Sempre redemption, p.57
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       Sempre: Redemption, p.57

         Part #2 of Forever series by J. M. Darhower
Page 57


  Carmine hadn’t known it at the time, but his father was giving him his first piece of advice on how to survive the lifestyle, and it was a lesson that sunk in as he sat in that cold, tense interrogation room. Unshed tears burned his eyes as he fought to hold them in, not wanting to buckle under the weight of his grief. He needed to be strong; he needed to keep his composure.

  He couldn’t let those motherfuckers see him break.

  The sound of Carmine’s name being called pulled him back to reality. Agent Cerone and the other man stared at him, throwing out the same questions. His ears still rung from the incessant gunfire, the buzzing noise in the air driving Carmine to the brink. He clenched his hands into fists, wanting it all to stop, and cringed as searing pain shot up his right arm. He looked at his hand, seeing the blood seeping through the white bandage. His vision went white and flashes of random memory struck him. He tugged at his collar, the air so thick he felt like he was suffocating.

  Blood . . . there was so much fucking blood.

  Squeezing his eyes shut, he forced himself to think about something else, conjuring up an image of Haven. She was free, he reminded himself. She was following her dreams. As long as she was out there, as long as she had her life, all of it was worth it. The ache in his chest was worth it, the throbbing in his hand was worth it, and being in that room was worth it. All of the blood, sweat, and tears he had shed were worth it, because she was worth it.

  He missed her.

  God, how I fucking miss my hummingbird.

  Carmine was so wrapped up in the moment that he forgot where he was until someone shook him. He jumped, clutching his chest with his injured hand and wincing as he opened his eyes. Agent Cerone stood beside him and grasped his shoulder, raising his eyebrows questioningly. “Can I get something for you? A glass of water, maybe?”

  “You can get me out of here,” he snapped. ”How long do you plan on keeping me? I didn’t fucking do anything!”

  “We just need to ask you a few more questions. ”

  “There’s nothing else I can tell you,” he said, shaking his head.

  “Who’s your hummingbird?” he asked as he sat down again.

  Carmine’s eyes widened. “What?”

  “Just a moment ago you said you missed your hummingbird. ”

  He stared at him in shock, realizing he had said that out loud, and wondered what else he might have unknowingly said.

  “I fail to see what this has to do with the incident tonight,” Mr. Borza chimed in. “I would appreciate it if we could stay on topic. ”

  “Fair enough. ” Agent Cerone’s eyes lingered on Carmine for a moment longer. “How well do you know Salvatore Capozzi?”

  “He’s my godfather,” he muttered, the agent’s expression instantly lighting up at the word. Carmine shook his head as he clarified. “I was baptized as an infant and my parents named him my godfather. ”

  “Oh, so he’s like a parent to you?”

  “He was. ”

  “Was?” Cerone asked curiously. “Are you saying he isn’t anymore?”

  “He’s fucking dead, isn’t he?” he spat.

  “Oh, uh, no. ”

  Carmine stared at him, hoping he had heard him wrong. “No?”

  “No,” he repeated, the confirmation sending Carmine’s heart racing. If Salvatore wasn’t dead, he was in danger—a lot of fucking danger. Not only had he witnessed everything and knew his darkest secrets, the things he would kill anyone to keep from being exposed, but he had also disobeyed an order. There was no way Sal would just forgive and forget. He had too much to lose to give Carmine a pass. “As far as we can tell he fled the scene. We have reason to believe he’s injured, but there’s no evidence he didn’t survive the attack. ”

  Carmine absorbed that information, trying to keep his expression blank although he was panicking inside.

  “How long ago did you initiate?” the other officer asked casually, changing the subject.

  Carmine glanced at him, surprised at his nonchalance. “Initiate what?”

  “La Cosa Nostra. ”

  He scoffed. “You’re joking, right?”

  “Do I look like I’m joking?” he asked, raising his voice. “We know you’re involved, so there’s no sense denying it. ”

  “You must’ve watched Scarface one too many times,” he muttered. “That shit’s not real. It doesn’t exist. ”

  He sighed exasperatedly, giving Carmine an annoyed look. ”We know it exists. We’re not stupid. ”

  “Neither am I,” Carmine snapped. “Take your bullshit questions about the Mafia elsewhere, because I have nothing to say about it. Period. End of motherfucking story. ”

  A tense silence fell over the room before Agent Cerone cleared his throat. “I saw her, you know. ”

  “Who?” Carmine asked, the shift in topic catching him off guard.

  “Haven,” he clarified, his lips twitching as he fought back a smile.

