The Protector Chronicles - Redemption
Chapter 11: The Mafia Don
Copyright© 2013 by Misguided Child
The front door opened just as Jonas pressed the door bell button. The girl opening the door jumped back in shock with a gasp.
"I'm sorry miss," Jonas said embarrassed. "I didn't mean to scare you."
The girl looked like she was in her early teens and for some reason she reminded Jonas of Liz but she didn't look anything like his daughter. Liz had straight black hair and an olive complexion. This girl had a wild mass of auburn curls and a pale complexion. He let himself see her aura and understood why. Her aura was the same crystal clear blue green shimmer of innocence.
"You didn't scare me," the young girl protested angrily as she recovered.
Jonas looked up as footsteps approached to see a man and a woman. The man was blonde and pale as if he were just recovering from a sickness. He was about six feet tall but was very thin. The woman was a fully grown and voluptuous replica of the girl.
"If you weren't always running then maybe you wouldn't be startled so often young lady," the woman scolded with good natured irritation. She turned to Jonas and holding out her hand said, "I'm sorry sir. I hope she didn't startle you to bad. I'm Mary Connors."
"No problem Mrs. Connors. My daughter always seemed to be going at mach 9 too," Jonas said with a crooked smile as he shook her hand. The thought of Liz seemed like a knife twisting in his gut.
Jonas knew who Mary Connors was but he had never met her. Her full name was Mary Rizzo-Connors and she was the granddaughter of Big Tony. That meant the man was Mike Connors and the girl was Pam Connors. Mike was Mary's husband and Pam was obviously her daughter. Jonas almost smiled at the stories he heard of the upheaval in the family when Mike and Mary got married. Jonas heard more about the famous Tony Rizzo temper than he wanted to when the two got married. Marrying outside the Family circle caused a lot of angst for Big Tony. The fact that his granddaughter's husband wouldn't be working for the family was another problem. Mike Connors was a highly respected mechanical engineer and ran his own company. The hyphenated last names were the last straw for Big Tony. Women were supposed to take their husband's name when they married, even if he didn't approve of the husband. Rumor had it that he even considered taking out a hit on both of them. Mary had prevailed though. She was the only child of his dead son and his only grandchild.
Jonas allowed himself to see Mike and Mary and was relieved that they weren't corrupted the way he knew many members of the Family were. Neither had the pure innocence of their daughter but they weren't bad people either. Mike had recently been released from the hospital having a malignant tumor removed. Jonas could see that the doctors had assured Mike that he was on the road to a full recovery. It saddened Jonas to see that they were wrong.
"Joe," Jonas thought. "Should I tell him about what they missed?"
"No," Joe said in his mind. Joe sounded sad about it. "I'm afraid it wouldn't do any good without direct intervention on my part and you know I shouldn't do that. Don't worry though. I don't believe he will suffer."
"I'm Jonas Gianni and your grandfather invited me to meet him here today," Jonas said still shaking her hand.
"Oh dear," the woman said as one hand went to her mouth while the other clutched his hand. "Granddad told us what happened to your family. I'm so sorry. Please accept our condolences." She reached out and pulled her daughter to her side. "I don't know what we would do if we lost Pam. I imagined losing her when Granddad told us what happened and I felt like crying. I'm so sorry."
Her husband stepped forward and held out his hand and said, "You have our prayers and sympathy Mr. Gianni."
Jonas shook Mike's hand and with a catch in his throat said, "Your prayers are welcome and thank you."
"Mr. Gianni," the young girl said timidly. "I'll say a prayer for you and your family too."
Jonas couldn't keep the roughness from his voice or the tears from his eyes when he answered the girl. "Thank you Pam. God always hears the prayers of the innocent first and they always carry the most weight. Thank you very much."
Mary was startled at his fervent reply to her daughter and it looked like she was going to say something else but she was interrupted by another set of footsteps. Jonas looked around and saw a tall man in butler's livery walking towards them.
