character sketch

A Look at Theresa Anastasio, mobwife and fashion maven…


theresa

Name: Theresa Francesca Anastasio

Age: 52

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York.

Current Residence: Paris, France.

Status: Clothing and shoe designer.

Aspirations: Getting her inheritance back from her ex-husband, Mickey Downey .

Hobbies: Fashion shows, shopping.

Parents: Giovanni “Big Joe” Anastasio and Katarina Bonanno

Grandparents: Salvatore Anastasio and Bella Maria Luciano; Antonio Bonanno and Isabella Torrio

No siblings; considers her first cousin, Frank Bonanno, as her brother.

Children: Katherine “Kiki” DowneyGiovanni “Joe” Downey

Significant Other: money

~~~

‘There’s nothing more important than family,’ Mom would singsong.

Except by ‘family’ Theresa Anastasio meant her family. The first time Kiki found out about her half-brother Tommy was when her parents were having one of their many, many fights.

Kiki was busy pretending to be Princess Jasmine turning down her suitors in the throes of true never-ending love for Prince Ali Baba in the pink (‘It’s salmon, darling!’) guest bedroom when she heard her mother shouting. This was worth pausing for, since Mom never shouted. That was Daddy’s thing. Mom was more fond of jeering insults, crying jags, and dramatically leaving the room, all of which tended to drive Daddy’s temper through the roof.

Belly-crawling to the balustrade she peaked over and watched them below.

“I will NOT stand for this one SECOND longer! You will NEVER bring up that woman’s name or her brat in my home ever again, do you hear me? How could you disrespect me this way?!”

“Disrespect you? That would imply I ever had any respect for you, Theresa.”

CRASH!

Mom threw her prized Tiffany vase against the wall. Daddy raised a dark eyebrow the way he did when one of his men didn’t do what he told them to do fast enough.

“Maybe the stress of the new baby has you—”

“Don’t you dare – don’t you DARE, Mickey! This has nothing to do with our son and everything to do with your BASTARD! Do you know how much I tried to be a good wife, to ignore the fact you had that gumare, that whore, on the side? That you preferred her company to mine? That you gave her your firstborn son and you barely touched me?”

“You know exactly why I married you, Theresa. Don’t play coy at this late date. It was a mutually beneficial agreement, nothing more than a business deal with added benefits. But after the trial, I tried my best to patch things up with you, to devote myself to the family we agreed to make together.”

“Bullshit! You only tried for a baby to suck up to my father because he was so furious with you for not putting a muzzle on that snitch bitch. I thought she was gone from our lives forever. Her and that boy. I thought we had a real chance finally. This whole time you’ve been looking for her. This whole time!”

Mom’s voice broke on the last word. Daddy turned away and scooped his Lexis keys off the Italian marble vanity.

“It doesn’t matter what you say, Theresa. I’m going to get my son. I’ll have my lawyer send over the papers. But understand, the children stay with me. You try to fight it and you will regret it.”

“Not for nothing, but my lawyers are gonna take you to the cleaners, you know that, right? You were nothing without me and my father. Nothing!”

First, I Love You (Downey #1)

“Never make the mistake of not protecting your own interests, Kiki.  Now, Frank is understandably devastated at this turn of events and the horrible impact it has had on his wife and children, but we have to stand by him in his time of need.”

“Mom, I am standing by Jessica and I’m standing by you, but can’t you see how he’s put himself into this position? It’s not like he’s actually innocent here!”

Theresa snatched Kiki by the arm.

“You watch what you say! It doesn’t matter whether he is innocent or not, Kiki. It only matters we are family. Family stands by each other no matter what, unless we’re talking about rats. Rats like your father’s little putanna and her bastard spawn. He stood by her and that fucking cop and it’s led us to this spot right here. Him hiding out in some third world country. Let that be a lesson to you, daughter.”

Kiki stared in horror at her mother. Any thoughts of telling her mother she was pregnant left completely.

“Mom… Daddy didn’t do anything. He didn’t betray anyone! Is Frank saying that?”

“No one had to say anything, darling,” Theresa cooed, rubbing Kiki’s arms up and down. “I know how these things work. Perhaps better than you do. Now we’re going to go back out there and I will attempt to be civil to this man to make you happy and because I love you, but tomorrow as soon as you shake free of him we need to chat about how we can turn this situation to our advantage, alright?”

Kiki shook her head.

“Mom, I can’t—”

“You can. And you will. Frank’s defense team needs to know what the other side is going to hang their case on.”

“Mom, James doesn’t talk to me about work. It’s separate between us—”

