Oil of Roses Ch. 26

He Man

Many thanks to Literotica author ‘englander1961’ for her help, editorial services, encouragement and a title much better than my original, which has elevated her to the status of House Goddess of Sexy Story Titles. Thanks to Sammi Scott, aka Titsy McYarn, the Cute at the Heart of the Abyss for her help and valuable critique. Thanks to Literotica author ‘KY ridgerunner’ for the stories that planted the idea in my head months ago. A belated and much overdue thanks to John Hasty for his peerless editing. Bounteous thanks to Kevin for his incredibly thorough critiquing and voluminous notes.

After you’ve read this, if you have any inclination at all to comment, please do so, either by email or on the comment board… The best way for me to grow and improve as an author is to hear from the people who read my work. I welcome constructive critiques and non-abusive comments. I will answer, in at least a semi-prompt manner, any email that comes with an email address. If you feel you must respond in a hateful or angry fashion, you may put your head down upon your desk and do so, quietly to yourself, for as long as you feel it necessary. This story may not be copied to other sites without my permission. If you have not read the earlier installment(s) of this tale, it would probably help you to make sense of this one if you did so.

* * * * *

Before Niccolo Philouma had a chance to finish his morning bathroom routine, one of his men was at the door.

“Phone… it’s your father.”

Ten minutes later he was dressed, had left a note for Susan telling her they’d talk over lunch and was on his way out the door.

When Big Vic summoned someone, they went.

* * * * *

The head of the Philouma crime syndicate looked old. That was Nick’s first thought upon entering the kitchen of the house he’d grown up in… his father looked old.

“Siddown Nick… have some breakfast.”

Nick took a seat across the old table that had seen so many smaller, less formal family meals. “Scrambled eggs and bacon… some toast too if it’s not too much trouble, Renee,” he told the cook.

“Like I’ve forgotten what you eat in the mornings,” the old woman replied as she poured him a cup of coffee and put the cream pitcher next to his plate.

In a few minutes his food was on the table. It was obvious Renee had known he was coming and started her preparations early.

“Alright Renee, get outta here,” his father said before having a coughing fit into his napkin.

The cook left, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like ‘grouchy son-of-a-bitch’ under her breath.

Once she was gone and the only sound in the kitchen was Nick eating, Victor Philouma spent several moments leaning back in his chair, gathering his thoughts while he watched his son before finally breaking his silence.

“So, you had your brother killed last night. We need to talk about that.”

To his credit, Nick didn’t try to deny it or even act shocked.

“How did you know?”

“There’s very little that goes on in this family that I don’t know about, sonny-boy. Let that be a lesson to you. You don’t keep your seat atop the shit heap by bein’ caught with your pants around your ankles playin’ with yourself… or takin’ it up the ass from your friend Randy.”

Nick looked up from his plate, calm and focused.

“Are we about to have a fight, Father? If we are, I’ll do you the courtesy of allowing you to make the first move.”

“Yeah, and I’d need it… five years ago, hell, even two years ago, you wouldn’t need to be doin’ me no courtesies. Now… now you could prolly let me have the first three moves and you’d still put my ass on the floor. And that’s part of what this talk is about.

“You decided that your brother was a threat to your plans, to those you feel an obligation to… and you decided that I wasn’t gonna be able to, or wasn’t gonna, control him. So you put him down.

“I was hoping that day would never come… that I’d be dead and him along with me before it did… but on the other hand, I hoped something like this would happen, something that would cause you to step up and take the reins out of my hands. You’d do something to let me know you were ready. Otherwise, I was gonna go to my grave hoping you were up to the job instead of knowing you were.

“Well, you did that. I can’t hold the death of your brother against you… we both know what my plans for the poor stupid fuck were.

“And I’ve got no doubt that if I stand in your way you have something in store for me too.”

“Yes sir… it would be quick, painless. I almost exercised that option along with taking care of Phil, but decided I could work around you.”

“Well now you’re not going to have to… I made a promise to your godfather Tony that the day you took the reins, I’d let go of them.” The old man took off the ring that had rarely left his finger since his own father had put it on him just before he died. It was a simple silver band, widening out to contain a piece of granite with a rough and pendik escort crude carving of a bird of prey… so rough in fact, that unless someone knew what they were looking at they probably couldn’t tell what it was.

“Gimme your hand.” Nick got up from the table, went to his father and knelt before him. Victor took his son’s hand and put the ring on the middle finger of his right hand.

