The underworld, New York City:
Later that morning, Tony ‘Lucky’ Lucas, a very powerful and legitimate businessman, heavily into media and print corporations until he was exposed and convicted of conspiracy by Alfred Carter, a senior law partner with the firm of Barnes & Johnson. After being released from prison several years ago, he concentrated his efforts on putting the syndicate back together, and it turned out to be perfect timing to take over loan sharking, drug distribution, and of course money laundering.
He sat in his office watching the breaking news about Jimbo, the loan payment gone wrong, but he couldn’t remember ever being so furious. He narrowed his eyes, flipped off the television and threw the remote across the room. It’s bad enough that I should keep my eye on police detectives, federal agents, and lawyers, breathing down my neck! He got up from his desk, getting more annoyed as the breaking news ran again. He paused, trying to come up with a plan to get rid of all of them. A bomb came into his mind, but immediately dismissed it.
“Frank, get in here!” Tony hollered still annoyed.
His number one lackey, Frank, came scurrying into the room. “Yeah, boss, what’s up?” Frank knew exactly what was up, the breaking news about Jimbo. I know Tony will be in a foul mood for days if not weeks, he thought. He braced himself for whatever he had on his mind.
Tony stared at him as if he didn’t have a brain in his head. Why do I surround myself with total idiots? He wondered. “I’ll give you one guess,” Tony replied, hoping Frank had one functioning brain cell.
“Hum, Jimbo and what happened last night?” Frank tentatively replied.
“Good guess,” Tony replied, pleased. “I have a very important job for you, Frank.”
“Yeah, boss?” Frank felt relieved.
“I want to set up a meeting with all bosses in two days.”
Stunned for a moment. “Did you say all bosses in two days?”
“I don’t like repeating myself, Frank. Now get a move on and another thing, I want everything you can get on this cop who set up the sting last night and I want it yesterday,” Tony instructed then turned and went back to his desk.
“I’ll get right on it boss,” Frank said and turned to leave.
“And Frank, one more thing; hand me that disposable cell phone. I have an important call to make.”
“Sure, boss,” Frank said and handed it to him.
Tony continued to contemplate the news story from last night and what his next move should be. He then dialed a familiar number.
The D.A., Sam Washington, in his office wondering if he should hop on a plane and head to one of those places that didn’t have extradition laws. His cell phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number, not in the mood for wrong numbers.
“Who is this?” He snapped to the unsuspecting caller.
“Well, we are in a mood. I wonder why that is.”
“Tony, why the hell are you calling me?” Sam demanded annoyed.
“Why do you think?” Tony snapped just as annoyed.
“I can’t help you. I have my own problems.”
“That’s not what I wanted to hear. What kind of problems?”
“Well, maybe it’s my lawyers, the FBI, police detectives, and the media breathing down my neck, just to name a few,” he replied sarcastically.
“So, what else is new?” Tony asked bored with the conversation.
“You have no idea what a few hints in the paper can do to my reputation. There’s an election in six months.”
“So, silence them,” Tony said still bored.
“Are you crazy? I’m going to ignore that remark.” He sighed. “It was good while it lasted… but I think we should shut down operations, at least for a while. Let detectives think we’re running scared. Yeah, it might work,” Sam said, getting encouraged by that idea.
“Forget it; I couldn’t stop operations even I wanted to. There are too many balls in the air, too many people involved. We’ll have to ride it out for now.”
“Then what do we do?” Sam asked, hating the desperation in his voice.
“I have a plan that just may solve all our problems.”
“I don’t want to know,” Sam said as chills went up his spine.
“Oh, you will in time, count on it,” Tony said and hung up.
Sam stared at the phone more terrified that ever.
Bobby, the police informant, meanwhile, headed back to Tony’s office, in dark alleys avoiding as many people as he could, but he had a call to make first. He pulled up in front of bar, one of the few establishments that still had land line phones, and called his contact.
“Hello, it’s me,” Bobby said. “Yeah, I saw the news, but what do you think Tony might do?” He listened for several minutes. “Okay, I’ll keep my ears open, as always.” He hung up and headed back to Tony.