"Mr. Gianni," the butler said formally. "My name is James Wintergreen and I apologize for making you wait. I was supposed to meet you at the door and was delayed."
Everything about the man seemed to be starched. He had an English accent and unless Jonas very was mistaken, it was genuine. His shirt collar and cuffs were starched. His posture was stiff and proper and his head was shaved. It was impossible to tell how old he was. The man could have been thirty or seventy.
The butler turned to Mary Connors and bowing stiffly said, "It was good seeing you again Miss, um, Mrs. Connors."
Mary laughed and kissed the butler on the cheek, much to his embarrassment. "Oh James," she said laughing. "I've been married for over fifteen years. You are just going to have to get used to the fact that I'm not a little girl any longer. I'm a married woman and have a 14 year old daughter." Mary pulled Pam against her side and the girl grinned at the butler.
"Yes Mrs. Connors," the butler said but his proper demeanor cracked slightly when he looked at the girl. "Come see us again soon little miss," he said gently.
The butler hesitated a moment then turned and said, "If you would follow me please Mr. Gianni. I will take you to meet Mr. Rizzo."
"It was nice meeting you," Jonas said to the parents. He looked at the girl for a moment and he didn't think he kept the longing from his face or voice. "Don't forget that prayer, and thank you."
"Nice meeting you too," Mike and Mary said in unison.
"I won't forget," Pam said with a little smile. "Don't worry. Everything will be alright."
Jonas was startled by the girl's answer but he turned and followed James. Pam's words weren't the exact words that Liz had used in the garden but they nearly were and they carried the same sentiment. He wondered if Joe was trying to indirectly reassure him. He thought he felt a chuckle.
The large library with books on three walls that Jonas was ushered into had a warm feel to it. Two walls had ladders that rolled along a track in the floor so books on the top shelves could be reached easily. The fourth wall had French doors that led out to a patio that overlooked gardens and a pool. Jonas heard the door click shut behind him and knew that he was alone.
Jonas walked down one wall looking at the books. They didn't have the pristine, unused look he expected. Every book he looked at had the indefinable air of a book that had been read and some of them had been read often. The slight wrinkles on the books spines and faint smudges on the page edges were some of the more obvious indicators. Jonas knew that this room wasn't just for show. He saw fiction and nonfiction and reference books and children's books. There were classics and modern volumes in every subject he could imagine. Jonas was amazed at the library. It was a side of Tony Rizzo that he never suspected.
It wasn't until he completed the circuit of the room and was approaching the French doors that the situation hit home again. Two men were standing to either side of the doors leading out to the patio. It didn't look like they were standing guard for him. Jonas felt like this was a standard guard post for the Mafia Boss. He confirmed it when he let his focus blur to see the men's auras. It was obvious that both men were tough, ruthless and bad men but they were loyal to Big Tony.
Jonas slowly wandered back toward one of the overstuffed chairs facing the massive desk in one corner. He was thinking hard about how to handle this meeting because he didn't have a clue about what to do. Jonas knew that Tony Rizzo could decide that Jonas was too dangerous to live and Jonas would not leave this room alive. Jonas knew that was the decision Tony should make by all the rules of the Family. Once admitted to the inner circle of the Family, no one walked away.
The sound of the door opening brought Jonas to his feet. Max Cornelius was the first through the door followed closely by Tony Rizzo. Jonas noticed a beeping sound when Max walked through the door and knew the big body guard was armed. The doors had metal detectors in them. Jonas had known Max for over six years but he couldn't say they were friends. Max glanced at Jonas as he walked across the room to stand between the French doors and the desk chair. It wasn't a threatening look or a look of sympathy for what had happened to Jonas's family. It was simply a threat assessment.
"Thank you for coming to the funeral Mr. Rizzo," Jonas said respectfully. "I really appreciated it and I understand the risk you were taking."
Tony waved the comment off and said, "It was the least I could do for a valued employee. Max and I talked about it before we came and decided there was very little risk. In hindsight, I'm not so sure it was smart. But, we made it so all's well that ends well."