“Your great-grandfather hammered this ring out himself, and he carved the stone out of the rock of our homeland, rock that was washed with water from the Mediterranean for thousands and thousands of years. This is Sicily. We carry it with us wherever we go as a reminder of where we came from and what made us what we are.

“But as soon as his ship sailed out of the Mediterranean, this little piece of granite got wet with water our family had never known before. This piece of rock got baptized with our family’s sweat in New York, in New Jersey, and here in Texas… it’s been bathed in the blood of our enemies, and sometimes our friends, and our own blood as well. It’s been wet from the rain of this country; it’s been pissed on more than once. It’s left its imprint on a lot of faces, on a lot of bodies. After Phil’s funeral, when those who owe us allegiance kiss it, they’re pledging their service not to you, but to the family. You and I will pass away… we only die if the family doesn’t survive. Do you understand me?”

Nick felt the tears on his face as he answered, “Yes sir.”

“Good… now then, dry your eyes, blow your nose and go finish your breakfast. We got shit to discuss.”

As Nick returned to eating, his father continued.

“Now then, we’re gonna get you married. Don’t worry,” he went on as Nick began to protest, “she’ll know the score. It’ll be a marriage of convenience. It won’t be the first one this family has known. And you’ll have kids… I don’t care if you do it the old-fashioned way or use a motherfuckin’ turkey baster, you and she will have children and they will be yours. I got a list of women I think might be suitable, we’ll go over them later.

“I’m plannin’ to plant Phil’s fat ass day after tomorrow. You’ll become head of the Philouma family at that time. Now if it were the old days, we could count on at least a couple of days, out of respect for the dead, before the jackals started shit… now we’ll be lucky if the fuckin’ Chinese don’t hit us at the goddamn funeral with the cock-suckin’, meanin’ no offense, Russians followin’ up with their shit right on the Chinks’ heels.”

“You really think they’ll move that fast?”

“I dunno… I hope not… but then again, like your Uncle Almora used to say, ‘I hope the next cunt I stick my dick in don’t gimme the clap but hopin’ ain’t stopped it none of the times it’s happened before.’

“Speakin’ of your uncles, your Uncle Vincent, he’s why I ain’t so worried about you and your sexual… appetites.”

“You mean Uncle Vincent…”

“Yeah, scariest motherfucker I’ve ever known… your godfather told me he’d read in a book about what Vincent was… a socialpath? Something like that…”

“A sociopath?”

“Yeah, that was it… well, a sociopath, a psychopath or a garden path, I knew there was one man in the whole world I never wanted to cross and that was my brother Vincent… he was never interested in runnin’ the family… too much like work. But he was hell on wheels as an enforcer.

“It was about three years after I took over, I needed to talk to him, but he was busy and he had everybody so scared of him that no one would take a chance on interruptin’ him… so I went over to his apartment to interrupt him myself… never hurt to cater to your Uncle Vincent’s ego, have the family head come to him.

“Used my key to his place, walked in… there he was, corn-holing this pretty little Neapolitan boy, fresh off the boat, couldn’t been no more than nineteen. Well, your Uncle Vincent had this look, cold and dead, like he’d already done you and was just figurin’ out what to do with the body. That’s the look I was getting’ from him.

“So I said, ‘when you’re through, I need to see ya, sorry to disturb ya but it’s important’ and backed my ass out the door. A couple of days later, I talked to him about it… now granted he wasn’t your typical homosexual, but after talkin’ to him about it I figured if the most dangerous man I knew was a fag, fags was okay with me.

“And when I found out about you, your ‘Uncle’ Tony, may he rest in peace, was still alive and we talked about it. I was pretty upset at the time… I mean, yeah, I don’t have no problem with fags, but this was my son we were talkin’ about. I was thinkin’ no grandchildren, no family no more… it was Tony that calmed me down, came up with the plan of getting’ you married and her pregnant, even if it took the help of modern medicine.

“Look Niccolo, I don’t understand it, but you’ve never given me the slightest reason to doubt you got what it takes to run this family, to keep it strong, to help kartal escort it grow. Now that I’m starin’ death in the face, that’s all that really matters. And it ain’t never stopped me from lovin’ you… hell, if I never stopped lovin’ your brother, what could you ever do that would make me stop lovin’ you?”

“Love you too, Dad.”

