Shannon sat at her Grandmother's kitchen table gingerly flipping through the latest issue of Modern Bride magazine. She stubbed out her cigarette in the full-to-overflowing ashtray, and lit another one. Jamie sat next to her, making a list of things that needed to be done before the wedding.
"What do you think about this one?" Shannon asked of a Vera Wang dress that Jamie knew would blow the entire budget right out of the water. She told Shannon as much, but as usual Shannon said that Ryan could afford it and that she could have whatever she wanted.
"If Ryan is paying for everything, then why bother even having a budget Shannon?" Jamie asked wearily. She was getting annoyed from planning the wedding, but felt it was her duty as the Maid of Honor.
"I didn't say he was paying for everything, but he wants me to have my wedding the way I want it. That means if I want a five thousand-dollar dress, I'll have a five thousand-dollar dress. God, don't freak out, I don't want that dress anyway, I was just wondering what you thought about it." Shannon rolled her eyes in Jamie's direction and went back to the magazine. They sat in silence for a long time until Shannon took a break from her incessant page flipping. "Someday it'll be you picking out a wedding dress James, maybe someday soon!" Shannon looked at Jamie and winked.
Three nights later Jamie sat across from Cyril at Perino's. They were celebrating their two-year anniversary at the best table in the house. Cyril held Jamie's hand in his while she sat with her eyes closed waiting for her present. She swore to him that she wasn't peeking when he placed the box in her hand. Jamie's heart pounded, she could tell it was a small, square box.
"Can I open them now?" She asked, with her eyes still tightly shut. "Yeah, go ahead." He was smiling, waiting for her to open her gift.
Jamie's hands trembled as she untied the red bow that held the black, velvet box together. She slowly lifted the tiny lid and as it creaked, she saw the unmistakable glint of a diamond. Her breath caught in her throat, as she rehearsed in her head how she would say yes when he got down on his knee and asked her to marry him. As the scene played in her mind of tears and happy laughter, she saw another unmistakable glint of a diamond. There were two diamonds in the box, not an engagement ring. It was a pair of half carrot diamond earrings. Jamie felt like she was on a roller coaster that quit running at the top of the hill. She sat, staring at the earrings with her mouth half-open.
"Ya like `em?" Cyril asked, smiling sweetly.
Jamie stammered at first "Um.yes, they're incredible. Thank you so much baby! I love them!" She hoped her enthusiasm would hide her disappointment.
"You thought it was a ring huh?" Cyril asked, still smiling.
"No, of course not, why would I think that?"
"James, you can't shit a shitter remember? I know that's what you thought, and that's perfectly alright." He sat back as he grabbed a dinner roll from the basket.
"Okay, maybe I did, but that doesn't mean that I don't love the earrings. Because I do, I love `em! And I love you!" She reached across the table to kiss him just as their food was being served. They sat patiently as the waiter placed a heaping plate of linguini in clam sauce in front of Jamie and a plate of chicken parmesan in front of Cyril.
"James when I propose, it's going to be when you least expect it. Don't you think I knew that you'd be expecting it tonight? I want you to be completely surprised when it happens." He smiled and kissed the palm of her hand, then closed her hand so that she was holding his kiss inside. She loved when he did that, sometimes she expected to open her hand and see it there. She truly adored her earrings but she knew that someday, when she least expected it, she'd open another black velvet box and there would be only one diamond inside. Cyril began eating as Jamie put on her new earrings.
Later that night after dinner had been eaten; a carriage ride through the park and a walk along the river, Cyril parked his '72 Charger in front of Jamie's building. He was packing his cigarettes when he noticed her staring at him and smiling. He smiled back.
"God I love it when you smile, ya know that?" He patted the seat and she slid over next to him.
"I think you should come inside." She purred into his ear. Cyril didn't respond right away, he opened the pack and looked down into her brown eyes.
"Baby I don't think that's a good idea, you know your Grandmother don't like me." He answered, pulling a cig free from the pack.
"Well it's a good thing she's not home." Jamie informed him coyly as she looked up at him through her eyelashes. "I want you inside." She said softly, as she kissed his chin.
The man watched from inside his Trans-am as they got out of the Charger. The girl was giggling and leading O'Reily by the hand, up the stoop. They kissed at the front door, then went inside. The man then pulled a cigarette out of the half-empty pack and lit it. He knew it was going to be a long night. "Where we goin?" Cyril asked mischievously as they entered the apartment. Jamie turned towards the hallway, smiling, she led him to her room. She opened the door and stepped into the darkness. She was holding Cyril's hand; he didn't follow her inside.
"What is it baby?"
"Are you sure you wanna do this?"
"I'm sure." She stepped back into the hallway, grabbed his other hand and pulled him into her room. She was licking his neck, and kissing the underside of his chin.
"But what about your Grandmother?"
"Sweetie she's gone, she went to visit her sister for the weekend." Jamie answered, then began flicking his earlobe between her tongue and her teeth.
