Brothers At Arms MC-


Grave Digger

So far, we found the gold and even some diamonds that Alfonzo hid for future generations. Then we found what we hope is his last surprise. A tank of rare paintings, books, and coins. We turned everything over to Leon as we didn’t want anything to do with it.

Then we find a woman and a sick child. Unfortunately, for her she is stuck behind the walls with us, as the Raggetti brothers are beginning to gather forces against us. They must know something about this place that we haven’t found yet, but what that something is we don’t have a clue. Well, not yet anyway… but there’s something about this woman I can’t figure out and I don’t want to let go…


End of Memphis…

Just then, Scout joined them to take his turn at the cameras. “What’s happening?”

“Grave Digger says we got company inside the fence,” Click told him.

 Grave Digger got up and then checked at his back waist for his weapon. “You and I are gonna check it out while Click keeps track of everything.”

“Where is this, Digger?” Scout asked.

“She’s inside that old garage and I think she’s alone but I can’t be sure. I only saw her, but there could be more. How the fucking hell she got in there is anybody’s guess but I won’t be sticking around here when she’s out there.”

“If you see anything out of the ordinary, send Zeus and the other boys out to get us back,” Scout told Click then he slapped Grave Digger’s arm. “Come on, let’s go find out who’s out there and what they want.”

Grave Digger just grunted and looked over at Click. “Watch out for us.”

Click nodded.

Scout looked over at Grave Digger. “I don’t suppose we can take the bikes?”

Grave Digger shook his head. “It would be better if we walked, less noise if we want the element of surprise on our side.”

Scout sighed hard. “Well, it’s a fair piece to walk, so let’s hope you can keep up.”

“Fuck you,” Grave Digger said as he chuckled.

They both set off in the direction of the garage on the far side of the property. It took them forty minutes to walk the distance. When they got close, they slowed down and had a good look around before they moved in.

Both men drew their weapons.

Grave Digger motioned for Scout to go around the building and come in from the other side.

Scout nodded and disappeared into the shadows.

Grave Digger stepped in closer and peeked into the broken windows but it was so dark he really couldn’t see much. He moved over to the door and slipped inside. His eyes adjusted to the dimness of the room as he finally saw her.

She was under the window he tried to peek in before and when he moved toward her, he saw another figure sleeping next to her.

Grave Digger paused, as the other figure looked smaller than he figured it should be unless it was a child or a midget and he didn’t think it was a midget. He wondered what the hell she was doing here with a kid?

When he knelt beside her, the woman woke up. She stared up into his eyes.

 Now he felt something poking him in the gut and when he looked down, he saw a knife blade.

“What the hell do you want here?” She snarled.

“Wondering the same thing about you, sweetheart. What the hell are you doing here and how did you get past our fence?”

“Hush you damn fool. My son just fell asleep. He hasn’t been feeling well. If you need to know everything, we’ve been here a couple of days already. I guess we got inside before the fence went up.”

Scout came through the door as he tripped on something and made a racket when he tried to stop himself from falling.

The kid woke up with a scream and began crying.

The woman dropped the knife on the floor and reached for her son. “Oh baby, it’s all right.”

Grave Digger looked into the kid’s eyes and saw two things there…fear and a fever.

“Are they gonna hurt us, mama?” the little boy whispered.

“I hope not, baby. I really hope not.”

“We aren’t gonna hurt you,” Grave Digger stated. The longer he stared at the kid the more he knew the boy was sick. Looking over at the mother he asked, “What's wrong with him?”

Scout finally got to his feet as he switched on the light on his phone and shined it around the room. “Only the two of you here?” he asked.

The woman nodded. She looked over at Grave Digger. “I think he has the flu but I’ve got no medicine to give him and he’s been miserable. I’m sorry we trespassed but we had nowhere else to go.”

Grave Digger sighed and looked over at Scout. “Better touch base with Click and get a vehicle out here to take them back with us. We sure as hell can’t leave them here on their own.”

“Man, Zeus is so not gonna like this, no way.” Scout took out his phone.



Chapter One


Fifteen minutes later, they were on their way back to the compound. When they got there, they found Zeus, Memphis, and Diabolus waiting for them.

The woman took a step back as she stared at all the very large imposing men. She still had her son sleeping on her shoulder.

Grave Digger looked over at her and said softly, “Honey, you are going to have to justify why you came here.”

The woman looked at the men waiting and nodded. “When my son got sick, I had no choice. I hid inside the old garage.” She looked over at the men again and added, “Then the fence went up and we were trapped. I was actually on my way out of town but then Anthony got sick. I couldn’t risk his life, so I found a place and just stayed hidden.” She hung her head. “I couldn’t risk my son.”

Grave Digger studied her for a moment. Her son was lying almost asleep in her arms. He reached over and felt his forehead. Grave Digger was surprised to feel his fever was spiking. “Holy shit, he really feels warm.”

She nodded. “I know but the aspirin I had is gone and I didn’t have a way to get anymore. I couldn’t leave him alone out here to get into town and buy anymore. I’ve tried to keep him cool but we ran out of water earlier today.”

“How long have you been here?” he asked.

“Three days. I just wanted to get out of town but like I said, on our way, Anthony got sick and I couldn’t risk his life. I had to stop and take care of him.”

He nodded at the men in front of them, “Don’t tell me honey, you have to convince them and that isn’t gonna be an easy task.”

Grave Digger looked over at his Prez. “Can we do this inside? She’s got a sick kid and he needs to be somewhere warm. He needs care too.”

Zeus nodded then turned to go inside.

Memphis and Diabolus followed him.

Grave Digger ushered her and Anthony inside.

 Delaney, Marty, and Lindy were standing there. They watched Grave Digger lead the woman over to the table, where she sat down with her son on her lap.

Everyone could see the boy was sick as his head rolled against his mom’s shoulder.

Delaney frowned as she saw the boy shivering. She retrieved a blanket and as she wrapped the blanket around the mother and the child, she studied the boy carefully. She stared at the mom and when their eyes met, the woman looked away quickly. Delaney frowned but stepped away from her. She headed back over to Marty.

Marty stared at her in question. “What’s wrong?”

Delaney shrugged. “I’m not sure but there is something about the kid.”

Lindy looked over. “What about the kid? He looks pretty sick to me.”

Delaney nodded. “And that’s what bothers me.”

“Why does that bother you?” Marty asked. “Kids get sick.”

Delaney nodded. “Oh, I know that, one of my brothers got sick all the time. It drove my mom crazy.” Shaking her head she admitted, “It wasn’t until he was almost grown that we found out he had a reaction to half the medicine my mom had been giving him the whole time. It wasn’t actually an allergy but he did have a reaction. His body kept rejecting a certain type of aspirin or pain reliever she was using.”

Marty shook her head. “That’s terrible, what did your mom do?”

Delaney shrugged. “My brother just had to tough it out, every time he got sick.”

The woman at the table with her son stared at Delaney. “You’re a Raggetti, aren’t you?” she whispered.

