face me, he began his story. “First off, let me start by saying that I
went out of my way to take her out to dinner.” He raised an eyebrow, waiting
for me to respond. Shoving popcorn into my mouth, I nodded.
“Okay, it was a pizza joint, but that’s the not the point.
Everything was going great. I picked her up and gave her my best Jeremy charm.”
He flashed a grin. “She was going for it. Then we got to the restaurant. Wasn’t
the best place, whatever, we’re seated in a booth, but she wanted to sit
to me?” He spread his arms and widened both of his eyes as if the act were
Confused, I raised a brow, and with a mouth full of popcorn, I
asked, “And . . . what’s wrong with that exactly?”
He tilted his head and stared at me as if it was obvious. “Mia.
No elbow room.”
I shot him a puzzled expression. “What?”
” Jeremy waved his bent arms. “Dude,
she hovered over my shoulder, breathing heavily on my neck, while I tried to
look at the menu. Then she snuggled close while I was trying to eat.” Sighing,
he shook his head in disbelief. “You know how much I love my food.”
“You can’t be serious?” I asked.
He was serious. I looked over at Megan for a better explanation,
but she simply shook her head and raised her hands in defeat.
“I took her straight home afterwards.” He reached for more
popcorn and straightened into the chair.
“You’re a dick.” I shot out.
“Yeah, well, I get that a lot.”
“I feel sorry for the woman that marries you. Seriously, it’ll be
like marrying a thirty-year-old toddler with no manners whatsoever.”
He cocked a brow with a curt nod. “You, know I get that too.”
“Shut up!” I nudged his shoulder.
“Can we please watch
now?” Megan spat out.
Jeremy tilted his head to the side. “Yes, please, let’s watch
Patrick Swayze save Baby from the corner.” Megan rolled her eyes, grabbed the
remote, and hit play. Within the next few hours, we watched several old movies,
ordered in pizza, and laughed at Jeremy’s goofy ways. At first, I wanted to
mention that Marcus and I got back together, but instead, I decided to save it.
That evening, I was going to enjoy a night with my friends.
The evening passed by quickly, and before I knew it, Jeremy stood
and stretched. “I’m going to hit the bed. Megan, you joining me?”
She widened her eyes and looked at me as her cheeks turned a
light shade of red in embarrassment. “Jeremy.”
“What? Mia’s fine. She won’t think anything of it.” Megan shook
her head and slumped back in the seat. Jeremy reached down, grabbed her wrist,
and lifted her to her feet. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled
her into his side. “Megan, don’t be shy around Mia. You slept in my bed last
Megan glared at me and quickly added, “Not in the way that you
I raised my hands. “Hey, no judgment here.” I could tell she was
completely horrified by Jeremy’s public display of affection.
Before she could respond, my phone rang. I glanced at the screen,
and my entire face lit up when I saw it was Marcus. “Hello.” I answered with a
“Hey, just wanted to call and check up on you.”
“Yes, and to also ask what your plans are for tomorrow.” I
pressed my lips together to hold back the slight squeal that was trying to
escape. I excused myself from Jeremy and Megan and ran into my bedroom.
As I flopped back on my bed and stared at the ceiling, I listened
to his steady breathing on the other end of the phone. “I’m not sure yet, why?”
“Well, if you’re not busy, I would love to take you out on a
My stomach fluttered with nerves. I wasn’t sure why it did, although
it felt nice. “What kind of date?”
I could hear him shifting as he chuckled in a low raspy tone.
“That’s for me to know and for you to find out.”
“So we’re playing that game?”
His vibrant laugh forced an even wider grin across my face. I
wasn’t sure that was even possible. “No, baby, you’re playing that game. I’m
just simply here as an unwilling participant.”
“Hey play nice, remember?”
“Right . . . so tomorrow?”
“Yes, I’m free.”
“Good, be ready by noon.”
“By noon? That’s early.”
“You’re lucky I didn’t say early morning, but I’m playing nice.”
I laughed and caved in. “Okay . . . what are you doing now?”
Hesitating, he took a deep breath. “I’m in the car waiting for
Jimmie. We were called in for a meeting.”
I took a quick glance at the time. It was almost ten. “Oh.” I
whispered. It wasn’t a surprise to me that he was out at a meeting that late. Although
I had I accepted him with all of his flaws, this was one I wanted so
desperately to take away. I hated his lifestyle, but I loved him.
Mia’s tone was filled with disappointment. I wanted to
shake off the silence between us through the phone. Not wanting to end our call
on a bad note, I blurted, “Hey, the next two weeks will be fun, taking my girl
out on the best dates she’s ever had.”
“Ha! I’ll be the judge of that.” She giggled, and even though I
couldn’t see her, I knew she was smiling on the other end of the phone. Jimmie
stepped into the car and eyed me suspiciously. He wasn’t used to me smiling
like a fucking kid.
“Babe, I have to go. I’ll call you later?”
“Sure, well, maybe tomorrow. I’m pretty tired and might call it a
night. Is that okay?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. I love you, Mia.”
There was a slight sigh before she replied, “I love you too . . .
“Please be careful.” After I told her I would, we ended our call.
