"And I'm so tired (tired)
I fuck with the mob and I got ties (lotta ties, lotta ties)
Knock you off to pay their tithes
They want me gone but don't know why
...It's too late for all that."
- Mob Ties, Drake
When Vienna DeLaurentis stepped out of the arrival terminal of O'Hare International Airport, she was immediately met with the brisk February cold of Chicago, Illinois.
Her movements were hurried as she fought against the winter breeze, trying to scan the terminal for a familiar vehicle. The air whipped against her face, causing her to shiver in the cold and bury her face further into her scarf. If it was not evident before, it was clear to her now that she was most definitely back in the Windy City.
She turned towards the male voice and quickly walked towards the black tinted car, the heels of her boots clack, clack, clacking against the pavement with her swift movements.
"Gino. Hey," she breathed as the older man enveloped her in a warm hug and a peck on the cheek.
"Hey cuzzo," Gino DeLaurentis smiled widely, before grabbing her suitcase and purse and moving to the back of the car to throw her things in the trunk.
Vienna quickly got into the heated car, escaping from the bitter cold that seemed to too-easily pierce through her wool coat. She sighed in gratitude as the heater greeted her numb fingers. She felt like she was defrosting into the leather seats of the cozy sports car.
"Hey Vienna," Nolan D'Amico greeted from the driver's seat. His boyish grin was wide, like he was trying to hold back a laugh as he watched her attempt to warm her hands.
"Hey Nolan, how're you doing?" Vienna asked kindly in between blowing warm air into the palms of her hands. She had always liked the D'Amico family and was happy that her twenty-six year old cousin chose to bring Nolan along for the drive rather than one of his other knuckleheaded friends.
"I'm good, I'm good. No complaints," Nolan replied smiling, watching her from the rearview mirror.
Before Vienna could inquire any further, Gino opened the passenger side door, inviting a bitter gust of wind into the car while he dropped down into his seat.
"Hey, we're good to go. Let's get out of this traffic," Gino urged, while buckling his seatbelt, motioning for Nolan to get onto the I-90 highway.
Nolan pulled away from the terminal, and Vienna took a moment to peer out of her window. A sudden rush of warmth filled her chest, almost as if her body recognized that yes, we're back home now.
"How was your flight?" Nolan asked, while Gino fiddled with his cell phone, trying to get the GPS to work properly.
"It felt quick. I slept through most of it, to be honest," Vienna answered thoughtfully, still rubbing her hands together in an attempt to bring life back into them.
"That's good," Gino commented, propping his phone on the dashboard so that it could help navigate their way back home. "I'm sure you were comfortable too, huh cuzzo?"
Vienna's mouth slanted at his cocky tone, and resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "Yes, thank you Gino for putting me in first class. It was comfortable. But like I said over the phone, I can pay you back—"
"Nah, nah," Gino waved his hand dismissively, shooting her a large shit-eating grin. "I had the miles saved, I told you. And besides, I had to make sure my baby cousin got in okay. Keep the family safe, you know?"
More like you bribed the airline or pilot, Vienna could not help but think automatically, but she shook her thoughts away quickly.
"Yeah, yeah. I appreciate the gesture," Vienna grumbled, while leaning against the window and propping her legs up in the backseat of the car. "Just don't hold it over my head, Gino."
"Me? Oh I would never," Gino said in a sarcastically offended tone while Nolan chuckled.
"Mhm," Vienna mumbled, tipping her head back and watching the traffic pass on the other side through half-lidded eyes. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think y'all were trying to butter me up or something."
She was so tired that she nearly missed the way Nolan and Gino glanced at each other, exchanging guilty looks.
"What?" Vienna asked suspiciously, perking up and peering between both of the men. She tried to make sense out of their uncharacteristic silence.
"Well," Nolan started, drawing out the word until it was several syllables long, while looking apprehensively at Gino.
Vienna focused her attention on Gino's side profile, "What's going on? Gino?"
