Authors: J. B. Reed
“What the hell, Tommy? Where’s Ryan? What’s going on?”
“Ryan’s dead. He has a hole the size of my fucking fist in his chest.”
“Yes you idiot, he’s dead. How many times do I need to say it? That guy, must have found him. He was getting even for Ryan killing old man Clancy.”
“What are you going to do, Tommy?”
“What are you going to do Tommy, what are you going to do Tommy, you sound like a fucking parrot. I don’t know what I’m going to do. If you and Ryan had done your job and found out where this guy lives, Ryan would still be alive.”
Shane remained quiet. He knew that now was not the time to press Tommy for answers. Tommy was scared, he knew that if Michael was able to walk right into Ryan’s apartment and kill him, he was able to get close enough to kill him as well.
When Michael and Vivie returned home, they discussed what they would need to do regarding Rose. Vivie had not intended to stay in New York. Her plan was to come in, kill Ryan and Joseph and then persuade Michael to return to Matewan with her. Michael suggested they both go to Matewan and talk to Mary about keeping Rose with her, until she was a little older. Vivie was not sure Mary would agree to do this. And what would the reason be for Rose to stay in West Virginia while she came back to New York to live. Thinking of leaving her child, at this young age, was heartbreaking to Vivie.
“I know how you feel about Rose, but you know that you cannot bring her back here; at least not right now. Maybe later, when she gets a little older and things have calmed down with the Westies.”
“How can I leave her, Michael? I feel like I am abandoning her.”
“You can visit often, Vivie; at least twice a month. You have to see that she is far better off with Mary than she would be here, with us.”
“I know that Michael, but it’s still a difficult decision. We need to go to Matewan as soon as possible. Joseph has only given us a short time to make arrangements for Rose. He will be expecting us to be here when he needs us.”
“We can leave right now if you like.”
“Yes, I think the sooner we do this, the better.”
Michael threw a change of clothes into a duffle bag and they left for Matewan.
Mary was sitting in the porch swing, enjoying the cool of the evening, when she saw the T-Bird pull into the driveway. Her heart skipped a beat before she realized that Vivie was in the car with Michael.
“Vivie, where is your car? Why is Michael bringing you home?”
“Michael is going to stay a couple days. We have something to discuss with you, Mama.”
As they walked up onto the porch, Liam and Keri, Vivie’s fourteen year old sister walked out to greet them.
“And just why are you children out of bed?” Mary scolded the children in a stern voice.
“We heard Vivie’s voice. What’s going on? Where’s your car Vivie?” Liam was wondering why Vivie arrived with Michael instead of driving herself home.
“I am going back to get it in a couple days, Liam.”
Mary looked first Vivie and then Michael. Vivie could see the concern on her face, wondering why she was planning to return to New York.
“You two get back to bed. There will be plenty of time to visit with your sister and Michael tomorrow.” The two children said their goodnights and went back into the house.
“Okay you two, let me hear what you have to say. Why are you here together and why are you returning to New York, Vivie?”
Michael took a seat on the porch banister while Vivie sat down beside Mary in the swing. Vivie began by telling her that she had met with Joseph and things had been worked out between them. She also told Mary that Joseph had offered her a job, as his secretary. No matter how old she was, not being honest with her mother made Vivie feel like a naughty child, hoping to escape punishment for whatever wrong she had committed. She explained that the job with Joseph was more than she could have ever hoped for. She would actually be earning a good living, more than she could have ever earned as a waitress. She also explained that, for a while at least, she would not be able to have Rose with her. She would need to get settled into her new job and find appropriate child care before taking Rose back to New York. Vivie pleaded with Mary to keep Rose with her; just for a while. Mary listened patiently, watching the faces of both Vivie and Michael. She was trying to determine if what Vivie was telling her was the truth; she believed she could tell by their actions.
“I have one question, Vivian. What about the men who killed your father? Are they still looking for you and for Michael?”
“No, Mrs. Clancy. Those men were arrested for Patrick’s murder and they are now behind bars.” Even though she was not his mother, Michael felt a little guilty lying to her. “I would never permit Vivie to return to New York if I thought she would be in danger. I love your daughter, Mrs. Clancy, she‘s my wife, and we want to build a life together; a life that will also include Rose in due time.”
“I cannot stop you from doing what you have made up your mind to do, Vivian. I never could. I will care for our little Rose until you can take her home with you.”
“Thank you, Mama. I will visit as often as possible and we will provide for Rose.”
