"We have to get you out of here," I tell my Dad.


"Cornbread's right.  You need to leave," Patricia agrees.

My dad just stares.  I told him what Carmine told me.  My dad was in danger.  This was beyond tragic.  My heart is just beating in my chest faster and faster.  I keep getting text messages from Carmine warning me that something would go down.  Carmine had the feeling and for some reason I trusted Carmine.

"I'm not leaving," my dad says.

He's stubborn.  He's beyond stubborn.


"You want to stay here and lose your life?" Patricia asks him.


My dad just stares out.  He doesn't say much.  I have known my dad was always hardheaded but this was a life or death situation.  Nothing that Patricia or I said to him made the slightest difference.  He just stares out like he doesn't have a brain.


"You say you don't know who you saw in that alley way right when you were discussing me?" my dad says.


"No I didn't see anyone."

"Then maybe it was nothing," my dad replies.


"Carmine thinks it is."

"I'm not going to base my life off of a hunch," my dad tells me.


There is a knock on the door soon after that.


"Don't open it," I state.

"Don't be ridiculous," my dad replies.


He goes over to the door at that moment.  He doesn't have a care in the world.  Patricia and I are looking at one another.  The apartment at the top floor has a separate entrance from the street.  Someone had easy access to get to the apartment if they wanted to.  My heart is racing when my dad opens the door.  He stands there for a second.



I recognize the voice.  Kairo.   

I can only roll my eyes at that moment.  

"I invited him," Patricia announces, "I figured he was a lawyer and he could help."

"You could have asked me first," I tell Patricia.


God knows when Patricia even got Kairo's contact information.  Kairo was relentless as far as getting back with me.  The more he came around the harder it was.  The more Kairo came around the more I realized just how much of a perfect catch he was.  My father needed help and Kairo was the first one there.  

Kairo smiles at me and I just stare back.


"Patricia told me about your situation," Kairo explains, "I was hoping that I could help."

I look at Patricia.  I'm pissed off about this.


"Patricia this is family business."

"Well you were discussing family business with Charming Carmine Fontana so I feel like I'm in the right to discuss family business with an actual lawyer," Patricia defends herself.


This lawyer just happened to be my ex.


Kairo butts in, "Regis. I just want to help."

I sigh a little bit, "How can you help Kairo?"

Truth is I don't know if I want Kairo's help.  The more he helps the more I feel like I owe him.  I don't want to owe the guy.  I just want him, his sexy face, his perfect body, his sweet personality the furthest away from me possible. You have a lot of insider information.  I'm sure that you

"I have contacts in New York who can put your father into a witness protection program.  It's going to be somewhere far away, somewhere that these people can't get to him."

"Witness protection program?  I'm not a witness," my father states.

It does sound odd.

"You have a lot of insider information to these gangsters.  If you cooperate I can have my contacts extract you out of NYC immediately."

My dad looks at me then shoots an eye back out to Kairo, "I'm no rat."

"Dad please.  I can't lose you," I explain, "Just leave...just for a while.  Nothing will happen to your restaurant.  I will take care of it while you're gone.  I promise."

My dad gives me a hard look.  Him and I always had a weird relationship.  I could never describe it.  It was always just different.  We spoke rarely but when we did speak, it was always a deep conversation that stuck with me for life.  I had a connection to my father that a lot of boys my age didn't have.


"You ever been in love kid?" my dad asks Kairo.


Kairo takes a look at me.  His eyes pierce through me.  They kind of hurt when he does it.  I don't know where my dad gets off asking my ex this kind of question but the awkwardness in the room is more than I can handle.  I want to run out of the room right at that moment.

"I'm in love right now," Kairo explains.

"Well then you know that you can't just leave someone you're in love with," my dad tells Kairo, "I can't leave Isabella."

"Then take her with you," Kairo responds.

I look at Kairo like he's lost his mind.


"I can do that?"

"I can arrange it," Kairo responds.

"Are you joking?"  I ask Kairo, "That's a mobster's wife?  My dad can't just take her."