Delaney nodded as she studied her. “Why? Does that make a difference to you?”

The woman just shrugged. “It doesn’t really, I just asked, that’s all.” She looked away then hugged her son a little closer. Glancing up, she saw Zeus and the other men staring at her.

Marty went over to Zeus and whispered, “Can you question her later? The boy looks really sick. We have children. We need to think of the boy first.”

Zeus nodded. “I am thinking of our kids. We need to know what’s wrong with him first.” He looked over at the woman. “What’s wrong with your son?” he asked.

She released a heavy sigh, as she answered, “I’m not sure. His daycare just had the flu, so he probably picked that up.”

“What’s your name?” Grave Digger asked.

“Emily Saran and my son’s name is Anthony.” She looked up at Grave Digger and asked, “Can I get some water please. He hasn’t had anything to drink in a long time.”

He went into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of cold water. When he brought it back to her, he knelt down so he could check the boy out but Anthony was freely sweating now and he didn’t look so good. He looked over at Zeus. “This kid is burning up, he needs medicine and now.”

Zeus nodded. “Take him back with you. We’re going to talk to his mother. We still have more questions for her.”

“No sir.” Emily shook her head. “I go where my son goes. Ask your damn questions, so Anthony can get the care he needs.”

Zeus narrowed his eyes at her. “You don’t get to tell us what to do. Or how it’s going down. Digger, take the kid to the Infirmary and we’ll ask our questions out here.”

Grave Digger looked over at Emily then whispered, “Give me your son, I promise I’ll take care of him.”

Emily shook her head. “I won’t be separated from him. It’s not that I don’t trust you but he’s all I got in the world.” She had tears in her eyes but she wouldn’t let them fall. She turned to Zeus and growled. “Ask what you want to know or let me go with my son.”

“Digger, take the kid,” Zeus ordered.

Lindy and Marty gasped.

Delaney glared at Zeus then she marched over to Emily and whispered, “Can I take him? You can trust me with him and I’ll stay with him until they release you. I promise.”

Emily stared at her for a long moment then slowly nodded. “Please take care of him.” She turned to Grave Digger. “Tylenol works best with him but he’s only three and sometimes he throws the medicine back up. He might need a cool bath to bring his fever down.”

Grave Digger took her hand in his. “I’m an MD. I will give him the best care. We need his fever to drop and now.”

Nodding, she handed the boy to Delaney. She watched them in concern as Grave Digger and Delaney walked down the hall. The tears from earlier spilled down her cheeks and when the door closed behind them, she closed her eyes and prayed she would see him again. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes and glared at Zeus.

He stared steadily at her. “Now tell us again who you are and what you’re doing behind our walls.”

“Fuck you, buster!” She growled. Her mama bear was kicking up and she just lost her give a damn.

Marty and Lindy came over and they faced him, both of them looked pissed.

Zeus shook his head and let out a sigh.

Lindy glared at him. “Look, I know you are in charge here. We all know it. But this is going too far.”

“I agree.” Marty stared at him. “How would you feel if it was your daughter burning up with fever? Would you just hand her off to strangers?”

Zeus growled low and looked over at Memphis.

He shook his head. “You are the boss. So what you say goes.”

“But?” Zeus growled. “I can hear a but in your voice.”

“Yeah.” Memphis nodded at his brother. “And don’t kick my ass, but we need to allow her to stay with her kid. We can find out why she is here when he gets past the fever? Right?”

Zeus shook his head. “Go on!” he huffed as he motioned to the women.

“Thank you!” Emily exclaimed.

Marty and Lindy turned and motioned to her.

Emily followed them down the hall.

“Can I say something here?” Diabolus asked.

Zeus and Memphis glared over at him.

He looked troubled. “We are all to blame for this,” Diabolus blurted out.

Zeus clenched his fists. “Now how did I know you would say some stupid shit like that?”

Memphis laughed, trying to ease the tension in the room. “I never dreamed I would be saying this, but…Diabolus is right. We’ve got women now. The MC is becoming more about family. Hell, we got little kids here, Prez. What the hell did we expect?”


Chapter Two


Emily entered the Infirmary and rushed over to the bed where her son was now awake and screaming for her. She knelt beside the bed and reached out for him. “Oh baby, I’m right here. They aren’t going to hurt you baby, they’re trying to help.”

“Don’t feel good mama, don’t want them… I want you!” Anthony bawled his heart out.

“Oh, baby.” Emily gathered his tiny body into her arms and felt his high fever. She looked up at Grave Digger and asked, “Do you have a shower here? I need to get his temperature down.”

Grave Digger nodded. “I just started it and was trying to get him to agree.” He helped her to her feet and led her to another room. She moved forward and ran her hand under the cool water then stepped in fully clothed with her son in her arms.

Anthony cried when the water poured over them.

 Emily just held him close. “I know baby boy but we got to get your temperature down. I got you honey, mama’s right here.”

Grave Digger watched as Anthony hugged his mom and cried as the cool water poured over them. 

About ten minutes later, Emily shut down the flow of water and stepped out of the shower. 

Grave Digger was there with some towels. They stripped Anthony out of his clothes and wrapped him in the towels. He carried the boy back into the infirmary, leaving her to dry off. 

Emily saw there was a huge towel left for her and a blanket. She took her wet clothes off and wrung the water out of them. She shivered and wrapped the towel around her then wrapped the blanket over that. She hoped they had a dryer available and piled her clothes in a bundle then went to her son. 

Delaney stood there and held out her arms for the wet clothes.

Looking surprised, Emily handed them to her.

Grave Digger began his exam. 

Delaney left the room to put the clothes in the dryer. 

Emily watched for several minutes as Grave Digger finished. 

He looked up at Emily. “Yeah, I think it’s the flu but that fever has me worried. He’s also dehydrated.”

Emily shook her head. “I told you I ran out of fever meds days ago, the poor kid hasn’t had anything to keep it down for over a day. I couldn’t leave him alone to get any more and then not everything works for him. I told you we ran out of water a day ago and of course, the fever didn’t help. Then we got stuck behind the fence and there was no way to get out of here.”

Delaney came in and held out the pain reliever she had gotten from her room. “Maybe this will help.”

Grave Digger stared at her then he looked at the bottle in her hands. It was not what most people would use but it was a pain reliever. He took the bottle from her and read the label. 

Emily bit her lip and wondered what the medicine was. She couldn’t take the chance that Anthony would get sicker. “What is that stuff? He can’t take just anything.”

Delaney shook her head. “It’s just another version of Tylenol, a gentler version, if you will. It can’t hurt him and it might bring the fever down faster.”

Emily nodded finally. “Ok, you can give it to him.” 

Grave Digger gave the boy a dose.

 Emily went over to the other side of the bed and sat in the chair there. Reaching out, she brushed the hair away from his face. 

Anthony seemed to be settling down to sleep, as he was so tired.

Grave Digger watched them both for a moment then got up and went to his bedroom. He came back a few minutes later to hand her a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. “You can wear these until your own clothes are dry.”