“I am not concerned with your providing for her. I know you love your daughter, just as I love mine.” Mary took Vivie by the hand and then reached for Michael’s with her other hand.”
Michael and Vivie stayed in Matewan for three days. During that time Liam was finally able to secure a ride in Michael’s T-Bird. Michael even permitted Liam to drive the car. He made sure he drove by Susie Jackson’s house. Liam had become fond of Susie in school and he wanted to impress the teenage girl by letting her see him driving the fancy car.
The day they had to leave was a difficult day for Vivie. Holding Rose in her arms, she whispered to her that she loved her and would bring her home, to live with her and Michael as soon as possible. Vivie removed the crucifix she wore around her neck and pinned it to Rose’s little dress.
“Keep this on her at all times, Mama. I know it may sound silly but I would feel better knowing she has it near her.”
“It’s not silly at all, my child. Your faith is strong and the Lord will honor your faith by keeping Rose safe in his loving hands.”
Vivie handed Rose to Mary, hugging them both at the same time. She then said goodbye to her brothers and sisters and walked out onto the porch, tears streaming down her face. Michael hugged Mary as well, and kissed Rose on the forehead.
“You take good care of my daughter, Michael; and I will take good care of yours.”
“I will Mary, I promise you that.”
Mary and the children waved from the porch as Vivie and Michael drove down the road.
“Blessed Father, keep my daughter and her husband safe. I do not believe they were completely honest with me, Lord, but you know what they are in store for.” Mary prayed as she watched the T-Bird drive out of site.
Vivie slept most of the way back to New York. Michael, alone with his thoughts, pondered their future. Mr. and Mrs. Whoever were about to become Mr. and Mrs. Killer for Hire…..two very deadly shamrocks.
After returning home, and a day of rest, Michael and Vivie had time to collect their thoughts and tried to enjoy their alone time. They were happy to be together again. Vivie missed Rose, but knew she was better off with Mary for now. They had not heard anything from Joseph; but they knew that could change at any moment. Sitting on the couch together, after dinner, Vivie’s thoughts turned to romance.
“You know, we never have consummated our marriage, Michael.”
Vivie looked at Michael with desire in her eyes, wondering if the same thoughts had been going through his mind.
“That’s very true; we never have. The time never seemed quite right, had it, darlin?”
“We don’t know what is ahead of us, Michael. I need you so; make love to me, tonight, right now.”
Vivie stood to her feet and held her hand out to Michael. Michael took her hand and Vivie led him to the bedroom. Once inside the bedroom, Michael took her into his arms and held her tightly, kissing her gently on the lips, then, moving slowing to her neck. Vivie’s body trembled at his touch. How long she had waited for this feeling. Vivie unbuttoned Michael’s shirt and removed it; caressing his chest with her hands and her lips. Michael unzipped Vivie’s dress and let if fall to the floor. Vivie turned around so that Michael could unfasten her bra. After removing it, she turned to face him.
“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever known, Vivian.”
Michael could not take his eyes off of Vivie. She led him to the bed where she laid down and invited him to lay beside her. They held each other in a lover’s embrace, kissing passionately, their tongues intertwined. Michael’s hands caressed Vivie’s body tenderly, as only a lover can. The mere touch of his hands sent shivers of pleasure coursing through Vivie’s entire body.
“Are you sure you are ready, my darling Vivie?”
“I want you so badly, Michael. My body aches for you. Make love to me. I desire you in all the ways a wife can desire her husband. I love you Michael.”
“I love you too Vivie. I have wanted you for so long.”
Michael and Vivie made love throughout the night, taking their time; savoring every moment of their first time together. Vivie felt as though she was a virgin again, that this was truly her first time. Michael had forever wiped the experience of the attack from her mind.
Just before dawn the lovers were awakened by the ringing of the telephone. It was Joseph.
“Hello, Lucky? I need to see you and Vivian. I have a job for both of you. Sort of a team effort, if you will. How soon can you get over here?”
“We can be there within the hour.”
“See you then, Lucky.”
Michael placed the phone on the receiver and turned to face Vivie, who was still basking in the glow of their lovemaking.
“Joseph has a job for us.”
“For both of us?”
“That’s what he said. He said it was going to be a team effort…whatever that means. He wants to meet us at his office. Better get dressed.”
Michael and Vivie showered and dressed and arrived at Joseph’s office a little after 7:00 a.m. After entering the large, dimly lit office, the two took their seats in front of Joseph’s oversized desk.
