Joey Markoni was known for his dark, murderous ways before he was allowed to smoke. At the young age of 26, he had already struck fear in the hearts of anyone who dared to cross him and struck lust into the hearts of women in every country. He owned a club that belonged to only the wealthiest people in the world and a select group of people from his mob in Chicago. It grosses millions of dollars each year in revenue and even the IRS takes nothing from the great Joseph Markoni.
In separate worlds only a block away lived Beatrice Storm. She had just moved to Chicago to be closer to her grandmother who had fallen ill of kidney failure. Being that her grandmother was an 87 year old woman, her chances of getting a new kidney were slim. Beatrice was named promptly after her grandmother and cared for her more deeply than she cared for any other living being. When her grandmother was thriving, she would spend her days telling Beatrice about her grandfather and how much she loved and missed him. She would tell Beatrice in a dreamy manner "Your Papa would sing to me," and Beatrice would interrupt excitedly as a young girl. "Papa could sing?!" It would only make her grandmother melt that much more as she soaked herself in memories of the past. "Ah, yes my dear Betty, your papa had the voice of a thousand angels."
But cruel fate took a turn for the worse when her grandmother collapsed in her apartment in Chicago. Ever since Beatrice received the news about her grandmother, she raced down to Chicago to personally take care of her. Having little money and desperate for work she sought out the highest paying jobs in her area. Of course, Markoni's was offering 300 dollars a week and she quickly rushed to apply. She had heard her grandmother speak seldom of Markoni's as she said she was too common for the likes of her. She found the club more of an eye sore and annoyance than anything, but other than her grandmother's quip attitude Beatrice had no reason to shy away from such an outstanding offer. It was possible that she could afford her grandmother's surgery and move her further up the donor list within six months of steady work.
Her first shift at Markoni's statted at midnight and she was already uncomfortable with the uniform. Per dress code regulations, she had to wear a black halter top, and bright red leather mini skirt. Beatrice was sure she had never shown this much skin to anyone and she found it degrading and ridiculous but the pay was worth the embarrassment. She thought perhaps that since it was so late that the club would be nearly empty, and she only had to make a fool of herself in front of a small group of people. She was mistaken for when she entered through the doors, the crowd of people dancing and talking blared through the room, almost ear piercing.
The maitra d, Ronan was pacing around frantically and upon spotting Beatrice he glowed in utter happiness. Ronan was a thin wiry Frenchman and his accent wasn't enduring or lustrous but more thick and hard to understand. Still, he seemed distressed and Beatrice curiously headed towards him in hope she could calm him.
"Oh! Mon Ami, I am so glad you could make it. Misuor Chantelle is in a increble horrendous mood. The last waitress, jus POOF!" as he threw his hands up in despair before resting them on his head in exasperation. "Please, Please, I beg of you madame maisel, go to him. Put on your best smile, yes? He is a tough customer, but the se pay..." he spread his arms out wide in expression of how much this mysterious and hard to please man must pay if he is satisfied. Beatrice sighed and gave a half hearted smile and nod. Ronan squealed girlishly with glee and some of the waitresses that were eavesdropping gave looks of remorse to the new girl. Ronan gave Beatrice a tray of champagne and told her to head downstairs to the V.I.P room where she could find Mr. Chanetelle. Wobbling slightly on her impossible heels, she carefully made her way through the crowded dance floor and down a dimly lit stairwell.
Being in the V.I.P room was like entering a whole different building. It was mostly the sounds of drunken men playing poker and a fog of cigar smoke in the air. There was light piano music being played, but from where she couldnt tell. She coughed softly at the smell of strong cigars and walked nervously through the room, making sure not to spill a drop of champagne. The women who may have also been intoxicated were dressed in the most designer clothing, and some Beatrice realized where featured in romantic movies she had seen not so very long ago. It was almost overwhelming. With her free hand, she tugged nervously at her skirt, as she already felt naked.
Past the gentleman arguing at the poker table, and the luxurious women draped across their laps sat a brooding man on a long leather couch. He looked wealthy but smelled like a bum. Upon approaching him with the tray she took in his features. Being the most obvious, he had a long scar along his cheek and his green cat like eyes looked as though he wasn't in a cheerful mood. Beatrice took a deep breath and lowered the tray to him. "Mr. Chantelle? I'm Betty, your waitress. Mr. Ronan sent me to-" her word came to a screeching halt when he flung his arm out, casting the tray across the room and shattering the champagne all over the wall and floor.