Emily looked up at him and nodded. “Thank you.” She went back to the bathroom and dressed. 

When she came back out Zeus, Memphis and Diabolus were there waiting for her.

Zeus stared at her, still looking a bit angry.  “Ok, your son has been treated and now you have some questions to answer.”

Emily nodded. “Fair enough. What do you want to know?”

“What the hell were you doing in the garage?” Zeus growled.

“I told you, I was leaving town and Anthony got sick. I had to find somewhere to stay and your wall wasn’t up when we stopped. I stayed there to get him better then I was going to leave again but you put up that damn wall and I was stuck.” 

“Where were you going?” Memphis asked.

“Anywhere but Festus. I heard rumors that the Raggetti brothers were headed this way and I wasn’t sticking around to get caught in a war no one would win.” She shook her head and looked over at her son. 

“So what does a war with the Ragettis have to do with you?” Memphis stared at her.

“And the boy’s father? What did he say about you leaving town?” Zeus asked as he stared at the boy.

Emily shrugged. “Don’t know, don’t care. He’s not in the picture anyway, so that doesn’t matter, does it?”

“It might,” Delaney whispered under her breath. “Maybe not to him but I care.”

Emily shook her head as she stared at Zeus and did not look at Delaney at all. “I’m sorry I trespassed but my boy was sick, I had to stop. I didn’t hurt anything and we stayed in that garage. I don’t think anyone saw us. So no harm, no foul.”

“Well, in case you didn’t notice, we’re under fire at the moment," Zeus replied."This wasn’t the safest place to come to. That war you mentioned is gonna happen right here.Between us and the Dragon’s Breath MC and some of the older Raggetti men. Not an event I’m happy about but it is what it is. Not only that but we got a VIP here from the Mob and he isn’t happy about being here either. You being here is not the best idea we’ve had, but for the moment, you’re stuck. Same as we are.”

“So the Raggetti brothers are on their way here then? The rumors are true?” Emily paled then glanced down at her son. “They are going to try and take this place back?”

Memphis frowned. “How did you know about that?”

Emily shivered. “People talk, you know?” She trembled as she reached out to brush her son’s hair away from his face. He was cooling off now and she sighed in relief. 

“Are you from Festus?” Grave Digger asked. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around town.” 

Emily nodded. “I work early morning hours at the bakery in town. The girl next door to me watches Anthony while I work and she drops him off at daycare before she goes to school. Then he got sick and I haven’t been to work in five days.”

Zeus shook his head. “Well, we can’t let you go, the moment you’re on the other side of that fence, the Raggetti’s would stop you. Either by taking you hostage or with a bullet, and we aren’t the type of MC to allow that. So I guess we’re stuck with you too. You came to the wrong place, lady… at the wrong damn time.” 

Emily hung her head. 

Grave Digger saw her tears. He swung his gaze over and growled at his president. Zeus was being an ass and he didn’t like it.

Apparently, neither did Memphis. “Knock it off brother. She couldn’t help it and neither can we right now,” he called his brother out on his less than stellar manners. “We all just have to stay and see how this plays out.” He looked around at the men in the infirmary. “We need to keep on our toes and watch what’s going on out there beyond our fence. Not fuss over this woman and her kid. What harm can they do? Focus on the war. Not what’s inside the compound, but on what’s outside. We can’t be caught off guard if we hope to survive this.” He turned and left the room. 

Zeus growled and followed his brother out.

Diabolus just shook his head, then he too turned and left the room. 

Delaney just shook her head. “Well crap, I’d better go out there and calm him down some.” She turned to the window and said, “It will be dawn soon and hopefully my brothers won’t show up for a while yet, but you can’t count on that either. If my dad gets a bug up his ass, he’ll be here sooner than we realize and then he’s gonna be pissed that grandpa shared family secrets with these guys. No telling what he’ll do then.”

Emily’s head shot up and she stared at Delaney. “Your family would actually do that?”

Delaney let out a sigh as she nodded. “Yes, they would and they most likely, will. A person cannot choose their family. They can only choose to not agree with what that family wants and I do not agree. This place and its contents do not belong to the Ragettis.” Then she too, disappeared through the door. 

Grave Digger and Emily were left alone other than Anthony and he was sound asleep. 

Grave Digger nodded at the bed. “Maybe you should try and get some rest while you can. I don’t think the Raggettis will come tonight. As far as we know, the brothers aren’t here yet.”

Emily nodded. She scooted Anthony over a little and crawled into the bed with him. 

Grave Digger covered them both up and stepped back dousing the lights. On his way out, he knew she was almost asleep when he stepped out of the room. He went to his own room right next door.

 When he closed the door, he just stood there a moment with his eyes closed. He made his way over to his own bed and flopped face first onto the mattress. He didn’t even bother undressing, he just grabbed his pillow and put it under his head.

Then he opened his eyes and thought about the events of the night. When he first saw her on the cameras, he didn’t know what she was doing there, then he heard her story and he thought she was on the run… but from who. She never did say. Then Delaney acted oddly when she saw the boy and he thought maybe the child was one of her brother’s kids but Emily never said. From the way she protected her son, he doubted she ever would. His idea that his dad was a Raggetti was pushed a little further when Delaney seemed to know what to give him for a fever.

He knew if anyone pressed it, Zeus would find out one way or another and that would and could bring even more problems their way. The last thing the Brothers At Arms needed was yet another problem. He hoped that Emily and her son weren’t related to the Raggettis. They sure as hell did not need more reasons for that family to storm the compound. 

With a heavy sigh, he finally closed his eyes and fell asleep.


A few hours later, Emily began tossing and turning. In her sleep, the nightmare came again, and she couldn’t get away from it. She could not get away from the footsteps running to catch her either. She cried out as she was thrown to the ground. She felt the first hit to her head, then strong hands were reaching out to hurt her. While almost passed out by the blow to her head, she was turned onto her hands and knees and her clothes were torn away from her. The attacker ravaged her though she barely registered this as consciousness came and went. She couldn’t seem to open her eyes as she heard his laughter echoing in the alley where he’d caught her. His footsteps echoed as he walked away, never bothering to check on her to see if she was okay.

She just laid there for a moment in the dirty rotten alley as she gathered her strength to get up and get her clothes back on. She finally got to her feet and straightened her clothes but it seemed to take forever as her movements were weak and slow. Finally, on her third attempt to rise up, she stumbled away. It took only a few minutes to get home, as she had been close to her apartment when he’d jumped her.

To her though, those few minutes seemed like hours. Her head spun and she could barely walk. Finally, she reached her door. When she got inside, she clumsily made sure it was locked tight then headed to her shower and stepped in fully clothed. She sobbed as hot water rained down on her. Eventually, she removed her clothes in the shower and stood there naked as the water poured over her. Tears wouldn’t even come as she felt nearly numb. Soon it grew cold and she still didn’t move. 

Time moved in an odd way, like she did not know if she’d been in the shower for ten minutes or an hour. Time had no meaning, nothing seemed to matter. She shut off the water and was shivering. 