Tony settled himself in the chair behind the desk and waved for Jonas to sit before saying, "I would like to talk to you about what happened to your family and the organization that did this to you." He hesitated before continuing with, "And I need to talk to you about your connection to Detective Jordan."
"Yes sir," Jonas replied. He wasn't startled that Tony knew all about Clevis Jordan. Tony probably had a copy of the police report about his family and the action after he left the hospital before Clevis's Captain did. He also knew that Jim Bladen had probably reported the meeting in the park.
"Sir," Jonas said. "Before we go into those issues I need to let you know something."
Tony looked startled that his conversation plan was being interrupted. That didn't happen often. "OK Jonas," he said slowly and sounding a little irritated. "What do you need to let me know?"
Jonas took a deep breath and let it out slowly trying to calm his nerves. "Sir, I can't continue working for the Family."
Tony stared at him for a long two minutes without saying a word. His face had gone from conciliatory to hard and his eyes were narrowed as he continued staring at Jonas. Finally he asked, "Is this a case of you losing your nerve or do you have more to lose than those animals haven't already taken from you?"
"No sir on both counts," Jonas answered. "I don't believe that I have lost my nerve and I have nothing else they can take from me. Sheila and Liz were my whole world and they are gone. I have nothing else to lose."
Tony stared at Jonas for another long minute before saying softly, "Jonas, you know that no one walks away from the Family. By all our rules you should die right now. Preferably it would be a painful death."
"Yes sir," Jonas said calmly. "I understand the consequences but I still can't work for the Family any longer." Jonas was amazed at his own calm. He admitted to himself that he was afraid of this confrontation. He knew that he would probably die here, but he wasn't nervous any longer.
Tony looked at Jonas for another moment then opened a desk drawer. He took out a .357 Glock and jacked a shell into the chamber and laid the pistol on his desk. "Jonas, my friend, is your plan for me to kill you so you can join your wife and daughter?"
"No sir," Jonas said in the same calm voice. "I did know that I would probably die after I told you I couldn't work for you any longer. I also knew that I had to tell you face to face. I have worked for you most of my life, Mr. Rizzo. You have always been fair and generous with me and my family. You have always been honorable in your dealings with me and other members of the family. I could do no less than to be fair with you."
Tony leaned back in his chair and stared at Jonas for another moment before asking, "Are you hoping that I will be sympathetic and let you walk away?"
Jonas frowned and tried to formulate his answer. Finally he shrugged and said, "No sir. I don't think it has anything to do with sympathy and I do understand the rules we live by. I don't want to die today because I have things that are important that I must do. This may sound strange but, well, I have, ah, prayed about how I should handle this meeting with you. The answer I got was to do what I thought was right. I believed, no, I believe the right thing to do is to meet you and tell you that I couldn't work for you any longer face to face."
"You prayed," Tony said softly. He leaned forward and picked up the pistol again. He held it loosely in his hand, but aimed in Jonas' general direction. "You came here today knowing that you would probably die but you still came, unarmed, to tell me that you are quitting. You obviously have not lost your nerve." He looked Jonas up and down before saying, "You aren't even sweating. Does this have anything to do with Detective Jordan?"
"No sir. Detective Jordan was the first person I saw when I woke up in the hospital other than the doctor after," Jonas stopped and looked away. He took a deep breath and braced himself before continuing. "After my family was killed and they left me for dead. I was released from the hospital and Detective Jordan was taking me downtown to sign statements about what happened. I got word of a kidnapping and he took me to the warehouse district. They were the same men that killed..." Jonas had to stop again to take a ragged breath. "That killed my family."
Tony nodded and said, "And you killed them."
"No sir. I shot two and Detective Jordan shot two," Jonas replied. "Plus I killed one that was on guard outside."
"So you owe Detective Jordan and I understand revenge," Tony said nodding.
"No sir, it wasn't revenge," Jonas corrected the Mob Boss. "I can't say I wasn't glad that we killed them but, I'm not allowed to kill for revenge."