“So separate that he just happened to work his way into your bed right after your father disappears? He’s obviously using you to help them find him and make him flip on your Uncle Frank.”

“Cousin,” Kiki muttered to herself.

“All I’m saying is return the favor, darling. It’s the least you owe your family. You think it’s escaped Frank’s notice that your father’s whore and his bastard just happened to be in town when this all happened? This Fed you’re dating obviously tried to use them to flip Mickey and when that didn’t work, moved on to an easier target. You. If your father does contact you, you tell me or Frank right away and for God’s sake, no one else! Especially not the Fed or Carlo.”

Kiki frantically shook her head.

Second of All (Downey #2)

At the door to his daughter’s nursery he paused and sent a quick prayer her mother would not be inside. As usual, his prayers went unanswered. Theresa sat in a rocking chair (not handmade, the best money could buy) wearing only a negligée and a look of practiced maternal contentment. She fooled no one in the room. It was his ritual every morning to come and check on his child before his run, and she knew it. With one long, outstretched, perfectly formed leg she rocked the bassinette (not the best money could buy, handmade with love) and smiled in welcome at Mickey.

He nodded without returning her smile, because it pleased him to deny her, and moved forward to gently lift his baby daughter out of her bed. Kiki’s wild chestnut curls were matted against her forehead from sweat and sleep. Her already deep brown eyes peeped open briefly, her pink bowtie lips pursed, and her little brow furrowed. She started wiggling and making demanding ‘uh-uh’ sounds.

“Shhh, little princess, mine,” Mickey crooned, peppering her face with kisses.

Kiki started laughing those deep, from the belly, baby laughs. He realized his morning whiskers must have tickled her and he grinned down at her innocent, joyful face.

“Da, Da, Da,” Kiki said and his heart jumped into his throat.

Her first words! Or were they? Who knew with babies? Seven months might be a little early, Mickey thought.

He remembered Tommy was almost a year before his first word, ‘Mama’…

Mickey frowned, swallowed, and forced himself – again – to not think of his lost son.

“I thought we might take Katherine to the San Gennaro—”

“No. Too many people,” Mickey interrupted.

Theresa’s eyes flashed and her nostrils flared.

“I’ve already discussed it with Dad. He thinks an outing as a family would be the best thing at this particular juncture. Frank agrees.”

“Oh, well if Frank agrees, I guess that settles it then,” Mickey sneered.

Kiki started squirming in his arms and he loosened his hold. He hadn’t realized he was gripping her to his chest in a close vice. He rubbed his hand up and down her little back and she nuzzled her face against his chest. It calmed some of his agitation and he walked with her to the bay window.

Theresa said nothing more, but he could hear and feel her approaching. She ran one tickling fingernail along his back. He stifled the shudder.

“Michael—”

“Don’t call me that,” Mickey interrupted with fury. First, waking to thoughts of Tommy then she had to remind him of… her.

She laid her hands flat against his back then patted him once briefly.

“I’m sorry. I forgot how much you hate your given name. Hey, you remember that one time when we were over at Lou’s as kids? He got you so worked up about your name that you gave him a broken nose, and his mother called your mother over and they started shouting right there in the street. Mrs. Luciano was all ‘you bettah pay for this doctor bill!’ and your mother said ‘well, since I’ll be payin’ for his bill ye might as well schedule him for some surgery to zip his big mouth oop because there’s no doctor in the land can fix stupid. Ye poke a tiger and that’s what yer gonna get, any baboon knows that.’ Mrs. Luciano was so furious and Maeve was just standing there all cool as an Irish cucumber,” Theresa finished the story laughing so hard she was almost snorting.

Mickey couldn’t help chuckling a little at the memory. Theresa came around his side and ran her fingers through Kiki’s hair then traced her nose as she slept on his shoulder.

“Let me put her back in her crib, and maybe I can fix us some breakfast?” Theresa said against his ear.

Mickey continued to look out the window pane at the manicured lawn and hoped his silence would be enough answer. As usual, Theresa didn’t take his unwillingness as anything but a challenge.

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

A Look at Mary Gates; musician, mistress, mother…


MaryGates

Name: Mary Elizabeth Gates

Age: 45

Birthplace: Rockland, Massachusetts

Current Residence: Omaha, Nebraska

Status: Choir director and elementary school music teacher.

Aspirations: Performing music professionally.

Hobbies: Playing piano, singing, baking, ice-skating.

Parents: Thomas Gates and Elizabeth McKinnon

Siblings: Bethany Gates, Naomi Gates, John Gates, Peter Gates, Mark Gates, Joseph Gates

Children: Thomas “Tommy” Gates

Significant Other: Michael “Mickey” Downey