A thick, sudden tension filled the car, as she waited for an explanation from her older cousin. She saw the muscle in her cousin's jaw clench before he turned towards her, his face serious and beseeching.
"There's a job in town...if you want it," Gino finally proposed hesitantly, his eyes cautious as he waited expectantly for her negative reaction.
Vienna pursed her lips before letting out a breath that she did not realize she was holding.
There was a beat of silence before she asked quietly, "What is it?"
A wide, mischievous grin took over Gino's face. "I knew you'd be interested. Per la famiglia."
She echoed his words solemnly, like a knee-jerk reaction, "Per la famiglia."
A full twenty-four hours later Vienna was idling on an avenue in downtown Chicago, waiting absentmindedly for Gino DeLaurentis to pick up her call.
"Hey cuzzo, everything is set. You got the envelope?"
Vienna fiddled with her small, glittery clutch that she held in her other hand before she sighed, "Yeah."
"Good. Now remember, you're here to just close the deal. He already knows what the Family can provide. Just solidify it in his mind."
She hated how fidgety she felt, as if a bee was buzzing in her throat. "Uh, I-"
"Vi, you got this. I trust you. You already know what to do, it's just been a while," Gino interrupted, his voice firm and steady.
I trust you.
She knew better than to take those words lightly, so she took a deep breath in before she spoke.
"Okay. You're right. I'm going in."
"That's my girl!" Gino whooped, causing Vienna to roll her eyes. "Text me when you're done."
Before she could say anything else, her older cousin ended the call.
Vienna straightened her spine, confidence working its way up her body like an electric surge. Gino was right, she knew what to do and she had done this before.
She took a deep breath before exhaling slowly through her mouth. The phrase per la famiglia echoed in her head like a final warning, but she felt spurred on by the motto more than anything.
She was going to close this goddamn deal.
Tucking her phone back into her clutch, Vienna walked down the street to the entrance of a bar that was one block away called The Boss Bar. Vienna found the name pleasantly ironic, and when the bouncer peered at her curiously she presented him with a crisp twenty dollar bill and her fake ID.
Tonight, her identity was a late twenty-something year old named Stacy who was interested in fun poker night in a private room on the second floor of the bar.
The beefy bouncer waved her inside, and she walked into the dimly lit establishment. Throngs of people crowded in the bar, swaying to the music and yelling drink orders to the bartenders who quickly kept up with the masses. Vienna weaved her way through the congregation deftly and made her way up the staircase to the second floor, the music fading into a dull, bass-heavy beat in the background.
A few older men seemed to be scattered in the smaller room drinking glasses of dark liquor and immediately attuned to Vienna as the one and only woman in the room. She unzipped her coat and handed it to the employee that was manning the coat check counter before stepping fully into the room.
Ignoring the stares of the men, Vienna sauntered up to the bar at the back corner, her spine straight and poised.
"What can I get for you?" the bartender asked, his eyes seemed to watch her curiously as if trying to figure out if she knew that she was in the right place.
Before Vienna could answer, she felt a figure sidle up to her, their hand lightly touching the middle of her back.
"She'll have a glass of chardonnay," Ethan Cox responded, glancing at her acutely before looking back to the bartender. "And I'll have another old fashioned."
Vienna internally cringed at his choice of white wine versus red, but she tamped down her own reaction in order to focus on the man in front of her.
Ethan Cox was a scrawny man in his early thirties with a beard that was decidedly more patchy than it should have been at his age. Horn-rimmed glasses were framed with thick, bushy eyebrows and his green eyes seemed to dart around hyperactively.
The criminal attorney was rather bland in Vienna's opinion, but she maintained her pleasant expression when he turned fully towards her to introduce himself.
"Stacy, right? I'm Ethan. Nice to meet you," Ethan said, letting his eyes wander down the length of her body. "You look beautiful tonight."
"Oh thank you," Vienna replied demurely, smoothing her hand over her cocktail dress. For the night she had chosen a dark red satin dress with thin straps that dipped low in the front. The dress was a couple inches above her knee and she complimented her outfit with a pair of strappy, peeptoe heels.
