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Mutants & Masterminds: The Family - Storia Una - Fare Thee Well


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February 9, 1945

The Laura Keene, docked at Ellis Island, NY

It was a sad day for the Five Families of New York City. Today, Charles “Lucky” Luciano was being deported from the United States. In exchange for his help coordinating the anti-Mussolini movement in Italy, his jail sentence had been commuted, but he was no longer allowed to remain in the country he had served. The party offered one last chance to thank the Don for his service, or to shake his hand.

Wine flowed as freely as the pasta sauce, and the dining room on Laura Keene was filled to the brim. Jim Pagelli’s loud voice dominated the room as he laughed with Lucky over some joke. If Lucky felt hemmed in by the man, he didn’t show it. Instead, he was all grins as he slapped Jim on the back, sending the ‘made man’ stumbling a bit. Everyone pretended not to notice the stagger; Jim was well-liked and no one wanted to call attention to the foot he’d lost on some island in the Pacific Theatre.

Along one wall, the consigliere Sandino picked through pieces of grilled swordfish before selecting a choice fillet. No one knew much about the quiet man, except perhaps Lucky. That might change, with the deportation of the Don. In fact, a lot was going to change.

Antonio Luciano picked his way through the crowd, Tessa at his side. There was a stiffness to his moments that hadn’t been there before the cold New York winter; the man’s age was becoming apparent. Lucky was clearly troubled by his brother’s health; he’d been keeping an eye on him for the last year, watching and protecting. Tessa was worried about her father, too, particularly given the upheaval that was sure to follow his deportation.

By the buffet, Crunchy stood next to Furio “Fury” Dramis. He’d made one pass through the delicious food, but knew he’d have to make at least one more to fill up. A body like his required food. Meanwhile, Fury was chatting on, the talkative man eagerly pointing out members of the family that Crunchy hadn’t met yet. “And that’s Sal Sangianone. Voice like an angel, you’ll see when he sings. Don’t bring any ladies you don’t want to lose around him. He’s a charmer.” Crunchy nodded as he watched the handsome man talking to the bandleader, coordinating music.

Sal was nervous; this was a big deal for him. It was his first time playing for the whole family, and this kind of exposure could really open doors for him – or close them forever. Plus, this was Lucky Luciano, and Sal didn’t want to be the guy to ruin his farewell party. He glanced back at the quiet man leaning against the wall, wondering who he was. Sal didn’t know his name, but thought he’d heard someone call the guy ‘Sheets’.

Mickey “Sheets” Toro was of a mixed mind. He knew that he should be putting on a good face for Lucky’s party, but he was angry that this was even necessary. He wanted to go find Governor Dewey and make him pay for his part in Lucky’s deportation and even his conviction almost a decade ago. He made an effort to shake all that off; there was a time to party and a time to fight. This was definitely a time to party.

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Tess ghosted through the room on her father's arm, smiling wanly at her cousins and Family; she'd known for a while now that Uncle Charlie was going to have to leave, but the party was finally making it real for her. He'd been a distant friend to her for years, a pen pal whose letters had always been more than birthday wishes or good advice for his young niece. She'd never minded; she'd learned more from their correspondances over the years than she would have from any book on politics or power and she'd always understood what it meant to be Family. Her father was stopped several times on their circuit around the room towards his brother; she'd smile, mummur something polite and then fade into the background while her father and his associates spoke. Often the other men would forget she was there entirely and the departing Don's niece remembered everything.

They eventually made it over to the knot of handshakes, hugs, and tears that surrounded Lucky; he clapped his brother on the shoulders and pulled him away from Tess long enough for a proper hug. He was smiling, but it was the same smile Tess had seen at her mother's funeral; it was made up tears and regrets and just a little desperation. He was going to miss his home; Italy hed been where he was born, but he was an American. Tess had to lean up on her tip-toes for her own hug and to kiss him on the cheeks. "Uncle Charlie," was all she said, but there was warmth and love in the name.

He held her out from him and gave her an appraising once-over. "They grow up so fast, Antonio. She'll be wrapping boys around her finger and starting trouble just walkin' in the door before you know it. How old is she now? 10? 12?" His eyes creased at the corner from holding in a chuckle.

"Uncle! I'm 17!" Her reply was the perfect image of the indignent teen and Lucky pulled her into another hug as the circle around him burst into knowing laughter. He spoke softly into her hair, "Don't grow up too fast, doll. You'll make us all feel old."

