Vendetta, page 1
an adult novel by
For my loving, supportive, and wonderfully patient husband, Josh, and my children; Gabriel, J.J. and lily belle.
Thank you to all my friends and family.
I appreciate you all.
R.I.P my dear friend
Edited by Leila Kerschensteiner
COPYRIGHT © 2013 U.S.A
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FROM THE BEGINNING
The sudden slamming of the screen door woke me up. I could hear my sister, Alice, carrying on about something. It probably had something to do with her boyfriend, Joey… again. I rolled over in my bed and squinted, trying to get my eyes to focus on the old clock radio. It was 5:32 p.m. Only another hour and a half until I had to get Lily from the sitters.
“Look! I already said, NO! Okay? So get lost already, I have nothing more to say to you!” Alice yelled.
“So much for getting some sleep around here,” I grumbled.
I sat up slowly and stretched, smoothing my hair back. I hadn’t been home long. I just worked 36 hours straight on a narcotics case with the Hoboken Police Department.
I stood and pulled my jeans on as I tried to listen to the commotion outside. “They’re at it again,” I thought.
Yawning and scratching my head, I slowly made my way down the stairs to the kitchen. That’s when I heard Alice scream. I scrambled to the window that was facing the alley. I could see my little sister being held by her arm by somebody, but wasn’t Joey. It looked like his brother Leo and his two friends, Tommy and Johnny… whatever their last name was.
I ran barefoot out of the house, heading out to the alley. The sun was setting and it was getting dark real quick on that side of the house. The only light back there was from a lamp post, half a block down. I squinted through the spitting rain as I jogged out there. I could make out three dark haired men and my sister, standing by the dumpsters. Whatever started this stupid argument, I didn’t fucking care. I was going to end it. I was in a pissy mood, what do you want? They woke me up.
“Alice, get in the house,” I said sternly. “What’s going on here?” The other two guys hung back. They shrugged their shoulders and looked confused, like they didn’t even know what was going on. The rain started to come down real good now. As usual, Alice didn’t listen to me. She stood back though, to see what I might do.
Leo faced off with me.
“Well, if it isn’t your big brother, Vinny, the bad-ass cop!” snorted Leo.
“Where’s that shiny badge of yours and your fancy gun, Officer Lentini?” Leo asked snidely.
Leonardo Vanzetti. He was an arrogant little prick but, I stood my ground and smiled at him. He didn’t intimidate me in the slightest.
“I don’t need it tonight, Leo,” I said calmly. “I’m not working right now. They’re in the house, safe and sound, but thanks for your concern though,” I said sarcastically.
“Alice, come here,” I gestured for her and she ran to me.
“Look Leo, I know my sister broke up with your brother this morning and for her own good too, but I’ll tell you this one time and one time only… harassing her like this and grabbing her arm like that is only going to bring trouble for you,” I pointed at him and stared him down.
“Trouble? What kind of trouble, Vin? What you going to do, you’re not working tonight, remember? Oh wait, I know… call for back up,” Leo and his buddies laughed.
I shook my head. “No, Leo, I can handle you all on my own,” I smiled.
“Oh, you think so?” he chuckled. “You can handle me, huh? We’ll see about that,” Leo said loudly.
He quickly reached up into his jacket and pulled out a gun. I instinctively moved back and Alice screamed. He then pointed it straight at her. I quickly moved in front of her, keeping myself in between them.
“What you going do about this, Vin?” Leo asked amused.
“What are you going to do with that gun?” I calmly asked. “If you want to challenge me, it’s got to be a fair fight. Man to man,” I stated.
“Leo! Put the fucking gun away,” warned Tommy, “We got no part in this, Vinny,” he pleaded. “I swear to fucking God,” he said sincerely.
“Leo, man… sorry, but we’re gone!” Tommy slowly backed up and whispered, “Sorry, Alice,” Tommy took off after his brother. Johnny was already halfway down the alley.
Leo didn’t seem to care about what was happening with his friends, nor did he look. His eyes were dark and strangely focused on me. I noticed that he looked like he hadn’t slept in a while.