After much effort, she stepped out of the shower but she couldn’t look at her reflection in the mirror. She didn’t even dry off before she went to her bed and covered up to just stare at the wall…. It took 2 days for her to even get up again. She had been too immobile and too traumatized to do it.

Now, Emily sat up and cried out, opening her eyes, she gazed around. She was no longer in her own apartment. She was in the MC compound, in the infirmary. She looked down at the bed and saw Anthony still sleeping. She must not have screamed out loud this time as her son had not awoken and no one came in through the door. 

For this small mercy, she felt grateful. No one could ever know. It meant her life and the future of her baby boy. With a last shiver and a saddened sigh, she settled next to her son again. Holding him close, she finally closed her eyes.

Chapter Three

 The next time Emily opened her eyes, she looked down at her son and found him looking back.

His eyes were clear of the fever and he had his mischievous glint back. “Mornin’ Mama,” he whispered with a giggle.

Emily smiled and replied, “Mornin’, sweet baby. Are you feeling better today?” She felt his forehead and was relieved to find it was cool instead of feverish.

Anthony nodded. “I’m not so hot today. But my belly is growling. I’m hungry.” Then he looked around. “Where are we?”

“Well, some guys found us last night. You might not remember because you were so sick but they brought us here to their clubhouse.”

Anthony thought for a moment then asked, “Are we gonna be okay? They won’t hurt us will they?”

Emily frowned. “Why do you say that? Why would they hurt us?”

Anthony snuggled closer to her and said, “Some men came to my daycare the other day and they were looking for me. They told Cathy my name even. They talked to Cathy and they were asking questions. She didn’t tell them much but those guys scared me. They looked mean.”

Emily’s heart froze. “Did you see these men again?”

Anthony shook his head. “They scared me, Mama. They looked so mean.”

 Emily held him close for a moment then vowed, “You don’t have to worry about those men, honey. I won’t let them hurt you.”

“I’m hungry.” Anthony looked at her.

“Come on then, let’s see if we can get something to eat, but first we have to find you something to wear.” Emily got out of bed and walked to the door. When she opened it, she found their clothes folded up on the other side. She said a little prayer of thanks as she brought the clothes in and got them both dressed.

Then she took her son’s hand and walked back to the main room.

 Marty met her gaze with a smile and motioned for them to join her and the girls.

Both little girls looked up and giggled.

“Hi, well you two certainly look better this morning,” Marty greeted her.

“We’re feeling better as well. No fever this morning.” Emily smiled back. Shaking her head she said, “Delaney had some medicine that worked at bringing Anthony’s fever down, so he’s better too.”

Marty looked pleased to hear this. “That’s great. These are my kids, Angel and Lily. Well, Angel is Zeus’s daughter and Lily is my niece but they are still my kids.”

Emily smiled and said, “And this is my son Anthony. He’s been sick recently, otherwise we would sit with you, but I don’t want to get the girls sick.”

Marty nodded. “I understand. But please help yourselves to breakfast.” She motioned toward the buffet style setup for food.

Emily found another table and left Anthony sitting while she went to fill two plates. Taking them back, she sat down just as Grave Digger walked in.

 He saw them sitting there then he grabbed a plate of food and went to join them. “Good morning.” He smiled at them as he sat down. He looked over at Anthony and grinned. “Hey buddy, you seem better this morning.”

Anthony nodded. “I feel better.”

Grave Digger nodded. “Glad to hear that little buddy.” He swung his gaze over to Emily and searched her face for a moment. He saw the tiredness on her face and the dark circles under her eyes. “And Mom? How does Mom feel?”

“Mom’s fine,” she quietly replied. She looked down at her plate and continued to eat but the food suddenly tasted like cardboard. She pushed her plate away.

 “Mama, you gots to clean your plate, Anthony reminded her, “We don’t waste food ‘member?”

Emily side glanced at her son and smiled. “I remember.” She pulled her plate closer and began to eat again.

Grave Digger quietly finished his own breakfast. When he was done, he sat back in his chair and sipped his coffee then he remembered something. “You said you were leaving town, right?”

Emily nodded.

“Where did you park your car before you went into the garage?” he asked.

Emily glanced down at Anthony then back up at him as she replied, “I pulled it into the tree stand nearest the garage and carried everything we had to the garage.” She shrugged. “We didn’t have much.”

Grave Digger nodded. “I’ll let Zeus know and he’ll have your car brought up here.”

Emily nodded. “That might be a good thing.”

Grave Digger nodded back. 

“Is there any word from the outside yet?” Emily asked. “About the brothers I mean. Do you know if they’re here yet?”

Grave Digger paused briefly then shook his head. “I have no idea, why?”

She looked at him and whispered, “Because I can’t be here, if they are.”

“Do I want to know why?” Grave Digger asked.

She shook her head slightly then gazed down at her son again.

Memphis, Delaney, Alfredo, Zeus, Diabolus and Lindy came into the room.

Zeus paused then came over to Emily and Grave Digger’s table. He stared at the boy sitting next to his mother then he looked at Emily. “I take it he’s feeling better today?”

Emily nodded. “Yes, his fever broke and he’s much better today.”

“Good, I’d like the chance to talk to you then, if you can find the time.” Zeus gave her a nod.

Emily swallowed hard but nodded back. “I have to find someone to watch Anthony then.”

Alfredo grinned. “He can stay with me while you speak to Zeus.”

As more and more brothers joined them, a couple of men dressed in very expensive looking suits also came in.

The older man stopped to stare at Emily and her son, then looked at the other man in the suit.

When he was staring at her hair, Emily grew uncomfortable. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail but she was also aware of its unusual coloring. Her hair was dark, almost black but it also had red undertones. She might look like her mother but her eyes and her hair color was all her father's.

The older man who’d been staring at her acted like he knew her. He then looked over to Zeus. “Who is this woman and where did she come from?”

“Grave Digger saw her last night on the cameras,” Zeus explained. “She was in the old garage, and she claims to have been there for three days. As you know, we have had Roger putting up the fence since then. She says she got trapped inside the fence after they put it up. She stopped there because her son was sick.”

The older man turned to the young woman and asked, “What is your name, child?”

“Emily Saron.”

Then Anthony piped up and said, “I’m Anthony and I’m three.”

The man gave him a warm smile as he nodded. “Well Anthony, my name is Leon and this is my son, Calderone.”

Emily paused and studied the man who claimed to be Leon. He somehow looked familiar to her but where she met him before was a mystery. Then she gazed down at Anthony. “Can you stay here with Alfredo while I go talk to Zeus?”

Anthony smiled and nodded. “Yes, Mama.”

Emily rose from her chair and told him, “Be minding your manners, young man.”

“I will, Mama,” Anthony promised.

When Emily stepped away, Alfredo sat down in her chair and immediately struck up a conversation with the boy..

She followed Zeus, Memphis, Diabolus, Grave Digger, Delaney, and even Leon into Zeus' office.

