Author Topic: A Business Meeting  (Read 983 times)

Matteo Alessi

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A Business Meeting
« on: June 21, 2020, 12:19:53 PM »
As one of the captains of the Molinaro family, it wasn't unusual for Matt to be meeting with the head of the family; but what was unusual was that today it was just the two of them. To say Vincent Molinaro's house was a mansion was a bit of an understatement. It was secured by an iron fence that surrounded the perimeter and the latest in electronic security and surveillance. It was opulent and comfortable and the best that money could buy, but as far as Matt was concerned, it lacked something that made it feel like a home, but seeing as how he didn't live there, he didn't much care. He knew his way around and was trusted enough to be come and go as he pleased, directed today to the study where his boss was presumably waiting for him.

He was, of course, checked over for wires and anything else before being allowed entry, but Matteo was well known and well trusted within the organisation. His boss was finishing up a call as he entered, nodding to him in greeting even as he said,

"Just tell them to clean it up, okay? Not our problem."

Matteo knew better than to interrupt the man when he was in the middle of a phone call, and so he waited just inside the door, not even taking a seat until he was given the leave to do so. He returned the nod though, to return the other man's acknowledgement.

Vince waved him toward the bar, an open invitation to help himself to a drink while he waited. He trusted Matteo fully, not at all concerned about having him listen to the end of this conversation. "They paid the money, we did the job," he said into the phone. "Never paid for the clean up or the cover up. They keep giving you trouble, drop a line to the feds. And stop taking their business. Got it? Ciao." He put the phone down with a sigh. "Stupid."

Matt moved over to the bar to make himself a drink. Was it too early in the day for a martini? He didn't think so. Not with everything he was dealing with lately. "Can I fix you a drink?" he asked, his background as a bartender coming in handy at moments like this.

"Whiskey sour, if you're up to it," was Vince's response. The older man stood up, cracking his neck loudly. "Swear to God, I spend too much time in this damned seat."

"Whiskey sour it is," Matt said, taking up a bottle of bourbon and a cocktail glass. "When was the last time you relaxed?" he asked his boss as he mixed up the drink.

"Ellie put you up to that question?" Vince shrugged, grinning. He loved his wife, it was as plain as day, but she had a tendency to coddle. "I'm good, for now. How'd it go with the Cavarello?"

Matt chuckled at the mention of his boss's wife. "She didn't have to," he replied as he put the finishing touches on the whiskey sour, going so far as to add an orange peel and cherry as a garnish before handing it to the man. His expression changed, sobering as they got right down to business. "We have a problem," he said, taking up his martini.

Vince took a swig of his drink, frowning into the glass as he absently swirled it in his hand. "I don't like that word," he pointed out calmly. "What kind of problem we talking here?"

"The Puglianis," Matt said, stating their problem with as little as a single family name. "They're trying to take over operations from the Cavarellos, and I believe Adriana and her sister are in grave danger."

"So the sister's fact then." Vince sighed, gesturing for Matt to take a seat as he eased himself down into his own comfortable chair. "Tell me your thoughts on the situation."

"I promised to keep her a secret, but yes," Matt confirmed, waiting for Vince to take a seat before he followed suit. He took a sip of his martini, giving himself a moment to consider his words. "She's willing to enter an alliance with us in exchange for protection. She even agreed to putting men of our choosing in positions of power in her organization. Honestly, Vince, I think she's scared, not only for herself, but her sister."

"You think it's a viable proposition?" his boss asked, his gaze somewhat intense. Matteo's opinion was important; he was the only one who had seen the situation for himself. "Think the operations are worth taking over for the trouble of protection and retribution?"

"I think if we do not do it, the Puglianis will, and then Adriana's blood and the blood of his sister will be on our hands," Matteo replied bluntly. Not everything was always about money and power, after all. Sometimes it was just about doing what was right.

"What's the conditions of the merge?" Vince asked then. "She wants to keep control, like her pops?" The look on his face definitely hinted that this would not be entirely acceptable, but he was waiting to hear the answer.

"I think so," Matt replied with a frown, knowing that was not likely to go over well with Vince or many of the other bosses. "She and her sister are the last remaining members of her family. The Puglianis made sure that no male members of the family survived. But tell me, Vince, what better justice than to support Adriana in her efforts to keep the family together?"

"Her pops never brought her in on this," Vince pointed out. "She's not trained. You think she's taken the oath? Think she's ever taken a life? Think she can handle being the boss?"

"No," Matt replied honestly and bluntly, once again. "No, I think she's innocent and naive, and frankly, it would be a shame to spoil that, but I think if she had someone there to advise her or even to make those kinds of decisions for her, it might work." But it wasn't that easy; there were problems to be solved.

"No matter what, the Cavarello name is dust now," Vince said, seeming to dismiss this issue. "She wants our protection, she's gonna become one of the family. Her boys become our boys, her operations are our operations."

