Chapter 40- Running With Wolves
Hayley was still floating on a high from last night, she was still up in the night sky overlooking New York City.
Luca had to leave but left her with a kiss and a promise to meet her tonight to escort her to his casino party. Nic had driven her to a coffee shop where he informed her that Ava was dying to have a catch-up.
Ava had updated her on all the latest Venetian gossip, Ava repeatedly told Hayley how much she missed her friend at work, and in honesty, Hayley felt the same.
“How has Ben been?” Hayley asked as she put her skinny latte down and looked at her blonde-haired friend.
“He’s been busy, he’s got a second job. In an office, I think, as an intern,” Ava finished her coffee. “I think he wants a normal job, I think he is done being a bartender in an underground club.”
“What about you? Do you not want to find a regular job?” Hayley asked, but Ava just laughed at her friend.
“Are you crazy?” She snorted through her laughter. “I’m doing what I love, I dance. I make an insane amount of money for sitting with an old guy.”
“But what about the sex?” Hayley tried to keep her voice quiet.
“Unlike Arianna, I don’t have sex with every guy in there you know. Most of the time they just want a pretty company who isn’t their wife.”
It was true the feather girls weren’t always about sex, sometimes men just needed company, somebody to hold for a night.
“Well.” Hayley laughed. “You’ll never find a man,” Hayley teased, but then she noticed her friend had a guilty face on her. “Have you found someone?”
“Maybe,” she shrugged and Hayley’s jaw dropped. “I mean we have been off and on again more times than Arianna’s panties, it’s complicated Hayley.”
“Is he married?”
“What? No!” Ava was shocked that her friend would think that of her, but she was a feather girl. “No he’s a workaholic, and now is not the right time for both of us, maybe when I retire from my feather lifestyle.”
Ava listened as Hayley told all about the party she was going to tonight, she had to admit she wasn’t keen on her friend being so close to Luca Marcello. However, Hayley seemed to hold her own pretty well.
She couldn’t help being envious of Hayley, she envied how the man she was with wasn’t afraid to show her off. Ava’s man was too afraid, too cautious, perhaps even too safe.
The house was a buzz of activities, Luca and his guys were somewhere talking and getting organised, Hayley was busy getting pampered by Leo a very charming stylist.
She sat as Leo, the stylist, did his work, as she played with the silver bangle she didn’t want to wear it but feared the consequences too much.
Leo helped Hayley into the glamourous blue mermaid lace dress, it had a cut out back and a V neckline. Leo had put her hair into a sleek updo, allowing her neck to be exposed.
She wore the bangle on her right wrist along with her charm bracelet-which never left her wrist- she wore some simple drop earrings. She felt a traitor, glamourous but still a traitor.
“You look beautiful, mia cara.” Her heart raced as she heard his voice behind, she looked at him through the mirror. He was dressed in a tuxedo and looked gorgeous.
"È una ragazza bellissima, capo. Sono impressionato.” Leo teased his boss, Hayley was surprised Leo spoke Italian.
(She is a beautiful girl, boss. I’m impressed.)
“Leo, you can go now. See Nic before you leave.” Luca’s tone was cold.
Hayley turned to face him and smiled brightly at the stylist.
“Thank you, I love everything.” She beamed at him and she hugged him, and he squeezed her tight.
Leo could see the dark glare he was receiving from the mirror, and he gave his boss a huge cheeky smile.
"Stai diventando geloso, capo?” He laughed as he pulled away and he and Hayley looked at Luca.
(Are you becoming jealous, boss?)
"Sapevo che avrei dovuto assumere un parrucchiere gay.” Luca muttered. Leo just laughed.
(I knew I should have hired a gay hairdresser.”
“Well Hayley enjoy the party, I’ll go see Nic now boss.” Leo then left the room passing his boss and once high school companion.
“I liked him.” Hayley smiled as she looked at Luca who walked towards her and placed his hands gently on her waist.