"I agree," Patricia states, "That's risky."

"It's the only way that I leave."

"How do we know she's even going to want to come with you?" I ask.


"If I write her a note...will you give it to her?" my dad asks me.

I sigh a little bit.

This was a bad idea.  This was a real bad idea.  Still.  My dad was stubborn.  He wouldn't leave without Isabella Fontana.


It's 8' O clock the following evening.  My heart is racing.  Sweat is rolling down my back.  I have never been so nervous in my fucking life.  I swear I had to use the bathroom like 8 times that day.  I am staring at the Fontana table.  Isabella is with Crazy Leo Fontana.  They are arguing over one thing or another.  Next to them is Carmine.  He's talking to a bunch of gangster looking guys.  I can hardly tell if they are arguing or not because they are always so loud and aggressive.  On the other side of the room, I notice Joe Bananas.  Surprisingly he's having a conversation with Nuts Fontana.  I don't think much about it.  My eyes are just glued onto Isabella.

How the fuck am I going to do this?

"Did you do it yet?" Patricia asks me, "Did you give her the note?"

"No Patty..." I whisper back, "I haven't had the chance."

Patricia looks annoyed.


"A car is coming to get your Dad tonight.  He's not going into witness protection unless she goes with him," Patricia states.


"Can you do it?" I ask.


Patricia gives me the craziest stare, "Fuck no.  I'm not going anywhere near those guys if I don't have to."

She's scared to death.  Seeing Patricia so scared makes me scared my damn self.


"Fine," I respond.

I get up from the table and make my way across the room at that moment.  My eyes are met by Carmine.  The glimpse is quick.  My finger fumbles within my pants at that moment.  As I walk over to them, I see Danny carrying a tray to his table.  The waitress for the Fontana's table is a girl whose name I don't really know but the girl is busy talking to Nut Fontana's friend Vincent.  I remember Vincent from the White House.  He was an associate of the Fontanas.


The note is in my hand! My hand is sweating.  Carmine is staring at me seeming to wonder what I'm doing.  


That's when I just do it.

I push Danny with my shoulder.  The tray of drinks Danny is carrying to his table spills all over the Fontana table.  

As that is happening, I quickly take the note and throw it onto Isabella's lap.  


"What the FUCK was that!"  I hear the guy Vincent say at that moment, "You fucking Taliban Isis motherfucker.  What the fuck was that!"  

The guy Vincent is drenched with soda.  Danny is lost for words a little bit.  He doesn't know what to say.  I kind of feel bad for him.  A part of me wants to run for cover but the other part of me wants to stick up for Danny.  

"I'm sorry...I..."

Danny is lost for words.  I'm standing not too far from Danny.  I'm looking over at Isabella.  Isabella has gotten some soda off of her too.  Without even realizing it, I watch as she brushes her lap.  She is literally BRUSHING the letter my dad wrote her off of her lap!

I know I have to do something when I see the letter fall to the floor in OPEN sight for everyone to fucking see.  My heart is racing.  If Crazy Fontana found that letter BOTH my dad and I would be dead men.


"What's the problem here?" Nuts Fontana says walking over.

"This fuckin' terrorist spills a drink on me."

"You fucking spill a drink on him!" Nuts ask Danny.


They are getting loud.  A couple of the mafia guys are laughing at Danny's tremoring voice.  As they are sidetracked by that, I am looking around the floor.  I'm looking for the note.  It's just lying there.  The fucking note is just fucking LAYING THERE!  My heart is racing at that moment.  I don't know what to do.  


"Nuts calm down you're drunk.  Your boy can take care of his own problems," Carmine replies.

"No fuck that.  This fuckin' terrorist just spills a drink on my boy."

The tension is more than just racial.  I'm not 100 percent sure what Danny's heritage is but walking around calling him a terrorist didn't seem to really be the politically correct thing to do.  It was flat out racist.  I had the feeling that these people didn't care about offending other groups though.  Nuts Fontana is causing an entire fucking scene and everyone is looking.  The more people look the louder the kid seems to get.  