"With all due respect Vince, I am not sure that is the wisest course of action. Not yet. I believe there are traitors among their ranks - men who are working for the Puglianis. I do not think it would be wise for us to take over her operations without weeding out the traitors first," Matteo reasoned.

"We put someone in charge of her ops, they're gonna know we're looking to take over," Vince pointed out. "We give her an advisor, same thing. Advisors, capos, they just paint a bigger target on her back and so long as she's operating alone, she's easy prey. We make her one of ours, they know they got bigger problems. Maybe they step back and negotiate. You ain't the only one who doesn't like the killing, Matt. Only decision needs making here is who. My boys are not the marrying type."

"There's no negotiating with them, Vince. You know it and I know it. What do you want to negotiate? You want to give them a percentage? How long will they be happy with that before they decide to take matters in their own hands again. You know I don't like bloodshed anymore than you do, but if we let this go unanswered, the Puglianis are just going to get bolder. How long before they put a hit on us and try to take over our business? No, we can't wait for that. We need to do something now," Matt argued, dark eyes flashing, not with anger but fervor.

Matteo Alessi

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Re: A Business Meeting
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2020, 12:20:13 PM »
Vince frowned at him. "You sweet on this girl, Matt?" he asked, surprised by the vehemence in his man's response. "After one meeting?"

Matt sat back and blew out a breath, shrugging his shoulders. "I don't know, but I offered her our protection in exchange for control of her operation, and I just don't want to see her get hurt. That's all."

His boss nodded slowly. "Give me a couple of hours," he said finally. "You come back here, there'll be a plan, we'll get it started. I gotta talk it over with a couple of people first."

"I offered her use of the house at Lake Tahoe. I told her I'd make arrangements for her and her sister to go there, until everything's settled here. She's just a kid, Vince. She's in over her head, and she needs our help," Matt explained further, though it seemed his boss had already made his decision.

"Don't get sucked in by that," Vince warned. "That kid, as you call her, set up their main system by herself. Even if he didn't bring her in, her pops trusted her with the delicate stuff. But she can't run a branch of the family, not alone at least. You're this invested, maybe you should go out and buy a ring."

"Don't be ridiculous. I hardly know her," Matteo pointed out. "If we let this go, there's no telling what the Puglianis will try next," he added, though he figured his boss had already reached that same conclusion.

"Retribution's on the list," his boss agreed. "But I say we wait. Let them think they might be safe from reprisals while we get the Cavarellos absorbed into our operation. Root out whoever's been informing from their ranks."

"And how do you propose we do that?" Matteo asked curiously. It wasn't a challenge exactly, but he had a few ideas of his own, and he was curious to know what his boss had in mind.

"We gotta move our people in, get trusted faces in every department," Vince said confidently. "Make it clear the Molinaros are in charge. Get the girl married into the family, make the husband the boss, keep her involved with the tech. Get the kid under protection. And keep eyes on the captains. Puglianis wouldn't've known about that meeting without a high up informer."

"I'm not sure we have that kind of time," Matt remarked, frowning, a worried expression on his face. "I'd rather do things the other way around - put the girls under protection while we sort out the traitors and take care of the Puglianis, once and for all." It wasn't going to be a bloodless takeover, but maybe if they were careful, the bloodshed would be minimal.

"This is Vegas, we can have her name changed in a single day," Vince pointed out. "You're pretty invested in these girls, Matty. 'Bout time you got a wife. I'll get a license and chapel booked up for you."

"It's the right thing to do, Vince," Matt insisted. "What if she was your daughter?" he asked, putting the shoe on the other foot. Women were not traditionally given roles or power within the organization, but times were changing.

Vince held his gaze with hard eyes. "If she was my daughter, she'd be married already," he said. "I wouldn't leave my girls without protection if I took a bullet. Her pops did her wrong."

"Maybe," Matt remarked. He couldn't very well argue with that logic, even if Adriana might disagree with it. She needed protection; that much was certain, but he wasn't sure she'd agree to a marriage arranged for that purpose. "What if we let her take over as boss and put one of ours in as underboss?" he suggested instead.

"Technically, she's already an underboss," Vince reminded him. "If she stays in power, she needs a second, capos she can trust, round the clock protection no matter what, just like the rest of us. She won't have the same respect as the others in the organisation. The Puglianis will go for the throat."

"Then we deal with the Puglianis first," Matt countered. "We're gonna have to deal with them sooner or later anyway. And then we need to weed out the traitors in her organization. But you're right - her boys aren't gonna trust an outsider. They trust her, though. The loyal ones anyway."

"All right, let's see now ..." Vince leaned back in his seat, considering the options. "She stays the boss, she marries one of ours, he takes the second position. Puglianis can wait - the traitors need dealing with. They're closest to the top."

