First I Love You

It’s September! Here’s a new Letter From Mickey for my Downey Trilogy fans:


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Dear Joey,

Your last letter gave me quite the laugh! The cheek of you! Alright then, if you want me to trust you with my jet you’re going to have to tell me what the message is hidden within this tale:

Back when Finn was still the adventuring sort and fond of women and drink — well, more so than he was at the time of this tale, in any case — he came across a young scamp. This boy said he’d take care of Finn’s horse in exchange for a few coins. Now, Finn had already spent the coin he had on the aforementioned activities, but he knew the horse was in need of care.

So, he says to the lad, “Tis true the horse needs attending but I’ve a more pressing matter that’ll earn you double the coin… if you’re interested.”

The boy’s eyes lit up at the opportunity,  for he was hungrier than a louse on a bald man, and at least three times more clever than hungry. “Oh, tell me, please,” the boy pleaded.

“Take the horse down the lane, past old man McIntyre’s, then take a right turn by the old oak and another by the raspberry thicket. There you’ll see a farm of some size. Knock on the door and say you’re delivering a message from Finnegan.”

“And what’s the message, sir?” the boy asked.

“That is the message, lad.”

The boy furrowed his brows, but agreed to take the horse. When he arrived at the place, he was greeted by an old hag rather fearsome in visage.

“Oh, ho, so Finnegan’s finally been gotten the better of, eh?” the old woman asked.

The boy opened his mouth to say something, but she waggled a wizened finger at him, “And don’t be thinkin’ I’ll be paying a thief who got the better of another thief, boyo!” Then she grabbed the horse’s reins and pulled him inside.

Realizing he had been had, the boy shouted, “Wait! I found the horse and I was just returning it. I don’t know this Finnegan. I was only hoping for a bit of bread and a place to stay. Perhaps if I clean the stall, I could rest with the horse for the night?”

The old woman paused and contemplated the offer. The boy did look rather peckish and he reminded her of her son at that age. “Alright, lad. I’ll have Moira bring you some bread and goat’s milk. Ye’ll be off at morning’s light.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he assured her.

And come the morning, her stalls shined as if they’d been built yesterday. And they were just as empty. When she returned to the kitchen, Moira asked her why she was smiling so.

“Why, because I’ve finally gotten rid of all my son’s stolen horses without having to answer any questions! What a good boy, my Finnegan is.”

 

I love you, Joey. Do try and be good in as much as that’s possible for any Downey.

Your loving father, Mickey.

Read the rest of the letters here: Letters From Mickey Downey

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Fluffy, frisky, angsty!


No, they’re not Snow White’s naughty dwarfs, just missing scenes!

If you’re new here and you’d like a no-commitment taste of my books, or maybe you’re just bored, below are links to the free supplemental scenes from my novels. Some are fluffy, some frisky, well, you get the idea…

(And FYI: In between writing on my super angsty work-in-progress, and real life, I am working on another Downey/Anderson outtake set the Christmas AFTER all the books!)

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NEW BEGINNINGS (A Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson Flashback)

This short scene features a young Tommy Gates and Kyle Anderson and is set shortly before the flashback scene in the first chapter of First, I Love You in which Mickey finds Mary & Tommy. Rated G.

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SPIN THE BOTTLE (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a look at the spin the bottle game that Kate references in Bird Day Battalion. Little Tommy Gates makes a brief cameo at the party. Rated PG.

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THE GOOD LIFE PROLOGUE (A Dominic Valentini and Kyle Anderson Flashback)

This is a wedding jitters scene between Dom and Kyle set before Dom’s wedding to Isabel Alesio, about three years before Dom and Kate get together in Bird Day Battalion. It’s not technically a missing scene, but I’m including it here anyway. Rated PG.

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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT KNEES (A Dominic Valentini and Katelyn Anderson Flashback)

This is a short holiday scene between Dom and Kate set the Christmas before they get together in Bird Day Battalion. Published in A World of Joy Anthology. Rated G.

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HER PRINCE (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

This scene features a nineteen year old Mary Gates, freshly arrived in New York, talking with her new best friend Claire (Anderson) Underwood about the mysterious new man she started seeing, Michael…something or another. Rated PG.

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CONVERSATIONS AT 30,000 FT (A Maeve Downey & Ginny Sommers Missing Scene)

This is a quick missing moment from Second of All set aboard the flight to Dublin that both Maeve and Ginny are on. Rated PG.

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SPECIAL DELIVERY  (A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman Missing Scene)

A Kiki Downey & James Hoffman missing love scene from First, I Love You set shortly after they “hook up” for the first time as Kiki puts it. Published in A World of Romance Anthology – Rated R, For Sexual Material.

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SECOND CHANCES (A Mickey Downey & Mary Gates Flashback)

A flashback to when Mary tells Mickey she is pregnant with Tommy, and Mickey persuades her to be his mistress. – Rated R, For Language and Sexual Material.

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LETTERS FROM MICKEY DOWNEY (Letters Mickey Downey wrote to his loved ones)

These are the letters referenced in The Downey Trilogy that Mickey wrote to his loved ones over the years. In the books, the reader rarely gets to see the contents of these letters so I have begun sharing them as periodic blog posts. Check back as I add more. Rated PG-13.

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3 books for 3 bucks? Say what? YES! The Downey Trilogy is on sale Apr 6-12


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ALL the drama, intrigue and romance you could need for ONLY $3!

For the week of April 6th- April 12th, all three books in The Downey Trilogy have been reduced to $.99 each!

This is a great time to share your love of the Downeys with your friends! Or maybe you’ve been meaning to pick up the last book and just haven’t gotten around to it! Maybe you just thought you’d like to sink your teeth into a new series, and happen to love mafia families, cops, Federal Agents, character based dramas, stories about love, betrayal, and redemption. Maybe it’s a Tuesday.

In any case, I hope you’ll spread the word.

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First, I Love You (Downey #1)

“Love knows no time, or distance, and it certainly knows no reason.”

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Second of All (Downey #2)

“Oh, the sweet, painful pleasure of anticipation!”

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ThirdTime

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

“What makes a family is love and loyalty.”

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Goodbye hearts, hello shamrocks. I’m ready to let my inner Irish out.


There are lots of parts to me (and my family), but I’ve always been proud of the Irish bits and pieces. Why? Because I associate these parts with laughter, love, loyalty and perseverance. Is this exclusive to Irish folk? Nah, of course not. But every March when everyone becomes a wee bit Irish for a day, I smile and think it’s funny people think of drinking and parades. Because to me it’s always been about family and faith… that wee part of me.

Alright, enough of the pointless blither blather. I’m dusting off a Letter From Mickey that contains the sort of wisdom my grandpa was fond of sending me in HIS letters:

 

Dear Tommy,

First, I love you and I hope you are well!

A little birdie told me your hockey team didn’t make it to the finals. I am sorry to hear this and I know it is not from any lack on your part. You are quite talented, I am sure. Defeats are a part of life’s lessons for us I am afraid. Sadly they only get harsher as life moves on. But it is how you handle these disappointments that makes the mettle of a man. But I have no worries there, even as a young child you always brushed off disappointments with only a minimal fuss. A trait you get from your mother, no doubt, as it couldn’t have been easy raising you alone but she never complained. Even in the end shortly before she left, for as many arguments as we had she still was as loving and patient as ever. Every day I was able to spend with you, she always had a smile on her face and no matter the struggles she had, she could always find a way to spin a positive out of it. I remember one time when you were only about 2 years old, she had been ill all week with the Flu and had lost her waitressing job from the missed work. I brought her roses and the rent for the remainder of the year expecting to have to comfort her. But you know what she did? She smiled wide, handed you to me, and said, ‘I’m only sad I can’t smell these roses.’ I fed you dinner (spaghetti-os were your favorite) and I even got to give you your bath, something your mother usually did herself as I apparently made too much of a mess playing battleship with you. It was my habit each night I got to spend with you to rock you to sleep telling you stories your great grandfather, Seamus O’Malley, had passed on to me. Now, there is a man whose veins run with pure steel–he never met a disappointment he couldn’t turn into a blessing! He is a full 45 years older than I, yet he can still run circles around me in a spirited argument and still carves every day. If I possess even half of his vigor at his age I will truly be blessed. Anyway, this story was one of your favorites, or I should say, sent you to sleep the fastest, which in retrospect might be saying the opposite. You’ll have to tell me which case it is upon hearing it at an older age: 

Finnegan had been a hard working man, if the work you were speaking about was finding ways to do the least amount of work to gain the most. One of his favorite things to do was trick people in to buying his tales of magical healing wells. Now back then people had heard of Brigid’s Well but few knew where to find it. Finnegan would spin a yarn about how he had thrice been cured by it himself and he knew the secret path to get there. They would pay him in food and shelter and other such comforts to show them where the well existed. But wily Finnegan would lead them around in circles until they were good and dizzy then leave them off at the nearest spring he could find. By the time they discovered the water was just ordinary water, he would be long gone. One night he was sleeping in a barn and a Wee One appeared before him.

“Finnegan,” she said. “It just so happens there is such a well in Kildare as to make a sick man healed. Would you like to know how to find it?”

“Oh, yes, very much,” Finnegan replied, thanking his good fortune, but suspicious of it just the same. “What is it you would want in exchange?”

“You must agree never to trick others again. And, I must warn you, you can only drink the water if you truly seek healing.”

“Of course,” Finnegan agreed, while crossing his finger behind him.

The Wee One told him the well’s location and Finnegan began searching for it, out of curiosity and avarice. But every time he would get near where the well was supposed to be, he would find he was right back where he had started. But he would always begin again thinking this would be the time he would find it. He began to waste away from obsession and lack of food. One day as he was resting on a low wall along came a fair maiden. She gave him some warm bread and he told her of his quest. He figured he had been tricked by the Wee One just as he had tricked others because even now, when he was truly sick, he still could not find the water.

“You poor dear,” the girl said. “I’m afraid Morrigan left out the most important part. You must truly want to get well to find the water in the first place.”

“What foolishness is this?” Finnegan asked. “Of course I want to get well!” And he did, for she was quite beautiful and he could see himself raising goats and children with her as a good and honest man.

“Then drink,” Brigid said and waved her hand. Behind her apace was a small circle of stones with a bucket suspended atop. He drank the cool, mossy water and suddenly felt no desire to wander anymore.

