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Chapter 4 • No Hero Needed

• A Few Hours Ago •

Anthony Michael Marziano, he is a qualified lawyer and the consigliere to the Aditori family. He was tall and slim. He had dark, dirty blonde hair, a fair complexion and blue eyes. Logical and gentle, he serves as the voice of reason within the family. Befriends with Bruno and Nicholas since they were children, Anthony, who lived on the street after running away from an orphanage was taken in by the two boys and kept a secret until Alessio found him in the middle of the night in the kitchen.

Scared and worried of what Alessio would do, Anthony was welcomed by the Aditoris as a family member. Anthony considered Alessio his true father, although Alessio never formally adopts him, believing it would be disrespectful to Anthony's deceased parents.

After law school, Anthony went to work in the Aditori "family business". His non-Italian ancestry precluded his formal membership in the family, but when the consigliere Alejandro Desamparada died, Anthony was given his position.

Anthony immersed himself in the Sicilian-American culture and spoke fluent Sicilian. His German physical appearance, though distracting to the Five Families, was an advantage to his job. He was able to travel and conduct family business in non-Italian circles without potential witnesses noticing him.

Anthony opened the folder that held his notes. The notes were in no way incriminating, merely cryptic reminders to make sure he touched on every important detail. "Russo is coming to us for help," Anthony said. "He will ask the family to put up at least a million dollars and to promise some sort of immunity from the law. For that we get a piece of the action, nobody knows how much. Russo is vouched for by the Xavier family and they may have a piece of the action. The action is narcotics. Russo has the contacts in Albania, where they grow the poppy. From there he ships to Sicily. No trouble. In Sicily he has the plant to process into heroin. He has safety-valve operations to bring it down to morphine and bring it up to heroin if necessary. But it would seem that the processing plant in Sicily is protected in every way. The only hitch is bringing it into this country, and then distribution. Also initial capital. A million dollars cash doesn't grow on trees." Anthony saw Alessio grimace.The old man hated unnecessary flourishes in business matters. He went on hastily.

"They call Russo the Albanian for two reasons. One; he spent a lot of time in Albania and is supposed to have an Albanian wife and kids. And Second; he's supposed to be very quick with the knife, or was, when he was young. Only in matters of business, though, and with some sort of reasonable complaint. A very competent man and his own boss. He has a record, he's done two terms in prison, one in Italy, one in the United States, and he's known to the authorities as a narcotics man. This could be a plus for us. It means that he'll never get immunity to testify, since he's considered the top and, of course, because of his record. Also he has an American wife and three children and he is a good family man. He'll stand still for any rap as long as he knows that they will be well taken care of for living money."

Alessio puffed on his cigar and said, "Nick, what do you think?"

Anthony knew what Nicholas would say. Nicholas was chafing at being under his father's thumb. He wanted a big operation of his own. Something like this would be perfect.

Nicholas took a long slug of scotch. "There's a lot of money it that white powder," he said. "But it could be dangerous. Some people could wind up in jail for twenty years. I'd say that if we kept out of the operations end, just stuck to protection and financing, it might be a good idea."

Anthony looked at Nicholas approvingly. He had played his cards well. He had stuck to the obvious, much the best course for him.

Alessio puffed on his cigar. "And you, Bruno, Anthony, what do you boys think?"

Bruno and Anthony shared a look before they composed themselves to be absolutely honest. They had already come to the conclusion that the Don would refuse Russo's proposition. But what was worse, Anthony was convinced that for one of the few times in his experience, the Don had not thought things through. He was not looking far enough ahead.

"Go ahead, Anthony," Alessio said encouragingly. "Not even a Sicilian Consigliere always agrees with the boss." They all laughed.

"I think you should say yes, uncle" said Bruno.

