Authors: S. W. Frank
Tags: #Drama, #American, #African American
“Sí Senor Diaz, will do.
Alfonzo pat the Foreman's shoulder with the hand bearing the Supremo
and left the men to their work. He returned to the
reinforced Mercedes where Selange and the children waited. Close to the bumper was a heavy duty SUV occupied by armed men escorts. He opened the rear door and slid inside, checking his watch to make sure he hadn’t made Sal late for school.
Selange was on her cell phone when he returned to the air conditioned vehicle. Sal played a video game hunched over the small device in earnest and Aldonza clutched her Latina Princess backpack with her head on her mommy’s knees fast asleep. Estefan drove off when he got the signal from his boss and Alfonzo reclined his head listening to his wife talk.
“Yes, Cam. It’s seventy-three guests, not sixty. Right, fix it.” She lowered her voice he noticed. “Look, these are big-time contributors and they’re not willing to stand on their precious legs. Fat cats –sit, you understand?”
Alfonzo smirked at her last comment. When it came to that charity, she was a barracuda and it made him laugh. When she hung-up, her eyes turned to Alfonzo. “Everything okay with the building?”
With the children between them and the music from the video game as their stereo the parents talked over the kid’s head.
“Don’t forget, after your dental appointment with Allie, she’s to go straight to school.”
Alfonzo didn’t reply. That really depended on when they were finished at the dentist, but he didn’t debate with Selange, she was a stickler when it came to education.
“When you get home tonight sweetie, we have to go through the gifts and send thank you notes to the guests.”
“Um-hum.” Alfonzo mumbled. He wasn’t in the mood for conversation and preferred to listen instead.
“Your brother’s birthday is in a few days. The children made him a really cute card. I’m sending an adult bib along with it and some huge diapers for Geo. He whines like a big baby, lately!”
Alfonzo chuckled and his head moved as the vehicle bounced over uneven earth. Tomorrow he’d be in New York, ringing the bell on Wall Street. Afterward he’d have breakfast with the head of the Stock Exchange, and then there was a walk-through with the engineer at the construction site where a casino was being erected. It was near the Brooklyn Navy Yard and he had concerns
about the cost overruns and stoppages. The Project Manager was having a problem with one of the subcontractors and Alfonzo surmised they were butting heads. The thing is there were loyal associates invested in the project. A tertiary contractor causing trouble was a problem which needed fixing and fast.
Then there were other families, pissed for not getting a share of the wealth, men who figured because they were old time mafia they were entitled to partake in what he built. The Caminello’s and his lot weren’t the guys he chose to do business with. Prostitution, drugs and short tempers were always a volatile combination and partly why his head pounded. He had so much on his mind, he'd become emotionally drained. Add Alberti’s unsolved murder to the pressure and there were nights he couldn’t rest. Yeah, he desperately tried blocking it out, but sometimes it didn’t work.
He had Nico on the Lou connection, but it didn’t stop the ire building for a taste of revenge. It increased every day, rising like some nasty flesh eating disease from his feet to his head. He enjoyed these quiet moments with his family because it helped him breathe easy and there wasn’t any pain or tension.
Coño, if I didn’t have this woman or my children I’d die from stress!’
Selange eyed him firmly. He looked tired, no –preoccupied. She wondered if Lou’s absence was responsible. “Usually you’re out the house at the crack of dawn with Lou, where is your faithful sidekick?”
Alfonzo turned suddenly toward Selange. Did she really want to know, he wondered? He gave a palatable answer. If she was as smart as he thought, she’d figure out the rest. “Lou requested an early retirement.”
Yep, she got it. The long lashes descended over her hazel eyes. He couldn’t tell whether it was to conceal the sadness or shock. An outright lie about Lou isn’t the verbal action he chose to take. The man had been with the family before the kids were born. Selange cared about Lou, and he hated to admit it, but he did, too. It’s inevitable when you’re in a person’s company day in and day out. He likened it to a stray dog, bring the mutt home, clothe, nurture and feed it and then for whatever reason the ungrateful bastard takes off. The desertion hurts a bit because it’s like you’ve lost part of a family. There’s a sense of betrayal when that
happens. There are certain actions only pardonable by death, snitching is one of them, plotting to harm his family was another.
