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Nov 24 - 00:17:33
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A New Dawn. Started by: John_Shoaltz on Nov 11, '17 10:12

"That's the place. Right there..." Henry announced, pointing to a building just before the corner of Prospect and East 165th Street. A small, five story (six if you counted the sub floor store) flat building. John eyed the building, noting a few lights were on scattered throughout. "An' ya sure this be tuh place?"

Both Jack and Henry answered from the back seat, speaking over one another, "Aye," and "Yes."

John nodded and pulled the car off to the side of the road, killing the lights and the engine. They all sat for a moment; thinking, waiting, watching.

It was dark, hardly any light coming from the street lamps on the corner. The church was eerily dark across the street. Few people traversed the normally rather busy sidewalk. Those that did were either too drunk or too high to really pay attention.

The four men exited the car quietly and moved to the back of the vehicle, popping it open. "Reight, boys. Small arms, silencers. That includes you, 'Enry." The Jewish man, not expecting to have a gun in this fight, was quickly eased by the thought of being armed. "Toda, Boss. Thank you," Henry drew a weapon, a small calibre handgun, and attached a silencer to it; the other men followed suit.

"Keep them tucked away 'til we come across one of Reilly's wick bastards. Any fucker wit' a gun, ge's shot." John looked directly at Henry, "If ya get made, don' be afraid to shoot." He looked at James, "You eit'er, knuckl'ead." John grinned at his pal before slapping him on the back, "You ready for this to be done?"

James gave a nod, a steely gaze setting over his face. That was the look John had wanted to see. One that let him know James' head was in the right place now. There were no chances for second guessing oneself in what was about to go down. John looked at the other men as well. Jack? Always ready. He'd been trained well enough and was around John enough to know what was expected of him. Then there was Henry, the man eager to prove himself to both John and James in exchange for his life... John nodded to all of them and shut the vehicle, "Well then, lads. Le's be off wit' this."

The four men made their way down the sidewalk and peaked into the front door before John stepped through with the three men flanking him. They walked directly through the front lobby, the manager on duty complaining about them as they approached the desk. John fished something out of his pocket and tossed it on the counter top as they passed; an Earl Grey tea bag slid over the wood. James, not privy to the signature, perked a brow but said nothing as the clerk immediately clammed up and looked at the rag-tag crew of assassins following a boss of The Dukes of Earl. Jack stopped for a moment to look at the man now cowering, and held a finger to his lips. The two exchanged nods and Jack stepped back in line, keeping an eye on Henry for the most part.

"Stairs..." John announced as they made their way to a lift, pointing to Jack and Henry. The two nodded and took off up the stairs. John turned to James, "An' we take tuh lift. Make sure we don' miss 'im." With a wink, the two entered the lift and John punched a button for floor three...

 

(( James-Sullivan ))

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As the lift came to a stop we all prepared ourselves before stepping out into the hall. We all advanced to the section where it veered off to a L shape. I immediately turned and signaled for everyone except John to stay back. I peaked around the corner and seen one guard sleeping on a chair, also heard a lot of mumbling through the door, sounded like multiple people. I turned to John and whispered, "looks like one guard...he's out like a light. I hear talking through the door, sounds like a meeting!."

John's only response was that it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

As we both rounded the corner to silence the guard, another one came out of the restroom. He immediately knew something was up and yelled out "BOSS RUN!." He went to run to the door as John wasted little time and fired a few shots, as the guy fell into the wall just to the left of the door. The other guard woke up when he heard his buddy shout. He immediately went back to sleep after I fired a bullet through his head from about two feet away. No sooner after the first guard slammed into the wall, John ran up to the door and shoulder checked it, after a second shot the door flew open. We both took cover on each side of the wall, Ray being the first to think of himself made his way out the window, which I saw immediately. I yelled out "JACKIE, HENRY GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE AND HELP JOHN!."

The two immediately ran over to help as I made my way through the front door of the neighbor's apartment, which as luck would have it was empty. I ran to the window and seen that Ray made his way down the fire escape. I saw him start to run up the road as I fired about 4 shots, first missed, second and third was close. The final shot caught Ray right in the leg, kneecap to be exact. He quickly changed his route from up the road to a right hand turns into the alleyway on the side of the apartment building.