As I drove off, I let Jimmie in on everything that was going on
between Mia and me, even told him about the bet I lost. He burst out laughing
and thought Mia was pretty damned clever. He laughed harder when I punched his
bicep for thinking it was funny to begin with. Jimmie seemed happy that Mia and
I were working it out. In the beginning, when Jimmie found out that Mia was
related to Michael Sullivan, he wanted me to end things immediately. He felt it
would backfire, not just on me, but on everything we had been working so hard
for so long to do—bring down Lou Sorrento.
I was fucking hardheaded and couldn’t simply walk away. Deep down,
I knew she deserved better. You could call me a selfish man, I guess. I couldn’t
see her with anyone else. She was meant for me in so many ways. Since she came into
my life, everything had changed; I learned to laugh again, to smile, to break
down, and be the person I was before my father’s death. I didn’t think that was
even possible. I learned to live again, and I could not walk away from that.
I had this feeling deep down that I couldn’t live without her. When
you finally find a person who makes you feel alive, how could you possibly
breathe if she were gone? I knew I couldn’t.
Jimmie shifted in his seat, and my attention was brought back to
him. He cleared his throat before speaking. “I need to find a new babysitter
“What happened to that Melissa chick?”
“She starts college in a couple of weeks. It’s hard to find
anyone you can actually trust.” He bounced his right knee and began chewing on
his thumbnail, as he usually did he was stressed or worried about things that
“Don’t worry, man, we’ll find someone. And you have me and Mom
until then. You’ll be fine.”
He nodded and changed the subject. “So what do you think this
Thoughts of my earlier encounter with Lou brought forth several
conclusions. “He’s pissed about the last warehouse that was raided by the FBI.
He knows there’s a rat in the group and demanded that I find out who it is
within the next week, and that if I don’t, he’ll do it his fuckin’ self.” At a
red light, I took a glance at Jimmie who was staring straight ahead, lost in
After a few seconds, he tightened his jaw and nodded. “Fuck. I
can’t think of who the fuckin’ rat could be. Everyone in the group is just too
fuckin’ loyal to Lou, you know?” He took in a deep breath and then scratched
his head. “Michael wasn’t working with the FBI. It was just the three of us
trying to build a case before we brought the evidence to any agents.”
“Well, maybe before he died, he gave some info to an agent that
Jimmie shook his head. “Maybe, but Michael and I met up the night
before his death. He told me that there were no updates. He said that we were
getting close and that he might have some leads, but didn’t say anything about
any FBI agents. It just doesn’t make any fuckin’ sense.”
Jimmie was right. None of that shit made any fucking sense, so I
began to go through the list of Lou’s people in my head. “Well, hands down, I
know Vinnie and Larry are not involved. What about Buddy?”
“Buddy’s a douchebag, but a rat? Nah, he’s beyond loyal to Lou.
If Lou told him to suck his cock, he’d ask for how long.”
I let out a deep, frustrated breath. Yeah, that was definitely
true. Buddy had worked for Lou since he was a kid. He had nothing but the
utmost respect for Lou and looked up to him like a father. Trying to find out
who was the rat was going to be more difficult than I’d anticipated. Fuck. Lou
was not going to let it go.
For the rest of the ride, Jimmie and I drove quietly. I was sure
Jimmie was trying to figure shit out in his head just as much as I was.
As I pulled into the back of Club21’s private parking lot, I
slowed down when I saw a crowd that had formed a circle in the middle of the
lot. Jimmie and I quickly exchanged confused glances. I parked the car as we
both hopped out and jogged towards the commotion.
Men chanted and yelled, raising beer glasses in the air, hooting
and hollering from the top of their lungs, “Get ’em. Beat his ass. That’s right—blood—I
want to see fuckin’ blood!” Hurriedly, I snaked my way through the crowd and
was finally in the center of it all. One guy I didn’t recognize was covered in
blood with a swollen eye and busted lip. His shirt was torn, and he wobbled from
side-to-side sluggishly. He brought his fist up to his face in an attempt to
block oncoming punches.
Larry, one of our men in charge of the club when I’m not around,
was standing in the center of the circle. He seemed to be sober, bouncing back
and forth on his toes, fist secured at eye level, positioned and ready for
another swing. Larry knew fucking better than to start a riot. Anger building
within me forced my legs toward them. When I got deeper into the center, I
could hear that all of the shouting and yelling had died down. Once I was
behind him, I yanked Larry by the shoulder and pulled him away from the other
guy. Larry’s eyes flamed when he saw that I got in the middle of it all. “What
the fuck, Marky? He deserves it!” He pointed at the drunken man, who was
mumbling something unintelligible.
“Not here, Larry!” I pointed a finger toward the back of the
club. Hovering over him, I pointed that same finger into his chest. “You
fuckin’ know better! Not at my club. Get your ass inside and clean up.” I heard
the sound of shoes scattering along the concrete surface as employees and customers
rushed away and back into the club. Looking around, I spotted Vinnie, my number
one main man. Nodding at him, I yelled, “Take care of this loser.” I nudged
over at the drunken man and made my way into the club.
The hallway was clear by the time I entered. Everyone must’ve
rushed back in. Instead of going toward the dance floor, I walked through a
private door in the back hallway that led up a staircase toward the second
level. Once I entered the second level hallway, I rushed and pushed through the
crowds of people wandering around. Finally, I made my way into our VIP room at
the end of the hall. When I entered, all eyes were on me: Jimmie was seated at
the end of the white sectional, Buddy was leaning against the glass wall that
overlooked the dance floor, and Larry hovered over the sink washing his bloody