I was sure the kid was not even 21.  Why the fuck was he this drunk?

I grab a towel and start cleaning up, "I got it.  I'll clean up."


I drop to my knees with a rag.  I'm trying to see if I can somehow maneuver my way to the piece of paper on the floor.  It's just lying there.  God knows what's going to happen if someone sees that note. I would be a dead man!  I would be a fucking dead man.  I should have been smarter in how I was going to hand it to her.  

"No.  Your friend will clean it up," Carmine says, "He makes the mess.  He cleans the mess.  Simple as that.  Nuts calm down.  The guys got it."

I stand still not wanting to disrespect anyone by acting out line right now.  It's Danny all of a sudden that goes to clean up the table and then wipe off Vincent.

"You missed a spot," Nicky Fontana says.

"What spot?"

"His nuts.  Dry off his nuts," Nicky states.


The room erupts in laughter at that moment.  Danny looks at Nicky Nuts Fontana like he lost his mind.  It's awkward as hell at that moment.  These gangsters are enjoying it.  Even Carmine has a slight smirk on his face when his brother is embarrassing Danny.  A part of me wants to make a run for the letter but a part of me wants to defend Danny.


"I'm not drying off any one's nuts," Danny replies.

"Who you getting loud with guy?" Nicky asks.


"I'm not getting loud with anyone, I'm----"

"You hear this guy?  You guys hear this guy getting loud with me?  This fuckin' tough Taliban motherfucker.  I'll take those vocal chords of yours and stick them up ya' tough ass, you fuckin' dirt bag.  You wanna test me?"

Nicky is loud.  His bravado is irritating to say the least.  The Fontana table seems to be appreciating it but even more, I notice Joe Bananas.  He's standing up at that moment. He's laughing extremely hard.  Everyone is focused on this situation.

If I don't use this situation to get the letter, I would never get it.


I drop to the floor.


Carmine looks over at his brother, "Nuts...calm down, why don't you?  The kid apologized. You going to make the kid do some faggot shit and dry another man's balls?  The kid apologized.  Leave it alone, why don't you?"

"The guy gets loud with me. Carmine.  Didn't you hear?" Nuts states.

I'm crawling towards the letter.


I'm reaching for it.  That's when someone picks up the fucking letter!  RIGHT BEFORE I GET TO IT!  I look up to see none other than Crazy Leo Fontana with the letter in his hand.


"You drop this kid?" he asks me.


"I...I think so..."

"Nah, you couldn't have dropped it.  You were on the other side of the room," Crazy Fontana stated, "This ain't yours.  Who is this for?  Isabella this note yours?"

Isabella looks at the note.  She is clueless as she shrugs, "No.  Who cares.  It's a note.  Throw it away."

"I can throw it away for you sir," I suggest.

"Well let me open it first and see if it's not important," Crazy Fontana says.


I don't know why I scream so loud.  I'm so loud that whatever is distracting everyone with Danny isn't distracting them anymore.  I damn near rip the note out of Crazy Fontana's hand at that moment.  The entire restaurant looks at me.  

Carmine looks at me with this note.  I just fucking RIPPED a note out of the hand of the Underboss of a fucking Mafia crime family.  I don't think anyone expected it...even Leo Crazy Fontana.  


They are all just watching me and I have no idea how to explain.


"You see what I'm talking about?" Nuts Fontana jumps in, "These fucking people.  They need to learn a lesson in this fuckin' place.  The disrespect in this fucking place man.  I tell you.  Someone's losing teeth tonight.  That's all I'm saying!"

Nuts is angry.  He's pissed and a couple of the guys who saw me rip the note out of Crazy Fontanas hands are pissed as well.

"Hand that back to me," Crazy Fontana states.


He opens his hand.

"Sir I was just going to throw it away for you," I hesitate.

I'm sweating.  He can tell.  They all can tell.  The Italian eyes are piercing at me.  They are judging me. They are wondering what it is I have in my goddamn hand.  My heart is racing.  Why the fuck did I pick this note up?  Why the fuck was I acting so damn awkward!