"I KNOW why that French pig sent you down here bitch! Get me a scotch and learn to speak when spoken to and you might get a little spending money!" His voice was gruff and disgusting, like he had garggled nails every night before he went to sleep. Beatrice held her tongue, nearly biting through and causing her to taste blood in her mouth. Instead she reminded herself of her poor grandmother alone at home, waiting for her arrival with good news.
She nodded politely and gave a tense smile "of course." She spun around on her heels and forgetting she couldn't keep her balance in them when she was fully focused on walking , let alone when she had forgotten about her attire all together. She tripped and was sent sprawling across the brick flooring. Before she could pick herself up with little dignity she heard the angry man she was to cater to growl infuriated at her clumsiness. She was snatched back up on her feet by Chantelle as he grasped her tightly by the arm. "First you spill imported champagne on me then you forget how to walk?! Prehaps if I send one of you bimbos back with a black eye, that French pig will learn to send someone competant." He hissed the words inches from her face and she flinched as he raised his hand to beat her.
Everyone had grown quiet at the commotion and were staring intently. When the strike never came, Beatrice peaked open her eyes to see the drunken man was frozen in place. His eyes fixed above her head almost as if he had seen a ghost. Wide eyed and suddenly reluctant, he released Beatrice and started smoothing his greasy black hair back. He fumbled for words and finally came to only one. "Markoni".
Beatrice looked over at chantelle's grim reaper and became immediately aware of the man's attractiveness. His eyes were the color of ice. He was finely dressed and had an expression of calm collectiveness that was both lust worthy and frightening. He took a few steps foward, saying nothing, only taking a few puffs from his cigar. The room was eerily quiet, unlike before where patrons watched with intrest, were now looking down or away entirely. It was obvious that this man held the attention of everyone in the room. The piano music that was playing softly in the background somewhere that was unknown seemed louder, setting a scene for Markoni's arrival.
Finally, in what seemed like several hours he spoke. "Johnny...." he wagged his finger disapprovingly at Chantelle. The man who was seconds away from beating her was now trembling at the sight of this mysterious stranger. Markoni furrowed his brow and took another puff from his cigar. Only to touch his upper lip slightly with his tongue before he spoke again. "Do we need to step into my office??" He asked pointedly at, who was now known as Johnny who began tearing up and blubbering out words of apology and remorse. "I'm sorry Markoni, I swear, it wont happen again! I'll do anything you want, I'll- I'll-" he was silenced by a single wave of Markoni's hand. He simply stepped foward and whispered something inaudible in Johnny Chantelle's ear.
Johnny's eyes grew wide with fear but succumbed to a crumbled mess. His shoulders slumped as if he had just heard some tragic news and walked away and up the stairs, out of sight.
Beatrice's eyes were wide with fright and wonder. What was so important about this man? and what could make a guy like Johnny Chantelle weep like a scolded child? Whatever Markoni had said must have been of great threat because Johnny left with the expression of a hundred broken souls.
The room was still silent and Beatrice found herself thanking Markoni as if the words tumbled out of her mouth, involuntarily. Markoni turned his icey blue eyes on Beatrice and smiled amusingly at her gratitude. "I didn't do this for you, woman. Johnny had too much scotch and was making a mockery of my establishment." He said this matter of factly and paused when he began looking Beatrice up and down approvingly. She nervously shifted her weight and blushed as he undressed her with his indistinguishable eyes.
"Still...thank you." She said softly. He faulted in his smile slightly and instead offered his hand to her. Unaware of what to do, or what to expect from such a unpredictable human being she took it in her own hand and he leaned into her ear. Frightened that she might hear something tramatic like Johnny had only moments ago, she was also overwhelmed by the smell of cologne. It was sweet and subtle, and she wondered embarrassingly if that was just his natural scent.
"Please, come share a drink with me...I insist." His voice was deep but melodious like the strum of an acoustic guitar in perfect tune. She acted again on impulse and the tension of the room. Everyone was still dead quiet, waiting for Markoni to leave before they return to their misbehavior.
"I...shouldn't sir, I'm working and I wouldn't want to intrude-" Beatrice began mumbling and was once again hit with his angelic smell when he put his index finger to her lips, shushing her. Normally, this would have enraged her to be quieted like a pet but he almost had a gravitational pull and an unquestionable insistence. She pondered that he must not hear the word 'no' a lot and before she knew it, she was walking along side this mysterious man into another room. Upon entering, the door behind her shut, and she now noticed that he wasn't holding onto her anymore and was behind her, turning the lock. As fear grew within her, she wondered if she had just signed her death certificate.