Chapter 3- The Poker Game
"Neinte! Luca sat at his desk in his Casino, Nic sat opposite as watched Luca, Luca threw the brown manila file on his desk. “How can you have found no information on her?” He cried out before he lit a cigar and took a long drag.
Luca was pissed he had tasked his cousin and his second in command, Nic, to find out any information regarding her, yet he came back with nothing.
“Her passport is a fake,” Nic explained, this made Luca very wary. “I asked around about her, Siobhan brought her from Paris, nobody knows anything about her.” Nic felt uneasy as he knew what this could possibly mean.
“Fake passport, she could be undercover?” Luca felt a little sick as he thought of her being an undercover cop, he stubbed out his cigar and grabbed his jacket and put it on.
“Where are you going?” Nic asked as Luca passed him, Nic sighed as he followed Luca down the staircase to the car park where Ric was standing by a car.
“Siobhan’s, she must know who the hell she is.” Luca shouted as he threw himself into the back passenger of the SUV and Ric jumped in the driver seat and drove Luca to the Dublin club.
The Dublin was the legitimate club above the Venetian Lounge and where his godmother would be.
“Hello, Luca.” Siobhan didn’t even look up as she heard her godson enter the office.
“Hayley Tate?” Siobhan put her pen down and looked at Luca as he said Hayley’s name.
“What about her Luca?” She asked him as she watched as he undid his suit jacket button and sat on the chair opposite her.
“Where did you find her?” He asked, his tone was sharp and he hated wasting time.
“Why do you care, Luca?” She pressed. His face went cold as he looked at his godmother, a woman he had the utmost respect for, she helped raise him when he lost his mother and his father was too busy being the boss.
“She has a fake ID, that makes me and my family nervous.” He murmured, Siobhan shook her head allowing her auburn coloured bobbed hair to move.
“Yes, she has a fake passport, fake visa I know this because I gave them to her,” Luca couldn’t believe what she was telling him. “Her real name will only lead those that want to find her straight to her.” Siobhan sighed.
“Who wants her?” He demanded.
Siobhan was not one of his men he could order around, but in his mind, everybody was under his thumb. Siobhan shook her head lightly, and Luca’s face hardened.
“My aim is to protect Hayley, she is under my protection,” Luca sighed. “You know what that means Luca Marcello, she is under the family’s protection.” She reminded him of his vow to protect Siobhan and the club, this included Hayley.
Luca got up and went to leave, but Siobhan spoke.
“She’s not a toy Luca, don’t think you can play around with her.” She warned Luca shook his head before he left the office.
He knew he would have to find out about her himself.
Hayley wasn’t overly keen on working the day shift, but it was an extra shift, so she wasn’t going to grumble too much. The club was always quieter through the day, there were fewer feather girls around. There was nobody on the podiums, just the floating girls, and the ones taking turns on the main stage.
She had tried to forget everything that happened the night before. She didn’t want to be reminded of how weak she had been and how Luca Marcello saved her. She was not an idiot, she knew who he was, they all knew and Luca Marcello was someone she had to remain at arm’s length from.
But, he did have her knife which she was determined to get back.
“Hayley!” Georgia a young girl came up to her. “I’m taking over so you can take your break.” Hayley was relieved as she thanked Georgia and went out to the back area, as usual, the back door was open, and she went outside for a bit of fresh air.
“Who did you piss off to get the day shift!” A voice called out as she noticed two men approach her.
The guy who spoke had a cheeky grin, hazel eyes and she remembered he was called Frankie.
Behind him was Luca, her stomach dropped as she remembered the truth he told her the other night. Frankie approached her first.
“I needed extra cash, so I picked up an extra day shift or two.” She explained, and Luca approached, his dark eyes caught hers.
“There are other ways for a Venetian girl to earn money.” He raised an eyebrow. She felt her stomach drop.
“You’ll never see me with a feather.” She huffed, she wouldn’t sell herself for cash, she wasn’t like Arianna or even Ava, she just wouldn’t.
Luca laughed and shook his head. As much as her having a feather would make things easier he had a better idea, a one where little miss no feather, could make money with her clothes on.
“I didn’t mean that, but that is a good way.” He chuckled, Hayley felt herself blushing under her mask, but she tried to compose herself. Luca could tell she was flushed as he spoke, and it made the devil in him smirk with glee.
“I am having a little game of poker with an associate in meeting room one, I need a waitress. The extra cash will be added to your pay and any tips you make are yours obviously."
Hayley couldn’t afford to say no to the extra money, in fact, she was the girl in the Venetian to make the least amount of money since she wouldn’t sleep with anyone. So this was her chance to make that money back.
“I’ll let Siobhan know I’m using you, and Frankie will explain everything in the meeting room.”
Hayley watched as Luca walked away leaving her with Frankie.
“The extra money Hayley is silence money,” Frankie explained as led Hayley into meeting room one.
Frankie wanted to make sure he could trust Hayley, make sure she was aware of what she might hear and how important her silence was to the family. Frankie could tell she was taking in everything he said and this gave him hope for her.
“We will be discussing business, money and family. You will serve drinks and cigars. Luca and myself won’t use your real name; he will simply call you Bella.” Hayley nodded as she went behind the corner bar and checked she was stocked with ice and glasses.