The chatter in the room picked up after the teasing outburst and after another few minutes of conversation Antonio and his daughter stepped aside to let others speak to Lucky. They'd be back before he left; they had gifts to give him and one last round of kisses and hugs, but for now the party was clipping along at a respectable buzz and it was time to mingle.

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Sal smiled to the band leader, and stepped up to the microphone. "Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Sal Sangionone and we are here to celebrate a loving father, a humble brother, and a good guy." Sal lifts the glass of wine he is holding, and looks right at Lucky and his knot of well-wishers."To 'Lucky' Luciano. May your life be full to bursting of happiness and love." He takes a hard swig of the wine, and smiles at a few of the ladies in the room, "This is dedicated to a very special lady, wherever she is right now."

Sal breaks into his rendition of "Bei Mir Bistu Shein"

Click to reveal..
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Mickey pushed off the wall and dropped his arms as he relaxed, the wide berth people were giving him started to close in as the look of Death faded from his eyes. He was dressed in a well-tailored Zenga suit, men he hoped to do business with soon. His black hair was slicked back, revealing a pair of penetrating blue eyes that sought to catch every wary glance, every fake laugh, as he casually walked towards Lucky, only stopping once to shake hands and hug his Grandfather who was seated at a table, enjoying a glass of wine.

ballroom.jpg

"Good evening, Nonno. Glad to see you in good health." Mickey whispered into his ear as the music started.

"You too, nipotino. Every time I see you, I pray it is without holes." 'The Bull' answered, the smell of alcohol strong on his breath already.

"The Commission has seen to that for the time being, Pops. Though it is no secret that I am not happy to see Lucky leaving." Mickey spat, his Bronx accent giving more venom to the words.

Tony's eyes widened as he darted a finger to his lips, "Shh, be careful Mickey, you'll end up in Jersey." he whispered, "Frankie's got's crew everywhere."

"Don't worry 'bout me," Mickey nodded, as he backed away and stuck his thumbs back at himself, "It's them that gotta watch out."

He turned around and continued on his way to Lucky, his Grandfather simply shaking his head as he took another drink.

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Tess' father caught sight of the young grandson of The Bull as he was making his way towards Lucky and moved to intercept. He smiled at the man, musing on when he came to think of mid-twenties as young; Lucky was right, they were getting old. "Mickey, my boy, how have you been? I haven't seen you around for a few weeks; business keeping you up?"

In the Family even innocuous questions had layers of meaning for those listening; Antonio was being forthright. He hadn't seen Mickey at any of his usual haunts in the past several weeks, but that was at least in part because Antonio himself had been busy ensuring the Lucky's party went off without a hitch and that all the necessary arrangements were taken care of in Italy. Tess on the other hand watched Mickey's response with interest, her head leaned innocently against her father's chest and making her look a little sleepy.

The party moved around them, Sal's song in the background having gathered a large crowd of listeners and one or two adventurous couples that had decided to start the dancing first. Others were slowly joining them once they were able to shrug off enough of the singer's spell to pick out partners and start the steps. Tess glanced up at the stage and gave the singer a smile; he was good even if he wasn't born to the Family.

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Mickey slowed when he saw Antonio moving to greet him, making connections with Antonio would be a good place to start when trying to get Lucky back stateside. Sheets glanced at the figure huddled against the Luciano brother's chest and nearly did a double take.

Is that Little Tess? She's...she's grown up!

"I'm good Antonio, business is good, thanks to Lucky." Mickey answered, his eyes mostly for Tess, her beauty having ensnared him. "I am very sorry to hear Lucky is headed to Italy, Europe is not a good place to be right now, if you know what I mean."

He was of course referring to the fact that WWII was still fresh in most people's minds, especially those of veterans like Mickey. Italy, like many other countries, was still rebuilding.

"If you don't mind, you must introduce me to this beautiful woman on your arm, I don't believe we've had the pleasure...?" he trailed off, taking Tess' hand and giving it a gentle kiss.

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Antonio stiffened at the flirtatious introduction to his daughter, but he knew he'd have to get used to men noticing her at some point and least Sheets was Family. He tried not to frown or glare at the boy; he wasn't sure how successful he was being. Tess herself smiled, pleased at the attention of a young and rising star in the family; she watched him kiss her hand and her cheeks flushed with a pale blush.

