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Mando Bk. 02: Good Badass Bitch Ch. 06

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Mando 1 chapt 6

CHAPTER 6: MR. X

GINO’S Story

I receive the invitation to the reunion and immediately have visions of Danny. Would I go if I knew she would be there? I don’t know. I may be taking a lot for granted. She could be married. Or since she was such an overachiever maybe she’s a General or something in the marines. Maybe she has no use for the baggage of a family.

This is a simple decision, really. There are too many possibilities that she won’t want to see me. I won’t go.

A couple of weeks later on my way to my office the secretary calls out, “Father, you have the second invitation for the reunion. It’s only four weeks away. Shall I accept it for you? You could use a break.”

“No, Harriet, dump it.”

Harriet said, “OK, I’ll send it in.” But I don’t pay attention to what she said; my mind is on the upcoming meeting.

My intercom buzzes. “Yes Harriet?”

“Father, you have a call on line two. The woman is distraught.”

“I’ll get it, Harriet, thanks.”

“This is Father Marino, what can I do for you?”

“Gino? Gino, is that you?”

It’s my mother. She sounds like she’s falling apart. “Mom? What has happened? Why are you so distressed?”

“It’s your father, Gino. He’s sick. Another heart attack. He wants to see you. Can you come home to the hospital? After three bypasses, the doctors aren’t optimistic about a fourth. Come home, Gino. Come home please.”

“Mom, I’ll be on the next flight.” I’m so numb I drop the phone into the cradle from too high up and it bounces off. I grab it again. Now my hands are shaking so badly I drop it again. I give up and hurry to Harriet. “Harriet. My father is in critical condition. I am leaving as soon as I can. Mark me off the calendar for a week. Oh, and Harriet,”

“Yes, Father?”

“Hang up my phone, will you?”

When she calls I’m stateside giving a workshop in church planting, I intended to visit the family afterwards so I’d have lots of time to visit. Thank God I’m here when she called. Three hours later I’m standing with the doctors discussing my father’s condition.

“Father, if he makes it through a fourth bypass it’ll be a miracle. He has been asking for you. He is prepped for surgery in half an hour.”

I nod and duck out of the consultation room and rush to find the room dad is in and almost lose my lunch when I see him. He is ashen, and semi conscious. Mother is sitting with her sister and Dad’s brother. I ignore them and am by dad’s bed in three strides. “Dad? It’s me, Gino.”

His eyes flutter open, his hands grip mine, and he struggles to talk. “Gino. I’ve wanted to talk to you. You take over the business. You can do God’s work on this side of the church too.”

“Dad…”

He tried to lift his head. “Promise me! Promise me, Gino. Don’t let those pirates and raiders take our family business apart. Promise me!”

“Dad, relax. You’ll be in surgery soon.”

“Gino, whether I live or die. I’m done. Promise me you’ll step into my place.”

“Dad, I don’t know much about business.”

“Poppycock! You’re better at it than I am. Promise me!

“Dad…. “

“Promise me!”

I heave a big sigh and give in. “Yes dad, I promise.”

“Last rites, son. Please.”

“OK, Dad, but I’m telling you it’s not your time.”

“Really?”

“Yep, you’ve never missed a Christmas, and you won’t this year. I promise to take the business if you promise to live until Christmas. Deal?”

“Well, Son, I’m tired and ready to check out of this body. It’s got more mileage than it was designed for.”

“Promise me dad. Christmas. You can check out in the New Year. I promised, now it’s your turn. Promise?”

“Oh, alright, but only this one Christmas, then it’s the arms of the angels for me.”

“****

On my way back to the parish I think about the things I must to do. Resign, and then a myriad of other things. I need to decide about the reunion. I should really go, I know, but life’s not that simple. Whether she’s there or not, I should go. It won’t hurt to see the guys again. But I really don’t care about the guys. I want to see Danny. I think about it again.

What am I thinking about this for? I said I’m not going and I’m not. That’s final.

…But I do wonder what she looks like now after being in that tough man’s marine corps for all these years. Has she changed that much? Will she look austere instead of lovely and beautiful? Will she be fat, thin, have dyed hair, short hair, or somewhere in between?

Will she even remember me after having her pick of rough and tough men in the marines?

I don’t know why I’m even wondering about her. I’m not going. I need to stop thinking about her and focus.