He settled down and made a good life with her. But one day his past came to haunt him as these things tend to do. One of the people he had tricked in the past came seeking justice. When Finnegan offered to let him drink from their well, the man thought he was being tricked yet again and absconded with Finnegan’s bride. Enraged, Finnegan armed himself and his children and swore vengeance upon the man and all who would aid him, vowing he would not stop until he was reunited with his fair love. But he did not know Brigid had sacrificed herself rather than be used by his enemies. So, endlessly he searched, killing all those who dared try and stop him. After each battle, those who would come to claim the bodies of their kin would swear Brigid’s ghost would wander about the dead, crying for their souls, and singing: ‘Until we meet again, my love, until we meet again’.

Then one day, wearied unto his soul from his searching, Finnegan laid down his weapons and gathered his children and grandchildren near and said, ‘enough’ and breathed his last breath, thus finally being reunited with his eternal bride. But his children did not weep, for there is nothing so perfect as a thing with no ending and no beginning, such as a family of souls intertwined.

My dear boy, I think of this story often when I think of you and your mother, not just because it reminds me of when we were together, but because it gives me comfort knowing that eventually, we will be a family again.

Your loving father,

Mickey.

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SPECIAL DELIVERY (A Kiki and James missing scene from First, I Love You) #NSFW 18+!


Special Delivery is a Kiki Downey & James Hoffman missing love scene from First, I Love You. (18+ NSFW!)

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Special Delivery can also be found in A World of Romance Anthology:

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SPECIAL DELIVERY

By Genevieve Dewey

Kiki Downey changed the wording on the last sentence of her blog post for what she hoped was the last time then hit . She was pretty sure her copy editor was only making her submit yet another draft to him because she had turned him down for a date again. He never cared what she wrote in her blog before and this nit-picking was the only change in the routine. She doubted he had developed a sudden love for wedding coordinations.

She crooked her head. On the other hand, maybe he’d finally found The One. Even a beady-eyed, sweaty-palmed rodent like him could find love.

She sighed. No, if he had found someone he wouldn’t have tried to grope her the last time she went over to the Sun-Times building. She really didn’t want to have to talk to the Editor in Chief about him. She knew for a fact her boss was terrified of Daddy and she liked to think she had this job because she possessed a keen sense of fashion and not because she had a mobster for a father… and grandfather… and cousin… and Godfather…

The knock on her door jerked her from her meandering thoughts and she popped up to answer it.

“Who is it?” She asked as she undid the bolt.

“Special Delivery!”

Kiki brightened. It was only a week past her birthday. Maybe it was a late present. She opened the door to see Agent James Hoffman with a smirk on his face. He slouched against the door jamb with one hand in his pocket, the other holding a take-out bag.

“You always answer the door without looking first?” James asked. “What’s the point of asking who it is if you’re just going to open the door for every Tom, Dick, and Harry anyway?”

Kiki let out a nervous giggle. Her heart started racing and she could feel her cheeks flooding with red. A visit so soon after their hook-up on Sunday? She slowly smoothed the front of her velour track suit—to make sure it was showing all the most important parts, of course—and opened the door wider.

His smirk morphed into a frown and he stopped the super-sexy broody slouch thing to walk past her into her apartment.

“Seriously, Kiki, you shouldn’t open the door without looking first. And you should keep your latch on, too,” James continued as he set the takeout bag on her coffee table.

Kiki sighed. She had enough men in her life being overprotective worrywarts she didn’t need her new… Hookup? Co-conspirator? Whatever he was… nagging her. She grabbed her hair and twisted it into a loop in back as she walked over to the divan and flopped onto it. She enjoyed the way his eyes followed her every move.

“I’ll keep that in mind… um… what was your name again?” she asked, trying hard to keep the smile from her lips. She tamped down the shudder of pleasure at the predatory look in his eyes.

He chuckled. “Play nice, kitty cat, and I might share. I only have a half hour before I have to be at the Federal Building.”

“Share what?” She purred, running the zipper up and down slowly on her track suit. “And you know you’ll never make it in time. Besides, it’s rather presumptuous of you to think I’d want to play anything. I’m a busy girl.”

“You want me to go, Katherine?”

She shivered at the use of her given name. Of course she didn’t want him to go, and he knew it. But she did have somewhere to be this afternoon, too. She was going to meet up with Tommy’s mother Mary. Mary’s support would further James and Kiki’s mutual goal of convincing her brother Tommy to let Daddy back in his life. James insisted doing so would help his and Tommy’s current case, but Kiki was only going along with it because having Tommy back in the fold—Detective or not—was the one thing Daddy wanted most. This sex-on-the-side thing between her and James was supposedly a separate thing entirely. She’d never dated a DEA Agent before; it’d be a nice change of pace being with one of the so-called ‘good guys’… assuming he wasn’t just using her.

Kiki hopped back up to grab the takeout bag and swing it playfully.

“So, what’s on the menu, Agent Hoffman? Taco? Clam? Sausage? Hot dog and a donut?”

His whole body shook from laughter. He snatched at the bag but she sidestepped him and deliberately rubbed up against his back as she danced away.

“Now, I know you haven’t forgotten my first name,” James drawled, turning around and shoving his hands back in his tight jeans. “After all, it was on your lips so many times the other night.”

His dimpled grin and twinkling eyes had her breath catching. He was so damn sexy even out of his formal wear. And the black shirt and leather jacket he was wearing with jeans seemed to highlight the contrast of blue eyes and black hair. He started walking toward her and she started backing up.

“How come you aren’t wearing a suit and tie? Isn’t that standard Federal Agent gear?”

“In general, drug runners don’t care how we look when busting their door down. All that matters is the gun and the handcuffs.”

“That’s kinda hot, maybe you should show me how that works sometime.”

He laughed outright then he shrugged out of his jacket and shoulder harness, all without stopping his menacing approach. Oh, please let him be for real, and not just another manipulator, Kiki thought. James made a grab for the bag but she hid it behind her and kept backing up down the hall. He only deepened the grin and started taking his shirt off.

Kiki bit her lip to keep from panting. Holy cow, he was… wow… ten times as amazing in the daylight. His hands swiftly unzipped his jeans and he managed to simply walk out of them and his shoes. She was so mesmerized by him that the crunch of the takeout bag smacking the end of the hallway wall startled her. She barely had time to register the thunk of it hitting the ground before his hand hooked behind her and yanked her flush up against him.

She frantically started to tug at her track suit. Why was she still wearing the damn thing? It didn’t matter anyway. He made short work of it and then she was soaring through the air in to her bedroom. She would have sucked her breath in at the swooping sensation in her tummy except his tongue was in her mouth and who could think about breathing anyway?

Her hands sunk into his short black curls and she wrapped her now naked legs around his waist. She thought he would set her down on the bed but he turned at the last second and sat on the edge. His lips finally left hers to explore her neck.

Oh, how she loved his neck kisses. It was some strange combination of kissing, licking and nibbling that made her feel like ice cream melting in July. She wanted him to lick her all over and eat her up. Literally. The way his fingers gripped her ass and pressed her up against his cock, his hot breath and his efficient mouth… this man played her body like it had been special-ordered just for him.

His tongue licked along her collar bone and he rubbed her wetness against his cock some more. His shaft was hitting her clit just right and he seemed to know when she was ramping up towards an orgasm because he would painfully grip her hips and stop just as she got there. She began to whimper from the teasing and he chuckled again, damn him.

Well, two could play that game.

She stopped gripping his shoulders and started running her fingers up and down his back in a half scratching, half tickling manner. He shuddered as her finger teased his crack.

“Say my name,” he demanded.

“Oh, how terribly cliché of you, Agent Hoffman,” Kiki snickered and licked her lips. She watched his nostrils flare a bit and he bit his lip for a brief moment. Then he stood up and tossed her on the bed. She rolled over to crawl further up the bed but he trapped her face down and straddled her, hands pinning her wrists. She could feel his cock prodding at her ass.

“James!”

“Ahhh…see? Now, that wasn’t so hard,” he snickered then started nibbling at her back.

It didn’t hurt at all, just sort of made her tingle all over. She squirmed underneath him and he let out a groan. He lifted one hand up and yanked the drawer open on her nightstand to grab a condom. Her heart was beating so fast in her chest her ribs ached. She wasn’t ready for any backdoor action if that was what he was going for. On the other hand, he had done things to her the other night no one had ever dared before and she had enjoyed every single delicious second.

He let go of her other wrist and raised her hips. His cock entered her and she sucked in her breath. No, no backdoor action yet, but she felt suddenly dizzy from the strange sense of disappointment that brought. No one had ever made her wonder or want to know what that would be like before.

Suddenly his mouth was next to her ear and he whispered, “I haven’t been able get the other night out of my mind. I can’t stop thinking about you.” His husky voice seemed to immobilize her. He licked her earlobe. “About all the things I want to do to you…”

His fingers trailed lightly along her sides and she squealed from the tickling sensation. Her legs trembled and she felt gooey and helpless in an erotic sort of way.

He licked along her spine as his hips set a demanding pace. She grabbed the comforter underneath her and pushed back so he would have better penetration.

“Katherine…” he let out in a sort of whispery groan. It was simply amazing how he managed to make such a stodgy old name sound sexy.

“James… please… I need to touch you,” Kiki said.

It was the truth; she needed to feel his strong chest muscles and watch his eyes as he came. It was the only time his face had betrayed any vulnerability with her in the short time they’d known each other. And really the only time since she’d met him Saturday that she had felt even remotely in control.

He let out a quick breath and pulled out. He flipped her so fast her hair got caught but the pain of it left her as soon as he entered her again. She was denied the pleasure of watching his face, though, because his mouth was on hers in a bruising, ferocious kiss. She moved one hand to his head to yank on his hair, and the other to his ass to rest a finger between his cheeks. His mouth left hers and she could hear his breath hitch.

“God, stop, baby—I can’t—I won’t be able—” He struggled to get the words out. His pace doubled and his face cramped up in a panicky expression.

She knew he was about to come and was fighting it. The way he needed her was nothing short of intoxicating. She clamped her muscles around his cock and came apart watching his face battle for control.

He groaned with his own release and it vibrated against her body.

“Ahhh,” she sobbed as the force of it had her coming a second time. She gripped his hips and pressed him against her one last time to keep the waves of sensation coming.

His arms holding himself up were trembling slightly and he dropped his forehead to hers. He let out a shaky laugh then kissed her quickly and rolled off.

Kiki stretched lazily like a cat, enjoying the soporific after-glow.

James sat on the edge of the bed and grabbed his underwear.

“Shit,” he mumbled as he looked at his watch.

“What?”

“Gonna be late,” he muttered as he quickly started gathering his clothes.

