A Rose in Blue

by Jp © February 2000

Disclaimers: Oh for the love of Pete don't we all know the drill by now. So they remind of us of a couple of swinging chicks, but guess what? They're MINE, so Ha! Not for profit all in good fun yadayadayada.

Viper is Armed: Is it possible to have Turrets syndrome on a computer? If so, then I got it, these are some foul mouth young ladies and I take all the credit. Buckets of Blood range in the 2 to 3 meter. I'm dealing with people who idolize Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro, would you expect any less.

Yes, We have No Bananas: But by God we've got Sex! Somebody should be getting it. A little hurt and lots of comfort.

Peace & Blessings: Muchas Gracias to all those who sent me good words and good criticism and basically pumped my head up so big that I had to write about these ladies again, so I really hope I do you guys justice.

By the Ways: 'East of the Moon and West of the Sun' belongs to B. Bowman, 'I can't give you anything but love, baby' to McHugh and Fields, 'Brickhouse' to the Commodores, 'The Very Thought of You to Ray Noble, 'I've got you under my skin to Cole Porter. A few borrowed lyrics and movie quotes are filtered in here.

What you talking 'bout Willis: I don't know what he's talking about, but if you've got something to say about the words written on the page feel free to give me love. No spazz heads or player haters, or I might be liable to send my goons after you. (Just jokes) catwoman59@hotmail.com

As always, break out your Martinis and Enjoy the ride··.


CH 1: Familiar Faces

A crown of sun-kissed red-blonde hair jutted out from a walk-in closet, eyes wide in shock. Green eyes tracked to the bed to watch the swing of blue-black hair fanned out across a naked back, moving in time to a smooth alto singing along with Celine Dion. Conner McGreely practically tripped over her feet as she stumbled out of the closet buttoning her pants. "Oh my god- what are you doing?"

Dark hair swung around and sparkling blue eyes met Conner as a pair of shapely breasts rose along with outstretched arms, as she belted out: "Cause I'm your lady--and you are my wo-man!" Conner shook her head and guffawed with laughter as she briskly walked to the nightstand and slapped the off button on the clock radio. Conner didn't even wait to see the look of disappointment spread across Blue's tan features as she walked to the bathroom shaking her head.

She turned around at the sink as she heard her name. "Hey what's the big idea, I was jamming?"

Conner stood in the doorway to the bathroom and grinned she as pulled her sweater over her head. "Celine Dion? I draw the line. Whitney, I can deal with. Mariah, only sometimes, cause I've got issues with her·but Celine, oh no.

The tall woman wrapped in the bedsheets emitted a deep laugh. "You know that's not fair right?" Conner shrugged and smoothed down her hair. "If you get the Backstreet Boys than I get Celine."

Conner let loose a small whimper and moved out of the bathroom towards the bed. "Hey, leave my boys alone. Besides, they're cute."

Blue eyes rolled as she turned on her side and propped her head up on her hand. "She gestured wildly with her hands and began to sing nasally, "you are my fire·my one desire--

Conner hit her with a pillow and laughed. "Fine, fine you can have Celine, but no beating your chest."

Blue laughed and held the sheet to her body as she sat up on her knees, so that she and Conner were eye to eye. She ran a tapered finger along Conner's jawline and watched the small woman shiver a bit. "I thought you liked it when I beat my chest."

Conner swatted at the finger gently and giggled. "Yeah, but only when you're in that loin cloth." Blue laughed and leaned in placing a soft kiss on pink lips. She moved back and ran a hand through Conner's hair and frowned. Conner caught her expression and raised a blonde brow. "What?"

"Why is it that you're wearing your hair like a normal human being?"

Conner raised both eyebrows in surprise, as she self-consciously ran a hand through her blowdryed hair. "You don't like it?"

Blue gave the woman a crooked grin as she caressed her face. "Con, you could be bald headed with polka dots and I'd still want you."

Conner let out a light laugh. "That's good to know, but seriously is it okay?"

"Yeah, goofball." Blue sat back and regarded the blonde who was worrying her lip. "What's the occasion?"

Conner let out a groan. "I got a meeting."

"Oh yeah, Steven did call you."

Conner drew a wisp of hair behind her right ear. "No, I have a meeting."

Black eyebrows went high in understanding. "You mean like a 'Tony Soprano' meeting." The two women shared a smile. "What time?"

Conner glanced at the clock. "About an' hour or so, what's up?"

"Me." Conner turned back towards the woman to find her up on her knees again, this time with the sheet pooling around her thighs leaving nothing to the imagination. Conner tried to back away, but not before a long arm reached out and grabbed her forearm, pulling her back into the bed. She didn't put up too big of a fight, much to the larger woman's delight. Blue dropped her voice an octave as she leered at Conner through half-lidded eyes. "How about we have a meeting, before your meeting?"

Conner darted green eyes everywhere, avoided the golden physique of the tall woman. "C'mon Jaz, I gotta be ready."

Blue pursed full lips and shook her head. Normally, the evoking of her name caused her pause, but in this case it was ineffective. "Not a chance, hot shot." She pulled the small woman into her and began to unbutton her shirt. Conner huffed and puffed for a moment, but when she felt a large warm hand breech her underwear, she happily aided in the discarding of her clothes. The cats scattered as the two women fell in a moving heap of body parts and retreated to their normal resting spots when their mistresses were at play.

* * *


CH 2: "Black sheep: there's one in every family·we've got two in mine."

A spiky headed Conner walked into the restaurant at the Hyatt Regency and didn't take long to be noticed. Even at 52, the former football player was impressive as he walked towards Conner wagging his finger at her. She smirked as dark brown eyes regarded her and then arms reached out to envelope her in an embrace.

The large man released Conner with a squeeze and smiled. "Still making an entrance I see."

Conner shrugged. "You know me Uncle Cameron, I'm always on stage."

His chest heaved with laughter as he placed his hand in the small of her back and guided her forward. "C'mon girl, let's greet the family." Conner tried not to groan too loudly as she allowed herself to be led into the private dining room.

If she were anybody else, she would have sworn she was standing in front of a firing squad. She almost said as much as Cameron pulled out a chair for her at the round table and then took his seat to her right. Seated around her were eight other members of her 'family', all related in some form or another. It was clear from the tufts of grey hair, bifocal lenses, wrinkled hands, and creased faces that she was the youngest person at the table. She smiled up at the waiter who poured her some tea. He quietly asked for her order and she requested clams on a half shell, to which he smiled and discreetly exited the room. She sipped at her water and passed her eyes over all the old men at the table.

"So gentlemen, I take it we have much to discuss?" She caught the eye of the thin man who sat across from her, who happened to be the only familiar face.

Montrose nodded at her and spoke. "Terribly sorry for prying you away from your business, but this shouldn't take too long." Thin lips curved into a faint smile, which only served to make Conner want to gag, but she smiled anyway.

"Sorry about being late, my car's in the shop."

Cameron watched the interaction between Montrose and Conner and decided to clean it up fast. He looked towards the blonde and smiled. "No worries, it was only 10 minutes. What's wrong with the car, I thought she was in good shape."

Conner was grateful for the distraction as she turned towards her Uncle. "Oh she's fine, just getting the tires rotated."

He patted her knee. "That's good, anyway let's get down to business." He glanced up at Montrose, and decided he should do the talking instead. "As we all know, recent events have put you as head of the family and as you know with that comes extreme responsibility. Now, there is no one here that doubts your ability, but it's apparent that you've been far removed from the inner workings for a while and well this is kind of a pow-wow just to bring you up to date on what's going on in and around the family."

Conner took a sip of her drink and moved back as the waiter placed her order in front of her. She cleared her throat after she glanced at the assembled men and then spoke. "Uncle Cameron, I assure you that I am very aware of what responsibility has been placed on me, and while I have been out of the loop for a while I'm not completely oblivious to what's happening. I definitely appreciate your vote of confidence in my abilities, but let's be honest here." She gave a haphazard glance to her Uncle, who seemed more than intrigued at her statements. Conner pushed her plate up so she could use her hands if necessary.

"Gentlemen, let's face it, I have this job through default right now." Knowing grunts rose from the table as Conner continued. "And in truth, not that I can't handle it, I'm wondering if it should really be me to handle it."

A slim man that Conner assumed was her cousin Charlie spoke up. "Conner Rose, you're family, and whether by default or not, the job is yours."