~~~

She had just turned nineteen when she set out to make her dreams come true in the Big Apple. She had driven away from her sleepy little Massachusetts town with nothing but a suitcase stretched almost to the breaking point, $100, and enough grit and resolve for a small army. She was working in a Manhattan restaurant as a hostess when she met Michael Downey for the first time. He came through the doors as if he owned the place, brushing the snow off his fur lined overcoat and striding past her podium with a distracted yet purposeful air.

“Sir!” Mary squeaked out. “Sir, do you have a reservation—”

He stopped and turned smartly on his heel, cocking his head. His arresting green eyes twinkled with mischief and humor and he grinned a grin she was sure the Devil himself had handed him. He looked like he was only maybe ten years older than her but carried himself with an air of a much older man used to giving commands.

“You must be new here. I’m Mickey Downey. I’m here to meet some business associates of mine. In the back,” he crooked an eyebrow, indicating the VIP table set back by the large fireplace.

“Oh. Sorry,” Mary said.

She felt her face flush as red as her hair. She had only had this job a few weeks and was mindful of how lucky she was to have it. It beat working as a waitress in that dingy Brooklyn diner she had started out at by a long shot and she certainly didn’t want to make the mistake of insulting an important patron. The long hours standing in her heels and the not-so-subtle leering of the owner was worth the increase in pay and the opportunity to rub elbows, however briefly, with people who could help launch her singing career.

“Don’t worry your pretty head about it… Mary,” he said reading her name tag. His eyes lingered on her front a bit longer than necessary but instead of making her feel uncomfortable it sent a warming tingle through her.

First, I Love You (Downey #1)

Mary let her tears fall onto the paper and ached with want for him. She had never truly stopped wanting to be with him but this seemed almost physically cruel, this separation, which made no sense when they hadn’t actually been together for two decades! It had to be the intention of the thing. Intentions were powerful things. She and Michael had finally decided to be together, out in public, in the open, no regrets, no hidden agendas, only to have it taken from them as quickly as the thing had been decided. It brought back all those years spent on the run longing in furious impotence for what had been taken from her by people like Frank Bonanno and Theresa Anastasio. Mary had walked away from her birth family, walked away from the little family she and Michael had created together, and now he was asking her to walk away again.

She wiped her tears and smiled in grim resolution. The difference this time was they would work together as a family instead of at cross purposes. He had finally trusted her with all of him, or as much as he was free to give right now. She had a feeling, like she had when she had gone along with Kiki’s first plan in Chicago, that this path was written for them all long ago and though she couldn’t see the end, nor even much of the foggy path ahead, the certitude of this decision was enough to keep her moving forward. And she would not let her boys down or falter in her trust. Not this time.

Second of All (Downey #2)

She walked forward and grabbed the box from his hands. She knew it was his surprise at the action more than anything that had him letting loose.

“These are mine. You meant them for me. You might want to lie to yourself they were meant for you, but the lying to me stops today. Now,” Mary finished firmly.

She ignored the slightly outraged, stunned look on his face and marched towards the door.

“You want to know the truth, Mary?”

She turned back around at the marked anger in his voice. He had only rarely been angry with her. They had fought like cats and dogs that last year they were together but he had always fought with a detached sort of disdain and condescension, only rarely with anger.

He stood up slowly, his eyes burning, nostrils flaring.

“Well, here’s the truth, Mary, and don’t go crying because it’s not what you wanted to hear. I’m as sick of that as you are of the lies. The truth is I didn’t want to retire. Not the first time, not this last time, not ever. I moved mountains to try and be with you and Tommy and it didn’t work. Then I asked you what would work and did that, and all it’s done is put all of us at risk, and you’re still playing games. Tormenting me.”

“Tormenting you!”

