“I just don't get
how they knew! Fucking bulls! How do they do it?” Prentiss was
Reid looked confused at JJ who whispered “Guards” out of the corner of his mouth in reply to the wordless question.
“Eric, Baby. Spencer might have noticed something useful.”
“Spencer?” Prentiss held his hand out to JJ who took it and settled next to him.
“Reid. Right Spence, tell Eric what you saw.”
“Tom Wittman talks a lot to the guards, you all know that.” Prentiss, Davis and a few other men who Reid knew to have fairly high ranks among the White Bread all nodded. “He rats to them too.”
“That's quite a serious accusation.” Davis gave Reid a calculating look.
“It is, but it's the truth. I've been watching him since Monday and it's as clear as day. His entire body language screams that he's keeping secrets.” The men looked at each other as the took in Reid's words.
“He always looks guilty,” one of the other men said. Davis nodded but Prentiss just kept looking at Reid with a weird scheming look that made Reid's skin crawl.
“I'm almost 100 % sure, that he'll admit to it, if you start questioning him a bit.” Two burly men looked intently at Prentiss and rose quickly when he gave them a small nod.
“If he doesn't admit to it you will make up for what you've done.” Reid forced the mask of confidence to stay on his face at Davis' cold words.
“Don't worry – he will.”
With one last look at Reid's lanky figure Prentiss turned to his boyfriend and a warm smile spread on his face.
“So Jacob, are you ready for Sunday's big game?”
Reid shuffled away finally taking a deep breath when he was out of ear range.
That had been surprisingly hard.
“What are you doing on our side of the yard, huh, bambino?” Reid hadn't noticed how far away his aimless walk had brought him and now he found himself facing 4 young men, 2 of whom he recognized to have been participating in the basket game he had watched with JJ. Italo Brothers.
“I-I'm sorry. I was just walking around – I didn't mean to step on anyones toes.” Reid took a step back and walked straight into a fifth guy, thereby accidentally stepping on his feet.
“Well, that's too late now, isn't it?” The Italian man flashed Reid a smile that reminded him awfully much of the shark programs he had watched on Discovery Channel when he was younger.
So many teeth.
“What are you gonna do about it, Signore?” The man in front of Reid was clearly being sarcastic, bringing Reid completely out of balance. What was he going to do about it?
“Um... You could... um... step on my toes? Wouldn't that make us even?” The look of amazement and pure surprise indicated otherwise.
Then they burst into laughter.
“Aren't you the funny one?” Reid whipped around as the voice behind him had gotten uncomfortably closer.
“No, not really.”
“I didn't think so either...”
Don't open you mouth, don't try to say a word in your defense. It will only make everything worse, and come on – you know the only thing that'll leave your lips right now will be unrecognizable from stuttering.
“What's going on here, boys?”
“Don!” Reid watched in amazement as the men surrounding him seemed to stand to attention their eyes fixed on a quite small, middle aged Italian man.
“This isn't a way to treat a guest! Now scram, and I will make our guest feel at home, like a proper host would do.” The amazement didn't shrink as Reid watched the younger Italian men duck their heads and walk off. When he faced the man they had called Don again, Reid was sure his eyebrows had shot up too far to be seen.
“I'm sorry for the way they treated you, young man. We are a bit defensive lately – the Adol-fans have been giving us a bit of...” The man seemed to think consider which word to use. “Attitude!” He smiled and continued. “The Adol-fans have been showing some attitude lately, and it makes some of the boys a bit touchy.”
Reid watched in wonder as the man used his arms wildly gesturing during his short speech, and now indicating for them to sit on a vacant bench.
“Ah, no! Now it even got me so agitated that I forgot to introduce myself!” He held out his hand to Reid. “I am David Rossi, Don of Italo Brothers.”
“Spencer Reid.” He couldn't help but feel a bit shy as he shook Rossi's hand. Something about his easy demeanor was somewhat attractive.
“Spencer Reid, huh? I've heard about you.”
“Figures...” Reid sighed and fought the urge to roll his eyes.
“Don't sulk, kid! That's no way for a young man to act!” Reid instinctively straightened his back and Rossi gave a small chuckle. “I've heard that you're smart.”
“I am. Sir.” Reid added as an afterthought.
“No, no! Don't call me sir!”
Rossi sighed and patted Reid's cheek much to his surprise. “You call me Rossi. My underlings call me Don, new acquaintances call me Rossi, friends call me David and my lovers call me Dave.”
“Alright – Rossi – yes, I am smart.”
“Smart like how?” Reid had a feeling that the man in front of him was considering how to use him and that every word he was saying word be remembered, cataloged, and carefully analyzed later.
“I once took a test that claimed I had an IQ of 187.” Rossi nodded. “I read really fast. And I'm good at playing cards and stuff.”
“Won a lot of money in Casinos?”
“The reason I'm here.”
“Very well.” Rossi looked at Reid for a long moment. “Prove it.”
“Excuse me?” Reid frowned feeling confused.
“Show me how intelligent and smart you are.”