"My daughter, Contessa," Antionio's voice rumbled from far away into the moment the youngsters were almost having. Tess' eyes caught Mickey's and for the briefest fraction of a second something more than teenage innocence flicked through them.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mickey Toro. Or do you prefer to be called Sheets?" Her voice was light and soft in all the right ways; Mickey could tell Antonio was going to have a time of it once word got out that Little Tess wasn't so little any more.

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Mickey ignored the ice dagger glare from Antonio, there were plenty of worse candidates that could be flirting with her at the moment, and despite his primal urges, he had nothing but honorable intentions towards Tess. At least, that's what he kept telling himself as his brain walked down the East Tracks that pointed towards all the myriad ways marrying into the Luciano name could be beneficial for him.

"Contessa...Molto bella." he said, releasing her hand, but letting his fingers slid away against hers. "Mickey is just fine. I don't suppose your Father would mind if I asked you to dance?"

He glanced cautiously over at Antonio, trying to gauge if he had stepped too far, though a dance didn't seem too much at this junction, the night was young and alcohol still had much work to do in this room.

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Tess gave her father one of those looks that only teenage daughters can perfect, that mix of pleading and hopefullness that absolutely wrapped a father around little fingers. He sighed and kissed her on the temple before releasing her to Mickey's custody. "One dance, and tell him to stop if you get tired."

"Of course, Papa." If she seemed offended or irritated at the reminder of her fragile physique, she made no show of it; she smiled that dazzling smile at Mickey again and let herself be led out to area where people were dancing. Men and few of the more ambitious women in the Family were already descending upon Antonio to talk shop or try to ingratiate themselves with a major player in the Family.

Tess placed a her other hand on Mickey's shoulder and waited for him to lead. Her lips quirked into a teasing smile, "You're taking quite the risk, Signore Sheets. And it's Tess, Tessa to my friends."

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Sal smiled as the people danced, "I think we're ready to take this up a step."

He turned to the bandleader and signaled for his next song. The familiar strains of "Sing, Sing, Sing." began to play. Waiting for his cue, Sal looked around the room, mentally making note of who to talk to after this song. He noticed the lucky gent dancing with the young daughter of Antonio Luciano, and smiled. Then his cue came, and the music washed over the dancers and listeners alike.

Click to reveal..
Activating the feat fascinate(Perform-singing)

Perform-singing roll - (10:39:48) ChatBot: (Salvatore) rolls 1d20 and gets 8. 8+13=21

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Mickey smiled, "I'm all about risks, Tessa. A dance with you is worth the consequences."

Just as he was about to take them into form, the band trailed off, and almost without pause started into the new song. It was an older tune, but still a popular one nonetheless.

Mickey's eyes sparkled at the new song and he immediately tossed Tess into a spin. Good music, Family, beautiful woman...it couldn't get any better.

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"So you're a friend of mine?" Her brow arched but her smile depened into a grin as she moved through the dance with him. "I'll take you at your word then."

She danced well, especially for a girl who a few years ago hadn't been able to make it through even a shorter song without losing her breath and having to sit out for a half hour or so. The two got looks, both for their attractiveness and for who they were. The young and eligiable were already mentally debating either cutting in or how to conveniently end their current dance nearer to the intriguing couple. The older Family, however, was watching for far more....political....reasons. Little Tess could be a valuable bargaining chip or pawn, with Lucky being deported but still alive and Castello's power as Don not fully stabilized; Sheet's was known for his resourcefulness. And for his history.

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Crunchy wated everything in silence. It wasn't really his place to comment on things, he left that to the more eloquent speakers. When he spoke to others it was mostly with only a few syllables of his deep voice.

The only man he spoke to openly was Lucky, the Don of the family, the Man who'd given him something when he had nothing.

He watched the others, and he did smile when The Don's niece took to the floor with Mickey. It could be argued that it was a huge risk on his part, but then again Lucky seemed to be in as good a mood as could be expected.

He watched the other Men in the family, noting who spoke to whom, and knew that when Lucky was gone, things would open up, and there'd be alot of opportunities, and people grabbin for 'em.

In the end he'd fight for who Lucky told him to fight, himself and what's best for the Family.