“Yes, Goddamn it! Dates, conditions, games. Here’s some more truth, Mary. I hate being retired. I hate relying on Carlo and the fucking cops and I hate being good. I miss the rush of making money, being in charge, breaking the law. Is that enough truth for you? When will it be enough sacrifices for you? When are you going to sacrifice something for me?”

Mary thought maybe it was the trembling from her emotions but it took her several seconds to really grasp he’d said that. She continued to stand there for a full minute. How could he be so clueless?

“Sacrifice? Are you serious? I sacrificed my entire life to be your mistress. The first four years of our child’s life were spent living a lie. I sacrificed the joy of a family unit, I raised our son alone.”

“By choice.”

“I have been alone because I couldn’t risk anyone finding out who his father really was! I sacrificed my young and pretty years on the RUN! I sacrificed finding love and having a real family, having more children. Now I’m a dumpy middle aged woman with a grown man for a son. I just sold the home I worked myself to the bone to earn to move here! I sacrificed everything!”

“Dumpy?”

“And I don’t care that you hate being retired. You’ve been retired a matter of weeks in the long scheme of things. You ought to be ashamed of acting so juvenile for a man your age. But I won’t hold my breath on you feeling that shame because I’m sure you just don’t want to. The rest of us be damned.”

Michael let out a huff, still staring at her slack-jawed.

“I never asked you to like it, Michael,” she managed to finish calmly. “I just asked you to try. Just like I’m trying to understand how a man can be so kind to me and so cruel to others. I hate knowing all the pain you’ve caused others as much you hate being retired. But I’m here. Quit accusing me of running away and using it as an excuse for not telling me the truth.”

He closed his mouth, scrunched his eyebrows and sat back down on the bed. He tilted his head slightly and looked at her in an astounded, dazed sort of way.

“You’re not dumpy.”

Mary blinked. That was all he heard? She shook her head and opened the door, hitching the box under her other arm.

“And I think that’s at least thirty minutes I earned right there,” he said.

She turned around in the hallway and pursed her lips. That damned indifferent mask was back on his face again. Who exactly did he think he was fooling? The answer seemed to whisper in her ear and scattered her anger like a fall breeze on a pile of leaves. A strange sort of calm washed over her.

“I wish you could see… I’ll love you either way, Michael. I’ve always loved you. All of you.”

She didn’t bother to wipe the fresh tears, just let them fall and made her way down the hall with her letters.

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

 

A Look at Maeve Downey, Mischief Managed…


Grayhaired Woman by Window

Name: Maeve O’Malley Downey

Age: 78

Birthplace: Galway, Ireland.

Current Residence: Achill Island, Ireland.

Status: Owner, Padraig’s Pub and several tourist shops. Head of the “family business”.

Aspirations: Living past her father, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday.

Hobbies: Knitting, painting, reading, shenanigans.

Parents: Seamus O’Malley and Maura McLaughlin

Siblings: Kael O’Malley, Aislinn O’Malley, Siobhan O’Malley, Kiara O’Malley

Children: Rosa Downey, Magdalena Downey, Michael “Mickey” Downey

Grandchildren: Thomas “Tommy” Gates, Katherine “Kiki” DowneyGiovanni “Joe” Downey, Roric Kramer, Ryan Kramer