She was there to close the deal, and she knew that Ethan's interest in her as a female was vital in keeping his attention locked in.
"Here you go. Do you want the tab open or close?" The bartender asked, exchanging Ethan's drinks with his credit card.
"Keep it open," Ethan responded. In a conspiratorial, playful voice he told Vienna, "I'll definitely need a drink before the poker game."
Vienna laughed before picking up her glass of chardonnay and taking a sip. "What? You need some liquid courage before the game?"
Ethan sipped on his own old fashioned, before joking darkly, "More like I need to get buzzed enough that I won't be upset if the game ends with me losing out on the money."
Vienna laughed in absent agreement. They both meandered away from the bar towards the middle of the room. In the corner, they could see a couple of the scattered men come together to set up the poker table.
"Yeah, I totally get that. I mean every time I play I just see my losses as money that could've gone to something important like my rent or student loans, you know?" Vienna said nonchalantly, while she peered at Ethan through her eyelashes.
Ethan rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, "Tell me about it. I mean I'm still up to my eyeballs in student debt even as an attorney in the city. And I'm gonna be thirty next year."
"Higher education is a scam," Vienna joked lightly, nudging Ethan's shoulder with her own, before looking at a group of men that had just entered the room.
Out of the corner of her eye she could see Ethan staring at the spot on his arm that Vienna had just nudged, almost out of shock that she had chosen to touch him.
Internally she felt like rolling her eyes. He was like putty in the palm of her hand.
"Yeah, it is. Especially when you think about the job market after all of that schooling. It just...does not add up. Everything is competitive as fuck," Ethan mumbled before taking a sip of his drink.
"Yeah, yeah," Vienna replied distractedly. Someone at the far end of the room had just caught her attention. The man she had noticed was tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome.
He wore a midnight blue suit jacket that complimented his olive-toned skin and broad shoulders. His chocolate brown hair was cropped close to his scalp, but even from her distance Vienna could tell his haircut was more to tame the thick mess of curls that threatened to grow rather than a style preference. His facial hair was neatly trimmed and she could not help but focus on his full lips.
Some nagging feeling at the back of her mind made her feel like she should have recognized him since he looked as if he was of Italian descent as well, but she could not place her finger on it.
Before she could get too distracted, she dragged her attention back to the criminal attorney that was her mark for the night.
"How are you liking your current job? You're doing work with the Cook county courts, right?" Vienna asked, trying to refocus their previous conversation.
"Yeah," Ethan nodded his head. "It's fine as of right now. I'm just starting out still so there's definitely a learning curve, but the pay is pretty shabby."
As if he had just realized he was talking to an attractive woman and did not want to appear like a broke man, Ethan quickly backtracked, "I mean, it pays the bills, so no complaints here."
Vienna hid her smile as he took a large, sheepish gulp of his drink.
"I get that," Vienna reassured. "It's like you said before though, it's not just bills. It's also student loans and competition and...a lot of other stuff."
Ethan nodded vigorously, "Yeah, being a criminal attorney now isn't the same as it was twenty years ago."
"And my boss and I completely understand," Vienna stressed, fingering the envelope that was tucked away in her clutch. She paused and watched Ethan's face as his eyes widened in sudden peaked interest.
"He told me to give you this, by the way," Vienna said before slyly handing him the plain white envelope.
Ethan's eyebrows shot up into his hairline once he opened up the envelope and saw the amount that was written on the letter inside.
"How did you…?" his voice faded as he stared incredulously at Vienna. "This...This is the exact amount that's left of my student loan debt. Down to the penny."
"Let's just say, my boss understands how much your loyalty is worth," Vienna explained coolly, continuing to stare out into the small, private bar while Ethan gaped at the amount.
Her gaze once again drifted to the tall, olive-toned man as if his very presence was magnetic. Who was he?
"I-I don't know what to say," Ethan stammered.