He turned his attention to Salvatore and listened to the artist weave his musical magic, and found that he was actually pretty good.

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Crunchy saw the man approaching. He didn’t remember the guys name, but he recognized his face. He was Family, and Crunchy just nodded to him as he stopped in front of him. “Hey, Lucky wants ya, over dere,” the man said, pointing with a jerk of his thumb. Crunchy nodded and pushed off the wall, glancing at Furio. The man didn’t seem surprised; he might know that Lucky wanted to talk to him. Silently, he followed the other ‘button’ back toward a back room.

The song ended and Sheets spun Tessa with a final flourish. She laughed with delight, her eyes sparkling and her cheeks flushed with exertion. As the two started to give each other thanks for the dance, they were interrupted. Chris Scali, also known as “Strings” due to an unfortunate accident with a guitar, tapped on Sheets shoulder. “Lucky wants to talk to you in the back room,” Strings said, jerking his head. Sheets nodded and murmured an apology to Tess, who clearly understood.

In the back room, Crunchy and Sheets found Lucky sprawled in a chair. “Evenin’ gents,” he said, sucking on his Cuban. “Can I interest you in a cigar?”

Tessa found herself at loose ends again; her father wasn’t anywhere to be seen. With a sigh, she began to wander the room and mingle, keeping a smile on her face – and her ears open.

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Accepting, implied subservience, that Lucky was providing for his Family that which they could not procur on their own. It also did well to provide subtle tendencies towards owing him. Tit for tat. Mickey was okay with this. Lucky was responsible for the Commission and the Commission was responsible for keeping Mickey's blood inside his body while he plotted his further revenge. So it was with great inner relish that he nodded, wondering what this impossible man wished to speak to him about.

At Sheets' nod, Lucky pulled one of the fat cohibas and sliced off the end using a double blade guillotine and offered it to him before he popped open a new Zippo and offered the low flame.

Mickey quickly bent over and puffed a few, quick draws to get the cigar lit before stepping back. As the Luciano Don snapped the lighter shut, he gestured with his Cuban-laden hand towards the available seating and Mickey quickly took a seat on a high-back leather & wood chair. When Lucky pointed, you went.

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Crunchy nodded respectfully and accepted the offered Cigar. He sat quietly, knowing Lucky would tell them why they were here, HE didn't just call you into a private area, JUST to talk. He had a task for him and Sheets, and like any loyal member of the Family, Crunchy would do all he could to accomplish what was about to be set down.

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Lucky was quiet for a moment. "I'm going to miss this place," he said, staring at his cigar. "I'm going to miss my brother and his family. He won't come with me." Lucky was quiet again and both men waited respectfully for him to finish; he seemed to have more to say.

But when he spoke again, he was all business. "I have asked my capos, 'Name me the new button who you believe is most loyal to the Family.' Lots of names came up, but two came up more than most: Crunchy and Sheets. So I have a couple of tasks for you boys. The first is the easiest." He drew another lungful of rich, spicy Cuban smoke into his lungs, then released it slowly, clearly enjoying the cigar. As a purple haze surrounded Lucky, he continued, "Frankie's gonna be in charge now, and I want you two to support him. But I also want you two to watch him. Listen to what he does, and report to me. I want another source of information other than what Frankie tells me. Don't oppose him or make trouble for him; just let me know what he does. I might be gone, I might have to give up bein' the Boss, but if this Family needs me back, I intend to know, and to return. So that's one thing for you. Got any questions?"

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Sheets wasn't gone two minutes before the next man stepped up. Ricky Bruno was a new button, one of the many given his spot thanks to the war. And he wasn't alone; her brother Emilio was with him. "Tessie," Emilio said, smiling, "This is Ricky - he wanted to be introduced to you. Ricky, this is my sister, Tessa." Emilio gave her a level gaze and said, "He mentioned dancing with you, sis."

Tessa hid a sigh. Her brother was trying to be subtle.

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Crunchy nodded once. "Whatever you say Boss." He smiled a rare thing, before it died. and he returned to a more somber look. "You will be missed to be sure boss, nobody can take your place. You can count on me to keep you in the loop on what goes on over here, it's the least I can do to repay all the kindess you've shown me."

He adds. "No questions boss, just wishing' you didn't have to go. It just won't be the same."

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She smiled politely at Rickie, "I'd love to, but do you mind waiting until the next song? I'm still a little out of breath."