Cyril couldn't hide the fact that he was excited. It had been two long years of them doing everything but going all the way. There was no stopping it now. He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her deeply, his tongue rolled softly in her mouth. They moved to the bed, still kissing. Cyril laid Jamie down and gently rested on top of her. He let his hands glide down her dress to her nyloned thigh. Jamie pulled Cyril's shirt from the waistband of his pants; she unbuttoned it from the top button down as they kissed. He shrugged out of the shirt, exposing his white undershirt. Jamie went down to unbuckle his belt and Cyril didn't stop her this time. She unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, sliding her hand inside his boxers. She wrapped her fingers around him, and was startled by how hard he was. He moaned softly, and continued licking her neck.
Jamie gently pushed him away and stood up in front of him. She turned on the bedside lamp so he could see her clearly. She reached behind and unzipped her dress, letting it fall to the floor; she was standing before him in her thigh highs and matching bra and panties. Cyril lay on his side, propping himself up with his elbow as he looked on. Jamie was smiling coyly as she slid each thigh high slowly down her left leg, then her right. Cyril was grinning wickedly. She stood up and unfastened her bra; it too fell to the floor. Jamie stood motionless, looking directly into Cyril's eyes. He was staring at her full breasts as his breath quickened. She then curled her fingers into the waistband of her panties and guided them down over her hipbones, past her thighs, down to her feet, removing them completely. She was fully naked, standing in front of him. Goosebumps were forming on her skin, yet she wasn't cold.
"Stand up." She ordered Cyril playfully. He obliged and was face to face with her. Jamie slid Cyril's unbuttoned pants down and was on her knees in front of him. She looked up at him seductively before standing up. They didn't touch as Cyril pulled off his undershirt, leaving him only in his boxers. Jamie tugged on the waistband and pulled the front of the boxers towards her to take a look inside.
"Ya think so?" He asked, giggling.
"Mmhmm." She responded with a smile.
She grabbed the boxers by the hem and pulled them down to the floor. They were both naked as they reached for each other in a frenzy of exploration. Curious hands searched instinctively as they fell back onto the bed. Cyril was on top of Jamie; he loved the feeling of his bare skin on hers. He licked her breasts, as she dug her fingernails into his back.
"Cyril, I want you inside." He stopped licking and met her gaze steadily. He lifted her off the bed, and pulled down the covers. Taking her hand, he guided her back into bed and joined her underneath the sheet.
"Are you sure you wanna do this baby?" He asked once more.
"Yes, I want it more that anything." No response was needed; he got the message loud and clear when she kissed his lips. With that, Cyril gently spread her legs apart and positioned himself between them. He held himself up with his forearms, as Jamie remembered the way Ryan had done one night so long ago.
As Cyril entered her, Jamie felt the excruciating pain that Shannon told her about. She fought the urge to cry out. Cyril was going slow, but his breath was coming fast and hard on her face.
"Is that okay baby?" Does it hurt?" He asked with a shaky voice. "If it hurts, tell me and I'll stop." He said as he continued pushing in and pulling out.
"No it doesn't hurt." Jamie lied.
"Oh God baby, you feel like heaven. It's so good." He was moaning as Jamie clenched her jaw together to keep from screaming. She couldn't help but wish it would be over. She loved Cyril more than anything, but the pain was worse than any she'd ever known. He kept going, for what seemed to Jamie as an eternity. She was comforted by the fact that she was becoming numb to the pain. Finally Cyril slowed down.
"Oh God baby, I'm gonna come, Oh God, Oh God, Oh Jesus." He pulled out and came on her belly. Cyril slumped down on top of her; he was breathing hard into her neck. He pulled his head up to face her, kissing her lips gently.
"Thank you baby, thank you so much for this." He said as he lifted himself off of her. Jamie's legs shook uncontrollably. She felt wetness between them and figured it was blood. "I'll go get ya a towel." He climbed out of the bed while Jamie lay there; hoping it would get better the more they did it.
Cyril walked back into the room with a towel, handed it to her and reached down for his boxers. She cleaned her belly and between her legs without looking at the mess, as Cyril got back into bed. He rolled over and put his arms around her, kissing her neck.
"I know it hurt baby and I'm sorry because I told you I'd never hurt you." He whispered softly into her ear.
"That's alright, I knew it would. But I also know it will get better.right?" She questioned him?
"Oh yes, it'll get much better. I want it to be as good for you as it is for me."
Jamie liked lying in his arms, her naked skin against him. Her legs were still shaking when he asked if there was anything she wanted.
"Actually, I could go for some ice cream."
"Kay, I'll go get it."
"Babe, I don't think we have any. Gran usually doesn't buy ice cream."
"That's fine, I'll go to the all night market on 4th, they have ice cream." He said reaching down for his pants. "What kind do you want?"
"Ummm, how bout Rocky Road? If they don't have it, then chocolate will do just fine." She replied as she watched him dress.
"Rocky Road it is." He leaned down and gave her one last kiss before he left. "I love you, you know that right?"
"Yes, and I love you." She smiled as she watched him leave the room and listened for the front door to open and close.
