The Boss man was celebrating the big one. He and Mona had met in grade school. I guess when you had grown up together you are either good friends or good enemies. They had been married 15 years now, so I guess things had worked out.
I had been with Frank almost a year now. He had put me through the wringer, literally. That first day, he had handed me a bag, told me to watch it, then called me later to say he was 'in trouble' and to keep the money safe. 'Mona would need it' he said.
Now, no way 'in Hell' was I losing the 'Boss' on my first day. I had no idea where he had gone, but I sure was not to just watch a bag of money. I took the bag to Mona, told her Frank had asked me to give it to her but never told me where to meet him, did she have any idea where he might be, I was new after all.
She hemmed and hawed then looked at a note on the hall table. "He left this note" she said, then gave it to me.
"I'm not sure he is at these places, but it's the best I can give you!" she said. "Is everything OK, this doesn't seem like my Frankie?"
"Yeah, I feel real dumb, I never asked where to meet up with him, I guess he was used to people knowing where to go. I'm sorry Mrs. Faenza, I never asked him I'll have him call later and we will all laugh what a 'Stupido' I've been. Thank you for this note."
There were several names on the list. Time and distance were the enemy. I might end up looking like a fool but that was nothing new. I used my cell and called, Guido, the guy I was replacing tonight who was sick in bed, I thought. He answered on the second ring.
"Guido! It's me, Vince!"
"What he booted you already?"
"No! Yeah! Maybe! Guido he's in trouble! I don't know where he is at. He gave me something to hold, then called me. Mrs. Faenza did not know where he was either but she gave me a list he had left for her! I have no idea who or where these are at! I need your help, the Boss is in trouble!"
We went over the list. He would send our people over to check on some, he would get the car and could I go with him to one, he was not in a condition for trouble. I said something to the effect that if he was not in condition then just 'shoot me'. I hope he was just kidding when he said that he just might have to if I 'screwed' up on my first night.
I saw the car, jumped in and stuck the list into his face almost. He told me later that I was shaking like a leaf in a storm. The last name on the list was a Club. A private members only club, owned by the 'Brotherhood Association'. When we saw Frank's car in the parking spot, all reason left me. It wasn't that I saw any particular colour, it was just the opposite, I saw nothing.
I leaped out of the car and went on auto pilot. If Frank was inside, either we; both of us; would walk out or we would both be carried out. I pulled out 2 guns, one revolver was a .44 Magnum cal Colt Python with armour piercing bullets(6);(The Old Super Vel)the other a 9 mm 'Kutz' Walther PP, loaded with alternating hollow point and Full Metal Jacketed, both sub-sonic rounds(7).
Looking back on that entrance of mine, it could have been more staid, but at that moment I just didn't think about anything but getting Frank out, 'alive'. I guess I should have at least just opened that door. I broke it in(I was almost Guido's size and weight, he just had 50 or so pounds on me and a few inches, minor I thought). I rolled up started to target anything that moved, when I heard the little voice for the first time.
"Oh goodie, you made it! I win the bet!. Daddy thought it would take you a lot longer, but I told Daddy that you would be here to 'rescue' me, before it was time for me to go to sleep"
As I quickly put the guns away and started to pick glass and wood splinters from me, I saw Mrs. Faenza, hands to her face, obviously holding back a laugh. Guido came in through the smashed in doors and was roaring like a bull.
I started to say, "I'm so sorry Boss, I just thought... !"
The little Pixie ran up to me, threw both arms around me and informed me that after these next three dance I could take her home, she was getting tired. That next time I should, if I could, just pull the door open towards me.
Frank shook his head, "I guess you'll take it a little easy with Angela going home, remember the car doors open towards you too. I assume you will watch over her the same way you seemed to watch over me. I'll only say this one time. Anything that you have to do to protect my little girl is fine by Mona and me. You can break a dozen doors a day and it will be OK with us. You and Guido will protect all three of us, call it a gut feel, instinct, that magic feeling, whatever, Mona, Guido and myself think that you will do everything and anything you need to protect us. In that same way, we will do anything and everything for you. I already see that some little girl has already accepted you into the 'Family'."
Pixie' was 11 years old then. From that first time, I knew that I would give my life for her, for this family. I thought back to the last dozen years, fights, fights and more fights. Now I had a reason to fight. I was 19 years old, a judge had let me serve for two years or ... I was being given another chance now; a chance that could mean the very life of the family I would learn to love and cherish for the rest of my life.
I had to rest my hands on Pixie's shoulder tops. She never lasted those three dances. After two she wanted to go home. Frank threw me a set of keys, "Your car is next to mine. Keep her safe. Your room is next to hers now, and no stopping on the way!"
From that first night I don't think she was ever out of my sight until that 'fateful' time 5 years later. But a lot happened in between.
I got the little Princess her wrap and took her to say goodnight to Frank and Mona. Mona asked me if I knew how much money was in the bag I just 'threw' at her. I told her the truth, that I hardly even remembered there was a bag, that I was very sorry.
