“This whole time you knew you were my brother and you said all those fucked up things?” I ask.
“I couldn't tell anyone that I was half black. I would never have been a made man,” Nuts Fontana explains, “I couldn't act like I knew. They'd disown me. You have to be 100 percent Italian.”
I shake my
I'm a little disgusted all over again.
“We should call the cops,” Patricia says.
“No fucking cops. That's not how we deal with it. The street deals with things another way,” Carmine explains.
We all know what Carmine is talking about when he says that.
Carmine has his gun up again and pointed at his brother. Nuts doesn't flicker his gaze from Carmine. Maybe he's still upset about the boy he just killed. Carmine wants to shoot his brother but he's struggling and I know why. Regardless of the fact that Nuts just tried to kill him he was still Carmine's brother.
“Do it,” he tells Carmine.
I look over at Carmine. Carmine looks at me. Our eyes are glued to one another. I shake my head. He can't kill Nuts. I know he thinks I'm weak for not letting him do it but he's upset and he's not thinking with his brain.
“He didn't kill our parents,” I state.
“You don't get it,” Carmine replies, “He tried to kill me. My own brother. Can you believe it? If I don't kill him he'll tell the old man to come looking for me.”
“Do it,” Nuts says.
Carmine struggles at that moment. He shakes his head. Just when he is about to pull the trigger he stops. He takes a deep breath.
“Get the fuck out of here,” Carmine tells Nuts Fontana.
His brother takes Vincent and his brother leaves. We are left in that house with nothing but a feeling of disgust on our chests. I can't believe what I saw. I just saw a man get killed. I just found out that the guy I damn near hated just so happened to be my little brother.
“You did the right thing,” I tell Carmine.
He's going crazy. He knows the commission is going to be after him
soon. He thinks I'm a threat to him,” Carmine explains, “I
can't stay here baby. We have to go.”
Carmine just called me baby. I'm not sure if he recognizes it or not. I don't care if he does because I realize what he just said. My heart is racing and I'm happy about it. I'm excited. There is this feeling of danger and excitement. All my life I'd been bored of my relationships but all that had just changed. Things had gotten way more interesting than I could ever have expected.
I nod my head and
smile a confident, “I'll get my stuff...”
When I turn Patricia blocks me. She holds a hand out. Patricia looks at me and then she looks at my floor. There are still Vincent's blood stains on the floor.
“Get your stuff and go where?” Patricia asks.
I look over at Patricia and Danny. They are watching. Patricia is sweating. Danny is shaking his head. They both look somewhat uncomfortable with what just happened. Patricia looks a little more shaken than Danny. I have to admit that I'm not at ease right now either.
I take a deep
breath, “Patricia. I'm leaving with Carmine.”
“Are you joking?” Patricia asks.
I can't stand my cousin acting like this. I shake my head.
“Do I look like I'm joking?” I ask her.
“You look like
you haven't really thought this out,” Patricia explains, “Leo
Fontana is crazy. That's what he is. That isn't just a nickname.
That man has it out for Carmine. You really want to align yourself
“I'm in danger too.”
“No you aren't. He's not after you,” Danny explains, “He thinks Carmine's trying to take over. I have to agree with Patricia on this one.”
I grab Carmine by his hand. We hold hands at that moment and we just stand there. I'm not going to leave him. I need to let them understand this concept.
“I'm going with Carmine,” I tell them.
have to talk some sense into him,” Patricia explains, “If
you really care about Cornbread you can't let him go with you. You
know that don't you?”
Carmine shakes his head, “I'll protect him. He's safe with me.”
Patricia shakes her head, “You can't believe that.”
“Mind your business Patricia,” I tell her.
“You'll be running your entire life,” Patricia explains, “Is that what you want, Cornbread? Carmine is that what you want for him?”
“Get out Patricia.”
Patricia storms past me at that moment. Danny stares at me as though wanting to say something but after I stare at him back he decides against it. He takes a deep breath. I can see that he definitely doesn't agree with what I'm doing.