Significant Other: Paul Bruno Downey, husband (deceased)

~~~

“Only t’ree today?” she asked, her snow white eyebrow arched over green eyes a perfect mirror of his own.

“Make it some place tropical this time. Like the Cayman Islands. They always picture the Cayman Islands, don’t they?” he said, then laughed, his husky, gravelly voice being joined in mirth by the other two occupants in the room.

“Sure, my love. Slán go fóill!” she said as he turned to go.

“Chífidh mé ar ball thú,” the old man finally spoke.

“Until we meet again, Daideo,” he replied, nodding to his grandfather. The old man said something in rapid Gaelic that he couldn’t follow then laughed heartily.

“Yer learnin’, son, hurry back then, we’re not gettin’ any younger,” his Ma said softly.

First, I Love You (Downey #1)

Michael’s mother even resembled a rabbit a bit, with her startlingly white hair and fretful movements as if every fiber within her was made of pure energy. Mary thought idly as she rode in Maeve’s car that Michael’s mother had to be getting along in age, but she acted as if she were a spry young girl, eyes darting about, fingers drumming on the wheel, knee bobbing to an unknown cadence.

“Stop playing games with me! Tell me where my son’s father is! Where is Michael!?”

Mary had never been a violent person but she could easily see herself making an exception for this crazy old bat. Maeve began to chuckle and her eyes finally lost their inscrutable blankness. She leaned back again in her chair and nodded her wizened head slowly.

“It’s easy t’see why my son has been in love with you all these years. I confess to not believing it in the beginning but time has made a fool of me. A fool out of all of us it would seem. Mickey needs you to go home. Think, girl, think, I’ve already told you why if you’ll just hear what I’ve not said,” Maeve said with a tone that was at once soft and iron firm.

Mary shook her head, her confusion and anger making her head spin. Then she realized it wasn’t just her thoughts whirling, but her vision as well. She felt like the world was stuck in a blender because it seemed to swirl around her. She quickly sat down on the old hand carved chair, gripping the lace covered table and trying to stop the lines from moving.

“I… I… don’t feel so well,” Mary said and looked up at Maeve who was regarding Mary with a curious, almost satisfied smirk.

“You… you put something in my drink! You… oh,” Mary said then slid softly down to the floor from her seat.

Second of All (Downey #2)

Maeve shook her head sadly.

“Can’t say as I remember dropping ye on yer head as a child, but I must have.”

Mickey chuckled and headed towards the landing.

“Ma, I’ll thank you to mind your own business. I just gave her what she wants. I gave her a cold hard dose of the truth. Ball’s in her court. Now, I’ve a window to fix and some payback to plan. If you want to help me with either you’re welcome to come along. Otherwise?”

He walked off but hadn’t made it down three steps when he heard her clogs join him.

“I see how ’tis. You come crawlin’ to me askin’ me to help ye with a problem you created but here when I come to ye offerin’ my help, ye want no part of it.”

“Stuff it.”

“Fine, then, how about ye help me with a problem I have?”

He stopped at the landing.

“And what’s that?”

“How do I get my stubborn as a mule son to marry the only woman with enough gumption to stand toe to toe with me? I’ve been giving her my worst and she hasn’t broken yet. She’s feisty and loyal. Ye should have chosen a woman like that in the first place.”

“You could always give her a break if you admire her so much.”

“Pbbfw… Where would the fun in that be?”

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

A Look at Tommy Gates, Detective with a Dad full of Dirty Dollars…


tommypic(Brant Daugherty)

Name: Thomas Michael Gates, “Tommy”

Age: 26

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York.

Current Residence: Omaha, Nebraska.

Status: Recently made Detective at the Omaha Police Department, member of a federal joint task force on human trafficking based out of Chicago, very reluctant heir to the Downey fortune (prides himself on not having touched a dirty dime of it). Workaholic.

Aspirations: Raising a family in Nebraska, having an entire conversation with his father without arguing.

Hobbies: Hockey, working.

Parents: Michael “Mickey” Downey and Mary Gates

Grandparents: Maeve O’Malley and Paul “Pauli” Downey, Thomas Gates and Elizabeth McKinnon

Siblings: Katherine “Kiki” DowneyGiovanni “Joe” Downey

Significant Other: FBI Agent Ginny Sommers

~~~

It’s not like he would ever join his father’s criminal enterprise, not that that was ever an offer on the table, but he hated the feeling like he was selling a part of his soul every time he overlooked where the money had come from. At the same time, what good did it do holding on to his pride? If he cut them off entirely it wouldn’t change his situation at work, or the way people acted around him. And so here he was again, getting sucked right back in. Maybe if he had chosen another profession it might have been easier, but he loved being a cop. He loved keeping order and peace, catching criminals. He loved being the ‘good guy’.

He loved the idea that what he did everyday helped ease the fear out of some young mother’s eyes and put hope in a child’s heart. The fact that his own father put that fear in so many people’s hearts and minds over the years made him feel like he was constantly being split in two. Just because the bully was always nice to you, never stole your lunch money, didn’t make him any less of a bully, did it?

First, I Love You (Downey #1)

“When I made the decision to give him a chance I did it with my eyes wide open. I’m not blind to who Mickey Downey the criminal is. But I’m tired of pretending I don’t want to know who Mickey Downey the father is. I spent most of my life pushing him away. You want to know why? Because even having next to no contact with him I still thought of him every day of my life. Every. Single. Day,” Tommy looked away quickly as his words got choked in his throat.