I quickly ran out of the apartment and headed for the stairs to intercept Ray in the back. In the meantime John and the other two was still pinned at the wall trying to take out the remaining members of Ray's crew. I knew John would work out a plan to take them out. My only hope was that Ray's brother was in that apartment.   

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John, Jack, and Henry hugged the walls in the hallway as the bodyguards of the Reilly brothers continued to fire off their weapons. Jack looked to John and grinned, opening his coat to reveal a few grenades. "Smoke or..." John began to mouth. Jack nodded in reply. Smoke grenades. Those would be handy. "Do it!"

Jack nodded and lit the fuse, waiting a bit before tossing it into the room. "GRENADE!" one of the men yelled and everyone hit the ground. The three men outside shuffled into the room quickly during the distress and let loose a small hail of gunfire. Yelling and groaning was heard as bullets tore through flesh and blood spilled out onto the carpet beneath. As the smoke cleared, John and Henry stood, Jack knelt holding a superficial wound to his arm, and the three bodyguards of Pete and Ray Reilly lay dead on the floor. Pete stared at the three attackers in his living room, his gun trained on them, a steady clicking noise heard as he continued to pull the trigger even though he was out of bullets.

"Would ya cut that out, boyo?" John coaxed. "It's really quite annoyin'." Click...Click...Click...

"Oh for fock's sake, somebody jus' take 'is God damn gun. I think 'es brainless at this point." John waved Henry over toward Pete.

"Jackie boy, you okay?" John turned his gaze to his friend and bodyguard as the incessant clicking continued.

"Yea boss. It's a minor wound. Caught me in the arm. I'll live. Just need to get it out when we get outta here." The two nodded, but then a loud gunshot rung out, breaking the clicking noise. John and Jack both pointed their guns at the noise, only to see Henry standing over Pete's lifeless body. Blood and brain splattered the windows behind Pete as his body slumped against the wall and slid down it, leaving a bloody trail.

"Fuck lad, guess ya did like me proposal more," John began laughing. "C'mon, we need to find Jimmy an' get outta 'ere. Cops'll be buzzin' this place soon an' we don' need to be anywhere near."

The three gathered themselves and headed down to the car, tossed the guns in the back, and loaded up to drive around and find James. "'Ope tuh lad's alright..." John muttered lowly.

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As I ran down the stairs as fast as possible, I heard someone yell "Grenade!". I wanted to run back up and assist John and the other two, but I couldn't let Ray get away.

After finally making it to ground level, I ran out the back door where I was hoping to run into Reilly. Luckily for me there was a fence stopping him from escaping the back lot. I approached him while my pistol by my side, pointing towards the ground. Ray leaned against the brick building that was located behind his apartment complex. As I walked right in front of him, he looked up at me, locking eyes and replying "C'mon now Jimmy!, let a man smoke one more time before you kill em!."

Thanks to John I had taken up smoking again. I grabbed one from my pocket and leaned down, I lit the smoke for him. Feeling exhausted, I sat down on the ground with my knees up, arms and pistol draped over the top. After a few minutes Ray tossed the smoke in between us both, I stood up and stepped on it. Eying each other one last time, he said to me. "This life we live...it's something isn't it Jimmy?!, all the power!, the money!...you feel invincible. After awhile it all comes crashing down don't it?. Ah what a life!, no regrets for me Jimmy boy!, lets see you fill my shoes!."

I stood there and laughed for a moment before speaking up.

"No regrets huh Ray?!. All the bridges you burned!, the careers you destroyed!, the family members you betrayed!. Why the fuck would you think I want to be like you?.

He looked at me with no care at all "Ah get over yourself!, its all business Jimmy. Ill see ya in hell Jimmy boy!."

With no hesitation I respond, "See ya there Ray!". I quickly raise my pistol and riddle his body with bullets. The sight of bullet holes and pieces of clothing ripping apart as the brick wall behind him was dripping red. I shot until my gun clicked, when it did I put it down by my side and took a deep breath, a sigh of relief. It was finally over.

I heard sirens so I hopped the fence and went around the block, hoping to see John and the others.       

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"There! There he is!" Henry yelled from the back seat as James scaled a fence. John slammed on the brakes and the car slid to a halt in front of the alleyway. John opened the door and yelled, "C'mon Rev, we got'a go!" He waved the man on as the sirens in the distance slowly closed in.

