Name: Giovanni Michael Downey, “Joe”
Age: 16 going on 60
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York.
Current Residence: Front Royal, Virginia.
Status: Student, military academy; heir to the Downey and Anastasio fortunes.
Aspirations: Pilot for the US Air Force.
Hobbies: Flying, Competitive shooting, Shenanigans.
Parents: Michael “Mickey” Downey and Theresa Anastasio
Grandparents: Giovanni “Big Joe” Anastasio and Katarina Bonanno; Maeve O’Malley and Paul “Pauli” Downey
Siblings: Thomas “Tommy” Gates, Katherine “Kiki” Downey
The door opened, and Joe got in the limo. He grinned and sat down on the seat opposite Mickey, propping his feet up.
“Hey Dad, how’s doings?” Joe drawled out.
Mickey arched an eyebrow. Joe’s grin got wider.
Why is it that this silent gesture used to spark fear in hundreds of men but was completely useless on his children? Mickey thought.
“I was about to go in and meet with your headmaster about your recent behavior. How is it that—”
“Listen, Dad, before you get worked up, I’ve got my pass for the next five days. That’s not a lot of time to work with but I’m here to help,” Joe stated with all the certain demand of a board chairman.
When had his baby boy grown up? Fifteen years old and he was sitting here acting like he already commanded armed troops. Mickey felt completely off kilter.
“Help?” Mickey asked.
“Well, Kiki and I didn’t think that it’d be enough for Tommy to come to her party, what with the way he has of avoiding you. This way we’re seeding the clouds, so to speak. Our brother will be concerned about my ‘recent behavior’ as you say, forcing him to actually interact with you for more than a second, and then we do the family thing this weekend. Like a one-two punch, see? What do you think?”
Mickey stared at him. Joe’s bright hazel eyes seemed to sparkle with all the enthusiasm of youth. Well, he had the confidence down, but his strategic planning needed some work, Mickey thought with pride and relief.
—First, I Love You (Downey #1)
Tommy was about to call Joe and see where he was at when Joe rounded the same corner and sidled up to him.
“Had to double back and go around so the blonde Fed wouldn’t recognize me. This is fun. It’s like some super spy shit… dundundundunduh – ow!” Joe cut off as Tommy cuffed him on the back of his head. “What is with you and Dad doing that!? My brains are going to be jelly by the time I graduate Academy.”
“Joey, this is not a joke. What was our grandmother doing here in the States? Why is she going back to Ireland? Why is Ginny going to Ireland?” Tommy whispered furtively.
“How should I know?” Joe responded in a mock whisper but didn’t meet Tommy’s eyes.
“Come on! There’s having faith and then there’s just… just being a pawn in someone else’s game. I’m tired of this!” Tommy said forcefully.
Another wary woman came out of the bathroom and gave them a curious look. There was an Airport Security officer standing across the concourse staring pointedly at them. Tommy sighed and grabbed Joey’s arm, leading him to the automated walkway. Joe kept winking and making ‘how you doin’ gestures at women in the waiting areas they passed by as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Tommy sighed and gritted his teeth.
“Why are you muttering the Hail Mary?” Joe asked, in one of those dramatic out of the corner of the mouth whispers.
“It’s to keep from murdering you,” Tommy gritted out.
The lady in front of them turned around and looked at them. Tommy and Joe grinned identical grins. She turned back around.
“Alright,” Joe said in his regular voice. “Grandma Maeve was here to deliver a package—”
“Oh God, stop right there. I told you I can’t be a party to—”
“Thought you wanted answers? Might want to make up your mind there, bro.”
“Last May,” he looked up at Tommy from the queen he was rotating on one axis with a finger. “Plane ride… post cards… cousins… ring a bell?”
Joe looked back down and moved the queen. “Check mate.”
James stared dull-eyed at the chess board.
“I hate you,” he said.
She let out a sudden soft huff, a slight smile on her lips.
“I sense shenanigans.”
“Yeah, that’s a given. Like I said… this is Joey.”
Ginny laughed and looked up with a mischievous grin.
“I like Downey shenanigans.”
Tommy grinned back, “Me too.”