Watching how people reacted to two things - a weakness in another person and being inconvenienced even only momentarily - had been the cornerstone's of Tess' education in psychology. She watched Ricky from demurely lowered lashes and wondered about her brother's choice in men.

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Sal walked off the stage after finishing his second song, and the band began playing instrumentals while he was gone. He went over to the bar and ordered another glass of red wine. He began looking around the room, seeking out the lovely ladies. His eyes alighted on Tessa and he paused, his eyes betraying surprise and pleasure. He slowly made his way towards her, but stopped a distance away as two men approached her, one seeming to be related, and the other seeming to be more than capable of breaking him in two. He circled around the trio, at a discreet distance, watching their interplay. He then walked back to the bar, and flagged down the bartender. He asked the bartender quietly, while slipping him a 5 dollar bill as a tip, "Who are those guys, and who is that beautiful little lady over there?"

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Mickey nods with Lucky's instructions, not doubting his intentions and more than happy to comply. This would give him a chance to feed information skewed enough to possibly warrant the Luciano Don's return. Though the choice of the hard-boiled next to him did give him cause for concern.

This kind of trust would take me yards towards makin' Tess my moll. Lot's of benefits.

"Yeah, I have a few, Don. How we to gettin' the skinny to ya? And...do ya trust Frankie?"

Mickey's look was serious, he didn't want to get the Family answer, he wanted the man's true feelings.

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The barest hint of irritation flowed through his eyes, but Ricky smiled. "Sure thing, Doll. Why don't you catch ya breath, and I'll go talk to the band. Set up a cool song for kicks, right?" He turned, then spun back. "Can I getcha somethin'?"

Tessa declined politely. The second Ricky was far enough away to be polite about it, Emilio turned to her. "Cool, ain't he? He's got this hot club - lets me get in free. He's a good friend - be a peach and dance with him for me, right, sis?"

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The barkeep held up a hand, refusing the money. "I just work here," he muttered in a thick Jewish accent. "Don't see nothing, don't know nothing. Wanna drink? Free bar."

Before he could answer, another man further down the bar slid over and plucked the five out of Sal's hand. "They are Ricky Bruno and Emilio Luciano. The lady is Tessa Luciano. Milo and Tessa are Antonio Luciano's kids. I assume you get it now? The lady's off-limits to you, unless you're a baby-faced Wiseguy who I haven't met yet. And I've met all of Lucky's buttons." He grinned at Sal obnoxiously, clearly enjoying the exchange, as the bartender took on the expression of absolute blankness.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Lucky shot Mickey a droll look. "'a course I trust him," he said, puffing lightly on the cigar, increasing the cloud around him, "but there's a lotta difference between trusting him across an ocean, and trusting him from Green Meadows." There was a slight grimace as he spoke of the prison he'd been held for so long. "I trust him, but I'm no fool." His expression darkened a moment, then he seemed to shrug off his dark thought and continued.

"We'll communicate through telegraph and letter," Lucky said. "You'll be able to send them in the packages to Sicily." Crunchy and Sheets both frowned, and a smile creased Lucky's face. "Your gettin' a going-away gift, Mickey. It's gonna paint a target on you, me showin' you so much favor, but you've shown you can handle heat. You're the new owner of Migliore Olio di Oliva, Inc. It imports olive oil from Italy for the restaurants 'round the area." He puffed on his cigar hard. "You'll be exporting supplies for a war-torn country. In those exports, you'll be sending me reports, weapons, drugs - whatever I need. Crunchy, you're going to help him, watch his back, gather information, and learn the straight business, so that if somethin' happens to him, you can step in, keep it going.

"Whatever associates you decide you can trust and want to pick up, but I don't want other wiseguys knowing about this unless you clear 'em with me." He fell silent, waiting for their reactions.

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Her smile smile slipped as she listened to her brother explain Ricky's place in his life, the sigh finally escaping her. She gave her brother a look somewhere between compassion and exasperation. "Milo, a friend would make you pay; now you owe him."

Her voice was low and hard, though it still seemed to the others in the room that she was only chatting in her quiet way with her brother. "One dance, Milo. That is all he gets from me for your debt to him. The rest you'll have to understand, and someday pay, on your own."

