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Manhattan's Song

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Rose was busying herself in the apartment once she got home from her mother-in-law’s house. Luca still wasn’t home and it had already gotten dark out. She wasn’t worried, he often times came home late, she knew it was all apart of the business. But something was looming in her mind, Luca had been at Don Spinietta's home quite often the past few days.

But she was hoping he’d come home soon. Rose was cooking in the kitchen for two, wondering if Luca would wait to eat with her or eat at a restaurant with some of his soldiers. She continued to cook anyway. She felt something in her stomach, the feeling she had when her nerves heightened.

When she finished cooking she sat down at the small table in the kitchen. The food was still on the stove and kitchen counter, but Rose hadn’t served any for herself. The nervousness was settling in her stomach as she was sat at the table in the kitchen twiddling her thumbs.

She moved into the living room to look out the large floor to ceiling windows that lined the back wall. Rose pressed her forehead against the window and sighed audibly, she tried to soothe her anxieties, but an echo of a gunshot rang reverberated off the windows. Then another gunshot rang out and then another. Rose knew it, she knew something was wrong. Was Luca behind the gun, or was he in front of it? She had no time to ponder it as she sprinted out the door, not even locking the door properly and she slid into the elevator, the seconds she spent in the elevator were the longest of her life as a fear she had only felt twice before plagued her mind. As the elevator door opened she bolted out the gold case and through the lobby pushing the revolving doors to step outside. The commotion was intense, people screaming and running for their dear lives.

When Rose’s eyes finally settled on who had been shot, her heart sank. She ran to him, she ran to her husband. He was lying on the ground, blood pooling next to him.

The lobby man had bolted inside as she got there.

“Luca! Luca!” She called for him, he had enough energy to clutch onto her with his undamaged arm. The tears were spilling out of Rose’s eyes like flowing rivers. “No, no, no” Rose whispered harshly through sobs, as she pulled Luca to her tightly, trying to stop the blood from flowing out of the holes he now had. The man who stood in the lobby ran out again.

“Mrs. Changretta, an ambulance is coming, they’ll be here shortly.” The man made himself busy as Luca fell unconscious in Rose’s lap. Her tears were falling on his face, she didn’t know if he was going to make it.

Rose had gotten into the ambulance without a second thought, she was clutching at Luca’s free hand and yelling at the driver to go faster, as a paramedic did his best to stop the bleeding.

When they arrived at the hospital Luca was rushed into intensive care to undergo a surgery on his shoulder and torso, the bullets had not exited him, and had remained live inside his body. The one to hit his chest, lucky was stopped by a golden pendant that was hung around his neck. Rose had cried profusely when the doctor told her that the necklace had saved his life, and if he hadn’t been wearing it, he would have died of his injuries before the ambulance came. Rose spent three hours with Luca, it was already two o’clock in the morning when Audrey, Catarina and Bianca came rushing into the hospital.

Audrey was crying out for her son, her little boy, when she stormed into the hospital room that Rose had been crying in while holding Luca’s limp hand. He had survived, but his injuries would make him bedridden for at least a week. Rose hadn’t seen him awake since he was shot and hadn’t moved from her spot next to him.

It was already inching closer to the early hours of the morning. Hiram had come around to check on Luca and to report back to Don Spinietta. There were several of Luca’s soldiers stationed around the hospital and four were just outside the door. Audrey had been hollering out orders since she had arrived. Rose thought long and hard about how strong Audrey was, even as her son was lying down on a hospital bed completely battered by bullets.

Audrey had even sent Bianca out to get Rose shoes, as Audrey had quickly noticed that Rose had run out to Luca without wearing any. Audrey hadn’t pushed Rose at all, she was being quiet and gentle with her.

At around seven in the morning, Audrey called Rose out of the hospital room leaving Luca alone with only soldiers to guard his door.

