Giovanni arrived at the casino and met up with Dante and Vincenzo who stood near the entrance. He gazed around, searching for Raffaele.
‘’Where is he?’’
‘’Raffaele? Where do you think?’’ Vincenzo pointed inside the casino.
‘’It’s not even dark outside and he’s already gambling?’’ Giovanni grumbled.
’’’At least, he was here earlier than you. Why didn’t you come with Dante?’’
‘’None of your business.’’
Vincenzo made a long blink at the tone Giovanni spoke in. Usually, Giovanni didn’t have his walls up around family. He looked at Dante for some clarification but only got waved off by him.
The three men went inside to discuss a deal with the owner of the casino. The casino earned a good sum of money and the De Reges wanted to take it over from the owner. The man guarding the owner’s office spoke into his earpiece and let Dante, Giovanni and Vincenzo inside after his boss had given him permission to.
‘’Dante, Giovanni, Vincenzo! Come in, come in. Have a seat!’’ the owner gestured to the chairs.
‘’No, it’s alright. It’s not going to take long,’’ Giovanni said.
‘’I didn’t except visitors but what can I do for you?’’
‘’We’re taking the casino,’’ Dante said not beating around the bush.
The owner’s smile turned in to chuckle and after a few seconds, he started laughing like a hyena. His laughter died down quickly when nobody joined his laughter. By now, Vincenzo was pouring a glass of whiskey for himself. The condescending look thrown in his way by Giovanni and Dante made him feel small. He felt disrespected by them in his own casino.
‘’No. Absolutely not! It’s mine!’’ the middle-aged man spat out.
‘’If we have to ask you again, we might not be as polite as we are now.’’ Giovanni threatened.
The De Rege family had no problem using violence to get what they wanted. This was no exception.
‘’We don’t have all day. So how about you give us the papers and then everyone is happy.’’ Vincenzo bared his teeth, showing the owner a sinister smile.
The owner did as he was told. Afraid to see what consequences laid ahead of him if he didn’t. He stepped away from his desk when Giovanni beckoned for him to come closer.
Giovanni put his hand on the man’s shoulder, invading his personal space. Purposefully trying to make him feel uncomfortable and powerless.
‘’You asked us for protection and we gave it to you. Problem is that you don’t pay up. Not only that but when my father was generous enough to give you a loan, you never paid that back either. It’s the same old story over and over again with you.’’ Giovanni increased the pressure of his grip. ‘’See this as payment.’’
The man was sly and greedy. He never intended to pay up. He wanted to keep everything cent to himself.
Giovanni didn’t miss the man glancing at the pocket knife on the small table next to them. The second the owner began to move, Giovanni’s lips curled up in amusement. Quickly, he snatched the tumbler glass out of Vincenzo’s hand and slammed it against the owner’s head.
The man’s hand shot up to his bleeding head and groaned in pain.
‘’Don’t try anything stupid with me.’’ Giovanni lowered himself to match his height. ’’And never raise your voice against us. Capito?’’ his scowl casting a shadow over his eyes.
(Do you understand?)
’’Capito,’’ he whimpered.
Vincenzo mumbled, ‘’I didn’t even get to finish my drink.’’
The man opened the drawer of his desk and took out the papers Giovanni was asking for. His hand still on the side of his head. Blood dripping onto the floor and staining it.
‘’Should I get Raffaele?’’ Vincenzo said.
‘’No, let him be.’’ Dante tucked the folded papers inside his jacket and was the first one to leave the small office.
Giovanni and Vincenzo followed suit. Before leaving the casino, Giovanni informed the guard to check up on his boss’ injury. In the end, the middle-aged man was of more use to them alive than he was dead.
After returning to the De Rege mansion, the three men reported back to the Don of the family.
‘’Give me the papers,’’ Silvio ordered.
Dante stepped forward and handed the papers over to his father. The Don smiled in delight and dismissed Giovanni and Vincenzo. Silvio wanted to have a talk with his oldest son. The current underboss of the family and next in line to be the Don.
‘’Want to have a drink?’’ Vincenzo asked.
Giovanni shut the door of his father’s office. ‘’Sure.’’
They went over to the back and poured a drink for themselves. Similar to Dante, Vincenzo didn’t hold back on his liquor. Only difference was that it didn’t take a long time for the alcohol to have an effect on Vincenzo. He was a lightweight.
‘’You know I always wanted to get back at him,’’ Vincenzo slurred.
Vincenzo didn’t have to explain for Giovanni to know what he was talking about. Giovanni was very much aware of his past. The name of Vincenzo’s father sat on the edge of Giovanni’s memory.
At a young age, Vincenzo and his younger brother Leone were abandoned by their father because they were bastards. With nobody to take care of them, Silvio and Celia took the orphans into their home and raised them as if they were their own.
‘’Ivan,’’ saying his father’s name left a bad taste in his mouth. ‘’Giovanni, listen up. I want him to suffer for what he did to my mother and Leone. I tried to track him down but the bastard doesn’t want to be fucking found!’’ Vincenzo slammed his fist on the table. ‘’I need your help.’’
Asking for help wasn’t something that came easy to Vincenzo. He was a proud man who always wanted to do things on his own.
‘’I’ll have your back.’’ Giovanni downed his scotch on the rocks.
Giovanni respected Vincenzo. Not because he was older than him but because of the way he cared for the people around him and for his loyalty.