She sighed. So much for any post-coital cuddling. She followed him into the living room, not bothering to get dressed. Let him see what he was leaving, so he’ll come back for more, her mind whispered. It sounded a bit like her mother’s voice and that was more than a little disturbing so she plastered a cheerful, carefree, don’t-worry-about-me mask on her face.

He was dressed and fastening his holster in record time. He checked his phone with a frown, face otherwise completely free of emotion. He looked up briefly as he turned the knob on her front door and a quick blink was the only reaction to her still being naked. He flashed that devastating grin.

“Call you tonight?” he asked and shut the door before she could answer.

Kiki blinked at the door in the sudden silence. The door opened again.

“Latch the door,” James said and slammed it shut.

She sighed and retrieved the take-out bag from the hallway. She looked inside it and saw her favorite Portillo’s sandwich.

Bring her something, followed by a quickie? Check.

Immediately after, consult watch and phone for work? Check.

Ambiguous promise of future hookups? Check.

Yeah, so far, dating a Federal Agent wasn’t too much different than dating one of her father’s ‘employees’.

The bright side?

The sex was amazing and unlike the men who worked for Daddy, she wouldn’t ever have to worry about sending him care-packages in the clink. And if James was using her, well, she could tell herself she was using him as well. Plus, she perked up, they had known each other less than a week and he had already sent her half a dozen texts, had sex with her at least that many times, called her once, and made her breakfast. Come to think of it… this might be her first ever real grownup-type relationship.

She smiled and grabbed her phone to call Mary.

It was time to get cracking on James and Kiki’s ‘mutually beneficial’ plan, and maybe she could get all of her wishes.

–Copyright 2013, Genevieve Dewey

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 14


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FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN “Mickey”

CHAPTER TWELVE “Ginny”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 James

 

 

 

 

James figured, as he lounged against the grungy alley wall waiting for his snitch, that if he could just find the right way to crack Tommy, he could be free to give Kiki what she obviously wanted. He wasn’t stupid. She was making all those typical female noises about meeting the friends, maybe even the family. But they’d only been together a little over a month since they’d met at her party. And ‘together’ was stretching it a bit. Sure, they talked every day, saw each other more days than not, but that didn’t mean they were together together. And even though it was also true he couldn’t get her off his mind, found himself thinking about her at odd moments in the day, found excuses to see her when he really should be focusing on the case, still… they had barely started whatever it was that it was.

She was beautiful and intelligent and sexy and fun to be with, surprisingly so given how young she was, but going public and making it official with friends and family instead of the nameless strangers at museums and parks? He wasn’t sure even if he wasn’t trying to work her family for information if he would be ready for that. But what he did know for sure was that it couldn’t happen before Tommy agreed to get Downey on board. It would complicate things too much. Everyone would have their two cents to put in, and Downey would no doubt run the other direction or demand Kiki stop the relationship. Or both. And neither thing sat well with James.

But something was going to have to be done. Take this morning, for instance, she springs on him that they’re supposed to be meeting up with Tommy and Ginny for drinks after work. And he, naturally, balked at this idea. First, she said it while trailing her manicured nails down his lower abdomen, tracing a teasing pattern that had his mind and willpower at seriously subpar levels, and second, she cloaked it in a manner in which he didn’t have a logical reason to refuse.

“You and Ginny and my brother will just go out for Happy Hour like you’ve been doing most days. I already told my brother I’d join him and he thought it was a great idea. He doesn’t have to know you knew in advance I’d be there. We can just feel them out. We don’t have to acknowledge that we’ve already been seeing each other but it could be, like, a dry run. Ease them into the idea. You see? And anyway, Tommy needs help with Ginny, she obviously likes him and I think he likes her, but a snail could move faster—”

“Mmnnn… Katherine, you’ve got to stop with these games. People aren’t dolls… Ahhh, stop that, baby, I got to get to work,” he had said as she teased him with her hair and one delightful fingertip.

This girl ought to just change her name to Mata Hari.

But he’d ended up agreeing, because what else could he do? If he all of a sudden made an excuse not to go to Happy Hour with Tommy and Ginny it would confirm Ginny’s suspicions, and she might go to Tommy, and that would derail his progress. It was frankly a miracle she hadn’t said anything yet, especially after stupid Ted’s drunken ramblings last weekend. Added to that, he could tell by the stubborn, challenging glint in Kiki’s eyes that if he refused it would cause trouble between them.

Besides, maybe Kiki had a point. Maybe if they simply openly admired each other, flirted a bit, it wouldn’t seem like he was using her to Ginny and then she would back off her meaningful glares and pointed looks. And Tommy wouldn’t have to know he and Kiki had already been together until after they’d bagged Bonanno. If they were even still together then. Because who knew where this thing would lead? Surely something this hot and heavy would burn out soon enough. That’s why he didn’t want to involve anyone else. It was confusing enough without her family and his family weighing in on it.

James checked his watch again, worried he wouldn’t make it back to headquarters in time if his snitch didn’t show. He’d gotten a mysterious text from one of O’Rourke’s crew saying he had info on the hit on his boss, and since this confidential informant had dropped some fairly reliable info in the past for him in exchange for getting let off on a midlevel narcotics charge, James had sacrificed his lunch break to meet him. Besides, he’d obviously be seeing Kiki tonight for the Happy Hour of Doom. Maybe she’d be so grateful…

He heard a car door slamming and turned, walking towards the noise on the other side of the abandoned building. His neck prickled. He probably should have brought Tommy along for back-up but he wanted to keep this guy to himself. An O’Rourke snitch was a rare breed. He un-holstered his weapon and crept around the side, using a pocket mirror to see what was down the other alley. His CI was walking forward darting nervous glances left and right. Behind him was a man who seemed vaguely familiar standing in front of a black Lincoln.

Yep, shoulda brought backup. He flattened back against the wall.

“Hoffman! Hey, Hoffman! Come out,” he heard his snitch O’Brien say, voice trembling. “Hoffman, ain’t no use man. They already know you’re meeting with me. They just wanna talk.”

James battled with the desire to know who ‘they’ were versus the obvious disadvantage he had. It couldn’t be O’Rourke’s people or the snitch would already be dead. O’Rourke had a less than zero tolerance for rats. Meaning he tended to go the extra mile and kill a guy’s entire family to cement the message when he so much as suspected a leak. But then again… O’Rourke was now dead. Hmmmnn. He heard another car door slam.

“Come on out and play, Jimmy. Isn’t this what you’ve been angling for?” a gravelly voice James clearly recognized said.

Not the Downey I’d hoped to spend lunch with, he thought with dark humor.

James walked around the corner and faced Kiki’s father. O’Brien was shifting back and forth on his feet like he was preparing to run. The man in the suit next to the limo fondled his high caliber weapon.

Well, shit on a stick.

Downey smiled and walked forward, leaving a distance between him and the other men. James quickly weighed his options and went with his instincts.

“This isn’t about the hit, is it?” he asked politely, attempting to remain professional.

“On the contrary. I have information you and your friends might find interesting. And I’ll give it to you for a reasonable price,” Downey replied silkily.

James’ guts knotted up. This was too easy. What was going on? Downey’s eyes held cold menace, but his smile was pure honey. The classic phrase ‘Make him an offer he can’t refuse’ rang in his head.

“Depends on the information,” James replied.

Downey chuckled. “Come on now, Jimmy boy, we both know this is what you’ve been angling for,” Downey repeated. “This is why you’ve been sniffing around my daughter and schmoozing up my oldest son, isn’t it?”

James’ heart stuttered a bit. “What are you talking about?” he bluffed.

“Your little toy here’s been quite the chatty Cathy. Been selling his information to the highest bidder for quite some time now. Luckily, I find it useful to keep my ears and eyes open even in my retirement, know what I’m sayin’? With O’Rourke gone, it’s only natural the little mice come running to the nearest protector. He tells me you’re investigating an acquaintance of mine, you might even call him family. And we all know there’s nothing more important than family… ain’t that right, Jimmy?” Downey sneered.

“It’s James, Mr. Downey, and if you’ve information to aid us in our case we’d be more than happy to take it, confidentially of course,” James said as calmly as he could.

“Tell me. What kind of a man uses an innocent little girl because he doesn’t have enough balls or competence to get the job done himself?” Downey replied.

James’ ears were ringing from a combination of anger and fear. He looked Downey in the eyes and forced himself to walk forward.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” James answered slowly and firmly.

Downey reached into his coat and brought out an envelope which he opened lazily. He took out pictures of Kiki and James kissing at Grant Park. James gritted his teeth. So much for keeping the families out of it. He looked back at Downey and kept his poker face on.

“And?” he asked.

Downey looked mildly impressed. He stepped forward. They were now almost toe-to-toe. James forced himself not to step back.

“This is how it’s going to go,” Downey said softly. “You’re going to take this envelope, with these pictures and some information on O’Rourke’s connection to Teplov’s operation. You’ll find there’s nothing on Bonanno, nor will you get anything from me on him. But in exchange for this information on the Russians, you’re going to break things off with my daughter immediately. No one ever needs to know of this. See, your snitch O’Brien over there has delusions of grandeur, fancies himself moving up the ranks now his former boss is gone. So he’s going to keep his mouth shut about this meeting, because I’m going to help make his petty little dreams come true. His mouth speaks only what I tell it to speak from now on, and he understands what’s at stake if he doesn’t. You seem like a real smart boy, Jimmy, so I don’t suppose I gotta explain what’s at stake for you either. So this is a real simple case of quid pro quo between me and you. Now, I can’t make you stop fraternizing with my son since you work together, but you damn well aren’t ever going to lay a perverted hand on my daughter again. If you take this information, and you don’t leave my daughter alone, I will make sure my son and daughter understand the extent of your betrayal and then I will have your badge. Don’t delude yourself into thinking I don’t have that kind of clout in this city,” Downey finished.

“You’ve miscalculated, Mr. Downey,” James said. “Kiki and I made an agreement the first night we met. She knows exactly what I’m after. So does your son for that matter. She’s been very willing to help me.” The petty part of him enjoyed the quick flash of betrayal on Downey’s face.

“I don’t believe you,” Downey replied.

“Well, that’s probably because you’re imagining all sorts of sinister motives here and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Your daughter, as usual, is thinking of everyone but herself. She wants you and Tommy to have a better relationship. Why? Because it’s what you want. I’ve agreed to help her because it benefits me to do so. And because I think it’s a goddamned shame she has to twist herself into a pretzel just to get your attention. But she knows what I want and she agreed to help me because I convinced her that you have nothing to do with the trafficking ring, and by encouraging Tommy to spend time with you, she’d be helping her brother and me get the information we need. But I don’t need her to get that done. I need Tommy. But so far, your son refuses to ask you to help. You’ll also be gratified to know your daughter steadfastly refuses to believe you’d ever give us the information you’re dangling in front of my nose right now.”