Hayley stood behind the bar as she watched Luca and two other men enter the room and a card dealer. The men were friendly with Luca, he referred to them as his family. She smiled at them as they acknowledged her.
"Bella, a round of whiskey.” Luca looked at Hayley who nodded obediently and began to get the drinks as the men including Frankie took a seat.
“Nice to see you Altera, long time.” The older man spoke to Frankie, Frankie replied a greeting back at him. Altera? Hayley thought it must be his surname.
Hayley walked around the table handing out the whiskey tumblers, going to Luca last he took the drink from her hand, her heart raced as his hand touched hers, she gasped lightly catching his hypnotic eyes.
The simple touch sparked something, something neither anticipated. His eyes reluctantly pulled away first, as she shook her head and walked away from the table.
He was bad, she repeated to herself, trouble. Yet, something inside was scorched by the spark.
Hayley had watched several games were played, the money on the table was huge.
The men spoke mainly in Italian, so she didn’t understand much. She went over with refills when the glasses became empty, but she watched the games most of the time, with interest.
"La ragazza è bellissima, Luca." Luca’s eyes fluttered from Gino to Hayley who was busy using a towel to clean down the bar.
(The girl is beautiful, Luca)
“Sì, ma sfortunatamente non è una ragazza delle piume.” Luca replied as he caught her beautiful curves, her body screamed to be touched.
(Yes, but she is unfortunately not a feather girl.)
"Tutte le ragazze possono piegarsi, se hai il talent,” Gino laughed as he placed another winning hand down on the table, “you just need talent, Luca.”
(All the girls can bend if you have the talent.)
Hayley watched the next few hands, Luca was really bad at poker or perhaps this Gino character was really good at poker.
Hayley studied the games. Her father and her uncle had made her play poker from being young, and even she knew you couldn’t be that lucky at every hand.
As the hands continued to play, she stopped watching the players and focused on the dealer, she watched him a few hands and she worked out that the dealer was false shuffling, to Gino’s advantage. This guy was conning Luca and Frankie.
"Bella!” She could hear Luca’s tone getting more aggressive, she looked up at him as he held out his tumbler. She nodded, and he placed the glass back on the table, she quickly wrote a note on a napkin.
*The dealer is false shuffling.* Was all she wrote before she put the drinks on the tray along with her napkin note. She held the tray away from each player as she placed down the drinks, leaving Luca until last.
She lowered the tray and took her time picking up the old glass and replacing it with the new drink. Luca was annoyed as he watched her dawdle replacing his drink. But that was when he noticed the note, his eyes flashed to hers then he watched as she walked back to the bar. His eyes went to the dealer, she was right he was false shuffling, they were all cheating.
“Hayley,” Frankie looked at Luca as he said Hayley’s name, Hayley looked at him just as surprised as Frankie. “I fancy a drink of the Ben Wyvis whiskey, be an angel and go to the cellar and get us a bottle.”
His eyes met firmly with Hayley, his eyes were dark, she nodded saying nothing and quickly left the room. He looked between all the men at the table, his dark side controlled him. His anger and feeling of betrayal overcame him.
“I don’t tolerate cheaters Gino.” He pulled his gun and fired three shots, one for Gino, his friend and his cheating dealer.
“Well,” Frankie broke the silence after the three shots. “I think you won that hand, Luca.” Frankie sighed as he threw in his cards onto the blood-soaked table.
“How the hell did you know?” Frankie asked as he stood up from the table and pulled his phone out to organise a cleanup crew for his boss’ mess. He watched as Luca went to the bar and held up Hayley’s note on the napkin.
“Wow, she carries a knife, she knows about poker and she is kinda fearless. I wish she wore a feather.” Frankie couldn’t help but be impressed with her as he put the phone to his ear and spoke to Ric on the other end.
So, did Luca, he wanted this woman. He wanted to get her out of his system, a good fuck might be what he needed from her. She was just a girl, nothing special. But there was something about her, something light that his darkness craved.
He left the room and went to her bar, to find another girl who explained Hayley had told her she was going home. Luca walked to the staff only part where he watched her in normal clothing walking to the back exit.
Hayley wanted to get away, she had stood outside the door and heard the three shots, she knew Luca Marcello, the mob boss had killed them. She had helped in that, and she wanted to get away.
“Hayley!” He called after her, she never stopped as she pushed open the door and walked to the back street of the club, Luca followed her.
“Hayley!” He called out again, She sighed and turned to face him. “Thank you.” He said sincerely as he approached her.
“It’s nothing.” She shook her head and went to walk away from Luca Marcello.
“That wasn’t nothing, you prevented me from looking like a fool,” he explained. “Let me take you for a drink, I’m sure you could use a drink.” He was right she could, but she didn’t trust him.
“I don’t trust you.” She said simply, and he laughed. She was wise not to trust him, she shouldn’t trust anyone.
“I didn’t ask you to trust me.” He shrugged before he moved so his hand was on her lower back and he led her to the SUV that pulled up with Nic inside. Luca like a gentleman held open the door, but like a control-freak made sure that she went into the car with no other choice.
Nic drove his boss to an exclusive bar, and he waited outside as Luca took a nervous Hayley inside. Her heart was racing, this guy had just shot people, he was a mafia boss and she was petrified of him.