Chapter 14 - A little death
“Fuck,” I grunt out.
Lunging at each other I hold onto the lapels of his jacket, pulling forward to knock him off his feet. Unbalanced he catches me off guard and pushes me against a metal beam, I’m quick to recover with a sharp headbutt against his forehead.
Blood trickles down my face and I can feel my skull pounding as I fight on.
The Giordanos’, who came as back up for Enzo Riccardo, got themselves into a bit of an argument between themselves and the Valentinos’.
Now what actually happened remains a bit of a mystery that I can’t afford to dwell on in the moment. Instead, my entire focus is on the bastard who’s in my grips.
Enzo Riccardo’s son-in-law, Harry Giordano.
Now I don’t know which one of the families set off the gun.
I don’t know if anyone got shot,
and if that individual is dead or alive... but one thing I’m sure of is that chaos has broken out.
An inconvenience that doesn’t allow me to be downstairs to cover my father, Cherry’s father, or Enzo.
I’m at a loss.
“You need to stop this shit right now!” When I push Harry back he almost falls onto his ass but is quick to regain his footing, swinging at me with a bloody nose that my impact must’ve caused.
Jumping back, I almost fold forward. His shaking closed fist is just inches away from my stomach.
Fury rages in his eyes.
“Get the fuck out of my way!” His voice is rough, gutturally shouting at me. “I didn’t start this shit but I’m sure as hell going to end it.” His yellow-brownish eyes move to look behind me, scrutinizing his target momentarily.
Taking this brief second, I use his distraction to my advantage and barrel into him, my head ducking low with arms wrapping around his waist. “Ho detto basta!” I uselessly shout out as our fight progresses.
His elbow blows down on my shoulder blades, repeatedly pounding into my back until I fall to the floor. The strikes I made to his rib cage don’t stop him, it only encourages him to fasten his pace to reach one of the Valentinos’ who I last saw fighting another Giordano.
As I lay on the concrete for a moment I gather myself and try push off the ground with uneasy vision. The darkness only makes it harder to see what the hell is happening. “I said stay out of my fucken way,” Harry seethes and I feel a kick to my stomach.
The little shit has a death wish coming.
I don’t fall flat but I stay on my hands and knees, squeezing my eyes shut, releasing a failed suppressed moan. Swiftly I push the pain aside and turn around to leap at Harry again. Our mission may be ruined but I will not be responsible for his or any others death. A war isn’t what I need but I worry that we may have already started one tonight.
Tackling him to the ground we wrestle each other for the upper hand until I’m on top with one knee on his chest. Pulling out a handgun last minute from my pocket I place it dead center to Harry’s forested and wait for him to make his next move.
Hyperventilating he lifts his open palms up to either side of his head, facing me. He may have surrendered but his eyes still blaze with anger. “It wasn’t my fault. That son of a bitch started it!” Harry violently shouts.
My chest heaves for air as my heart thumps harshly.
I feel dizzy, lightheaded from the fight, yet I still remain physically composed on the outside. Hiding the fact that I just want to fall over and place my head between my knees.
Nauseation brews at the mind, acid on the tip of my tongue.
Fuck, I shouldn’t have hit him that hard, thinking to myself on how this backfired.
Frezy surrounds us, men turning against men as they try to protect their own. It’s dark on the third floor and on this side of the wing, as minutes pass I can hear their sounds lessen.
Shadows brawl in the moonlight, silhouettes scuffling with hands as others try to pull them apart. Who knows how long it’ll be till someone whips out their gun and takes this whole place down because of their ego.
“Who started this?” I cock the handle, the cool metal of the trigger between my fingers so easy to pull.
Perhaps I should.
“Ask them!” Harry points to two shadows going at each other. It may be dark but even then I’m able to make out that one of them is Edoardo, whoever he’s fighing is someone I don’t recognize.
They fight with fists and tussle each other into an unsuccessful headlock. “They started arguing over a fucken spot, next thing I see is those kids swinging at each other,” he says as blood pools around his mouth and teeth.
Shit, why did I ever think Edoardo could do anything on his own, and where the hell was Pietro to watch over him.
Looking back down at him I ask, “who swung first.” I needed confirmation that it wasn’t my men who started this, and I truly hope it wasn’t.
But hope is stupid thing.
“That one,” pointing his red stained chin at Edoardo. “He’s one of yours isn’t he.” Harry licks his bottom lip, turning his head ever so slightly to spit out the pooling blood.
“Why were you set on him?” I don’t answer Harry’s question but instead lift up my gun to the man who he was after then place it back to hover over his head.
The man who I pointed to notices me, then his focus moves to Harry. Luckily he’s being held back by one of his own or else I would have to worry about to useless fucks.
But the look he gives through the darkness is killer.
“The Valentino punched me instead when your kid hit him first then ducked.” So Edoardo had hit a Valentino, fuck! How was I going to explain this one to my father and Cherry’s? “When I went after him they all tried to jump me, that was until my own came in, now we’re here.” He finishes.
How the hell am I going to fix this?
“We don’t have time for this shit.” I say, pushing off him, I stand back up. “Get your men.” I wave my gun to the lot of them, not knowing who is who.
We weren’t close to the open windows but if we were I could see a lot more better than this.
Harry drags himself back up, holding his side with a grimace on his already irritated face.“I don’t take orders from you,” he coughs out, blood spraying to the ground.
Now that irks me. Grabbing the collar of his shirt I shove him back against the metal pillar and press the barrel of the gun to his jaw. “I don’t know what game your playing, but it stops tonight — I don’t trust you Giordano and I’ve got you marked.”