She grimaced at the name, but shrugged it off and continued her thoughts. "I appreciate that Charlie, but you all are family too·in some shape or form. But anyway, the point is that we deal with other families as well. This isn't just about us. This is about the Tangelos in Jersey, Marachi in Sante Fe, Callas and Brusio in New York, Borgia in New Orleans, and the families in Europe. We have an image to put out and you all can't be blind to a few facts." She shifted in her seat as she eyed the men around her. "First off, I'm a woman, and no matter how much you want to break the mold, this is not a business of breaking molds. Then there is the fact that I have been out of the loop, not to mention why I chose to be out of the loop, lest we forget certain recent events, and who I share my bed with." Conner rested her elbows on the table and clasped her hands together as she gave a grin to the men assembled. "In all honesty, as much as I should have the job, I don't think it would do the family any good to have me at the head. And, yes I am a little doubtful that I would have everyone's support."

Throats cleared and the men shifted in the chairs as Conner finished her comments. She watched as they commented to one another animatedly. It was only Montrose who made no attempt to comment to anyone and her Uncle Cameron since he was staring at her with a wide grin. Cameron tapped his glass with a fork after a moment of low mumbling and gathered everyone's attention. He held a big smiled as he looked from Conner to the rest of the men. "Settle down gents, I don't think Conner understands what it is that we want--as a family." He bowed his head at her as he finished her statement. Conner shifted in her seat and then downed one her clams in an attempt to quell her worry.

A squat man with a red nose and large black-rimmed glasses that reminded Conner of Karl Lagerfield spoke. He let out a distinctly gruff chuckle and Conner immediately recognized him as cousin Wally. "As the oldest member of the clan--" He continued to speak through the groans heard around him. "I should be the one to tell our dear Conner that the McGreely clan plans to go legit."

Conner barely managed to keep from choking on her clam as the man's words made it to her ears. She took a sip of water after Cameron finished patting her back. She sat back hard in her chair and wiped her mouth with her napkin. Her ears grew red with exasperation. "What!?" She laughed. "First of all have none of you seen the Godfather III?" A few eyebrows raised in recognition and confusion as well. "You know, 'everytime I think I'm out they pull me back in'? Gentlemen, legitimacy is extremely hard to come by, and I being kind when I say extremely. It's damn near impossible. Hell, if Michael Corleone couldn't make it out after 30 years, there's no way. We're talking four centuries here·was this thought through?"

She received some laughs from around the table which she joined in on, but she did take notice that Montrose merely crossed his arms across his chest and sat back in his chair, simply observing. Cameron squeezed Conner's shoulder. "That's why we need you, Con. All the things you highlighted are precisely why you're perfect to lead the family into legitamacy. One would think we might be able to branch out as we come into the new millenium. I for one think 500 hundred years is cause for a change."

Conner sipped alternately from her tea to her water and seriously contemplated ordering a shot of whiskey and then some; it was almost 12:00, so it was happy hour somewhere--perhaps New Zealand. "Okay, okay, let's just say that I accept this position. Have we all forgotten about a certain person in Scotland?" Green eyes scanned the faces of the old men around her and she was shocked to see that they all avoided contact as the room grew quiet. Even Cameron avoided her eyes.

Suddenly Montrose leaned forward with a thin lipped smirk and spoke. It was at the slithery hiss of his voice that Conner remembered clearly why she didn't like the thin man. For starters his moustache looked like it was drawn in with eyeliner and he was just too damn thin. "We have not forgotten about Ewan, my dear Conner Rose." Conner arched a blonde brow and sent malachite colored daggers at Montrose as she seriously considered picking up her shrimp fork and plucking out one of his beady little eyeballs. "We want you to be all ready installed and hard at work before we tell Ewan anything."

Water spilled across the table and ate of the table cloth as Conner shot up from her seat knocking her chair to the ground. "Are you fucking crazy!" She threw her napkin on the table with a whap, and glared at Cameron who could only look at his shoes. "So you're just not going to tell him? Do you people want a war? Family my ass. You want us to have a showdown in the middle of Pratt street as the tourist look on with wonder as we kill each other. You people are fucking sick. It's been a long and hard six months gentlemen and I'm not going to waste hours of therapy and heavy drinking because you think you're being sensitive." She snatched her arm away from Cameron as he attempted to grab it. "No, no, no. Uncle Cameron , cousin Charlie, cousin Wally, and..cousins, hell no. I'm not even considering this unless he knows up front. So somebody better hop the Concorde, take a bus, a boat, ride in a wagon, and rent out a goat to hike up whatever mountain Ewan's stashed himself and give him a message." Conner stepped away from the table and picked up her chair, gripping the knobs on the frame as she continued. "I can't believe you all. You expect to pick up his slack, take his heat, and clean this family up, and you're just going to leave him out there in the clear. Screw you! I'm not your patsy or your pin up girl or your whore."

At that Cameron looked up at Conner and silently pleaded with her to calm down and have a seat. Before he could speak, Montrose added his two cents. "Why are you so paranoid Conner, we're family."

Conner gave the thin man the finger with authority and growled. "Oh no I'm not paranoid Monty, I've just been chain smoking pot with my hippie parents in San Francisco the last 26 years! I've got every right to be paranoid you anorexic freak-

Cameron stood and cut her off before she could say anything else. "All right enough." He waited until Conner turned her eyes on him. "Apparently, we haven't thought this through enough." One of the other men begin to speak and Cameron held up a meaty hand. "No Sean, there's nothing else to be said right now." He turned to Conner. "C'mon let's go." Conner wanted to apologize or spit on the table, but she just allowed herself to be led from the room and into the lobby. Once they reached the foyer she wrenched her arm out of Cameron's reach and stepped away from him.

"You old men are certifiable you know that." She fumed as she stomped away from her. She relaxed a bit as she looked and her watch and realized Blue would be there in another ten minutes or so. "I'm not even talking about the Ewan thing, that's a whole nother subject."

"I agree."

"You agree? Don't agree damn it, there was no thought put into this. I have a life Uncle Cam, outside of this. I've got a family outside of this." She watched the large man flinch. "I'm sorry Uncle Cam, but it's true. I'd love to help you all, the family go legit, but not like this. There has to be a better way."

He moved closer to her as he saw her visibly began to relax. "Honey, I know it's not the best way. Wally knows it's not the best way, but it's the only way right now. Quiet as it's kept we've no clue where the hell Ewan is. But forget Ewan for a second, the legitimacy thing is very possible. It's going to take work yes, but you've got the resources and all you need is to put the effort into it. Con, your dad was planning for this. Why do you think he never pressured you?"

Conner affixed a slight smile to her face. "He didn't pressure me because I was his only daughter, not to mention my mom would have probably kicked his ass."

Cameron laughed lightly. "That's true. She was a corker and then some. Look, just think about it, look at us, we're all old men and we're going to die out and be turned into the snake charmers vision if we don't do something."

Conner scrunched her brow. "Is Monty trying to horn in more than usual." Cameron tossed his head from side to side. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means he's got a lot of influence and if he has his way The McGreely's will be nothing but a bunch of Sammy 'the bull' Gravano's if there are even McGreely's left."

Conner sighed and dragged her hands down her flushed face. "For the love of Pete, Uncle Cam. You're not going to make this easy are you."

He perked up. "Hell no, kiddo. Look, think it over, it can work and you can make it work. We'll meet again without the snake and we'll talk this over·just family."

A blonde brow lifted . "Just family?"

"Scouts honor?"

Conner giggled. "When were you a boyscout?"

"Hey I had a life once too."

She groaned. "All right, leave me be. I'll think it over, but no promises you know that?"

He nodded vigorously. "I accept that. Just think about it and give me a call in a week. We'll get together for dinner, I'll go watch your girl sing."

A wide smile lifted Conner's features. "You've never heard her have you?"


She nodded. "Okay, okay. A week, I'll call you."

"You're a corker, Con. Love ya." He gave her a short bear hug and kissed both her cheeks.

She shoved the big man off playfully and smiled. "Bye you big lug, love you too. Tell the girls I say hey." She watched him nod as he walked away.