Cyril took the stairs on the stoop two by two as he headed for the Charger. He lit a cigarette and smiled to himself as he unlocked the door. Once inside, he fumbled to get the key in the ignition, the car came to life with a monstrous roar. He turned on the heater and waited for a few minutes, letting the car warm up. He didn't notice the Trans-am parked in the alley across the street.
Jamie stood in the darkened front room of her Grandmother's apartment. With a sheet wrapped around her shoulders, she peered out the front window. She watched the Charger below as it pulled away from the curb, spitting out clouds of smoke from the exhaust. She hoped Cyril would be able to get Rocky Road, for some reason she was really craving it. Something from the corner of her eye caught her attention. It was a Trans-am pulling out of the alley across the street. She watched as it followed Cyril up to 29th. Instead of turning left like Cyril, The Trans-am continued going straight up 29th. Jamie thought nothing of it as she went to get herself a glass of water.
Ten minutes later Cyril eased the Charger into the lot across the street from the 4th Street market, killed the engine, and got out. As he walked, he could hear footsteps behind him. He turned his head just in time to get a hard blow to the left temple. His legs instantly crumpled beneath him, he was on the ground. Cyril could feel wetness on his face, it was thick and smelled like iron, he knew it was blood. He couldn't focus on anything when he opened his eyes; bright flashes of light were popping everywhere he looked. He tried to get up but felt another hit to the back of his head. He heard it inside his skull as it landed He was fading away; he felt the ground he lay upon spinning beneath him. His attacker rolled him onto his side and began kicking him in the gut. Flying fists seemed to come from out of nowhere as he felt them connecting with the soft tissue of his face. Cyril didn't move, he couldn't. He tried to open his eyes to see who it was, but he only saw the bright popping lights. The kicking and punching stopped, he heard the sound of phlegm being expelled and felt the wad of spit land on his neck. The sound of shoes pounding on pavement was the only thing he heard after that. He lay there with his eyes closed, his head throbbing. Blood was gurgling out of his mouth and draining from his nose. "Help me...please someone help me." Was all he could say, his whole body ached. The last thing he thought about before he blacked out was Jamie, she was smiling.
Two days later, Cyril woke up in the Mercy Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit. Ryan's voice was what he heard as he slowly regained consciousness
"Some motherfucker is gonna pay for this shit!" Ryan hissed through clenched teeth.
"Baby, don't get all worked up, he's gonna be fine. That's all you need is to start shit with somebody and get thrown back in the joint right before the wedding." Shannon said to her fianc� as she paged through her Bride magazine.
"That's bullshit Shannon! Someone ganked my brother and whoever it was is gonna die!" Ryan said as he paced back and forth next to Cyril's bed.
"Hey killer." Cyril spoke groggily as he looked over at his brother.
"Hey little brother, how ya feelin? Ya hungry, thirsty, anything you want you got it hear me?" Ryan said as he stood over Cyril smiling. "Who did this to you? Do you know?" Ryan asked as his smile faded.
"I'm right here sweetie." She came and stood on the other side of the bed. She took his right hand in hers. Cyril looked and saw that her eyes were red and puffy, fresh tears trickled down her cheeks. He attempted to smile so did she.
"Cyril, who did this to you? Do you know?" Ryan asked again, impatiently.
"I don't know." He answered, still looking at Jamie.
"Well you better fucking believe I'm gonna find out."
"And then what?" Cyril asked, looking over at his brother.
"Then we're gonna fuckin get `em." Ryan was gripping the side bar on the bed, his eyes were closed, and his clenched jaw was pounding.
"Don't get involved Ryan, this is for me to deal with. Shannon's right, you need keep the law off your ass." Cyril worried for his brother as the dull throbbing in his head began again.
"Look we'll talk about it later, you just worry about lettin the Doc's fix ya up alright? I'll make sure they send ya home good as new." Ryan reached down and held his brother's hand.
"Is that a tear in Ryan's eye?" Cyril thought to himself.
"Shannon come on, let's go. We'll be back later okay? James you're stayin here right?" Ryan asked as he stood in the doorway waiting for Shannon to get her things together.
"Yep, all night."
"Okay good, I'll bring back some Mickey D's for ya." With that, Ryan and Shannon were gone.
"Ya know.your face was the last thing I saw. I remember asking God to take care of you if I died. I'm so glad to be alive baby, I can't even explain it." He said as he rubbed her fingers. Jamie's tears fell with quiet thuds onto the white hospital sheet.
The door opened, it was Dr. Chow. "Well I see the patient is up and at `em." The Doctor said pleasantly. "How are you feeling Cyril? Are you in pain?"
"Yeah, my head hurts, can I get something for it?"
"Of course, I'll send the nurse in after we're through here. Are you his wife?" He asked Jamie.
"No." She answered
"I'm going to have to ask you to please step outside while I talk to Cyril."
"What? Why can't she stay?"
"Patient confidentiality, I'm not able to discuss anything concerning your prognosis with you while someone other than a legal family member is in the room, I'm sorry."
