J O H N
“What do you suggest then?” John asked once they were back at their apartment.
He loved his life with Mari. This was supposed to be a happy day. He just got engaged to the love of his life, the woman who he would spend every day loving and fighting for. And then he got that call.
The news that Sara had been kidnapped sent him into a spiral. He couldn’t care less about his dad. He guessed it was relative. Because of his love for Sara, it stopped him from feeling any kind of grief.
Mari was right; they needed a plan. If they charged in with no plan whatsoever, they’d all end up dead or forced into a marriage. And he knew he would have the better consequence than Mari.
He was going to be her husband. He was going to make her happy, to give her everything. He was not going to let that asshole Dante Marciano come anywhere close to her.
“I don’t know.”
“I can’t just waste time thinking of a plan whilst my sister is in your father’s clutches,” John growled. He felt guilty about lashing out at his new fiancé, but he was terribly agitated. At any moment, he could just snap. He hoped she would understand and wouldn’t hold it against him.
“I know, John. We need… people, an army, something to match their power. We need… the feds,” she suggested hopefully, the plan running through her head.
“We aren’t snitches,” John replied subconsciously, causing her to raise a brow.
“Are you serious? Your reputation is already ruined, we’re not in the game anymore and this is for your sister. We don’t have anything to lose. Plus, this will get the feds off your ass. They’ll love getting to my father and Dante. They’re big fishes and we can be left alone.” John knew she was right, and it was a good enough plan. He didn’t know how they would take to the plan and he also didn’t know if the feds could take the two men on. They were both powerful in their own rights, and if the feds decided to come after them, they would need a lot of manpower.
“Fine. I’ll set up a meet with them. You’ll stay here.”
“You must be joking because there is no way in hell I’m staying here,” she argued fiercely.
“I can’t have you on their radar. They probably don’t know you exist. You’re part of the De Luca family. They’ll want you too.”
“For what? I haven’t done anything criminal, that they know about. And exactly, I’m part of the De Luca family. I can vouch for the information you give them. Why would they believe you otherwise? Call them.” He thus learned that Mari was incredibly bossy when the stakes were high. She was taking charge because she thought he might not be thinking logically enough. And he appreciated that.
A meet with Agent Forstman and Agent Bauer was set, Gordon, the lawyer, attending too. John and Mari entered the room together with Gordon leading them, the two agents already seated and slouched in their chairs. They wanted this to seem like a waste of their time so that they could lay down the law if John gave them nothing. It was quite late at night too.
Mari, John and Gordon settled into their seats with the two agents’ attentions focused on the little girl they’d never met.
“Mr Keller, to what do we owe the pleasure? Ready to turn yourself in? And who’s the girlfriend?” Bauer questioned, raising his brow at Mari.
“My client is ready to make a deal,” Gordon said.
“We had a deal already. He broke it,” Forstman grunted, fed up already.
“We want to make a new deal. These two go into witness protection and they’ll give you Dante Marciano and Alessandro De Luca,” Gordon explained. The two feds scoffed and leaned back in their chairs.
“New York? They’re the two biggest crime families in New York and you think you can give us information to take them down. That’s a lot of information. And Mr Keller won’t exactly hold up as a witness.”
“But I will,” Mari declared, catching their attention. “My name’s Marcella De Luca. My father is Alessandro De Luca. So, I think I can be of some use. Plus, I have no criminal record and I hate my father, so I won’t screw you over.”
“You’re De Luca’s daughter?” Bauer questioned in disbelief. Forstman looked towards John to verify and John just nodded. “How do you know Keller?”
“She’s my fiancé. Previously my bounty,” John answered.
“Oh, I get it. You ran from home and he was sent to track you. But Keller here can’t resist a young piece of ass,” Bauer said. Mari made a disgusted face and rose from her seat instantly.
“You want my help or not? Because I can fucking leave right now and you’ll have nothing. Talk about me like that again and I’ll shove your heads so far up each other’s asses that you’ll slowly just become one headless asshole.” Even John was surprised by her language. And he was proud.
He tugged at her hand as he watched the desired effect show on their faces. Mari sat back down and gave John a brief smile. She was good. She wanted to convince these feds that she was a hardass mafia princess, that she was the real deal, that she could give them what they needed to take Alessandro and Dante down.
“What’s your connection to Dante Marciano?” Forstman asked.
“I’m supposed to marry him,” Mari replied.
“Of course, you are,” Bauer said with a scoff. But both men listened to the couple and they started to formulate a team to take down the two mob bosses.
So, here they were, Mari and John, traveling in their car, ready to turn themselves in. There was a sense of comfort knowing they had the feds behind them, for once, John thought. He wasn’t sure if any of this would work but it was better than going in without a plan in any case.
“You ready for this?” John asked his fidgeting fiancé. “I know this wasn’t how either of us wanted to spend our first day of our engagement. I guess we’re just not allowed to have a peaceful life.”
“Or maybe after this, when Alessandro and Dante are in prison, we can get married for real.”
“That’s optimistic,” John grumbled, knowing deep down that getting out of this would be almost impossible.
“Only because you’re so pessimistic. I get that I can be idealistic sometimes, but we need to be positive. We have the feds on our side, and everything is going to be okay.” John gave her a side look which she rolled her eyes at.
“Normally I would find your idealistic youth charming, but I don’t have the patience for it now,” he grunted. They had his sister in their clutches, and until both his girls were safe, he didn’t have time for a positive attitude.
“Throwing my age in my face?”
“Mari, I’m sorry, it’s just…”
“I get it. I won’t be so positive,” she declared with a reassuring smile.
“You should get some rest.” She laid her head back and closed her eyes, John studying her face. She always seemed to calm him when he was too enraged unless she did the enraging.
Most of the time, he didn’t even feel the age gap between them. It was only when certain people looked at him funny. When he first introduced Mari to the guys at the garage, they said she was some young fling, that they weren’t seriously in love. But John didn’t care. John and Mari knew that they both loved each other, and they didn’t need to prove that to anyone.
This was all his fault. He put Sara in danger, and he was putting Mari in danger by taking them back to New York. If their plan backfired, he knew none of them would make it out of this unscathed. On the other hand, he couldn’t just leave his sister there. He would never do that. And Mari wouldn’t let him go alone. He knew that. Mari jumped in front of a bullet for him, and she didn’t even know she loved him back then. She would die for him now, and he would die for her.
“Why do bad things keep happening to us? Do we deserve this?” he whispered out loud, voicing his thoughts.
“No, we don’t. Trouble just follows some people around,” Mari muttered back. Her eyes were still closed, and John couldn’t even tell she was awake. Her head rolled to the side and her eyes flickered open, connecting with his. “I know you’re scared. You have two people to look out for. I’m scared too. They won’t kill me; they don’t need to. If they get the chance, they’ll torture and kill you. We’ll find each other again.”
“Yeah, we will.”