Anthony nodded. "Bruno's right," he said. "You know all the obvious reasons. But the most important one is this. There is more money potential in narcotics than in any other business. If we don't get into it, somebody else will, maybe the Xavier family. With the revenue they earn they can amass more and more police and political power. Their family will become stronger than ours. Eventually they will come after us to take away what we have. It's just like countries. If they arm, we have to arm. If they become stronger economically, they become a threat to us. Now we have the gambling and we have the unions and right now they are the best things to have. But I think narcotics is the coming thing. I think we have to have a piece of that action or we risk everything we have. Not now, but maybe ten years from now."

Alessio seemed enormously impressed. He puffed on his cigar and murmured, "That's the most important thing of course." He sighed and got to his feet. "What time do I have to meet this infidel?"

Anthony said hopefully, "He'll be here in an hour in."

Alessio nodded. "I'll want you boys here with me," the Don said.

Zack "the Albanian" Russo was a powerfully built, medium-sized man of dark complexion who could have been taken for a true Albanian. He had a scimitar of a nose and cruel black eyes. He also had an impressive dignity.

Nicholas met him at the door and brought him into the office where Anthony, Bruno and the Don waited. Anthony thought he had never seen a more dangerous-looking man except for Vito Lazzeri.

There were polite handshakings all around. If the Don ever asks me if this man has balls, I would have to answer yes, Anthony thought. He had never seen such force in one man, not even the Don. In fact the Don appeared at his worst. He was being a little too simple, a little too peasantlike in his greeting. Maybe it's because of Isabel, he thought to himself.

Russo came to the point immediately. The business was narcotic. Everything was set up. Certain poppy fields in Albania had pledged him certain amounts every year. He had a protected plant in France to convert into morphine. He had an absolutely secure plant in Sicily to process into heroin. Smuggling into both countries was as positively safe as such matters could be. Entry into the United States would entail about five percent losses since the FBI itself was incorruptible, as they both knew. But the profits would be enormous, the risk nonexistent.

"Then why do you come to me?" Alessio asked politely. "How have I deserved your generosity?"

Russo's dark face remained impassive. "I need two million dollars cash," he said. "Equally important, I need a man who has powerful friends in the important places. I need a friend who can guarantee that when my people get in trouble they won't spend more than a year or two in jail. Then they won't talk. But if they get ten and twenty years, who knows? In this world there are many weak individuals. They may talk, they may jeopardize more important people. Legal protection is a must. I hear, Aditori that you have as many judges in your pocket as a bootblack has pieces of silver."

Alessio didn't bother to acknowledge the compliment. "What percentage for my family?" he asked.

Russo's eyes gleamed. "Fifty percent." He paused and then said in a voice that was almost a caress, "In the first year your share would be three or four million dollars. Then it would go up."

Alessio said, "And what is the percentage of the Xavier family?"

For the first time Russo seemed to be nervous. "They will receive something from my share. I need some help in the operations."

"So," Alessio began, "I receive fifty percent merely for finance and legal protection. I have no worries about operations, is that what you tell me?"

Russo nodded. "If you think two million dollars in cash is 'merely finance,' I congratulate you, Don Anitori."

The Don said quietly, "I consented to see you out of my respect for the Xavier family and because I've heard you are a serious man to be treated also with respect. I must say no to you but I must give you my reasons. The profits in your business are huge but so are the risks. Your operation, if I were part of it, could damage my other interests. It's true I have many, many friends in politics, but they would not be so friendly if my business were narcotics instead of gambling. They think gambling is something like liquor, a harmless vice, and they think narcotics a dirty business."

Russo opened his mouth to speak, but Alessio held his hand up. "No, don't protest," he said. "I'm telling you their thoughts, not mine. How a man makes his living is not my concern. And what I am telling you is that this business of yours is too risky. All the members of my family have lived well the last ten years, without danger, without harm. I can't endanger them or their livelihoods out of greed."

The only sign of Russo's disappointment was a quick flickering of his eyes around the room, as if he hoped Anthony or Nicholas would speak in his support. Then he said, "Are you worried about security for your two million?"

The Don smiled coldly. "No," he said.

Russo tried again. "The Xavier family will guarantee your investment also."

