Authors: Amie Nichols
La Cosa Nostra
This Thing of Ours
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Eirew Photographer & Designer
Josie Lynn Weaver
"Wake up, Teresa." I hear the gruff whisper in my ear. My heart stops as my worst fear is realized. They found me. I knew Chicago wasn't safe, but really, if Giovanni Esposito wanted to find you, nowhere was safe. I slide out of bed quietly, not to wake the love of my life sleeping beside me, and follow my brother-in-law out of the bedroom.
"I have always liked you, so I will do you this one
favor. I will not kill them, but know if my brother ever finds out about them, he will not be so kind," Leo whispers, holding the nape of my neck, guiding me. "You know you are going to be punished severely for this. He has spent a lot of time and money these past two years to find you."
," is all I say. I do know what awaits me back in Italy. "Please, let me see him one more time," I plead with Leo outside my baby's nursery. He nods with pursed lips. Out of everyone looking for me, I am truly lucky that Leo is the one who found me. None of the others would leave them alive.
"I hope someday we can be together again, my sweet
boy." I kiss my sleeping baby's little, round cheek. "
La mamma ti ama così tanto
." I tell my son I love him in Italian. Tears roll down my cheeks as I know this is likely the last time I will ever see my boy. I turn to go with Leo to accept my fate.
"So I told her that she can stick
it where the sun don't shine, and then she like, rolled her eyes and … Harper, are you listening to me?" My best friend Tara says over the phone. Truth be told, I wasn't really listening. I was too busy being a nervous wreck, while excited at the same time about starting my new job tonight.
, Tara, I'll talk to you later, okay? I've got to start getting ready for work," I tell her, hoping she will get the hint. If you let her, Tara Klyn would talk your ear off about really nothing at all.
Harper Troy, you don't have to be there for two hours. Are you blowing me off?" She huffs into the phone.
"It's my first day
, I need to get there early." This seems to appease her. Wishing me good luck, she lets me go.
, I was going to need a lot of it. I was going to work for The Guardian, an upscale gentlemen's club in Lincoln Park, Chicago. It was owned by the Tarseta family, one of the richest families in Chicago. They were old money with plenty of new money. They owned businesses, hotels, and apartment buildings all over town. Some of the buildings were high-end, condo style apartments, some were not. The Tarseta family actually owned my building, but it was not high-end at all. In fact, some would call it a slum. It's half way clean and the rent was cheap. It was all I could afford right now. So my little one bedroom apartment, in the not so desirable neighborhood, was what I had to live with.
I had moved her
e from Iowa three years ago to attend The University of Illinois. My grades in high school were mediocre, so I didn't land any great scholarships. My parents are farmers so they didn't have much to contribute, which is fine. They work very hard for their money and I never expected them to spend it on me. So I was working my way through college, which was not to say I didn't have a massive amount of student loans.
been working at a little diner off-campus for the last year, but had been barely making rent. I heard some girls in the commons talking about The Guardian one day. They knew a girl who worked there and she would bring home $500 in tips on a slow night. Hell, that was more than I would make in tips at the diner in two weeks if I was lucky.
I heard them saying that
they only hire a certain type of girl. I wasn't sure what that meant until I entered The Guardian a week ago to fill out an application. All of the waitresses and bartenders were gorgeous with bodies to die for. They had to be, by the uniforms they were wearing. Very short black miniskirts and I mean short, the kind where if you bent over even just a little bit you were showing butt cheek. They all had on the same button up white shirts that were very tight fitting, and they were unbuttoned to the point you could make out the tops of their black lace push-up bras. The swell of their breasts was very evident.
he patrons there were all very well dressed in expensive suits, men who all looked like they dripped money. Needless to say, when I saw this, I looked around for a moment before I turned on my heels to beeline for the door. No way was I getting hired here. I mean, I have a nice body and work out like hell to have it. I know I'm not unattractive with my long, thick, curly brown hair, but this was way out of my league. Besides, it seems they only hire blondes who wear way too much makeup.
I just about reach
ed the door to exit when a forty-something, distinguished, handsome man stopped me.
"Can I help
you with something?" he asks, studying me. I look at his salt and pepper hair, and his firm jaw.
Yes, Mr. Gorgeous, if you were about ten years younger you could help me a lot.
"Um I wa
s … well actually I was here to apply for the bartender job, but I don't think I am what you are looking for," I admit, embarrassed, looking at the ground.
for the bartender job?" he asks. I look up at him and he almost looks amused. I'm sure he is thinking the same as me. Like, what the heck am I doing in a place like this.
Yes I know, Mr. Handsome, I would stick out like a sore thumb, please don't say it.
"Yes, but I won't waste your time
. I can see I am probably not right for the job," I say, pushing on the door to exit in a hurry.
Get me out of this place now
're here, so why don't we do an interview anyway." He motions for me to come back in the building as I have one foot out the door.
"Thank you, I'm sure I am not the type of girl
you usually hire. I appreciate the pity though." I'm pissed at the way he keeps looking at me, so pitiful and amused.
I don't need you
telling me I'm not "right" for this job.
"Well, I don't know what you see when you look in the mirror, but I assure you, you
are very right for this job." He looks me up and down making me feel even more uncomfortable. "So can we do this interview now, Ms… "
Harper Troy," I answer, putting my hand out to shake his.
"Come with me
, Ms. Troy. I'm Matty Tarseta, by the way," he says, shaking my hand before leading the way to an office in the back of the club.
Holy crap, no pressure being interviewed by one of the Tarsetas
Stepping in a large
, very manly office with dark brown leather furniture and a dark wood desk, he motions for me to take a seat in the chair across from his at the desk. He leans forward placing his elbows on his desk, interlacing his fingers in front of him.
"Have you heard of us?"
he asks with a half amused smile.
"Yes, I've heard the name."
Duh, of course I've heard of you. You and your brother Salvatore own half the town
"All good things
I hope?" He's still smiling, I'm sure he knows that there are many rumors about the Tarseta family. Everything from being linked to the mob to being saints, rumors of contract killings, and at the same time donating to orphanages and hospitals.
, of course all good," I breathe.
What the hell am I doing here?
ll me, Ms. Troy, do you have bartending experience?"
Okay straight to the interview, might as well be honest because there is no way in hell they will be hiring me.
"No sir, I have none.
Please call me Harper."
ay, Harper, please call me Matty. Now what about waitressing experience?"
, I have worked as a waitress at The U Diner for over a year."
"Haven't heard of that one."
"It's a small diner off U of I, where I attend college."
"So you are in college, what are you stu
dying?" He seems intrigued, genuinely interested.
"I graduate in the spring with a
Bachelor's in Science and then hopefully Veterinarian school," I answer the question that has nothing to do with this job.
at area of expertise, may I ask?"
"Large animal, ma
inly equestrian," I answer him.
, horses? And why is that?"
Okay, am I applying for a bartending job here
"I grew up on a farm in Iowa, I've
always loved horses." I am keeping my answers short and to the point, because frankly I have no idea what any of this has to do with the job.