Chapter 42- The History of the Phoenix
Hayley slept dreamlessly that night, safe once again in his arms. However, she couldn’t shake the fear and guilt from her mind. Luca could have been arrested, he could have been hurt and that didn’t sit well with her.
She woke early and lay on his warm tattooed torso, he was sleeping and looked so innocent like he wouldn’t hurt a fly, but she knew him better than that.
Hayley lay like that on him, tracing the black outline lion that was on the shoulder of his left arm, and went across his chest. Luca was a lion, he was the hunter, the protector and most importantly he was a killer.
A part of her wanted to believe like the lion he only killed for his family, to protect them. However, a part of her knew deep down he was capable of killing for his own ego.
Luca began to stir as she lay beside him, her hand moving from the lion head to his torso, were just below her hand was his gun and dog tag tattoo.
“Hayley?” His voice murmured in the soft glow of the bedside lamp he had just switched on with his free arm.
“Morning.” She whispered as he rolled over to face her.
Luca gently kissed her soft lips and put his hand on her waist. Last night for him was over and done with. He was trained to move on and get ready for the next hand he had to play.
But Hayley, he knew wasn’t programmed that way, he knew she would have questions and he knew eventually he would have to answer them.
“Are you okay?” He asked her as she moved her hand down his from his shoulder to his forearm where she looked down at the tattoo that sat there.
She traced the patterns of the intricate cross, where the words; ′Family, honour and Loyalty′ were written in beautiful calligraphy.
Her heart panged at the words, she had no honour, no loyalty and was not part of his family.
“Of course.” Her reply was simple, and she tried to keep her voice upbeat.
“Hay-” Luca began but a loud and commanding knock stopped him, he sighed loudly. ”Entra.” He pulled the sheets so it covered more of Hayley, as he allowed the visitor to enter the room.
“Sorry, Boss,” Nic nodded towards Luca who sat up in the bed with the sheet just covering his lower half. ”Abbiamo alcune informazioni che vorrete sentire.”
(We have some information you will want to hear.)
Nic was careful not to say too much, Luca wouldn’t want to scare Hayley, or cause her to know too much.
“I’ll meet you and Frankie in the study.”
With that Nic left the room and Luca stood up and began to get changed, he didn’t have time for a shower he had an empire to run, detectives to hunt and traitors to take care of.
“I’ve got work to do,” Luca spoke as he put on one of his pressed shirts and walked to the dressing table and pulled open the drawer containing his ties and put on a dark blue one.
“As do I,” Hayley looked at her phone that was on the bedside table. A text from Siobhan was instructing Hayley of a breakfast meeting at 9:30 am. “My boss wants a meeting at 9:30 am.”
“I’ll have Ric drive you,” Luca pulled his jacket on before walking towards her and kissing her on the head. “I’ll pick you up when you finish, we’ll have a very late supper together.” He promised, and she nodded at his plan.
Luca left the room to march down to his office, he knew Hayley would be settling herself down for a few more hours sleep before she had work.
In his office both his right hands were waiting for him, Nic sitting on the chair opposite the desk, and Frankie sitting on the desk facing Nic. They were talking but silenced when Luca came in.
“What’s going on then?” Luca’s tone was abrupt as he took his seat behind the desk, opposite Nic. Frankie took his seat beside Nic.
"Our police informant Toby Sanchez,” Frankie began, Luca lit a cigarette as he listened to his friend. “He heard Detective Blake, Marino or whatever he called himself getting a good old telling off from his superior.”
Luca blew out some smoke and smugly smiled as Frankie continued.
“His superior wanted him off the case, but Adam convinced him this set back wouldn’t crush the case. Adam is convinced the families alliance will fall.”
Luca remained silent, slowly puffing in his cigarette as Frankie smiled a little before he spoke again.
“You see Toby said Adam thinks we will destroy each other before he has to do it. His new plan is to watch the families tear each other apart, then swoop in.”
Luca said nothing as he stubbed out his cigarette. He was plotting, Frankie and Nic could tell that much. As much as Luca swore this was Genovese’s plan, Luca was too eager, too controlling, to not have a plan.
“You have a plan?” Nic pressed as he watched his cousin sigh and smile darkly.
"Always.” He smirked, and Frankie chuckled he knew his boss would have something clever up his sleeves, just like last night.
“Are you going to let us in?” Frankie asked, and Luca chuckled.
“Our detective friend has given us so much to work with, but first let’s take one thing at a time. Firstly, Borroni’s rat?” Luca looked at Nic, who handed him a file.