  “How . . . ?” His confusion deepened. How the fuck? “You’re lying. ”

  “I’m not,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about looking her up again. ”

  “Leave her the fuck alone,” Carmine spat, standing and shoving his chair back in haste. “I swear to God if you—”

  Before he could finish, Mr. Borza grabbed his arm and pulled him back into his seat. “Threatening my client’s loved ones isn’t going to help you. ”

  “I wasn’t threatening anyone. I was simply saying—”

  “We’re all well aware of what you were saying,” Mr. Borza said, “and it was nothing but a thinly veiled threat. You claim to want his cooperation, but yet you bring up Miss Antonelli in an attempt to upset him further. ”

  “I did no such thing,” Agent Cerone said. “As far as I’m concerned, he doesn’t care about her. In fact, last we spoke, he denied even knowing her. ”

  “Then why bring her up at all?” Mr. Borza countered. “I requested once that you stay on topic and it’s clear you have no intention of doing so. Mr. DeMarco agreed to answer your questions, but he’s under no obligation. Given the fact that mere hours ago he witnessed his father’s murder, I’d say he’s been quite forthcoming. ”

  “He’s given us nothing,” the other officer said, still glaring at Carmine.

  “That’s because he has nothing to give,” Mr. Borza retorted. “You can’t get from him what he doesn’t know. Because of that, I’m going to have to say this conversation is over. Either charge him with something or let him go. ”

  “We don’t have to do either,” the officer said smugly, crossing his arms over his chest. “We have every right to detain him. ”

  “True, but you won’t. Not only is my client injured, but he’s also traumatized. The media would have a field day if you detained him . . . as if you don’t already have enough damage control to do. You don’t need to add harassing an innocent man to it. ”

  “Harassing? Innocent? He’s one of them!”

  “Him?” Mr. Borza asked, glancing at Carmine. “You honestly believe the public is going to look at this boy and think ‘criminal’?”

  Agent Cerone sighed. “You’re right. ”

  The officer looked at him with disbelief. “You’re going to let him walk?”

  “I gave my word,” Agent Cerone said quietly, pushing his chair back and glancing at his watch. “Sit tight while I secure your release. I told you I’d have you out by morning and it looks like I was right, considering the sun will be up soon. ”


  Kelsey and Haven sat at the diner near their brownstone in a booth by the door. It was Sunday morning on their first weekend of summer vacation. There were a few other patrons in the diner, an elderly couple a few seats away and a family in the back, as well as two men drinking coffee at the bar.

  A lady in a white top and khakis with a black apron tied around her waist plopped two plastic menus down on the table. “What can I get you ladies to drink?”

e,” Kelsey said. “Two creams, a dash of skim milk, and three packets of Splenda. Oh, and two ice cubes. ”

  “I’ll take coffee, too,” Haven said. “Just black, please. You know, normal. ”

  She returned with their drinks as Haven opened the menu and scanned it. Kelsey rattled off a list, emphasizing her need for extra bacon, whereas Haven asked for a stack of pancakes. As hungry as she was, nothing sounded appetizing.

  “I’ll have it to you in a jiffy,” she responded, taking the menus and walking off. Haven sighed and picked up her coffee, taking a sip of the hot bitter liquid as she gazed out of the window. She heard one of the men ask the waitress to turn on the television and a few seconds later the diner was filled with the sound of the news.

  The reports were mainly politics, with local scandals dominating the headlines. She had spent some time learning about political parties in New York. Kelsey’s dad was running for office again and Haven often asked her about it, but she always blew off the questions and claimed none of it mattered. She said she wouldn’t bother voting if her father’s job didn’t rely on it, insisting nothing would ever change no matter who got into office.

  Haven never contradicted her, but she didn’t agree at all. Abraham Lincoln and the Thirty-eighth Congress passed the Thirteenth amendment that abolished slavery. Woodrow Wilson and the Sixty-sixth Congress passed the Nineteenth amendment to give women the right to vote. To Haven, it mattered.

  The men started debating issues, the two opposite on everything. She sipped her coffee as their bickering grew louder, a debate about gun control, and Haven froze, spilling her coffee when she caught a glimpse of the television. Her stomach lurched at the sight of the familiar man, her eyes quickly scanning the caption on the bottom of the screen: D. O. J. Special Agent Donald Cerone.

  The coffee scorched her skin and she gritted her teeth from the searing pain as her coffee cup clattered to the table, slipping from her hand. The diner grew quiet as people turned to the commotion at her booth, but Haven ignored them, her attention focused squarely on the television. She had a hard time catching the words, the throbbing in her hand distracting, as she felt like she was sinking under water.

  “. . . Issued a statement about the incident in Chicago . . . embarrassment for the department . . . massacre at alleged Mob boss Salvatore Capozzi’s home . . . single deadliest incident in the history of the Outfit . . . debate on how witnesses are to be properly handled . . . ”

  It hit Haven like a ton of bricks when a picture of Dr. DeMarco flashed on the screen. “Alleged mobster had been on the run . . . ”

  “Oh God,” she gasped as they showed a clip of a large mansion, dozens of police cars parked in front of yellow tape.

  “A federal witness . . . provided information that triggered the raid . . . opened fire before police arrived . . . unsure of the main target . . . warrant issued for Capozzi . . . believed to be injured in the gunfire . . . ” They showed a picture of Salvatore with a number on the bottom to call. Haven shuddered, tears welling in her eyes. “. . . Seven dead at the scene . . . several taken into custody . . . ”

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