"That's okay, I'll wait outside baby." She said leaning down to gently kiss his cheek.
When she had gone, Dr. Chow pulled Cyril's chart from where it was hanging at the foot of the bed. "Cyril it seems you had quite a scrape with someone. Your face looks to be the worse of your injuries, but I can tell you, it's not."
"What.this?" Cyril asked pointing to his cut and battered face. "Naw, I did this shavin with my new Bic." Cyril said with a sigh. "Smooth glide my ass."
"Well at least your sense of humor hasn't taken a beating."
"Yeah right, can we get on with this please?"
"Of course." Dr. Chow continued.
"Upon examination I found that you received two blunt force injuries on or about the superficial cranium " Cyril cut him off.
"Doc, I didn't go to med. school, you need to tell it like it is without the ten dollar words alright?" Cyril asked as the throbbing in his head got louder.
Dr. Chow chuckled, then continued on with the prognosis. "Alright, you were struck with a blunt object, to the left temple, and to the back of your head. Superficial refers to the fact that the wounds affected only the outer skin and membranes of your head and did not penetrate your skull. You also have facial damage and several bruises on your abdomen. X-rays showed no broken ribs or internal bruising. However, your left shoulder was dislocated. Luckily the boys in the ER performed a closed reduction, which means they were able to pop it back into the socket without the need for surgery. So I'm not too worried about those particular axial injuries. What I am worried about is the trauma to your head." Dr. Chow stopped, Cyril could sense that he was thinking about what to say next. His un-obliterated eye stared intently at the Doctor.
"Yeah and?" Cyril asked impatiently.
"Cyril, the head injuries you sustained could have been a lot worse, but the damage caused may leave you vulnerable to further problems in the future. These problems include severe headaches, loss of equilibrium, and difficulties with your vision. A CAT scan showed no extensive injuries to the Parietal or Sphenoid bones, which in laymen's terms means your temple and the back of your head. However I did detect a mild swelling of the brain The swelling has more than likely subsided but I'll get you in for another scan just for safety's sake. You have taken some pretty serious blows, but if you're careful, the problems I mentioned would be all that you need worry about." Cyril didn't speak, instead he looked across the room to an empty bed, neatly made, waiting for it's next recipient. "Do you have any questions?"
"Yeah.when can I go home?"
"Well I'd like to keep you here a little while longer for testing and recuperation, but I'd say if all goes well, you could probably be home by the end of the week. So if you don't have any further questions I'll order another CAT scan, and hopefully we can get you in for that this afternoon, or tomorrow morning at the latest. You rest, and I'll be back to check on you tonight." Dr. Chow smiled sincerely at Cyril as he turned to leave the room.
"Thank you doctor." He said, quietly.
Jamie was waiting in the hall; she smiled politely at the Doctor as he came out.
"Can I go in now?" she asked him.
She walked in and saw Cyril looking out the window. "Hey baby, how ya doing?"
"I'm gonna be okay, I don't want you worrying about this, everything's gonna be fine." He said looking up at her and smiling.
Later that night Ryan returned without Shannon. As he'd said, he brought Jamie a cheeseburger, fries, and Coke from McDonalds. She left the room so she wouldn't have to eat in front of Cyril.
"Hey little brother." Ryan greeted his brother, leaning down to give Cyril a gentle one-armed hug. "How ya feelin?"
"Alright I guess."
"I smuggled in a Big Mac for ya." He said as he took the bag out from under his jacket. "There's some fries and a Coke in there too."
"Thanks Ry but I'm not hungry."
"Ya sure? I don't wanna see perfectly good Mickey D's go to waste."
"Naw it's okay, you eat it." And Ryan did just that.
"Didya talk to the doc?" Ryan asked between bites of his Big Mac.
"Yeah, he said I'm gonna be fine. I just need to hang here for a little while so they can check things out." Cyril lied.
"Yeah? That's good huh?"
"Hey, the cops were here the night it happened on account of it bein an assault and I heard a couple of them talking, they said you were pistol-whipped."
"Yep, but they didn't mention it to me when I was talking to them, so I think they're trying to keep it on the down low."
"Did dad come while I was out?" Cyril asked his brother, Ryan didn't answer.
"We're gonna find who did this to you Cyr, and we're gonna hang `em up like a side of beef."
"Ryan, was dad here?" Cyril asked again.
"Whoever did it is a fuckin coward in my book! They got you from behind, didn't even give you the opportunity to fight like a man." Ryan was double-fisting his fries.
"Ryan!" Cyril shouted.
"No Cyril, dad wasn't here! Are you happy now, is that what you wanna hear? He never gave a fuck before, what the hell makes you think he's gonna start now?" Cyril looked away from his brother as one hell of a whopping headache started coming on.
Two months later Ryan stood at the counter of Carmine's Pizza Palace waiting for his large pepperoni and green pepper pizza.
"Hey Dominick, you owe me 250 for the Yankee game." Ryan informed the very large man who was putting his pizza in the oven.