It was then that Nicholas made an unforgivable error in judgment and procedure. He said eagerly, "The Xavier family guarantees the return of our investment without any percentage from us?"

Anthony was horrified at this break. He saw the Alessio turn cold, malevolent eyes on his eldest son, who froze in uncomprehending dismay. Russo's eyes flickered again, but this time with satisfaction. He had discovered a chink in the Don's fortress. When the Don spoke his voice held a dismissal. "Young people are greedy," he said. "And today they have no manners. They interrupt their elders. They meddle. But I have a sentimental weakness for my children and I have spoiled them. As you see. Signor Russo, my no is final. Let me say that I myself wish you good fortune in your business. It has no conflict with my own. I'm sorry that I had to disappoint you."

Russo bowed, shook the Don's hand and let Anthony take him to his car outside. There was no expression on his face when he said good-bye to Anthony.

Back in the room, Alessio asked Anthony, "What did you think of that man?"

"He's a Sicilian," Anthony said dryly.

The Alessio nodded his head thoughtfully. Then he turned to his son and said gently, "Nicholas, never let anyone outside the family know what you are thinking. Never let them know what you have under your fingernails. I think your head is messed up from all that comedy you play with that girl. Stop it and pay attention to business. Now get out of my sight."

Anthony saw the surprise on Nicholas' face, then anger at his father's reproach. Did he really think the Don would be ignorant of his conquest, Anthony wondered. And did he really not know what a dangerous mistake he had made this morning? If that were true, Anthony would never wish to be the Consigliere to Don Nicholas Aditori.

Not two hour later, Bruno came bursting into the room. His chest heaving, face looking pale and out of breath. "Bruno, boy, what's the matter?" Alessio asked.

There was a very pregnant pause as Bruno looked back and forth at Alessio and Anthony. Alessio stood up from his chair and looked at Bruno with a weary expression on his face. He could feel that something bad has happened.

Cold licked at her face and crept under her clothes, spreading across her skin like the lacy tide on a frigid winter beach. Pain shot through her head, making her winch, but she couldn't lift up her hands to touch the spot where the pain came from. She blinked a few times as she opened her eyes and looked down to see that she was seated on a chair with her hands tied behind her back. She tugged and pulled at the tape that held her wrists together, but it was hopeless.

She sighed and looked around for help. She was in a large warehouse. The corrugated iron roof was domed some twenty-five feet above them, like a shanty-town cathedral. The grain was piled high at the far end and for the farm rats it was a free-for-all. At the other end were the packed sacks of grain ready for distribution.

The sound of chatter and footsteps reached her ears, and she immediately looked around for the new comers. "Forget about that," said an unfamiliar voice. "We have much pressing matters—" a man, middle-sized and dark stopped in his tracks and looked at Isabel with a sadistic grin on his face. He had a group of men behind him in long, black trench coats, who walked right past the man and surrendered Isabel in a circle.

"Come on, gentleman, untie the lady" said Russo, and one of the men walked behind Isabel and untied her hands. Her wrists were a slight red-pinkish colour and stung as she rubbed them. Russo stood still for a moment before he walked over to the side and dragged a chair behind him and sat down in front of Isabel. "My apologies," he said, with a hand on his chest. "We haven't been properly introduced," he continued. "I'm Zack Russo, and you must be Isabel, the long lost daughter of Alessio 'JJ' Aditori." He held his hand out towards her in a shaking gesture, but Isabel sat still and didn't move. "The pleasure's all mine, I see."

"What do you want?" Isabel asked firmly.

Russo, surprised by the tone in her voice grinned as he stood up from his chair. "I know you're not in the muscle end of the Family," he said. "I want you to help the Aditories, and I want you to help me. You see, I laid down a deal for your father, but Don Aditori is getting old. He doesn't see how the modern world works. So after the meeting I gave word out and picked you up. You brother, Nicholas, on the other hand was hot for my deal which is why you have to make the peace between me and Nicholas."