She leaned up and kissed him on the cheek, letting him know that her cold words weren't meant to hurt him. "And in return, I claim your next dance after this. I'm already filling up my dance card for the night and I've yet to dance with any of my family." Her smile was a summer breeze to her earlier words.

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Sal smiled with a shark's grin at the guy who took the five and provided him with key information, "Why not let the lady decide who's off-limits herself, buddy? You may be surprised at the result. Besides, Just because you think I'm nothing doesn't mean I AM nothing." Sal got up and boldly walked over in Tessa's direction, motioning to the bandleader to switch to something more up tempo and short in the next song. He came up near Tessa, while staying a short distance away, he politely said, "Excuse me, miss. But can I get a word with you, Mr. Luciano?" He turns toward Emilio and said, "Se that guy at the bar? The one with the crumpled up bill in his hand? He said you were a... what was the words he used, a little brat who didn't dare do anything without an okay from pops...I dunno about you, but I wouldn't like to let that stand. After all, if one guy's saying that in front of your face... But you didn't hear it from me, get it?" He looked back at the guy who told him to stay away, and smiled a cold smile. Then he went back to looking at Emilio.

Click to reveal..
Cha+ Bluff=10 + Roll = 22 1d20+10=22
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Originally Posted By: The Dawn (get it, the Dawn/Don :D
Lucky shot Mickey a droll look. "'a course I trust him," he said, puffing lightly on the cigar, increasing the cloud around him, "but there's a lotta difference between trusting him across an ocean, and trusting him from Green Meadows." There was a slight grimace as he spoke of the prison he'd been held for so long. "I trust him, but I'm no fool." His expression darkened a moment, then he seemed to shrug off his dark thought and continued.

"We'll communicate through telegraph and letter," Lucky said. "You'll be able to send them in the packages to Sicily." Crunchy and Sheets both frowned, and a smile creased Lucky's face. "Your gettin' a going-away gift, Mickey. It's gonna paint a target on you, me showin' you so much favor, but you've shown you can handle heat. You're the new owner of Migliore Olio di Oliva, Inc. It imports olive oil from Italy for the restaurants 'round the area." He puffed on his cigar hard. "You'll be exporting supplies for a war-torn country. In those exports, you'll be sending me reports, weapons, drugs - whatever I need. Crunchy, you're going to help him, watch his back, gather information, and learn the straight business, so that if somethin' happens to him, you can step in, keep it going.

"Whatever associates you decide you can trust and want to pick up, but I don't want other wiseguys knowing about this unless you clear 'em with me." He fell silent, waiting for their reactions.


Mickey's eyes widened briefly at the news before the cool cat regained his composure and he quickly puffed out a small cloud of smoke to obscure whatever was left of his visible reaction. Though his voice let on to the keen observer as his accent thickened slightly.

"I'm honored, Don. I look forward to the expanded operations. Who's the lucky guy I am inheriting the company from? I'll make sure not to sit at their table tonight." he smiled and chuckled slightly at the comment, trying to ease his own anxiety.

Excellent.
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As Milo tried to gather his thoughts enough to answer his sharp-tongued sister, the handsome singer came up and delivered his information. Milo looked over at the man he indicated and said, “Marty said that? What the hell? He’s my friend.” Without pausing to question Sal, he turned and walked away, already shouting at Marty as he walked. “Yo, goombah! What the fuck, man?”

Click to reveal..
Milo’s check vs. DC 22: 15 – FAIL

The Don smiled even wider at Sheets’ question, until he looked more like a shark than a man. “Well, since that was my company, and Frankie was gonna take them over for me… you’ll be inheriting from Frankie.” He laughed at the fleeting and quickly hidden expression on Sheets’ face. “Nah, forgetaboudit. Frankie thinks I’m giving you a reward, that’s why you’re getting Migliore. I didn’t give you East First Pawn or somethin’ big like that. Frankie won’t miss Migliore at all.” His eyes were glinting as he added, “But it could be a big deal for a couple of buttons just starting, no? Now, you ready to hear my second, harder task?"

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Sal smiles and bows to Tessa, "I'm sorry to have broken up the conversation between you two, but I had to ask you for a dance. I even have the perfect song picked out, and I have some pull with the bandleader. I'll understand if you say no, but please give me a chance. It doesn't have to be right now, either. Just sometime this evening. If you need anything done with the music, let me know. I'll pull some strings." Sal bows slightly again, and waits for the fireworks to start.