"You don't have to say anything right now," Vienna reassured, turning to face the visibly pale man. "He expects a response by Monday night. And if the response is up to his liking, you will receive that number as a check written out to you."
Ethan could only seem to nod dumbly. Vienna looked at him pityingly. Poor kid was way in over his head and he did not even know it.
A loud clap of a hand caught both of their attention. Vienna looked over to see a heavy set man who was motioning all of the guests to a large poker table that was being finished set up.
"The game can begin. 'Texas Hold 'Em'," the large man announced, gesturing everyone to sit down.
Vienna glanced at Ethan and mumbled, "We can continue this later."
Ethan gave her a curt nod before following her to the poker table that was being set up. Vienna could not help but watch the tall man that she had been watching all night walk over to the table and sit down. Everything about the way he moved suggested dominance and power. She still felt like his identity was on the tip of her tongue, but she was at a loss for who he was.
Ethan pulled out her chair for her, while the rest of the poker players settled into their seats. It just so happened that the handsome, dark-haired man took a seat directly in front of her. She tried to shake off the urge to stare at him.
"Alright, everyone introduce yourself while we get set up here. I'll go first: the name is John. This is no limits," the large man explained gruffly, while placing various colored chips in front of everyone.
"I'm Stacy," Vienna drawled, peering at her competitors calmly. Poker was something she was decent at, and she could not help but wonder how the game would play out. She wanted to earn Ethan's trust, and in her experience, earning respect was the first way of getting there.
To the left of her, Ethan introduced himself, "I'm Ethan."
To the left of Ethan, was another dark haired man that seemed to be accompanying the mysterious figure that Vienna had been watching all night. "Robbie."
To the left of Ethan was Vienna's mysterious man. When her gaze swiveled from Robbie to him, she was surprised to find that he was already looking directly at her. His dark brown eyes seemed to melt straight into her.
She moved her gaze towards the chips that were being passed around the table. The man in front of her did not need to get into her head before the game had even started.
Maybe it was hyperawareness, but it almost felt like he was speaking directly to her instead of introducing himself to the table. She tried to ignore the fact that it seemed like he was drilling a hole into the side of her skull.
The person on the right of Vienna was a forty-something year old man with salt and pepper hair that seemed to just realize that the focus of the room was now on him.
"Oh right. Yes. I am Hank."
"Hank, you will start as the dealer tonight," John said, handing him the dealer chip. "We'll start off with $25 for the small blind. I know we have some new folks here, so we'll start off easy this round."
Vienna resisted the urge to frown at John's statement. That was definitely his way of calling her out as the only female of the group. Instead, she just nodded and tossed in her twenty five dollar chip. Ethan then doubled it as the big blind.
John then passed everyone their two "hole" cards. This action alone seemed to suddenly heighten the tension in the room. Vienna lifted her cards up but gave a quick cursory glance around the room, checking for everyone's reactions to their own hand. When she glanced at Dante, she was shocked to find that he was staring straight at her once again, his hands lifting his cards in a show of faked distraction as well. It appeared that he was doing the same thing that she had been doing.
She immediately wrenched her gaze away from him, feeling like she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar, before she glanced at her own two cards.
A queen of diamonds and a ten of hearts. Not bad, at least they're high cards.
Vienna watched her other opponents carefully as the game progressed. Robbie was next to go, and he called his hand, throwing in his matching set of chips.
Dante's mouth seemed to downturn, and he glanced once more at his pair of cards before picking up several chips and throwing them to the middle of the growing pot.
"Raise fifty," Dante called, glancing at the others.
Vienna could not help the way her brow raised. What made him so confident this early on in the game?
"Call," John said, throwing in a matching set of chips.
"Call," Hank mirrored.
It was Vienna's turn and she thought it would make more sense to get a feel of everyone's style before bluffing too hard. "Call."
Ethan peered at her, before throwing an equal amount of chips, "Call."
"Call," said Robbie.
Vienna watched as a man in the corner walked up to the table to straighten out the chips and deal the three community cards: an eight of hearts, an ace of spades, and a ten of clubs.