"Hand me the fucking note," Crazy Fontana demands.


I look at the note.  My hand is shaking.  It's more than just a shake.  It's more like a tremor.  I'm so fucking nervous.  Why is this happening?  

Why now?

I open my hand.  I lean forward.  I'm about to give Crazy Fontana this note.

"It's my note," Carmine interrupts.

He walks over and takes the note at that moment.  He shoves it in his pocket.

"What's the note?" Nuts Fontana asks him.  


"Who cares?" Carmine states , "It's my note."

"This fucking...faggot snatched it out of my father's hand.  That's why I care," Nuts states at that moment.

He gives me a push.  I'm not expecting it.


Just at that moment, Danny comes out of nowhere.  I mean this guy literally comes out of nowhere.  He jumps in front of me like he's lost his fucking mind.

"Now we can't have any violence in this restaurant," Danny stands in the way of me.


The punch comes out of nowhere.  Danny gets hit dead in his eye!

To my shock, Danny hits the kid back!

"Danny what the fuck!" I scream out.


I try to help him.  I grab onto him to pull him away but it's too late.  All these mobsters jump on Danny and start beating the living shit out of him.  The crazy thing about it is the staff is just watching too.  They are just STARING at Danny getting his face bashed in.  My mouth drops open as I see it.  I'm struggling to get to him and jump in at his side but someone is pulling me back.


I'm pulled back all the way to the goddam bathroom when I realize that it's fucking Carmine.  Carmine grabs me up and pulls me into the fucking bathroom.


He kicks out the bathroom aid and pushes me up against the sink.


"I have to go help Danny."

"The Arab's fine," Carmine laughs.


"His name is Danny---not the Arab," I stated, "And he just pushed your brother.  Don't people get killed for shit like that."

"Nicky isn't a made man.  If he pushed me, he'd get killed.  If he pushed any other made man...he would be killed.  Nicky's not a made man yet.  Nicky's friends are going to kick him around a little bit.  He will be all right. It's good for him."

"It's good for him.  My friend is out there getting his ass beat and you're telling me it's good for him."

"He'll grow some hair on his balls.  What can I tell you?"

"You don't need to tell me anything.  You can just step aside."

"You should be thanking me, y'know?" Carmine states.

I raise my eyebrow, "How you figure?"

"If I didn't pull you, out of there you would be getting your ass beat too.  I saved you, like it or not.  When they are done with that guy you're not going to recognize him.  You want your face to look like mashed potatoes?"

"No Carmine," I roll my eyes and sigh deeply, "I don't want my face to look like mashed potatoes."

"Good.  Cause I like that face of yours and if it looked like mashed potatoes I won't be saving it anymore.  If your face looked like mashed would be shit out of luck.  You clearly have a death wish.  You wouldn't last two minutes without me saving your black ass."

"I don't need your white ass saving me."

I try to walk away.  I don't get far.  Carmine comes up behind me.  He pushes me up against the sink so hard that am damn near forced to kneel over the sink.  I have to admit it kind of turns me on especially when Carmine forcefully comes up behind me and presses his crotch up against me.  He's doing it on purpose and we both know it.  I'm half pissed off at him and half turned on.  I don't know whether to scream at him or pull my pants down so that he can FUCK me right on the basin.  


"Oh really?  You don't need me saving you?  I can't tell.  You really are suicidal, aren't you?" Carmine tells me, "What the fuck was that whole thing tonight about?"


"I saw you push the Arab into the table. I saw you drop that note.  What the fuck are you up to?" Carmine asks me.

Carmine is a lot smarter than I realize.  He's a lot more alert that I give him credit for.  I'm sitting here looking like a lost dog and all the while Carmine saw me start this whole fucking thing.  I manage to push Carmine off of me long enough to just stare at him.


"My dad is supposed to leave.  Except he won't leave unless your mother goes with him.  That letter is his way of asking your mother to go with him."

I leave out the part about the cooperating.  Carmine is still a gangster at the end of the day.  He wouldn't take too kindly to the fact that my father was planning on cooperating when he left.