Meanwhile, at the Third Precinct:
David hung up his disposable cell phone knowing that Tony would get a more detailed but distorted description of breaking news from last night. Over the past several months, David, Bill, the DEA, the FBI, and a few other detectives in the department, continued their investigation into loan sharks, drug dealers, and any number of criminals involved in the many schemes to acquire more money and power; meaning, they would never have enough.
“David, was that who I think it was on the phone?” Bill asked and walked over to his desk, concerned by the look on his face.
“Yeah, that was Bobby, my informant,” David replied, still distracted.
“And, what did he say? What’s happening?”
“Nothing right now, but soon, Tony will be all over us in one way or another, and we have to be ready for him.” David looked around. “Where is everybody?”
“Out on assignments, but as soon as we hear back from your informant about what Tony is planning, we may need to bring them all back here to rethink those plans.”
“Yeah, you may be right about that. I was just thinking about our next move. It should be something big, something that will cause Tony to lose it, make a bad move, or show his true colors.”
“You don’t think the sting last night was enough?”
“It’s a good start, but we have to hit him where it hurts.”
“Oh, we will. The DEA and the FBI are putting the screws to his ‘legitimate businesses,’ and we should hear something soon.
David decided now was as good a time as any. “Bill, we need to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while now. Follow me.”
Bill sighed and followed him. Once inside a vacant office, Bill was not in the mood. “Make it quick. Angie called a little while ago. She wants me to come over for dinner tonight, before her brother leaves to go back to school and I agreed,” he said, but he knew what was coming.
David couldn’t help chuckling at that statement. He shook his head, amused but also concerned. “Moving too fast; aren’t we.” It’s a statement.
That got Bill’s attention. He sighed again. “No, not at all. Angie and I are adults and we know what we want. I admit we’ve both been burned in the past and we’ve learned from those mistakes.”
“Well, I only mention it because of this case; it’s growing every day, more people involved, and Tony is riled up because of the sting operation and who knows what he’ll do next. You, Angie, and her family need to be extremely careful.” David stressed his point.
“I know that, David, but I need to get back to work.”
“Aren’t you worried? Tony and Jimbo share a history. Tony is probably feeling threatened and there’s no telling what he’ll do.”
Thinking about Angie and a future with her, but it may not happen because of these threats hanging over their heads.
At his silence, David tried again. “Bill, what are you going to do about it?”
There really was only one answer. “Look, David, we truly can’t do anything unless Tony does something to threaten us. I can’t sit around worrying about those threats; I can’t live my life that way.” He tried to reassure him. “I’ll be careful; I’m always careful. I promise to talk to Angie and her family when I see them tonight.”
“That’s good, Bill. It will ease my mind, and it should ease your mind, as well. I know you’re worried. I know you, remember?”
Bill shook his head. “I know. Let’s get back to work.”
David returned to his desk about to head out on assignment, then Ashley walked in, who had just finished her rounds.
“Hey, you, are you headed home?” Ashley asked Bill.
“In a little while; I’ll see you both later. Good evening, Ashley.”
“Have a good evening, Bill.” Ashley said then went to speak to her husband. “He seemed in a hurry.”
“He has a dinner plans with Angie and her family,’” David said and couldn’t help snickering.
“David, what is it with you? Bill is happy. We can’t fault him for that.”
He sighed. “I’m worried; that’s all. His relationship with Angie just started, what, a few weeks ago, and now he’s involved with her family.” She raised her eyebrows. “He has his life away from this place, and.” He hesitated.
“And, what?” Ashley pressed.
David turned to face his wife. “Whenever I see him with Angie, I can’t help thinking… it won’t last; it never does. It’s going to end badly; I know it.”
She knew her husband and how cynical he could be about life, but it didn’t have to be that way. “David, you can’t give up on Bill especially the way he feels. He fell in love. Yes, life is short and no one can predict the future, but honey, love is worth any risk; just look at us. Please tell me you believe that.”