James looked up as his feet planted on the ground and ran down the alleyway to the car. John shut his door and as soon as James was inside he floored it. The car tires spun for a second before the vehicle lurched forward and the crew of four took off. Jack held his arm in the back seat, but he was going pale. Henry helped him keep pressure on his arm. "Fellas... Jack needs help. This is looking worse than we thou-"

"Ta lad. I'm on it already. Gonna stop by a friend's place." John turned the car down a few different roads as they sped along, a serpentine route to loose any cops that might catch hint of them. "La Sala Cultiva... That be where we're 'eaded lads. If ya don' know it, ya should. Freddie_Lou be a great friend, an' I trust 'er. Jackieo, she'll get ya fixed reight, boyo, no worries."

They drove what seemed like eternity as Jack continued to get worse, but finally John slammed on the brakes and the car slid to halt. Two tires hopped onto the sidewalk in front of a small shop. La Sala Cultiva. John hopped out of the vehicle and waved the other three around the back of the building. "James, 'Enry, 'elp Jackie an' follow me."

He led the men up onto the balcony in the back. The thudding noises they made coming up was probably enough to wake Freddie, but if that wasn't enough, John banged on the the double-wide french doors that led to her quarters. "Freddie... It's John, a friend needs some 'elp. Get decent an' come out'ere please." He turned away from the doors and pulled out a pack of smokes. Lighting one, he took a puff and exhaled, offering one to the other gentlemen as they waited on Freddie.

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Freddie was already cinching her robe around her slight waist by the time John and his men reached the balcony. The familiar echo of heavy footsteps rushing up the back stairs rousing her from her light sleep with a habitual rush of adrenaline. Her curls were a wild mess of ebony frizz as she swung the doors wide open mid-knock. She ducked, and scurried out onto the porch barefoot and half dressed; if even. The deep V of her robe displayed a bit too much skin on either end for a modest man's comfort, but she was too concerned about the quickly paling man leaving puddles on her porch and too used to such late night visits to care about uncomfortable glances from strangers. "Fuck decent, Juanito," she nipped, ushering the men through fluttering gossamer curtains into her bedroom, "just get him inside, and for the love of God be quiet." 

The room was small, and dimly lit; lavishly decorated in dark hardwoods, soft lighting, silks, richly embroidered tapestries, and lushly cascading greenery. It would be warm and inviting were it not for Jack's... predicament. Stripping the comforters and quilts from the bed, she motioned to the men. "Put him on the bed, and strip his shirt off," she barked, leaning down to fish a set of leather straps from beneath either side of the mattress. Ignoring the curious glances between James and Henry, she tossed them across Jack's legs and chest with a tired air of unceremonious repetition. "Tighten those down," she ordered, gesturing to the other men, "I'll need him still when things get messy." 

Lifting Henry's blood soaked jacket from Jack's shoulder, Freddie grimaced. "Ay dios mio, idiotas," she hissed, "No tourniquet? En serio?!" Freddie whipped around, and headed for the door. "I need one of you to take off your belt, and tighten it around his arm... between his shoulder and the wound... as tight as you can. And don't ease up. I have to get supplies from the next room. You," she barked at Henry, "Stay with him, and keep pressure on the wound. Don't touch anything. And don't let him die before we get back.You two come with me," She led John and James into the hall with a stern frown, "He's lost a lot of blood. And there's more still to lose. This is not going to be pretty. There's a small caliber round lodged in his bicep. It doesn't look to have hit the bone, but I can't be sure til I get inside. And there's a lot of sensitive spots in there. " 

"I need you to go to the kitchen," she pointed James to the right, "Find me clean towels, whiskey... no no, scratch that. Bring the rectified spirits. Looks like vodka. On top of the fridge... um... start some boiling water, and um... pliers. They'll be in the small drawer left of the sink. There's a sharpening rod in the holder on the counter, and a culinary torch under the sink. Yeah."  Freddie finally paused to take a breath, and turned to John, "You come with me to the storeroom. I'm gonna need help with the other stuff. Meet us back in my room in TWO MINUTES!She rushed down the hallway, her bare feet pitter-pattering across the hardwood floors as she drug John down the hall into a small room stacked floor to ceiling with glass jars and boxes all labeled with insane sounding botanical names... mostly in spanish. 

