Chapter 26- Coffee and the Cop
Hayley walked silently into the quiet café. She noticed the striking green eyes of detective Blake, he had a booth as far back from the windows as possible.
He watched as she bought herself a coffee. He couldn’t believe his luck, he was literally going to be having a chat with someone his informant says is very important to Luca Marcello.
With that thought, he took a second to look at her. What was special about this petite brunette, she was far too innocent looking for Luca, too clean.
“Thank you for coming.” He spoke as she slid into the booth opposite him. Hayley was nervous, she was scared of what was going to happen.
“I don’t think I had much of a choice.” She said flatly as she watched as the detective, who thankfully had changed, was shrugging out of his jacket.
Hayley took a moment to look at the detective, he was muscular, the t-shirt he wore emphasised his physique. What seemed to take her back was the tattoos up and down his arms, for some bizarre reason, she doesn’t associate tattoos with cops.
She tried not to think of the guy whose impressive artwork on his body made her hot, she couldn’t think of him at all as she sat here with the cop.
“I’m not your enemy, Hayley.” He spoke, it made her laugh.
“I can’t exactly call you a friend,” shaking her head, keeping her eyes on him. He took a deep breath before he spoke again, but she spoke. “A friend wouldn’t blackmail somebody to do something.” He nodded.
“True, I’m not your friend Hayley. I’m a cop, a cop who has a duty to protect these streets, innocents who get caught in the organized crime crossfire,” She watched as he pulled a manila file and opened it. “Do you recognise any of these people?”
He slid over the file and she looked at the photos. Her stomach dropped as she looked at the faces of the three men Luca shot in the club during a rigged poker game, the young driver who drove her to Borroni for the game of Russian roulette, and of course Artem, but she pretended not to react.
“They are missing persons,” she looked at more pictures of men, they all looked like gangsters, criminals. “To be honest all these men are family members, whether they were Borroni, Genovese, Marcello or whoever. They are missing, but we know we are never going to find them again. But, we don’t care too much for their fate, they reap what they sow.”
Hayley felt sick but said nothing, but simply watched as he pulled out another file.
“These are what we call innocents. They have no direct link to any family, are not druggies, thugs or whores.” He handed her the file, her stomach churned as she looked at the hundreds of faces.
“These are just over the past eighteen months or so.”
Hayley slowly looked at a face she recognised as the waiter that took her phone and helped to get her isolated to get her to Borroni.
“They are all dead, some were victims of pure circumstance.”
Hayley sighed and threw the file back on the table and rolled her eyes as she watched him bring out the third file.
“I’m more interested in these two.” He handed her a thicker file and she opened it.
“These are the Wheeler twins.” Adam Blake knew Hayley recognised these men or at least one of them.
She looked at the men. She remembered seeing one of them when Luca took her for breakfast. He sat at the cafe counter and spoke to Luca.
Her body went tense and her eyes widened as he knew she was probably looking at the dismembered body of one twin and the bloody body of the second.
Hayley’s stomach churned as she looked at the photos of the bodies, one had been completely dismembered, the second was tortured or it appeared he was. She also noticed the words “RAT, TRAITOR, LIAR.” Were carved into his skin, she closed the file and looked back at the detective.
“How long has organized crime been in New York?” Adam was taken back by Hayley’s change of subject.
He watched as the brunette put the file down and took a slow drink from her coffee cup, before looking back at him.
“Generations.” Was all he could say, and she simply nodded.
“For generations police have tried to fight organized crime, what makes you think you can do it overnight?” She tried not to think about the faces of the innocent people killed by mafia men, men like Luca. Adam laughed and shook his head.
“Oh Hayley, I’m not on a mission to fix New York overnight,” Hayley watched as the detective drank from his cup before he spoke again. “My job has been a long five-year slog. My job has been to infiltrate and bring them down.”
“You seem to take your job personally, detective.” Hayley assessed and he nodded.
“I do,” He replied simply.
He watched as the pretty brunette tilted her head slightly and she wanted to know more.
“I’ve lived in New York my entire life, I grew up on these violent streets.” He cleared his throat, Hayley watched him shift a little uncomfortably.
