Ruthless:Mob Boss Book OneBy: Michelle St. James
Angelica assumed she was just being paranoid. She’d run errands before her shift at the Muddy Cup, stopping at the grocery store, picking up the heeled boots she’d sent in for repair, and paying a past due parking ticket. None of it was unusual for a Wednesday afternoon, but she’d had the heeby-jeebies all day, dogged by the feeling that someone was watching her. She was relieved to finally step inside the coffee shop that night. Surrounded by the overstuffed sofas, old chairs, and worn counter, her paranoia faded into the background.
She’d been working at the local coffee shop since before graduation, and while she knew deep down that she needed to figure out a long term plan, she couldn’t seem to take a step in any direction. She was paralyzed, frozen and embarrassed by the post-grad apathy she despised in her generation.
She spent the next few hours slinging coffee drinks and retrieving the key that everyone seemed determined to leave inside the bathroom. By closing time, she’d completely forgotten her earlier unease and was contentedly mopping the floors when her cell phone rang. She pulled it from the pocket of her jeans, smiling when she saw the name on the display.
“Hey, loser,” she said, propping the phone between her ear and shoulder while she continued mopping.
“Very funny.” Her brother, David, laughed on the other end of the phone. “Especially since you’re still working that shitty job.”
“Touche,” she said. “What’s up?”
“Not much. Just finished mid-terms.”
She reached back to tighten the hair tie holding her long, blonde hair in a half-assed ponytail. “Fun.” She hesitated. “Is everything okay?”
She and David were close, but they usually texted. Calling was reserved for relationship and life crisis.
“Yeah, sure.” He said it a little too quickly, then sighed. “Have you heard from Dad?”
“Not for a couple of weeks. Why?”
“I don’t know,” he said. She could almost see him drumming his fingers, an old habit from childhood, on the beat up desk in his dorm room. “I left him some messages. He hasn’t called me back.”
She chewed on her thumbnail, measuring her words. David’s relationship with their father had been strained since David came out last year. In an age when it seemed everyone and their mother had accepted homosexuality as no big deal, their old-school, Italian father could barely look David in the eye. She hated it, but there was nothing she could do about it other than make her feelings known. Which she’d done. On several occasions.
Their relationship had been distant since he sent them to boarding school after their mom died, but David’s admission had only increased the tension. Their father was avoiding both of them now, and Angelica spent half the time thinking he could go fuck himself and the other half desperately trying to come up with a way to bridge the gap.
People will tell you who they are if you listen.
It was one of her father’s favorite sayings, and she was still trying to figure out if he hadn’t yet told her, or if she was just too stubborn to believe what he was saying.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better,” she said, “I haven’t heard from him in at least that long.”
“It doesn’t,” David said. “I’m sorry.”
She used the mop handle to push the wheeled bucket toward the kitchen. “It’s not your fault Dad’s a homophobe.”
He laughed, but it sounded hollow to her ears. “Good point. So what else is new?”
She balanced the phone on her shoulder while she wrung out the mop and dumped the water. “Literally nothing. My life is about as exciting as watching paint dry.”
He seemed to hesitate before speaking again. “You can change that, you know.”
She sighed. “Yeah. I just don’t know what to do next.”
“You have a degree,” he said.
“In Philosophy.” It felt like the punchline to a bad joke, and she laughed as she turned on the faucet.
“True, but I’m sure you could find a job somewhere. You could teach. Maybe overseas?”
She thrust her hands under the hot water. “Maybe. I’ll figure it out.”