I am in my bedroom at that moment. I'm packing up one suitcase. I'm frantic. I've never been so excited in my life. My heart is racing. I was about to go hiding from the Mafia with this fine ass Italian boy! Who wouldn't be excited!
“I don't even
know what to take. Like are we going South? Maybe Miami? Oh my
god...I'd love to go to a beach or something like
“Cornbread...” Carmine is saying behind me.
I shake my head,
“That's a dumb idea. Crazy Fontana probably has a ton of
contacts down in Miami. We need to go somewhere he would never
expect us. Maybe we can go to the country. Maybe we can go to the
sticks. How about Virginia? No one ever goes to Virginia. We can
hide out there on a farm, by some guns and wall ourselves in. He'd
never find us.”
I close my suitcase after stuffing it with anything that I can pack. I'm so excited that I don't even realize that Carmine is just sitting there on my bed. He stares at the floor. He doesn't seem halfway near as excited as I am. Carmine looks upset.
“Come here Cornbread,” he tells me.
“No time. We
have to get going.”
“There's no rush. Believe me. If my father was going to come at me again it won't be tonight,” Carmine explains, “So come here. Lay with me for awhile.”
Carmine is laying on my bed now. He has this muscular body pressed up against my headboard. His perfect eyes peer at me and I don't think he ever looked that deeply at me. It's almost as though he is trying to find something that he's never found before.
When I come onto the
bed he wraps his hands around me and it makes me fucking nervous.
Carmine wasn't the type to be soft and gentle.
“Ok. Now I'm scared,” I tell him, “Since when are you gentle?”
“Oh you're scared now? You weren't scared when my brother shot a guy in your kitchen?” Carmine asks.
Carmine laughs at that moment, “Yeah you are right. Fuck this is a mess. And you're way too involved in this clearly. Maybe that's why you shouldn't come with me.”
My heart stops.
“You don't want me to come with you now?”
I push away from
“Yo---shut the fuck up,” Carmine says slapping me in the back of the head, “I didn't say that, did I? Of course I want you to come with me. I”m just saying that maybe you shouldn't. Maybe your cousin has a point.”
“Your father is crazy. He tried to kill his own son.”
“And he had the opportunity to kill you but he didn't,” Carmine explains, “He needs you as a contact for the Sicilian. People respect that place and he'd like to have you in his back pocket. He won't touch you if you stay here.”
I wasn't even trying to hear what Carmine was saying to me right now. I just feel this uneasiness.
“I'm going to be hunted. My father doesn't trust me and I know things that can hurt him. I know for sure that he killed Big Paulie. That's the real reason he wants me dead. It isn't about money....”
I shake my head. It all made sense now.
“I was there. Nicky was there too.”
“They don't matter,” he explains, “Neither of you are made men. I'm a capo. He thinks that I'm going to turn on him so that I can be boss. My father is willing to kill me for power. No where is going to be safe. And honestly I don't know if I can take you through that shit man. Don't you get that?”
“I'm not a pussy.”
“No one called you a pussy.”
I grunt, “You are assuming I can't handle this.”
“Why would you want to run with me?” he asks me.
“Cause I'm falling in love with you Carmine,” I state.
It's such a stupid
thing to say and I regret it immediately. Carmine looks at me and
his eyebrows shoot up. Carmine is surprised. He is way too
surprised to even respond for a second. His fingers get off me and
he's just sitting there shocked that I've said something like that.
I want to slap my self. What the fuck am I thinking? What the fuck was going through my fucking head to say that I loved Carmine.
you crying yo? Please tell me you not fuckin' crying?”
“I know I look like a pussy,” I tell him, “I know you think I'm soft.”
“No...” Carmine explains.
Carmine grabs me and pulls me close to him. He gives me a kiss that I don't expect. It's not the usual Carmine kiss. This Carmine kiss is soft and gentle. It's a little sad to be honest with you.
“You're not mad I said that?” I ask him.
“No I'm not
mad baby,” he tells me, “I think you're beautiful. I'm
not mad baby...”
I'm crying so hard at that moment, “I'm not ready to lose you.”