"Okay... I need yarrow powder... no tincture. Yarrow tincture...mmmm both. Poppy milk extract, alcohol, iodine, syringe, aaand gauze. " she rattled off supplies as she rummaged about the shelves, grabbing things as she went, "umm... I need you to grab the suture stuff just in case... yeah. Ointment... um... and tell tu amigo in the kitchen we need cheese cloth. Meet me back in my room. I'm gonna go check on Jackie y get my things set up." 

She patted John's chest as she slipped out of the room, "I'll do my best... for you, cariño." The hurried patter of her feet echoed down the hallway, gaining pace as Jack groaned from the bedroom. The boys better hurry... 

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John quickly tugged his belt off... Why hadn't he thought of that? He'd been trained for that in the AEF. Regardless, he tossed the belt to Henry and followed James and Freddie. "Take care of that, 'Enry. Take care of me boy till Freddie get's back." John pointed at him as he walked away, turning as he finished, listening to Freddie tell James what she needed from the kitchen.

James broke off while the other two headed to the storeroom. "I can't thank ya enough, Freddie..." John called from behind the woman as she led him into the small space. As she hunted things quickly and desperately, John put his hands on her shoulders and squeezed softly. She stopped for just a moment, then continued gathering things. "Suture things. Ointment. Cheese clo...Cheese cloth? Eh, for gauze I guess..." John answered his own question as she placed her hand on his chest. He placed his hand over hers before he nodded and let her go.  "Ta, flower. I mean it."

He grabbed his supplies and made his way to James in the kitchen.

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It had been a long few days. Fresh out of prison, and a body count was beginning to pile. I was no EMT, none the less I did what I could to find all the supplies that Freddie needed. Half way through gathering all the supplies, I paused briefly to splash some cold water on my face. Million things running through my mind, main thing being that I was now beginning to think that Henry was a loose end.

I grabbed the remaining things as quickly as possible. Freddie and John came flying around the corner, I looked to Freddie, who I still had not properly met yet to see if she needed anything else.

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"Cheese cloth!" John yelled out as James turned to look at the two. "'Urry it up an' c'mon!"

He continued to follow Freddie back to her room.

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Freddie scurried into the room, her arms laden with all manner of herbal and medical supplies. Dumping this menagerie onto the bed, she turned to James and began relieving him of all the things from the kitchen. Mouth slightly agape, she looked around at everything she gathered, slowly coming to terms with the dawning realization that she'd forgotten a bowl or tray of any kind. Snatching up the glass of water she kept on her bedside table, she shrugged and tossed the water out onto the floor... she'd have to mop later anyhow. "It'll have to do," she mumblingly reassured herself, filling the glass about halfway with alcohol. "Put the pliers and the sharpener in there," she barked at James, not waiting to see if he listened. 

Turning back to the bed she grabbed the syringe and "poppy extract" from the bed, filling it nearly to the brim as she straddled Jack's chest, bending over the bed. Blood oozed between her fingers as she injected the viscous liquid around the wound; Jack's head lolling to one side. Snatching a dainty pair of cheater glasses from the bedside table she mumbled softly to herself as she assessed her options. 

"Okay, Juanito," she said without looking up, "I need you to take about... mm... a foot of that gauze, and soak it in Yarrow tincture." She motioned behind her to a bottle that was resting somewhere near her feet. "I need it yesterday, cuz it's gotta go in as soon as this comes out." 

"Pliers," she demanded of James, who was apparently serving as her surgical assistant tonight. She passed the pliers into her left hand and demanded again, "Alcohol." 

Her legs braced tightly against the bed as she doused the wound in alcohol, but Jack barely twitched. The laudanum in his system working quickly to numb... well, everything. "Okay, hold that." She passed the alcohol back to James and bent over Jack's wounded arm, pliers at the ready. "Nobody breathe,she advised softly as pressed the pliers into the wound. A soft clicking could be heard as she struggled to latch the pliers around the bullet, cursing softly.

Jack groaned and Freddie grunted, forcing the pliers deeper into Jack's arm. A sickening sucking noise seeped through the room as Freddie slooooooowly backed the slug out of the wound, "Please don't spray. Please don't spray. Don't spray. Don't spray." The round wiggle loose with a squelching pop, and an uncomfortable sigh from Freddie. Pressing a clean towel over the wound, she turned to James, "Okay, I'm gonna keep pressure here. When I move this towel, I need you to pack the wound with that gauze John's soaking. It should help stem the bleeding."  