“Why don’t you put it away and talk to me man,” I said calmly, “You know I’m not packing,” I said truthfully.
I lifted up both of my arms. It was obvious that I only had on a pair of jeans. They hung down slightly past my boxers with my belt barely buckled. “How is that gun, going to solve anything that’s going on with you right now? Think about that,” I said calmly.
“I have been thinking. I’ve been thinking all day actually, about your sister. She finally broke up with my brother. I thought that maybe she’d realized that I’m the right man for her, not Joey, my punk ass little brother!” He started pacing. He looked at the ground, but the gun was still on us.
“But NO!” He shouted, regaining focus of his thoughts, “She rejected me, too!”
He started to rub at his forehead with his gun hand, clamping his eyes shut like he was grimacing from some kind of physical pain.
I thought this might be my chance to try and get the gun. I took a step closer, trying to slowly bridge the gap between us.
His eyes suddenly shot open and he steadied his hand, “She won’t even give me a chance to show her!” He cried out.
“I bet, that if you put the gun away, Leo, we could talk things out; all of us. We’re all a little soaked here, you know?” I tried to reason with him. “Guns don’t solve problems, Leo. It‘s only going to complicate things,” I said honestly.
“I don’t need to talk to YOU, about shit! This is between me and Alice!”
“You had your chance to say what you needed to say to her, and you got your answer, whether you liked it or not. I’m not going anywhere without my sister. I’m sure as hell not going to leave her alone with you, with a fucking gun in your hand!” I was beyond reasoning with him now. It was getting harder to mask my anger.
Looking around me at Alice, he began pleading with her. “Joey’s not in the picture anymore, right? You broke things off with him for good now? You guys were always fighting anyway, and he obviously didn’t make you happy,” his thick Jersey accent was sounding desperate. “Then why not go with me, huh? Why not give ME a chance, Alice? Please? Let me show you that I can be a good guy.” Leo begged her.
Alice stayed hidden behind me. I could feel her hand clutching my belt and her warm forehead pressed against the middle of my back.
“I already told you, Leo. I’m still in love with Joey and I don’t know why we fight so much,” she answered insistently. “It’s complicated and really none of your business anyway!” Her breathe was short and ragged. She was shivering.
“What? That makes no sense!” Leo looked shocked, almost betrayed as he staggered backwards towards the fence. “But, he makes you so unhappy, and then when I offer you happiness, you tell me you still want him?” he wept. Leo’s injured pride and broken heart was painfully obvious.
From a short distance down the alley, I could hear the clomping of boots sloshing in the rain.
Someone was running towards us. I saw his black leather jacket, wet and glistening in the lamplight. Leo looked to his left at the shadow approaching. I stiffened up preparing to tackle him for the gun, when I heard Joey, yell o
“Leo! What the hell you think you’re doing?” Joey stopped running and swiftly walked up behind his brother. “Tommy and Johnny came over to the restaurant and - ” his voice trailed off mid-sentence when he saw Alice crouching behind me. “Alice, are you okay?” Joey looked legitimately concerned.
Alice screeched out a warning, “He’s got a gun Joey, be careful,” her face was still pressed into my back.
Joey’s gaze shifted back to Leo. Suddenly, realizing the intensity of the situation, he stood still.
Joey changed his tone and decided to try and talk to him.
“Leo, what’s going on with you, bro? Please, just put the gun away before someone gets hurt, huh?” Joey said to him.
Leo snorted loudly, as pushed his shoulders back. He slowly moved to his left, inching closer to his brother. Joey, wanting to keep his distance from Leo now, moved towards us. I pivoted to keep Alice behind me. Then I realized what Leo was doing… he was herding us together.
He strutted nervously now, as he prepared to make his point.
“She goes around acting like she’s too good for you all the time! I can see why you fight now,” he laughed nervously. He pointed the gun in our direction, shaking it at us as he spoke. “This stupid cop’s precious, little sister is apparently too good for anyone in our dirty, little crime family,” he laughed.