Ginny tried to put her arms around him. Tommy gently pushed her away. He could see the hurt and regret on her face but he couldn’t worry about her emotions anymore when he wasn’t able to be master of his own.

“I was worried that if I cared that much from a distance,” Tommy continued when he was under control. “What would it be like if we had a real father and son relationship? But I decided to try because it wasn’t helping either one of us pretending it didn’t matter that he never gave up on me. And yes, making that decision requires me looking past what he has done in the past and focusing on what he is doing now. I can’t know if it will work if I don’t try.”

Second of All (Downey #2)

“There’s only two ways it will end if you get back in full time. Death or prison. And if by some miracle you still manage to cheat those, I will not be a part of your life. I can’t.

“So that’s your choice then? I quit and you’re on your own with Carlo?”

“No! I—” Tommy stopped and gripped his hair.

This was not going as he had hoped it would go when he sought Mickey out. One would think he would be used to that by now.

“I just need your help this one last time, just enough to get me in then… then, of course I want you to quit.”

“Just this one last time is the lie I’ve been telling myself since I stole a pack of gum from Waldbaum’s at age seven. If I got back in it would be for good and it would be to help you. Even if it cost me your presence in my life afterwards, I could be happy knowing I gave you that gift.”

“That’s bullshit and you know it! You wouldn’t be doing it for me, you’d be doing it for you! Using me as an excuse to get back in.”

“Or I’m doing it for both of us.”

Tommy shook his head, “Take me out of the equation. Pretend I don’t exist.”

“Don’t be absurd…”

“More absurd than asking me to bear the burden of a Sophie’s Choice so you don’t have to take responsibility for your actions? Again? Fine. I’ll make the choice. You’re out. I’ll take care of Carlo myself. James and Ginny can figure out who’s targeting Kiki. Frankly, I’ll rest easier knowing you won’t interfere. At all. No ‘taking care of this my way’ from you.”

Tommy watched his father’s face struggle to remain calm. He could tell by the slightly flared nostrils and white lips fused in a tight line that it wasn’t the decision Mickey wanted to hear.

“And you’re going to do that for your children, for my mother,” Tommy tapped the bassinette, “for this baby, and most of all for yourself.”

“Myself?” Mickey sneered. “My self wants to make these assholes regret ever coming after my family.”

“You know the only way to end a war? Stop fighting.”

“Or kill ’em all.”

Tommy and Mickey glared at each other.

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

A Look at Mickey Downey, Mob Money Magician


Mickeyfullcolor

Name: Michael Liam Downey, “Mickey”

Age: 56

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York.

Current Residence: Chicago, Illinois.

Status: Retired. Founder and former CEO of Downey Industries, Former CFO of Anastasio Shipping, Former venture capitalist and investor for Bonanno Construction.

Aspirations: Having his cake and eating it, too.

Hobbies: Wood-working, gun collecting, story-telling, and breaking the law.

Parents: Paul “Pauli” Downey and Maeve O’Malley

Grandparents: Patrick Downey and Rosa Bruno, Seamus O’Malley and Maura McLaughlin.

Siblings: Rosa Downey LaPosa, Magdalena Downey

Children: Thomas “Tommy” Gates (Mary Gates), Katherine “Kiki” Downey (Theresa Anastasio), Giovanni “Joe” Downey (Theresa Anastasio)