His wife nodded as she wrapped her head around what he hadn’t said before slowly sighing. “Alberti said the guys have
dangerous jobs and they’re aware of the risks.” She met his gaze with intensity. “A forced retirement is an unspoken codicil in the employment contract, I suppose. What matters is you’re okay with signing off on it, are you honey?”
A muscle protruded from his cheek. The clenched mandible contained the anger. His teeth ground together in an effort to keep from speaking his basest thoughts in the presence of his children. Lou or whoever he worked for threatened her life. Damn right, he was okay with what he’d done and he’d do it again and
until the bodies were piled high on Satan’s door. “I’m good, babe. How about you?”
She sat regally stiff. Alfonzo would not have sanctioned Lou’s death unless he committed an unpardonable infraction. Her husband possessed a heart. Without question she eased his concern. “You have my unwavering support.
Mi corazón late al unísono con mi amor.”
Sal suddenly snickered.
His mom and dad were a trip. They were always so lovey-dovey. If they kept it up, he was certain to have another brother or sister. He knew what adults did. They had sex. Yuck. “OMG, mom!”
Alfonzo smirked and mushed his son’s head down to his knees and held it there. “Be quiet. I liked it. Your mom’s heart beating in unison with mine is pretty cool, hijo. When you grow up, you’ll understand,” he said as he leaned over the boy’s bent spine to give Selange a hearty kiss. Only when he finished tasting her lips did he set Sal free.
“Ah dad, c’mon you made me lose. I was on the hardest level, ah man!”
The night began to relinquish its hold to morning when Giuseppe stepped through the door of what he once considered his bachelor domain. The home was quiet, as it should be and the interior lights were off. His former haven housed a baby and its mother who transformed the interior with womanly furnishings and toys.
When he invited Shanda to stay he didn’t fully understand he would need to share private spaces, or feel guilt when he partook in scurrilous activities. An unmarried man is autonomous and Giuseppe refused to answer to any woman. He was a Don, a leader of men, whose power extended to his house.
There were moments of pure happiness, yes; he thoroughly enjoyed having a woman cook, a baby and nights wrapped in a sexy donna’s arms. But, he needed air or he’d suffocate to death from the illusionary arrangement which resembled a husband, baby and wife.
Last night he’d visited Alanda, simply for a change of scenery. He had to prove Giuseppe remained
. The donna who bore his child had opened emotions he preferred to keep locked. The woman would never break him open. Oh, such pitiful creatures were those wounded victims cut by love’s serrated blade.
Giuseppe blew on his hand, sniffed his breath and then his armpits. He scoffed at the self-conscious action and chastised himself for caring. Angry with the unforeseen consequences of
cohabitation with a prima donna he grumbled. “Cazzo. She does not own me!”
He kicked out of his shoes near the door, walked as quietly as his weight allowed to peek in on Carlo. The spare bedroom had become the nursery and the stuffed animals in every corner were presents from family and friends who doted on the bambino like the prince he was. The baby slept with a smile. A handsome boy with his father’s features and his mother’s mouth.
Giuseppe touched his son’s small toes with his finger. “You little one are my new life. I will bleed and die for you
e tua madre. Sangue di mio padre
, I give you a father’s oath.” The infant did not stir. Giuseppe smirked. “Sí you are my son. We cherish our sleep.”
He walked from the room, leaving the door slightly ajar and went to his bedroom. He had expected to find Shanda asleep; instead she sat there on the bed looking sexy and angry clutching an eight by ten paper in her hand.
“Buongiorno,” he said casually as he unbuttoned his shirt.
“Yeah whatever, same to you.”
“Is there something on your mind, bella?”
Shanda nodded. “This.”