Conner shoved her hands in her pocket and walked by the matre'd to look out of the window. Just as she was beginning to wonder where her tall lover was she heard a commotion coming from the lobby and she knew from the words being uttered it had to be Blue. She overheard the words, "Ma'am I'm sorry you can't come in here like that. If you just give me a moment I'll go find your party. Are you sure that's who you're looking for?" Conner walked around the corner just as Blue began to get that feral look in her eye. She caught Blue's eyes and walked right up to her and planted a fierce kiss on full lips. Blue stepped back after she was released and stuck out her tongue at the matre'd. He curled his lip up at Blue and walked away.

Conner watched the interaction and punched Blue lightly in the shoulder. "Did you have to wear that?" She tugged at the belt on her motorcycle jacket and tapped the helmet under her arm.

Blue frowned. "I thought you liked my biker chick outfit."

"Oh I do." she purred ", but it's so much more fun in the bedroom."

Blue licked her lips and emitted a low growl. "Well then let's go home." She grabbed Conner from behind by the waist and picked the giggling woman up as she began to walk through the lobby. Conner squirmed futilely against the strong arm encased in leather, and thought for a split second about how she must look being forcibly removed from a posh restaurant by an Amazon in leather. As the last of her thoughts crossed her mind and she felt soft lips nuzzle her ear, she remembered that she didn't give a shit. Blue let the blonde go once they made it outside and then grabbed her by the hand as they scampered to the large Harley parked out front obnoxiously in the fire lane.

"Now what if you get a ticket?"

Blue shrugged. "I'll just get Maryland's mafia princess to overwrite it."

Conner buried her face in her hands and groaned. "Good lord. We've got stuff to talk about later." She watched Blue swing a leg over the chrome and leather machine and shivered with anticipation. "Much later." She glared lustfully at the dark woman and proceeded to straddle the bike backwards so that faced Conner.

Blue threw her head back in laughter. "Uh, aren't we going to get a ticket for driving recklessly?"

Conner nestled her butt in the seat as she wrapped arms and legs around Blue's body. "Then a certain Mafia princess will have to make them forget about it won't she?" Blue shook her head and put on her helmet.


Remus and Romulaus were in their respective hiding places since the beg was occupied by the active bodies of their Mistresses. Conner climbed up from her favorite resting spot and collapsed into the crook of Blue's neck. She wrapped her arms tight around the singer's body as the last remnants of climax continued to course through her six-foot frame. Blue grinned from ear to ear as she found the ability to move her arms again and embraced Conner. She planted a wet kiss on Conner's temple as they simultaneously grabbed for the sheet and covered their damp bodies.

"I thought we we're going to talk Red?"

Conner groaned and drove her head deeper into Blue's neck, causing her to laugh. "Talk later. Now, power nap."

"Then we hit dinner with rock. Good cavewoman." Blue laughed as Conner's small palm slapped her side. "Ow, hurt me, baby."

"If you don't stop moving your lips, I'm going to." Conner mumbled with a smile tugging at her lips.

"You be sure to wake me up when you're done kicking my ass in your dream." One green opened as Conner sunk her teeth into the side of Blue's neck. "Ow! Shit. No biting Conner, I thought we discussed that." She squeezed the small woman to her tighter as small giggles emanated from the body on top of her. "I'm going to get you back for that."

"I'm counting on it."

"Oh yeah." Full lips curled at the corners in anticipation.

"After the power nap."

Blue chuckled and resettled Conner's body as she turned on her side and entwined her long legs with Conner's shorter ones. She reciprocated the small kiss to her collarbone with one to Conner's forehead and couldn't help but grin as she felt the covers shift with the presence of the cats. Life was good.

* * *

CH 3: When the shit hits the fan·.

Mussed red-blonde hair poked from underneath the sheet as Conner awoke to movement in the bed. Tired green eyes looked into Blue's smiling face as she sat down a tray on the bed. Conner propped herself up on the bed and rubbed her eyes. Through a yawn she asked, "what time is it?"

"Almost five."

"Damn! You let me sleep that long."

Broad shoulders shrugged as she picked up a tortilla chip. "You looked a little worn out." She raised her eyebrows suggestively.

Conner rolled green eyes and leaned across Blue's thighs. "Whadja' bring me?"

"The only thing I can cook."

Small hands clapped together in delight. "Nachos." Conner smiled wildly and then rewarded the tall woman with a kiss.

"So now that I'm feeding you can we talk."

Conner spoke through a mouthful of salsa. "Shouldn't we be getting dressed."

Black hair swung about Blue's face as she shook her head. "Nobody's starting without me, goober, so spit it out." Conner nodded and then looked down oddly at the tray laden with chips and salsa. Blue caught her look of question and chuckled. "I got it you lush." Green eyes grew bright as a petite Martini glass made its way to the waiting hands of Conner.

"Hey it's happy hour somewhere."

Full lips curved into a sexy smirk. "Yeah, and you're two hours behind me."

Conner just shook her head and took a small sip. She made her self more comfortable on the bed as Blue situated the tray between them and sat back against the headboard. "Well I was going to beat around the bush, but there's just no way." Conner sat her glass down, and glanced at patient blue eyes. "It seems that the McGreely clan wants to go legit."

Small crumbs of tortilla flew across the floor as Blue expelled them in a guffaw. "What!? I'm that's great·I think..um·.do I congratulate you or are we moving?"

Conner's ears grew red with laughter. "I did the same thing earlier today. I know, I can't believe it either, I mean you'd think nobody saw the Godfather III."

Blue frowned slightly. "Well it wasn't that great." Conner pouted. "Not trying to offend, but I mean it did pale in comparison. It was a sequel to a sequel, what do you expect?"

"Lethal Weapon 3 kicked ass. Shit, I liked that better than the first. And Return of the Jedi. Ha ! I'm not saying you can turn gay, but hey I think Carrie Fisher got a whole lotta toasters on account of that little gold bikini number." Conner stopped her rant and watched the tall woman bubble with laughter.

"You're absolutely priceless."

Conner shrugged. "I try."

"Okay, finish the story."

"I mean that is the story. The old boys think I'm the perfect target, oops I mean candidate, for the job."

A smooth black eyebrow reached for the ceiling. "There in lies the problem."

"Yeah. I'm not saying it's not a nifty idea. I mean Uncle Cam hit me with this big to-do about my dad wanting things this way and all that bull. Not that I'm going to let sap sway me, but I have to admit it's not helping. I just don't think it's possible."

"Red, that's a croc and you know it."

Conner turned her body towards Blue and sat her drink in her lap. "So you think I should do it."

White teeth flashed as Blue smiled fully. She waved a hand through the air. "Why the hell not? Can you imagine?"

"Can you?"

Blue furrowed her brow. "What do you mean?"

"You do realize I'm going to catch a lot of shit for this right? We're talking fibbies sitting outside in pizza vans, tapping phone lines, following me, following you. Not to mention what ever crap I have to take from the dissenters."

"Someone's opposed?"

"I don't know," Conner worried her lip and then sipped from her drink ",but I don't necessarily feel hunky-dorey about all this if you know what I mean."

"So you'll have a few g-men on your ass, like you haven't before."

Conner laughed. "It was okay then, they weren't looking for me, they were just hoping I led them to my brother. Speaking of, here's the kick in the ass. Snake boy, doesn't want to tell Ewan until the ball is rolling."

Blue spit out the ice cube into her glass, that threatened to get lodged in her windpipe. "What the hell?"

"You're words are so much nicer than mine were."

"How can they just do that and who is snake boy again?"

"Sorry, Montrose. I don't know if you've ever had the displeasure of meeting him. Real thin son of a bitch, looks like John Waters except he's got no flair, no campiness, no kitsch, and he's just plain blah."

"So if John Waters was straight." The two women laughed. "Anyway, snake boy's not in your camp?"

"Personally, I don't think he's ever liked me, but he just made me feel queasy this morning that's all."

"So, do you not think you can do this, or you just don't want to?"

Conner pursed pink lips at Blue and looked at the woman comically for a moment. "You really want me to do this, huh?"

"No, no, I want you to do what you want to, but I mean, look at you, look at us. It's safe to say you're living a pretty legitimate life, so if the rest of your family wants the same and you can do it, why not give them the chance."

Conner let her head loll back onto the headboard as she groaned. "Ugh, you make it sound like a good Samaritan mission. But seriously, this isn't going to be easy. I got out of the family to avoid being invaded and watched at every turn and now I'm going to throw myself back into that pit·not to mention bringing you along for the ride." She wagged a slender finger in the tall woman's direction. "Lest we forget, that someone else in this family has her own boneyard."