Leon shut the door behind them all.

Emily looked around the room at everyone there. “What would you like to know?”

“You told us last night that you were leaving Festus, why?” Zeus asked.

Emily shrugged. “I heard the rumors about the Raggetti’s coming back to get this place. I decided I would just get me and Anthony out of the way of a crossfire.”

“How come we don’t know you?” Diabolus asked her. “I’ve never seen you before.”

Again, Emily shrugged. “I tend to keep to myself. I go to work in the middle of the night at the bakery, so I get done in the early morning. Most people are just waking up when I get off, then I go home and sleep until about noon. At about 2, I pick up my son from daycare and I spend the rest of the day with him. I don’t go out and socialize as I don’t drink or have anyone else in my life. So why would you see me around town? I’ve only been here for about four years, so that was long after you got here.”

“Where did you live before?” Leon asked her.

“I lived with my dad in one of the suburbs of St. Louis. When he died, I moved away. Too many memories, you know.”

“What was your father’s name, child?” Leon asked her.

Emily turned her head to stare at him for a moment, then she answered, “He’s dead. Please just leave him at peace.”

 “Tell me child,” Leon insisted. “Was his name Vincent Sarano?”

Emily froze then as she stared at the other man a single tear ran down her cheek.

Leon could read the truth in her eyes and he swore in Italian, “Dannazione, questo lo sapevo. What happened to him?” He growled.

“Why do you want to know?” she whispered, “He died, so please let him rest in peace.”

Leon came over to her and grasped her shoulders, and when she tried to hang her head, he lifted her chin and wiped her tear away with his thumb. “Your father was a good friend of mine. I didn’t get to see him often but he always called me to share a talk and a good brandy with me on the east coast and him in the middle of the nation. When I heard his bar burned down and he was caught in the fire, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe he was gone. Do you know what happened?”

Emily nodded. “Yeah, I know what happened. I was there. I was in the office when he closed up. He was just cleaning up when someone pounded on the door.” Her words were softly spoken but the room was quiet so everyone could hear. “He told them the bar was closed and they kept pounding on the door. He went over to the door and shouted that he was closed and that’s when everything went to hell.” She closed her eyes and shivered as she remembered that night four years ago. “They forced the door open and four men came inside. My dad asked them what they wanted and one of the men said they wanted a share of his bar. My dad told them to get out. He wasn’t interested in selling his bar. The guy laughed and said he didn’t have a choice. My dad said he did have a choice and he wasn’t interested.” Her eyes went dark and her voice dropped down to a whisper, “The guy reached into his pocket and brought out a knife. He flipped it open and he cut my dad’s face. My dad screamed and there was so much blood. The guy just smiled and said, Bet you change your mind now, motherfucker.” She shook her head. “The guy with the knife ripped open his chest then he slashed him again. His friends just watched and cheered him on. My father told him to go to hell and the guys sliced him again. This time, he opened his belly and my dad dropped to the floor. Blood pooled around him and the men standing there began smashing the bottles of booze behind the bar. They broke the mirrors and proceeded to wreck the place.” Emily trembled as she rubbed her arms. She couldn’t believe she was reliving the nightmare all over again.

The people in the room all stared at her with sympathy in their eyes.

She swiped more tears from her cheeks as she went on, “One of them opened a lighter, and I could see the flames. My father turned his head and looked at the back hall to where I stood, up against the wall. I could see his lips and he was mouthing the word Run. I couldn’t move for a moment then he mouthed the word again and again. Finally, one of the men took notice. He turned his head to look at the back hallway. When he headed toward the office, I took off. He must have heard the back door open because I was running and he was running after me. Then I heard a loud whoosh and I could see the flames. They had dropped the lighter and the bar was on fire.” She looked up at Leon as fresh tears were rolling down her face. “I knew he was gone then. Those bastards murdered him and I was alone.”

Leon shook his head and gathered her in his arms.

Emily did not weep or sob. She had done that too many times over the years. But she did let him hold her for a moment. Then she stepped back and stared at him. “My father Vincent Sarano was laid to rest three days after the fire. The police think his death was an accident and I didn’t tell them any different. I buried him and then I left Oakville.”

Leon nodded. “You and I will talk later. I want their names. They will pay for their misdeeds. I will hunt them down and make sure of that.”

Emily just stood there for a moment as she stared at the floor. She shuddered then raised her head and looked at Zeus. “I left Oakville and changed my name to hide in plain sight from those monsters. I’ve lived with this for four years now. Then I got caught behind your walls.” She paused, then stated, “ I’m going to get my son now.” She turned and left the room.

Everyone left in the office was silent.

Finally, Grave Digger broke the silence, “Why do I get the feeling she’s got a lot more to tell?”

Zeus turned his head to glare at him. “You mean I wasn’t the only one who noticed that she didn’t tell us everything?”


Chapter Four


Leon shook his head. “She told us some of the details, but I doubt we heard everything that happened.”

“She wouldn’t tell you that, would she?” Delaney suggested. “But you could hear the heartbreak in her voice. She lost her father that night because of stupid men. Men who had no honor, clearly. But I think something happened after that, after she got away.”

Zeus frowned. “Such as?”

Delaney shook her head. “That I don’t know, but something just as monumental besides losing her father. You can see it in her eyes.”

Memphis nodded. “And she said she was on her way out of town when she heard rumors that your brothers were coming here for a showdown.”

Leon raised his head and snarled. “You don’t suppose it was your brothers that tried to shake Vincent down and ultimately killed him, do you? If they were there, why wouldn’t she just say that?”

“Because then,” Grave Digger spoke up. “They would know there was a witness to the crime they committed. She said she left town after she buried her dad then changed her name and has been living under the grid since then. So she would rather just leave town than face them again.”

Delaney nodded her head. “And maybe, just maybe she has a very good reason for getting out of town before my brothers get here.”

Leon stared at her and asked, “For what very good reason?”

Delaney shook her head. “Not my place to say is it? I don’t know for sure.”

Zeus also glared at her. “Well, give us your best guess then.”

“I can’t.” Delaney sighed. “I don’t know what happened, I wasn’t there.”

Grave Digger had been watching her closely and finally he asked, “How did you know the medicine you gave her last night would work on her son? I mean I’ve heard of that medicine before but you have to special order it, it’s not something you can get around here off the shelf.”

Delaney shrugged. “Some of us in the family don’t handle Tylenol very well. It’s not an allergic reaction per say but it doesn’t work for us. My brother was one of those who couldn’t handle it, and I’m another. I carry that stuff with me, just in case I need it.”

Grave Digger kept staring at her, as he surmised, “So you think her son belongs to your brother then? Is that what you’re saying?”

Delaney glared at him. “I’m not saying that, you are,” she pointed out.

“But you suspect it, no?” Leon asked.

Delaney shrugged. “Maybe but I just can’t see her getting involved with one of my brothers.”

They all seemed to agree. The Raggetti men weren't dating material in any way. Plus, they seemed to be the ones who killed her father, so being with one of them did not make any sense at all.