“How can I, Ashley? You know about us, about how we live. Look, I have to go.”
“David, please, we should talk.”
“I’ll see you at the house.” She sat down stunned at her husband’s words. She had no idea he felt this way about his job and our lives together. She suddenly thought of last night, how the sting had gone wrong. Maybe this cynical side has come out because of losing one of their own. But they all knew of the risks, but as long they’re together as a couple fighting the good fight, none of it mattered. Now, to hear him speak this way, it hurts; it hurts deeply.
Later that evening, at the Bennett’s apartment, everyone sat down for dinner. Angie and Dede had cooked and everything looked delicious: fried chicken; mashed potatoes; green beans; rolls; and dessert.
Angie and Bill, hoping to convince Andy to go back to his job, that they would take care of finding him a gambling addiction program near his medical school. Dinner was almost over, then Andy expressed his thoughts.
“But I thought you wanted me to stay, but I guess it’s best that I leave. This ‘mob boss’ is out there somewhere plotting against the police and the lawyers who put him away for years, and he’s out for revenge? Is that it?” He asked Bill.
“Yes, that’s true. I’m worried about you; about all of us.” He paused and let that sink it. “It’s best if I not contact any of you for a while, unless it’s an emergency.” He glanced at his plate and put down his fork.
Angie’s heart constricted. “What exactly are you saying?”
“It’s temporary, but I can’t let anything happen to any of you.” Dede and Andy stared at each other and realized he only wanted to protect them.
“Oh, so, we’re supposed to run and hide in a corner while you risk your life? I can’t live that way and you know it.”
“Angie, please listen to me. I’m talking about a mob boss, and he knows about you, me, and your law firm. They put him away for years, and his twisted mind has singled out your boss and you and maybe your family too. Aren’t you working on that case involving an informant?”
“Yes, I am,” she replied and bowed her head.
A few moments of awkward silence, then, Dede stood up and took their plates. “I’ll clean up; you two go and talk.”
After they left and headed to Angie’s bedroom, Andy helped her with the dishes. “What a mess; I can’t believe this is happening because of my stupid gambling.”
“It’s not your fault. It’s just everything is crazy, but Angie is right. We can’t live in a vacuum hiding from the world. This is our lives and we should live it.”
“I agree, but I do have to leave and go back to my job. I do need the money.”
“You still have your savings; right? Angie is still sending you money?”
“Yeah, I have some money.” She looked worried. “I’ll be fine.”
“Can you finish up here? I have a call to make,” Dede asked.
“Sure, go ahead,” he replied.
Once in her room, Dede called Peggy. Thinking of their talks, they decided to take things slow, but all of this had her thinking of the future and whether they still had one.
“Hey, I thought you were coming in tonight?” Peggy asked, disappointed at not seeing her.
“Sorry, but we had a special dinner tonight. Can we meet at your place? I need to explain some things about what’s been happening with my family.”
“Sure, I’ll call you once I get home. Is everything Okay? You sound weird.”
“No, it’s not. I’ll see you later.” Dede hung up and rubbed her tired eyes.
In Angie’s room, Bill sat on the edge of the bed while she paced in front of him. “Please sit down and we can talk about this.”
“Oh, you mean talk about us breaking up because of some mob boss threatening us and our lives together?”
“We’re not breaking up; just get that thought right out of your head.”
She sighed and sat down. He reached for her pulling her close. “Here,” he whispered, then scooted to the head of the bed; she followed him, her head on his chest, she relaxed. “There, that’s better.”
She couldn’t stop her tears. “We just found each other and now this.”
“Shush, don’t cry. We won’t let them tear us apart; no one can.”
She leaned up to see his face. “You mean that; don’t you.” It’s a statement.
He wiped away a stray tear. “Of course, I do.”
She snuggled close. “Just tell me what you have planned.”
He sighed and told her everything. After speaking, he pulled her closer, but one thought rang true in his mind:
I can’t let myself think about all the bad people out there who want to hurt me, but if anyone tries to hurt my family, yes; they are my family, then they will get my attention, more attention than they could possibly want.