Blue made a sour face and then took a big gulp from her drink. "Fine so neither of us are Saints."

"Baby, we're not even alter boys at this point."

Blue stuck out her tongue. "Whatever, I say do it."


"Well," she let her the word drawl out as she looked about the room. ", you own the block that the club is on, and you can always expand into the next building." Blue eyes turned turns Conner, who sat with her arms folded across her chest and a small smirk on her lips. Blue took that as a silent cue to continue. "I'm thinking restaurant. You know, have a nice dinner, then go listen to some music, and spend more money. You always complain that you have to fight traffic from 83 to get to the gym, why not build one."

A blonde brow raised. "It'd be at best a 2 to 3 year job, which isn't that bad. And it's not like we don't have legitimate investments all ready." Conner tapped her tooth with her fingernail as she lost herself in the swirls of the comforter. Blue smiled as she watched the small woman next to her begin to form ideas. She brushed a wisp of hair behind Conner's ear, which garnered her attention. "Sorry, went away for a second."

The tall woman just cracked a smile of pride and leaned in to kiss the woman thoroughly. She spoke when they broke apart for lack of air. "No need to apologize, I just love it when you're plotting."

Conner laughed and sat back. "You just want to be a Mafia wife don't you?"

Blue put on a smug look and in her best New York accent replied, "what do I look like to you, huh? I look like somebody's trophy to you?" She curled her lip playfully and Conner held up her hands in mock-fear. "I just wanna be a goodfella." Blue eyes sparkled with mirth.

"Okay you can be my bodyguard."

"Why thank you·not like I wasn't planning on it."

Conner kissed Blue's fingertips and then held the woman's arm away from her body as she observed supple curves and attributes of her figure accented by the blue silk robe that clung to her frame. "All though, I'm thinking I might need to guard your body." A blonde eyebrow arched wickedly.

Blue ran her tongue across her teeth and winked. "I am the brick shit house aren't I?"

Conner dropped her hand and swatted her playfully. "I swear, I am so sorry I ever said that to you." Both women laughed. "You're so conceited I swear." Conner pouted and folded her arms across her chest, trying her best to look straight ahead and avoid the warm lips that were attacking her collarbone and neck. Finally Conner gave in, as Blue's persistent nibbling made her giggle. "You're still conceited, I don't care how good you look."

Blue stood from the bed and curtsied. "I apologize that the Commodores immortalized me in song." Blue smiled mischievously at a sneering Conner.

Conner caught the look in Blue's eye and stood up in the bed in her naked glory. She pointed a finger at the smiling woman and shook her head. "Don't even do it! I swear if you sing that song it's on. I couldn't get it out of my head for two weeks." Conner dropped to her knees on the bed as she heard a soft alto humming the bass line. "Please for the love of God no!" Conner folded her hands and shook them in the air dramatically. She fell forward onto the bed as Blue begin to sway her hips to the beat in her head.

"She's a brick- ho--use! She's mighty mighty, lettin all hang out." Blue broke into laughter as she watched Conner roll around in the bed trying to cover her ears. She stopped her torture and sat down next to the small woman who was wrapped up in the sheet.

A green eye peered out of an opening in her cotton fortress. "Is it safe?"

Blue nodded. As soon as Conner's red-blonde head made it's way out of the covers Blue stood and finished the line. "36"--24"--37"!" Conner groaned and buried herself again. Blue laughed and shook the covers. "I'm just playing, c'mon out."

"No! I don't like you very much right now." was the muffled reply.

"Aw, you're such a little cutie. C'mon, I promise no more Brickhouse."

A long pause. "Promise?"

"Yup, and besides you're getting me all heated writhing under the covers all by yourself."

"Oh yeah." Conner's head emerged once again. Blue knelt on the floor and rested her elbows on the bed as she looked down at the blonde and nodded. Conner smirked and then pursed her lips. "I need to get dressed, you all ready showered, and I need to call Terry."

Blue sucked her teeth. "It takes you all of 20 minutes to get ready, I can take another shower, and who said you can't call Terry."

Conner shook her head as the tall woman stood and walked around to the other side of the bed. Conner watched her with a small grin and could only let out a yelp as Blue latched onto her legs and pulled her to the edge of the bed. "Hey, Terry threatened to kick my ass if I called her while we were, uh, otherwise engaged." Blue shrugged and pressed the speed dial on the cordless, tossed the phone to Conner and dropped to her knees. Conner bit her lip as she watched a dark head disappear beneath the sheet and then she prayed to God Terry didn't pick up.


Conner was sitting at the kitchen table in her robe mulling over a 6-letter word for ; muttering over the jackasses at the New York Times, when she heard Terry come through the front door. Conner managed to keep focused on the crossword as Blue intercepted Terry in the archway of the kitchen.

Chocolate eyes sparkled as Terry grinned at the towel-wearing woman and proceeded to lash Conner on her arm, with her scarf as she began to speak. "Damn it! Do I fucking call you when I'm giving head!" Connor cracked a smile and Blue laughed. Terry trned her eyes on the tall woman and popped her with her scarf as well. "And I know it was you, smart ass!"

Bare shoulders shrugged with innocence as Blue moved past the woman to the fridge. Terry

grinned as she rolled her eyes and sat down at the table. "So freak, is it true?"

Conner dropped her pen and focused green eyes on the smiling Terry. "Yup."

Terry slapped the table and leaned back in the chair with a large grin plastered to her face. "Well, hot damn! They're all insane right?"

Blue looked up from her glass of water and spoke. "That's what we think."

Terry kept brown eyes focused on Conner's relaxed expression as she replied. "So what are you going to do?"

"She's still not sure, but I say do it." Blue hitched up her towel as she walked the doorway and

leaned on it.

Terry dropped her grin as she looked from Blue to Conner. "So what say you Rabbit?"

Connor shrugged. "That was why I was calling."

The grin came back to Terry's lips as she sat back in her chair and raised a brow. "Sure it was. And here I thought you were trying out for your new 976 number." The women laughed. "Well, clear your weekend Daddy-O, cause we got to do. But for now, tell the brick-shit house to get ready, so we can jet."

Conner dropped her head on to the table as Blue giggled and Terry just looked on in amusement. "Please don't call her that or she'll start singing again."

Terry darted her eyes from a moaning Conner to a dancing Blue and just laughed. "Hey, if she's got a nice body, she's got a nice body." A dark head bowed in agreement. Terry grinned at the still moaning Conner and then focused her attention on the tall woman. "Now, that I've flattered you for the month, take your cute little ass and get dressed."

Blue bowed deeply and then smiled wickedly as she moved back up to her full height. "You think my butt is little?"

Conner rolled her eyes and Terry chuckled. "Well, no. But you're no Jennifer Lopez, hell I'm not even Jennifer and I've got the genes for it." The tall woman snapped her fingers and growled out a "damn" as if she was hurt and then left the two giggling women to their own devices.

Conner rubbed her eyes as she sat back and regarded her still smiling best friend. "What's the deal with Ms. Lopez anyway?"

"It's all about the powers that be girlie." Terry spread her fingers wide and made an arc in the air. "They tell you to be god awfully skinny, yet in reality nobody wants a waif, but while their making money off Ally McBeal, and Hazel's walking herself thin, they look at the t.v. one day and realize Hazel's never going to have that ass, their never getting their hair back, and outside of The Clit Club, they're not going to get any closer to the so-called 'exotic' than M-tv."

The two women sat quietly briefly and then with a nod, Conner said, "but I've got nice breasts." Terry burst into laughter and Conner just grinned. "Is that another miscegenation, appropriation philosophical rant?" She eyed Terry comically knowing the answer all ready.

Terry feigned shame and hung her head slightly. "Okay, I was watching Oprah again." Droopy brown eyes met bright green and both women broke into laughter. As they calmed themselves, Terry crossed her legs in the chair and spoke. "Seriously, what the hell is going on and why now?"

Conner sighed and ruffled her still damp hair. "It's been what· nine months and I guess things have cooled off enough that the old boys think I can take stuff off their hands." She shrugged and perched one leg on the chair next to her. "I guess the legit thing is possible, me and Jaz were talking about it, but Terry·this is not going to be easy."

"Well no crap." Terry thrust a thumb towards the hallway. "So is the diva ready to be a Mafia wife?"

Conner smiled. "Ha! Could you see that? Big hair, jewelry, and a home gym." Both women laughed. "Never happen."