"Relax O'Reily, you know I'm good for it when Carmine pays me on Friday."
"Yeah right, you'll spend it on booze and women before I ever see my cut." Ryan snickered.
"Look, I said you'll get what you got comin alright." Dominick growled as he walked to the counter, towering over the skinny Irishman.
"Okay, Friday is fine with me, no problem." Ryan said with a grin as he patted Dominick's left bicep.
"Jesus O'Reily, you were startin shit the last time I saw you." "You never change do ya?" Ryan turned to look behind him to see who the voice was attached to.
"Holy shit Dino, when'd you get home?" Ryan asked, smiling and shaking hands with Dino Ortolani.
"Bout two months ago."
"How long you been gone?"
"Almost three years."
"Damn, has it been three years already?"
"Yeah that's funny O'Reily. Felt like 20, I'm just glad to be back in the neighborhood."
"I haven't seen ya around since ya been back, ya hiding from someone?"
"Nah, just trying to keep my nose clean. I'm on parole, don't wanna go back up ya know? Hey man I heard about your brother, that shit is fucked up!"
"Yeah tell me about it. The fucker who did it took him from behind like a coward. When I find whoever it is they're gonna wish they never fucked with the O'Reilys" Ryan stated matter-of-factly.
"Did they get you too?" Dino asked.
"No, but fuckin with my family is just as good as fuckin with me far as I'm concerned."
"Yeah, I feel the same way too, you mess with my family, I make ya pay." Dino replied. "Yo, your brother got off lucky though. I knew a guy once who got pistol-whipped so bad he was in a coma for a month and when he woke up he couldn't talk, couldn't walk, he was shittin in diapers, now he's a vegetable. It coulda been a whole lot worse for your brother man, for real." The two men stood in silence as Dino checked his watch and asked Dominick to turn up the game on the radio. Dino looked up to see Ryan staring at him intensely.
"What?" Dino asked when he saw the way Ryan was looking at him.
"Nothin." Ryan answered as the pistons inside his head started churning.
"So I heard you and Shannon are makin it legal, Congratulations. When's the wedding?"
"You heard right, it's next month."
"Aw man, good luck with that, the marriage game is tough ya know?" Dino said, chuckling to himself.
"Well we been together a long time, I figured what the hell right?" Ryan answered laughing a little too loud. "Hey Dino.how'd you know my brother was pistol-whipped?" he asked, still laughing.
"How did you know that Cyril was pistol-whipped?" Ryan asked again, his laughter subsiding.
"Didn't you just say that he was?" Dino replied nervously.
"Nope, never came up."
"That's strange I thought you did. I guess I have E.S.P. or some shit."
"Yeah right.E.S.P." Ryan was looking him directly in the eye, smiling deviously.
"O'Reily, here's your pie." Dominick walked to the counter and handed the cardboard box to Ryan.
"Thanks Dom." Ryan paid for the pizza and headed for the door. As he left he heard Dino Ortolani say it was good to see him again.
Ten minutes later Ryan was in Cyril's apartment, barging into his room. Upon entry he saw Cyril and Jamie partially covered and kissing in his Cyril's bed.
"Cyr, check this out." Cyril cut him off.
"Jesus Christ Ryan would it kill you to knock first?" Cyril yelled as he covered Jamie up to her neck with the blankets.
"Look, this is huge, I know who attacked you." They locked eyes, and Ryan nodded his head.
"Alright, lemmie get dressed, you wait in the living room, I'll be out there in a minute."
"Mmkay. Sorry James for bustin in." Ryan told her as he left the room.
"That's okay." She answered with a sigh.
Cyril was putting on his boxers then his pants. He pulled a cig out of the pack on his dresser, then turned towards the door.
"Baby you're not going to do anything stupid are you?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" He turned to face her.
"You once told me that I wasn't like Shannon, and that was one of the things that you loved about me. Well sweetie, you're not like Ryan, and that's one of the things I love about you. Don't let him drag you into anything okay?"
"It'll be fine, I promise." With that he turned the door handle and went to speak to his waiting brother.
"Well?" Cyril asked, lighting his cigarette and sitting down across from Ryan.
"Dino Ortolani, that fucking wop coward!" Ryan almost spat as he said Ortolani's name.
"How do you know?"
"I just saw him at Carmine's, he got outta jail two months ago. Get it? That means he was in the neighborhood right before you got attacked." Ryan informed Cyril, as he motioned for a drag off his brother's cigarette.
"So, that doesn't mean anything. Lotsa people were in the neighborhood that night." Cyril responded as he took his cig back from Ryan.
"Wait it gets better. He knows that you got pistol- whipped." Ryan was quiet as he let it sink into Cyril's mind.
"Damn right he does! Stupid motherfucker tried to tell me that I told him about it! It was him! I know it was!" Ryan was up and pacing around the living room. Cyril couldn't believe it. It must have been Dino; no one else knew how he'd been taken down.
"What does he have on you Cyr?" Ryan asked, getting Cyril's attention.