James grabbed the envelope. “And I don’t give a rat’s ass if you believe me or not,” he finished, then turned on his heel and walked off before his courage could fail him.

He half expected to hear a bullet wiz by or Downey shout after him, but nothing happened. He made it back to headquarters in a completely numb daze and handed the information over, explaining he’d gotten it from a CI. That was enough at first to keep them occupied, but his lack of enthusiasm for this final big break did not go unnoticed. He somehow made it through the afternoon ignoring the puzzled and curious looks Tommy, Ginny, and Jack were giving him.  He’d shaved months off their investigation but he couldn’t muster up interest. He couldn’t get the sick ball of lead feeling to go away in the pit of his stomach. He couldn’t see a way out of the deal he’d just made with the Devil.

He wasn’t sure just what sort of clout Downey had to get his badge stripped but he knew that he could insinuate all sorts of things by way of James’ association with Kiki if he did continue to be with her. Sometimes his feverish mind would think the Hoffman and Dobson families had plenty of their own sway in Chicago, the majority of them being involved in government or politics in some way; he could fight fire with fire. But he couldn’t be certain. He had to get this case wrapped up first to be sure of anything, and he had needed this information to do it. The needs of those exploited children outweighed his desire to be with Kiki. It had to. But the rightness of the decision didn’t make the sick feeling go away.

“Hey, Francis, lighten up,” Tommy said, nudging James as they walked into the sports bar after work.

James forced a smile. “Sorry, I guess my mind is already on indictments and depositions and so forth,” he replied, looking around.

God… what am I going to tell Kiki?

“Well, I’m just happy we didn’t need to ask Tommy’s father for anything. The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I feel better just going with what we gathered on our own about Bonanno and Teplov,” Ginny said.

James winced and sat down. Tommy shrugged before joining him.

“I don’t think he would have given us Bonanno anyway. We’ll have to hope we have enough on our own. I actually spent an entire day in his shop with him on Sunday. Just him and me. It was weird,” Tommy said. “This man is my father and I had no idea he was such an accomplished woodworker.”

“Yeah, he’s very talented,” James muttered without thinking.

Ginny and Tommy stared at him with marked curiosity.

“Downey is into carpentry?” Ginny asked, eyes narrowing at James. Tommy was still looking at James enquiringly. James thought quickly.

“I’ve seen some of his works in the paper before,” he lied, gambling on the fact neither Tommy nor Ginny were from Chicago and wouldn’t know any better.

Tommy nodded and relaxed a bit, “He told me he mostly does furniture by request and word of mouth. He sells a few pieces at some of the smaller consignment shops around town. Not that the man needs the money or anything,” he finished with a chuckle. It was good Tommy was finally opening up about his father with them, but to James, it felt like a knife twisting in his gut because of what he was about to do.

He saw Ginny smile at something over his shoulder and he turned to see Kiki enter. She took his breath away she was so beautiful. She had done that from the first moment he saw her in person at her party, but at the time he had thought it was just because he had built her up as this fantasy in the papers. He kept thinking it would go away as he got to know her, but it had only gotten worse, this ache for her. She was dressed in a simple and elegant pair of slacks and blouse, her gorgeous chestnut curls tamed into one of those fancy braids crowning her face, the rest left loose.

She smiled a radiant smile at him. He swallowed the lump in his throat and deliberately didn’t smile back. Her smile slipped a bit and her brows hinted at her confusion, but she kept walking towards them. Tommy got up to hug her and she exchanged pleasantries with Ginny, finally sitting across from James at their table.

“It’s good to see you again, James,” Kiki said in a knowing tone, smirking.

Good Lord, this girl would never be able to play poker she was so bad at hiding her feelings. He nodded indifferently. Ginny looked between them, eyebrows raised, mouth pursed in suspicion.

“Should we order appetizers?” Tommy asked without looking up from the menu.

“Sure, it might be sometime in May before they get here though with the game on,” James replied, avoiding Kiki’s gaze.

All through drinks and appetizers he forced himself to smile and laugh with Tommy and Ginny acting as if Kiki weren’t there. Her confusion and hurt were obvious on her face. They weren’t going to announce their relationship tonight but the plan had been to flirt with each other at the very least. Yet he was shutting her down, rebuffing her advances. Tommy seemed not to notice much, but Ginny was looking at Kiki with increasing concern.

By the time their checks got there, Kiki looked delightfully furious like she had the first night at her party. He said a very forced and overly polite goodbye to her and drove the long drive back to his home in Downers Grove, trying to erase the look of hurt in her eyes from his memory. He walked into the house he had bought from his parents and shared with no one, and sat in the silence trying to figure out how he could go back on the deal and keep his relationship with Kiki without losing his badge… or his life for that matter.

The silence seemed to mock him, as did the acceptance they had a relationship just as he was about to lose it. He wished he could rewind the last several hours and not take the envelope, but then he would have the guilt of knowing he could’ve done something to help hundreds of innocent children and didn’t, made them wait a little longer for justice just because he was stuck on a pretty girl. There was a pounding on his door and repeated ringing of the doorbell. He got up and knew before he even opened the door it would be her.

She looked like an angry spitfire on his door step and his groin throbbed in need. He had a wild thought, just one more time… Just one more before he had to say goodbye.

“Just what the hell was that about tonight, James?” Kiki spit out.

He grabbed her and yanked her in, shutting the door with her body as he kissed her madly, like a desperate man.

Which, of course… he was.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

WHEW! That was half the book, peeps! I hope you’ve enjoyed getting such a large peek! 🙂

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 13


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FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN “Mickey”

CHAPTER TWELVE “Ginny”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 Tommy

Tommy woke to the sound of his cell phone belting ‘Pretty Daughter’ by the Bad Livers. He fumbled for the phone in his shirt pocket and looked around for Ginny. She had obviously left.

Dammit to hell and back again, he thought, mentally kicking himself.

“Hey, Kicks, wassup?” he answered sleepily.

“Tommy, for real? You’re already sleeping at nine at night?” Kiki asked playfully.

“Some people with real jobs do that,” Tommy said, still irritated at having blown the evening with Ginny. There was deafening silence on the other end.

Shiiiit, he thought, this girl and the silent treatment.

“Sorry, Kiki, it’s just been a long day, everything ok?” he tried again.

“Tommy, did you have a fight with Daddy?”

“No, not more than we usually do. I thought it ended on a fairly positive note. Why?”

“Well, he was acting weird earlier today, and now you’re crabby, and I guess I just wondered if…”

“If?” Tommy asked when she didn’t finish, trying to tamp down his irritation.

She sighed dramatically. He couldn’t help but chuckle at it. Ahh, Kiki. She always managed to both irritate and amuse him simultaneously. Maybe this was a Downey trait, this innate ability to elicit two usually opposite emotions at the same time.

“Nevermind,” Kiki said sullenly. “Jessica’s gone back to New York and I was feeling kind of lonely. Maybe you and your lady friend would like to double date this weekend?”

“Ok, first of all, she’s not my lady friend. She’s a colleague—”

“That’s not what your mom says,” Kiki interrupted, in that obnoxious sing-song voice.

“Since when do you and my mother discuss my love life? When did you two become BFFs?” he asked, feeling decidedly henpecked.

Good Lord, these two harping on me about my father and now about Ginny? Was it ‘Fix Tommy’ Month? Tommy wondered.

“Tommy,” she said in a long-suffering tone. “Mary simply mentioned she felt there might be the potential of something between you two, and I thought so myself the night of my party a few weeks ago. If you’re having trouble making the first move, this could be the perfect way—”

“Absolutely not! I don’t need any help getting dates, Kiki, nor do I want your interference. Why can’t you for once just leave it the hell alone!?” Tommy interrupted hotly. He felt suffocated by all this poking and prodding by his mother, his sister, his father, even Ginny and James. Christ.

“Geeeeze. If you’re determined to be a grouch tonight just forget about it. I was only trying to help,” Kiki said.

“Who’s the guy?” Tommy asked curtly.

“No one. It doesn’t matter. I probably couldn’t get him to go anyway,” she said in a morose voice. She sounded even a little forlorn. His big brother instincts were fast overriding his irritation with her and transferring them to the nameless jerk his little sister was mooning over.

“What’s his name? Where’d you meet him? Has he met your dad?” he asked.

Our dad,” she said. “For crying out loud, why do you always – and don’t interrogate me! I’m not a suspect here, I’m your sister.”

It was his turn to sigh heavily. Would this day never end?

“Alright, Kiki, let’s do this then. I’d like to meet him.” Tommy said as cheerfully as he could muster.

“No… no… like I said, I bet I couldn’t get him to go anyway. Maybe just the three of us could go out then,” she said, then heaved another one of her patented dramatic sighs.

Kiki.”

“Tommy, if a guy hooks up with you, but he hooks up with you a lot–”

“Argh, stop right there. T.M.I.,” Tommy interrupted.

She snickered. “No, no, I just mean like, it’s not just a booty-call, or a one-off thing, but like, you know in those old movies they’d call it an affair? Maybe even a torrid affair—”

“Kicks, have you been watching old Bogart films again?”

“Would you stop interrupting?” Kiki demanded, sounding exasperated.

“Go on.”

“There’s this guy—”

“We’ve established this.”

“Tommy!”

“Alright, alright, I’m listening,” he said.

Dear God, please no more details… he thought.

“So there’s this guy, and he’s a really nice guy, and we get along great, and we’ve spent a good bit of time together in the last few weeks. I mean not just… you know… but other things, like taking walks, and boat rides, and we went to the museum last weekend, and I think he really likes me, but I can’t be sure if it’s not just about the—” she cut off abruptly.

“About the ‘you know’?” he finished for her.

She was silent.

“Kiki?”

“Yeah, about the ‘you know’,” she answered softly, but he got the impression that wasn’t what she meant at all.

“Hmmmn. Now I’m doubly sure I ought to meet him,” Tommy said.

“Well, take for instance, last weekend I suggested we go out clubbing together with some friends and he said no. He said he wasn’t into that scene, and so I said, well, we could just meet up with some of my friends, or some of his friends at a restaurant, and he just sort of changed the subject,” Kiki said.

“Did he say you couldn’t go?” Tommy asked, his radar going up.

“No, not at all. He suggested I go ahead and go out with my friends, and we’d just get together later. So that makes it seem clandestine, doesn’t it? Like he’s ashamed of being seen with me?” Kiki asked.