"When's he leaving?" Carmine asks.



"Why the fuck didn't you give me the letter?" Carmine states, "I could have just gave it to my mom."

"Why would you do that?" I ask, "Isn't that like turning on your dad?"

Carmine sighs a little bit.

"Listen.  I'm not some dickhead you know?" Carmine states, "I had some time to think about the little signs that something was happening between my mom and your dad.  It's been happening a while.  I'm not heartless.  I know they have...the real thing."

"The real thing?"

"Love, or whatever the fuck that bullshit is," Carmine shrugs.

He says it as though it's some foreign concept to him.  He even seems a little lost, like a cute ass little puppy trying to figure something out.  I watch him precisely not understanding it.  This guy is a pure dickhead and he turns me on to the point that I can't look at him without getting a hard-on.


"Your mother loves my Dad back you think."

"I know," Carmine replies, "I talked to her about it."


"I dunno.  I guess I felt disloyal.  In my world, loyalty is everything.  Not only should I have told my father about the affair.  I should have killed your father the very moment he put his hands on my mom.  I should have took a crowbar and dug it so deep into his skull that his brain---"

"Ok Carmine I get the point."

"Do you?" he asks me sighing a little bit, "Because I need help with it.  I understand my mother.  I shouldn't understand her.  I shouldn't relate, but I do.  I told her I understood because I get it.  She found something...or someone that makes her happy.  That's more than my gangster ass father ever did for her.  That's worth it."

"Is it?" I ask, "Someone that makes you happy?"

He shrugs, "It better be, cause if my Dad ever found out he'd stitch her pussy back together, but that's beside the point.  I'll give her the fuckin' note."

I sigh a little bit.

"Thanks.  Carmine."

"Fuhgettaboutit," he tells me, "Oh Cornbread."


"Next time you have a stupid ass plan make sure to run it by me first."

I smile, "Ok Carmine."



It's midnight.  One hour has passed and then the next.  


My father's car is loaded with all of his things.  He's sitting at the side of the highway.  He gave me his car.  He gave me the keys to his restaurant.  He gave me everything.  I don't know how I'm going to do this but right now, I don't want to trouble him with the logistics of taking over his life.  My father could care less about the restaurant.  I can see it in his eyes.

"She isn't coming," he tells me.


"You don't know that."

"She would have been here an hour ago," my dad, tells me.

I have never seen him so concerned.  I have never seen my father so worried.  


"Dad can I ask you a question?"

"Nothing but time son..."

"Did you ever love my mother the way you love Isabella Fontana?" I ask.

It's a random question and I know it is but I feel like I need to ask it.  I feel like I need to get it off my chest.  Every kid wants to believe that their parents were so deep in love.  Truth is my mom never talked about my dad and my dad never talked about my mom.

"It was a mistake," my dad explains bluntly, "It was always Isabella for me, son.  Always.  Back then, it was even worse than it is now as far as race goes.  That's dangerous son.  Believe you me.  I have seen it all and heard it all.  It's the worst."

"That's what Kairo says.  He says I should go back with him."

"Fuck Kairo."

I am not expecting that from my dad.  I take a look at him.  



"I'm sorry I didn't want to be the bearer of bad news.  I don't like the guy," my father states.

At that moment, I think I respect him more than I ever have in my life.

"You're literally the first person I've ever met that hasn't liked Kairo..."

"I mean he's an OK person, but not for my son," my dad explains, "Why do you think I didn't show up at the wedding?"

I shrug, "I thought you didn't approve of me marrying a man."

My dad shakes his head, "No.  That's not it.  I didn't approve of that man.  You weren't in love with Kairo.  It wasn't hard to see.  You were making a mistake.  I knew you would figure it out.  I know my son.  You want that different kind of love.  You want that kind of love that creeps up behind you when you least expect it and scares the fuck out of you.  You want that horror love.  You want that scary love.  You don't want to be safe.  You know what I think son?"