“Okay, here’s the deal. One of the Westies contacted one of my guys; said he had some information that we might find valuable. He is willing to sell us this info on the condition of his anonymity. Now you know I don’t trust any Westie. I think this could be a set up to get one of our guys to meet up with him and then they will whack him. My guys know how to handle themselves but for this job I need a professional. Or, in this case, two professionals. I want the two of you to meet up with this guy.”
“You need both of us?” Michael did not understand the need to use both he and Vivie for what seemed like a simple job.
“Not exactly both of you. I want you to meet up with the guy, but I want Vivian close by, just in case something’s not right.”
“When is this going down?”
“11:00 p.m. tonight. You’re supposed to meet him at the old train depot.”
“In the Kitchen?” Vivie was surprised that Joseph would want them to go back into Hell’s Kitchen knowing that Tommy was still looking for Michael.
“Yes. That is why I think it’s a set up. The Westies don’t travel too far out of the Kitchen, you know that Michael. But for this guy to attempt to sell information to us on his own turf; something just doesn’t sit right with me.”
Joseph looked first at Michael and then at Vivie. He was trying to determine if they were willing to follow his order or if they were too worried about the safety of the other to accept the job.
“We’ll take care of it Joseph.”
Michael knew that this was a test of their loyalty to Joseph. If they didn’t accept the job, it would mean they cared more about the safety of each other than their loyalty to him. If that was the case, he would no longer have a need for either of them.
“Good man. Call me after you meet with the guy. If he does have info, give him this envelope. If it’s a set up, let me know how it works out.” Joseph handed an envelop full of cash to Michael.
“Vivian, you know the logistics of the depot. You can figure out the best place for you to be, where you can keep an eye on what’s going on and still be able to take action, if needed; right?”
“I’ll be expecting your call later tonight.”
“Until tonight then Joseph.” Michael got up and pulled Vivie’s chair out for her, then both left Joseph’s office.
“Michael, I don’t feel good about this.”
“I agree. I don’t like the idea of you going back to the Kitchen.”
“Me? I’m concerned about
. Tommy is looking for you, Michael, not me.”
I can handle myself, but if Tommy gets wind you are in town, it’s not going to be good. We have no idea who this Westie even is. It could very well be a set up. I don’t want you taking any chances. If things take a turn for the worse, I want you to get out of there; do you understand?”
“I understand what you are saying, but if you think I’m going to leave you alone, you can forget it.”
“Jesus, Vivie. How can we work together if I can’t depend on you to use common sense?”
“Do you want to call Joseph and tell him that you are refusing to work with me?”
“Of course not.”
“Then, suck it up, Michael. Know that I have your back and don’t worry about me.”
“You are the most frustrating woman I’ve ever known. You know that too, don’t you?”
“I do, indeed.”
Michael looked over at Vivie and then both laughed. They knew that there was no one either of them would rather have watching their backs than each other.
At a little after 9:00 p.m. Vivie and Michael began getting together the tools they may need for their job. Not knowing if this was going to be a simple exchange of information for cash, or an ambush, they had to prepare for the worst case scenario. They decided it would be better to take Vivie’s car since Michael’s T-Bird was well known in the Kitchen. The drive to the Kitchen was not a long drive but it was a quiet drive. Michael and Vivie both had thoughts racing through their minds; thoughts they didn’t want to share with each other. Michael parked the car four blocks away from the depot. Before exiting the car, Michael leaned over and kissed Vivie.
“Be careful. Do not take any chances. I trust your instincts, Vivian, if you get a bad feeling about anything, get out of here.”
“And you promise me you will do the same, Michael. You promise me, you will not take any chances.”
“Never. I have too much to live for now.”
Michael and Vivie kissed again before getting out of the car. They walked through alleys and down side streets to the agreed upon meeting spot. Vivie stayed in the shadows a few feet away from where Michael was supposed to meet the Westie. From where she was standing she could see everything clearly but she was not in plain sight of anyone else. After a few minutes, Vivie’s stomach started to turn. She had not felt this uneasy since the night she came out of the kitchen of the pub and saw Tommy and his crew standing there, waiting for her. Fifteen minutes had gone by. Vivie wondered if the guy had decided not to show. She also started to wonder how long Michael was going to wait for him. Ten more minutes passed. Vivie saw Michael turn around and start walking toward her. Evidently the guy wasn’t coming. Michael was within four feet from her when suddenly he fell to the ground.
