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Sunsets On Lake Mead Started by: Amira on Oct 30, '23 16:51

For Amira, sleep had not come easily or with any rest at all. The first night after the Abate job was a haze of morphine-induced, semi-consciousness from which she drifted in and out. The following day was no better, as the drugs used in mending her wounds began to wear off and she refused more of the same. Finally, though, she had agreed to a more mild sedative. It helped her sleep, but did not stop the dreams. Her mind seemed to replay some version of Corrado's death over and over; and every time she'd wake up with the feeling of a vice gripping her chest. Then, she would just lay awake staring out the window at nothing for empty hours.

Franco had been tasked with making arrangements for Corrado's funeral. It wasn't the first time he'd had such a job, but it was the first for a Made Man. It had been against his better judgement that he'd gone to Amira for advice, not wanting to upset her in what was already an awful time of recovery. Unexpectedly, however, Amira found a welcome distraction in helping Franco plan the funeral. She had only known Corrado for a few months, but she knew him better than anyone. Almost without thinking, she knew what sort of affair suited him. Simple, intimate; no priest- just the Family to which he had so recently pledged...and given his life. So, with Amira's direction, Franco made the arrangements for what turned out to be a week from the day he died. 

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On a gently sloping hill beside the house on Lake Mead, there stands a great, old oak tree that looks out over the sparkling water. It has a perfect view of the sunset. Once, Corrado and Amira watched the sun set there together with a few bottles of wine between them Now, with an hour or so before sunset on a Friday evening, a few chairs are arranged before an open casket by the oak tree, where Corrado will soon have a spectacular view of that sunset every night.

 

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His mood was very somber. It was his choice to send them both on that particular mission and yet now, he was going to attend the funeral of a man whom he had seen work tirelessly, day in, day out. A man who would do anything, for the sake of family. A man who vowed to protect their family and most of all, protect Amira.

As he slid his arm through his dark blazer, straightened his tie, then placed his top hat upon his head, he once again looked out of the window as the rain continued to fall outside the HQ.

"You did as you promised, Corrado. She is safe and it's you whom I owe the thanks to. A true gentleman and a man of your word, even if the cost of that vow, was death itself."

Tyki had seen countless men make vows over the years. Yet, when push came to shove, many were found wanting. Corrado was not one of those. He was truly a man of honor and a man who deserved the title of 'Made' within their ranks.

 

━━━━━━ ◦ ❖ ◦ ━━━━━━

 

Amira had provided them with the address and he was now seated in the backseat of the vehicle as they made their way to the location. "Lake Mead" he whispered, unfamiliar with the place, yet having heard Corrado mention it briefly in passing conversation. 

As the car pulled up, he noticed Amira immediately, for she had arrived earlier to make the full preparations alongside Franco. Making his way over to the pair, the first thing he did, was caringly wrap his arms around Amira, knowing that whilst she put on a brave face, she carried the brunt of the burden more than anyone else.

"He did what he vowed to do. Do not let sorrow creep into your soul, but praise him for doing exactly as he promised. He gave you something extremely special, the gift of life. Honor him by using that gift to the fullest and showing him that his gift will not be wasted. Show him, as he continues to watch over you, the woman you can become, Amira Dayan."

Taking his place at her side, he nodded to Franco, a small gesture of thanks which Franco understood, then waited while the rest found their spots at the small farewell gathering.

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It wasn't a cold day, but the breeze was cool and the trees were beginning to show tones of yellows, reds, and oranges on the edges of the lake. The scene would have made quite a nice postcard, really. It wasn't hard to see why Corrado had chosen this plot of land for his home and business. The property itself was quite valuable, being so close to the dam and right on the lake with a dock. The custom-built house had only added value. Since his death, several offers had come in, but all had been flatly refused out of hand by an attorney that Franco had hired. Amira found herself more and more thankful for Franco's assistance. He'd been extremely helpful to her in everything from funeral arrangements to estate matters- things which would have been quite complicated to handle from her bed while recovering from a deep-tissue bullet wound.