“Vitali has given us everything, we should act fast. Keep the pressure on Adam Marino.”
Luca nodded at Nic’s idea, and the three of them decided tomorrow night they would go out and catch a rat.
Siobhan watched in awe as Hayley was effortlessly bargaining with her hardest liquor client, he was normally too money-orientated to bargain on price. Yet, Hayley had him like putty in her hands.
“It’s been a pleasure to do business with you, ladies.” He stood up shaking both their hands before leaving the restaurant.
“Impressive, he has never broken his usual deals.” Siobhan smiled as she sat back down and poured herself some more coffee.
“He’s a pussy cat really.” Hayley giggled as she picked up the cup Siobhan had just refilled.
Siobhan had heard about the police raid on the casino, she also knew this morning it was up for auction. She knew Luca, was rehousing it somewhere else. Nothing slipped past her radar, Marcello men never kept their mouths closed in The Venetian.
“You want to talk about last night?” Siobhan looked at the young, sweet, blue-eyed girl sitting across from her.
Hayley shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. That wasn’t the answer Siobhan wanted.
“Hayley.” Siobhan’s voice was strong and full of authority, it made Hayley look up from the cup to Siobhan.
“That’s not what I asked.” Siobhan raised her eyebrow as she spoke.
“Luca knew about the raid,” Hayley whispered, her mind was still coming to terms with everything, her head dropping to look at her cup again.
“Of course he did.”
Siobhan’s words made Hayley snap her head up to look at Siobhan, who laughed lightly.
Siobhan still wasn’t used to the innocence, the naivety behind her little bird’s eyes.
“Luca has to stay one step ahead of cops, other families and anyone else who will try to take him down,” Siobhan explained, as she poured herself yet another coffee.
“He has allied himself with two other families, he knows there is at least one if not more rats in his family, so he knew the cop behind all this would attempt an elaborate attempt to take him down. The casino night was the bait he used to lure him out.” Siobhan sighed.
Hayley took a second to take everything in, this was a war between the cops and the Mafia. Of course, Hayley knew cops and criminals were never going to see eye to eye.
However, she didn’t think it was like a game. She was reminded of how Luca described it as a game of cat and mouse. But what did that make her? The cheese? The mouse poison? The bag used to kill the cat?
“What happened the last time the families allied themselves together?”
Siobhan shook her head, as Hayley begged for her to talk. Hayley knew Luca wouldn’t tell her anything, but her friend had the knowledge to tell her too.
“You should ask Luca that.” Siobhan sighed.
“You know he won’t tell me, but you can.”
Siobhan knew Hayley had a right to know, she was after all in bed with the leader of the Marcello family. Hayley had to prepare herself for a repeat in history.
“Finem” Siobhan gave in, a little too easily. “It was a long time ago, Luca’s father was in his late teens. A detective was determined to bring down each of the big families.”
For Siobhan, this was heading into unchartered territory, the history of the Marcello family and the history of the families of New York. For Hayley, this was an insight into the world she was plunging into.
“Giovanni Marcello, Senior. Luca’s grandfather was in charge of the family at the time. It was a bloody time, the three major families were in a war over turf, guns, women and liquor.”
Hayley’s heart raced as she pictured it, New York what more than forty years ago?
“The detective vowed to clean the streets and take down the families. The Marcello family were the first to get it, rats were deployed, traps were set. Giovanni Senior was so lost in the chaos, he nearly lost everything.”
Siobhan sighed as she played with the cup, it was the New York of her childhood. The bloodshed didn’t steer clear from her doors. The violence found its way into her innocent life.
“Matteo Genovese’s Grandfather, Lorenzo Borroni’s Grandfather and Giovanni Senior called a truce. The three families worked together, secretly for a while. They brought down the detective, he was killed in a major shoot out, causing every member to go underground. For a while the detective was labelled a hero, he was martyred here in New York City. He did what he set out to do, for a few months the streets were clean.”
Hayley knew there was a but coming, the streets didn’t stay clean for long.
“Then they returned to the surface, no one could be charged with his murder. It was then brought to light the detective had money in Genovese dirty companies, he worked his way up being an informant to Borroni and he continuously turned a blind eye to Marcello blatant drug trafficking.”
“The city went into anarchy, who could the public trust? Well, that was when the families won back the silent and fickle trust of the public. The police tried again to get to the families, harassing the public. The public turned to the families.”
“I have a feeling it doesn’t end well, I mean the detective said it was an alliance that killed Luca’s Grandfather.” Hayley pressed, Siobhan simply nodded.