"She'd have to perfect that accent and besides she can't even cook pasta."

Conner pouted just a little. "We're working on it."

Terry smirked. "Let me guess, white trash nachos."

Conner smiled from ear to ear. "Nothing like Velveeta and chiles!" she drawled.

"Okay Cooter." Terry shook her head. "But for real, I'm thinking we need to get together this weekend, we need to hit the basement and hit the books and have a large information session. I need everything. I'm talking tax returns to the piece of trash you threw at a dumpster, but were walking away from when it rolled off the rim on to the ground." Conner nodded. "Um, it might also be a good idea to go over the amazon's stuff as well."

Conner crossed her arms across her chest and frowned. "Really?"

Terry nodded vigorously. "Oh yeah, chick. I'm afraid Blue couldn't be a Mafia wife if she wanted to be, a little surprised she seems so gung-ho as well, but I guess she's not too worried about stuff coming back to bite her in the ass."

Conner smirked. "Been there, done that."

"What's it matter anyway, I say you parade her in front of the Fibbies and let her do a song and dance and they'll magically forget about the whole thing."

Conner was about to say something when two long tanned arms reached around her and warm lips pressed into her temple. "We won't be parading anything if you don't get dressed, Red." Terry just watched with sincere amusement as Conner's ears grew red and her smile face grew bright with a large smile. Terry just shook her head as the small woman seemed to float from the kitchen. She turned in her seat and drew brown eyes up the length of a clinging backless floor length Vera Wang as she followed Blue to the kitchen counter. "Whatcha' fixin' barkeep?"

"Just a little pick me up."

"Well pick me up too."

The tall woman smirked as she sat down at the table and placed two Bourbon neats on the table. Deep blue eyes focused on brown eyes and both women opted to sip in mutual silence for the moment. "So do I get some facts?" Blue asked as she sat her glass down.

"Fact 1, you obviously painted that dress on." Terry took another sip of her drink. "Fact 2, this is good Bourbon." The tall woman raised an eyebrow. "All right, don't get all salty. What do you want to know?"

"What you didn't tell Conner."

"Only because you made her go get dressed." Terry wagged a thin finger at the woman across from her and got comfortable in the chair. "Point is, and I think she knows it, the FBI is the least of her worries. Fuck a task force, that stuff is all about delay of litigation and the run-around. I can do that. Conner's problem is much more tangible·or not." Terry held up her hand as she sipped from her drink. "Put that eyebrow away, I'm getting to it." Blue hid her grin in her glass. Terry leaned forward onto her elbows. "As far as appearance is concerned when Ewan dropped off the earth 6 months back and Conner went MIA, family decisions went to the old boys. Mt. Rushmore I call them: Cameron, Wally, Sean, and. For all intense purposes they've been in control, but that's not the case."

"Then who?"

"A phantom."

"A phantom?" Blues' voice squeaked with disbelief.

Blue opened her mouth to speak, but Conner's voice filled the room "Ooh! Are we getting together the Scooby Gang. Can I be Velma?"

Terry sucked her teeth at the wide eyed imp with the wild hair and grinned. "Well who's going to be Scooby then?" Conner rolled her eyes and gave Terry the finger.

Before the two women could get into a hissy fit, Blue refocused their attention. "So what's this about a phantom."

Terry wiped the snarl from her face as she turned back to Blue. "That's the rumor."

Conner slapped the wall lightly and leaned on the doorframe. "Bet you twenty buck it's snakeboy."

Terry looked up at Conner. "Bet you five dollars you're right."

Conner looked from blue eyes to brown and slapped the wall again. "Shit!" She raised her hands as if she wanted to tousle her hair, but then thought better of impaling herself on her spikes. "Whatever," she grumbled, "let me get my jacket and we can leave. We'll deal with this later. Meet you down front."

Terry and Blue both stood as Conner left the kitchen. "You know I'm liking snakeboy less and less." Blue put the empty glasses on the counter.

"I'm with you, but I don't know what his deal is. He's a beady-eyed bastard, but strikes me as refined an unassuming."

Blue pursed full lips as they walked to the front door. "Quiet and reserved no doubt. Probably likes to stand in the corners."

Terry caught on to Blue's train of thought quickly as they walked out of the house. "Never even know he's there." A tan hand made deep grooves in black, as Blue ran a hand through her hair. Terry watched a flash of anger and concern move through the tall woman. "What are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking·.that I used to be the quiet person in the corner."

Terry eyed the tall woman and observed her with an ever-present curiosity as she took in her words. She unlocked the car door as they reached the curb. "So that translates into?"

Blue glanced at Terry as she leaned back onto the door of the Mercedes. "Means, when the chance came, I'd rip your spine out through your ass."

Terry let the words hang in the air for a moment as she chose the right words to break the tension. She shrugged her shoulders and piped up, "is that really possible."

Blue snapped out of her reverie and looked down at Terry and cracked a smile. "I don't know, but doesn't it sound possible." She grinned wickedly and the two women made faces at one another and laughed until Conner came out of the house."

"Making jokes." She called from the top of the steps.

"Only at your expense." Conner stuck out her tongue at Blue's tease and then caught the keys tossed to her.

"Be our chauffeur?" Terry requested.

Conner titled her head as she regarded her friend. "What do I get."

Terry leaned in close to Conner and whispered, "I keep her from singing Brick House." At that, Conner shuffled the giggling women gently into the back seat and sped off before they could even put on their seatbelts.

* * *


CH 4: The Boys are Back in Town


He had to admit the place was nice. The slightly sophisticated, yet youthful clientele actually sat well with him. Perhaps, if this was any other place and perhaps if he wasn't about to start a small war he might have been enjoying himself. Instead, Victor Montrose sat at one of the corner tables in a hazy section of the club and observed. Earlier he found Conner by her trademark hair, sitting in a corner at the bar. He reflexively shrank back in his seat for fear of being seen before he wanted to, but then as he followed her line of sight he realized she wouldn't have seen him if he was standing nude in the middle of the room. He viewed the tall woman on the stage and smiled in appreciation. Even he, who deemed himself asexual, found himself moved by the dark beauty on stage, if not for her looks but simply for her voice. 'So this was Ewan's nightmare in the flesh.' He thought to himself. 'Nice flesh,' he added out loud as he sipped his club soda. He enjoyed the show until the band took a break and then he intercepted Conner as she moved to get up from the bar. Green eyes flashed with intrigue when Montrose came into her view. Conner stalled for a split second and then took her seat and waited for the thin man to stand next to her. They greeted each other with fake smiles as Montrose took the seat next to Conner.

He tapped a slender finger on his chin as he pressed his lips together as he subtly eyed the woman at his side. " Such a striking establishment you have here." He slithered out.

Conner did her best not to visibly flinch as the reed thin man spoke, since his enunciation of his esses made her skin crawl. She managed to grin at the man across from her. "I thought this kind of place would be out of your taste range, but good for you to take notice."

"I do try." Conner smirked and then took a sip from her Martini. "So, Conner Rose how are things?"

She intentionally flinched this time as he used her full name. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me that....Monty." She raised an eyebrow at the man.

He nodded and pretended not to take offense at the distortion of his name. "I take it you're handling things?"

Conner waved a hand through the air. "Don't I look like I'm handling things?"

He held up a hand. "No need to be on the defensive, Conner. I'm merely offering my services."

"Ahh, your services. Well I assure you, Monty, I've got this covered from every angle." She drew her gaze away from the man at her side and openly eyed the sultry singer gliding towards her. Montrose caught the slant to her words and looked to the side and found himself looking into two swells of tanned flesh wrapped luxuriously in the material of her dress. He drew his eyes up from the display of cleavage and met the cold stare of the singer as she eyed the man in front of her. She let out a whisper of a grunt and then walked around to Conner where they shared a tame kiss on the lips.

Blue reached a long arm around the woman and picked up her drink. She crossed her free arm across her stomach as she sipped from the glass and made no secret about sizing up the man in front of her. She let out a snort of a laugh and turned towards Conner. "Is this him?" Conner nodded and she turned back to Montrose. "Your ears must be burning Mr. Montrose."

The thin man curled thin lips into a smile. "It's nice to know I am the subject of two beautiful women."

Blue eyes sparkled. "I promise, there was nothing nice about it."