Leon raised his arms up in the air in frustration and then he dropped them to his sides. “We need to know what she knows.”

“Why?” Delaney asked him. “Why does it matter so much?”

He slowly shook his head. “Piccola ragazza, you cannot solve a puzzle when some of the pieces are missing. And you never go to war unless you know what is really at stake.” He headed out of the room.

One by one, they all followed him.

When Zeus left, he stopped by Click’s office and asked him to look into the fire that destroyed Vincent Serano’s bar, four years ago in Oakville. 

Click nodded and turning to his laptop, he began the search.

Zeus then headed out to the main room. He went over to the tables and sat down next to Marty.

The girls had finished breakfast and were playing quietly with their toys and Anthony was busy coloring with his mother.

Marty glanced over at him. "Is she okay?”

He sighed. "No. And she isn’t telling us everything.”

“How do you know that?" she asked him.

Zeus looked directly at the woman in question as he answered Marty's question, “I just know. There’s something she’s hiding.”

“Well, it’s her story to tell, Zeus. Maybe she doesn’t want to tell strangers what happened to her.”

He turned to look at Marty.

She slowly nodded her head. “Yes, I know exactly how she feels. If you will remember my first arrival here, I did not tell you much.”

Zeus snorted. “Damn straight, you didn’t.”

Nodding, she smiled and took his hand in hers. “Give the woman some space. In time, she may trust you all enough.”

He shook his head at her. “Marty, you have to be the smartest female I have ever met and god damnit, I love you. But we are at war here. Do you get that? We don’t have time to pussyfoot around this subject. If it didn't have anything to do with the Raggetti clan, I would mind my own damn business. But that isn’t an option, because we all know that it does have something to do with that god damned family. She has even admitted to that fact. I don’t take chances…” He reached out to cup her cheek with his hand. “...when it comes to the people I love and protect.”

Marty grabbed his hand and kissed it, then shook her head as she moved over to the girls who were playing with their dolls.

Zeus turned to look at the woman with the secret past, then he looked around the room and found he wasn’t the only one staring at her. Grave Digger and Leon were as well. Well, at least he wasn’t the only one with more questions. He looked over at Emily again.

 She was looking back at him now with a blank expression on her face. She held his gaze for a moment then turned away.

Ten minutes later, Click brought a piece of paper to him and handed it to him without a word.

Zeus stared down at it. It was a copy of an Oakville newspaper article, about the explosion at the bar that had reportedly been started with a fire. It stated that the police found three bodies, not just one in the ruins of the building after the fire department put out the flames. The bodies were burned and there was no way to identify them. One body was found at the end of the bar and the other two were found in the back of the bar. The article said an open gas line was found as well. Zeus then looked up at Click.

His IT nodded at him, then went back to his office.

Zeus looked over at Leon and Calderone as he got up and walked over to them. They were sitting with Memphis, Grave Digger, and Diabolus. He sat down at the table and handed the article to Leon.

Leon read it then passed it to his son. He looked at Zeus then shook his head. “So there was more to the story, si?”

“You think?” Zeus scoffed. 

“Who were the other two bodies?” Memphis asked.

Zeus shrugged as he took a guess, “She did say four men burst into the bar when the door was opened.”

“They killed her dad and the explosion killed two of them.” Grave Digger snarled. “Don’t expect me to feel sorry for them. They got what they deserved.” Then he got up and went over to Emily’s table. He sat down with her, reached over, and took her hand in his. “How are you doing, sweetheart?”

Emily stared at him in puzzlement as she froze. Then she tried to pull her hand away.

Grave Digger wasn’t letting go as he leaned closer to her and whispered, “You've got nothing to fear from us, Emily. We aren’t going to hurt you.”

“What do you want?” she finally asked softly. Distrust shone in her eyes.

Grave Digger sat back in his chair and studied her for a moment then he said, “You know what being a family means? It means you are close to your brothers, everybody working toward the same goal. This MC is a family. We all came together when we didn’t have anything in common. We had to learn to trust each other but we did. Together, we grew as brothers and as a family.”

“What does that have to do with me?” Emily asked. “I only have my boy. I’m not a brother nor am I part of your family.”

“But you’re here now and we are offering you protection,” Grave Digger told her.

Emily stared at him. “Well, excuse me if I don’t remember that part. This supposed offer of protection. What I remember is…” Her voice fell away as she glanced over to where Zeus was sitting. “…being interrogated. Told that I had to answer questions when my son was so sick and that my son would be separated from me until I answered all the questions I was asked. That is what I recall.”

Grave Digger sighed and explained this, “Our president does what he has always done. Protect the MC, and all who live here. The kids too. He handled it negatively, but his motivation comes from his heart. He needs to be informed about everything that goes on here and especially if it has to do with the Raggettis. We have been under attack from them for more than a year now. He almost lost his baby daughter because of it. But for us to protect you… you can’t keep secrets from us. We need to know just who or what is coming for you. When we found you, we had the Raggetti brothers coming for us yet again. They want this place back for some undiscovered secrets it might hold. And believe me honey, this old place had its secrets and we’re hoping we caught them all.”

“And if you didn’t?” Emily asked.

Grave Digger shrugged. “They’re coming in here anyway. If we can’t keep them out, then they will come in here guns blazing and they will either live or die. To my mind, they are like little annoying yapping dogs. Barking, barking, and barking. The damn things will just never shut up. Only they’ll come after you with guns or knives and they just keep coming. They just aren’t bright enough to stay away.”

“But why? What is it that they really want?”

Shaking his head he told her, “This place stood empty for years before we bought it off the old man. We’ve lived here for seven years and now that Barrett Raggetti is out of prison, he’s coming here to find the treasures his grandfather told him about. Treasures he doesn’t even know are real or not. For all he knows, they are just an old man’s boasts. But none of it belongs to the Raggetti family any more. It doesn’t belong to us either. That’s why Leon’s is here. We didn’t want any of it. He’s taking the ill-gotten gains back with him because they are mob owned. Raggetti just never gave it back to them, so we are righting that wrong.”

Emily nodded then looked down at her son who was now sleeping on her lap. “The Raggetti brothers were two of the four men that broke into my dad’s bar, four years ago. Like I said, I was in the office taking in the receipts and counting the cash for the week but I was also watching the cameras and I saw their faces. My dad had sound too on the cams, so I listened to them threaten him. I was going to grab the gun my dad had in the safe but he used the code words we had and he told me to stay where I was. I just pushed the cash and checks into the bag and I called the police… that was when I saw one of them stab him.” She paused and lowered her head.

Her words were softly spoken but the whole room was listening.

 “I grabbed the gun and started to leave the office when I caught my dad’s face. By that time, he was on the floor and the Raggetti’s were laughing at his efforts to hang onto his bar. My dad was struggling to live but I saw him turn his head and stare at the camera. He mouthed the words I love you then he mouthed the word run. One of them must have seen him and he came down the hall looking for me. I ran but he saw me as I almost reached the kitchen. I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time but I broke off the gas line and ran. I knew they had set a fire and were probably going to let it take hold before they left. So I prayed the broken gas line would surprise them and blow them to hell.”