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Tess watched the singer make his play and did a fair job of holding back a rather crushing case of the giggles. She rolled her eyes at her brother, the exasperated "Men!" going tastefully unsaid. She favored her newest suitor with a wry grin.

"I'll tell you what, if you can match up my brothers, father, and probably most of the other men here with partners or other distractions, without intruding on the celebration, I'll give you that dance. Otherwise you'll probably end up wet, and only swimming if you've got someone here to bat well for you." Her eyes were bright; something in them challenging, engaging, and just a touch spiteful. She didn't seem angry with him, but she wasn't going to make this easy for the singer either. And if he pulled it off? She'd have some time to do as she pleased instead of being handed off from one related male to another and an interested man worth at least an evening's entertainment.

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Originally Posted By: Lucky
The Don smiled even wider at Sheets; question, until he looked more like a shark than a man. "Well, since that was my company, and Frankie was gonna take them over for me; you'll be inheriting from Frankie." He laughed at the fleeting and quickly hidden expression on Sheets' face. "Nah, forgetaboudit. Frankie thinks I'm giving you a reward, that's why you're getting Migliore. I didn't give you East First Pawn or somethin' big like that. Frankie won't miss Migliore at all." His eyes were glinting as he added, "But it could be a big deal for a couple of buttons just starting, no? Now, you ready to hear my second, harder task?"


"Just say the word, Don." Mickey replied, all smiles, despite the shot to his ego.

Deep in his mind, he was looking to put some hurt on. The Commission's Peace was making everyone fat and lazy, it was time for some bloodletting and Mickey was the Man ready for the job.
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Sal got a determined look on his face, and headed off into the room with a quick wave to Tessa. He headed first towards Tessa's father, and looked around the room for eligible young women. Upon spotting of a small cluster of them, he turns and heads for them. He chats up the young ladies to do him a favor. He sends them out into the room to find dance partners among the eligible men. He then began to follow the various ladies, making sure that their partners will take them onto the dance floor. He first approached Antonio and says, "Excuse me, but I believe this young lady would like to dance with you. It would make her night most special indeed." After discussing it with Antonio, Sal smiled and moved off, looking for his next target.

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"My brother Antonio could have been my successor, but he hasn't had the heart for the Business since his wife's death. His boys are nice kids, but that's all. And that leaves Tessa." He paused and his eyes settled on Sheets for a long moment. "You boys are going to watch out for her. Make sure her brothers don't get her in trouble that her father can't get her out of. Make sure no one uses her to further themselves." Lucky sat back, smiling mysteriously at them, as if he knew a private joke.

“Think you wiseguys can handle the little lady?”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Antonio blinked with surprise as a young lady was presented to him for company. Smiling, he began to chat with her, smiling easily as his night began to look up somewhat. As Sal started to edge away, Antonio caught his arm and murmured, “Save the best for Lucky, eh?”

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Tessa watched the singer work the room, taking the time to remember his name and what little she'd heard of him besides his musical talent. She wondered how long it would take her father to figure out what was going on, and if he'd put it together enough to trace it back to her. She'd rather dreaded that the night would end up being a parade of the more boring aspects of Family politics as everyone tried to figure out what the landscape would look like missing the Titan that was her uncle. So far, it had been very promising.

She shooed off a few would-be suitors without enough of the right credentials to merit a dance with her; politely, but her public time was precious and not easily acquired. Besides, she had a show to watch and champaign to filch while her father and brothers were mostly engaged. She drank just enough to make the room pleasantly warm and tried to track how well Signore SanGianone was doing on her little request now.

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Sal moved among the higher echelons of the Family with ease, presenting each of the higher-ups with the companions that had been chosen for them. He made sure to choose one that he thought Lucky would enjoy spending time with, and saved her for the Boss. He even picked one out for the guy that told him to stay away from Tessa and Milo, but he sent her over without escorting her, leaving it up to her to get his attention. His eyes were constantly drawn to Tessa and he smiled each time he caught her eye. He then returned to Antonio and smiled, "Excuse me, but I was wondering if you had any musical requests for the next song... If not, I was thinking of slowing it down for the next couple of songs. Maybe some Glenn Miller songs, or even some traditional songs. But I think we'll wait on that to a little later in the evening. Any input, sir?" He smiled a truly felt smile, rare for Sal.