"Nothing as far as I know. Shit the guy's been gone how long?
"Well okay that's three years that I didn't have no beef with him. And before that we were cool I guess." Cyril stopped as he remembered one Ortolani that he had had beef with in the past. "Unless."
"Unless what?" Ryan stopped pacing. "Cyril, unless what?!"
"Uh, awhile ago I had some trouble with his little cousin Tony, ya know the one who works at Carmine's?"
"What kinda trouble?" Ryan sat down on the couch across from his brother.
"Ya know that scar he's got on his cheek?"
"He got it from me." Cyril answered looking down at the carpet.
"Are you fuckin kiddin me? What the fuck did you do that for? How come you never told me about it?"
"He was talking shit about Jamie, I went to Carmine's one night and called him on it, he was being a punk, so I burnt his face." Cyril explained. "But I thought everything was cool between us. He came to me about a month after that and apologized for talking about Jamie, even went and apologized to her. I accepted it, and offered one of my own for burning his face, he accepted and we let it go, I thought. But that can't be why Dino came after me, it was so long ago, and the beef between Tony and me is over." Cyril answered, looking confused.
"Goddamn it! That's it Cyril! Shit might be cool between you and Tony, but you know how those fuckin dago's are! If you fuck with one of `em it don't matter if you kiss and make up, someone else is always lookin for payback. Well I don't give a shit about any of that, Dino fucked with you, now we're gonna fuck with him." Ryan said as he walked over to the window.
"Does this Dino person drive a Trans-am?" Jamie asked, as she walked into the living room, brushing her hair. Cyril didn't know how long she'd been listening, he hoped she hadn't heard that he burnt Tony Ortolani's face.
"Yeah.why?" Ryan answered turning to face her.
"Because I remember seeing a Trans-am pull out of the alley across the street from my building that night after Cyril left. I didn't think anything of it at the time ya know?" Ryan glared at his brother, knowing that Jamie had just sealed Dino Ortolani's fate. He turned back to the window, and stared down at the empty block. Though he couldn't be sure, Ryan thought he saw the faint glow of someone's cigarette in the alley across the street.
"Do you Ryan Patrick take Shannon Marie as your lawfully wedded wife?"
"Do you Shannon Marie take Ryan Patrick as your lawfully wedded husband?"
"Yes, I do." She answered, as a single tear rolled down her cheek.
"By the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride." After their kiss, Ryan and Shannon walked up the aisle arm in arm, exchanging kisses along the way. Jamie hoped they could get through their wedding day without fighting. She and Cyril followed behind them and led the rest of the wedding party out of St. Andrews.
Ryan and Shannon, as well as Jamie and Cyril piled into the stretch limo that was waiting outside the church. The limo company, Klassy Koaches, supplied champagne, which they toasted with on their way to Morton's Reception Hall.
Inside Morton's, the deejay announced the arrival of the happy couple as they glided onto the dance floor for their first dance as man and wife. Slowly, other couples, including Cyril and Jamie, made there way to the dance floor.
"They look so happy don't they?" Jamie asked Cyril as they slow danced to "Endless Love".
"I guess so." He answered, unenthusiastically.
"My goodness, aren't you a source of happiness and joy?"
"You said they look happy, and it's true, they do look happy. That's what they're going for. I give `em two years.tops."
Jamie laughed. "God Baby, what's this about?"
"It's not about anything, just an observation." He answered as he leaned down to kiss her on the forehead.
"Well Mr. Grumpy, I don't..." Jamie stopped mid- sentence.
"You don't what?" he asked, as Jamie stopped dancing.
"James what is it?" Cyril sensed that something was suddenly wrong.
"It's my aunt Natalie.she's here." With that Jamie left Cyril standing on the dance floor.
Jamie walked over to where Ryan and Shannon were dancing in the middle of the crowd. "Ryan I'm sorry but can I talk to Shannon alone? It'll just be a minute I promise."
"Sure." He was thankful to be away from Shannon even if only for a moment. He went over to the buffet table where he saw Jessica Healer eating a miniature spinach quiche. She was one of Shannon's bride's maids and she had been making eyes at Ryan all day.
"This better be important!" Shannon warned as Jamie dragged her by the arm to the coat checkroom.
"Your mother's here Shan."
"Yeah, I saw her over by the bar."
"How do you know it's her, you haven't seen her in ages?" Shannon asked indignantly.
"It's her Shannon, I know it is. What do you want to do?" Jamie waited patiently for her to answer. Shannon was biting her lip, and tugging at the lace on her veil.
"You saw her at the bar you said? Well that's comforting to know, it seems she's still good old mom that I remember."
"Shan you don't have to see her, I'll get Ryan to tell her to leave, you know he will." "No, I wanna see her, want her to see how well I'm doing. Does Gran know she's here?"
"I don't think so."
"Thanks for telling me." Shannon kissed Jamie on the cheek and turned to go back into the dining hall. She couldn't find Ryan anywhere; she really wanted him to be by her side when she saw her mother for the first time in ten years.