Montrose blinked and gave a slight nod, as he accepted the bluntness of her statement. "I take it we're not going to be friendly, and I can't imagine why."

"Word is you're trying to take something that isn't yours."

He shook his head and held up a hand. "I assure you Miss...uh...

Blue looked at him with disdain written on her face. "You don't need to know my name right now."

Montrose swallowed and continued. "Well miss, I assure that I have no such intentions."

Blue shrugged a shoulder. "That's the word."

"Sometimes the word is wrong."

"Perhaps, but if it's right, than I'm not sure I like you very much."

He chuckled. "Well it's good to know that your obvious contempt is based on word of mouth and not simply my presence."

"It's not helping." she said flatly. She held back a snicker, but Conner didn't.

The skinny man ran his tongue across his teeth as he regarded the woman before him and then looked at Conner and both of them together. He nodded to himself as he made a mental note of their contrasting qualities, yet the fact that they worked together. He spoke up after a long minute of silence passed between them. "Well," he bowed politely to both women, "Conner, and friend, I wish I could dispel the rumors for both of you and ease our obvious tension, but perhaps I'll have to allay your fears some other way." He gave a wisp of a smile to both women and then got up from his seat and took a step, before turning back around. "Oh, Conner have you spoken with Ewan?"

A blonde eyebrow and a black eyebrow raised in unison. "Not that it's necessarily news, but no." she replied.

"Oh." He tapped his tooth with a fingernail and then cracked an odd looking smile. "Well no matter, I just thought it awfully nice of you to be putting things in order here and keeping his seat warm, if you will." It was only Blue's blunt fingernails digging into her knee that stopped her from jumping off of the stool and putting her foot through Montrose's face. The thin man arched his own brow and gave a small bow again as he gave one last look to the two women and left the club.

Conner raised a hand in the air and began spewing curse words as she followed Montrose out of the door with her eyes. "That-fucking-ratbastard-son-of-hybrid-mutant-bitch-fuckface, mmmrph-

Full lips covered Conner's mouth. Blue released the grip she had on the small woman's neck and watched in quiet amusement as Conner stopped herself from falling off the stool by holding on to the railing on the bar. Blue reached out and touched her fingers to Conner's chin as she made the woman face her. Verdant eyes glazed over with arousal, glanced at the blue-eyed diva at her side. "Hullo." Conner breathed out as a silly grin raised her cheeks high.

Blue shook her head with laughter as she took Conner's face in her hands and kissed her sweetly on both cheeks. "You okay, lil' bit?"

"Un huh." She still held the silly grin as her head bobbed up and down.

"You sure?" She asked with a grin.

"Perfecto." Conner made an okay sign with her fingers and continued to smile.

Blue couldn't help but toss her dark mane of hair back in laughter as she looked at the blushing woman who looked as if she was feeling the effects of one too many Long Island Ice Teas. "You are absolutely priceless you know that." She gave Conner a quick kiss on the lips and then glanced up at the stage where Sam and the boys were assembling. "Hey, I gotta get back. Why don't you go pay a visit to Sara and Wilhelm, so you don't drink yourself crazy in the corner."

Conner groaned and pouted. "But I don't like Wilhelm."

"Yes you do, besides I see Terry, so you two can make fun of him together in front of his face, okay puddins'." Blue gave the small woman a great big cheerleader smile which made Conner burst into a fit of giggles. Conner was still smiling when Terry sidled up to her and dragged her off to the table.


Victor Montrose stepped outside of the nightclub onto the sidewalk and lit up a clove. He put his free hand in the pocket of his dark blazer and begin to stroll nonchalantly down Charles street. He purposefully dawdled as he heard footsteps start behind him. Montrose puffed lightly on his clove and continued his stroll as the footsteps grew close to him. When he reached the intersection he stopped next to the lamp post. The footsteps stopped next to him. Montrose didn't look to his left as he spoke into the air. "Did you get a good look?" He asked his new found companion. The large man next to him grunted his affirmation. "Is there going to be a problem?"

"I should hope not," came the low growl of an answer.

Montrose cut his eyes to the side and took in the marred profile of his companion. It wasn't enough that he had a flat nose and a brow that was wide enough to belong in an exhibit on a Cro-Magnon man. He barely had a neck and at 6'3" he was built like a tree trunk, but apparently he was good at what he did, and he certainly cost enough. As Montrose looked away from the man at his side he thanked god for the dim light of the evening so he didn't have to be faced with the carved etchings on the right side of his face: a present from a friend he said. Actually, the scars where more a reminder of a debt that was still unpaid. "Is there going to be a problem, C.C.?"

"No, no. I got it covered, but the price may go up just a wee bit."

Montrose let out a chuckle. "Why did I know you were going to say that."

C.C. shrugged and put his hands in the pockets of his thin jacket. "Aw hell, I could do it for free...but the money would just be for provisions."

Montrose pursed his lips and turned towards the man with amusement in his dark eyes. "Didn't know you knew that word C.C." The man at his side only grunted. "How much are we talking."

"1.5." he said without hesitation.

Montrose coughed a bit. "Are you hunting a white buffalo or something?"

C.C. curved chapped lips into a snarl of a smile. "She's worth as much."

Montrose turned around fully and faced C.C. "Forgive my crudeness, but dare I ask, is this about pussy, C.C.?" A slim eyebrow rose.

C.C. let out a chuckle that sounded more like a gurgle. "I'd be a liar if I said she wasn't an exceptional piece of pie."

The lanky man shook his head at C.C.'s euphemism but pressed on. "You sure she wants you back?"

Another gurgle of laughter. "I didn't always look like this."

Montrose snorted. "Yes, I'm sure you resembled a young Robert DeNiro or something once, but that still doesn't warrant 1.5 now does it?" His voice drowned in sarcasm and disdain, but the man in front of him didn't pick up on it, nor did he care.

"Well if you won't pay then our mutual friend will."

Montrose formed a small smile as he was completely intrigued now, not only in C.C.'s ability to form a sentence, but the fact that he was actually saying something that seemed to have merit. "Oh do tell, C.C., do tell."

C.C.'s dead stare was highlighted by the pale yellow of the street lamp and accentuated by the shadow cast across his face. "He'd pay me twice as much to get rid of her and I'd do it for free truth be told."

Montrose chuckled and started walking again with C. C. at his side. "C.C. I think you should tell me everything there is to know about this woman, and if it's warranted you'll get double." He heard C.C. laugh as they crossed the street to the next block. "Question, did she do that to your face."

"Yup." He spoke without malice, but with an empty tone.

Montrose flicked out his clove and quickly lit another as he mulled over C.C.'s admission. "My,my, it seems Conner's little songbird has got quite the past." He laughed to himself and then looked at his watch. "Let's pick up our pace. You've got a story to tell and we've got to find our mutual friend under the rock he buried himself under." C.C. nodded as they made their way to a chauffeured Jeep waiting on the corner.

* * *


CH 5: The things i forgot to remember


At age 15 C.C., who still answered to Christian Christian, was rapidly making a name for himself in between the streets of Boston and New York. Most of the names touted that he was an indiscriminate hot head and didn't understand the meaning of loyalty let alone how to spell it, but the prospect of taming the thick young man seemed like an end to justify the means to most people. C.C. sat beside a hefty caramel colored man who reclined comfortably in his chair as he smoked a cigar. He was trying to pay attention to the conversation going on at his right, but he hadn't heard anything worthwhile yet, and the white marks on his nails seemed to be interesting enough.

C.C. cut sharp eyes at the big man to his side and smirked as he made a joke. Even if C.C. was two brain cells away from being mentally retarded he knew how good he had it. At present he was sitting next to Ceasare Borgia, who was one of the most respected and revered organized crime bosses on any coast. He spent most of his time in the south, where he ran the docks on the Mississippi River. Borgia, was just being his overly caring self by taking C.C. in, when he got caught in the cross fire of a bad deal. However, Borgia was old enough to know that C.C. was pretty far gone even at 15, but his natural altruism prompted him to try to help the boy. In this case he figured C.C. just needed to see what it was like to be able to control the animal within. If that meant he had to get his ass kicked a few times to figure that out, Borgia figured everybody won.

Borgia found himself seated at a table in a Steel plant along with two other bosses. Carlo Bruiso, who was obviously ailing from something, but the old man drank his Bourbon and smoked his pipe like there was no cancer coursing through his veins, and Frankie Tangelo. The men were passing jokes with one another while they were waiting on the arrival of Enrique Marachi and his new Colombian friend.