His mouth opens slightly and I feel him shutter underneath my touch. “That’s right, I got my men on you,” informing him of the truth. “I saw you that day and I know you saw me too.”
Harry loses the shock and angrily furrows his brows. “There wasn’t shit to see. You can have a mark on me but you won’t find anything.”
He’s confident, absolutely sure that I won’t find a thing.
“Maybe, maybe not.” I tap the gun against his skin before letting go of his collar. “Either way, it still ends tonight.”
Our breaths still haven’t calmed and at this point the disorder around us slips away for a second.
“You looked scared the last time I saw you.” I scowl and place the gun back into my pocket. “Keep that fear.”
Harry doesn’t say anything back, he just simply leans against the beam and places his hands on his thighs, slightly slouching.
“We need eyes on them,” I interrupt his little moment of peace. My father was still out there and only a few of my cousins downstairs were on look out.
At this point I couldn’t rely on anyone else.
Anything could happen.
“I don’t control them all,” he glowers at me. “And the plan is ruined, I’m surprised more guns haven’t gone off from their end.”
I don’t have time for this shit.
“Then fucken find away for them to listen.” I point to all of them. “I’ll handle my men.” Turning away from Harry I run to Edoardo and grab him by the back of his jacket, tugging him away from the Valentino kid.
“What the fuck are you doing!” My yells cause him to flinch and try to withdraw from my hold. “How could you do this!” Rhetorically asking. I don’t care for his answer right now, I can’t do this, my father needs me. “I said no fucken fighting! Find your cousins and fix this shit now.” I thrust him away and he silently scurries but not before the Valentino kid tries to go after him again.
Side stepping into his way I pull my fist back and propel it forward and into his stomach. A groan emits from his lips and he slouches forward. I’m quick to catch him only to whisper into his ear, “think of what Antonio will do to you once he finds out you’re the reason a war broke out between him and the Russians.” Instantly he snaps his head up, his eyes shine with shock. Letting him slip from my hands I tell him, “you better go and stop the others.”
When I step back I hear a few gunshots ricocheting from downstairs.
Something dreadful is happening.
With speed, I run back to the first floor, dodging obstacles in my way from what the construction workers have left behind on the floor.
Per favore non mio padre.
Skidding to a stop I exhale a sigh of relief when I see that not only have my cousins taken cover behind the concrete wall by the exit but so have Enzo, Antonio, and my father.
They’re all safe, protecting themselves with guns that my cousins have handed them.
Lowering myself as if I’m crouching, I make my way over to them, careful not have stand as the glassless windows can be shot straight through with ease. “Just the Petrovs’ shooting at us?” I quietly ask. Obviously it’s the Russians but I need to know if they’ve brought anyone else, if they have any new alliances.
“Just them,” my father begrudgingly answers. “Quello che è successo?” He looks at me with a resentful face.
“Edoardo,” is all I nonchalant say.
His fuck up is now everyone’s burden.
“Come posso credere che tu sia un leader se non riesci a gestirlo? You’re supposed to be the next boss Alessio, you need to prevent these things before they happen.... I don’t know if you can handle it, if you’re even ready.”
(how can I believe you are a leader if you can’t handle it?)
My jaw locks, upset that he’s lecturing me as if I’m a child. “Father I-”
Words cut off as bullets come flying through the window. A few seconds pass by of loud echoing but and Gio is the first to move and aim his semi-automatic rifle outside the exit door frame, shooting into the distance. Soon after he starts our other men follow, all shooting at the construction machines left outside where the Petrovs’ must be hiding.
Fire ceases, letting up for a moment.
Shoes clatter against the floor.
Footsteps come running down the cement staircase and I turn my head to see Luca, Diego, and Simone standing behind Fionn and Harry. They have their own guns and make their way to us.
But as they take a step forward the bullets start up again. “Get down!” I holler over the reverberations.
Luca, Diego, and Simone are lucky enough to be furthest away, it’s easier for them to backtrack their steps and avoid the fire. However, right away the bodies of both Fionn and Harry whip back, causing them to lose their balance while their blood flies everywhere and fall hard to the ground.
Harry’s head is barley able to turn to us, his wide eyes immediately locking onto Enzo as I hear him take one sharp ragged inhale.
Mines flicker to Fionn who’s looking up at the ceiling, his mouth parted.
Fire ceases again as more guns from our end start to fire all at once, giving my father and I the opportunity to slide over to Fionn. Enzo, who’s in shock, does the same with Harry.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. I got you,” saying to my little cousin. Taking my jacket I press it to his shoulder that’s the source of his bleeding.
Tears swell up in Fionn’s eyes, his jaw moves but he says nothing. His bloody fingers find mine. I can feel the vibrations of his shaking body.
Absolutely petrified of death.
All I can do is think about his mother and father.
The bloody mess makes it hard to tell if this is his only wound or if there’s more we’re not seeing in the moment. When I look over to Harry I see that he’s still alive but his eyes are squeezing shut as Enzo hovers above him, taking off his own jacket.
A bullet made it into his chest.
“Were going to get you out of here.” I turn back to Fionn and continue to press down on his wound as carefully as I can with enough force. “Where going to go-”
A moving shadow around the corner to the front entrance catches my attention, so much so that I have to do a double-take.
The built of the figure appears to be a man, just standing there before continuing to the entrance.
However, I can’t pay attention too long because Fionn’s coughs draw me back in.
Reality holds my attention again...
but when I look back, I still see the silhouette lingering by the entrance. It’s only when it melts away into the shadows do I wonder who or what the hell was so calmly watching us.