When I return to my office I start the process of leaving the priesthood. After ten years, I’d be just a man on the street again. I could work my own schedule, pay taxes, get sued, and get ulcers from board meetings and environmental issues. Thanks for nothing, Dad

I’m in my office when for some reason Danny pops bursa eskort bayan into my mind. Forget it, I tell myself. I’ll be busier than a sailor in a cat house getting up to speed on the business. I won’t have time for such foolishness. The reunion is out.

…She was one sexy woman, though. Tall, with gorgeous brown eyes, sexy full lips. Firm breast perfect for her size. And that smile? Her radiant smile often turned my worst day into my best day. She set my engines on high R PM’s the second I saw her. She put the “X” in sex. Triple X at that. Ummm, just thinking about her sparks a fire in my furnace and starts pumping up my right pants leg. Oh well, enough of that. I should get back to work and get my mind on the business at hand. Forget about the reunion, it’s just a distraction. I’m not going anyway, so there is no reason to give it more thought time.

****

It’s been three weeks and dad is still hanging on. Surgery went well and he’s holding on to his promise. He’s fighting to stay alive.

Rumors have gone viral about dad’s company. Why is his son there with him? Is it really because of his dad’s health? Is he really there to keep him from exerting himself like he said, or is that son of a bitch grooming his son to take his place?

Financial pages and Wall Street won’t leave it alone. We’ve kept our intent quiet because we knew it would cause a riot in the board room and the stock market. If I take the helm right straight out of the priesthood it would cause a bear market for the company stock, and a lot of in-fighting among the executives who thought they were next in line, or should be..

The phone buzzes. “Yes?”

“Mr. Marino, a man named chuck is on line three.”

“Thank you Harriet. Hello Chuck, how’s it hanging?”

“Gino you sound in good spirits.”

“Excuse me, is this the FBI Chuck? My best friend in high school and college Chuck? that Chuck?”

He laughed. “Yes, but technically not the FBI.”

“What​? I don’t believe it. You eat, sleep, and breathe FBI. What’s all this?

Chuck laughs. “I said technically. I run a no-name agency that’s off the grid. Listen buddy, the boys in the organized crime department are getting hot rumors that you are a major concern of the cartels and mobs at the moment. Evidently they have corporate raiders fronting for them, and stand to cop a major gain by taking your company. You are in the way.”

“Anything concrete Chuck?”

“No, I’ll let you know when we get something solid. Gino listen and listen good. If we discover they are making a move, we can’t move on hearsay. And if we send in a team of agents against their boys it’ll be a war. A lot of innocent people could get hurt.”

“What exactly are you telling me, Chuck?”

“I’m telling you if I recommend a specialist type bodyguard to handle this, hire and follow every instruction he gives. I know you are a martial artist, but these guys are professional cold blooded killers with automatic weapon and hair trigger pistols. Let the specialist do what specialists do. If you get in the way you could get hit by friendly fire as easily as enemy fire. This will be an expensive pro, but your life is worth protecting. Will you do it?”

“Yes. You have my request to hire such a person on my company’s behalf when needed.”

“Good. We need two hundred fifty thousand for fees to put him on standby to go against these particular hit men, Put five million in escrow with your attorney. Their attorney will send you the escrow agreement. That’s good faith money. I won’t know the price until we make contact.”

“Is that standard?”

Chuck laughs. ” Only top dollar will get them to take on this particular hit team of nine or more killers with automatic weapons, custom pistols, and long knives. Standard is what the contractor says it is. Oh, and another thing, beef up the security for your parents. You could be manipulated to do anything anyone wanted you to do if one or both of them were hostages.”

“Quite right.”

“Good show, Sherlock. You coming back to town soon?”

Yep. I’ll be there this week end. Thinking about going to the reunion, but am not sure yet.”

“OK, your father has a security suite there, book it now.”

“Yes sir.”

“You insolent priest―I mean executive. Talk to you later.”

****

Only one week before the reunion and I am obsessed with the thought of seeing Danny again. Will she be there? Is she married, barefoot and pregnant? Or has a boyfriend, or maybe she left the marines and became a nun. Will I even recognize her? Will she recognize me? What color of dress will she wear? One that brings out the glint of honey in her eyes, I hope. But…I guess I’ll never know except for looking at pictures of the attendees, because I won’t be there. Nope. Not a good idea. Definitely not.

Oh, but what a ball of fire she was. Whoa baby! When she walked up to swing that golf club my heart took the elevator to the basement. I remember feeling goose bumps and breathing faster. My heart started beating so fast I had to stop bursa merkez escort and take a deep breath to get hold of myself. When I reached around her to help her with her swing, boy oh boy did I want that swing. Her swing. She was perfect. She was a perfect lover.