“I was raised by an American mother and an Italian father. I had two brothers Cain and Anthony.” Hayley’s stomach churned at the word had, she knew this story wasn’t going to end well.
“Being Italian-American’s, not to be stereotypical but gang life was eventually going to find us, me and my brothers. My brother Anthony was the eldest and he joined the delightful Genovese’s and my foolish younger brother Cain found the Borroni’s to be good company.”
Hayley’s stomach churned as she heard the name Borroni, the man who made her play Russian Roulette with Luca, Luca’s enemy.
“A few years ago, the Genovese’s and the Borroni’s were at full-scale war for turf and whatever else. Cain was shot, he died like a dog on the street. The Borroni’s retaliated and in the crossfire my parents, and Cain were killed.”
“I’m sorry,” Hayley whispered, it was the only thing she could think of to be said. But, her mind thought of Luca, what did this have to do with Luca and the Marcello family?
“I joined the force, worked my way up the ladder, became a detective, then I found out the wonderful Marcello family as part of a deal with Matteo Genovese organized the hit on my family.” Hayley’s heart sank, Luca’s family killed the detectives.
“My boss made me a quiet detective on the organized crime unit. Everybody believes I work for the fraud department, but really, I find informants gathering evidence against the three families I am working on. The other two families are being done by another detective like me.” He could tell Hayley was puzzled, why the secrets? She thought to herself.
“You see Hayley. All families have cops in the organized crime unit. This way my information doesn’t land on their lap. The wheeler brothers were two of my informants. One brother was in the Marcello family, Luca and Niccolo gave him a task to infiltrate the Borroni, and he did. He gathered evidence for both families and passed it on to me. His twin then joined the Borroni family, and Luca thought he was working for him too.”
“This doesn’t make me want to help you,” Hayley opened up the file to the dismembered body of one of the brothers and showed him. “You couldn’t protect them.” She muttered.
“They made a mistake, I told them not to do something and they did. Luca never found out they worked for the cops, he just like the Borroni’s think they were inter-family rats.” The detective explained.
“Luca Marcello is a dangerous and violent man, Hayley. I knew all of them from school, we grew up together. Lorenzo Borroni was a sly bastard, Matteo Genovese was confident and arrogant. Luca Marcello was a clever kid, but he knew his fate and grew up quickly.”
“I can’t help you,” Hayley said, shaking her head, but he took her hand before quickly letting it go. “I am not with Luca, he’s made that clear. Like you told me he is with another woman, I’m just another girl to him.”
Adam pulled out a couple of photographs from his coat. Hayley took them and looked at herself standing in Luca’s arms in his casino.
“You have more power than you think,” she put the photo down and looked at him. “I’m not asking you to risk life and limb, Hayley. I just want a phone call, names and places.” He explained.
Hayley sighed she knew she couldn’t do it. In his bag, he produced yet another file.
“I didn’t want to blackmail you Hayley, but I know you are not here legally and I know you ran from your father.” He explained.
The file had personal information about her, the schools she went to, addresses she had lived at, copies of her real passports and her family pictures.
“The man you killed I am not interested in for now it is an open case on my boss’s murder pile. If you help me I will make him rule organized crime death, it will disappear, and you will be free. You help me and this file will be destroyed, I will get you a new identity and it will be legal.”
Hayley watched as Adam took the file and flicked through it. Her mind went back to the lad she had killed, in self-defence. Her mind thought of the people she had run to New York from, and then she thought of Luca.
Could she betray him like this? “All traitors must die.” His voice reminded her, the night he was going to kill that lad over Artem.
“You are a bright girl,” Adam said as he kept his eyes on the file. “A talented dancer, fluent in languages and a skilled writer by your school records. A new life could mean you could pursue anything,” his eyes met with hers. “Prison life will not suit you, neither will deportation.”
“These men, Luca and company are bad men. You have the power to do the right thing. They murder, they traffic people and drugs. If they want you dead you will be. Luca will use anyone to get his own way. Even had Frankie go to prison for his mistake.” Adam explained.
Hayley shook her head lightly, that couldn’t be true.