Isabel didn't answer. She just sat there in silence, staring at the man as he circled her. "Narcotics is the coming thing," Russo went on. "There's so much money in it that everybody can get rich just in a couple of years. The Don is an old 'Moustache Pete,' his day are over, but he doesn't know it. I'm ready to make a new deal, I want you to talk Nicholas into taking it."

Isabel looked down at the ground for a second, before she looked back up and met Russo's cold eyes. "And what makes you think Nicholas will listen to me?"

Russo said impatiently, "You're his sister. You have to talk some sense to him. The Xavier family stands behind me with all their people. If Nicholas goes along with the deal, the other Families will consider it none of their affair, even the Don himself and his oldest friends. So talk to Nicholas, talk to the family."

Russo watched Isabel, expecting an answer but she sat still and silently. He opened his mouth to speak, but a new member of his little group walked into the warehouse with a phone in his hand. "You have a phone call," he said.

Russo nodded, and turned back to Isabel. He tilted his head to one side as he looked down at her. "Think about it," he said. "I don't like violence, Isabel. I'm a businessman. Blood is a big expense."

'How the bloody hell am I going to convince Nicholas to agree?....and how will that look when he goes against his father's wishes? will they look into each other's eyes?...'

Isabel didn't move from the chair. She had been thinking about how and what she was going to do. 'If I, somehow, get Nicholas to agree...he would be in danger...drugs were a different business and investment than charity foundations, casinos and restaurants...and to think of their friends and business parents it wouldn't be smart to work with someone who was in the drug industry...

Isabel exhaled a sigh as she buried her face in her hands, and just then a cup was held in front of her face. She looked up and saw a man. He was tall, dark and looked to be in his late twenties—nearly thirties. "Here," he spoke in a demanding tone. "Drink." Isabel looked at the cup then back to the man and turned her head the other way. The man scoffed at her. "Fine," he said. "Bëhu kurvë."

(Be a bitch)

The man threw the cup on the floor next to her, the glass shattered into a million pieces. Isabel didn't look up at first, her eyes first moved to the shattered glass before she slowly looked up at him. "Real nice," she said. "What did you mother do, huh? Raise you up on the street?."

The men standing around all looked at each other, their eyes wide and mouths hanging slightly open. The man looked down at her, his brows knitted together. "What was that?"

Isabel held back from smirking. She had his full attention now. She held her head up high as she looked him straight in the eyes. "Oh, if I said anything to offend you it was purely intentional."


The blow was as loud as a clap. It was an open-handed blow that made her head turn to the side. The man grabbed her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. He smirked as he looked down to the corner of her mouth and saw that she was bleeding. "Next time watch that—" the man stopped talking, and closed his eyes. Isabel had spat on his face.

There was a very long and heavy pause that lingered in the air around the two. The other men all were shocked. This girl was kidnapped, surrounded by dangerous people who were armed and could kill her, but she was showing no signs of fear.

The man clenched his jaw as his eyes darkened and Isabel found herself thrown off the chair and onto the cold floor. "LAVIRE!!" He roared.


Isabel whipped the corner of her mouth as she got up laughing. The men looked at each other as they each took a small step back. The laugh that escaped her mouth filled the warehouse and echoed throughout in a chilling and haunting vibe. She stood behind the chair and placed her hands on it as she continued to laugh.

And then, as if something snapped within her, she grabbed the chair and swung it at the man and watched as he fell to the ground.

The warehouse fell silent. So silent that if someone dropped a pin it would have echoed throughout the building.

The men standing around were taken aback. They all looked at the man on the ground who was unconscious with broken chair parts laying around him.

"That's," Isabel said breathlessly. "What you get for rising a hand on a girl! Bastardo!!"


Isabel stepped over the man's unconscious body, but was met with a blocked path. The men all stepped forward, some cracking their knuckles as they looked down at her. Isabel looked at each of them before sighing. "So," she began. "Which one of you will be a gentleman and take me home?"

Laughed broke from the group, but Isabel wasn't laughing. Her eyes followed the man who had turned to see if Russo had come back. How she wanted to stretch her arm out and yank him down to the ground.