“Will you be alright?” Was the first thing Audrey said as they stood in a long hallway, Audrey had placed her hand on Rose’s arm and was rubbing her gently, but the sudden kindness Audrey displayed only made Rose start crying again. Audrey enveloped Rose into a warm hug and began to lull her, to soothe the tears.

“Luca will be okay, he just needs rest. You’ll take care of him won’t you?” Audrey asked carefully.

“Of course, I will,” Rose stated through calm tears. There was a silence between them as Audrey moved to sit at the empty chairs that were lined against the walls. Rose followed her, her hands clasped together as she sat down.

“I’ve been quite rude to you since you’ve arrived here. I know you don’t pretend to not know why I have been. But circumstances–” Audrey paused and took Rose’s hands in her own. “Circumstances need us to be civil and trusting of each other. Alright? I know you mean a lot to Luca, and I can’t pretend to not notice how much you care for him too. So, we must start over.” Rose nodded her head in response, the load she had on her chest suddenly vanishing. “You have to be brave. If Luca is to take over after Don Spinietta. This sort of accident will happen more often. It will get dangerous for the both of you. You have to be brave, you hear me?”

“I will, I promise,” Rose answered, her eyes wide in anticipation but also fear.

“I know you will.” Audrey patted Rose’s cheek, and then stood from her chair and walked away. Rose sat quietly to herself, now that there would no longer be hostility between herself and Audrey, she could prioritize what she needed to do next, and that was to take care of Luca.

Luca woke up as the sun began to set outside the hospital window, but he chose to keep his eyes closed. He knew where he was, he knew every detail of the room and every detail of the men stood outside his door. They were under alert, and thanks to Hiram everything was going to plan. Whenever Luca was injured he went to the same hospital, the same room, and had the same men standing guard around the hospital.

He was trying to figure out what exactly happened to have gotten him checked into a hospital. He had been wary of possible murder attempts since he had arrived back in Manhattan. He was the main target and he had known that all week. It had been a while since he had been checked into a hospital, he had gotten quite good at overpowering others, and his shooting abilities were far more superior than a majority of the members of Cosa Nostra.

But Luca had been overpowered the previous night, and just outside his home too. He had his guard up all week, but the thought of Rose had sidetracked him. He could smell her familiar fragrance in the room, and then felt something shift next to him. But he wasn’t ready to open his eyes yet.

The thought of his wife had distracted him and had nearly killed him. Luca stayed as still as possible, he knew that if he moved too much the pain in his torso and shoulder would be difficult to deal with without morphine.

Luca began to think of Rose again. He knew he had messed up, even if he was just outside his home he shouldn’t have let his guard down until he was inside the apartment. He needed to be smarter if he was going to live to be with Rose another day.

He felt smooth small hands cover his own hand, and he opened his eyes to see her. He knew it was Rose.

“Luca,” she almost whispered as she noticed he was awake. Tears began to fall down her face again, she couldn’t control them this time, but they were still silent. All she could do was repeat his name, as she moved over him to place a soft kiss on his lips.

Luca groaned as he tried to move to get a better look at her. The pain shot up through the right side of his body, he winced.

“Don’t move, love” Rose tried to calm him.

“How long have I been here?” His voice was raspier and deeper than usual. Rose smoothed back his unkempt hair.

“Almost twelve hours, not long.” Rose’s tears were gone as she studied Luca, he looked helpless as he lay on the hospital bed.

“Are you okay?” He asked her.

“You don’t need to worry about me. You’re more important right now, okay?” Luca looked at Rose, he loved her so much. He had almost died, he knew it. He almost died without telling her that he loved her. Luca choked on the words he wanted to say to her.  He had just heard her call him ‘Love’, why couldn’t he say it.

He was afraid of course, but he’d never say it out loud. He was in danger and by extension so was Rose, and she would continue to be as long as he was married to her. He gripped her hand as much as he could with the pain that shot through his body.

“Do you feel any pain, should I call a doctor?” Rose rubbed her hands up his arm gingerly, trying to soothe and comfort him.

