Sophia continues to look me long and hard in the eyes, but I stand my ground. I’d never do anything to put her in jeopardy. She means too much to me. And this shit with my father is my problem. I’ll figure a different way out. Even if I have to marry the sleazy son of one of his political allies, I’ll find a way to get myself out from under his thumb.

“Fine,” she finally gives in with a sigh. “Have it your way, but tonight I’m going to make sure you have some fun.”

“Fun sounds good,” I smile at her and we start walking again.

“Took you long enough,” Lindsey says with pout.

Sophia rolls her eyes as she sets two shots and the shaker down on the table. “We were getting friendly with the locals.”

Amanda shoots a look over her shoulder at the bar. “They don’t look very friendly…”

Sophia pushes the two shots she carried over towards Amanda and Lindsey. “Have a drink and loosen up. We’re here to have fun, ladies!”

Amanda and Lindsey pick up their little glasses, throw back their shots, and immediately start to grumble about how harsh the tequila is.

Picking up the salt shaker, I can’t help but glance towards the bar. There’s like some invisible cord that keeps tugging me in that direction.

Johnathan is still there, turned towards me now with his beer gripped in his big hand. I lick my hand between my thumb and forefinger and see his eyes flash with heat as he watches my tongue come out of my mouth.

Fun, yeah, we’re here for fun. I throw my shot back and feel the tequila burn its way down my throat.

I should probably take Sophia’s advice and loosen up a little, I think as I lower my now empty shot glass.

Sophia pushes the fourth shot towards me with a twinkle in her eye and a smirk.

Yeah, she’s totally trying to get me drunk.

3

Johnathan

It’s fucking hot as balls in this fucking sweatbox of a city. I could use a good nap, a bottle of cold tequila, and a hot pussy snuggled right up against my leg just humping it in anticipation.

But that’s not how shit works now.

Maybe in the bygone days of being in the family, but with the ever-present war going on, it’s work, work, and death.

I’ve taken on a lot of shit jobs over the last year. Ever since Lucifer, my boss, took Lilith to be his lovely bride, it’s been one fire after the other we either have to put out or start. Shit, the Yakuza getting kicked the fuck out of Garden city was a monumental fucking task. That the Russians are now trying to claim their territory as their own is making things quite explosive.

I often question if Lucifer would have taken the woman if he had known the shit path it would lead us down.

When I think of war, though, I imagine trenches dug out, lines drawn on some arbitrary map, bullets and grenades flying all over the place.

Not this land grab of property and back room deals with lawyers and politicians.

Sure, there’s enough death going on to keep the Reaper himself busy, but I’m not good at the political shit that Lucifer seems to thrive at. He’s been putting blockades around every empty storefront he can that the Russians could possibly be interested in.

If he doesn’t buy ‘em, the fucking Italians do.

The fucking Italians… What the fuck should I say about those damn bastards? They sure as fuck have paid us back with interest when it comes to being our allies. Ever since we started giving them real estate at the docks, and then the formerly controlled Yakuza areas, they have been at our beck and call.

Yeah, they’re helpful all right, but it comes at a cost.

If you ask me, a fucking big one.

We have to be the big brother who fucking protects ‘em. Like last night, I had to be the backup for one of their big deals. They shipped some grade A weapons from our docks out to Ohio, where they’ve been fucking around with the Irish.

It seems to me, for a good while, all the big power houses like the Italians, the Irish, the Russians, the Yakuza, and Lucifer’s group in Garden City, have been busting our heads against a wall fighting with each other. It makes me wonder if an actual widespread war will start up like it did back in the forties.

Shit, times like that now could be very bad.

They had guns and firebombs back then. We have the internet, guns, rocket launchers, and credit scores now.

Leaning back against the barstool’s seatback, I tip the ice cold bottle of beer back and let the cold liquid wash the shot of tequila I took right before it down. There’s a big loaded burger sitting on the plate in front of me, and as I take a bite, I feel like I can finally relax.

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