After Callie was taken
I haven’t seen Callie in two days. The little brat said I didn’t have anything to worry about and now I’m strutting my ass to the Distucci family restaurant with a brick sitting in my stomach to find my damn cousin.
Fuck you, Callie.
There’s a lump the size of Mount Rushmore stuck in my throat, and I nervously try to swallow it away as I see the pizzeria appearing in my line of sight. Gathering every ounce of confidence I can find inside of me, I take a deep breath. Normally, there is a fair amount available, but I’m not gonna lie, right now I feel as confident as a little girl on her first day of school. I might get eaten by the new kids, I might not.
Shutting my eyes for a brief moment, I push my fear away as I step over the threshold while I put on my game face. Tension creeps into my shoulders while the sound of my heels announces my arrival to the security guy sitting at the back.
His bald head almost shines as bright as the arrogant smirk he’s flashing me, when he lowers his attention away from the game on the TV above the bar. This is the point where you fake it until you make it, Genny. I roll my shoulders to get rid of the tension as I cock my head and beam at him with hooded eyes. A skill I have mastered over the years, though now it’s hard to keep it up with the pounding of my heart against my ribcage. There is always a certain thrill when Callie and I are on a job, wondering if we’ll pull it off. But knowing Callie’s freedom is on the line adds a pressure that feels like it will crumble me.
“Who are you, pretty girl?” His voice is gruff and raspy, completely matching his bad boy stance. My eyes trail the length of his body, and I estimate him to be in his forties. Definitely one of the older employees of la famiglia, meaning he probably has access to Ronnie’s father.
“Looking for Papa Distucci.” I stop in front of him, resting my elbow on the bar as I watch his eyebrows move to wherever his hairline is supposed to be. Smiling sweetly, I rest my chin in my hand.
His relaxed stance is quickly replaced by rigid shoulders.
“You got some balls putting his name in your mouth.”
“I’m pretty sure he’ll like a pretty thing like me. Can you get him?” I’m not a born daredevil, but I know one thing when it comes to dangerous men like these. They are like dogs. Show them your fear and they’ll eat you alive. Flash them confidence and their interest piques, wondering what you have to offer if you have the bravery to show them your spirit.
He snorts, a cocky grin on his face as he shakes his head, dismissing me with a single word.
“Nah.” His gaze slides back up to the TV, not even giving me a second glance.
Well done, Genny.
I didn’t expect this to go easily, but I at least I thought I had some shot. I should’ve brought my fucking gun. Not that I’m a good shot, but I’d like to believe I’m badass enough to show him the urgency of my request while holding a firearm between my manicured nails.
“Look, it’s important.” My heart sinks to my shoes, sensing my one opportunity to get Callie back slipping from my hands.
“It always is.” Every feature on his face is bored as he takes a sip of his drink. He gives me a side eye with clear annoyance in his deep brown eyes, like he’s wondering why I’m still there. You would think that I have no issue wooing people since I’m a professional con artist, but the thing is… this is different. The men I spend time with are corporate assholes. Arrogant as shit with more money than they can spend. I flirt with them, I tell them what they wanna hear, and in return, they give me what I want. I don’t go to them for favors, because what they can offer me is taken without their knowledge. I don’t have to convince them to give me what I want; I just need to hold their attention long enough to distract them. But this guy is definitely not someone you can easily distract, let alone ask for a favor without pressing a gun to his temple.
I’m not a someone who waves around her gun for respect. That’s Callie. She’s the one who will get anyone to listen, simply because she’ll kick your ass if they don’t. Me? I’m not cut out for that shit. I have a big mouth, but that’s where it pretty much stops.
“I just want fucking five minutes of his time. That’s not much to ask, is it?” My lashes move up and down at a pace that almost makes me take off in a futile attempt to get back his attention.
“He’s busy.” Nothing. The words fall from his lips, but he’s staring in front of him like I’m not even there. This is going great. I clear my throat, resting my hand on his arm, desperate to put his focus back on me. Finally, he cocks his head toward me, with a look that isn’t pleased.
“Then get me Ronnie, or even fucking Kenzo for all I care. I just need to talk to someone. Please.” I add my plea when I see the smallest wrinkle in his brow as I mention the mafia prince.
“You know Ronnie?” Of course that will do the trick. Should’ve started with that. My confidence lifts a little and I straighten my back with my pink lips in a coy smile.
“We went to school together.” I could tell him that Kenzo has a thing for me and he’ll be pissed if he finds out baldie refused to give me what I want, but I don’t want to talk to Kenzo, the right-hand man. I need the boss. If I can’t have the big one. I’ll settle for the little one.