“Yeah, go on,” Luca answered her. Rose got up and walked out the door for not even a minute before she returned to sit down next to him.

“The doctor will be in, in a minute.” Rose looked Luca in the eyes, concern written all over her face. “What are we going to do, Luca?”

“You don’t have to do anything, Rose. Don’t worry about it alright, I’ll fix it.” It wasn’t rude, he truly didn’t want to worry Rose, though they both knew that wasn’t possible. She would always worry.

“I can’t do that Luca, you know that.” She was about to say it to, that she was in love with him and she had been for a while now. Luca nodded at her carefully, not to injure himself. He knew Rose, she had made it clear that he was important to her. Rose swallowed her fear and spoke clearly. “I love you, I won’t leave you on your own.” The life she had was dangerous, maybe even far more dangerous than it already was when she lived in Birmingham, but Luca was worth it, and she wanted to be there for him, to be supportive. Luca raised his uninjured arm to caress her cheek. He hadn’t expected Rose to have said it first, but he was glad. She was truly comfortable with him, he would have never imagined it be this way when they were on the RMS Olympic so long ago.

“I love you too,” He said back, looking at her with adoring eyes, though the pain had gotten worse. A doctor rushed in then to medicate Luca and Rose was told to step outside so she wouldn’t have to see anything too displeasing for a woman. Luca could tell she didn’t want to leave him, but she nodded and walked out.

Luca spent a total of four days at the hospital. Rose was by him every second, but he couldn’t stand being confined to the hospital room, so he checked himself out. Much to Rose’s protests, he thought he’d be more comfortable in the apartment, so he could carry on with his business. His main plan was to get behind who the culprit was behind the assassination attempt.

Luca was laying in bed, with several pillows supporting his back. He was in his undershirt with several stacks of paper on Rose’s side of the bed, and an almost empty glass of rum on the nightstand. Rose walked in then from the back entryway connecting the bathroom to their bedroom. Luca peered up at her as she glided through the room in her nightgown, she was ready for bed. Luca continued to watch her as he moved the stacks of paper onto the nightstand closest to her side of the bed and then slipped into the blankets.

“I love you,” he said to her with a bashful grin on his face. Rose placed her hand on his chin carefully and leaned in to kiss his cheek.

“I love you too,” the words felt so natural to the both of them and moved like liquid on their tongues. “Will you not sleep now?” Rose looked down at his papers, and then up into his eyes. She rubbed his free hand gently.

“Yeah, I will.” Luca handed Rose the papers in front of him along with his fountain pen so that she could place with the other papers on the nightstand next to her.

“Are you in any pain?” She asked him in a concerned tone, as the inner corners of her brows sunk by her nose.

“I’m alright, Tesoro. This isn’t the worst pain I felt.” His comment didn’t do much to soothe her worry over him.

“You’ve been shot before?”

“Amongst other things,” Luca looked away from her and stared at the door leading to the long corridor leading to other rooms in the apartment. “I went to France, to uh–ya’know, fight in the war.” Luca never planned to tell her about his experience in the war. He hated talking about it, and the only people who knew about it were his father and Don Spinietta. Luca had caused a riot in his decision to go off to war, but he saw it as the better option at the time, a foolish idea he now thought. He would have saved himself less trauma, less heartache. “I deal with it as best I can.” Rose still had the worried look on her face, as she grasped Luca’s hands. She knew the toll the war had taken on her brothers, and she would have never expected that Luca would have gone through the same, he never showed it.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I was crazy back then. I only did it because I didn’t want to be in prison for seven years.”

“Prison? What happened?” Rose was engrossed with the new knowledge as Luca began to open up to her.