"Right, so we set a trap ..." Matt said. Though the thought of Adriana being forced into a marriage didn't sit well with him, he didn't really see a way around it either. It might be the only way to join the two families without any squabbles.

"You want a trap, you need bait," Vince said. "She's your bait. So you're gonna have to bring her out of hiding sometime when you're ready."

"We're gonna need time to spring a trap. In the meantime, I'm taking her to the lake house. She'll be safe there," Matt reasoned. Theoretically, anyway. No one knew the location of the lake house but himself and a few that he trusted, including Vince. He hadn't said as much, but he wasn't going to let what had happened to his own family happen to her.

"Hmm." Vince nodded suddenly, a decision apparently made. "You stop by the Pink Fandango on your way to fill her in. Gemma'll give you what you need."

"The Pink Fandango, Vince?" Matt echoed, brows arching upward suspiciously. "Are you planning on hiring an Elvis impersonator to marry us?" he asked, only half-joking.

"What do you take me for?" his boss responded with a faint grin. "I have taste, you know. Quick and simple, expedient. Quicker it's done, quicker everything else can move."

The man was persistent, at least. Matt had to give him that. "Still doing things a little backwards, don't you think?" he asked, though he knew better than to argue. He'd rather marry for love than for power, and he had a feeling Adriana felt the same, but maybe Vince was right. "You sure you don't moonlight as a matchmaker?"

"It doesn't mean forever, kiddo," Vince told him. "I give it two years before everything's settled. You want to part ways after that, you do it with my blessing. Until then, you're stuck to her like glue, you got me?"

Matteo Alessi

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Re: A Business Meeting
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2020, 12:20:29 PM »
"Yeah, I got you," Matt replied, realizing he was not being given a choice in the matter. Was marrying a beautiful woman like Adriana really such a terrible fate? Somehow the thought of divorcing her was even worse than the thought of marriage.

Vince raised a brow at the look on Matteo's face. "You trust me, Matty?" he asked, a very faint smile quirking at his lips.

Matt dismissed his doubts with a blink of his eyes and returned his attention to that of his boss. "Yeah, I trust you," he assured the other man. Vince had taken him in and given him a high-ranking position within his own organization with little more than a recommendation from his family back east. He could have rejected him and sent him packing, but he hadn't. If there was anyone Matt trusted in Vegas, it was Vince. "I just didn't realize how much you like playing Cupid," he teased back.

The older man's smile turned into a warm smirk. "You'll thank me later," he predicted easily. "Get that done, start laying plans. Let me know what you need, who you need, and we'll smash these cowards into the sand."

"We'll see," Matt murmured, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Time would prove which one of them was right, but for now, what was important was getting Adriana and her sister to safety.

"Pink Fandango, Gemma," Vince reiterated. That, in his opinion, was the first step, and one of the most important. "She can let it slip once the deed's done."

"Got it," Matt replied, tipping his martini back for a long swallow. "It's a good thing I'm not seeing anyone," he murmured, mostly to himself.

"Wouldn't have you do this if you were," his boss pointed out with a grin. "Your fiancee's single, too. No trouble there." He lifted his own glass to his lips, sipping slowly.

"Aren't you putting the cart before the horse a little bit there, Vince?" Matt asked, taking another swallow of his drink, which was well-needed at this point. After all, he hadn't exactly popped the question yet.

"Business is business, kiddo," the older man said. "What comes after is all your own." He seemed fairly confident in this plan of theirs, though, tapping out an email to Gemma as they talked.

"Right," Matt murmured, as he finished off his drink. "I'll be taking a few of the boys with me," he told the other man, which only went without saying, just in case of trouble.

"It's your party," Vince agreed. "Keep me up to date, got me?" He paused, waiting until Matt reacted before adding, "And Matty? Try and enjoy being a married man, okay?"

"I'll be fine, Vince. Quit worrying before you turn into a Mother Hen," Matteo remarked, in a teasing tone of voice as he moved to his feet. "I've got a few calls to make," he told the other man - and a lot of preparations, it seemed.

Vince nodded to him. "Keep it up, kiddo. Oh, and don't go near the pool. Vittoria is visiting." His grin was just a little wicked; Vittoria Molinaro was insistent that once she was divorced, Matteo was going to be her next husband.

"Thanks for the warning," Matt replied sarcastically. While Vittoria Molinaro was an attractive woman, she was a little too accustomed to getting what she wanted. "You can give her the good news," he said, thinking that was just fair retribution for forcing him into marriage.

Vince chuckled. "You're a cruel man," he teased. "Go on, you've got work to do. Gemma'll have the package ready for you when you drop in."

"I'll be in touch," Matt promised, though it hardly needed saying. And with that, he made his way to the door to let himself out, hoping to sneak out before he ran into the boss' daughter.

He had a lot to do, and a small window of time to do it in. But at least he could be assured that his boss was on board with the plan, such as it was. Now all that remained was to convince Adriana.