Shannon was searching the room for Ryan when she came across a familiar pair of eyes. The same eyes that Shannon saw everytime she looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her mother was watching her. Instantly, she started shaking thinking about the last time she'd seen her mother.
Natalie had come home that night, drunk as a sailor's mate. She barged into Shannon's room and screamed at the nine- year-old that she wished Shannon had never been born. She said Shannon was a mistake, and didn't deserve to live any longer. "It was only out of the kindness of my heart that I didn't take a coat hanger to myself when I found out I was pregnant! Otherwise you would have been just a nasty little mess on the bathroom floor!" She then jumped on Shannon's bed, placed her hands around the child's throat and attempted to squeeze the life out of her. A neighbor called the police when he heard Natalie screaming. Shannon barely made it, and was taken away from her mother for good. Gran took her in and made her feel safe for the first time in her life.
"Oh Ryan baby, yeah, oh I love it, fuck me baby, fuck me hard." Ryan had Jessica Healer bent over the sink in the upstairs ladies restroom. His black tuxedo pants were down around his ankles as he grabbed hold of Jessica's hips and started pumping into her. He watched his reflection in the mirror; he loved watching himself fuck. Jessica's dress was pulled up around her hips, and the front was pulled down exposing her breasts, Ryan watched in the mirror as they jiggled. For a split second he felt bad about fucking another woman on his wedding night, but dismissed it as being an urge that must be fulfilled.
"What are you doing here?" Shannon demanded as she stalked up to her mother.
"Hello Shannon. I wanted to see my baby get married." Natalie smiled earnestly.
"Yeah? Well you missed the wedding, but I see you're not going to let an open bar pass you by." Shannon was spewing out sheer venom and hatred.
"Shannon, please don't." Natalie said as she took her daughter's hand into her own.
Shannon dropped Natalie's hand as if it were poison. "Get the fuck outta here, if I wanted you at my wedding I would have invited you." Jamie watched from a distance as Shannon talked to Natalie. She couldn't hear what they were saying but Jamie knew they weren't exchanging pleasantries. She came up behind Shannon and touched her arm.
"Hi aunt Natalie."
"Jamie, my goodness, what a woman you've grown into! You're 18 now right?" Natalie asked when she saw her niece. "I was sorry to hear about the accident, I loved my brother a lot, I just couldn't see him go into the ground. You understand don't you?"
Shannon didn't give Jamie the opportunity to reply. "Look I'm gonna ask you nicely, to please leave. Ya know what, fuck being nice! No one wants to see you and I don't want Gran to know you're here. You can leave through the kitchen." Shannon declared.
As Ryan was turning Jessica Healer around to take her from the front, Cyril walked into the upstairs ladies room.
"What the fuck are you doing?" He asked incredulously when he saw Ryan's mouth wrapped around Jessica's left breast. Ryan let go of his grip and told Cyril to fuck off. "The hell I will! Today is your wedding day, and you're up here fucking some whore while your wife is downstairs dealing with her mother alone. I never thought you could be such a cruel bastard." With that Cyril stormed out of the ladies room. Ryan caught up to him, adjusting his cumber bun and straightening his pants, as he followed his Cyril downstairs.
"Cyr, wait, you're not going to say anything are you?" Ryan asked with pleading eyes.
"Don't worry Ryan, I've always covered for you and I always will. So who's the bigger bastard now, you or me?"
Ryan searched the reception hall, looking for Shannon. He'd heard stories about Natalie, about how she abused Shannon until she was taken away. It was one of the things that bonded the two of them together. He found Shannon over at the bar, he could tell that she wasn't having a tear-filled, joyous reunion with her mother. He walked over to where they were. Natalie spotted him first and smiled, he didn't smile back.
"What's going on babe?" He asked as he came up behind Shannon and put his arm around her waist.
"Ryan I'd like you to meet the worst mother in the history of the world, and lucky me, she just happens to be mine."
"Shannon stop acting like a child, everything that happened between us is water under the bridge, I'm trying to reach out to you."
"The hell it is! And don't tell me what to do bitch! Your presence here is totally inappropriate, you know it, I know, everyone knows it, so why don't you fuckin leave already!" Shannon was getting louder; the guests were starting to look over in her direction.
"Baby, keep it down, everyone is looking." Ryan whispered into Shannon's ear.
"I don't give a damn Ryan, let `em look!"
"Leave!" Shannon screamed. "Get out! Leave Godammit!" Natalie stood there with tears forming in her eyes. When Shannon could no longer stand the sight of her mother's face, she slapped Natalie square in the jaw then turned and walked away. Ryan followed her, leaving Jamie alone with Natalie.
"Jamie please believe me, I didn't mean no harm coming tonight, I just wanted to see her in her wedding dress. Will you please tell her I'm sorry, and that when she's ready I'll be waiting for her." With that, Natalie McFadden walked out of Morton's Reception hall.
That night, after the reception, Jamie and Cyril lay in his bed talking.