Tommy didn’t like the sound of the confusion in her voice. She was old enough to drink and vote and run her own life, but he knew she didn’t have much experience with relationships. Hookups as she called them, yes. Relationships, no. It wasn’t like he was that much older than her, but his almost five more years on the planet seemed like decades sometimes with Kiki. She was pretty intelligent and usually had a good read on people, but obviously this guy had her at sixes and sevens, and that made him want to hunt this creep down and…

“Tommy?”

“Yeah, I was just thinking. It’s hard to say. You say you’ve only been seeing each other a couple of weeks—”

“But a lot in those few weeks; like almost every day.”

“Ok, but it’s still early days yet, right?”

“Right.”

“Well, he may just not be ready to go public yet. But you should definitely tell him your feelings about it, because if he respects you, values you, he will understand your point of view and he will give you the courtesy of what had better be a damned good reason. And I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to be seen with a beautiful, smart, funny girl like you, so if he persists with the cloak and dagger B.S., kick his stupid butt to the curb,” Tommy said.

“Tuh. Not that you’re biased or anything,” Kiki replied, but he could tell from her tone she was pleased with his response.

Man, he thought, this big brother thing was exhausting sometimes.

“Was there anything else?” he asked, rubbing his eyes.

“D’you work things out with Daddy?” she asked, sounding perky again.

“We… agreed to try,” he ground out, still feeling henpecked.

“Oh, Tommy! I’m so happy! You’ll see! Daddy’s really great if you just get to know him better—”

“Alright Kiki, I better let you go. Got a pretty full day tomorrow,” he lied.

It was still new and daunting this thought of having his father in his life as more than an acquaintance and he couldn’t pinpoint what ratio of parts were fear, hope, love, disgust, wonder, and worry, and after the day he’d had, he didn’t want to spend one more second dissecting his emotions.

“Oh, ok, Tommy… um… thanks for your advice,” she said.

“Anytime, Kicks,” he said gently.

“And… I love you,” she replied softly.

“I love you, too.”

“Yeah?” she asked, sounding happy again.

“Yeah,” he answered, feeling exasperated. “Kiki, what’s the matter with you tonight, for crying out loud?”

She just laughed and hung up.

Oh for the love of… if he lived to be a hundred, he would never understand women and their convoluted moods. He tossed his phone beside the uneaten pizza and headed for bed.

The next morning, he was trying to figure out how to call Ginny and apologize for falling asleep on her like a dolt when his mother knocked on the door. He thought about ignoring her, but he was pretty sure he’d go to Hell or Purgatory or wherever it was that sons-who-ignore-their-mothers-who-sacrificed-everything-for-you-but-had-an-annoying-habit-of-micromanaging-your-life go to.

“Hey, Mom,” he said, opening the door.

“Are you sure this is a nice neighborhood?” she asked, looking around her.

Tommy grunted and headed to the kitchen to start another pot of coffee. “It’s no different than Omaha,” he said.

“I read an article that Chicago hasn’t been able to make a whole twenty-four hours without a murder,” she replied.

He sighed. Today was shaping up to be as long as the day before.

“So, let me guess, you’re here to ask if I went and talked to my father. Well, you’re too late, Kiki called last night to confirm that, yes, I did indeed talk to him, and no harm came to any animals while making the film,” Tommy said with a smile.

His mom flushed and fussed with her hair.

Man, I love her, he thought. He loved how she fussed, worried, loved and forgave with all her heart, even those who had done nothing to earn it.

“Well. Well, I’m glad that you at least tried. We’ll just see, won’t we?” she finally said.

He just smiled at her and raised his eyebrow, deliberately trying to mimic his father.

“What?” she asked, hands on hips.

“What’s this about you and Kiki spending time with each other? Dissecting my so-called love life?” he asked her, needling just for old-time’s sake.

“I’m… we aren’t… that’s just… ffffff,” she blew out a flustered breath.

Then she laughed and shook her head. “You know what? It’s the strangest thing. I think I might’ve spent more time with your sister than I have you on this trip so far. I just can’t tell you why. I guess I always wished I could’ve had a daughter. I mean, another child in addition to you,” she said.

She looked a little wistful and regretful. It made him worry a little that she was romanticizing the past.

“But surely you don’t regret what you did?” he asked.

“No… no, I regret that it came to that. Regret what it cost us both, but I couldn’t have made any other choice I don’t think. Because I truly believe that even though God gives us the ability to make choices and pick paths, there are some roadblocks and landmarks that are just meant to be. That no matter what choice you might’ve made, eventually all roads would lead to where you are at.”

“Hmmmnn,” was all he could muster in response. He wasn’t sure he could buy that. Life seemed pretty random to him most of the time. But then again he saw a lot more of the harsher, more evil side of life than his mother did.

He chatted with his mother until he was sure she had satisfied herself that he was alright, and even promised her he would go to Mass with her on Sunday. As soon as she was out the door, he checked his phone again. No messages. He sighed and figured he ought to make the first move since it was his screw up.

He sent Ginny a quick text: Sorry about last night. Make it up to you? T

She replied immediately: Don’t worry about it, it was a long day. See you at work! GS

Well, that sounded friendly, at least. He called Kiki’s number next.

“Good morning, grumpy butt,” she answered playfully.

“Hey, I got a better idea than a double date. How about you and I spend some time with the old man this weekend,” he suggested, ignoring the squirming in his stomach at the idea of it.

“Oh, are you serious!? That’s great, Tommy. Daddy’s going to flip!” she all but squealed in his ear.

He smiled and headed out the door for work. On the way there he convinced himself that it was probably better that nothing came of it last night with Ginny anyway. There was nothing worse than mixing work with one’s personal life. He was pretty sure she must have decided as much also because she was back to her overly professional self when he saw her at work.

And it was why he was frankly stunned when, instead of heading off to her motel room after work the following Monday, Ginny actually joined him and James for Happy Hour. She’d been rather frosty towards James since the O’Rourke hit, and he began to wonder if that had really been what she had wanted to talk about the other day instead of his father. Maybe Hoffman was giving her a hard time or something. Maybe she had decided to get over her jumpiness around Tommy. Or maybe she was just worried about her ‘team solidarity’. The idea made him chuckle. In any case, he was pleased to see her, and tried to convince himself it was for professional, friendly reasons.

They settled into that pleasant routine – work, drinks, work some more – over the next few weeks, ironing out the last kinks, pulling in their undercover ops and compiling surveillance, combined with video conferencing with the New York and DC offices. But after a while, Ginny began to vacillate between looking apprehensive and seeming impatient about something around Tommy. She hadn’t suggested they go out again on their own and neither had he, but he continued to see her at Happy Hour. Eventually he began to suspect she was only attending because her day planner had told her to do so, rather than an actual desire to sit in a crowded pub or restaurant with him and James. She certainly seemed preoccupied. She would show up, order one appetizer, make stilted small talk, and be out like a shot before Tommy had finished his first beer. But that wasn’t nearly as confusing as his so-called family life.

Kiki and his mother would tag team him about his progress with his father when he wasn’t working on the case; his mother at lunch, Kiki in the evenings and the weekend. They’d find reasons why he needed to meet them at places and coincidentally – there’d be his father. Subtlety was not their strong suit. Mickey seemed to alternate between sharing Tommy’s exasperation, and a kind of philosophical complaisance. The ratio of which depended upon whether either one of these women would stick around. His mother rarely did. Especially if Kiki and she were together, they’d rush off after some contrived sale or exhibit or some such blatantly made up excuse to leave Tommy and his father alone.

Tommy didn’t know whether to feel satisfaction or pity at the look of pure frustration on his father’s face when this would happen. During these moments of forced proximity, as long as he and Mickey would avoid the topics of the law and his mother they could get along, mostly, but Tommy still felt like there was an invisible wall between the two of them. His father seemed more interested in filling in the blanks of Tommy’s childhood than what was going on in his life right now. And he’d change the subject each and every time Tommy tried to ask about Mickey’s past. Ironically, their unspoken agreement to not talk about the law, while preventing arguments, only seemed to further the disconnect between them. And then later, when Kiki or his mom would pry, Tommy felt like he was letting them down. And that made him feel resentful and guilty, and then angry.

So, about a month into being in Chicago, it was with a deep sense of relief he shook all three of his suffocating family members, and the trafficking case, to spend a Friday night at a popular club with James and Ginny. They had agreed beforehand, no work discussion allowed. Ginny showed up wearing an outfit he strongly suspected his sister had a hand in picking out because Ginny kept pulling down the skirt and crossing and uncrossing her legs like she didn’t know what to do with them. He tried his best not to look at them. Much.

James kept checking his phone obsessively, so Tommy started ribbing him about whether he and this girl he had been seeing so much of had moved on to the sexting portion of their relationship. He was enjoying watching the way it made Ginny blush furiously and nervously rearrange the coasters and napkins, when a man came up to them and slapped Hoffman so hard on his back that his phone scattered across the table. Tommy laughed.

“Sup, Hoffstops?” the jovial man greeted.

“Piss off, Russo,” James replied with more irritation than heat while putting his phone away.

“Where’s the sexy little brunette?” Russo asked, clearly intoxicated.

“What brunette? How many you had, bro?” James asked, getting up to steer the man away. Russo shook his arm off and leaned unsteadily over the table, holding his hand out to Tommy.

“I’m Teddy Russo, this jackass’s brother-in-law,” Russo said, practically falling over on the table.

Ginny had her lip curled in disgust. Tommy shook Russo’s hand and met James’ worried gaze.

“Yeah, why don’t I get you a cab, and you go on home to Steph, alright, Ted? I’m sure she’s worried,” James said while trying to tug him away.

“Ahh, she don’t care. All you Feds are cut from the same cloth, ain’t ya? Jist work, work, work, woooork,” he drawled out. “Used to be me an’ your sister were a courtin’ and a sparkin’ like you an’ that hot little number I saw you wit’ down at Millennium Park—”

“Listen, let’s get you—”

“I thought I was seein’ things,” Russo said to Tommy and Ginny. “Dis guy doin’ the tourist thing with a brunette half his age, gigglin’ under the Bean like a pair o’ teenagers, I’m tellin’ ya, it was far out. Steph’nie’s baby brudder’s gone and got himself a nose ring,” he drawled out in a booze-mangled, thick Chicago accent.

James dragged him away as Russo was making air kisses.

“I’m going to take him home, alright?” James called out, without turning back.

Tommy grinned at Ginny, expecting her to share in his amusement, but she was looking pale and a bit horrified.

“What, you’ve never seen a drunk man before?” he teased her.

