The cabby and I argued over the bumpy shortcut I insisted he should take. Luckily, my female charm was a wielding success. I would reach my house maybe half an hour before Johnny going through the shortcut.
When I finally arrived I asked the cabby to let me off a few blocks from the house. I noticed the same bulky guards who accompanied Johnny yesterday morning.
The black Benz they were leaning on was empty which meant Kenny was inside. I decided it was better to avoid anybody on his payroll so rather than using the front entrance I walked into the back yard I went to the kitchen door.
My grandma recoiled against the kitchen sink as if she was spooked.
“Angelica, you startled me, bambina. When did you get here?”
“Awhile ago, is Kenny here?”
I pressed anxiously.
“Yes, he’s upstairs with your father. Oh, bambina, you’ll never guess what’s going on.”
“I already know, grandma.”
Wasting no more time I scurried up the steps. I didn’t have long till Johnny would arrive. I hadn’t the faintest idea on how he intended on handling the situation.
I bellowed, bursting in the room that was his, like an ill mannered child.
“Angelica,” My dad jumped frightened simultaneously with whom I was searching for.
“Kenny, oh thank heavens.”
I draped him in arms checking him after wards. “I heard everything. Are you alright? Do you have any bruises?”
I inquired deeply concerned.
“Not a scratch on him fortunately I’m close to giving him a red jaw though. He deserves one.”
Papa snapped furiously at his young nephew.
“Your dumb cousin has been gambling again. He owes money couldn’t repay a dime to the low lives that wanted to break his bones for their collateral. And they would’ve, if not for Mr. Luciano, you’re dead lucky he was a schoolmate, else he would have no reason to make an employee lend you a hand on his behalf.”
Dominic Kimper was an old fashion man all his life he did he worked hard and did his best to raise us the way he sought proper. I’ve loved so much for always being a good natured and caring dad. I appreciated both him and my mother for doing their best because I could never repay them but always felt the need to try and help them in way I can. But when I witnessed that a sad disappointed glance aimed at Kenny I knew my father felt like a failed parent. The realization made sick to the stomach. I might as well turn to Kenny and give him a red jaw for Papa.
“I know I should thank him, uncle, but I don’t get why he did it. Sure we were schoolmates but we were far from friends he was a total jerk and a bully to me throughout high school.” Kenny replied honest trying not to sound hateful. However, he hated Johnny Luciano like poison for the making his teen days a living hell.
“Stop acting childish you’re a man now for Christ sake. If not you, he must be a friend to Angelica, you all to the same school. Why do you only think of yourself?”
“Calm down, Papa, I’ll explain things to you later, Kenny.”
“You don’t need to explain anything to him he’s not a child. Be grateful that she makes smart decisions you can learn well by her.”
Papa lashed out advancing angrily to his shorter kin.
“Why must you continue getting into trouble you’ve made me ashamed to call you my nephew, ay dio, why Kenny? I’m glad my sister isn’t alive to see how you turned.”
“Papa…stop,” I stepped in catching my father with wrinkled brown eyes welled in tears.
Kenny bowed his head turning away from his disgruntled uncle. Father had stripped him of the courage to even face him.
“Don’t defend him, Angelica, this was supposed to be his chance to improve his life yet all he does is get mixed up with criminals and run to the Casino gambling money he doesn’t have.”
“I agree, we have every reason to be upset but we can’t let anybody lay a finger on him. Lecture and punish him all you want once we’re confident he’s safe.”
I told my father attempting to restore some peace among the two men. “You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t so, Papa”
He sniffed throwing his hands in the air as if all hope was gone.
“What on earth can we do? If there was anything in the power of these old veins to do I wouldn’t hesitate. But our savings were stolen and this bad seed has not a penny to his name to aid in his own welfare. Vergogna!”
Father spat narrowing to Kenny whom still remained as quiet and defenseless as a mouse chased into a corner.
“I give up I can no longer, principessa. He’ll have to get out of Fiorito.”
“No,” my voice was sickly faint.
“This is his home. We’re his only family, where is he supposed to go? It’s out of the question.”
“We don’t have a choice if we---”
“There’s always a choice. We can figure this out and we will together.”
I said taking a spot in between them desperately attempting to diffuse the forbidding hostility.
“Angelica…” A distinct masculine voice called with a frosty echoing. In the doorway he stood tall, shoulders apart , in my house peering irked into the room deadlocking two hard penetrating pools of grey on me.
We were right in the middle private conversation yet dad, Kenny and I transformed into three muted ragdolls the moment the wolfish Italian bellowed my name. Hands buried in his creaseless pants pocket with a high posture, the man gave off such an intimidating alpha energy detectable by his mere presence.
The unhappy expression screwed between those smooth rocky jaws was grimly targeted at me. Yes, I listened to you I came I don’t need anybody’s consent to see my own cousin.
His conceited audacious demeanor left me with a sour sensation, thinking he can barge in my house interrupt a private discussion kicking aside the principle formalities like he was a ruling don and we were nothing but meaningless peasants.
Sofie slowly emerged from the staircase one brittle leg at a time.
“Did you give him permission to come up here, Grandma?”
“Yes,” She responded curt. Well, at least I knew he didn’t brazenly intrude.
“I would like a word alone. Mr. Kimper, please excuse us.”
My father politely reciprocated the head bob Johnny extended while rudely ignoring the other male in the room.
I swallowed the bitter bile rising in my throat and gracefully accompanied our visitor to downstairs to the kitchen.
“Why didn’t you acknowledge Kenny?”
“You be quiet.”
He lashed at me.
I furrowed with blatant desire to take the hot pepper sauce and drain in his eyes.
“No, you be quiet, this is my house I can be here if I want. And how dare you step foot in here acting like you control everything you touch.”
He smirked shaking his head.
“You truly are one stubborn and naïve little girl.”
I gritted I wanted to stay calm but he just kept pushing my buttons.
“Better than a scum bastard who needs to but himself some humility.”
Burning anger fumed the lines of his temples he looked ferocious as if he was about to strangle me.
I shivered inside but held my ground.
“You won’t stop me from speaking my mind, Johnny and you’re not the boss of me or any of us.”
I slung the strong defiant rebuttal.
“The guarantee the only thing you’ll regret is the way you just talked to me, Angelica. You have no idea how severe the disposition your cousin is in.”
I shuddered perplexed. “Excuse me.”
I was hit with a petty sardonic smirk.
“I personally contacted the ring leader of the money sharks he owes. If he doesn’t get the payment plus the interest Kenny agreed upon by the end of the week you can bet his dogs will be searching for him to finish the job they already intended at the Casino. He got away scot free last time but given present dissatisfying circumstances I’m not sure about lending the services of my bodyguards twice.”
I exhaled stuttering a response could even put together.
This time I was forced to obey.
He fished for his cell.
“I don’t have time for this. If you want to do your cousin a favor you’ll go tell your family you have something important to handle and take yourself back to the Villa, is that understood?”
His tone was rough his nostrils flaring.
I bit my tongue before I got the innate urge to unleash another saucy retort. I can’t afford to be rash and overly emotional while a knife was at my helpless cousin’s neck.
It was a blunt reminder that I was once more at his mercy and he had no trouble asserting it since he was the modern day version of an egoistic tyrant. Dio mio, why? As if there an evil puppet master playing a sick game with my life, pulling the strings of a callous faith destined for me, one where I had been continuously chained to a bully, released as a joke so he have the thrill of catching me again.
I muttered curt and obedient.