Outtake: The First Hit #JoeandDamian
This seems to be a widely requested outtake, and funnily enough, there were requests for this outtake in the form before I even published Joe Rossi's novel, Captivated. I can't actually remember if I ever hinted toward Joe following in his father's footsteps to be a hitman for the Chicago Outfit, or not. But here we are - people ran with the idea. So for all those who wanted Joe's first hit, and what came after, you're welcome.
Note: I will post the outtake form up again sometime for more requests, but at the moment, I have 40+ requests in there and I would like to work my way through some of them before I ask for more suggestions considering I also have my own outtakes I personally want to work on beyond the requests of my readers.
The First Hit
Joe and Damian Rossi POV
Fifteen was a horrible fucking age, Joe thought. It was awkward, and confusing as fuck. Hormones that hadn't quite settled out, and sudden bursts of anger that made those growing pains seem like child's play ... he hated all of it. He also really hated how it took a whole year for his voice to stop squeaking every time his tone reached a certain octave, but that little problem was gone now.
The anger, growth spurts, and hormones ... not so fucking much.
He didn't want to be around people, see people, or even talk to people lately. He'd much rather hole himself into his bedroom for days, and be done with it. Spending time alone seemed like the better choice than pretending like he gave a fuck about smiling at family functions.
But his mother said he had to.
His father agreed.
Here Joe was.
"If you stopped scowling so much, someone might smile back at you," his brother said next to him.
Joe's scowl only deepened at that. "You mean, my scowl is what's keeping people away?"
Cory shrugged. "Good chance, yeah."
"Maybe that's what I want."
His brother only shook his head, and gave Joe a look. "You're impossible. Hiding in the corner isn't how you make friends."
"You keep assuming I want friends, though."
Mostly, he just wanted to be left alone lately. Fucking stupid teenaged angst. Although, to be honest, Joe figured even once this puberty shit settled out, he was still going to prefer being alone rather than standing in a crowd full of people.
This just wasn't his scene.
Cory rolled his eyes, and then something better caught his younger brother's attention, it seemed. A cute girl with purple streaks in her hair, and a fun gleam in her eye. Even at fourteen, Cory was all too willing to indulge in female attention. Puberty hit Cory in an entirely different fucking way than it hit Joe.
Sure, he had interest in girls. That was all there. It was just secondary to all the other shit that wouldn't leave him alone.
"Catch you later," Cory said as he drifted into the crowd with his gaze locked on the girl.
Joe didn't even bother to respond. His brother wasn't looking for one, really. Something better was in his sights. Joe took a moment to let his gaze drift over the people again--all there to celebrate his aunt, Abriella's birthday.
That was the one and only reason Joe hadn't put up much of a fight when he was told he was getting ready, and coming tonight whether he liked it or not. It was for his aunt. Although, technically, Tommas and Abriella were his first cousins, once removed, but being that they had a couple of decades on him, it felt strange to be calling them cousins. So, aunt and uncle it was. Abriella was always taking care of everyone else, so he figured at least one night a year, people could appreciate and take care of her.
"Don't know what the fucking point of this is, anyway," Joe heard a guy grumble somewhere to his left. "It's not like she's anything to be proud of. Anyone who knew her brother way back when knows Abriella isn't nothing but a fucking whore."
Joe blinked, and turned his head just enough to catch the sight of the fucker who thought to slander his aunt like that. He wasn't all that surprised to find it was an enforcer of the family--a guy who couldn't do anything but run packages and errands for made men, or watch a door when they went inside a business.
He didn't wonder why the guy couldn't get higher in the Chicago mob when he talked like that. It could be because of the drink in his hand, but it was more likely that the drink made the fool think he could say it and get away with it.
"Careful, you know how Tommy gets when you say things about his wife," someone else muttered. "Be nice, Logan."
Joe might have let it go--the guy was warned, and all. But then, he had to go and open his stupid mouth again like he had any kind of business doing so.
"Well, she is a whore. And he's the asshole that made her one. Fucking waste of my time. I gotta go take a piss."