“I'm here for you. We're here together.”
“Let's rest,” Carmine tells me, “We'll leave first thing in the morning.”
Carmine grabs me and holds me close. We hold one another. Our hands grasp each other in a way that makes me feel like he actually wants me here.
Together we fall
asleep knowing that tomorrow we plan on starting a whole new life
A whole new start.
I fall asleep after awhile and I don't think I ever slept so easily. Only thing is that when I wake up I have a feeling that something is definitely wrong.
I'm not in his arms! I'm not in his fucking arms!
No answer. I walk out into the living room. I'm screaming his name. After a minute Danny walks out of his bedroom. He's still asleep in nothing but a wife beater and some boxer shorts.
There is a disgusting thrust in my chest. I'm nervous. I'm sweating. Where is he.
I scream again as I get into the kitchen.
There is no sign of him. I can't smell Carmine. I don't see Carmine. He wouldn't have just...left would he?
“What's wrong?” Danny asks.
“Carmine. Where's Carmine?” I ask.
Danny shakes his head, “What do you mean? He left town. He said that you guys talked about it and decided to leave...”
Carmine left me...
It's been a month since Carmine left Staten Island. There weren't any calls. There weren't any letters. There was nothing. Carmine just up and disappeared out of my life. The only reminder that he was ever there was the Fontanas.
“So when can I
take you out again?” Kairo asks me at the restaurant,
“Patricia, tell your cousin that I'm never going to give up on
him, why don't you?”
Patricia opens her mouth. I know she is Kairo's Number One fan.
I shake my head at Patricia, “Don't even. Kairo...you requested to speak to the owner. Are you just messing with me or was there something you actually wanted?”
“How about you take off early and come get a drink with me?”
“I'm a little busy,” I explain.
“You're the boss. You make your own rules,” Kairo explains.
“And my rule is to get my work done. So why don't you please excuse me,” I tell Kairo.
I walk away from Kairo. As I walk away, I walk right past Nuts Fontana. Our eyes connect. He gives me a slight nod but I ignore him. I don't know what the fuck this nod is supposed to mean. Ever since we didn't give out his little secret of his paternity I guess Nuts Fontana thinks he owes me.
I walk into the kitchen and I don't even realize that Patricia is at my heels.
“Why don't you
give the guy a chance?” Patricia asks me, “He still comes
to this restaurant everyday. Clearly Kairo is here for you.”
“How do you know he's here for me. He could be here for something else,” I state.
“What? The food?”
“I did put chicken wings on the menu,” I state and laugh.
I had changed up the
menu a little bit. Luckily none of the Italians had a problem with
it because it tasted so good. I fired a bunch of people including
Alessandra and tried to make this place a little bit more diverse. I
hoped the gangsters would stop coming around as much and to a point
it did work. Business was being slow but I don't think it was
because I was switching up the restaurant.
People stopped coming to the Sicilian because they were scared of Leo Fontana.
“He's here for you,” Patricia explains, “Look at him sitting over there all sexy with that sexy ass suit. You can see his body through his shirt. Look. Tell me you don't want some of that...”
Patricia points outside the window at the door at Kairo. She was right. Kairo was sexy. He'd always been sexy. That wasn't the point though. The point was I was still in love with Carmine even with Carmine not here. There was not a single day that I didn't think about him.
I shake my head.
“Carmine is coming back,” I explain shaking my head.
“No he's not,” Patricia states, “If Carmine comes back to Staten Island he's dead. Have you seen how crazy Fontana's been lately?”
Patricia had a point. Crazy Fontana had become a complete lunatic. His own people were beginning to get scared of him. More and more people were dying around him. Crazy Fontana assumed everyone was out to get him and that at any moment the commission would act against him. He was frantic and it wasn't hard to see.
Just at that moment Maria, a new girl I hired to replace Alessandra walks out from the kitchen.
spoke to Crazy Fontana...and he requested that you bring him the
heart of Snow White...”
I sit there for a minute.
Something was happening.
“Please take Mr. Fontana this key,” I state.