During a brief pause in conversation, Borgia rubbed at the faint stubble on his chubby cheeks as he glanced around the floor of the plant. They had provided themselves with a wide-open space, so it left no room for snipers in the rafters or front door ambushes. Technically, unless someone was insane enough to lunge out at any of the seated men, they were all safe and secure. Borgia couldn't help the smirk that came to his face as the thought sprang to his mind, that no assassins gun or crazy man's tactics would reach any of the seated men anyway. He could see Sal and Vincent off to the side conversing quietly with one another, each keeping an eye on the door and on the men seated at the table. Brusio had three of his boys off in a corner, but Tangelo only seemed to have one lone gunmen standing near Sal and Vincent. Borgia blew a smoke ring and clicked his tongue at the thick boned man across from him.

C.C.'s ears pricked up as the low southern drawl of Borgia carried to his ears. He held in his smile at the thought that he could listen to the man talk for hours and he had. "Tangelo, you running low on bodyguards this week?"

Tangelo let out a cough of a laugh as the corners of his mouth crinkled up in a smile. "I got it covered Borg'. You worried or something?"

"Oh no, no suh'. Just curious." A sly grin crossed his face.

"Must admit, I'm intrigued as well." Brusio added in a thick Italian accent.

"I got it covered gentleman." He chuckled again.

Further inquiries were interrupted as two hard raps came to the outside door. Tangelo's lone gunmen opened the metal door to let in Marachi and his companions. C.C. got up from his stool and clasped his hands in front of him as he stepped back from the table and observed the small entourage entering the room. Marachi was golden with tan, as if he had just walked out of the sun, and if possible his friend next to him in the stark white blazer, was even more tanned. His black hair shined even in the dank light of the steel mill. C.C. cocked his head to the side as he regarded the Colombian, who looked like he just walked in off the set of Miami Vice. It was obvious that he was nervous, but maybe it was just carrying 20 kilos of cocaine in a small briefcase, all the way from Miami. Perhaps the weight was getting to him.

C.C. and the other men relegated to the edges of the room all listened with interest as the men took their seats at the table. Marachi's addition of bodyguards added three more to growing number of armed men as well as two men that seemed to be with the Colombian. The conversation seemed to be going well and with the usual give and take of business affairs, but even without hearing every word of the whispered conversation it was quite obvious when things were about to get out of hand.

Brusio, even in his ailing health still could make quite the threat and the deathly pallor of his face only seemed to convey the sentiment that he really did have the grim reaper on his payroll. Tangelo echoed the sentiment and added his own insult, grating the man further. The Colombian rattled off something insulting through gritted teeth and then made the move to reach out and grab the neck of the men two feet away from him. His hand didn't even make it two inches when the hand in question flew to his neck and with flailing arms he fell back to the ground. The room grew quiet as hands went to guns, but nobody was sure of who should shoot first. Eyes darted about the room, each one seeking a sign. Borgia cut curious eyes towards Tangelo as the man entwined his fingers and sat back in his chair as if nothing had happened. The room remained eerily silent except for the soft gurgling that the Colombian was emitting as he futilely clawed at the throwing star lodged in his throat.

Marachi just shook his head as he ran his hand through his hair and sighed. Tangelo looked about the table and then spoke into the air. "You can remove the others as well." On cue the Colombian's soldiers fell to the floor with unimpressive thuds. "You can come out now."

C.C., along with the others in the room weren't sure what to expect from Tangelo's invisible helper, but it was definitely not what they got. The dark figure made no sound as she came out from her shadow in the most unusual of places that was actually right behind them to the rear wall, standing under the stairwell. She wore a black silk shirt and black dress slacks, topped off with a thick mane of black hair that fell just below her shoulders. She moved like ink across the floor and came to stand beside Tangelo, hands clasped behind her back, ice blue eyes focused on the old man. None of them were sure who said it, but as she stopped her walk the phrase that had become a quiet joke between her and Tangelo was uttered: "Good god."

Tangelo smiled like a proud father as he licked his lips and responded. "I like to think so." He smiled up at the dark woman and nodded towards the Colombian. She did as she was bid and bent down to relieve the barely breathing man of his suitcase. She placed the case on the table and made quick work of the locks with a pocket knife. Without prompting, she slipped the tip of her knife into one of the packages and removed a thin film of the powder which she tasted. She folded her knife back and nodded to Tangelo and then turned the case to him. The old man smiled at the woman with pride and then turned back to the deathly silent men at the table. "Well gents, it appears we have what we came for, and we're no lighter in the pocket for any of it." He smiled.

Borgia blew out a breath and reclined comfortably in his seat again. "Well Tang, it seems you've been keeping a secret from us old boys."

"On the contrary, she was here the whole time. It's not my fault if you don't know where to look."

"I'll admit I'm a little unnerved." Bruiso hacked and warily looked towards the black pillar of a woman to his side.

"She only bites if I ask." Tangelo raised his eyebrows and grinned.

"I can't even get my dog to stay." Marachi chimed in.

"That's cause your dog is this big." Borgia let out a laugh as he held his hand a foot apart.

The men laughed and Marachi shrugged. "She's a little baby."

"She's a miniature Pinscher, Ricky." Borgia shook his head and Marachi just smiled. "All right let's clean this mess and get home, I need to get away from you Yankees."


Montrose picked his teeth with a toothpick as he and C.C. exited the terminal in (need Scotland airport) and got into the limo. "So young C.C., are you telling me all this to frighten me or prepare me?"

C.C. shrugged as he settled in the seat across from the thin man. "I'm just giving you the facts. She's a beast and you asked."

Montrose fingered his thin moustache. "Are you setting me up for your imminent failure or do I

need to go out and hire her."

C.C. shook his head. "Number one, she'd never go. Number two, I'm only this good because I watched her, and number three, I owe her." The large man ran a callused hand across the acid scarred side of his face and grunted.

Montrose squinted his eyes at the large man and ran his tongue across his teeth. "I do so love the student-teacher dynamic. And I would love to know about your 'falling out'."

C.C. grunted and shrugged as he glanced out of the window and watched the scenery pass by. "What's to say, look at my face."

Montrose pouted slightly. "Poor baby, still a sore spot I see." He held in a grin as C.C. bared his teeth at the thin man. "My apologies, C.C." Montrose ducked his head just a bit and then spoke again. "You must have learned some lesson did you not, I'd be interested in knowing her politics."

"Her politics?"

Montrose sighed. "You know her ethics, her morals, principles·all the things that you don't have."

C.C. feigned hurt, at least on one side of his face. "I have all those."

A sincere chuckle filled the car. "No, C.C. you have a price, it's not the same."

C.C. rolled his eyes and sucked his teeth. "Whatever." They were quiet for a moment and then still looking out of the window he spoke again. "Loyalty." He spoke quietly.


He turned towards Montrose. "That's the lesson I learned."

Montrose snorted in disbelief. "I take it you didn't retain the information."

"Ha! That's the only thing I have retained. I'm loyal to myself and what I can do for me."

"You loved the Regan era didn't you?" C.C. just shrugged. Montrose watched C.C. with beady eyes and let a lazy grin come to his face. "Was she a good teacher?"

C.C. mumbled out a "God, yes" more to himself and then picked up his story.


"Two years passed, after the Steel mill and ever since then I stayed welded to her side. Borgia, seemed to think it was a good idea and practically moved me to New York. We would go back to Mississippi when needed, but mostly I stayed on the east coast now. In two years time, I clearly understand why she was assumed to be some kind of god, and as much as it scared the shit out of me, it thrilled me all the same. Borgia, called her shit like Hera and Athena. This guy Silvio used to call her Zeus, every time she walked into the sub shop. She never said nothing and never asked to be called anything else than what people called her.

"I guess it was strange. She never said shit unless somebody asked her something right out, and most of the time she only answered if Tangelo gave her a nod or something. I thought he was fucking her for the longest time. Shit, most people either wanted to fuck her or kill her, and not necessarily in that order. I think those two years were the only time I ever tried to pay attention to everything, because that's all she did. When she walked into a room, she could become the fucking wall paper if she wanted to. I would watch her walk into a crowded room and nobody would even see her. I thought she had invisible powers or some shit. If she wanted you to see her you couldn't fucking miss her, but other than that you never even knew she was in the fucking room. Borgia used to love that shit. He'd always take her out, just her and him, it used to piss me off at first, but then I'd go and take it out on somebody else.