“Hmm, I suppose he is good at what he does.” Luca had to admit that, Leo chose hairdressing to get the ladies, then he became the best in New York City.
“You look good too, by the way.” She blushed.
He couldn’t help but chuckle as he watched her cheeks lightly glowed pink, he couldn’t help but be floored by her time and time again.
He pulled her in for a kiss, she closed her eyes and drank him in. She drank in his taste; the smell of his cologne was now her favourite smell. He held her tightly and kept her close as kissed his beauty.
“We best go.” He pulled away and she nodded she couldn’t help but be nervous about tonight.
Luca could sense her nervousness he slid his hand up to her cheek and cupped her face. He looked into her bright blue eyes and wanted to do his best to reassure her.
“Tonight will be fine, I promise,” her stomach began to settle at his words.“I won’t let Lorenzo near you, Nic, myself and Frankie will be nearby, one of us will always be at your side.”
Luca had already instructed his two right hands, particularly Nic, to keep a watchful eye on Hayley, he didn’t trust Borroni at all.
“Just stay close to us, don’t go with anyone you don’t know and trust me.”
“I do.” The words just fell from her mouth. It was the truth she did trust him, it was herself she didn’t trust.
Luca pulled her in for another kiss, she trusted him. This excited him, this made him happy. The woman who didn’t trust anyone trusted him, and for the first time in his miserable life, he loved it.
“Are you sure about this boss?” Frankie’s voice was gruff as they walked through the doors of the underground casino.
Hayley remembered this being the venue of the casino night that had the 1920′s theme. But somethings were different. They hadn’t gone into the main room, they stood in a large hall, that was after the entrance and before the huge casino room.
Hayley stood beside Luca and Luca stood beside Frankie. Nic was at the front door looking at guest tickets and handing them a little piece of card. Hayley had no clue what was going on.
“I’m sure,” Luca answered Frankie.
The trio watched as a guest passing Nic and walking to the table that was in front of them, Frankie came forward.
“Any weapons?” Frankie taking the guys card that Nic handed them. The man looked at Frankie then Luca, it was clear he wasn’t a Marcello man. The man nodded and opened his jacket and placed a gun on the table.
“Number 101.” Frankie took the gun and then that was when Hayley noticed a large metal cube that had tiny lockers or safes. They were taking everyone’s weapons. “Go to Ric and Dom,” Frankie instructed the man and pointed to Ric and Dom, who frisked searched the man before allowing him into the casino room.
“Hayley?” Luca turned to her and she looked up at him. “Do you have your knife?” His tone was serious as he walked to the locker safes and opened a slightly large locker.
She watched as he opened his jacket and took his two guns and place them in the locker, along with a little flick knife, he turned to face her.
“Hayley, I know you will have your knife.” He held out his hand towards her, she sighed.
“But, what if I-”
“Hayley, everyman will be searched, myself, Genovese and even Borroni. Please give me your knife, I promise not to steal it.” He smiled.
Reluctantly she opened her matching blue clutch bag and gave him her little flick knife, he thanked her before placing it in the safe with his. She felt exposed and very defenceless without her little knife.
He then took her hand kissing the back of it and then left Frankie and took Hayley into the impressive main room.
It took her breath away like it did the first time. It was a lot different to last time. The servers were dressed in white blouses and skirts. It still had an air of elegance, but it lacked the 1920′s charm she had fallen in love with.
“A drink?” Luca took two champagne flutes from a passing waitress and handed her one and clinked the expensive crystal together.
Luca moved her through the light crowds that were starting to appear, obviously passing the strict security measures. Luca placed his hand in her lower back.
“Is the no gun instruction really necessary, Marcello.” A voice spoke from behind them.
The pair turned to see who the voice belonged to, and Hayley recognised him as the Genovese leader, the one who was at The Dublin.
“Yes.” Was all Luca answered with. Hayley felt him move closer to her, protectively it made her shift uncomfortably.
“You must be the famous Hayley.” Genovese recognised her instantly as the beauty Frankie Altera had taken from the situation outside The Dublin.