Franco touched Amira's arm and nodded past her when their boss' car pulled up. They had been standing with Paul, Corrado's business partner and caretaker of the house. Turning, Amira watched as Tyki_Mikk emerged from the back of the vehicle. In the seven days since that awful night, she'd seen him only twice, and only then through a sleepy, medicated haze- but she knew he'd been there. After about the fourth day, she'd come to the lake house to help Franco with arrangements. As he put his arms around her, Amira closed her eyes and felt a wave of relief to see him again. She fought back the tears that she knew would eventually come as his soft, sincere words were whispered between them. 

Those gathered made up a total of six. Corrado Conti had been a Made Man, and as such only those of his rank or higher would attend such a function. Tyki_Mikk, Amira, Franco, Paul, Corrado's driver Nick, and the funeral director from Anderson's Funeral Home was the sixth. There was no priest- Corrado hadn't been a particularly religious man, and Amira hadn't seen any need for such appearances. 

"Would anyone like to say a few words for the departed?"

Amira's breath caught in her chest, but it was time. Franco stood and helped her to her feet. Her leg was still sore, but she ignored it and walked to a place beside the closed, polished mahogany casket. Her eyes looked over the faces of her friends, and she began.

"Somewhere around 1947, my father Ezra Dayan, tossed Corrado Conti into the Mediterranean Sea during a fishing trip because he suspected Corrado had eyes for my mother. I think he was probably right- but Corrado had good taste in women."

There were a few laughs from the group, which were, notably, all men. Amira grinned a little, and continued.

"You see, before finding this life, Corrado worked in espionage and crossed paths with my mother and father several times- even helping them in their own work in Israeli intelligence. They helped him, as well, and though I never learned the whole story, Corrado told me that he owed them a debt of gratitude, and that is what brought him to America to find me and my brother. Thanks to Tyki_Mikk, he found me. In what was ultimately too short of a time, Corrado taught me that I had a lot of untapped, natural talent already within myself, and taught me how to use it. Seven nights ago, Corrado paid his debt to my parents. He saved my life, and he gave his own for this family."

Turning, she looked to the casket.

"Now, I make a promise to you. Your life will not have ended in vain. You will see in me all that you knew you could- Ezra, Talia, Corrado...and Amira Dayan."

When she turned back, the tears had finally welled up in the corners of her eyes. She took a small handkerchief from the black jacket over her dress as she slowly made her way back to her seat beside Tyki_Mikk. The funeral director removed the spray of flowers from the casket and placed it on a small table set nearby, then slowly began to turn a small crank at the foot of the casket. This began to lower it into the ground. Amira felt her chest tighten. How could it already be time to say goodbye? Reaching over, she took Tyki's hand and gently squeezed it. With a soft but somehow fierce voice, she whispered slowly

"I want to watch Cortez choking on his own blood."

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He continued to watch Amira as she made her farewell speech. Part of him was proud of her strength, growth, in such a short time frame, yet he could also sense an almost unwavering will emanating from her. The forth coming weeks would be important. She would not be satisfied unless she was as close to Cortez as possible, when death finally came to reap his body.

All he could do, was try to ensure her transition was as natural as possible and that her heart did not become tainted.

As she stood next to him and whispered her words, sincerity coursing through them, he nodded.

"You will have that which you seek, Amira. Cortez does not yet understand the full depth of his impending judgement, but he will. For now, our focus is on the one whom gave his life. This is a day for Corrado and we will honor him, without any mental obstructions."

The Lake was a sight of pure beauty. The calmness of the flowing water, almost able to soothe even the deepest fury. The wind, whistling a soft hymn, one with nature and their current surroundings. With the casket lowered, he removed his hat and placed it against his chest, a sign of respect as he then said his own final words, whispering them soft enough that they would almost only be shared between him and the soul of his dear friend.

"Corrado, may you rest with the angels. I know you will continue your oath and watch over her, over us. I ask you one final favor old friend. Send us your blessings and watch how she achieves all that you had hoped for her. We miss you."

Sliding his fingers through his jet black hair, he prepared it to once again find its home beneath his hat, the day now at its end.

"Amira, let us say our final farewells to the friends and family who gathered here with us, for tomorrow... we begin our next move."

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