“Stay here,” he tells me with a pinched mouth, then disappears into the kitchen. I take a seat, knowing this will take a few minutes since I know exactly where he’s going to fetch Ronnie. If you move through the kitchen of the restaurant, there is a big staircase that leads to the second floor, which is basically a little night club on its own. When we were still in high school, Ronnie threw some epic parties up there. If he’s close enough for me to wait for him, I’m sure he’s up there.
Shy of five minutes later, Ronnie pushes the swinging door open with a smug grin splitting his face. There is a swag in his walk, and I can’t help my eyes from forming a glare as I let out a grunt in displeasure. “Well, well. If it isn’t my favorite blonde.”
There is a dark glint in his eyes that’s probably supposed to scare me, but I’ve known him too long for that shit. If he wants to scare me, he needs to bring daddy.
“Shut up, Ronnie. Where is Callie? I want to see her.”
“Funny.” He chuckles, sliding onto baldie’s stool. “Because I was going to ask you the same thing.” He leans forward, hunching over the bar to grab a bottle of rum and two glasses. “You want a drink?”
“Cut the bullshit,” I bark, ignoring his question. “She still has eight days left. Let her go, so we can give you what you want.”
His shoulders lift in indifference as he pours two fingers into the glass. “Who says I don’t already have what I want?” Bringing it up, the glass connects with his lips, and I grind my teeth. I forgot how much he likes riddles and taunting people. Everyone in the city knows he can be sadistic like his father, but I’ve seen another side of him. He likes the power that comes with being the uncrowned prince of the city, but he doesn’t terrorize the people he cares about. As much as she hates it, he cares about Callie.
“You’re an asshole, Ronnie. But the one thing your dad taught you is to keep your word.”
“What do you know about my father?” The tone in his voice is a bit sharper, and I watch the grip on his glass tighten.
“Oh, please. I might be nothing more than a very skilled thief, but I paid attention. Just because Callie and I don’t mess with your family doesn’t mean we don’t know exactly how you operate. We’ve known you longer than that, Ronnie, and you know it.”
His eyes find mine with a look I can’t completely read. A fine mix between a glare and genuine confusion, I assume. “Then why did you do it this time? Mess with us, that is?”
“We didn’t! She didn’t know.”
“I don’t believe you.” There is a slight wag of his chin as he takes a sip of his drink, and it’s pissing me off. We have never really been friends, neither of us. But we’ve run in the same crowds for a very long time, and he does know Callie better than that. She’d never dip her toes in Italian territory because hitting Papa Distucci’s shitlist is something that needs to be avoided at all times unless you like to be tortured to death. Unlike Ronnie, he doesn’t care if his son likes his classmates to stay alive. Cross la famiglia and it will be the last thing you do.
“Doesn’t fucking matter. What matters is that you gave her fourteen days to get you your money and she still has eight days left,” I scold with a pinched mouth. “Let. her. Go. Stop being a fucking dick, Ronnie. I can’t do it by myself. If you want your money, I need her.” There is no way I can find a target and prepare for it all by myself.
“You’ve become more feisty than I remembered. No wonder Kenzo still has a thing for you.”
“That tends to happen when your cousin is threatened to marry into la famiglia against her will. What can I say, it brings out the sass in me. Now, give me Callie!” My voice raises with every sentence as I slam onto the bar top. The noise makes Ronnie glance over my shoulder with a stern look, clearly not enjoying the scene I’m causing for his guests in the restaurant.
He lowers his head, his face a little closer to mine. “As much as I enjoy watching you running your mouth louder than is good for you,” he seethes, “I don’t have her.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I don’t have her.” The genuine expression he’s giving me makes time freeze for a split second as a tingle runs over my entire body.
“Ronnie.” I tilt my head a little at his incredulous reply. He’s joking. He has to be joking. He always likes to tick us off as much as he can. A little miss tease, kiss please and all that bullshit.
“I’m serious, Imogen.” His forehead creases in an angry frown. “I was about to pay you a visit because she vanished into thin air. Figured you got her into a safe house or something.”
Confused, I blink at him with disdain. “You’re kidding me, right.” I don’t have time for these silly games. I need my fucking cousin back. Pronto. But he holds my gaze with seriousness written all over his face. I wait for him to say ‘just kidding’ or ‘April Fools’ or some other bullshit, but his face stays straight like a fucking statue. The doubt slides into my stomach, my chest slowly moving up and down as I try to process his silence.
“You’re not kidding,” I rasp, holding up my head with both hands. My eyes move back and forth over the wooden surface of the bar until they snap back to Ronnie’s concerned expression.
“Shit. I’d like that drink now.”
Have you met the Wolfe brother’s yet?
They all have a little bit of something for every one….
❤️ Forced Proximity
❤️ Second Chance
❤️ Surprise Baby
🖤 Work Place Romance
❤️ Age Gap
🖤 Enemies to lovers
❤️ Badass FMC’s
🖤 Alpha MMC’s