” Vivie screamed out and ran to Michael’s side. She knelt down beside him, placing his head in her lap; she realized he had been shot. A bullet had entered his left temple. Michael was dead. Vivie had not even heard the gunshot. Vivie jumped to her feet, pulled out her Glock and started shooting in all directions, not seeing anyone. After emptying the gun, she dropped it to the ground and she fell to her knees beside of Michael’s body, sobbing. Alone, in the abandoned depot, she held Michael’s head in he lap, talking to him through her tears; not caring if she was the next to be hit. Vivie lost track of time. When she finally realized where she was, she stood up and walked to her car. She pulled the car down to where Michael’s body lay and pulled him into the back seat of the car. She then drove to Joseph’s office.
Vivie’s knocked on Joseph’s door, using Michael’s signal. Joseph opened the door and saw Vivie standing there, Michael’s blood covering her coat.
“Jesus Christ. Come in here. What the hell happened down there?”
“Michael’s dead. I didn’t see the person who shot him. I didn’t even hear the shot. We waited for the guy to show but he never did. Michael was walking toward me when he just fell to the ground. They shot him in the head, Joseph.” Tears were streaming down her face.
Son of a bitch….mother fuckers.
I knew it was a set up. I fucking new it. Where is Michael now?”
“He’s in my car, in your garage.”
“I’ll take care of him, Vivian. I’ll have my driver take you home. Get yourself cleaned up and I’ll be over there in a little bit. Don’t answer the door until you know it’s me. You understand?”
Vivie shook her head, yes.
“Jesus, Vivian, I’m sorry, you don’t know how sorry. Lucky was like a son to me.”
“I know, Joseph. He loved you as well.”
Vivie left Joseph’s office and he called the mortuary the family used to pick up Michael’s body. Joseph lit a cigar and walked over to his window and looked out onto the street below.
“Damn it Lucky. I’m sorry it had to end this way. You knew how I felt about loyalty and yet you betrayed me twice. Your priorities changed once you hooked up with that girl. I couldn’t take a chance on you betraying me again. Why did you make me do it, Lucky; why?”
Vivie ran the shower and stepped inside. Standing underneath the hot, steaming water, she started weeping uncontrollably. Her mind went back to the previous night; the night she and Michael had made love. For the first time in such a long time she had been hopeful. She had allowed herself to believe that she and Michael would have a life together. Maybe it wouldn’t have been the life she had originally wanted, one that included Rose, but they would have been together. And Vivie knew that eventually Rose would have joined them. But now, Michael was dead and so were all of her dreams. All she wanted to do now was to hold Rose in her arms. She couldn’t help but wonder who was responsible. Could it have been Tommy? Was he high enough in the ranks of the Westies to pull off this type of hit? Joseph will find out who is responsible, Vivie felt certain that she could count on Joseph to get to the bottom of this.
By 6:00 a.m. Joseph was knocking on Vivie’s door.
“Vivian, its Joseph. Open the door.”
“Hello Joseph. Were you able to take care of Michael?”
“Yes, my dear. He’s at Tucci’s Mortuary. They’ll take good care of him there. How are you doing?”
“How do you expect? I let him down, Joseph. I was supposed to be watching his back, and I let him down.”
“Now Vivian, the guy that hit Michael had to be a sniper. I would say the guy wasn’t anywhere close to where you guys were. He was probably on top of a building on the next street. If it makes you feel any better, he never knew what hit him.”
“Hell no, it doesn’t make me
better. Michael is dead. Nothing is going to make me
better, Joseph. Christ.”
“I’ll find out who is responsible for his death, Vivian. I promise you that. We’ll make the son of a bitch pay. I swear to you. I know you’re going to need some time. Do you want to go visit your daughter for a few days?”
“I’m not going anywhere until after Michael’s funeral. I may then go visit Rose. I don’t know yet. One thing I want you to know, Joseph, I will not rest until I find out who killed Michael.”
“Why don’t you leave that up to me, Vivian? I’m better equipped to handle this.”
“Michael was my husband. It’s my duty.”
Joseph knew that Vivian was not going to be swept off to West Virginia like Mary. Somehow he was going to have to make this look like the work of the Westies, to throw her off course. Maybe he could make it look like Flannery’s doing. If he could get Vivie to whack Flannery it would make her feel better and it would take care of one his problems as well. Michael had let him down by not whacking Flannery that night in the garage when he got the other two that were involved in the fur heist.