* * * * *

Over lunch Nicki, Carol and Kelly met with Margo at Rosario’s, a little open-air Tex-Mex café. The sotto-voce discussion would have interested the police greatly.

“So they’re dead?” Nicki asked.

“Yes and our friend assures me that I’ll be attending my soon-to-be-late husband’s funeral before too much longer,” Margo replied, smiling through thin and tight lips.

“Jesus that’s cold… “

“Look Nicki, justice is for sale in this country, that’s a given. I’m just buying ours on the black market. I would have liked to let the legal system take a crack at this, but at the end of the day, I don’t believe our legal system would’ve given me justice for what they did to your brother. There are too many loopholes, too many ways to manipulate the system, and Benjamin can afford the lawyers to find them all. So I went shopping elsewhere. I told our friend to be fair and just. I believe he has been. If I didn’t have complete faith in his ability to get the truth, not what I or anyone else wanted to hear, but the truth, I’d never have asked. This is the best way, maybe the only way, to get justice in this case.”.

“Remind me not to get you really pissed at me.”

“That’s easy. Don’t go out of your way to hurt the people that I love.”

* * * * *

Nick walked back into his suite of rooms to do some thinking and planning before lunch with Susan.

If the Philouma family was going to the mattresses, and quite possibly in as little as two days, there were a thousand things to attend to.

By the time Susan bounced in, ready for lunch, he’d managed to handle the majority of the really important matters.

“Hello Suzie, I’m changing the plan. You’ll still be playing a major role, you just won’t be finishing the dance… pay is still the same.”

“Fine with me, I get paid that kind of money I’m not real picky… witness who I fucked last time.”

“Good point. Listen, here’s what I’m thinking…”

* * * * *

Harry Grimes came back to the land of the conscious mid-afternoon and was not where his last dream had placed him.

But then again, he was reasonably sure he wasn’t going to wake up on the shores of a great wide ocean of liquid silver watching whales made of stars breach the surface and fly in the air for the sheer joy of it while he discussed the political cartoons of Berkeley Breathed with Jesus Christ, so he wasn’t too surprised.

The sight which did greet his eyes was a thousand times more beautiful, and more welcome, than any he could have dreamed.

Margo, Carol, and Kelly were sitting by his bedside playing three-handed spades on a small table. He watched for a moment as Kelly set Carol and quietly gloated.

“Next game… deal me in,” he croaked.

The three faces he loved best in all the world lit up as the card’s dropped to the table, forgotten.

“But who’s gonna get stuck with your doped-up ass for their partner?” Kelly asked. “I’m finally getting’ my skills back, I don’t want ya messin’ up my game.”

“Be damned if I’m gonna partner with him,” Margo said with a smile. “The gimp probably can’t even hold his cards up for more than a few minutes.”

“Not me,” Carol sighed. “I’m just now learning how to play, I don’t want to be shackled to the gimp.”

“Damn… I can feel the love… feels like a kick in the balls,” Harry whispered, smiling.

“Only if you ask nicely, my love,” Margo replied, “and only after you’re feeling better. Now, would you like some water, darling?”

“Oh yeah.”

After he had finished sipping some water and being kissed by all present he asked, “So, am I going to live?”

“Yes you are, sir,” Carol said. “You’ll live until we get you home, all healed up and healthy… and then I get to hold you down while Margo and Kelly beat the ever-loving shit out of you. What the fuck was up with that business with the will? Do you really think any of us wanted you risking your health to put us in your will?”

“That was the point, it’s true,” he replied, “but I’m not accepting any beating for it. All the assets of my estate should go to the people who deserve them, not the cum-guzzling dumpster skank I was shackled to for three years.”

“Alright, fair enough,” Margo said, “but what was that shit about not having us woken up so we could be there?”

“I wasn’t going to be awake all that long. And in case the worst happened, it wasn’t how I wanted to be remembered by you.”

Margo looked at him, love mixing with anger in her eyes as tears leaked from the corners.

“Would you prefer I remember you as you were in the park? Would you like my last memory of you to be stretched out on maltepe escort the table in the OR? What last memory of you were you preserving for me?”

“Or for Kelly and Nicki and I,” Carol said. “Our last memory of you was a mass of red lying in a heap on the ground.”

Harry managed a weak smile. “Alright, if I admit I was very, very wrong, will you forgive me and write part of my stupidity off to medication and physical condition?”