The room had gone quiet as she answered one of the main questions, they all had.

She glanced down at her sleeping son again, then continued her story, “I got as far as the alley before I heard the explosion and the blast threw me to the ground. I hit my head hard but I also knew I had to get away from there. One of the men finally caught up with me and he hit me a few times then I heard the sirens and he ran away. I laid there in the alleyway and I cried, because I knew my dad was gone. I finally realized that he was dead as soon as those bastards broke into the bar. I crawled home and I didn’t even know I was hurt. The next morning, there was a knock on my door… the police department. They told me my dad died in an explosion, along with two other men. They didn’t know I was at the bar the night before and I let them believe that. I told them I had gone home and wasn’t there when this happened. They wanted to know if I knew who they were. When I told them I didn’t, they allowed me to bury my dad. I took what money I had available and I left town the same day. I’ve been running ever since. Then I got stuck behind your fence and I couldn’t get away.” She hung her head and sighed. “I just need to disappear. I’ve been hiding for years. I can do it again.

“Did they see you?” Zeus asked.

Emily shrugged. “I don’t know if they ever saw my face but I did not want to take that chance.” Reaching out, she brushed her son’s hair out of his face. “One of them caught me but I don’t know if he ever saw my face. I've got my son now to think of and I can’t take that chance, can I? I can’t lose my son. He’s all I got left in this world and I love him so much.” Shaking her head she whispered, “I can’t lose him, not to the likes of the Raggetti’s. I just can’t.”

“You know, not all of us are tarred by the crazy brush of my brothers,” Delaney told her.

Emily raised her head up and with haunted eyes, she smiled slightly. “I never said you were. You don’t have the same crazy in your eyes that they do. When I was watching those cameras, I could see the insanity in their eyes. It scared me but I’m not afraid of you. You look normal but like everyone else, you can’t help who you are any more than they can.” She dropped her head and stared at her son while the room went silent.

Leon broke the silence, “But you can get help. Protection that you haven’t had since your father passed. You do not have to do this alone anymore, Emmy.”

Her head shot up, as she looked stunned. She stared at him as her lips trembled.

He gave her a wise nod. “Mia caro, you don’t think he told me about you? His Emmy. The light of his life.”

Tears filled her eyes and one rolled down along her cheek.

Chapter Five

 Emily rose up with her son in her arms and headed down the hall.

The room went quiet for a few minutes.

Alfredo shook his head. “I never knew just how evil my grandsons were until now. They crossed that line now and there is no coming back for them.”

Delaney shook her head. “Oh grandpa, I think we always knew they would. Growing up with great grandpa’s stories. Then Pa urged them on the way he did when he wasn’t in jail and that only justified what was already in their minds.”

Leon looked over at Alfredo. “If your son and grandsons come here and cause any more trouble over this treason your father left as his legacy, they will be dealt with by the council. Your father thumbed his nose at the rules after he agreed to follow to get our protection and your family seems to be doing the same. They will be dealt with according to those same rules they flaunt. We run a tight ship, we have to, or we lose the power we have to protect the masses.”

Alfredo nodded. “I know what you will do and I know what will happen. That is why I told you about the diamonds and the pressurized tank. As far as I know, that is all my father would have told them about. There is nothing left for them to come here for.”

 Delaney shook her head. “They aren’t going to believe that grandpa and you know it. They’ll still come and they will probably shoot every man here because they gave up the treasure to Leon.”

Marty walked over to join them. “Then there’s the fact that Vincent’s daughter is here. Is that going to be a problem?”

Delaney shook her head. “It never made a difference to my dad. He didn’t feel a girl was very important. And it didn’t matter to my brothers either. If you aren’t a male, you are nothing.”

“But then you didn’t have a trust fund either,” Marty said. “But Lily does. It belonged to her mother and it's worth a lot of money.”

Alfredo froze then a tear ran down his face. “That might make the difference, my dear. I am ashamed to say it but yes, that might make them come after the child. All my son and grandson’s think about is money. That almighty buck.”

Calvin who had been sitting on the sidelines the whole time spoke up, “Except that I haven’t filed the paperwork yet to put Lily’s name on the trust and Marty has complete discretion as to how it's spent. Just as she had discretion over Sam’s money.” Shaking his head he added, “She didn’t care about the money as it was Sam’s to spend any way she wanted to spend it, but when we needed her to come in, Marty stepped up and put a hold on the money. When Sam came here to get her to lift that block that’s when we found out about the girl. Sam told us about Vincent being her dad. Marty called him and he set the price of 700k in exchange for the little girl. She paid Vincent 700 thousand dollars to take Lily.”

Marty shook her head. “That’s not quite how it all went down, he did ask me how much Sam had left, and that’s when I told him about 700k. He said that would have to do. What he didn’t know about was the second trust. That’s the one that’s going into Lily’s name.”

Leon growled. “He took the money and threw his own blood away?”

“He signed over his parental rights in exchange for the money,” Calvin told him.

“Then he has no more claim to the child,” Leon grumbled. “We will back her on this matter. If Vincent gave up his child, then the rest of the family will not claim her either.”   

“And if that child was a son?” Delaney asked. She turned to Leon. “Would you protect a boy child?”

Leon stared at her then glanced down the hall as he answered, “It doesn’t matter to me if the child is a boy or a girl, my dear. But my protection would be determined by certain factors. Did the father know about him? Has he been taking care of the boy’s needs the whole time? Until we know more about the circumstances, I can’t determine what the outcome would be, can I?”

Delaney shook her head. “I don’t think my brother even knows the boy exists and I doubt he’s been taking care of him either.”

“Then don’t look for trouble where none exists,” Leon told her quietly.

Zeus quietly watched them as they talked. He then glanced over at Click and asked, “Any sign of the outlaw yet?”

Click checked the cameras. He looked back up and shook his head. “All we got out there is the two men that are left over from yesterday.”

Zeus nodded at him. “Make sure you watch the cameras, we need to know right away if and when the brothers get here. If you get tired then get Scout to take over.”

Click nodded. “You got it, boss.”

Leon sighed and looked at Delaney again. “We do need that young woman to tell us what she’s holding back.” He glanced over at Grave Digger. “She seems to respond to you better than the rest of us.”

Grave Digger raised his head and just stared at him. After a moment he asked, “So?”

“So maybe you could see what she has to say about the boy’s father,” Leon stated. “It might be better if we knew before the brothers got here, just what we’re dealing with, rather than after they arrive.”

Grave Digger leaned back in his chair. “What makes you think she’ll tell me anything? In case you didn’t notice, just telling us about her father being killed, was hard on her. It probably brought everything she went through back to her in full living color.”

“I understand that believe me I do, but if her son is a Raggetti we need to know.” Leon nodded.

“And if he is?” Grave Digger asked.

“Then we might have an advantage, wouldn’t we?’ Leon shrugged.