“What are you talking about, Leo?” Joey was confused. He’d obviously missed something.
Alice’s shaky little voice came out from behind me in a shock. “He made a move on me Joey,” she exclaimed, “I turned him down… I told him that I was still in love with you!”
I reached behind to shush her, as if to say, “Shut up, this isn’t helping, Alice.” She nodded her head in silent agreement and swallowed hard.
Joey quickly stepped forward, glaring at Leo. Joey’s face twisted in anger. “I get into an argument with MY girl and you get your fucking cronies to come down here with you to harass her at her home? Not to mention, see what’s in it for you?” Joey was rocking back and forth, clenching his jaw as he spoke.
He continued. “You’re classy, brother! You know, when Tommy came into the restaurant and told me you were starting shit with the cop, I didn’t expect this,” he smirked. “Never in my life, would I believe you could be as low as scum.”
“You’re fucking psycho, if you think she would ever want someone like you!” Joey leaned in closer, “You-don’t-know- a-thing, about me and Alice!” Joey glared into Leo’s face, “So you’ve now decided to pull a gun on the woman I love and her family? You’re certifiable!” Joey got up close and stared long and hard into his stunned brother’s eyes… and spit.
Leo roared with anger as he shoved the barrel of the gun into Joey’s chest, pushing him back.
“Are you going to shoot me ... BROTHER?” Joey yelled.
Leo bit down hard on his lower lip, drawing blood. His hand was constantly slicking the water off of his oily black hair. His shifty eyes were glancing at everyone. Leo was panicking.
“Shut your mouth, you little punk! I’m the one in control right now, not you!” He growled.
Alice got as close to me as she could. She buried her head into my back and grabbed my waist. I could feel her shiver and shake.
“Yeah, okay, you’re in control Leo...” Joey laughed. He slowly stepped in front of me. “But this is what’s ACTUALLY going to happen. Vinny’s going to get Alice inside where it’s warm and dry.
He’s going to move real slow… aren’t you Vinny?” Joey kept his eyes on Leo.
“That’s right,” I answered him.
“Thank you, Vinny, it’s not good for Alice… or the baby, to be out here in this cold rain,” he smiled slyly, purposefully revealing Alice’s secret.
The expression on Leo’s face, matched mine.
I was speechless. “What Baby?” I thought.
“A Baby?” Leo managed to squeak out the actual word.
Alice tensed up as she sucked in a breath. I looked at Joey who was confidently staring down Leo. The gun was still pointed at him. I spun around to look at Alice, my eyes wide with disbelief as I searched her cherub face for an answer. Her eyes were closed and her lips were trembling.
“I’m sorry Vin! I was going to tell you tonight. I just found out this morning and I haven’t had a chance to figure out how to say it yet!.” She started crying so hysterically, she stumbling over every word. Her brown curls were wet and matted, sticking to her tear drenched face.
“Shhh… it’s okay! Everything’s going to be okay. I love you, no matter what and you’re going to be alright.” I smoothed the hair out of her face. Her beautiful, hazel eyes looked up at me with uncertainty, as she wrapped her arms around me and squeezed. Her little body, now seemingly fragile, shivered as she buried her face in my chest. I put my arms around her instinctively to steady her. I needed to protect my little sister. That was it for me. No more games, I needed to diffuse the situation, immediately.
“Joey, come and get Alice,” I ordered. “You’ve played the jealousy game long enough.” Alice looked up at me, startled. “What are you doing,” silently entered my thoughts. “Don’t worry,” I whispered.
Joey quickly took Alice into his arms as I turned to size up Leo’s current mental state. He had to be fuming with anger. Shouldn’t he? But, instead, his face was completely void of all emotion. He just stood still, frozen in time. The gun was now hanging at his side.
“Leo,” I said quietly. “The situation has changed, don’t you think? Maybe we could rethink things a bit.” I was directly in front of him now. His eyes were pinned, staring at the ground, and his hand was shaking. The rest of his body was stoic.