“I – what?” she said in a distracted manner, fingers mindlessly kneading her clutch purse.

“Are you alright?” he asked, thinking she looked a little ill.

“I’m fine. I mean, I’m not. I think I’m going to go home, I mean, back to my motel… if you don’t mind,” she replied, then stood up, and shot out of the bar.

WellHell… he thought. So much for a nice relaxing evening amongst friends.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

Read on… Chapter Fourteen, “James”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 12


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~~~~~~~

FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN “Mickey”

CHAPTER TWELVE

 Ginny

Ginny met Detective Gates as he ducked under the police tape cordoning off the crime scene in the near-west side of Chicago.

“Hope you didn’t have anything too heavy for lunch,” she said with a grimace, “We’re still waiting on James to meet us here. I guess he went downtown for lunch. Again.”

She watched Tommy’s eyes scan the façade of the old building and the growing crowd. She wondered where he had gone for lunch but stifled the urge to ask. After having started off on the wrong foot by tailing him and crashing his sister’s party (although to be fair, he had asked her) she was trying extra hard to not be too pushy this last couple weeks. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was killing her a little bit.

“What do we have, Agent Sommers?” he asked, all business.

“In short? One very dead Irish mobster. Mo Green special. But that’s downright polite next to the dead dog he’s holding with its genitalia cut off and shoved in its mouth,” she answered.

“Jesus,” he said, grimacing.

“Yep. CPD called us in because of who the particular vic is,” she replied.

“One of O’Rourke’s men?” Tommy asked.

“Actually, The Man himself. Yeeup,” she drawled out at his shocked expression. “Takes balls to take out the Boss, no pun intended, but it’s the message that is interesting, don’t you think? Agent Hoffman said O’Rourke had deals in place here with the drug runners. This would suggest he was getting a little greedy, or in some part was trying to cut out a more powerful partner. But it’s a classic American Mafia message, not Colombian or Russian with whom he had the majority of dealings. Makes you go ‘hmmmn’, huh? And the dog…” Ginny trailed off as she saw James approaching them.

“Well… ain’t this a peach of a present?” James greeted them with a cocky grin.

Ginny was thinking that whatever Agent Hoffman did for lunch, it had nothing to do with culinary delights.

“Present?” she asked.

“As in, O’Rourke lives in north Chicago in one of those fancy estates, yet his body is found on the near west side in a building with historic Outfit roots, of which he is not a part, near FBI headquarters. What are the odds that after only a couple weeks working together, one of our chief persons of interest just happens to show up dead, practically giftwrapped for us?” Tommy asked.

“Slim to none, given the fact that he was at your sister’s party, and the three of us in attendance did not go unnoticed. Question is, is it a message for us, or a message for your old man?” James asked Tommy.

Ginny studied Tommy’s face, but it was devoid of emotion. He turned to the building, cocked his head, and then looked back at James with narrowed eyes.

“I think that you’ve made your opinion clear, Hoffman, that we ought to ask him, but I just spoke with him and I’m certain he won’t help us,” Tommy said.

Ginny couldn’t contain herself any longer – really, it was a lost cause from the jump-off – and she stood directly in front of Tommy to pelt him with questions, “Is that where you went for lunch? Was it a personal visit, or did you go to question him about Teplov and O’Rourke like James has been asking? Did he mention anything specifically about us being there? If anyone could give us an accurate read on what Downey knows, it’d be you, so if you could—”

She took a deep breath and stopped her babbling. Ugh, what was it about this man that has me acting like a silly fangirl or Twitter stalker? she wondered.

Tommy’s mouth parted and he blinked a few times before replying, “I beg to differ. I barely had—”

“Oh please with that!” Ginny interrupted, too excited to care about politeness. “I think you and James are both right, the players are upping the stakes here. Calling us out. But we need to figure out what part Downey plays in this. Surely you see that?”

“What I was going to say,” Tommy replied with marked frustration, “was that I barely got a chance to start a conversation with him before you called me here. But he’s still putting the full court press on me, so it makes me think he doesn’t know what deals Bonanno has in place, or that we’re after Bonanno specifically. He obviously doesn’t think I’m a threat to his reputation, because I would think he would want to keep myself and my mother at bay if he were worried how it looks to them.”

“Unless, that’s what this message is about. Warning him to keep his mouth shut and distance himself from you? Or your mother?” Ginny wondered.

She noticed James was looking less like his overconfident self, and way more apprehensive. Tommy looked like he was mulling over the idea, but remained unconvinced.

“Let’s let them finish processing the scene, and formulate a plan as to how we’re going to force the issue with Downey. I think the time has come to stop pussy-footing around,” James suggested.

“Hold on now, I never agreed to this!” Tommy exclaimed.

“Listen, no offense, but you came to this case late in the day, Detective Gates. We appreciate the information you’ve been able to share with us, but we are this close to an indictment on Bonanno anyway. If you’re not gonna help us sweeten the pot with Downey’s information, then what the heck are ya here for?” James countered, Chicago accent especially noticeable.

“Excuse me, Agent Hoffman! This is a Bureau case originally. You are just as much a Johnny-come-lately as Detective Gates! He is a valued member of my team!” Ginny said hotly. What was his deal? Why was he all of a sudden trying to cut Tommy off at the pass?

They were both looking at her oddly now. Then they shared a quick, humor-filled look. Tommy started chuckling and James shook his head, then slapped Tommy on the back before walking off.

For real? she thought. What was amusing about that?

She was still fuming about the whole thing at the end of the day when she saw James in the parking garage walking with a purpose to his car, eyes steadfastly on the phone in his hand.

“Hey, hey! Wait up!” she shouted.

He turned and gave her his Devil-may-care expression, as she thought of it.

“Yes, Ginny?” he asked.

“Agent Hoffman, I want to know what that was about earlier between you and Tommy, I mean, Detective Gates,” she said.

He turned the watt up on his smile and shrugged his shoulders. Truly, she found it nauseating this practiced Peter Pan fused with Prince Charming thing he had going on. Did some women actually fall for that crap?

“Listen, I’m just trying to get Tommy to man up and do what’s necessary in the next phase of this investigation. You yourself said that he would be the best equipped of all of us to tell if Downey knows we are headed in the right direction with Bonanno,” James smarmed, then turned and started walking again.

Ugh, insensitive jerk, she thought.

“Agent Hoffman, I agree that out of all of us, Tommy – I mean, Detective Gates – is the best able to ‘read’ Downey, however, we must respect his right not to. I don’t believe you have any right to imply that he is of no use to our team without using his father for information, and frankly I have avoided saying anything for the sake of team harmony, but your behavior at Miss Downey’s party a few weeks ago was seriously out-of-line and an egregious breach of conduct,” she panted out as she tried to match his long strides walking through the parking garage.

He stopped smartly. “Oh my God, are you serious, Ginny? I mean, Agent Sommers,” he mocked. “Tommy didn’t take it as an insult what I said earlier. We’re friendly, you could say friends, even. We’ve had beers a few times this week. We get along fine. Maybe if you’d come along sometime instead of hiding in your motel room like a shut-in, reading about how other people live their lives, you’d know that. I like to think after this is all over that we could still hang out, and all be Facebook friends, but at the end of the day we’re not here to hold hands and sing cum by yah. I’m just saying what needs to be said. We have almost everything we need for a solid case, and yes, we could move forward without Downey’s information, but I for one, want Bonanno to roast for good. I don’t want to take even the smallest chance that he’ll walk. Underneath all that confusion and confliction, I believe Tommy wants that as much as we do and would be willing to use his own father to get it—”

“Like you’re using his sister?” she interrupted, blind fury from the truthful sting of his ‘shut-in’ comment causing her to throw a wild speculation out there.

“Excuse me?” James replied in a defensive tone.

“Where do you go at lunchtime, Agent Hoffman?” Ginny asked, rolling with it. Dance with what brung ya.

James walked forward, having completely lost his mask of charming consigliore, replaced by one that looked an awful lot like anger and panic fused into one.

“Where I go and what I do on my off-time will never be your business, Agent Sommers,” he replied icily, and way, way, way too defensively.

Oh, wow. She was mostly bluffing a minute ago, but… oh, wow.

“Oooh… oh, James, you didn’t,” she said, shaking her head, all thoughts of professionalism gone.

She stepped back. He stepped forward, glaring at her.

Think. Think what you are doing here!” she demanded, grabbing his arm.

“This discussion is over,” he gnashed out, yanked his arm loose, and walked briskly to his red sports car.

Naturally, she thought numbly, he would have a red sports car. How incredibly predictable. With fumbling hands she fished her phone out and called Tommy, even though she knew he was still in the building talking to Agent Underwood.

“Tom – Detective Gates. It’s Agent Sommers. I was wondering if you’d like to meet for drinks later? Give me a call,” she said, and then she punched off, before she could change her mind.

She’d barely made it to her own car on the next level before her phone beeped a text message: When and where? T

She typed in: Giordano’s?

Again, when and where? LOL

Ummmnn, good question, she thought. If she suggested getting take-out and going to her motel that might seem too forward, but then again, they worked together and there was nothing wrong with meeting alone, but at the same time, he might take it the wrong way. Except it wouldn’t be the wrong way since it was of a personal nature sort of cloaked in a professional nature, or maybe it was just both and then the wrong way would simply be that she was thinking of him in that way… which actually was the truth, but a truth she didn’t actually want him to know just now. She kept pacing back and forth, ruining the fresh manicure on her thumbnail, then jumped out of her skin at the bleep-bleep sound of the truck next to her being disarmed.

“Whatever this is about it must be good,” Tommy said, laughter evident in his voice.

She looked dumbly down at her phone in her hand as if it would hold answers then back up at him. She’d give anything if just for once she could hold an entire conversation with this man without sounding like a complete idiot. He smiled and nudged his head towards the truck parked next to hers.

“Guess we parked next to each other. Want to just order delivery at my place instead? I’m a little peopled-out myself,” he said, apparently unconcerned by her odd behavior.

“Um… that’d be fine. I’ll just… follow you… then,” she managed to get out, tucking a stray bit of hair behind her ear.

He shook his head and walked forward until he stopped right in front of her. He reached his hand up and un-tucked the lock of hair, rendering her thoughtless as well as speechless.

“I liked it better that way,” he said, then turned and got inside his SUV.

Ginny let go of the breath of air she didn’t realize she was holding and followed him to his apartment. Once inside, she tucked her hands inside the cuffs of her sweater to keep them from fidgeting, a bad habit she had when she was nervous. Which she rarely was… except in press conferences… and job interviews… and first dates. Sadly, each was more rare than the last. And this wasn’t a date anyway. She was pretty sure. Mostly.