What that babe did with my cock! Yow! And that hot, juicy pussy! Yum yum.

Hey! What am I doing? I am thinking unholy thoughts and dredging up dangerous memories, that’s what. I have to stay focused. Going to the reunion isn’t in the company’s best interest either. If she’s there it will mess up my head, and more than ever I need to stay focused.

That fling ten years ago cost me a lot of confessions and a dump truck full of guilt. Not guilt for being with a woman when I was studying to become a priest; guilt for liking it. Liking it? I loved it. I think I love her, but maybe it was lust, not love. That’s what I kept telling myself anyway. A priest in love is a dangerous thing for the church.

But I am not a priest now…

****

“Excuse me, Mr. Marino, there is a call for you on line four.. She says it is important. Her name is Gloria. She’s calling about the reunion.”

“Thanks, Harriet.” “Hello, this is Gino.”

“Gin? Gino Marino?”

“Yes it is, Gloria. How may I help you?

“Gino I’m the coordinating chairman for our ten year reunion. How are you?”

“I’m well, and I trust you are too.”

“Oh yes. I called to remind you of the reunion next week. You are coming, aren’t you?”

“Gloria thanks for the reminder, but can I register this late?

“Gino, you are such a tease. You registered weeks ago.”

“I did? Hmm. I guess that slipped my mind. I’m considering it, Gloria, but no promises.”

“Gino I was told to tell you that a Danny Sterling registered. Do you think you will come? Can I add you to the dinner count?”

“Danny Sterling the boxing champ”

“The same,”

“Splendid.”

“You will come, won’t you?

OK, Gloria. I’ll do what I can, but no promises. Isn’t it in the Omni hotel?”

“Yes, the Omni downtown. But Gino, I’m not sure any rooms are available. You may have to find a room in a different hotel.”

“Thank you, Gloria.”

“See you next week.”

“Bye Gloria. Thanks for the call.”

“You are welcome. Bye.”

The room doesn’t worry me. I’ve already booked one of those expensive security suites my father uses as Chuck advised. Hey, wait a minute. What am I saying? I’m not sure I’m even going.

Wait another minute. When did I register? More than a little suspicious, I call Harriet. “Harriet, this is Gino.”

“Yes?”

“Did you send in the registration when I told you I wanted to think about it first?”

“Em, yes, but I called out to you that I was sending it in, and you didn’t object.” Her voice was cheerful as she gushed the news. So, that’s good news, isn’t it? You’re in; I have a reservation for you at the Omni.”

“Oh, alright. But Harriet, why was it so important to you that I go to the reunion?”

“That was before you resigned and brought me here with you, Father. You haven’t had a vacation in ions. You needed a break, sir, and, well, I worry about you.”

“Harriet, you’re fired.”

Harriet giggled. “I just got here, so I’d better stick around awhile. You need me.”

“That’s for sure.”

More giggles. “Glad you admitted it. Anything else on your mind?”

“No, Harriet. Thank you for caring about me and my well being. You are a wonderful person. Oh, and I’m not father now. Gino will do fine.

She giggled again. “Why thank you Mr Marino..” Let me know how things go. If that’s all, Bye.”

“Bye Harriet.”

.****

I hang up the phone and think for the umpteenth time about the girl I didn’t have time to see. Danny was the only girlfriend I’ve ever loved. Leaving her was like leaving a funeral. I was devastated, but priest can’t marry. True, but I am not a priest now. Don’t know why I keep forgetting that. Should I go?” Is she married? Will she have a boyfriend or a husband with her? Will she even remember me?

I call Harriet back. “Harriet, exactly how is my name registered? That’s the one they will put on the name tag.”

“Not to worry sir. At reunions it’s more fun to leave your occupation as a guessing game. You are just Gino Marino. Just Gino; no Rev, no Father, no Dr. Marino. You are you; Gino Marino. Your name tag says so.””

I let out a sigh of relief. “Thanks.”

“Uh-Oh, sir, I’m afraid I have some bad news. Your reservation at the Omni was overlooked and your room was sold. Shall I find a room at another hotel?”

“No Harriet, that’s not necessary. Thanks. Bye.”

Although our main office was in town, I was visiting one of our subsidiary companies in Chicago. I arranged for the corporate jet to make the flight. Corporate jets are some perks of taking my father’s place as CEO and the company’s President

But should she know I quit the church and am rich. I told her who my family was but she didn’t connect the dots. She knew I bursa sınırsız escort bayan was helping with the family busies and never asked about it. Will the money influence her? Oops. I forgot, she’s got money of her own from boxing wagers. Maybe I shouldn’t go. Seriously, seeing her again could be a tragic mistake. I’m sure reporters will be there. If they see me they’ll take a picture or two. If I am with a woman, they’ll take lots of pictures and dig up anything about her and Poof! Her private life is over.