Grave Digger rushed to his feet and glared at him. “You would use a child against these bastards? Dangle him as a carrot in front of his father in a way to make the man behave?”

Leon glowered at him. “Mio Dio! Don’t be an idiot, young man. I would never use a child against men such as these. The child is an innocent, while his father is not. Nor would I ever dangle him as a carrot. The Raggettis don’t think like we do, that man would not care about his child, if indeed he is one of them.”

“Then how do you consider having the boy here is an advantage?” Grave Digger asked.

“That man will face justice knowing that he might have left a child behind that will never know him. Nor will he know that child.” Leon shrugged. “He will go to his grave knowing that his son will never have his name and the Raggetti name will die when he does.”

“That’s not a good enough reason,” Alfredo said. “My grandsons won’t care about leaving a child behind. Let the Raggetti name die out with them. I’m not long for this world and Delaney won’t carry the name forever. Just let this chapter die out when they are gone. You know as I do that the Council will end their lives. In one way that will hurt beyond measure, but in another way, it is almost a blessing. It will hurt because I raised Barrett with honor but he chose to turn his back on that. He wasted his entire life because he turned his back on the traditions I tried to teach him. He raised his sons without the honor most men live with but that was his choice. It will be a blessing because the struggle will be over. I can die in peace, knowing my father’s craziness is gone from this world. Once upon a time, the Raggetti name meant something, now it no longer does.”

“No grandpa.” Delaney shook her head. “Honor is taught by the man of the house, he wasn’t home much remember? The boys never listened to you when you tried to teach them. All they had was stories they heard and no father figure. They grew up mostly on the streets and that’s where they learned their shit.” Delaney shook her head. “And everyone knows there is no honor on the streets, it’s a battle of the fittest and baddest just to survive. They climbed that hill and claimed themselves king of the hill when they got to the top of the pile of garbage.”

Alfredo shook his head. “I lost one son years ago and his killer was never caught.” He paused. “And now I will lose another to his own greed. What does that say about me as a father?”

Delaney went over to him and knelt beside his chair. “Grandpa, dad was just plain stupid and you can’t fix stupid. You tried but he didn’t want to listen, he didn’t want to put in the work of being a decent human being. He wanted everything but he didn’t want to work for it. He just thought he could take it and everyone was supposed to give it to him. Well, that’s not how this world works is it? In the real world ,you have to work for what you want, not just take it. He never understood that. He listened to the stories of an old man and tried to bring back the old days. Even great grandpa had to pay the piper for his foolishness. And sometimes the piper can be cruel. Well now, Dad and my brothers are going to find that out the hard way but it’s a lesson you can’t stop them from learning. Leon is the piper and this time they will pay the price for their own stupidity. You have to let it happen.”

“I know, child.” Alfredo raised his hand and cupped her cheek. “As much as it pains me, I have to let it happen and so do you.”

She closed her eyes and nodded. “I know, but it’s almost a release for me. Dad and my brothers never had time for me unless it benefited them. I knew if I had anything at all, they would come and take it. I won’t have to worry anymore about that. I can’t and won’t help them now.”

Leon looked over at Grave Digger. “We need to know if her son is a Raggetti.”

Grave Digger sighed as he glared at him. He snarled but walked down the hall anyway. He didn’t care much for Leon’s reasons. To him, it didn’t make any difference.

 When he entered the Infirmary, he saw her sleeping with her son. He sat down and waited for her to wake up.


 Closing the door behind her, Emily carried her son over to the bed in the Infirmary and laid him down. Kicking off her shoes, she crawled into the bed and laid with him as she wrapped her arms around his small body. “They won’t find us here, baby,” she whispered as tears ran down her face. “I’ll protect you. I’ll find us a place that’s safe and we can hold up there until this war of the king of the hill is over. I’m sorry it has to be this way but your dad can never know about you.” She fell asleep as the tears dried on her cheeks.

She didn’t know how long she’d been asleep, but she when opened her eyes, she  stared at Grave Digger. “What are you watching me sleep for?” she whispered.

Grave Digger sighed and motioned for her to come with him. He nodded for her to head into a room adjoining the Infirmary.

She got up carefully so as not to disturb her sleeping son and joined him.

Grave Digger shut the door and motioned for her to sit down. Then he sat across from her and looked at her carefully.

“Will you just get to it, already?” She raised a brow at him.

“Leon wanted me to ask you if Anthony is a Raggetti.” He sighed. “I didn’t want to as it is none of his fucking business and the answer doesn’t really make any difference to me but he insisted I ask.”

Emily wrapped her arms around her belly and looked away for a moment as she shook her head. “That boy is mine alone. His dad isn’t in the picture and never has been. I don’t care what Leon wants, he can go to hell.”

Grave Digger nodded. “I agree with you. I don’t think he has the right to ask but I had to try. I’m sorry.” He stood and stepped toward the door to escort her back to her son.

 Emily couldn’t move for a moment as tears began to fall down her cheeks.

Grave Digger stepped back over and sat down with her again.

 “I have kept this to myself for years now.” She sniffled. “Well, who would I tell?” She shrugged her shoulders. “I have no family and no friends, especially here.” She looked down at her hands. “When my father’s bar blew up I got caught in the blowout. I was thrown to the ground and I was stunned. I couldn’t move for a few minutes. When the sirens were blaring and the trucks were coming to put out the fire, I heard footsteps running toward me. I tried to open my eyes and when I finally got them to open, I saw his face in the flames. He was so pissed and he was shouting at me but his voice sounded weird somehow. I couldn’t really hear him all that well. I think he kept saying it was my fault. What was my fault, he never said but he kept going on and on about ruining their mission by blowing up the bar. They wanted that bar and he was mad. He didn’t seem to care about my dad or the fact that not everyone made it out. No… he was mad about the bar blowing up. Then he told me he wasn’t going home with nothing and that I wasn’t much of a prize but he was getting something out of this deal.” She looked up at the ceiling. “I won’t tell you what happened next as thank God, I don’t really remember it. I was still out of it from the blast I think. He didn’t care that he was leaving me hurt and in pain as his brothers found him and dragged him away from the place. He just ran off in the dark and a few minutes later, I got up and stumbled home.”

Grave Digger clenched his fists as he sat and listened. He slowly shook his head.

“My whole world was shattered that night but somehow, I made it back to my apartment. I even managed to have the night deposit bag with me. Like how did that happen? I didn’t even start to shake until I locked the front door. I barely remember anything after that. Really, I look back on it now and I think I had a concussion? But after a while, the headache went away. It was sort of a blessing though. I mean I had blank spots and was spared most of it, simply because I was not conscious when it actually happened.”

“Did you know which one of those bastards attacked you?” Grave Digger asked in a strained voice.

She slowly shook her head. “I heard one of them call out the name Romano when he came running after the fire truck got there. I left Oakville for good three days later. He doesn’t even know about Anthony and I never want him to. I don’t even know or care who he was. Like I said before, Anthony is my son and my son alone.”