“Beer?”

“I’m sorry, what?” she asked, still standing just inside the door.

“Would. You. Like. A beer?” he asked again, slowly but friendly.

He had a charming half-smile on his face. She liked the way he smiled, sort of effortlessly and understated, instead of practiced and ingratiating like Agent Hoffman. Oh, sure, James was very handsome if you go for that Raphael fallen-angel look and his dimples were probably quite effective with ninety-eight percent of the female population, but there was something about the rugged patrician features and quiet demeanor of Tommy Gates that made her feel… well… just made her feel. And she hadn’t realized how much time she spent suppressing her own feelings in favor of analyzing and recording everyone else’s emotions and actions until that very moment.

“Sure. Thanks,” she answered, feeling somewhat more confident now that she had something to do with her hands.

He looked tired as he ordered their pizza from a place just around the corner. She started to feel a little guilty about suggesting drinks when he’d obviously had a long day.

“So what’d you want to talk about?” he asked after he hung up.

Maybe telling him about her suspicions regarding James and Kiki could wait. After all, they were just that, suspicions.

“Ahhh, you know, I just… felt bad about pressuring you earlier about your dad,” she answered. His brows scrunched in confusion. She continued, “I was being intrusive again and I know it’s none of my business, what goes on between you and your family.”

He studied her for a moment and nodded his head slightly. He didn’t look angry. He didn’t look anything but tired. She fiddled with the label on her beer.

“Is there anything you wanted to talk about?” she ended up asking.

His eyebrow shot up and for a second she could see the resemblance between him and his father, except there was definitely warm humor dancing around in his eyes instead of that icy-cold nothingness in Downey’s.

“What is this, reverse psychology?” he asked, chuckling.

He got up from the bar stool he had been half sitting on, half leaning on. He started walking slowly towards her.

“No, no, no, I was just, it’s just you seem… tired and I don’t… I mean, if you wanted to talk… about anythiiing…” she trailed off nervously as grabbed her hands cupping the beer bottle.

He pulled her forward, still holding her hands while walking backwards. “Come in. Stay awhile. Make yourself comfortable,” Tommy said, guiding her gently towards an overstuffed chair by the window.

She hated those kinds of chairs. She always felt like a little kid dwarfed by its nonfunctional largeness. Something must’ve shown of her thoughts on her face because he laughed.

“This place came furnished. I’m guessing by someone with a great fondness for flower prints, oversized furniture, and from the smell of it, lots of cats,” he said, relaxing her with his humorous tone and friendly smile.

She smiled back at him. “Not a cat person yourself?” she asked.

“How about this? I ask you one question, and for every answer you give me, I’ll answer a question of your own. Sound fair?” he responded.

“Alright, but that one doesn’t count,” she said, eager to finally get some answers.

“Why are you always so nervous around me?” he asked.

Not fair! Ginny thought. Her heart started racing.

“I’m not always nervous,” she said.

“No, not always. Sometimes you’re overly ‘intrusive’ as you say, and sometimes you’re overly professional—”

“Why did you go see your father today?” she interrupted, metaphorically putting her cards on the table.

“Uh-uh. You didn’t answer the question,” Tommy said, holding her gaze.

Ginny scooted forward on the chair and set her beer down.

“Truth?” she asked, cocking her head.

“That’d be preferable,” he chuckled. He slouched back against the couch opposite of her, propping his feet up on the coffee table.

“I don’t know. I find you fascinating. I find your family… situation… fascinating. But if I knew why I get nervous around you I’d certainly do something to stop it,” Ginny answered, figuring brutal honesty was probably the best approach.

He lost his grin and was back to looking tired. “Ok,” he finally said softly.

“Ok?” she responded.

“Oooo, Kay,” he repeated slowly, arching the brow again.

He took a lazy swig of his beer and studied her some more, looking pensive. She was about to repeat her question about Downey when he finally answered.

“I went to see my father because my mother and sister have been putting pressure on me all week to do so. And I suppose it was time I made a move one way or the other on a personal level. But I haven’t made up my mind about asking him to help us with the case. It doesn’t sit right with me, and since I can’t figure out if that’s because he’s my father or because my police instincts say it’s too risky, I figure it’s best to do nothing until I do sort it out,” Tommy said.

“And what if you never sort it out?” Ginny asked.

He shrugged and wiped a hand over his eyes and forehead. The doorbell rang and Ginny sprung up out of her chair, needing something to do with her nervous energy. She paid for the pizza, ignoring Tommy’s protests, and set it on the coffee table.

“You mind if I turn on the TV?” Tommy asked, sounding a little frustrated.

“Mmn, uh-uh,” she mumbled through her bite of pizza.

She couldn’t tell if he was feeling chauvinistic or proper or something, she wasn’t sure, but it seemed only logical that she pay for the pizza since she had been the one to suggest the idea, and here they were at his place, and he was exhausted, so of course she should pay for it. So why was he…

Ugh, Ginny, stop thinking, she reprimanded herself while avoiding his gaze.

“So, my turn again. When did you decide to join the FBI?” he asked.

She met his gaze and smiled shyly. “I think I was nine. No, seriously,” she said when he looked skeptical. “I always wanted to join. Pretty much every decision I made in school and my extra-curricular activities were geared towards being able to join up as soon as the age requirement allowed.”

“Huh,” was all he said in reply.

“And you? When did you decide to join law enforcement?” she asked.

“I guess I just took the leap after I graduated high-school. My, uh, father had come to see me, and it was the first time since I was about ten that I’d seen him. It sort of… brought back all these memories of when I was little and we were in Wit Sec and I just felt like… I don’t know, it’s hard to explain…” he trailed off and frowned at his pizza, then tossed it down.

She bit her lip, willing him to go on. He looked up and narrowed his eyes at her. Then he took a deep breath and leaned back against the couch again, staring intently at her.

He sort of twisted his mouth into a weird half-smile, half-grimace then said, “I like you too, you know.”

Ginny blinked at the non sequitur. She could feel her cheeks flushing. His mouth untwisted and he looked endearingly boyish and uncertain for a minute, then he looked away from her and back at the TV. She was surprised when he continued speaking as if the moment hadn’t happened.

“I felt like I owed it to myself and to my mom and Jack to make a difference. To take a stand against what my father did for a living, so that their sacrifices wouldn’t be in vain. I guess a childish part of me wanted to stick it to my father for what he had put us through, because I blamed him for my mother going on the run. But a bigger part of me wanted to be a good example to my new siblings. But when Jack suggested he could put in a word with the Bureau, all I could feel was resentment for the way my mother was used as a bargaining chip by the Federal government, so I felt like the best compromise was to go for detective,” he said almost tonelessly, eyes never leaving the TV set.

“Ah. That explains it,” Ginny replied. “The way you sometimes say ‘Feds’ like we don’t all play on the same team.”

He slid his eyes to her and wiggled his head and shoulder in a ‘if you say so’ gesture, then continued to watch the TV, pizza and beer all but forgotten. She ate her pizza in silence for a bit, contemplating whether she should bring up his sister or continue the Q&A, and pretended to be interested in the old spaghetti western he was watching. When she had worked up the courage to broach the subject of James and Kiki, she looked over at him and realized he had dozed off. She sighed and gathered her things.

She didn’t know what possessed her, but she walked over to him and lightly brushed the messy dark locks from his forehead like she had wanted to do from the moment they had met. He mumbled something in his sleep and she beat a hasty retreat.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

Read on… Chapter Thirteen, “Tommy”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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A postcard from a mobster on the run… #TheDowneyTrilogy


venezuelapostcard

Dear Tommy,

1. I love you

2. I miss you

3. Until we meet again

PS–Order the ceviche next time. It goes better with beer.

PPS–You should vary your routine a bit more than you do.

Your loving father,

Mickey

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Start reading First, I Love You for FREE here on my website:

Chapter One

FREE READ|#asmsg #bynr #Mafia #FamilyDrama #Romance|First, I Love You Ch. 11


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~~~~~~~

FIRST, I LOVE YOU

By Genevieve Dewey

Copyright 2012 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to living persons is entirely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

CHAPTER  ONE “Tommy”

CHAPTER TWO “James”

CHAPTER THREE “Kiki”

CHAPTER FOUR “Mary”

CHAPTER FIVE “Mickey”

CHAPTER SIX “Ginny”

CHAPTER SEVEN “Tommy”

CHAPTER EIGHT “James”

CHAPTER NINE “Kiki”

CHAPTER TEN “Mary”

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 Mickey

Mickey sighed with satisfaction as he finished the last fine sanding of the figurine he had been carving. He usually worked on furniture, but occasionally he would challenge himself with smaller hand-carved pieces. He loved the awe he still felt when a piece of wood transformed itself into a work of art. It felt that way too; as if the wood had a mind of its own, an identity struggling to get out, and his hands and tools were merely the medium with which it transformed itself. When he was a younger man he would take months to complete what now took him only a few weeks. But back then he had been consumed with making money and the woodworking had been squeezed in as a way to decompress and allow him to be the family man he needed to be.

It was never as easy for him to switch gears as it had been for some of the other guys, or for his father. Maybe it was because he was more of a money guy than a muscle man, but still, it wasn’t as if he hadn’t had to do or be party to some things that just felt like it left a permanent sort of horror in his brain. The sort of thing that made a person feel like he didn’t deserve something as pure as a child’s adoration, or a woman’s loving touch. And truth was, maybe he didn’t. But selfish man that he was, he would continue to take his cake and eat it too, as long as God saw fit to let him roam the earth.

The shrill ring of the shop phone broke his reverie. He knew it would be Frank Bonanno. Right on cue.

“What you got,” he asked without the preliminaries.

“Listen, before I head back, was havin’ a chat with those friends of ours, and they’re fine with what I’ve laid out. As long as you do your part,” Frank stated curtly.

“I’m a man of my word, Frank. You know that,” Mickey tried to curtail the annoyance in his own voice.

These people, he thought, like vultures mated with a pack of African bees. Stand still and you get it, move and you get it worse.

“Your guest list Saturday before last was … interesting … to say the least. You understand their concern,” Frank stated more than asked.

“My son will always be included in my family events. If he chooses to bring a few of his playmates then it’s no different than Kiki inviting your daughter. I believe we discussed this matter at some length already, Frank. I’m just a retired financial and shipping consultant who likes to tinker in his garage. I’m not a threat to nobody. I didn’t even take my damn ball and bat and go home, I left it to yous guys and forgot what it even looked like,” he said, voice betraying some of the street they had both grown up on, instead of the cultured tones he had worked so hard at acquiring.

