I met Frankie Bossinni when my car broke down on my way home from work. He stopped to help me, and I, a bit frantic at the time, believed he was a godsend. There was nothing off-putting about him at the time; he made me feel at ease and I was just so thankful to have someone there to help me. When he asked me to dinner, I had to awkwardly tell him that I was, unfortunately, seeing someone else. He seemed to take the news well, putting on a smile and continuing to flirt with me. I should've known something was wrong when Henry told me he had met someone else the next day. At the time, I chalked it up to ironic timing. Looking back at it now, I can see that Frankie had been behind it all along. Frankie called shortly after, asking about my car and checking one last time if I was sure I wasn't available for dinner. I was stupid not to notice the connection, but after all, hindsight is twenty-twenty.
I dated Frankie for a little more than a year before I was introduced to Johnny. Frankie talked about him nonstop and I formed an early opinion of him. According to Frankie, Johnny was intelligent, influential, and had quite a bit of power in Chicago. It was always easy to get Frankie to talk about Johnny, but there were certain subjects he tended to avoid. When I asked him what exactly Johnny did, Frankie had a fit. He ranted and raved for a day and then brought it up every day for two weeks straight. It wasn't the first time I had run into Frankie's anger. The more I got to know him, the more I saw of it. It always amazed me how other people seemed to ignore it or explain it away. My mother was one of those people. I think she did so in order to push me to marry Frankie; I had a hard enough time convincing her that I couldn't see Frankie getting married. She gave me a bit of advice saying, "If you push a man enough, he'll give you what you want." That advice hadn't worked very well with my father. She was always nagging him about something. I felt bad for him, having to bear her constant complaining, but he dealt with it by drinking most of the time.
My mother was the type of woman who was unhappy with everything. There was always something that could be tweaked or adjusted to make it better. I was one of those things. She tried her best to make me into a woman of the sixties, but I resisted. The fashion of the time made me uncomfortable, and I longed for the petticoats and saddle shoes of my youth. She told me she didn't know how I had managed to "catch Frankie" by dressing ten years out of fashion. And it was true. It was rather remarkable that I caught Frankie's eye, because Frankie loved to show off. He was big on letting others know just how important he was. There was a club in the heart of the city called Serata. It seemed like he would go there every night. The first date we went on was at Serata. I don’t think he knew of any other place to take a girl. His friends all came over to our table and complemented him on the “fine catch” he had made. I was curious by that. I had never been called beautiful or pretty. Cute, maybe, but never anything more and I knew Frankie had dated quite the lookers before me, so why would those men say that?
I soon learned it was their fear of him. Frankie was a member of the Organization. You know, the mafia. Of course one would never say mafia outright. Organization, outfit, syndicate, family. Anything but mafia. Frankie was good friends with the son outfit's leader. Johnny Roselli is who kept Frankie safe. Charming as he was, Frankie had a bit of a mouth on him. He liked to talk when he should have listened. It was only because of his connection with the Rosellis that no one had ever harmed him.
The Roselli Organization was headed by Johnny’s father, Antonio. Tony Roselli was well known about the city, and had several of its politicians in his pocket. He was a big shot who got what he wanted. The money behind their name originated from Tony’s father’s illegal liquor business in the 20s. Word on the street was that the Rosellis had close ties to Al Capone, though no one could offer proof. It was soon after the connection between Capone and the Rosellis was rumored that Tony Roselli moved his pregnant wife to New York. He would travel back and forth between Chicago and New York for "business purposes" while his wife stayed behind to raise their child. After the heat had died down, Tony sent Johnny to Chicago to prove he was ready to take over the business. Tony had but one son. Johnny was the only heir to the Organization, and he took that allocation seriously. To accomplish a list of associates similar to that of his father’s, Johnny spent most nights at Serata. That’s where I first met him.