That was the other thing. I'd been being used a lot more by Crazy Fontana then Big Paulie ever did. Unlike Big Paulie, Crazy Fontana didn't want me to know why he needed the key to the meat lockers. In the next couple of minutes I watch as Crazy Fontanas and his guys walk away to the meat locker rooms. Again.
Danny walks into the
kitchen and notices us watching the mobsters, “They are at it
“What are they doing back there?” Patricia asks, “They've asked for that key every single day this week.”
Danny shakes his head with a shiver, “I don't want to know.”
“I do,” I state.
I start making my way out of the kitchen.
Patricia stops me
grabbing onto my arm, “Don't be stupid Cornbread. This isn't
Big Paulie. Fontana is crazy. Don't get involved. Just give him
the key and leave it alone. They'll bring it back after a while.”
I shake my head.
“This is my restaurant,” I tell her, “I need to know what they are doing.”
“I agree,” Danny says.
Patricia and I both look at Danny.
“You do?” Patricia asks.
“Yeah. And I
know a good way to find out what they are up to without getting
caught,” Danny says, “Follow
Danny takes us through the vents. I am shocked when he does. Patricia's big ass can hardly fit through the vents that we go through but she struggles to come anyway. Regardless of how scared she might be she still is as nosy as the rest of us.
Danny, Patricia and I make our way into through the tunnels.
“This way. It leads right to the meat locker. They won't even notice we're there...” Danny explains to me.
“God. How the fuck did you find out about this?” Patricia asks.
“Entirely by accident. I dropped some money through the vents
one day, ended up leading all the way down here. If we're quiet
enough we'll be able to hear everything that happens in that room.”
As we make our way down the hall it is clear that Danny is pretty right. As we are in the room we can hear Fontana talking. There are guys there. A ton of guys. Fontana and his people have these men tied up and gagged.
“It's tight as fuck in here,” Patricia complains.
Danny puts a finger over his mouth telling her to be quiet.
That's when we hear
Crazy Fontana, “Nicky. You want to be a part of our thing you
have to make the choice. These men here. These men here have been
plotting to kill me for the Comission. I need you to kill them for
Nicky is standing there. His hand is shaking.
is Little Louis, Benny the Bully, Horse Harry. Me and Carmine grew
up with these guys.”
The three guys on the floor tied up in the meat locker clearly are scared. It's not there fear that is most surprising here. They are confused. These men have this strange look in their eyes as though they have no idea why they are even here.
They are Carmine's friends. I overheard Benny on the phone talking
to someone named Carmine.”
Benny who is tied up seems surprised, “Carmine? Boss...I never spoke to Carmine. You must have heard me talking to my wife. Karen. That's the name I said. Not a Carmine.”
Patricia, Danny and I look at one another.
“So why leave the room?” Crazy Fontana asks him.
“Because the room was loud...”
It was an obvious reason to leave a room to get on a phone. It all made sense. Not for Crazy Fontana though. He takes his gun and hands it to his son.
don't believe them. Let's cut this off. I can't doubt anyone in my
“Do it Nicky.”
Nicky is nervous. He's beyond nervous. Nicky is scared to death at that moment. I have to admit that I feel bad for him. It's clear he doesn't want to kill these guys. It's clear as day that these guys are probably innocent.
It's one of Fontana's guys who finally opens his mouth and says something, “Boss. With all due respect even if these guys have been communicating with Carmine...so what? I mean, it's been a month. If Carmine wanted to takeover he would have done it by now.”
Fontana takes the gun from his son and turns his gun at the guy.
I'm shocked at that
moment when Fontana just pulls the trigger! Within a second one of
Fontana's own henchmen is dead on the ground. The other henchmen
look at each other in shock. My heart races.
I can't help but to look at Nuts and still just feel bad. I mean he was my little brother whether I knew it or not and this father was fucking crazy. His father was fucking beyond crazy.
Fontana hands back to Nicky.
“I don't like
being interrupted,” Fontana announces to the room as though
this is the perfect explanation, “I always doubted that guy.