"Goxha, eh?" One of the men said, and they all nodded.


How I wish I knew Albanian, Isabel thought to herself just as the same man reach his hand out towards her cheek. She frowned at him and grabbed his arm, bending it in the process before she threw him onto the man beside him.

The men standing all looked at her as though they had never seen a girl before. Isabel sighed, hands stretched out on her sides as she looked at them. "Right," she said. "Who would like to go first?"

The dark haired man pushed a man in front of him and Isabel dislocated his arm from his socket. She turned back to the now four men standing, and saw one of them clench his hand into a fist. She tilted her head to the side as she watched him for a moment before he charged forward. She caught and dogged a few swings from him before she caught his arm and turned her back to him and pulled on his arm. A cracking sound was heard and the man cried in pain.

As the man fell to the ground, Isabel reached down for two of the broken chair legs and turned to look at the three men. "Now boys," she said. "Let's all play fair. No cheating." The men looked at each other, guns in hand. Isabel watched as one of them raised their gun with shaking hands. "Oi," she said. "Come on— hey! why don't we—"


Isabel ducked her head, the bullet few past her due to the man's shaky hands. Isabel looked at him with an angry expression before she charged forward and swung one of the wooden chair legs at his wrist. The gun few from his grasp and he yelled in pain as he dropped onto his knees.

She turned to the other man and swung the wooden chair leg at his chest. He gasped for air just as she swung another blow onto the side of his face and watched as he fell to the ground. Isabel dropped the wooden chair legs and exhaled as she leaned against one of the iron pillars. She could feel her face and body burning, and the blood running down her nose and brow.

Just as she wanted to walk all over the men on the ground and find a way out, a rope was thrown around her neck and began to straggle her. She tugged and pulled on the rope, but the man behind her was far too strong. She began to gasp for air and she wasn't giving up or going down without a fight. She searched for something— anything that could help her break free from this man, but nothing was close enough for her to reach out her hand and swung at him. But then it hit her; the pillar, she thought to herself. She placed one foot after the other on the pillar until she was high enough to jump over the man and land onto the ground behind him. She quickly grabbed the nearest thing her hand could come into contact with and picked it up.


The man fell to the ground.

Isabel stood still, eyes wide and mouth hanging slightly open. She was stunned. Never had she held a gun in her hand and fired at someone. Fighting was something else, but to pull the trigger was new. She blinked a few times just as she shook her head before taking off.

The night sky looked like a dark, thick blanket that covered half the moon. Isabel rushed outside and saw four men standing around, and once they spotted her she immediately raised the gun in her hand and aimed it at them. "Don't," she warned. "Don't you move."

The men held their hands up so she could see them, as she moved to the black car.

The house was full of men walking in and out, and women sitting in the living room. It was a mad house. "Okay," said Alessio on the phone. "Thank you, Franco." He placed the phone down on his desk as a sigh escaped him. They received a phone call from Russo himself, saying that he had Isabel and they had to do as he wished or he'd hurt her.

"Nothing?" Nicholas asked his father, and the man shook his head.

"I'm going to check on your sister and mother," said Alessio as he stood up and walked out of the room with two of his men behind him.

Nicholas cursed under his breath as soon as the door closed. "Is it going to be an all-out war?" Michael asked hesitantly.

Nicholas' eyes became hard. "That's how I'm going to play it as soon as Isabel checks in."

"So aren't you going to wait for boss to tell you different?" David asked.

Bruno looked at him curiously. "How the hell did you win those combat medals?" He asked. "We are under the gun, man, we gotta fight. We're just afraid they won't let Isabel go."

David was surprised at this. "Why not?"

"They snatched Isabel because they figured the old man was finished and they could make a deal with me and Anthony would be the sit-down guy in the preliminary stages, carry the proposition" Nicholas explained. "Now with the old man they know I can't make a deal so Isabel's no good to them. They can turn her loose or dump her, depending how Russo feels. If they dump her, it would be just to show us they really mean business, trying to bulldoze us."