“It’s true. Frankie served eighteen months in prison. It was a deal with the cops, it was supposed to be Luca in the deal. But, Frankie came forward and took the sentence for Luca. In prison Frankie recruited men for the Marcello family, promising them a job when they got out. That is how Frankie became Luca’s recruitment man, all newbies go through Frankie first.”
Hayley was stunned, Luca allowed Frankie to go to prison for his crimes? Frankie was supporting his sister, and Luca just let him?
Hayley sat and thought about everything as the detective went to buy them both another coffee. Her mind couldn’t get rid of the faces of the people the cops had labelled as innocents.
Yes, she knew some of them were working for a family quietly, but most might be just an average woman, man or child who just happened to know too much.
She was stuck between the path of right and wrong, good and evil. Luca had killed, she knew this, and it was no secret who he was. The painful part was she still held something for him.
Yet, he would never hold anything for her. Her mind wandered to how he held Arianna. Hayley could help put a stop to the violence, she could gain a new life, but at the cost of Luca? The detective put the mug in front of Hayley.
“Look,” he sighed looking at her brilliantly blue eyes. “I know this is scary, and your safety is the top priority. That is why I am giving you until the 1st of December, a full month to get any information. We will meet on the 1st of December. You tell me what you know, and I will get you your new identity.”
“And if I get you nothing?” Hayley asked, and Adam shook his head.
“Then you will go to prison and be deported. I can only protect you if you give me something. Are you in or out, I can arrest you now if you prefer?” He asked as he placed the silver metal handcuffs on the table. She had little choice? Nobody could look out for her but her.
Hayley stayed quiet, she could leave now. She could go straight to Paris and hide there, then she wouldn’t help him.
“Paris,” he said as if he read her mind. “You will get as far as the airport before you get sent to me, I will have your photograph in every airport in the country. You are not leaving unless it is under my direction.
She looked down at the handcuffs. Was she prepared to go to prison, risk going back to Russia because of her stupid loyalty for Luca Marcello?
“Okay.” She whispered, the words tore through her as the detective smiled and put the handcuffs away and pulled out a cell phone.
“Good choice Hayley, it is the right thing. Take this it has only my number in it. Text me anything you know, I will text you if I need to speak to you and I will text you where to meet on the 1st of December.”
Hayley, with a shaky hand, took the phone. Inside she felt sick, she knew helping the police was a good thing, but why was it hurting her so much. She watched as the detective stood up.
“I’ll be in touch.” He said simply before he left the café. Hayley sat looking at her coffee, a tear slipped down her face. What had she done? She received a text message on the new phone.
*By the way I have ears everywhere. If anyone finds out about this arrangement I can make you disappear back to Russia faster than you can say save me Luca.*
She slammed the phone down and wanted to cry out, but she didn’t. She was trapped, even if she did try to tell Luca he will only see her as a traitor.
If he had answered his damn phone then maybe this would have been avoided, but now for thirty days, she had a job to do.
Luca left the meeting room where he had left Arianna doing her hair. He found it difficult to get off, even Arianna had to get inventive.
His mind kept going to Hayley and how she kept ringing him. Nic was looking over the balcony when Luca approached him. Luca looked out at the bar she normally worked at, but she wasn’t there. Where was she?
“Hayley went home, she texted Ava saying she was sick.” Nic answered Luca’s unspoken question. Nic turned to look at the guy who was walking up the VIP lounge.
“What the fuck happened to you?” Nic asked as he noticed the white shirt of the guy had blood on it, he looked like he had been stabbed. Luca looked at Max and his bloodstained clothes. Max laughed at his boss and second’s reactions.
“It’s fake blood, me and a girl got a little freaky.” Max laughed, as he lifted his shirt to reveal a punctured bag that did contain red liquid. Max went to sit in the booth with other Marcello men.
Luca watched as Arianna left the staff only entrance and walked past him and back down the stairs.
“She seems pissed.” Nic noticed, Luca, shrugged but said nothing. How could he admit he couldn’t fuck a girl because his mind was thinking about Hayley?
Nic went back to the booth where Frankie was as Luca pulled out his phone and hovered over the thought of calling Hayley back, but he didn’t.
He thought of the bullet with her name on, he thought of the world he lived in and he knew he couldn’t risk loving her, he wasn’t good enough for her, and never would be.