Holding her gaze James gave a brief nod, and Freddie slide the towel back; holding pressure on Jack's arm just below the tourniquet. James made quick work of his task. And soon enough Freddie was pressing the towel back over the packed wound. "Good. Good," loosening the belt, she slid it down over the towel, and tightened it down again, "That should hold enough pressure for now. The styptic will need a few minutes to work. We can step out for a smoke and a sip... if the bleeding doesn't stop before we're done, then I'll need to cauterize the wound." 

Climbing down from the bed, Freddie reached unceremoniously into John's pocket and fished out his cigarettes and lighter. Grabbing the bottle of spiritus from her bedside table she headed for the door. "If you're the praying type, chicitos, now would be the time. Sit with him if you want, pero I am having a smoke." 

With that, she wandered out onto the porch and draped herself over the chaise lounge, lighting a cigarette with bloodied hands.

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I was astonished by what I had saw. Only people I ever seen handle a wound like that was back in war, trained medic's. I still did not properly meet Freddie yet, but I assumed she had medical training.

I grabbed a smoke and began to make my way outside to talk to Freddie, I stopped in front of john, giving him a hesitant look as the thought of Henry being a loose end was still running through my mind.

I walked outside and sat on the step near Freddie, lighting my smoke, I asked her "where did you learn to handle wounds like that?."

I waited for a response while taking a drag, assuming that John would join us outside. 

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John meandered outside with them, leaving the door open and leaning against the balcony so he could watch inside the room. His eyes never left Jack, or Henry. Freddie had handled herself amazingly, she never ceased to amaze him. He crossed his arms over his chest, deep in thought at the whole situation.

James' words broke the silence on the balcony and John turned his gaze on Freddie who still held his smokes. He pushed off the railing and snatched his pack and lighter, pulling out a cigarette and catching it ablaze. A few puffs had the thing lit and John tossed both the pack and lighter back onto the table outside. He returned to his spot leaning on the banister, his eyes back on Henry as the man sat beside Jack. John toiled over multiple thoughts, but he kept them to himself as he exhaled a cloud of smoke overhead.

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Freddie took a long drag from her cigarette, paying no mind to the quickly drying blood on her hands. Letting her head fall back she exhaled the smoke skyward with a dry laugh, "Mijo, in this life and in a neighborhood like this one someone has to know how to handle them. It just so happens that for this neighborhood that someone was mi abuela... my grandmother. And after her my mother. And after her, me." 

Freddie shrugged as if what she did was nothing at all, taking a short swig straight from the bottle of... whatever that was. "Call it our legacy... or the family business. Whatever. But people in this part of town know that when you need a quiet solution to a big problem, you come see La Florista. I've delivered most of the babies in at least a five block radius. And my mother delivered their mothers... and so on. It's knowledge passed down to me from the old country and from the streets. Cuz at the end of the day, someone has to be left to pick up the pieces and seal up the wounds. Comprendes?"

Setting the bottle down near James, Freddie stretched and pulled herself back to her feet. Snuffing her cigarette in a nearby ashtray, she made her way down the stairs and over to a small shrub in one of the many flowerbeds; returning shortly with a single, broad leaf. Pinching her robe closed, she mounted the stairs and made her way back inside, "Time to see where we stand... and don't you dare throw those butts in my yard." 

Unbuckling the belt from Jack's arm, Freddie tossed it in (what she assumed to be) John's general direction. Peeling back the towel she nodded, mumbling contentedly to herself. It looked good. "Alright, chicito," she motioned to James, "You keep light pressure right here. While I throw together a poultice and compression bandage. Just a moment." Leaving James to hold the wound, she quickly folded the cheese cloths into fourths and poured a heavy helping of yarrow powder into it. Tying the corners together, she soaked the resultant pouch in the (no longer) boiling water James had prepared and wrung out the excess before pausing with a blank stare. "Ay, chingada. No tape!"

 Freddie smacked her forehead in agitation. "Juanito," she called over to John with mock-sugary sweetness, "I have an ACE bandage in one of those drawers. I need it." She paused for a moment, a slight chuckle colouring her cheeks, "But you might have to move mís lancerías." As John rummaged through the drawers she indicated, he'd realize quickly exactly what that meant. But, on the bright(er?) side, the texture of the bandage contrasted starkly with the silk, lace, and satin that comprised the rest of the drawers contents. 

