Marcus grabbed Gloria around the shoulders and steered her toward exit. “You go home, Chrissy,” he said over his shoulder. “I don’t know what I’m going to tell the old man. Minga, you fucked things up good.”
Chrissy watched them go. Could this day get any worse?
Saks hung between Luke and Spider while his stomach clenched in pain. The beer he’d drunk suddenly didn’t sit well, and he felt like barfing. Luke and Spider hauled him inside through the back entrance.
“What the fuck happened?” Spider growled.
Damn, she got him good.
“You okay, buddy?” Luke said as Saks clenched his stomach and tried to breathe. “She kneed him in the balls.”
“The girl he walked out the door with?” Spider asked in surprise.
“Yeah,” Luke said.
“What did you do to her?” Spider asked accusatorially.
“Nothing!” Saks sucked in a sharp breath. Stupid erection and balls. What the fuck?
“This doesn’t help, Spider,” Luke admonished.
“Take him back to the storeroom. I’ll bring some ice.”
Spider dragged in a chair and they helped Saks to sit. Sheldon brought in a small bag of ice wrapped in a bar towel, and Saks clutched it between his legs.
“I feel sick.”
Sheldon kicked a waste can to him and held out a small bottle of whiskey.
“No, thanks,” Saks said, shaking his head. But he pulled the trash can closer in case the urge became a reality.
“You fucked up good,” Sheldon said. “You left the Rocco woman at the bar to chase after another woman? Nice job, Anthony.”
These harsh words didn’t make Saks feel any better. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
“Hey,” Luke said. “Lay off on Saks.”
“His name,” Sheldon spat, “is Anthony.”
“I know what his name is. I sign his paychecks.”
“Maybe that has to fucking change. It’s not like my cousin is safe in your company.”
“Excuse me?” Luke protested.
“Damn it, Sheldon,” Saks barked, wincing. “Leave him alone.” It irritated him that Sheldon didn’t let last summer’s problems drop. Yeah, the one-percenter motorcycle gang, the Rojos, kidnapped Saks to get to Luke, but that wasn’t Luke’s fault. And in the end, it was Luke who pulled him out of that hellish situation.
“You didn’t have to clean him up after that mess with you and the Rojos, Wade. Or explain his injuries to his mother.”
“Zitto, cugino. Luca non è il problema qui.” Saks rarely spoke Italian, but he wanted to make an impression on Sheldon. This, what was happening, was Saks’ fuck up, not Luke’s.
“Capisco che, stupido.”
Good. At least Sheldon was insulting him instead of Luke.
Luke’s wife, Emily, stuck her head inside the storeroom. “What happened here?” she said, her eyes wide.
“Em, go wait at the table, please. I’ll be right there.”
“Sure,” she said. “You okay, Saks?”
He waved his bag of ice. “I’m fine. My pride more than anything tonight, Em.”
“It’ll pass.” She smiled, and winked at him before disappearing behind the door.
“You okay then?” Luke asked. “Do you need anything?”
“No. The pain is settling down to a dull roar.”
“Yeah. I’ll let my abusive relatives take care of me if I need it.”
“Call me if you need anything. I’m taking Emily home.”
“Sure, Luke. See you on Monday.”
Luke walked out while Sheldon glared at him.
“Good thing,” Saks said when Luke cleared the hall, “that I’m incapacitated, or I’d twist your head off. What the hell was that, insulting Luke?”
“Try it, Anthony. You haven’t been able to beat the shit out of me. Ever. And I’m not saying anything the family hasn’t been saying, especially since last summer. Damn it, Anthony. The man, his uncle, the whole Hades’ Spawn thing is ready to blow up. You don’t need to be in the middle of it.”
“I’m not discussing it.”
“Oh, no. Why do you think Uncle Vits wants you to be the one to marry the Serafina girl?”
Saks scoffed, which sent a shiver of pain through him. “Well, she isn’t my type. It’s not happening.”
Sheldon stepped to Saks and lowered his face so that he was nose to nose with his cousin. “You listen to me, che cazzo, the familia is not going to put up with any more shit from the Spawn and Wade’s Mexican uncle. One more piece of trouble and we’re taking care of them, all of them. We’ve got too much to lose to let those stupidios call attention to us. Do you get it? And you damn well better get right about the idea of marrying into the Serafina family. Because that’s another bit of business we can’t afford to screw up.”
Saks stood up, wincing with the tinge of pain. But he could move, and he intended to. “I’m not a playing piece on the board, Sheldon. I did this as a courtesy to Uncle Vits, but no one is going to make me marry anyone I don’t want to. And so far, from what I’ve seen, I don’t want to. And if anyone tries for a piece of Luke or the Spawn, they’ll have to go through me.” He grunted as he moved to the door.