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Tony's Little Black Book: Author's Favs

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The Fourthquel in this sequence of stories following on from Make or Break Them,  Future Father-in-Law , and Mother-In-Law

Johnnie Mancuso was scared and pissed. It was not a good combination, so he had taken his two trusted lieutenants and gone cruising for a fight. He’d found one, but it wasn’t like there had been much provocation. 

Ramone shouted, “Boss, you’re wanted on the phone.”

He didn’t stop kicking the little shit, who insulted his family’s name. “I’m busy.”

It didn’t seem to matter, Ramone was smart enough to appear contrite as he added, “Your mama said stop being a little shit and show her some respect.”

That did it. His mama wasn’t the type of person he could afford to upset. She was always creative and vicious in her revenge. It was impressive as she rarely raised her hand in violence. She thought the right word at the right time was far more effective in cutting down an opponent. He immediately took the phone, “Hey Mama, what is the matter?”

“Come home, now.” She ordered brusquely.

“Why?” He was on alert, she rarely made demands of them unless there was some danger to the family.

“I asked,” was her reply.

And then she ended the call. He hissed because it was like she didn’t care that he was de facto head of the family.


Tony grinned at his adoptive mother because she always had a deft way of handling them all, and their big personalities - He wasn’t excluded from that list. 

“Thanks, Mamma, and stay safe.”

“Says the man about to start a pissing contest with the Bertinelli’s.” She finished with a frown. She didn’t like the fact Tony was home, and already he was heading straight into danger. This was not how she wanted the family to be reunited. 

Tony kissed her cheek, “Hey, it will be fine and I am taking an FBI agent to the meeting. He will look after me.”

She shook her head in amusement. “Only you would take a fiance in the FBI.”

Tony shrugged. “I couldn’t resist and he is good to me, Mamma. You will see.”

She patted his cheek, “Go, and do what you must, but you better stay safe.”

Tony bowed his head in acknowledgement. “If anything goes wrong, you better call me.”

Tony walked down the steps to Agent Sacks of all people trying to harass their Security guard. “Let me handle, Agent Sacks, go back to your post.”

The guards looked relieved to be allowed to go back to their post. “You know, Slacks. You have the worst timing in the world. I do not need to deal with your inferiority complex.”

“So you can explain why a Federal Agent is having dinner with the mob?”

Tony snorted. “You miss the point, I don’t have to, you stupid bastard. This is my adoptive family’s home. I went to talk with my mother, who is justifiably upset as several of her friends have been murdered, and no one until yesterday seemed to care. I was just being a good son. You can talk to me when you become a good agent. You should remember I outrank you and when I get back to Washington, I will show you what that means your pettiness is impeding you doing your job.”

Rossi grinned at the tirade. It was perfect and to the point, and even better if it was recorded, there wasn’t a single thing that could be used against Tony. “Wow, and that will be added to the complaint that Unit Chief Hotchner will add against you.”

Sacks stormed off, and Tony watched, confused and slightly bewildered. “Do you think he has had a mental break?”

Rossi shook his head. “No, he is just delusional and worst of all, self-righteous.”

Tony groaned, and that was all he needed. “We better keep a log of every interaction we or the team have with him.”

Rossi knew it was the smart move. “I will get Garcia on it.”


Tony was drumming his fingers against the wheel. He needed to play this right, and he could play it big and flashy, like Johnny, but that wouldn’t set the right tone.

“Let’s eat.”

Dave shrugged, guessing this would be about more than good food. “Are you taking me to a mob place?”

Tony shook his head. “No, I am taking you to the place where the rich and connected eat in Philly. It could be Senators, politicians, property develops, import and export magnates, so some are criminal, and some are in politics.”

“And a few are both,” Dave finished. 


Dave snorted, “It is a good job that I’m dressed for the occasion.”


Tony waltzed up to the podium, “I want the Mancuso table please.”

The head waiter looked up in alarm, “And your name?”

“Antonio Mancuso and this is my guest. Please make sure we are not disturbed.”

“Sir you should know that several of your family’s less friendly acquaintances are eating here.” He said it in such a tone that he prayed that there wouldn’t be a shoot out.

“That’s okay, I am counting on it,” Tony explained. “However, I can promise not to make a mess in your club.”

“You’re just so civilised,” Dave remarked.

Tony smirked. “You know me, I like to be polite.”

They say down for a meal and watched to see who stared. For the most part, it would be idle gossips and curiosity. However, it paid that both of them had extensive profiling skills for assessing threats.

Tony had a message from Francine saying that Johnny was home, so that was one less chess piece to worry about. 

Dave saw Tony relax, “Johnny home?”

Tony nodded, “Yes, so that means we can act without worrying about collateral.”

Dave had to ask, “So how are you explaining me being with you?”

Tony frowned. “Let’s see you are my lover, and fiance. So what needs explaining?”

“And when one of them makes me out to be a Fed?”

Tony shrugged, “They will probably assume that we’re crooked. It’s too bad what assumptions people make, and they tend to get indiscreet when they think they are amidst friends.”

Dave shook his head, part in horror, and part bemusement. “So say nothing and let them hand themselves.”

“You will be surprised how effectively it works.”

Dave just sipped his water, “I’m disappointed in the criminals.”

Tony chuckled, “I frequently am, but it makes them easier to catch.”


Johnny Mancuso couldn't speak with how angry he felt. “Tonio is home.”

Alona nodded, “Yes, the deaths in the family have crossed his path in DC.”

“So what? He just waltzes home and starts giving the orders?” He asked petulantly.

His mother glared at him, “You have managed so well until that point.”

“So big brother, the Homeland Agent, will fix everything?”

Francine rolled her eyes, “You know green is so not your colour.”

Alona nodded in agreement, “She is right, Johnny. We all need help sometimes, and you know it. Tonio stays away because he doesn’t want to bring trouble to the family considering his job.”

Johnny was sulking, "I thought it was because he didn't the embarrassment of being related to us."

Alona saw the real issue, "Tonio has a war in his heart, his love of family, and his love of justice."

"We should be enough."

Alona kissed his head. "You know we need to show him we care, and that we support him. He never knew what family meant before us."

"He still put Papa in prison." Alona shrugged. "He did, and he made sure your father would see the light of day instead of ending up dead."

Francine and Johnny shared a look because they hadn't heard this part of the story. "Why would Papa have ended up dead?" 

Alona made some tea because she liked the distraction of the ritual. "You know how your father got these ideas. Well, the Frangelino's objected to your father strong business tactics."

Francine giggled, remembering that day. "You, and Tony, made such a mess in this kitchen that day."

"It was nothing they didn't deserve," she replied tartly. "And your father agreed to Tony's solution."

Johnny didn't get it. "The Frangellino's wanted to kill Dad?" 

Alona shrugged. "One of your father's messages was extreme, and Frangellino felt attacking the house was smart but Stefan Frangelino had vowed not to rest until your father was dead, but only after he had lost everything he cared about."

"How did we not know?" Johnny asked, trying to understand. 

"Your brother had organised for you and Francine to take trips out of state," Alona explained. 

Johnny was so confused, and he knew his whole opinion was being turned on its head. He'd always blamed Tony for breaking up their family, and now he learned that he'd done his best to save it. "How much of a mess?" 

Alona smirked, "I woke up that day and decided I just hated the table, the carpet and the walls needed a complete change."


If Johnny was confused now - it was nothing compared to watching Tony orchestrate the downfall of the Bertinelli's, and using the law to do his dirty work. Johnny didn't know if he was proud of his big brother, or disappointed by the lack of action. He learned that sometimes a scalpel was more effective than a hammer in terms of approach.