He must be working for the Commission.”
Paranoid wasn't even the word for Fontana. He was something beyond paranoid.
I watch as Nicky closes his eyes and shoots the three guys in front of Fontana. The silencer barely makes a noise when the bullets go through their bodies.
If Fontana kept this up there would be no one left to protect him if the Commission did decide to attack him.
They start clearing out the bodies.
“I'm proud of you,” Fontana states, “You're going to be made soon son. I promise. That's what you want right?”
Nuts looks like he's struggling. He nods though.
“Pops...can I talk to you...” Nuts asks.
Fontana nods and the guys leave. Nuts turns to his father at that moment. As soon as they are alone something happens. Things get quiet.
“Why don't you trust Carmine, Pops?” Nuts asks, “This thing...it's going on way too long. He's your son...”
“You should have killed him when you had a chance when he wasn't expecting it. If he comes back people are going to rally around him. He's dangerous. He's respected. He's feared. Young, attractive, full blooded Italian. Who wouldn't want that?”
Nuts swallows his spit.
“What about you?”
“When I become a made man...won't I be the same as Carmine?”
Crazy Fontana laughs. It's the same laugh that he had when he killed Big Paulie. It's a sick twisted laugh that gets underneath my skin. I hate the laugh honestly. It's scary and a little bit uneasy.
“I'm not concerned,” Fontana laughs, “Let's just worry about you making some money. You get involved in the family business. That's what you can do for me. You have no reason to be worried.”
“No reason. Call the guys back in.”
“Pops. I'm serious. Will you do the same thing to me if I start getting respect and become a made man?” Nuts asks, “I want to know...”
Nuts wasn't dumb. Crazy's paranoia was clear and everyone must have been wondering the same thing. Would they be next? If Crazy Fontana can do this to his own son then who wouldn't he do it to?
There's a knock on the meatlocker door. The door opens and someone walks in. Danny points but I can't see who the person is from where I'm looking.
“What the fuck is going on here?” Nuts asks, “Don't you see I'm having a conversation with my father...”
“Your father? He knows the truth, Nuts,” Fontana says, “I know the truth.”
“I'm not your father,” Fontana says shaking his head, “You think I'm blind. You're darker than any full blooded Italian. Everyone suspects it, but no one has the balls.”
Nuts is surprised, “This whole time you knew my father was Regis.”
“I couldn't admit it. That would be embarrassing. I let Regis and your mother do their thing because they did it in private. I wasn't going to kill your father. He was useful. The Sicilian is the headquarters of our lifestyle. But when his son Cornbread came around I didn't need him much anymore. Then when I knew Isabella was about to leave with Regis, I had to stop them.”
“You knew Vincent didn't kill my mother---this whole time?” Nuts says.
“Fuck...” Patricia says.
“Shh...” Danny covers her mouth.
We pause for a minute. I'm not sure if anyone hears Patricia through the vents. She's shocked and she has a reason to be. The purse had nothing to do with the car explosion. So how did the car explode. It couldn't have been some freak accident.
Someone knew about Isabella and Regis leaving.
Someone put a bomb on that car.
But who could have set that up?
“Of course I knew. I had your mother killed when I was told about them leaving”
Nuts looks disgusted. I'm beyond disgusted.
Who knew Isabella and Regis were leaving?
I knew. Carmine knew. Danny knew. Patricia knew.
“It was him wasn't it?” Nuts asks.
Him? Whose him?
“Yes. He's an associate of mine. You have to have associates everywhere,” Fontana explains.
“Fuck!” I hear Patricia say and I realize why she's screaming all of sudden.
The vent we are in
is giving out. The old wall cracks under Patricia's weight and the
ventilation shaft cracks.
Patricia, Danny and I go falling out into the meat locker completely exposed!
“Look what we have here,” Crazy Fontana laughs.
Crazy Fontana and Nuts aren't in the room. The man who is killed my dad and Carmine's father is standing there. I look up and see who it is. My mouth drops when I recognize him.
“Hey Regis,” Kairo says.
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