“I ain’t so worried about the boy or his pals, I’m sure you’ll handle that. I was referring to your female friend. Remember how that pillow talk ended up last time, Mickey. I’m sticking my neck out for you cuz we’re family. Right? Family. You know what they say, if you can’t get rid of the ticks yourself, you just have to get the dog dipped, capiche?” Frank continued.

Mickey counted to twenty inside his head. His hand trembled so hard the Dremel tool he held in it slipped out and clattered on the floor.

“Listen… listen…” Mickey gritted out half a decibel above a whisper. “We agreed. We agreed to this arrangement and my personal life is mine. I’ve stuck to the terms. You stick to yours. I stay out of your thing… you leave me mine. Or we will have a problem,” he ended, he hoped with enough ice and menace to get the image across of what he’d do to Frank if anything happened… if anything… He felt bile rise in his throat.

“Fine, fine,” Frank’s voice was jovial now, signaling an end to business. “Gotta run. Plane’s about to take off. It was good seeing you again, Mickey. I’ll be in touch.”

Mickey didn’t bother to say goodbye he simply slammed the phone down. He breathed carefully and slowly to slow his pounding heart and racing thoughts. When he felt in control enough, he took his cell phone out and called his daughter.

“Lo?” She sounded breathless, like she’d just woken up.

“Wake up. It’s the middle of the day, princess,” he said as calmly as he could muster.

“Oh! Daddy! I – no I was just… thinking… about my next article,” she answered evasively.

He pursed his lips. He sincerely hoped the girl didn’t have another one of her boyfriends over. Though at twenty-one, he supposed she wasn’t a girl anymore.

“Well, I was just checking on you. Would you like to meet for lunch?” Mickey asked.

“Nn-now?”

He could hear rustling in the background and a distinctly male chuckle. He tried to contain his irritation. The mood he was in, it was a good thing he had called before dropping by or some soon-to-be-sorry asshole would be getting his dick rammed into his teeth.

“Well, it is the middle of the day. In the middle of the week. I thought you could see if your brother wanted to meet us somewhere,” he suggested.

“Tommy already had lunch. I mean – I’m pretty sure they’re breaking for lunch right now, so by the time you get here… How about another time instead?” she ended.

Mickey couldn’t recall the last time his daughter had given him the brush off. Frank’s threats had him on edge, and he started to wonder just who was with her.

“Are you alright?” Mickey asked urgently.

“Of course! Daddy, what’s the matter?” Kiki asked, worry evident in her tone.

“Nothing you need concern yourself with, sweetheart. But I did want to ask you, I know you and Mary spent some time with each other last week. I was wondering—”

“Daddy, for heaven’s sake! Just call her already and stop using everyone else for updates. And the same goes for Tommy. This is getting a little ridiculous don’t you think?” Kiki interrupted.

Mickey was silent. First she brushes him off, and now she was interrupting him and making demands? Who was this girl?

The chime on his doorbell rang in the silence. He looked at his security monitors and saw Tommy standing at his front door. Had the world gone mad? First, his sweet loving daughter was being snippy and now his estranged son was actively seeking him out in the same day.

“I’ll talk to you later, princess. Someone’s at the door,” he said and hung up.

As he walked through the house to answer the front door, he texted Carlo:

Put a man on my p. Report all people.

“Hello Tommy, what a pleasant surprise!” Mickey said as he opened the door. Strange how much it still made his heart ache for those days back in Brooklyn every time he saw his oldest child.

Tommy looked hesitant, but he nodded and came inside. Mickey motioned for him to join him in the study just off the foyer. Once inside, his son made no secret of examining the room, but kept his hands in his pockets.

“Would you like something to drink? Have you eaten? What brings you here? Not that I mind, I’m happy you came, very happy…” Mickey stopped himself before he said any more.

He felt incredibly off-balance between Frank’s call, the one to Kiki, and Tommy’s surprise visit. He hated that feeling of not being in control. Hated it.

“Went to supper with Mom and Kiki last night,” Tommy said.

Mickey nodded. He knew that, of course. He had someone who kept an eye on Mary at all times. He knew where she went and what she did and who she met. And he knew she knew that he knew these things. It was almost like she was taunting him these last few weeks with her activities. He wasn’t sure what she was playing at, but he could practically hear the words ‘Game On’ in his head.

“They both figure that we… that is, you and I…” Tommy started to say, frustration and irritation clearly evident in his voice.

“Ah, I see. Plan A didn’t work, so we’re on to Plan B? First, Kiki rooks Joe into some convoluted plot, and now she’s guilting your mother into doing her dirty work as well?” Mickey interjected. He sighed. This girl of his. He didn’t know if he wanted to shake her for her interference or hug her close for always, always, having his back.

Tommy was half glaring at him, lips pursed. Then he, too, let out a sigh and shrugged, running his hand through his hair.

“Truth is, my mom had already mentioned something to me a couple times before last night about spending more time with you while I’m here. I think I’ve been soundly outvoted here,” Tommy said, still sounding agitated.

“And you hate that, don’t you?” Mickey asked with a smile.

This boy was so much like him sometimes it was uncanny. But he knew instinctively that would be the last thing he should say to him right now. He walked over to the wet bar in the study and fixed an Old Fashioned. It was 5:00 somewhere. He got a cooled bottle of water out for Tommy from the mini-fridge and handed it to him. Tommy was watching his movements with a wariness and body language that spoke of fatigue.

“I’ve made no secret of my desire to have you be a part of my life. Everything’s been said, what feels like a thousand times over by now. But the last thing I want is you standing in my home against your will. Out of some sense of obligation to the people you do actually care about. It pleases me to see you, but it pleases me to see you happy most of all. What would make you happy?” Mickey asked softly.

Tommy looked down at his bottle in his hand, then back up at Mickey through the fringes of his hair, and then looked away again. He didn’t answer, but he took a drink from his water and walked to the Chippendale desk in the corner of the room. Tommy fiddled with Mickey’s Al Capone bobble-head someone had given him as a joke when he first moved to Chicago. It was difficult, but Mickey bit his tongue and waited, giving Tommy the space he needed to answer.

“If I didn’t care it would be easier, wouldn’t it?” Tommy finally answered, still not looking at Mickey.

Mickey remained silent, such was his shock at hearing his son say he cared about him. Or is that what he said? Maybe by ‘cared’ he simply meant ‘cared to never have anything to do with you ever’. His confusion kept him mute.

Tommy finally turned and looked at him. “It’s not like we’re strangers. Like we just met or something. We have… loved ones in common. A shared history; a few fond memories, though long ago. We’ve spent a couple holidays and family events together. But it’s not as if we’re close either. We don’t really know each other except for facts on a sheet and a superficial understanding of likes and dislikes. And, yes, that has been intentional on my part. I’ve told you why. I haven’t been able let go of my anger at you for what you put my mother through, and I can’t help but think,” Tommy stopped and ran a hand through his hair again. “What’s the point of getting to know you better? I’m still a cop and you’re still a man who has zero respect for what I do for a living. But I’ve never claimed to be indifferent. Of course I care. I care that my own father loves me, but I also care that he obviously doesn’t respect me—”

“Now hold up just one second, son! I do respect you. I am very proud of you, and of the man you’ve become—”

“I care that you make me feel important and valued but treat others—”

“It’s true I don’t have any faith in law enforcement—”

“—with such breathtaking callousness and cruelty.”

“—or the justice system but I admire your dedication to it. I admire—”

“I care that you lavish us with obviously heartfelt gifts with money stolen—

“—that you are a good person and a good example to your—”

“—from ‘dedicated’ and ‘good’ people who fear you—”

“Enough!” Mickey shouted.

The bourbon in his glass spilled all over his trembling hand then dripped to the worn wooden floor below. His stomach churned with tension and residual panic, and far from calming his nerves, the alcohol seemed to be ramping up the suffocating sensation of powerlessness that had threatened at the edges since Frank’s call. For years he had called all the shots. For years he had commanded respect from everyone around him. But with the one man whose respect he was so desperate to earn he was completely ineffectual. Everything was hanging in the balance on every front, and he couldn’t guarantee that a few loyal men and few billion dollars would be enough to protect his children and the woman he loved. And he had given all that power up for this man – this man! – who refused to even see him as anything but the sum of his worst actions.

Mickey took a deep breath and forced his voice into a semblance of calm. “Answer the question, Tommy. What would make you happy? How about you just answer that question and be done with it,” he demanded, setting the drink down without taking his gaze from his son’s eyes. Eyes so like his own, bloodshot with emotion.

Tommy’s Adam’s apple moved up and down and his jaw worked. His voice was choked and hoarse as he said, “I promised my mother that I—”

“God DAMN it! I asked what YOU want! YOU! Only YOU!” Mickey shouted, accidentally knocking the stained glass lamp next to him in his agitation.

It crashed to the floor, the light bulb flickering, glass breaking. Tommy stepped back. Mickey closed his eyes and gripped the chair next to him, stilling himself and his emotions the best he could. When he opened his eyes he expected to see fear or disgust in Tommy’s face, but all he saw was something akin to marvel or curiosity. A kind of far-off look, like he was thinking about a particularly confounding puzzle.

“…‘for the first time in his life he put someone else’s needs’…” Tommy whispered.

“What?” Mickey asked, feeling utterly and completely exhausted at this point.

“And you’re actually retired?” Tommy asked, eyes still looking through him.

“I – what?” Mickey asked again, now completely lost, as well as tired.  And it was only the middle of the damn day. He knelt down and started picking up glass shards.

The first bars of ‘Woke Up This Morning’ by Alabama 3 started playing on Tommy’s phone. Mickey’s head jerked up and the absurdity of his son choosing that ringtone, combined with fatigue and alcohol, forced a laugh out of him.

“You kiddin’ me?” he asked and Tommy grinned awkwardly at him.

“Detective Gates,” Tommy answered into the phone. The grin left his face as he listened. “I’ll be right there.”

Tommy put the phone back in his pocket and bent eye-level with Mickey. Mickey met his gaze feeling nothing but numb, and braced himself for another rejection.

“For the record, I don’t think this is going to work,” Tommy said.

“Duly noted,” Mickey said with a nod.

“But… I’m willing to try. And since you asked, it would make me happy if you tried as well,” Tommy said softly.

Mickey sat back on his haunches and watched his son walk out the door.

“Well, what the hell does he think I been doin’?” he said to the silence.

–Copyright 2012, Genevieve Dewey.

read on… Chapter Twelve, “Ginny”.

First, I Love You is available in print or digital format at these official retailers:

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