Taken by the Italian Mafia(5)

By: Sadie Black

"What the fuck!" another girl screamed. Dressed up in red, breasts near falling out of her corset top, she glared at Rocco and swung an open palm at him, intending to slap him across the cheek. Rocco's reflexes were quicker, and he caught her by the wrist before the blow could land. Despite the shutdown, the girl in red twisted and screamed at him.

"Lemme go! How dare you turn her down! She's so hot! She deserves a good time!"

Even if the drinks were the best in New York, no kind of alcohol was worth this drama. Scowl deepening, Rocco released the girl in red and pushed her back so she stumbled into the crowd behind her. Still shrieking and furious, the turned on a young man she seemed to know and beat against his shoulders in a tantrum. Whatever drugs took were top notch. He left the scene before he could become further implicated.

The dance floor was running out, and still no sign of Tyrone. Just as Rocco was wondering if he should head back to the bar, he caught sight of him. All the way at the back, near the back exits, Tyrone was on his way out from the hall with the bathrooms. With a line or two snorted, no doubt, the man would be on edge. Rocco needed to be careful.

Rocco wove through the crowd to make his way to the back of the room. Tyrone bumped against a girl carrying a crate of dishes — the bartender Rocco had ordered his drink from — and excused himself. Rocco counted his footsteps as he stepped around her. Ten steps away, he made his move.

Interceptions were always Rocco's favorite.

"You're the collected one," his father had told him. "You have a way with words, Rocco. You're a good boy. When you speak, they'll listen. And so here's what I need you to do."

The very first time he'd delivered a message, he'd felt a high unparalleled to that of any drug. To this day, a spark of that high still burned when he walked away after a successful job. This was the life for him. It was time to tell Tyrone to stop fucking it all up.

He swooped in quickly. Tyrone didn't see him coming until it was too late. Rocco pressed up against Tyrone to speak into his ear. As he did, he pressed the muzzle of the gun inside his suit coat up against Tyrone's side.

"I need a word outside, Hisley. Let's go together."

Tyrone's dark eyes turned on him, narrowed in simmering rage. Despite the danger that lurked in that expression, Rocco did not back down. This was not the first time he'd dealt with thugs, and it wouldn't be the last. Right now the game was his to play, and if Tyrone was smart, he'd stick to the rules.

"On my fucking birthday?" he barked. There was no danger of anyone overhearing over the pounding club music. "You fuckin' low life mafia shitheads have no respect. I shoulda known you’d pull a stunt like this. I have nothing to do with any business, okay?"

"You've got plenty to do with business," Rocco insisted, collected as ever, "and we're going to talk about it outside. Let's go, Hinsley."

Tyrone Hinsley was the son of Lucas Hinsley, one of the larger players in the self-proclaimed Black Mafia. The first time Rocco had heard the title used, he'd laughed so hard he choked. New York City had room for one mafia family, and that space was occupied by the Lombardo line. As it had been for decades. A group of thugs banding together was small fries for the true Don of New York, Vittore Lombardo. But when the group made their intentions to take down the Italian mafia clear, Vittore couldn't cast a blind eye. Rocco's father was forgiving, but he was not a foolish man.

"Aight. We cool. Let's go outside and talk this over, then. It's my birthday, man. Gimme a fucking break."

With the muzzle of a gun pressed to his side, the son of the Don himself there to deliver a message, this was not the time to whine. Instead, Rocco grit his teeth and nudged his gun deeper into Tyrone's side.

"Out," he hissed. Without another word, Tyrone turned and strolled towards the corridor housing the back exits. Rocco followed in his wake, alert and stern. The transition was seamless. It looked like Tyrone was alone, and the job would be done quick and easy. When the Don wanted to send a message, Rocco hated when things got complicated. A Lombardo always came out on top, of course, but the senseless loss of life was a true shame.

Tyrone shouldered the back door open and stepped out onto the metal grating. A metal platform, fitted with a staircase and bordering railings, led down into a dingy back alley. An industrial dumpster opened to the right of the door. To the left was a dead end. As Tyrone took the stairs step by step, Rocco revised his next move.

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