Name: Theresa Francesca Anastasio
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” Downey, Giovanni “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.”
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.
“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)