Significant Other: Mary Gates

~~~

People said he had a knack for making money, had the ‘luck of the Irish’, but making money wasn’t about luck. It was about exploiting weaknesses and capitalizing on strengths. Sometimes it was in how he structured the thing, sometimes it was in how he used people’s weaknesses against them, sometimes it was both. He had no problem using his fists or a gun to make a point but he far preferred manipulating assets and brokering an intricately layered web of quid pro quos. That way, no one knew what had hit them until he was long gone and even then they could never quite finger him. He liked the tactical advantage it gave him. He liked the finesse involved in money work. It was a thinking man’s con. Better yet, money didn’t argue, money didn’t fight back, but it sure as hell talked. Money was tangible, by its very nature quantifiable, one either had it or one didn’t.

Even when it never existed in the first place, he thought with a chuckle.

First, I Love You (Downey #1)

It sickened Mickey to think of all the wasted years without his son and he blamed them all, the Feds, Theresa, and Frank. But he could see that Tommy and Mary were happy here and he could continue to allow them this illusion that their tranquility came from his absence. Because he knew the truth, that Kiki and Joey had always been and would remain safe and happy with him and Mickey didn’t have to give up one to have the other. In fact, someday in the future when they would all be together as a whole family, Tommy and Mary would come to see that being the man in charge was actually the only thing that kept all of them safe.

Yes, very soon, Mickey would be released from his promise to stay away. And maybe then when they were all a family, Tommy would be able to see what Mary used to see, what his other children saw, not just a man who would kill for them, but a man who would die for them… the man underneath it all.

Second of All (Downey #2)

“I never promised to leave my family unprotected. I merely said I was—”

“‘I’m going to lay down my weapons and just be your father’,” Tommy mocked then turned and doubled his pace back towards the tunnel.

Mickey jogged after him. “That’s what I was doin’—son, for God’s sake, stop and listen!”

Tommy stopped suddenly. He whipped around and jabbed a finger at his own chest. His messy hair flopped in his face.

“That’s my job. It’s my job to protect the innocent and go after the bad guys. Not yours. Why can’t you grasp this basic fact?”

“A man who doesn’t protect his family is nothing! Less than nothing. I’d rather be dead. You wanna do it your way, that’s fine, but I’ma do it my way. Now, I’m giving you the respect of sharing my thoughts on how that could work with you. You’re damn well gonna give me the respect of letting me finish my goddamn thought!”

Tommy blinked and stepped back.

True, Mickey thought, that might have come out a bit harsh. But, grown man or not, Tommy was still his son.

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

A Look at Kiki Downey, Professional Planmaking Mob Princess…


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Name: Katherine Anastasia Downey, “Kiki”

Age: 21

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York.

Current Residence: Chicago, Illinois.

Status: Fashion blogger for The Chicago Sun-Times, major shareholder in Downey Industries, controlling shareholder of the Giovanni Anastasio and Franco Bonanno trust funds.

Aspirations: High Fashion Event Planner, being taken seriously by anyone.

Hobbies: Museums, reading, “fiscal redistribution”, meddling, and driving James Hoffman crazy.

Parents: Michael “Mickey” Downey and Theresa Anastasio

Grandparents: Giovanni “Big Joe” Anastasio and Katarina Bonanno; Maeve O’Malley and Paul “Pauli” Downey

Siblings: Thomas “Tommy” GatesGiovanni “Joe” Downey

Significant Other: DEA Agent James Hoffman

~~~

[James] looked flatfooted and uncertain, the TV casting shadows across his confused face.

Good, [Kiki] thought, serves him right.

She was so utterly sick of people thinking they knew her, knew what kind of person she was because she was always in the spotlight. Because of who her father was, who her mother was, who her grandfather was, who everybody was, but never really seeing her.

First, I Love You (Downey #1)

Once in the limo, she sat the little figurine on top of the banker’s folder and got out her phone to call James. Then quickly changed her mind and decided she would just text James and tell him she had something to tell him when she got home. Which was adding an extra unnecessary step of mystery, but James was probably used to that by now. Her phone was blinking a message from Tommy:

Kicks, the silent treatment is getting old. How am I supposed to know what I’m kicking James’ ass for if you won’t tell me? Sending you a care package, she bakes great brownies. I love you, Tommy

…Forgetting all about telling James – she would have Mary to talk about it with soon – Kiki decided to throw her brother a bone:

How’s Ginny? Tell her I have some shoes for her since I won’t be able to wear them in a few months. –K

Ha, Kiki thought, let him stew on that. Served him right for thinking a text message could substitute for calling her back like he had promised.

Second of All (Downey #2)

Kiki jumped and turned. She placed a hand to her racing heart and caught her breath at the huge grin on her fiancé’s face. She met it with one of her own.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this, Agent Hoffman.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s my line,” he answered with a chuckle.

He slid the panel shut behind him except for a finger-width crack that let in just enough light for him to find her at the bottom of the four steps. She figured he might want to steal a kiss or several but his face became serious.

“What’s really going on here, Katherine?” James asked softly. …

“James, I don’t know what’s going on between Tommy and Daddy or you or Ginny. Grandmother and I are just working on a way to get Daddy and Mary together for good. I swear that’s it.”

James closed his eyes and groaned.

“Seriously, what is the longest stretch of time you’ve gone without a ‘plan’, woman?”