Having already moved back to the bed, Freddie eased James out of the way, "Very good, mijo. We're almost done." Packing just a bit more gauze into the wound, she splashed it once more with the aforementioned tincture and slathered it in a pale yellow ointment before laying the poultice over it. "John, I'm leaving the gauze as-is for tonight. We'll have to repack it tomorrow," she called over her shoulder as he passed the bandage to her. Smiling at James, she scooched over ever so slightly so he could see her work. "This powder will help the bleeding and keep pressure on the wound," she explained. Much to his surprise she then laid the leaf from her backyard over the poultice before wrapping the whole set up lightly with the elastic bandage. "The leaf is plaintain. It's good for bleeding, swelling, and over all it helps speed healing. And then, of course the bandage maintains pressure so we don't have to." 

Tucking the ends neatly, she sat back and admired her work with a smile. "It's not the best he could have, but it's not the worst I've ever done." Sliding down from the bed she loosened the straps holding Jack to the bed and tucked them neatly back under the mattress. Running a hand lightly through her tousled curls she turned to John, "He can have my bed for the night. I don't want to risk moving him.  I have spare blankets and pillows in the storeroom if you want to bed down here to keep an eye on him. Otherwise, just drag the chaise in from outside and I'll stay with him tonight. You can take him home in the morning, si Dios quiere... God willing." 

With a heavy sigh she began straightening her ruined room. The bloodsoaked sheets, clothes, and towels were piled by the door. Everything else was piled into a caddy and slid into the hallway, as the boys pulled the day lounge in from outside. Freddie pointed to an open corner, with clear wear and deep scrapes showing on the hardwood floors... Apparently the lounge went there a lot. Passing out four small glasses, Freddie poured everyone a shot of the spirits she'd been sipping, stretching herself out on the lounge something like a cat or an egyptian queen. "Well, if you're going to sleep in my house, I should at least know your names," she smirked coyly at John, "Aren't you going to introduce me, Cariño?"

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John continued to smoke his cigarette in peace as Freddie explained to James where she'd learned her trade. Family business hmm? John knew all about that. Shoaltz was a family thing too. He took a hard drag and his cigarette and turned away from the group finally, looking up at the moon. What a night it was. James had come back, they'd gotten in bad at the pub, then they continued the shit storm and went after the problem? At least the main issue was gone. Now there was just Jack... and Henry. What the fuck to do about Henry? So far he seemed as if he'd turned fine, but could he be trusted? John was so lost in thought that he hadn't heard Freddie get up. He was in mid toss of his smoldering cigarette butt as he heard her yell...

"...and don't you dare throw those butts in my yeard."

The warning came a bit too late as the butt slipped from between his fingers. He reached and bobbled it before almost falling over the railing as he snagged the butt. I light sizzle was heard as the embers of the cherry burned him while he pressed the butt out. "Fuck me..." he grumbled as he turned and made his way inside behind the group, dropping his butt in the ashtray on her table.

A second later, his belt flew at his face and he grabbed it, darting his face to the side. Jesus! Was she trying to make him hurt himself tonight? John chuckled and began to feed the belt through it's loops again while Freddie and James went back to work.

As he cinched the belt and placed the buckle, the smack of hand on forehead was heard and he looked up as Freddie called him sweetly. "Wot?" he answered her sugary tone with sarcastic, feigned annoyance. That tune dropped quickly though as he made his way to her drawers. "Lance-in-wot'as?" He opened the drawer and smirked, "Na'ermind... Unnahstood." He dug through her lingerie drawer until he grabbed the bandaging. With a chuckle, he shoved the drawer shut and made his way over to Freddie, handing her the bandages and stepping out of the way again to allow the woman to work.

As they finished, John and James moved outside to drag the lounge inside, placing it in the corner as Freddie directed. She poured a round of shots for everyone and draped herself ceremoniously across the furniture. He chuckled taking his glass. "Well, ya met Jack... This fuck to me right?" He clapped James on the shoulder. "This is James Sullivan. We called 'im Rev back in tuh day. Allus preachin' about summat or anot'er." John turned to Henry. "An' that be 'Enry. 'E's new. Might 'ave 'ad to convince 'im to come out tonight. Explains tuh blood'y mout', aye?" He smirked at Henry, who lowered his head politely, and submissively. John looked back to Freddie. "Boys! This is Freddie Florence. She be a wonderful woman to 'ave around as ya can see."