She looked at her cards again. As of right now all she had was a pair with her ten of hearts and the ten of clubs that was in the middle of the table. Not super great odds compared to what she assumed were experienced poker players.
She felt Dante watching her carefully, as if he was wondering how exactly she would proceed.
"Check," Vienna said, refraining from betting.
"Check," Ethan said.
Vienna watched as Robbie peeked at his cards and shook his head once. "Fold."
Vienna pursed her lips, eyeing the rather large pot that was now sitting in the middle of the table. Dante tilted his head and said, "Check."
From the corner of her eye she could have sworn that she saw Dante smirking at her.
John "checked" as well, which resulted in the 4th community card being placed face up. It was a ten of spade.
Vienna's heart skipped a beat. Perhaps she did have a chance after all with potentially getting three of a kind.
Hank rubbed a hand over his face before he mumbled, "Fold."
Vienna threw in a chip, making sure to keep her face composed. "Raise, fifty."
She could almost hear Ethan gulping as he waited a beat before saying in a soft voice, "Call."
Vienna watched as the pot grew, trying to contain her excitement. Betting like this always made her insides spark with anticipation. She could even see Robbie nodding his head approvingly at the way everyone was playing their hand.
Dante threw in his chip as well, "Call."
John also "called". So far there were only 4 players left out of the original six.
The fifth and last community card was placed. A six of clubs.
Hank rubbed his five o'clock shadow haltingly before I let out a gruff sigh, "Fold."
Vienna's heart skipped a beat and she tossed in a chip, "Raise fifty."
Next to her, she could hear Ethan hiss through his teeth in surprise.
"Yeah, I can't match that. Fold," he grumbled, leaning back in his seat disappointingly. Vienna struggled to hide an amused smile at his reaction.
Everyone turned towards Dante, but he looked unaffected at the newly raised stakes.
He drummed his hands once on the poker table before picking up another chip and tossing it into the middle, "Call."
John also "called", a deep frown marring his face.
Vienna turned her cards face up and scanned the cards of the other players.
"Stacy...you won!" Ethan marvelled, leaning towards her with shock. "It's a three of a kind!"
Vienna eyed Dante's cards in particular, he had a three of a kind too but with eights. She beat him only because she had the higher card number.
Everyone was eyeing her with newfound, grudging respect and she suddenly felt too hot in the room. She should not have gotten carried away like that. Her job was to mark Ethan, not to draw attention to herself.
"Well," she concluded, standing up to collect her winnings and trying not to fidget, "This was a good game gentlemen, but I'll just watch the next round."
There were a couple of protests (mostly from Ethan), but she waved them off demurely, insisting that she needed another glass of wine. As she walked away from the poker table after being handed the check, she swore she could feel Dante's stare at the back of her shoulder blades.
When she came back to the poker table after getting a refill, there was a new man who was seated in her previous new player and Dante seemed to be talking in hushed, serious tones as she approached the table, but the conversation died down once she was within earshot.
She placed a light hand on Ethan's shoulder to signal her arrival, "Good luck this round!"
Ethan shot her a sideways smile, his eyes glazed like the whiskey was finally circulating in his bloodstream. "Thank you. I need you as my good luck charm."
She squeezed his shoulder in response, "Of course."
Someone gave her a stool to sit down on, and she sipped her wine as she watched the second round begin. The new man who had replaced her introduced himself as Raymond and he seemed to be holding himself fairly well.
From her vantage point she could see more of people's facial cues and poker tells as they reacted to the cards and bets that were in play. Robbie always seemed to touch his nose when he had an especially bad hand, and John seemed to bite his lip trying to hide a smirk when he had a good card.
However, Vienna noticed that Dante's expression stayed impossibly stoic throughout the games. He truly had the perfect poker face; he looked like a seasoned professional. Now that she was on the outside looking in, she could see just how much everyone else looked like goldfish in a shark's tank. Something about him seemed especially sinister all of a sudden.
