Posted 12 July 2004 - 03:10 PM
“Paola?” Pipo called softly, there was no answer.
“Looks like she’s not here, Mr Marinaro” Caesar said as he followed Pipo into the luxurious office.
Paola Fiorelli and Pipo Marinaro had taken control of the Fiorelli assets and had spent five years slowly building business. They’d avoided as many illegal things as they could to keep the Man off-guard. He couldn’t even send out one of his barely tolerated hitmen when they were acting so cautious. The office was in a generously appointed house in one of the better districts of Ocean’s Peak, they’d learnt that it wasn’t clever to be too ostentatious.
“Julius, you don’t have to call Mr Marinaro when we’re in private,” Pipo said, leaning back against the desk.
“I’m sorry,” Caesar said, leaning against the desk beside Pipo, “It doesn’t feel right to call you Pipo in your own house”
“You’re one of my oldest friends, Julius,” Pipo said, putting a companionable arm around Caesar’s shoulder, “Why shouldn’t you call me by my name?”
“It’s hard to step away from the formality that you’ve made me use all these years,” Caesar said, leaning his head against Pipo’s shoulder. Pipo looked down at his friend and kissed him softly on the forehead.
“What if Paola shows up?” Caesar said, pulling away from Pipo.
“She won’t,” Pipo said, standing up and crossing to shut the door, “She’s going to that rally”
Paola was on the other side of town stepping out of a shower in a dingy hotel. This was one of the worst districts, all the better for concealment. She towelled off and pulled her somewhat crumpled clothes back on.
“Same time next week, girl?” a male voice called from the other room.
“Sounds good, Danny,” Paola came back into the bedroom and walked over to the bed. She smiled and kissed Danny once on the cheek, “Money’s on the table as usual. Worth every cent”
Paola walked out and down to the street level. A slick, black car rolled up outside the hotel and she slid into it.
“Where to now, ma’am,” the dark driver said as he pulled out into the street.
“15th and 4th, George, the café on the corner please,” Paola said, raising a compact to adjust her make up.
“Very well, ma’am,” George said.
Sophie had arrived at the Tribune office even earlier than usual this morning. She was hoping that by being there early she could get out on one of the decent jobs. Her mentor, Steven Parker, had promised he’d try and get her assisting on the rally – but only if she got there early enough. Normally the assistants didn’t arrive until after the assignments had been given out.
Jeffrey Marks, the Editor-in-Chief, had to smile at the girl’s eagerness. She’d been following all the stories about the Man as often as she could and Jeffrey was happy to use that eager nature to get the best out of the girl. She’d also been instrumental in uncovering some dirty business in the high court last week that had turned into front page material when that O’Malley girl had gotten involved. The Senior Partners were probably praising the day they took on the young woman.
“Sophie?” Marks called her into his office.
“Yes, sir?” Sophie said, sitting on the edge of a chair.
“You know Parker’s going to be working on the Rally today, yes?” Marks asked slowly.
“Yes, he said,” Sophie was almost breathless with expectation.
“Normally I wouldn’t send anyone out with him…but after what you pulled off last week I think you’re ready to start covering bigger events,” Marks finished.
“Really?” Sophie smiled, “My first big job?”
“Yes, you’d better run down and catch him before he heads off,” Marks smiled at the girl, “He can bring you up to date on the rally”
Sophie practically ran from the room. Despite what Marks’ had said there was no need for her to be taught about the rally. Not one member of the Fiorelli family was unaware of it, and what it could possibly mean. She knew that Paola would be there in the background – watching to see how it would affect the business. It was a big day for Ocean’s Peak – and she’d be right there with the Tribune.
Tony had finished morning rehearsals and was leaving the little theatre when Adie came bounding up to her.
“Hello, kid,” he said as she gave him an excitable hug.
“Hey, big bro!” she replied with a smile, “You gonna check out the rally?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Tony said as Adie linked her arm with his, “It’ll be so crowded”
“Paola will be there,” Adie said, “And I bet Sophie gets sent down there. The Tribune will be all over this”
“You really think Soph will be there?” Tony asked.
“Any money,” Adie smiled, she knew that the best way to get Tony to go anywhere was to mention his twin sister.
“Ahh, alright,” he said, “But think I don’t know what you’re doing”
“What?” Adie said innocently.
“Paola probably said you couldn’t go unless someone went with you,” Tony gave her a mock hard look.
“Aww,” Adie pouted, “I can’t hide anything from you”
“Of course not,” Tony said, “I’m an actor after all. My business is lying”