Luca watched with silent anger as Genovese took Hayley’s hand and kissed the back of it, he felt her stiffen at his touch.
"È una ragazza bellissima, Luca.” Matteo spoke directly at Luca as he carefully let go of Hayley’s hand.
(She’s a beautiful girl, Luca.)
"Grazie, come sta tua moglie?" Matteo laughed at Luca’s way of reminding him of his own stunning woman.
(Thanks, how is your wife?)
“My wife, Luca, is doing well. She couldn’t make it tonight though, thanks for her invitation all the same.”
Luca had always envied Matteo Genovese he fell in love in school, they married and seemed happy. Of course, Matteo was no saint, but Luca knew he did everything he could for his wife. He also knew Gianna would decline the invitation, she was a strong Mafia woman but Genovese would never expose her.
“Ah!” A voice sang as it approached the trio. Hayley felt sick as she recognised the voice. “If it isn’t my favourite frenemies,” he then looked at Hayley. “Oh Darling, you’re here too.”
“What’s with your no gun policy, Luca?” Lorenzo asked Luca.
Hayley had thought the same, Luca was leaving himself undefended, what if something happened? She felt sick at the thought.
“Trust me, Borroni, I’m on top of this.” Luca hissed, before taking a sip of his drink.
“Ha! Trust you? I don’t think so.” Borroni laughed at the idea.
The tension in the air had not gone unnoticed, for Hayley, it was like standing between three alpha pack leaders. They all wanted dominance, they all had power and it made her uncomfortable.
“Let’s just enjoy tonight.” Hayley chimed in, Luca looked down at her and smiled.
“Enjoy yourselves, gentlemen,” Luca spoke to his enemies before leading Hayley towards the bar where Nic and Frankie were ordering themselves a couple of drinks.
“Boss,” Frankie nodded towards Luca, then smiled at Hayley. “Hayley.”
“How were the security checks?” Luca asked Frankie.
“Fine, a few complainers but in general everyone complied,” Frankie explained, Luca simply nodded as he looked around the room.
Frankie had strategically placed some of his men around the room, they were able to see everything, which made Luca a little happier.
“It’s just the waiting game.” Nic chuckled lowly, Frankie looked puzzled but shrugged it off. Luca and Nic were up to something, but that wasn’t uncommon. Frankie knew if he needed to know, Luca would tell him.
“Come Hayley let’s explore the tables,” Luca suggested, and Hayley just went along with it.
Hayley and Luca greeted the guests, well the ones who freely walked up to Luca to shake his hands. Hayley knew there was some of Genovese’s and Borroni’s men in this room.
“You doing okay?” He whispered in her ear as they stood talking to a couple of Marcello men, and some sort of court judge.
“Yes.” She whispered back, but she wasn’t sure she was doing okay. But she had to act brave, she had to act tough she was in a room filled with Mafia men.
“Hayley!” A voice called her, she looked behind her Luca stiffened at her name but turned with her.
Hayley’s stomach dropped as the crowd parted and she looked at Lorenzo who was standing playing with some casino chips in his hand.
She noticed he stood at a roulette table, and her eyes met him and he gave her a wicked grin.
“I heard you love a good game of roulette, darling.” He chuckled.
“Son of a bi-” Luca growled, but Hayley spoke up.
She looked at Lorenzo and refused to be intimidated by this man, in this room she would become the wolf, she would gain the strength to stand up to him.
“I’ve gone off the game recently, darling.” There was a couple of gasps as she used the nickname he used on her several times.
"La amo, è così energico.” Lorenzo chuckled, Hayley never moved but Luca understood what he had said.
(I love her, she is so energetic/feisty)
Genovese was standing around the table and was watching the standoff between Lorenzo and Luca’s girl. She intrigued him, she wasn’t someone he would have thought Luca would pick, she was too vocal.