“I was framed. Well, not really. There was no proof I’d done it. Federal Agents just wanted me behind bars. There was a bank on Wall Street, there was a failed bombing, but there were a few people injured and they blamed it all on me. Don Spinietta told me to take the jail time, but I chose to enlist, I thought I wouldn’t be there long, and they would train me and everything would be over before I saw any battle. I was there longer then I expected. I was there for two battles–really. All I could think about was my mother, and how I probably wasn’t gonna live to see another day. There was another Sicilian in my unit, we looked out for each other, but he died trynna push me out of the way of a grenade. I had hearin’ damage for a while, but it got better with time. It acts up once in a while, but its nothing I can’t deal with. I didn’t wanna be here back in America, with my family, and poor Francesco never made it home ‘cause of me.” There was a blank expression on Luca’s face, he was doing his best to suppress every bit of emotion he had.

“I wish I could thank Francesco, he was brave enough to save you.” Luca nodded slightly and then kissed the side of Rose’s head, the blank expression still on his face. 

Rose turned off the light on her side, and Luca turned the light off on his. She wanted to wrap her body around him, but he wasn’t in a proper state to cuddle with her. So she held his hand over top the blankets and whispered to him goodnight.

The next day Luca was walking around the apartment though the doctor had advised him to stay in bed for at least three more days. Nothing Rose said would convince him that the business could wait, because it really couldn’t. The shooter was still at large, and Luca would not have him injure any other person involved with the Familia.

Don Spinietta showed himself at the apartment late in the afternoon for the first time. He had looked around the apartment at first, inspecting the space and nodding at certain features of their home. Rose had offered him something to drink and he had taken everything Rose offered him.

Luca was sat as comfortably as he could in the living room, taking long gulps of his rum. He had acquired a craving for it after his injuries. Don Spinietta took a seat across from Luca, he seemed ready to speak of business.

“I’ve been looking into who could of done this,” Spinietta was waving his hand in between them. He removed his hat from the top of his head and pulled out a small tin of cigars. Rose brought a lighter to him so that he could light it, and then Spinietta offered Luca a cigar to take, Luca would never refuse a cigar. Rose lit his as well and was preparing to move away so they could speak in private, but Luca wrapped a hand around her waist, and tugged at her gently, and motioned for her to sit down next to him with a nod of his head and a blink of his eyes. Rose knew she wasn’t meant to listen to business. It was a Sicilian tradition for the safety of their women to not be included in dangerous business and it was an unspoken Peaky Blinders tradition to not include Rose in particular in the family business.

Rose sat next to him and looked at Luca carefully and then at don Spinietta, he was confused for a brief second but then he continued to talk.

“It ain’t the Cubans, well they wasn’t the ones to order a whack on you, Luca.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think so either.” Luca shook his head, as he looked out the large windows.

“It’s the Bassano’s, I’m sure, but they had to have had some dago on the inside. It was too easy–too easy to have been one of Bassano’s men.”

“You think we have a traditore?” Traitor, she hadn’t heard the word before, but she expected that that was what Luca meant. Spinietta nodded at Luca as he leaned back in his chair. They sat in silence for a few minutes, letting the possibilities meld together in their heads.

“I’m going to call for a meeting with the families,” Spinietta spoke first, his proposition worried Rose. If the Bassano’s were behind the attack, bringing them into Manhattan was not safe for anyone. “I’m going to block all of the Bassano’s ports. Don Galano will be willing to take part in this. If the Bassano’s back down, the assassin is in our ranks.”

Luca thought about all the caporegimes who had attended the meeting at Don Spinietta’s home just an hour before he was shot. Luca’s cousin Donnino Fenacci was in the room, as well as Paulino Drago, Giovanni Rossi, Vincenzo Sartini, and Leonardo Brenari. He was related to two of the capos by blood, and one by marriage. The Drago’s had always been close to Luca, as Anthony had been his closest friend since childhood. That left the Rossi’s, but they had never shown any sort of hostility toward Luca before. He couldn’t answer his own burning question yet, but now that he knew that the shooter worked for someone in the family, there was a rage in his body, a rage that Rose could feel radiating off of him. Rose placed a hand on his knee, the next few days were going to be difficult for everyone in the family.

Both Rose and Luca knew that they might be attending a funeral by the end of the week.