John looked to her, a warm smile finally creeping across his face as he stared at the scantily clad beauty... Maybe one day he'd make a real move.

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I downed my shot quickly, then reached out to gently shake the hand of Freddie. "Nice to meet you madam."

There was no sense in hitting on her, she was a stunning women. but I had seen several hints that both Freddie and John were interested in each other. Out of respect for John I backed off, and just thought to myself that anything could happen in time, and to be patient.

I quickly turned my attention to Henry, who I seen acting sort of suspicious, almost as if he was scoping out the place. My tolerance for bullshit, and trust was growing thinner by the day.

I went into the kitchen to try and watch Henry from a distance, see if he did any more suspicious things. john was right behind me as he wasted little time, approaching me and asking if everything was ok.  I placed both hands on the counter, thought for a moment, then answered his question.

"Starting to think your right!. Have this feeling that Henry cant be trusted!. He seen to much!, he knows to much!."

I walked a few feet and placed one arm on the fridge, looked John right in the eye with a concerned, but serious look and said to him, "I think we both know what needs to be done!. Seems like a messenger, someone who will sell any info he gets his hands on for a price. It's bullshit!. you know how they say don't shoot the messenger john?...couldn't be more wrong!. A messenger plays both sides, to me that makes them more dangerous then the fucking enemy!."

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Properly liquored and with the most stressful part of the night behind them, Freddie melted into the lounge as she relaxed and released the tension that inevitably accompanied these late night emergencies. A playful mischief crept back into her eyes, lighting her face with an impish smile as John introduced her to his friends. "It's Flores, Cariño Mio," she corrected John with mock chastisement, "Freddie Flores. You know, like Flowers?" She winked at him playfully, knowing full well that he'd understand the multi-level inside joke. 

She watched with puckish amusement as James' gaze flickered between the two; almost as if she could see the wheels spinning in his head. She sipped lightly on her glass of alcohol, wincing slightly as the men all knocked theirs back like shots... they'd definitely feel that later. But she didn't have time to protest as James quickly moved to shake her hand. She wrinkled her nose playfully when he called her 'madam', but smiled nonetheless.

Her delicate hand lingered in his grip longer than necessary as smiled up at him."Mucho gusto, Jaime," she chimed huskily in spanish. Her gaze flicked to meet John's eyes for a split second as she smirked, her soft fingers tracing mischievous circles on James' hand. James stammered, looking at John wide-eyed; nearly shellshocked, as if he hadn't seen a woman's company in quite some time. And  Freddie released his hand with a good-natured cackle. "Relax, mijo. I don't bite," she assured him, pouring another (small) shot. "Unless, of course, you want me to." 

Again she gave the men a playful wink before lifting her glass in a silent irreverent kind of toast. "Oh, and do be careful with that," she warned them both, nodding toward James' glass, "It'll put hair on your chest, chicito." Holding Henry's gaze over the rim of her own glass she nodded curtly before taking a final sip and setting her glass aside. 

Stretching her arms above her head, Freddie yawned and settled into her temporary bed as the men left the room. "Make yourselves at home," she mumbled softly, a hint of playful sarcasm colouring her words as she heard James' footsteps move toward her kitchen... and then more shortly after that. Wiggling down into a comfortable position, Freddie prepared to drift back into whatever wonderful dream she'd been having before the men arrived... completely unaware that she was left alone and seemingly unarmed with a man that no one trusted. 

 

She didn't know how long they were gone, but after a while the soft sound of heavy steps crossed the room. The tell-tale tinkling of a belt made her stir slightly, and she groggily waved a limp hand at the bedroom door. "The spare blankets are in the store room. Make yourselves comfortable," she mumbled in a sleepy stupor, rolling over. Her robe fell open slightly, but she was too asleep to care... that is until she felt rough hands grip her waist and a smoothe, stiff heat slid up her thigh. 

The world was a swirling blur of colour and sensation as Freddie was jarred from her slumber; screeching, biting, clawing, and kicking. This was not happening. 

The men would undoubtedly hear Freddie scream as a loud crash echoed into the kitchen; one of her many porcelain flower pots shattering as it cascaded onto the hardwood floor. Henry yelled. Once. And then everything went eerily silent. 