“It was. Borroni reached out to Giovanni, asking for a meeting over territory. Giovanni Senior believed he was going to betray Genovese with Borroni. But, Borroni owed Genovese, and Genovese wanted to take out Giovanni for something personal.”
Hayley felt sick as she listened, and her mind was giving her a clear image.
“Foolishly Giovanni senior went alone, he was shot. Genovese killed him, Borroni stood by.”
Siobhan shook her head, she could remember the press was all about it for weeks. Nobody was arrested, police closed the case, gang warfare, criminal on criminal crime, no innocent was hurt so they didn’t continue their investigation.
“The Marcello family nearly died.”
Hayley couldn’t keep her eyes on her friend, her aunt like figure. Her emerald eyes seemed to haze over like she was taking herself into the past.
“The Marcello family were in tatters, men changed alliances or ran to Italy or wherever they could seek refuge.”
“How did the family survive?” Hayley was interested in Luca’s history, his family’s legacy.
“A few good men,” Siobhan smiled. “Giovanni Senior had two, three maybe four fiercely loyal men. He also had two sons, Giovanni and Stefano. Giovanni was the older of the two, at nineteen, at the time. He took over and like the phoenix, the Marcello’s rose from the ashes.
Hayley’s mind thought of the tattoo on Luca’s shoulder blade, it was of a phoenix and underneath in neat calligraphy was his family name.
Siobhan closed the conversation, explaining Hayley was never to repeat what she was told today. Siobhan made Hayley understand that Luca is the one she should ask about his family.
“But be careful Hayley. Luca is a protective man and he will protect his family first, ask too many questions, prepare to get too many back at you.” A warning Hayley had heard before, but she nodded solemnly as If it was the first time she had heard it.
It admittedly had been a quiet night in The Dublin, so Hayley had instructed some guys to clean up and lock up, so she could go for late supper with Luca.
He stood leaning on the heavy SUV as she left, he looked breathtaking as walked over to her and touch her shoulders and kissed her.
He drank everything about her in, her smooth skin, her soft hair and the passion from her kiss.
“You okay, baby?” He purred as he gently pulled away from her and took her hand.
“I’m fine.” She murmured back looking at his dark chocolate eyes.
He took her hand and lead her to the SUV where upfront driving and as the passenger was Nic and Frankie.
They spoke casually, mainly about her work and how her day had been. What could Luca say about his day apart from he had spent most of it preparing to take down a rat, slowly and painfully.
Hayley recognised where he had brought her, and her heart leapt a little. She recognised the room as he brought her into the familiar bar.
But it was the music that held her attention, just like the last time, she looked at Evelyn as she sang in front of the live band.
“I love her voice.” Hayley sighed as Evelyn finished yet another song.
Luca had wined and dined her, they spoke about everything. She found out his favourite colour was blue, his favourite band surprised her and his favourite food was cannoli – particularly real ones from Sicily- she also found out he loved to exercise.
Luca was absorbed by Hayley, she was opening up to him slowly. Her favourite colour was deep purple, she loved to dance, and he had learnt in her time she would have been a dance teacher.
Luca could see Hayley admiring the men and woman in the slow dance as Evelyn began to slow her set down.
“Dance with me?” He stood up and held his hand out for her to take it, and his smile illuminated his face as she did.
Hayley danced close to Mr Mafia Man, his cologne was intoxicating as he held her close.
She let him guide her elegantly across the floor, slowly to the music. Luca wasn’t himself when he was alone with her, he forgot about cops, rats and all the bad stuff it was like she made him better.
“I wish I could tell you everything.” He murmured in her ear as he held her body closer to his own.
“Why can’t you?” She whispered, and he slowly pulled her away, so she was looking up at him. His face was hard, but not angry.
“Because it’s too dangerous, everything I do is dangerous.” He shook his head, as Evelyn started another song and he pulled her back into his chest and danced again, slowly swaying to the music.
“I want to understand last night.” She whispered, and he nodded.
“But not tonight, let me enjoy you tonight.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” She shook her head in his chest.
He was prepared for her to leave him, that was a plan he knew once she knew the vile man he was, he knew she would run. No, he was scared she would get too involved, and someone would take her from him.
“Come on,” he took her hand walked back to the table grabbing his jacket from the gold chair. “I want you, baby.”
He pulled her into him and kissed her like she had never been kissed, and she knew tomorrow was another day, but tonight was tonight and she was longing for his touch.
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