I slam my fist on my desk in frustration caused by my constant vacillation. I really shouldn’t go. No, I definitely shouldn’t…but I wonder if she will be there for real. This could be my only chance to see that sweet ass and luscious lips and hear that intoxicating laugh….

****

The reunion is tonight. Am I being foolish to think she is unmarried, or available, or… No, I’m not going no matter what…,

But I still want to see her. I may not have the opportunity to press my lips against hers, taste her tongue, nibble on her ear, or squeeze her so close to me that we meld together and become one. But hopefully I can hear that musical laugh, see those dimples, and watch her bounce up and down with excitement over small things.

What am I thinking? Do I really want to do those things, I asked myself as if I have never thought of that before. I wondered. The answer was a no-brainier. Damn right!

But I can’t be sure she’ll be there or be recognizable. No problem, that’s what name tags are for. That’s what PA systems are for. “May I have your attention please? Will Danny Sterling please meet your party at the punch bowl?” That should do it by golly. But what if that doesn’t work? I’ve gone this far. I will still find her. I MUST find her. If she isn’t there, I’ll go to her home, wherever that is. I WILL see her!”

****

I am getting out of the limo dressed to the nines. I had clothes tailored for this event even though I wasn’t going. Being rich has its advantages. Dumping that vow of poverty didn’t take a lot of thought. DUMP! All done.

The congested airways put the plane a little behind but I knew these things last for hours, so I wasn’t concerned. I was concerned about recognizing her, or her recognizing me. Being six foot two, I had a good vantage point. I kept scanning the crowd, but didn’t see anyone that resembled her. I hope she finds me since I am easier to spot.

Maybe this was a bad idea. I’ll only make a fool of myself more than likely. Oh stop thinking like a coward and get on with it.

After a couple of dry runs I decide to get something from the bar before I go the announcement route. Ten feet from the bar I see her. My breath reverses itself and I stare. I don’t doubt it is her. I know in my soul it is Danny. I scout around to see if she has an escort, but the guy she is talking to is merely hitting on her, he’s not likely a date.

Before I move or speak my phone buzzes. When I see who it is I quickly blurt. “Hang on, Chuck, be with you in a sec.” I hurry to the men’s room where it is quiet to take the call.

Hi Chuck, what’s up?.

“Bad news in the wind, Gino. You’ve got to get out of there.”

“Talk to me Chuck.”

There is a convincing rumor floating around that you are definitely going to be the CEO. The scuttlebutt is that your father will present you to the board on Friday, but as early as Monday-day after tomorrow.”

“So?”

“So the boys that don’t want you there are on a short fuse. A snitch informed us a hit is planned for tonight. Not just any hit, Gino a cartel hit. A Mob hit.”

“How is that different?”

They’ll know your family keeps a high security suite for its high flying guest, and will bring a crew to deal with it. They’ll breach that heavy front door and bullet proof class cage in no time. They bring one man per task and it’ll go down fast. They’ll send a team, Gino. A team of murdering pros armed to the teeth with machine guns, hair-trier pistols, and machetes. You listening?”

“I hear you, Chuck. Is this a sure thing, or a “could be thing.”

“At the moment it is a ‘could be.’ If you wait until it is a sure thing you may be facing the muzzle of a silenced pistol or a barrage of machine gun fire from twenty feet away.

“I have a bodyguard in the suite, Chuck.”

“You need more than a rent-a-cop, pardner,.”

“Maybe, but walking around surrounded by a team of guards will identify me right away.”

“Still the stubborn Gino. Tell you what. We can’t act on rumors. If we could we’d cover your ass. I can have men nearby, and a couple in the lobby, Gino, but when they move it’ll be too late.”

“Are you sure it is a hit and not abduction?”

“No, but an abduction wouldn’t affect the market, nor help the raiders. But we’ll handle it like an abduction threat to warrant our involvement. If the ransom was your agreement to take certain action on the part of the company, then that could be a motive for our involvement.’

“Could the hit be the main objective and abduction as a backup?”

“I doubt it. If they can abduct you they can kill you. A hit would trigger a major public reaction immediately. An abduction wouldn’t do that. As soon as I get confirmation I will send the specialist over. And Gino, don’t judge a book by its cover. This person is Clark Kent, get me?

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