Rushing back into the room, the men would find Henry half-clothed in a quickly growing pool of his own blood; arterial spray gurgling rapidly from his thigh. Wild-eyed, Freddie perched atop her dresser amidst the wreckage of broken glass and crushed compacts; a brightly painted shard of porcelain glass clutched tightly in one hand, her robe clenched rigidly closed in the other, powder strewn and smeared around her from crushed makeup pallets and puddles of heavily scented oil leaking onto the floor. Wordlessly Freddie gestured at Henry's paling body with porcelain shard, jabbing at the air and whimpering softly. Blood oozed from her palm, dripping heavily onto the floor as she tried to fight her way to an explanation... not that one was needed. 

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John followed James, but he eyed Freddie, Jack and Henry first. "Be smart, lad..." he cautioned as his eyes landed on Henry. He still wasn't trusted enough, but John turned and headed down the stairs confident that Freddie could handle herself if something happened.

James' concerns resonated with John and the man chuckled. "You're startin' to think I'm right, eh? That's cause ya learnin' wot I've known. Ya can na trust a turncoat, lad. Ya jus' can't." John shook his head, "They -are- more dangerous." It was about that time that the crash and yells were heard.

John was first up the stairs and the macabre scene laid before him, left little to the imagination of what happened. It would probably be the first time Freddie saw the inner anger that existed within the Englishman. John didn't bother with a gun, and he didn't bother with the blood spraying from Henry who was quickly fading. John took off his belt and quickly looped it around Henry's leg and cinched it tight, cutting the circulation and slowing the blood loss. Henry was dying regardless, there was nothing to save that cut short of being in an emergency room. The only problem? Swift death was too easy. Once the blood loss subsided, Henry looked up, "Boss... Am I-"

"Don' fuckin' speak a word, babo cafone... Che peccato bruta. On James' belief, ya were gonna be part of mi famiglia."It was awkward to hear the Englishman speak Italian, or at least -his- version of it. It didn't seem natural, but given the life he'd led and his position in the city it made sense that he'd rubbed shoulders with plenty of Sicilians in his day; especially when he was just a wise guy coming up in a heavily Italian run world.

John placed his boot square on Henry's chin. "Tuh only thing ya need to know now, is you're dead. Tuh fuckin' minute ya tried to get 'andsy, you were dead." John put his weight down on the man's chin until a sickening, sucking noise was heard. Henry fidgeted and flailed, trying to move John's boot, but the pressure remained until the sucking noise turned into a crack as Henry's jaw dislodged and the hinge in the back of his mouth shattered. The gurgling, screaming noise that followed would have been enough to wake the neighbors, but John pushed his chin up closing his mouth so all he could do was mumble and moan...Loudly as it was.

Then, his anger turned and his eyes bore through James. His long time friend almost stumbled backward in defense just from his glare. "An' YOU!" His voice shook in rage. "'Ad ya fuckin' listened in tuh GO'DAMNED FIRS' PLACE! We waint be in this predicament!" He took a deep breath and lowered his voice some, "Get your arse over 'ere right fuckin' now an' fix this," he growled out. "Quietly..." was added as an afterthought. James crossed the room, wary of John's temper as the man removed himself from Henry and approached Freddie on her dresser.

"Freddie... Me flower. Are ya badly?" John's rage was lingering in the back of his throat, but she'd know it wasn't aimed at her as he attempted to approach her with caution and care. His hand reached slowly upward, offering it to her as a stabilizer to lower herself to the floor.

Poor Jack missed it all, drugged out as he was, and slept through the entire event.

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I got a burst of anger as john took to blaming me for everything. I stood in silence for a moment, then spoke out.

"So we just blame me for everything huh John?!, fair enough."

I turn my attention to Freddie, "Sorry for all the trouble I caused, hope next time we see each other is on better terms." 

I then dragged Henry outside, at this point he was just about lifeless. Once I got outside you could hear a shot ring out in the distance. Henry was now gone and I needed to dispose of him properly. I decided to find a place to stay that night, and leave John and Freddie to cool down.

I disposed of henry before finding a quiet place for the night.

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A single shot cut through the night, signaling the end of James' hell-raiser revenge rampage. He was free. Reilly and Henry were handled. And for his part of this story, that was enough. 

Jack was alive, though barely. And with a little assistance Freddie would recover well enough to tell the rest of her part another time. 

As a new dawn broke over the stirring town, two lights winked out on opposite sides of the Bronx. And with them, the events of the harrowing night faded to black. 

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