“I think we were both a little shocked by the sudden baby news. Some things are starting to make a little more sense now, don’t you agree?” He didn’t respond. “I know that deep down you care about your brother. Your relationship is all complicated right now, but you’ll get past this. Those kids will work out their issues, they always do… in their own way.” Still, no change.
“We can all get past this and pretend like this incident never happened. I will completely forget that you ever came here tonight. So just relax and give me the gun Leo, it’s all over now.” I slowly took a step forward.
Leo’s body reacted and flew back, as if I had hit him. His dark brown eyes flashed at mine with a newfound rage. The hair on my neck stood straight up.
“Shut the fuck up, already!” He screamed, “I can’t just act like nothing ever happened, because it did!”
He franticly shook as he aimed the gun right at my face. I raised my left hand, as a sign of surrender. With my right, I began pointing towards the house, repeatedly, gesturing for Joey and Alice to get going.
“You stupid idiot!” shouted Joey. “Would you stop and realize what he’s trying to say to you? He’s trying to help you! Why don’t we let Vinny take Alice inside and you and I settle this, huh?” Joey taunted his older brother, again. “We got some unfinished business, don’t we, brother?”
Leo looked like a wounded child.
“You care more about protecting that broad, than me! What about our relationship? What, you don’t want to be my brother anymore?” Leo was weeping once more.
“Ugh! You’re so screwed up in the head, bro! Who’s got a gun pulled, huh? What did you do, eat a fucking “eight ball” for dinner, again? I know you weren’t at the restaurant with pop and me, or with the rest of the family for that matter!” Joey’s words added fuel to Leo’s fire. The gun was still pointed at my head.
“So, yes, of course I’m going to defend my woman and child against a crazy ass, lunatic!” Joey yelled.
Joey had gotten Leo’s attention now. I paused and waited for my sign, my “click”. It’s an unexplainable moment, a switch that flips on inside my brain, instantly telling me the exact time to act.
Leo smirked. “You still want to take her side over mine? Till’ death do you part? She doesn’t even deserve to have a Van
I slammed into Leo with all of my body weight, taking him down to the gritty asphalt. I grabbed at his gun arm on the way down. I got a hold of it, but I couldn’t get a firm grip with my slippery hands. He rolled me onto my bare back trying to wrestle his arm from my grasp. I had a partial hold on the gun barrel, but my hand slipped off. I desperately held on to his arm and wrist, tearing up his sleeves. I kept kneeing his back and elbowing his kidneys, trying anything to subdue him. I pushed off the ground with my feet and back, to heave his body up off of mine. I flipped him over on his side, lunging over him, grappling for his gun hand. He was punching my back with his free hand. Something about it didn’t feel right. I almost had the gun in my control when I felt a hot, sharp pain in my side, twist and release, twice. I knew then he wasn’t punching me at all. He was stabbing me, repeatedly. Warm blood trickled down my side.
Alice was screaming something, but I couldn’t make out the words. Joey had grabbed her and was attempting to run down the alley. He struggled to hang on to her, as she was yanking her body in the opposite direction, trying to get back to me.
“Run Alice, get far away! Call 911!! Call Sarge! Get her outta here Joey!” I yelled and screamed until I had no air left inside me, which didn’t last long. My lung had collapsed. I held onto Leo as tight as I could. I wasn’t going to let him catch up to them. I felt a dull “THUD” as he stabbed my back, as I lay over him. Thud, thud. He rolled me onto my back and I felt the warmth of the blood spreading over my chest and throat. My throat clenched up, causing me to cough, spraying blood over my face and drizzle into my ears. I felt the strangest amount of pressure in my eye, before it went dark. Then I realized that the weight of his body had lifted from mine. I was losing consciousness, and could no longer breathe and was too weak to fight anymore.
The sounds of shots fired echoed through the alley way. “Pop! pop, pop, pop!”
I couldn’t see anything, only the blurred shadows my brain and damaged eye socket would allow. My eyes were open weren’t they? I fought to see. I tried to raise my arms, desperate to go after Leo. They wouldn’t move. Was I blinking? All I saw was darkness, and the only thing I could hear, was a loud ringing in my ears.