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Josiah nods at the honor and faith being placed in him. "I'll do whatever you ask Boss, always."

When the second task is given he smiles. "I believe we can keep her outa trouble boss, between the two of us."

He looks at Mickey. "She'll be safe with us, and since you're already showing some favor to Mickey, He might have enough clout to not be viewed as suspicious if she spends time with us."

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"Good," Lucky said, grinning. "Glad to hear you think this'll be easy. Good luck, boys. You'll need it." He waved toward the door. "Now, getcher asses outta here and have some fun. I got more work to do."

The two young men didn't need any more prompting. They made their proper farewells to the Don and got back to the party. They were a little surprised at the change in tone in the short time they'd been inside; wifes and daughters were starting to disappear, obeying a silent signal to clear out and let the men have their fun.

The singer from earlier was running around matching people together, hooking the single men up with women looking for money, love, comfort or, for the ambitious ones, a ring and a life of luxury. The party was starting to slide from clean family-safe farewell to a blow-out debauchery.

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Tess had tucked herself into a quiet corner watching Sal making his way around the room. Her lips twitched as she watched the transition around the room; her brothers were already well in hand by the more ambitious and less scrupulous women in the room and her father had finally been pinned down at a table by a near never-ending stream of 'concerned and well-wishing' associates. She had another glass of something amber colored and bubbly-looking in hand as she sat quietly in her unobtrusive little hide-out, obviously ignoring the signal that it was time for good little girls to be headed home to more savory settings than this was becoming.

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My kinda party.

Quickly scanning the room, Mickey happened upon Tess tucked away, nursing what appeared to be some of the champagne floating around as she watched the crowd.

Not now Sheets, no need to drown the doll.

Mickey was still staring at her with his intense gaze when he was grabbed on the forearm by a woman looking for fun, or at least to be seen with Mickey. Not one to resist the charms of a scantily clad beautiful woman, he let himself be drug out onto the dance floor. He downed a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and gave Tess another glance, this time by chance, making eye contact.

Her gave her a smile and wink before his companion teasingly, yet forcibly, pulled him into the beat of the room.

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Tess caught Mickey's look the second time, her eyes crinkling into an amused grin at his companion's insistence. She gave him a salute with her champaign flute inr response to the wink.

Well, at least it seems I won't be ushered out immediately. How pleasant.

The world was pleasantly warm and just a little fuzzy around the edges for Tess; she watched who danced with whom, who was doing business, and who were being conspiciously absent or quiet. Idly she reflected there were probably more deals, politics, and power shifts going on in this room at the moment than in Washington. At least, more important ones. She pulled a small notepad and a pen out of her purse, sketching down a series of symbols and letters from the code she'd come up with during the long, boring stretches of hospitals and bedrest of her childhood. So much more efficient than English, and most people assumed she simply wasn't the artist she was hoping to be.

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All of Tess' chaperones had forgotten about her, as they were wiled away by Sal's subtle manipulations. Crunchy and Mickey were plain having fun; this was one of the benefits to the mobster's life - the sweet parties. Sal went to claim his prize, but was whisked back up onto the stage to sing again. Tess watched with amusement at his frustration, interested to see how he'd deal with it.

"Fuckin' Lucky." The words cut through the air, making Tess stiffen in shock. She looked around covertly, looking for the speaker; she didn't recognize the male voice. As she peered into nearby shadows, he spoke again. "What the fuck is he doing?"

"Puttin' a fuckin' bullseye on Sheets' head, that's what he's doin'," another voice, thick with a Jersey accent said. It sounded like it was coming from behind her, and Tess realized that the window behind her was open a bit, allowing her to overhear the conversation occurring on the deck. She tried to peek through the glass, but the interior lights turned the shapes outside into odd blurs.

"Fuck Sheets, and Crunchy, too," the first said. "Both too big for their britches."

"Gentlemen, just be careful," a new person said as the group of four began to drift away. "Sheets is a vengeful man, and Crunchy dangerous; we should not rattle cages."

"We should crush cages," a woman said, making Tess' eyebrows rise. "You don't shake the bear cage to stop the bear."

"Easy, easy... Sheets and Crunchy's involvement may not endanger our operations. And if it does," the second said, "accidents happen."

The voices had faded beyond Tess' ability to hear them, and she was left with only a handful of sinister clues.

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