"Whenever we came back from seeing Borgia she would let me handle stuff and send me off by myself to pick up the markers, it was strange. I just thought she was giving me experience, but she wouldn't even throw a fit when I fucked up anymore. She'd tell me shit, about how this was my mess and how I was always going to have to answer to somebody if I didn't get it together. I told her to fuck off and started running around with Garcia's crew. Yeah, I know now that it might not have been the smartest decision in the world, but I managed to do the one thing that people had been trying to do for years, I killed Frances Tangelo and in broad daylight no less."

"Garcia paid me two million dollars. That was a lot in 1989, and it still is. But a 17 year old with two million dollars was better than any psycho-ass wannabe goddess who stayed loyal to Tangelo even when he was about roll over on his crew. I lucked up and found out Borgia called her down to New Orleans when Tangelo got clipped by the F.B.I. Back then it was easy to fuck with computer systems, cause nobody knew shit. I got this punk kid from M.I.T. to screw up her ticket, so even if she did catch the next flight out I had at least an hour."

"It was so fucking pretty. That fat fuck, stepped out of his Cadillac, waved at the old heads like he was the fucking pope, and then wham! I walked straight up to him as he stepped on to the curb and blew his fucking brains out all over Bensonhurst. I was surprised she waited as long as she did to come find, but now that I think about it, I knew she had been following me all day, she was just biding her time and letting me waste mine."


1989- Brooklyn

C.C. let out a yelp as the shot of Jack Daniel's burned down his throat. A meaty hand pounded him on his back and blew alcohol heavy breath in his face as he laughed.

"Look at this fucker," he slurred, "big man can't hold his liquor."

C..C. held up a thick middle finger and shoved the drunk man away from him. "Fuck you greasy." He slapped a hand down on the bar and stood up, happily surprised that he wasn't wobbly. He tossed some bills on the bar and waved goodbye.

He was humming some goofy tune to himself like he had been all day. He pulled at his thin jacket as he walked down the sidewalk back towards his apartment, wishing to God that he had left the damn jacket at home or in the bar. It was the dead of July, the middle of the night, and it was hot as fuck. C.C. just smirked at the young kids on the stoop who made a big show of moving out of his way. He thrust his head high into the air gloating over his earlier actions, and thinking those kids knew the deal, they all knew the deal. It never occurred to him that they weren't fearful of him, but of the dark woman with the intense blue eyes that was walking directly behind him, on pace with his footsteps. All she had to do was reach out.

C.C. climbed the steps to his apartment and turned the key in his lock. He grumbled as he put his shoulder to the door and started leaning into the cheap wooden door to get it to open. "Fucking heat!" he grumbled. He stepped back and just as his shoulder touched the door, he got an extra push of force that tore the door from its hinges and sent him flying into his living room. C.C. held his side where a booted foot had just moments ago kicked him. He rolled up to his feet and managed to hold his hands above his face to block the down swing of her fist. He absorbed the blow crouching lower, but he was ill prepared for the knee that landed to the side of his head.

He was shaken from his wooziness as he was pulled up by his collar and thrown through the coffee table. He was awaiting the next blow as he found himself sprawled out in pieces of wood, but none came. He opened his eyes and saw her sitting on the arm of his couch watching him. She was pushing her cuticles back with her nails and didn't even appear to be breathing hard. C.C. sprang to his feet and rushed the woman on the couch. The dark woman moved with C.C.'s momentum as she allowed herself to be slammed into the wall. C.C. swung at her wildly, managing to connect to her jaw and her ribcage once. She finally shoved the erratic man away.

They stood apart from each other, C.C. laboring with heavy breaths and she swiping a drop of blood from her lip and spitting it onto his carpet. "Fuck you lady! You want me, come on! I'll do you just like I did Frances!" Blue eyes flinched in a stilted rage and C.C. ranted. "Where were you goddess, huh? Thought you supposed to be everywhere! Not this time, not this time! I got you, I fucking got you! I wonder what Frankie-boy thinks of his little demi-god now!"

Full lips curled into a smirk. "You can ask him when you see him." C.C. involuntarily trembled as her menacing alto ripped through his insides. He was jolted back into reality as he heard the distinct whisper of a blade being brandished. He looked to the woman's hands and sure enough, in her right hand, with a twirl of her wrist she opened her butterfly knife. "Let's go piggy."

C.C. growled and launched a piece of the broken table at the woman as he advanced on her. A tanned arm knocked away the wood and slashed away C.C. as she sidestepped the advancing man. C.C. met the wall and grimaced at the pain streaking across his face, not registering it as a gash. Enraged he ran at the tall woman again and begin throwing punches with force, ignoring the slices she was making into his forearms with ease. On the verge of fatigue, C.C. made a move to lunge at the woman and then at the last moment he turned towards his left and headed to his bedroom. She tackled him at the knees knowing he was going for the gun. He kicked back and felt her flinch in pain as he connected with her face. He used her slack to move from her arms. He stood up and went down to his knees again, inside his doorway, this time with out aide of her tackle. He reached around his back and removed the throwing star that found itself lodged in the meat of his back. He 'acted, not reacted', just like she taught him and let the shrieken fly in her direction as he turned round. He surprised himself as the star sliced through the black of her t-shirt and drew blood.

The tall woman moved with purpose as if she hadn't been cut. She swung her blade in three swift strokes, as C.C. made it to his feet only to fall back to the ground howling in pain as he held both hands to his bleeding face. The warmth of his blood began to trickle down his face from four different wounds, including the one he received earlier. He heard the knife close and then he was lifted up to his knees. He could barely hold his head up from the pain let alone open his eyes, but he could hear her moving around her. "I'm giving you an out C.C.-- you remember that." She spoke quietly and then without warning, he felt the sting of glass shattering against the side of his face. Whatever damage had been done by the blade was being eaten away by the hydrochloric acid that bubbled on the right side of his face. C.C. almost passed out from the pain as he collapsed to the floor in a fit of convulsions. He felt like he was on fire and he might as well have been. He felt warm breath near his ear as she knelt next to head and molded what felt like a gun in one hand and a phone in the other. She spoke to him quietly. "You call the cops, you'll be a rat and you'll live for a while, but you know you're going up river. You use the gun you can save yourself the horror of living. Make your choice, either way we both know your dead."

She stood up and listened to man whimper. She looked down and spit on him. "You still think I'm a god piggy?" Her voice hung in the air and then without a sound she was gone from the room leaving C.C. to his decision. He fired a shot into the air knowing that would draw the cops even if he couldn't dial 911. As he lay on the floor, bleeding, and moments from passing out, her question still echoed in his ears, but the answer, just like those who figured it out before him, suddenly made all the sense in the world. She wasn't a god or even a monster·.she was something far worse.


C.C. sat at the table with a tepid mug of beer in his hand and Montrose in the seat next to him. It was quitting time in the Scottish hamlet, so the pub was pretty full. Thin lips wrapped around a clove as Montrose looked up from his club soda and spoke. "And so you chose to go up river. How noble, how prideful." A fake smile did nothing to raise his features. "I'm curious as to why you think you can best her now?"

C.C. took a deep gulp of his beer. "Because she's soft. All that time she spent with Borgia, he was feeding her that old time religion and helping her claw her way up from hell." He snorted and wiped at the liquid on his lip with his hand. "Besides, she won't know it's me until its too late and by that time, the little blonde will be begging for an out. Speaking of, are we picking him up or what?"

Montrose shook his head. "Just delivering a message."

C.C. huffed. "We came all this way to leave a message."

Montrose laughed. "Young C.C. you're seeing the world, and besides that I'm giving you an alibi." The man across from him grumbled and refilled his mug from the pitcher. "So, I ask again, is she going to be a problem."

"Nah. Like I said, she's loyal, she'll be so wrapped up in her girlfriends sorrows that she'll be off just enough. Look what happened last summer. The chick I knew, would never have even let anybody get that close to her with a knife, let alone let them all live. She doesn't have it in her anymore."

"Well I guess that just shows you."

"Shows you what?"

"When people stop believing the gods lose their power." He chuckled to himself.

C.C. shrugged and drained his beer. "Yeah, yeah, she's just a human, she can bleed·. and how."

* * *

Part 2

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