"Are you serious?" Jamie asked incredulously.
"Yep, in the upstairs bathroom. The two of `em just goin at it like escaped cons in a whore house." Cyril stated as he dragged on his cigarette.
"You know I'm going to have to tell Shannon don't you?" She was resting her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat and softly rubbing his belly button.
"James don't. What good is it going to do for her to know? You said yourself, they look happy, and maybe they really are. She knows how he is and she married him anyway, it's not gonna do any good tellin her."
"How can you say that? If I were in her situation, I would want to know, no matter what!"
"Well, you'll never be in her situation cuz I would never disrespect you the way he disrespects her. On our wedding night, the only girl I'm gonna be fuckin is you. He said laughing as he kissed the top of her head.
"Is that a fact?" She was giggling with him.
"Yep." Cyril stubbed out his cigarette and rolled over to wrap his arms around her. They lay quietly, and soon fell asleep, putting the day's events far behind them.
Jamie scampered around her room, looking for her other shoe. It was her first day of college and she was incredibly nervous. She'd taken a year off after she'd graduated to work at Mr. Swavorski's Flower shop. She'd saved up some money, though not a lot, it was enough to cover the first year of what her scholarship didn't. She found the shoe under her bed, gathered her books and ran out of her room. She peeked into her Grandmother's room, and was happy to find her sleeping soundly. Jamie heard a honk outside and knew it was Cyril waiting to carry her to school. Some things never change, she thought to herself as she locked the door and skipped down the stairs.
"Hi baby." He said, leaning over to kiss her as she entered the Charger.
"Oh I'm so nervous."
"Don't be, you're gonna do just fine." He patted the seat, motioning for her to scoot over.
"Ya got everything you need?"
"I think so.I hope so." She replied, feeling the butterflies in her stomach begin to dance.
Ryan lay in bed, dragging on a cigarette, thinking about Dino Ortolani. It had been four months since Cyril's attack. Ryan had seen Dino twice since the night at Carmine's; both times Dino acted like he didn't have a care in the world. Ryan's instinct was to kill the wop, that bastard needed to know he wasn't getting away with shit. But he wasn't about to take a chance on getting saddled with a murder rap because of that fuck Ortolani. No, what Ryan had planned ensured that he'd come out smelling sweeter than strawberry wine. A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. He knew Cyril was coming by after dropping Jamie off at school.
"Hey." Cyril greeted his brother from the hallway when Ryan opened the door.
Cyril walked into the apartment and sat down on the couch. He liked Ryan and Shannon's apartment. She did a good job decorating, the place actually looked like a home. There were pictures on the wall that said "Bless our Nest" and "Home is where the heart is." Framed wedding pictures hung as well. The matching couch and loveseat took up the majority of the living room, and a coffee table, without any stains or cuts was placed between them. The carpet didn't smell like beer or cigarettes, and the curtains hanging from the windows weren't yellowed from years of nicotine. Cyril wanted this for he and Jamie. He'd asked her to come live with him when he moved out of his father's place, but she said no, that she needed to stay with her Grandmother.
"What's up?" Cyril asked as Ryan walked into the living room from the kitchen with two cups of coffee."
"I got an idea about Ortolani." Ryan lowered himself down onto the loveseat.
"Ryan, let it go, I don't want you involved with that." Cyril responded, taking a sip from the cup.
"Why? You gotta plan?"
"No, not really." Cyril answered, remembering his promise to Jamie.
"Cyril, come on, it's been four months already. That fucker struts around thinking he got away with it!"
"I don't wanna start with him Ryan. You know how the dagos are. You said yourself, if you fuck with one of `em, you fuck with all of `em."
"Jesus what's happened to you Cyr? You used to have some balls."
"Jamie's what's happened. I'm trying to prove to her that I've grown up, that I'm not gonna get killed for some stupid vendetta. I want her to marry me Ryan, and she's not going to if she thinks I'm still acting like a punk."
"Oh Christ Cyril, that's really heartwarming, will you gimmie a minute so I can break out a tissue! Ya know.there was a time when your name alone could strike fear into the hearts of people in this neighborhood. Not no more, people smell pussy when you walk by." Cyril scowled at Ryan. "Hey bro, that's not me talkin, that's just what I've heard." Ryan grinned at his brother.
"That shit ain't gonna work no more Ryan. I'm lettin this one go." Cyril got up off the couch and headed for the door. Ryan was right behind him.
"If you're not careful, you just might get yourself killed. Word around town is that you're a weakling now. The strong eat the weak for breakfast Cyr and I'm not gonna sit by and watch some shithead tear you from limb to limb. I'm trying to help you, can't you see that?" Cyril could feel Ryan's breath on his right ear; he could smell the mixture of coffee and cigarettes coming from his brother's mouth "So you really don't want no part of this then?" Ryan asked. Cyril shook his head.
"Fine! I'm a firm believer that you don't send a boy to do a man's job! I'll do it my fuckin self!" Ryan hissed as he walked away from his brother.
Continued in Part 3