She laughed, saying that I had my priorities right. Money could be replaced, family could not. Just as Frank had given me a $ Million to hold, she was giving me her most precious possession to watch, her daughter. She hoped I had the same priority with her.(I did)
The SUV was brand new. It seemed bigger, taller and with tyres that had to be 19 or 20 inches high, with wheels that made it seem to be moving while standing still. Pixie commented that she thought it 'was neat' to quote her. It was my first ride in an armoured car. I don't think we got over 35 MPH. Maybe that was the purpose. The note on the front seat said, 'Happy Birthday' Vince, inside was a Crystal Amex Card with the reminder to 'never leave home without it'.
Pixie was asleep, curled up in the back seat. I dropped the speed to 30 MPH. 'Sorry' was never going to be something I would ever want to say to Frank, Mona or Guido.
Frank knocked on my door that night, I told him to come in. He handed me a brandy and said "Welcome to the family, Vince? If you ever let anything happen to them you are a dead man, better yet, you will 'wish' that you were a dead man." Then he clicked our glasses. "You did good tonight kid!" he said before he turned and left.
It was about a year later the gate alarm and a subsequent intercom call broke the silence in the house. Mona and Angela were outside in the pool, I was getting some needed food, Milk and cookies, lots of cookies, that Angela had baked earlier. I answered. "Yes, what is it?"
"We have a delivery, 123 Morningstar Drive. May we bring it in?
Being the trusting soul I am I replied. "Just leave it by the gate, people will bring it in later."
"We can't just leave it, you have to..."
"Easy Mac, just leave it or take it back, you ain't got any other option."
I did check with Mona, she was not expecting anything. I went back and asked Pixie. Nope she said.
When Frank returned I told him about the delivery. "Great Vince, where did they put the new doors, it is almost a year since your grand entrance at the Club, I thought you might try it here too, so I ordered new doors."
If looks could kill, he was a dead man.
Mona and the Pixie came in then, dripping water and kissed Frank. "Vince those weren't the new doors Frank ordered, were they?"
With a fake scowl on my face I walked away to the sound of laughter. God, it sounded so good to hear that.
When Angela started 9th grade, I was to drive her to school and pick her up. It was a new school and I would need to identify Guido and myself as the only 'authorized agents' besides her parents to take Angela anywhere. Unless one of us was with her, no field trips, outings or class visits anywhere.
Now I realize that a school principal and parents need to have a close, working relationship. When I handed in the prepared document package, photos, copy of Ids and a list of phone numbers, I had the suspicion that this school principal was going to do far more than just sit around. She informed me of a few things, all with a straight face.
"Mrs. Faenza has already called and informed us of the situation Mr. Costa. You can rest assured that we are prepared. You just do your job, and we will do ours."
"What do you mean?" I asked. She had me follow her. She opened to a small room and pointed inside. Like a dummy I looked. Inside, neatly lined up were a bunch of doors. "You may tell Mona that we are prepared for you Mr. Costa!" Then she started laughing. It was not that funny.
When we got home that day, "I heard that Sam informed you that she was 'prepared' for you! That girl wanted to be a 'Boy Scout' since we were 8 or 9, I swear, in 'Girl Scouts' she wanted to even change our motto."
Yes I thought, this principal was going to do a lot more than watch. It may have even been more than a friendship concerning the pixie, one day, in 10th grade, 'Pixie' decided that she would 'stake' her claim on me and any other female was 'out of luck'.
I sometimes walked her up to the school doors. This morning, as we got to the doors, she leaned up, gave me a kiss that she must have seen on TV and ran her hand across my chest as some movie star might do. It was not a kiss one would expect from a 10th grader, but then again, she was definitely female and they say girls grow up faster than boys.
I was almost afraid what would happen when I went back to pick her up. She not only kissed me longer and more passionately, but seemed to wrap herself around me. Not only was I breathing hard, my pulse went through the roof and I was turning red. The Vixen just took me by the hand and pranced to the car. This was serious 'shit' now. I needed to tell Mona.
When we got back, not only had she climbed into the front seat, she decided to scoot over closer than the seat even went. Not only did I not know what to do, I did not want to hurt her feelings or her. Her 'Tickle' game could better be described as 'Miss Octopi', all hands. I needed help
I told Mona. I just knew she would have the answer.
"You silly man! She has been in love with you since she was 11 years old! At her age now, there is this thing called 'hormones'; a girl has to show her 'man' off to the world, especially to other girls to make certain that they get the message, 'He's mine, hands off!'; and if they don't, if she truly loves him, watch out, they don't call it a 'catfight' without reason. To stop her acting this way all you have to do is look her in the eyes and tell her that you don't love her or want her around any more."
Sounded so simple, just look her in the eyes and tell her that I did not love her. Christ, I not only loved her, I would die for her and kill anyone that tried to harm her. If I looked her in those violet eyes I would be a lost man. I did the man thing.
Frank was reading my note. I was like standing at attention to my CO. I waited for his last orders.
The letter read, 'It is with the deepest regret that I must remove myself from this position. My time here has been the very best of my entire life. You could not have been a better Boss.'
'I only ask that you accept this resignation as being necessary and done of my own choosing. I think of you and Mona as I might parents. The time has come like that of a baby bird to leave the nest and fly away. I leave with the fondest memories possible and hope and pray that in the future I may one day have a family of my own that could someway compare half as well as this one.'