“Mmn, I think the length of time between birth and the ability to crawl,” Kiki replied cheekily.

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)

A Look at Joe Downey, Trouble in Training…


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Name: Giovanni Michael Downey, “Joe”

Age: 16 going on 60

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York.

Current Residence: Front Royal, Virginia.

Status: Student, military academy; heir to the Downey and Anastasio fortunes.

Aspirations: Pilot for the US Air Force.

Hobbies: Flying, Competitive shooting, Shenanigans.

Parents: Michael “Mickey” Downey  and Theresa Anastasio

Grandparents: Giovanni “Big Joe” Anastasio and Katarina Bonanno; Maeve O’Malley and Paul “Pauli” Downey

Siblings: Thomas “Tommy” Gates, Katherine “Kiki” Downey

~~~

The door opened, and Joe got in the limo. He grinned and sat down on the seat opposite Mickey, propping his feet up.

“Hey Dad, how’s doings?” Joe drawled out.

Mickey arched an eyebrow. Joe’s grin got wider.

Why is it that this silent gesture used to spark fear in hundreds of men but was completely useless on his children? Mickey thought.

“I was about to go in and meet with your headmaster about your recent behavior. How is it that—”

“Listen, Dad, before you get worked up, I’ve got my pass for the next five days. That’s not a lot of time to work with but I’m here to help,” Joe stated with all the certain demand of a board chairman.

When had his baby boy grown up? Fifteen years old and he was sitting here acting like he already commanded armed troops. Mickey felt completely off kilter.

“Help?” Mickey asked.

“Well, Kiki and I didn’t think that it’d be enough for Tommy to come to her party, what with the way he has of avoiding you. This way we’re seeding the clouds, so to speak. Our brother will be concerned about my ‘recent behavior’ as you say, forcing him to actually interact with you for more than a second, and then we do the family thing this weekend. Like a one-two punch, see? What do you think?”

Mickey stared at him. Joe’s bright hazel eyes seemed to sparkle with all the enthusiasm of youth. Well, he had the confidence down, but his strategic planning needed some work, Mickey thought with pride and relief.

First, I Love You (Downey #1)

Tommy was about to call Joe and see where he was at when Joe rounded the same corner and sidled up to him.

“Had to double back and go around so the blonde Fed wouldn’t recognize me. This is fun. It’s like some super spy shit… dundundundunduh – ow!” Joe cut off as Tommy cuffed him on the back of his head. “What is with you and Dad doing that!? My brains are going to be jelly by the time I graduate Academy.”

“Joey, this is not a joke. What was our grandmother doing here in the States? Why is she going back to Ireland? Why is Ginny going to Ireland?” Tommy whispered furtively.

“How should I know?” Joe responded in a mock whisper but didn’t meet Tommy’s eyes.

“Come on! There’s having faith and then there’s just… just being a pawn in someone else’s game. I’m tired of this!” Tommy said forcefully.

Another wary woman came out of the bathroom and gave them a curious look. There was an Airport Security officer standing across the concourse staring pointedly at them. Tommy sighed and grabbed Joey’s arm, leading him to the automated walkway. Joe kept winking and making ‘how you doin’ gestures at women in the waiting areas they passed by as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Tommy sighed and gritted his teeth.

“Why are you muttering the Hail Mary?” Joe asked, in one of those dramatic out of the corner of the mouth whispers.

“It’s to keep from murdering you,” Tommy gritted out.

The lady in front of them turned around and looked at them. Tommy and Joe grinned identical grins. She turned back around.

“Alright,” Joe said in his regular voice. “Grandma Maeve was here to deliver a package—”

“Oh God, stop right there. I told you I can’t be a party to—”

“Thought you wanted answers? Might want to make up your mind there, bro.”

Second of All (Downey #2)

“Last May,” he looked up at Tommy from the queen he was rotating on one axis with a finger. “Plane ride… post cards… cousins… ring a bell?”

Joe looked back down and moved the queen. “Check mate.”

James stared dull-eyed at the chess board.

“I hate you,” he said.

Joey snickered.

She let out a sudden soft huff, a slight smile on her lips.

“I sense shenanigans.”

“Yeah, that’s a given. Like I said… this is Joey.”

Ginny laughed and looked up with a mischievous grin.

“I like Downey shenanigans.”

Tommy grinned back, “Me too.”

Third Time’s The Charm (Downey #3)