“I understand why, Darling, my intense versions of casino games have that effect on people,” Lorenzo laughed, Hayley just watched him. “I heard you are a fan of poker, though. How about a game?”
“With you Lorenzo? I’d rather not.” She spat out, but she made it sound sweet and polite.
“Oh, come on, Darling, I promise I’ll play fairly.”
“Like I trust you.” She shook her head.
“What makes me different from the Mafia man standing beside you?”
Hayley found it hard to argue with his point. Luca and Lorenzo were both fierce mafia bosses, both killed and both ruthless. Yet, she let herself trust Luca. Why?
“Come one Darling, a game settle that old score.”
Luca didn’t want Hayley to say or do anything. In an ideal world, he wanted to leap over and bash Lorenzo’s skull in. However, Hayley spoke up and this is when he wished she was the quieter sort of girl.
“Fine.” She had regretted her words once they left her mouth.
“I’m in too.” This whole thing had piqued Matteo’s interest as he jumped at the chance of a game of poker.
“Fuck sake,” Luca muttered beside her. He knew both of these men like himself were hardcore poker players. They played during business talks, it was just something they did.
“I’ll be the fourth man,” Nic shouted up, he walked past his cousin and placed his hand on his cousin’s shoulder with Frankie closely behind him. “Well, you need a Marcello at the table.” He shrugged.
Hayley had never played three intense games of poker like this, between the three men they each spoke in Italian and English. Between them they insulted each other and tried to outwit each other, it was amusing for her to watch.
But like most, they underestimated her potential and her poker playing abilities.
“You are an excellent player.” Genovese who sat to her right said as he reluctantly folded his hand, leaning back in his chair taking a sip of his whiskey,
“I have many hidden talents.” She raised an eyebrow at the Genovese leader, who chuckled.
"Scommetto che lo fai, a Luca piacciono con talento.” Matteo chuckled looking up at Luca who was seething behind his beauty.
(I bet you do, Luca likes them with talent.)
“I fold.” Nic sighed.
Hayley’s heart was racing, as she looked at the devil that was Lorenzo Borroni. She was inside shaking, she feared him.
This wasn’t about the game, the money. This was about her standing up to him.
“Just me and you, Darling,” he cooed. ”Luca? Hayley sa del proiettile?" Luca didn’t reply.
(Luca? Does Hayley know about the bullet?)
Lorenzo laughed, of course, Luca wouldn’t tell the woman about the little threat he sent.
“I didn’t think so.” He laughed.
“You know speaking Italian doesn’t intimidate me, it just pisses me off.” She spat at him.
“So feisty,” Lorenzo murmured.
"La ragazza ha un desiderio di morte, Luca?" Matteo muttered, the girl was bold taking back to Borroni. He was a crazy bastard. Luca said nothing, his eyes were on Lorenzo.
(Does the girl have a death wish, Luca?)
“Let’s see your hand, Darling,” Lorenzo leaned over the table and placed his hand down. “A straight, and just for you in diamonds.” It was a hard hand to beat.
Borroni members looked impressed with their boss, everyone waited for Hayley to show her hand. She couldn’t win three hands in a row, could she?
“Well, Darling, you can call me your majesty. I’ve got a royal flush.” Beside her, Nic laughed and Marcello men cheered her and congratulated her.
“I’ll leave you to another game gents,” Hayley said standing up to a very proud looking Luca, who took her hand to help her from the chair.
“Well done, baby.” He murmured, as he took her place at the table. Nic stood up and lead Hayley to the bar and ordered her drink.
“That was impressive,” Nic chuckled. “Borroni likes to make people feel small compared to him.”
“Small manhood syndrome.” She shrugged which made Nic laugh.
Hayley stayed beside Nic who kept her entertained with little stories and explained who guests were. The three mafia leaders played hand after hand of poker, joined by a different fourth person each time.
Suddenly the room was in uproar, screams and glasses smashed. The doors of the room opened up and people in full bulletproof vests and helmets entered the room. Shouting and holding guns.
“NYPD, get on the ground!”