A vibration against her lap broke her train of thought, and she reached into her little clutch for her cell phone.
Just got a tip that a cook county circuit judge walked into the bar. Is he there?
It was Gino, and she could already tell that this was bad news.
She looked up from her phone and scanned the rest of the room. No one had entered the private room and the only people that were not playing the game was the bartender and the guy that was handing out the chips.
But how was she supposed to tell who looked the most like a circuit judge?
Name? Vienna texted back to Gino.
Vienna bit her lip and eyed Raymond who appeared to be betting a good amount of money on his current hand.
Yeah he's here, Gino. What should I do?
Just keep an eye on him. We might not need Ethan after all.
Vienna quickly locked her phone and slipped it back into her clutch. Part of her was irritated that she had put all of this work into Ethan tonight only to be thrown a curveball of a Chicago judge walking into the bar. If they could somehow convince Raymond, they would have no use for a small criminal attorney like Ethan at all.
Just as Vienna was mulling this over, she heard a ring of laughter from the poker table.
"Ah, I thought you had me there Dante!" Raymond exclaimed, scooping his winnings from the middle of the table.
Dante got up slowly from the table and had a small look of amusement as he stuck his hand out for Raymond to shake. "Well, what can I say? The better man won. I can respect that."
Raymond roared with laughter, and shook Dante's hand enthusiastically. "Eh, you're young. You'll learn. C'mon everyone, let's go downstairs. I'll buy you all a drink - with your money."
Vienna got up off her chair as the others picked up their coats and got up to leave with Dante and Raymond. She drank the last of her wine as she stood close to the poker table, eyeing the upturned cards to try and see what had happened while she had been distracted by Gino's texts.
"Hey, you ready to go?" Ethan asked softly, placing a light palm at the small of her back. "I just need to grab my jacket, I gave it to coat-check."
"Yeah, definitely. I'll meet you downstairs," Vienna said distractedly, still eyeing the table. Something was not right, but she could not put her finger on it. From the corner of her eye she could see Dante turn around slowly as if looking for her. Their eyes clashed for a brief moment and she could only stare at him as he walked away from her. He nodded his head at her as if saying goodbye, and Vienna just stared at him until he disappeared from her line of sight.
She felt increasingly on edge as she stepped towards the chair that Dante had been sitting in.
"Oh don't worry, miss. I'll clean this up," an employee said as he scooped some of the chips to put it back into the trays of a poker game box.
"Oh that's okay, I'm happy to help!" Vienna hastily reassured, as she handed some of the chips to him.
When the man was no longer paying attention to her, she quickly picked up the two cards that had been Dante's hand. They were the only cards on the entire table that were not face up.
She quickly scanned the five community cards in the middle and Dante's cards. His two cards, a jack of hearts and a king of hearts, combined with the three of the community cards created a straight flush— just shy of a royal flush.
She glanced back at what was supposed to be Raymond's winning cards. He only had four of a kind.
"What the hell," Vienna whispered, her brows contracting.
Dante clearly had the winning hand that round, but he had let Raymond win.
The back of Vienna's neck tingled uncomfortably. He was clearly up to something, and after finding out the true identity of Raymond, it could not mean anything good.
Who the hell was this guy?
The Next Morning:
"So how long are you going to stay?"
"Why haven't you been home in so long?"
"Are you going to move to Italy permanently?"
"Is your dad okay? Is that why you came back?"
Vienna slammed both her palms on the kitchen countertop, halting the twins' interrogation. "Francesca. Beatrice. Please, it's only nine o'clock a.m. I'll answer all of your questions once I get some caffeine in my system."
They exchanged stupefied looks with each other before they huffed simultaneously and took a seat by the dining table. Vienna rolled her eyes at their reaction, and turned to attend to the coffee machine. Her baby cousins were a force to be reckoned with before noon, and Vienna had no intention of giving up so easily to the cross-examination so early in the morning.
As if on cue, Gino burst through the backdoor, panting slightly, and wiping his sweaty forehead. He had just come back from a morning run, and hazel eyes were bright and alert.