Giuseppe squinted. He could not read the paper from the distance. “
Che cosa è che la carta?”
“Are you being funny, did I suddenly learn Italian and didn’t know it?”
He smiled. He enjoyed her sharp wit. “You are in a land where Italian is the language. It would benefit you to learn, no?”
“No,” she quipped. “English is my primary language and you speak it well. So, don’t act like those people who try to avoid answering questions when they’re put on the spot by reverting to their native tongue. Suddenly nobody understands English, then!”
“I am tired. Read it to me.”
“It’s our son’s birth certificate. It came yesterday.”
He had his shirt off and worked to loosen his belt buckle. Shanda tried not to let the sight of his muscular torso lead her astray. The man-whore was undoubtedly with a woman last night. She didn’t bother to call him. They weren’t married. This was an arrangement strictly for their son. She’d thought he’d have some damn respect though and not fuck her one minute and someone
else the next. She would make him wear condoms if they hooked up again, that’s if she let him sniff her panties after this stunt.
When did we get married and my name became Mrs. I Don’t Have Say in Shit Dichenzo?”
“I thought you said that is a birth certificate, but now you speak marriage. Which is it, birth certificate or a marriage license, bella?”
“Don’t play around. Why is Carlo’s surname Dichenzo, when did you do this?”
“At the hospital
,” he said calmly. He removed his trousers, followed by the tight boxers and settled butt naked in bed.
She turned on her side to face the delicious beefcake. She wanted to slap his fine ass face for being such a slut; instead decided two can play the game of detachment
“When I thought you were bleeding to death from your micio.
We agreed to name the bambino Carlo Giuseppe, did we not, femmina?”
“I don’t have a problem with Carlo Giuseppe; it’s the
name I take issue with.”
He casually put an arm over his head and gave her a questioning look. “I am confused.”
“Where I’m from it’s the mother’s surname that’s recorded if she isn’t married. He’s a Johnson!”
“No, he’s a Dichenzo.”
“You can’t claim rights to the baby.”
“Bella, I claim anything I want. Carlo is my son. He’s a Dichenzo and is Giacanti by blood. Johnson is not the name my bambino will carry. Now sleep, I need silence.”
A hissing noise emanated from Shanda’s mouth. “Did you tell me to be quiet?”
Shanda couldn’t believe it. He closed his eyes. The smug sonovabitch thought he had the last word. Oh, hell no!
Shanda slapped his chest with the palm of her hand right on his nipple, like she often did to her brother growing up. When you do it a certain way it stings. Men are sensitive there. Those eyes flew open then. “I’m changing the birth certificate,” she said.
“Do not talk like an ass
,” Giuseppe responded furiously. “It is done!”
“What did you call me?”
Un asino, mulo
. In English –ass!”
Shanda blinked. The fire contained all night erupted. She leapt from the bed. “Deals off. I’m leaving. You don’t talk to me like that. Who do you think you’re talking to you man-slut?”
Giuseppe didn’t move. Instead he watched her traipse to the walk-in closet and start pulling her clothes off the racks and attempt to stuff them in a small suitcase. He grinned, because the items didn’t fit and she stood there with her hands on her hips not willing to leave without her designer clothes she recently purchased on his card. “You need a larger suitcase, bella,” he suggested.
Shanda turned on him. “Shut the hell up!”
“I am trying to
you exit, if that’s what you really want to do.”
She scowled. “Everything is not a joke.”
“Come here, Shanda.”
He climbed out of bed and walked to the entry and leaned against the doorframe. Amusement danced across his face at her theatric display simply because he said he needed silence to sleep. It was true. Still, he wasn’t a fool. Shanda’s outburst was not over a document. The donna was upset because he had not come home last night. That too is the truth. It’s evident by her enticing lingerie she eagerly awaited his return; unfortunately, he ruined it by failing to appear. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, she was upset and hurt. Perhaps, he should have considered her feelings. “I should not have called you an ass. I apologize.”