Strange Going-On's

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XVIII
Strange Going-On's

Luca pulled a cigarette from his slacks pocket and closed the door to the study behind him. He wasn't surprised to see that his brothers, his father and their guest were already situated in heavy leather chairs sipping on whiskey.

He lit his dart and let the sweet smoke curl around his head as he exhaled.

"So what business do you have in New York, Capone?" Luca asked, tired of polite formalities.

He knew how Torrio ran things in Chicago, and how he treated "old friends" and he didn't like it. The fact that one of his men showed up at his home made Luca all the more weary and suspicious.

"I told you, I'm here to visit some friends and to see your wedding of course." Capone gave a sleazy grin. Luca couldn't help but feel like Al got a perverse pleasure out of pissing him off.

"Of course, Torrio did want me to mention his need for an alternate smuggling route into Chicago to you, Mr. Venzetto." Capone turned back to Valentino when he spoke.

Valentino exhaled a puff of smoke from his cigar, leaning back in his chair even further. He made a steeple with his fingers.

"And why would Torrio have a need like that?" was the boss's only response.

Luca knew his father still had some hard feelings over what had happened with Torrio. The two had practically grown up together. When the time came, they decided they'd both help each other commit petty schemes to make money to split. Eventually, they got picked up by the Chicago Mafia. Luca didn't know all the specifics, but Torrio had ratted about something that sent Valentino running out of Chicago with nothing but the ten cents he had in his pocket.

"The Feds have been biting our asses lately. They patrol the fucking docks all day, every day. We haven't been able to get a shipment in off Lake Michigan in three weeks. Chicago's thirsty, and our sales are goin' down." Capone explained with a cig between his teeth.

"What the hell does he want me to do about it?" Valentino's voice raised a decibel in response to his annoyance.

"He was hoping you'd be willing to make a deal that would allow us to bring our booze through your ports in exchange for quite a bit of dough."

"He needs something from me, but he can't extend the fucking courtesy of coming to see me himself?" Valentino boomed.

Luca watched on with a muted smile as Capone shrunk back at the sound of his father's voice.

Once Al had finally recomposed himself, he spoke.                                                                  

“Torrio said there was some strange going-on’s down in Jersey. He wanted to investigate for himself. He did regret the fact that he couldn’t be here himself to reunite with his oldest friend.”   

 Valentino scoffed at that.                           

“Strange going-on’s?” Vincent piped up. Luca watched his brother pull himself to the front half of his chair, his interest piqued. “Johnny would have told us if there was anything going on in New Jersey. The guy’s practically family.”                

Johnny King was the mob boss of the New Jersey area. Luca remembered seeing King as a little boy. He distinctly remembered the middle aged man’s massive stature and pot belly barely held back by his designer, silk suit vests. He always smelled of sugar and vodka. None of that had changed much since Luca was little. The only difference was now Luca was aware of what King did to deal with those who crossed him. In some odd way that Luca couldn’t quite explain, the man’s proclivity for torture matched his over-sized love of life.                 

“Apparently, King was reported to be in Chicago last week, but none of us never saw him,” Capone supplied, before knocking back the rest of the amber liquid in his glass.                   

Russo furrowed his brows.

“I was in Jersey just last week. I was supposed to have luncheon with King and some of his top associates, but at the last minute, he cancelled, saying he was caught up in an important meeting. I had to go out with some of his lower ranked associates instead,” he worked out perplexedly.

“Torrio thinks maybe King’s dead and somebody’s tryin’ to keep it under wraps.”

It was Luca’s turn to butt in. “Why would anyone keep it a secret? If you’re gonna kill King, you’re doing it for power. There’s no power in nobody knowing you’ve taken over.”                          

“Unless, you are trying to work a different angle behind the scenes. Can’t get caught for something you officially never did.”                                     

“I don’t believe this is a coup d’état. I’ve known Johnny and several of his caporegimes for several years. They don’t seem like the kind of men to go against their leader that easily. You boys would be wise to stop jumping to inchoate conclusions,” Valentino huffed, clearly finished with the conversation altogether.                                                       

“I’ll go down there in a few days to see what I can find out,” Russo volunteered. He rose from his seat, shoving his hands in his pockets after running a hand through his hair. Luca knew this is what his brother did when he was anxious.

“It’s getting late. I’ll take Al to a hotel for the night. We can continue this conversation another time.”

Capone got up and followed Russo out of the room, with nothing more than a subtle nod towards Valentino as he situated his fedora atop his greasy head.

Luca waited until he heard the front door close behind the two men before he began to vent.                  

Dio! I hate that fucker! Everything about him makes my blood boil. And, did you see the way he looked at Grace? He eyed her like she was a piece of meat! He all but disrespected Madre, and …" He didn’t even know what else to say, he was so heated.

“He shouldn’t have been around Milo either. He made Nina uncomfortable,” Vincent added, refilling his crystal glass before downing the liquor in one go. “I don’t understand how Russo can keep company like him. Honestly, you’d think he’d know better.”        

“I agree with you two, but I have a niggling feeling your brother is two steps ahead of us. Charles always seems to know something we don’t.” Valentino defended.

“I hope you’re right, Padre, because if he isn’t and I see Capone in this house again, I’ll deck him all the way back to Chicago, and make him eat his own bashed-in teeth in the process,” Luca seethed.

He stood and stubbed out his cigarette butt.     

“Where are you going?” Vincent called after his little brother as Luca neared the study door.      

“To find Grace,” he ground out, without turning back. 

Hello My Lovely Readers! I just want to THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your recent support of this story I never expected this kind of reception after pretty much going AWOL for so long!

I noticed that this chapter is only 2 or 3 pages, but I hope you feel as though you found this chapter to be insightful concerning character background and some FORESHADOWING (what?!?). I really enjoyed writing this short and to the point chapter. Anytime I can get in Luca's head it's fun for me!

I've dedicated this chapter to Fixed Glare. She dedicated a chapter of her story Alpha of the Rogues  to me to help bump my fanbase, so I am returning the favor with lots of Thanks!.... Seriously go check out her story if you haven't already. It's really awesome!

One more thing (for risk of becoming one of those ranting authors), When you guys COMMENT and VOTE, I love reading how much you love this story, but tell me WHY you love this story. It's a good evaluation for me, and it's fun to see what every individual reader likes. 

COMMENT & VOTE.
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