“Forgiven, forgotten and understood, my love,” Margo said. “Agreed, my beauties?”

Carol and Kelly echoed her sentiments, and then Carol said “Harry, I think we’re going to get out of here and let some of the rest of the family come in.” She and Kelly very gently hugged and kissed him.

As she was straightening back up, Kelly said, “Oh, Harry, you don’t have to worry about that whole ‘proposing’ thing where I’m concerned. Margo and Carol have already done the proposing, most romantically.”

“And you told them they were crazy?”

She looked into his eyes and replied softly, “They’re not crazy at all, Harry; not at all… they had it right.”

Then the beautiful young woman sashayed arm in arm with Carol to the room door, turned and looked back at him.

“I said ‘yes’.”

Harry Grimes lay on his bed, dumbfounded.

Margo put her hand on his arm in one of the few places she could touch skin and it wouldn’t hurt.

“Harry, there are things you have an instinctive grasp of… and there are things you should leave up to Carol or me. Evidently, understanding Kelly’s and your feelings for each other is something you should leave up to Carol and me.”

* * * * *

“It’s good to have him awake,” Carol said as they sat in the hospital cafeteria, sipping what could charitably be called coffee.

Neither of them was feeling charitable.

“Yeah, it’s good to have him awake. Now if he was only up and about and able to make coffee because goddamn, this shit sucks… we’re gonna have to get a coffeemaker for the room or something… bring the one from the house… I dunno, but this crap is vile,” Kelly observed.

Carol looked at her wife, seeing and feeling the distress in her. “Kelly, what’s wrong? And don’t tell me ‘nothing’ because something’s obviously bothering you.”

“You mean other than the Coffee-That-Corroded-Kansas-City? It’s money stuff…”

“Are you upset about being included in Harry’s will?”

“Oh no, not that… well, okay, I’m a little freaked about that, but that’s mostly because I’m not real used to thinking of myself as y’all’s spouse yet. Hell, I’m not used to the possibility of being anyone’s spouse yet. It makes perfect sense, logically, for him to divide the estate between his wives and sister…

“It’s more that here I am, junior partner in the firm so to speak, Harry’s got a career, Margo’s got a career, your career is running the household for all of us… God, it sounds strange now that I’m part of ‘us’ and not just a roommate. But you’ve got that and then Tony left you the money so you go from being a pet to a pet with means… and here’s me, a college student with nothing and not a clue what I want to do with my life. It’s fun to be Margo’s and your pet, from time to time, but I’m not cut out for a life of it, so I feel like I should at least be able to see a way for me to contribute to the family’s financial well-being on the horizon somewhere, but I got no clue.”

“I don’t suppose it would help any if I told you I’m pretty sure none of us have a problem with that at all, would it?”

“No, not really… I’d understand if y’all did, but I also can easily see that y’all don’t… I have a problem with it. Getting married is grown-up shit. Fuckin’ around in college, trying to ‘find yourself’ isn’t.”

“I tell you what, darling wife-“

“Jesus, girl, the chills that go through me when you call me that… keep it up and you’ll start something that’ll get us thrown out of the cafeteria.”

“And that would be bad… how? But, point taken… the four of us will sit down and discuss it as soon as Harry’s up to it. Between the four of us, I believe we can pretty much solve anything,” Carol said, smiling. “Now then, I propose we get out of here and go buy a couple of coffeemakers … one for the hotel room, one for Harry’s room in the hospital and some supplies.”
“They’re not going to let us keep a coffeemaker Harry’s room.”

“With Margo on our side, you wanna bet on it?”

“With what money?”

“I’ll gladly accept a deviant and perverse sex act in lieu of money, beloved wife.”

“Damn you!” Kelly said, smiling, as the two women got up, linked arms and left the cafeteria. “Hey, while we’re out we could stop by the house, pick up a few things.”

“Sounds good to me.”

* * * * *

Nicki sat and stared at Harry for a few moments, her fingers nervously fumbling with the juice box she’d just finished draining.

Finally Harry broke the silence. “Really sorry to fuck up your vacation, Sis.”

“No, you haven’t… wait, I don’t mean it that way either, like ‘sorry you’re in the hospital, gotta run, I’m going out dancing’ or anything… it’s… I’m… I’m glad I was here. No matter what happened, I needed to be here. I was talking to Tattie… you ending up in here has put a lot of things in perspective for me.”

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