"A moment with a dangerous TRUE love is worth a lifetime feeling safe without someone you just tolerate," my dad explains to me, "Just a time."

His thoughts are drifting away from him.


There is a car driving up slowly.  As the car approaches, I see the two figures in the front seat of the car.  

It's Carmine and he's brought his mother.  Carmine's brought Isabella!

Isabella runs out of the car at that moment.  She runs towards my dad.  There are tears in her eyes.  I don't think I ever really understood real love until this moment.  This woman was leaving with my father.

She didn't have a suitcase.  She didn't have anything but the clothes on her back and her pocket book.  


She didn't give a damn.  She didn't see anyone else but my father.  My father couldn't hop out of the car fast enough.  He has scooped her up.  He has swung her around.  

He kissed tenderly.

He kissed her so soft that I touch my own lips.



My heart is in my knees right now.  This was true love.

"Take care of my mom, Black Regis," Carmine tells him, "She's the only one I got, goddam it."


I watch them get in the car and my dad shakes Carmine's hand.


"Take care of my son.  He's the only one I got."

"Wait---I..." Carmine seems confused before looking over at me, "What?"

I ignore Carmine feeling my own face blush red alongside his.  I'm not sure why my dad would put us on the spot like that but to see Carmine acting so nervous all of a sudden actually sent a warm feeling down my spine.  What if I could have something like that?  What if I could have the love that Carmine's mother and my father had?

"Dad please drive safe," I explain.

"I'll call you as soon as I can."

"You promise?" I ask.

My dad grabs my hand from his car window, "I promise kid.  Now go take over the restaurant for me.  If you ever get in trouble let Patricia know.  She knows what to do."

I sigh a little bit.  Am I ready to take over the Sicilian?  Am I ready for that kind of responsibility?

Did I have a choice?

"He'll be OK," Carmine butts in out of nowhere, "I got him."

I'm surprised as Carmine puts his arm over my shoulder.  The two of us watch as our parents start pulling off.  For some reason it feels so perfect.  All of this feels so fucking perfect feeling Carmine's arm over my shoulder.  

We are watching our parents drive off into the sunset.  Happily ever after.


"This is super fuckin' cute man," I state.

"You're not crying.  Oh my fuckin' god.  You're crying. You're such a FAG!"  Carmine rolls his eyes pushing me away.


I can't help it...even with Carmine teasing me.  Tears are rolling down my face.  My father deserves this.

"Whatever you like it?"

"This is some sob shit.  I need a goddam beer," Carmine states, "And maybe some good ass, in no particular order though."

"You know if they get married we'd be brothers," I tell Carmine.

Carmine plays with the hair under his chin, "Does that mean I won't get any more play?"

"Nah, just incest I guess.  I still owe you for pulling this off for me."

We are leaning up against our own cars.

"I almost didn't think I was going to get away with it.  That's why we were so late.  My brother's friend...he was snooping around when we got home.  I had the feeling he found the letter."



Carmine nods, "Yeah, some sucker ass street kid who wants to be a made man.  He started hanging around doing drop offs for the local big shots.  Don't like the kid Vincent. I never trusted him.  He's my brother's best friend though."


"Did he find the letter?"

"I thought he did, but I mean I dunno.   I could have sworn I saw the guy going through my mother's purse..."

"Wait...the purse she has on her?" I ask.


We pause.

My heart is racing.  Why is my heart racing?



Those are the only words that can come out of my mouth.  Something didn't feel right.  Carmine's eyes get wide at that moment as well when he sees me seeming worried.  It's almost as though all of a sudden something clicks.  


"Give me your phone!"  Carmine states, "GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING PHONE!"

I take out my cellphone.  I open my cellphone.  I watch Carmine dial a number.  

"Is it ringing?  Carmine!"

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" He tells me as he picks up the phone, "Ma!  Ma! What---Ma goddam it!  No! Stop the car! That shouldn't be in there----what---"

That's when it happens.

In the distance, Carmine and I stare at the beautiful couple driving into the sunset...


Then there's this BANG!

The car our parents are driving in explodes...


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