"Morning cuzzo. You gonna whip some pancakes up for me?"
Vienna wrinkled her nose at him, and waved him away. "In your dreams, Gino. And do us all a favor and go shower before you get your sweat all over this kitchen."
"Aw c'mon! It was just a quick run," Gino smirked, and slapped his hands together conspiratorially. "I'm going to need Vienna's famous chocolate chip pancakes if I'm going to have enough energy to make it upstairs to the bathroom."
Vienna stuck her tongue out at him before she went back to concentrating on the coffee machine. "Fatass."
"Sheesh, looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today!"
Before Vienna could retort, Gino wrapped her up in his sweaty embrace causing her to shriek and squirm out of his hold.
"Ew, get off me, Gino! You reek," Vienna screeched, pushing his sweaty mass away from her, her nose crinkling in repulsion.
He just chuckled before moving towards the twins and ruffling their hair to their equal irritation.
"Damn, y'all are so grouchy in the morning," Gino laughed, before plopping down at one of the stools by the island counter.
Vienna shook her head at his antics before passing him a cup of coffee. "It's 'cause you're so damn chipper."
"Hey, what can I say?" Gino spread his arms in a confident display of bravado. "It's a beautiful day. I got endorphins running through me. And there's a lot of good things in the works right now."
Vienna arched her eyebrow at him suspiciously. She glanced at Gino's younger sisters who were distracted on their cell-phones before she lowered her voice to a conspiratorial whisper.
"You're really saying that after yesterday?"
Vienna's mind flashed back momentarily to the overly-nervous Ethan, the unexpected circuit court judge that decided to show up last minute, and the mysterious man with dark, brooding eyes.
She quickly shook away her stray train of thought, and refocused on her conversation with Gino.
"Yeah, you know it was a good play. I have a feeling Ethan will reach out to us. And even though there were some curveballs I think the night was a success," Gino explained while sipping his coffee thoughtfully, amusement dancing in his eyes.
Vienna shrugged, still thrown off by Gino's unusually zealous behavior, and held her coffee mug up in a mock form of cheers. "Well then, I'm glad I could help."
Gino's cheshire-like smile grew, "Per la famiglia, Vienna. Of course! We couldn't have done it without you. And it confirmed what I already knew to be true: we need someone like you on our team."
Vienna frowned, "Wait, what?"
Gino laughed at her reaction and stood up from his stool, quickly draining the rest of the contents of his coffee cup. "We can talk about it later."
"Oh, by the way, there's some mail for you here."
Whatever protest Vienna had on the tip of her tongue quickly died when she registered what her cousin had said. There was mail for her?
Vienna bit her lip, staring at the envelope that Gino had pointed out before he sprinted up the stairs.
She picked up the envelope carefully with stiff fingers. It was a plain white envelope with no return address. She quickly ripped it open and inside was a postcard of Gustav Klimt's The Kiss painting. In the bottom right hand corner a black sharpie had circled the location of the painting pointedly: The Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria.
Vienna sucked in a breath at the recognition that suddenly hit her chest. When she flipped over the postcard one simple phrase was written in black ink.
You should be here.
A/N: Wow, it's been a crazy amount of time since I've posted a story on here. Honestly, this quarantine helped me get back into it, and I was super excited to share this with the interweb so please leave a review if you made it to the end! It'll definitely help me with keeping this momentum going. Also for those of you that remember the original chapter of this story, I thought I'd reboot this story idea. Took a heavy amount of inspiration from the most recent news about the Chicago mob and their hierarchy to make this story somewhat plausible using that context. I really like what I've got planned so far so stay tuned and if you're on Wattpad these days please send the story some love over there as well.
Anyway, I recently did some housekeeping on this account and got rid of old PM's and I'll be deleting my one-shot Deadly Damsels a little later so please come say hi if you're an old (or new!) fan and go read DD if you haven't already :) Once again, leave a review at the end if you read all the way through!