Michael said quietly, "What made Russo think he could get a deal with you?"

Nicholas flushed and he didn't answer for a moment. Then he said, "We had a meeting," he began. "Russo came to us with a proposition on drugs. The old man turned him down. But during the meeting I shot off my mouth a little, I showed I wanted the deal. Which is absolutely the wrong thing to do; if there's one thing the old man hammered into me it's never, to do a thing like that, to let other people know there's a split of opinion in the Family. Drugs are the coming thing, we should get into it. And his knocking off the old man is purely business, nothing personal."

"If they had gotten the old man, what would you have done?" David asked.

Nicholas said very simply, "Russo is dead meat."

Anthony shook his head and said softly, "That's not how father would have played it."

Nicholas made a violent gesture. "I know I'm not the man he is. But I'll tell you this and he'll tell you too; When it comes to real action I can operate as good as anybody, short-range." The room fell silent as they all looked at each other. They knew Nicholas wasn't bluffing about that he said.

"OK," Nicholas broke the silence as he clapped his hands together. "Anthony, you're the Consigliere, how about some advice? What the hell do you think we should do?"

Anthony sighed as he helped himself to the whiskey bottle on the desk. "We negotiate with Russo. We might even make a deal if we have to. And we will have to convince your father to settle the whole business without a fuss and all the Families will go along with him."

Nicholas said angrily, "You think I can't handle the other families?"

Anthony looked him directly in the eye. "Nick, sure you can outfight them. The Aditori Family has the power. You have Vincenzi and Lazzeri here and they can muster a thousand men if it comes to an all-out war. But at the end there will be a shambles over the whole East Coast and all the other Families will blame the Aditories. We'll make a lot of enemies. And that's something your father never believed in."

“And what if the old man or Isabel die?” Bruno asked. “What do you advise then, Consigliere?"

“I know you won't do it,” Anthony said quietly. “But I would advise you to make a real deal with Russo on the drugs. Without your father's political contacts and personal influence the Aditori Family loses half its strength. Without your father, the other Families might wind up supporting the Xavier’s and Russo just to make sure there isn't a long destructive war. If, God forbid, something happens to your father or Isabel, make the deal. Then wait and see."

Nicholas ran a hand down his face as he thought for a moment. “You know,” he began as he pointed a finger at Anthony. “It’s easy for you to say, Anthony, his not your father or sister.”

Anthony shrug his shoulders. “I was as good a son to him as you or Bruno, maybe better” he said. “I'm giving you a professional opinion. Personally I want to kill all those bastards." The emotion in his voice shamed Nicholas.

Bruno chuckled with his hands up in surrender. “Oh, Christ, Anthony, we didn't mean it that way." But they did, really. Blood was blood and nothing else was its equal.

Just then, Natalia bursted into the room out of breath. “That the hell, Nat” said Bruno. “This room is only for grownups. No little kids. Now scram—“

“It’s Isabel,” she said. “She’s here.”

They quickly rushed out of the office, and followed Natalia into the living room. Michael and David gasped, Bruno wrinkled his nose and covered his mouth with one hand as he said, “HORROR!” And Nicholas just stood still, his mouth hanging slightly open and his eyes wide as he started at Isabel; she had a bloody nose, bruised cheekbone and a a few scratches here and there.

Hello, my lovely readers!

How are you?

So, how do you like chapter four of MAFIA?

I really do hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I have writing it. I have always wanted to write a badass female character who didn’t need a man to save her so I’m very excited about Isabel’s character.

As for Romantic don’t worry!!! There will be plenty of that in this book, but let’s not forget, I’m trying to keep this a real, but at the same time as imaginative as possible.

The ideas and plots I’m getting are mostly from my TikTok videos and also the other Mafia OC creators, but with a storyline of my own.

So once again, I really hope you liked this chapter. And don’t forget to vote, comment and share this book with your friends so you guys could have another book to talk about and create theories.

Valeria 💕

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