'With sincere regrets' 'Vince'
"Nice! You get help writing it? Sorry though, It just can't be done?"
"Boss, Frank, what do you mean, it can't be done. I'm resigning."
"I told Angie that she could not marry you until she was 16 and even then, I would only agree to it if she finished school!"
"You told the Pixie what?"
"He told me that we would have to wait until I was 16 before we could get married, darling. Now come upstairs, we need to 'practice' a few things, I'll be 16 soon enough and that kissing part needs a lot more work, not to mention a few other things Mom wants us to work on!"
Us guys never cry. Wimps cry, not us. Why then were my eyes on fire and tears running down my face? When she leaned up, kissed me, put her arms around me and hugged the life out of me I melted. There was only one thing to say and I forced it out. "Yes Dear!" I followed her upstairs.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mona standing in the doorway, shaking her head and muttering, "Men!" as she gave Frank a wide grin.
I was probably the oldest guy at the Junior/Senior Prom. I know I was the only guy getting ready to marry my Junior year 'date'.
At 6' 5", 191 lbs and few well placed scars there were not many comments to my 'date' about her 'boyfriend'; even fewer if anyone saw the shoulder holster on my side and bulge at my ankle.
That was what always amazed me about Angela. Never once had she so much as felt the need to test or tease me with any other man or boy. nor did she care what anyone might say or think. When she had been growing up, I had wanted her to have a 'normal life'. I told her so. She looked me with the eyes far beyond what a man might consider 'perfection' and took me by the hand and led me inside.
One of the teachers, a man started to come up to me, thinking perhaps, that I had no business here; that or did not want his 'harem' being poached on. The school has 23 teachers and six college age trainees. All but 4 were female. It might have been memorable, he was all of 155 lbs and 5' 6" tall' and I don't think he was 'carrying'.
Sam came to 'my rescue'. She waved him off saying that, "He does not look that tough, why I bet that little Junior walking towards him can handle him with one finger, a hand at most", then she walked over. "Maybe she needs help?" as the other girl walked by, 'Sam', the principal, walked towards us and offered to 'help'.
"I need more than just a hand Miss Everett, and I do not, repeat, do not need just another 'Hand'. We still have a lot of 'practice' before the wedding. Mom offered to 'watch' and give lessons; but I told her that I would just 'feel' my way through this. I guess the lug does not mind the few mistakes I might make; at least he hasn't complained so far. I need to show him something though, he says he wants me to be normal; to be just like the 'other' girls. Can I introduce him to those 'normal' girls Miss Everett?"
I greeted Sam. "Mona told me about your 'scout' days. I would have 'joined' up had I known you then. Before you ask, the door was still open and no damage. Now, how do I get out? I'm not used to a door still being there!"
If I think Angie is going to 'show' you off, I mean around, you may not have that 'problem'. Some of these girls are in the 'advanced' class and having a hunk, I mean, a 'Partner' around may 'help' them in some additional 'learning' they want to try to do, or have done to them. Angela, I hope this turns out OK for you but I 'know' your 'practice' buddy will enjoy it."
"Gee, thanks Miss Everett, maybe I should have you 'watch' to make sure that I do things right. You know I don't have the 'experience' you and Mom have, but maybe my 'practice' partner may get some 'ideas' from these 'normal' girls. Who knows, maybe I should be just like them, Huh?"
I wondered now just what I might have done. From the smile on my Pixie's face to Sam shaking her head and waving us off I got the feeling that this was not going to be what I had hoped for.
Her parting comment was, "I'll have a note to your teachers ready for you, stop back at my office if they get done with him by end of school, If not there is a motel down the street, not that I go there myself, you understand. You really want me to watch, huh?"
You know that 'sinking' feeling you get before a disaster. This was worse. Angie took me by the hand, took a deep breath as we approached Room 237 and as we walked in she said, "So you want me to be 'normal'? Just later, tell me that 'one more time' if I can ever get you out of here without 'killing' a few of them."
The cry of 'fresh meat' then the hungry looks from the pregnant or formerly pregnant girls, ladies, mothers, was like seeing a pack of Piranha in a feeding frenzy. They were all shapes and sizes, some feeding or about to feed infants, I guess that was why they were naked on top, huh? Most were 11-13 some 14-15 it seemed, one or three might be 'porn' stars judging by their ease at being undressed with a man in the room, not to mention impressive sized 'assets'.
"Angie, is this a gift for us, or are you going to 'practice' some of those things you wanted to 'know' about. You intend to 'share' right."
"Back off Monica, he is all mine. My 'husband to be, suggested I be 'normal' and I don't think he 'understands' what a girl goes through, so, I thought I would let him see for himself. If I hear that from him one more time, I guess I'll be joining the 'Club' ladies. Dummy here is your chance to see if you really want me to be 'normal'. You can ask these girls anything you want to know. I'd wait in another room if I even thought there was a chance of getting you back from them. If you still have questions, we can go to another room and check out the 'advanced' class, some of them may even be 'practicing' to see if they want to marry the guy; they are not 'shy' around men."