Reid looked around in the yard hoping for some magic escape to show. In stead he got an idea.
“The Latin convicts don't belong to any gang.” Reid gestured towards a group of men hanging on a couple of benches.
“I know that.” Rossi cocked a brow and Reid took is as a sign to keep talking.
“They don't have any kind of bond to any of the gangs, which is why they have kind of created their own small gang of approximately 15 men. If you invited them to join your gang, you would gain a big increase in men, a promise of more men to come, and their gratitude. It isn't easy to be without a gang, even when you're that many.”
Rossi watched the Latin men for a while, his eyebrows pulled into a small frown.
“That's a good observation, Kid!” he finally exclaimed and smacked his hands down on his thighs. “I will consider doing that!” Rossi gave Reid a long considering look. “If Prentiss hadn't claimed you I would.”
“Thank you, Rossi?” Reid wasn't quite certain of how he should feel.
“Maybe I should consider strengthening our bonds. If only he didn't socialize with those Nazi-bastards!”
Reid chose to place that comment in the bow labeled “Useful knowledge” in his brain.
“Anyway, son! I will do you a favor for you brilliant piece of advice!”
And now his face surely was the perfect image of What?
“A favor for a favor? The way of Italians? Haven't you watched any of the Godfather movies?”
Reid had to shake his head – he hadn't been that much into fiction outside of prison. And inside – well...
“I can take care of Hankel for you?”
A feeling started to grow in Reid's chest.
“What do you mean, take care?”
“I mean it in the way you want me to mean it.”
It really wasn't easy to communicate with this man. He chose his words so carefully and then almost carelessly said that he would kill a man for his sake.
“What's in it for you?” Reid couldn't help but asking.
“As you might remember, young genius, I am...”
“Right – you're one of his cell mates.” Rossi nodded amusement lightening his features.
“And he is a really obnoxious cell mate – I could tell that from one night.”
Reid bit his lip as he thought about this sudden possibility to get a whole new sense of security in his new life. Tempting, but that strange feeling in his chest wasn't a feeling of gratitude or happiness.
“I don't like the thought that I'm responsible that he catches a cold.” He thanked JJ in his mind for teaching him the term he needed. “But I wouldn't mind if he was moved somewhere where I wouldn't see him that often when he gets up from the Hole.”
Rossi nodded with a content and... proud? Smile on his face.
“Wise decision. I like you, Kid. You may call me David.”
“Thank you, David. It's really an honor!” Reid couldn't help but feeling that he just aced an entire line of tests without knowing when it had started and what had really been happening. Rossi patted Reid's knee absentmindedly.
“Do you know why I'm in here, Spencer?” What? Spencer?When did they grow this familiar?
“I'm afraid not, David.”
“I'm not surprised, I haven't told that many.” Rossi ran his hand through his thick graying hair and Reid noticed the big gold ring on his finger. “It's not a story I'm particularly proud of.” He smiled at Reid.
“You don't have to tell me, if you don't want to David,” Reid assured the other man, although his curiosity was practically on fire at the hints of a good story.
“But I do want to. I'm just figuring out how to start.”
“With the beginning?”
“Don't talk back, Kid?” A brief flash of anger appeared in Rossi's eyes and Reid gulped.
“I was only trying to be helpful.”
“Oh, well in that case. And of course you're right. I grew up in a good catholic Italian family. When I was a young man of twenty I started to socialize with some of the members of the local Cosa Nostra, much to the disturbance of my Mama, may she rest in peace.” Rossi made the sign of the cross over his chest. “Eventually I was accepted into the Family too. I was horrible! I did my best – gambling, blackmailing, everything – simply horrible! Then some day, my Captain came to me and said 'David, I know you're a good boy, but we both know that you're no good. Tony.' He was one of my superiors too. 'Tony been involved in some bad business, and we need someone to help him out.' So I asked him hat I could do, and he told me that going to prison would guarantee a lot of help to my Mama, so I though why not.”
“For how long?”
“For how long what?”
“For how long did you have to go to prison?”
“Life, son. Tony had killed 6 men in a bar brawl but he was too costly. So I went instead of him.”
“That's...” Reid couldn't find the right words to describe his feelings. “Honorable seems to be the best word to describe your act, David.”
“Thank you, Spencer. But they still help me, you know. They send me money so my stay doesn't have to be so uncomfortable as it could've been. In return I send them new soldiers.”
“Soldiers.” Rossi gestured at the other Italian men. “They come in here and I groom them. That's the thing I'm really good at I discovered. I don't have any skill myself, but I recognize the skills in others and I improve it. Making the ones who could go far, go further.” The Italian smiled at his words.
“Is that why you're befriending me?”
“You could go very far in here, son. And by granting you my friendship I just gave you a big push in the right direction.” Rossi rose from the bench and Reid hurriedly followed suit. “Don't forget me when you're the big fish over in the white pond.” He opened his arms and Reid entered the embrace with a new confidence.
“Make sure you're worthy of my friendship when the time comes then.” He called after Rossi as he walked back to his minions. A deep chuckle was the Italians only reply.