It could have been the teenage hormones that had Joe's anger skyrocketing as he watched the asshole sway into the crowd of people celebrating his aunt's birthday, but Joe didn't think so. The guy needed taught a lesson, and frankly, Joe needed to get some of his bad mood out or else it was only going to get worse.
Beating it out on that guy's face instead of someone else's seemed like the right thing to do. And it wasn't like the asshole didn't deserve it.
Before Joe could talk himself out of it, he was following the enforcer through the halls of the Trentini mansion. It didn't take Joe very long to figure out Logan was lost--probably because he was drunk--and didn't have the first clue where he was going. It was probably bad form on Joe to use that to his benefit, but he didn't give a shit.
"Looking for the bathroom, man?" Joe asked, stepping up to Logan's side with a grin. "It's this way, then."
The enforcer gave Joe a look, but shrugged like he didn't give a shit either way. Yeah, he probably could have blamed the hormones and the bad mood on a lot of things ... but the longer he thought about it, the more he just wanted to kick the shit out of something.
So was his outlook lately.
Logan, the enforcer with a big mouth, got to be the lucky prick. Joe only meant to teach the guy a lesson because family was important, and respect should always matter when it came to people like his aunt Abriella. He certainly hadn't meant to beat the enforcer to death once he got him into the backyard.
But once that anger started coming out ... it didn't stop.
Strangely, he found it both terrifying and enthralling how killing someone had been that easy, and yet, the guilt compounded in his chest at the same time. He felt relief, and still, he felt the guilt, too.
Joe didn't even try to hide what he did. What would be the point? His father only found him when the party was over, and people were finally starting to leave. Joe wasn't entirely sure what Damian had been thinking in those moments at the sight of his son sitting on the grass smoking a cigarette from the bloodstained pack he'd stolen from the dead body at his feet.
Probably ... like father, like son.
But who was he to say?
"And what, Theo?" Damian snapped. "I made sure he washed up, and sent him home."
"Are you going to tell Lily?"
Damian let out a scoff that hurt, it was so gruff and loud. "Why would I tell my wife that our son killed someone tonight?"
"You figure a lot of things. On this, you know nothing. Don't speak like you do."
Something like this would always fall in line with Lily's don't ask, don't tell policy. She was well aware their youngest son was leaning towards the family business just because Cory had the right temperament for it, and he might as well have been a carbon copy of his uncle Theo, but without the whole pissy mood thing to match.
Joe, on the other hand ... he'd been the fucking wild card. The one Damian never really knew what his son was going to do, or even wanted to do. He followed made men around, and dipped his hands into different things, but nothing really stuck.
And then there he was tonight, unbothered and calm next to a dead fucking body while he smoked a bloodstained cigarette and his bruised knuckles looked like hell under the lights in Tommy's back yard.
"And how is he, hmm?"
Damian glanced in his cousin's direction at that question. Tommas had offered it quietly, and simply. As though it was the next logical thing to ask, and not something like, oh, how do you feel that your son killed someone tonight?
Damian didn't know how to feel.
"He's quiet," Damian admitted.
"He talked enough to tell you why he did it, though."
Yeah, because the enforcer was a prick--which everyone knew--who slandered Abriella. Joe thought to teach the guy a lesson, and it went too far.
"You're not going to punish Joe for that, are you?" Theo asked, turning on Tommas. "It was you last month who threatened to kill that fucking idiot if he stepped out of line again."
Tommas rolled his eyes, but kept his haze on Damian as he said, "No, I'm not going to have him punished. But ..."
"What?" Damian demanded.
"Seems he just has those tendencies, hmm? The ability and capability to do it--the mindset to see it done. That could be ... useful, D."
"I said he was quiet about what he'd done, not unfeeling, Tommas. He's not a fucking robot or a monster."
"Oh, so like you, then? Silently guilty."
"Take him to confession and see how he does after speaking to a priest," Tommas murmured, "and then bring him in for a chat with me. Better to focus it, Damian, than to let it ... run amok."
Damian hated this whole night, and he really hated that Tommas had a point. So was their fucking life. And maybe he hadn't been ready for this moment, but here they were.
"You should really tell Lily," Theo called after Damian as he left the office.
"You should really shut your fucking mouth, Theo."
That was that.