"Did you get the car okay?" the teen asked, ducking her head out from under his hand as she moved to follow him, leaving Addie to put the furniture back in order herself.
"Yeah, I got the car," he said, purposely leaving it at that, as he made his way into the kitchen and pulled a soda from the fridge. A little cold caffeine to keep him going for the rest of the day, though Adriana had said the safe house wasn't too far to drive.
"Addie said we're going after dark?" Nora asked, leaning on the counter. "What're we gonna do before that? It's, like, hours away."
He handed her a soda, glancing to the other room to see what happened to her sister. "Addie! Don't worry about the furniture. I'll take care of it later!" he called.
"I'll be there in a second!" Adriana called back, but she didn't stop pushing the furniture back into position.
Nora chortled, lifting her soda to her lips. "She won't leave it undone," she predicted. "She's kinda OCD like that."
Matt frowned. "I should go help," he said, starting back toward the other room with a soda in each hand. Even if she didn't need his help, it was the right thing to do.
Nora watched him go, smirking into her soda. "Dude, you have such a white knight complex," she muttered impishly to his back.
"You say that like it's a bad thing," he called back, as he rejoined Addie. "Here," he said, handing Adriana both the sodas, so he could replace the furniture where it belonged. "So, Monopoly is out. What else is there?"
Surprised to find her hands suddenly full of soda, Addie was forced to let Matt put the room back to rights. "I did have it, you know," she protested mildly. "I won't break."
From the doorway to the kitchen, Nora piped up again. "We found a pack of cards."
"I didn't say you would," he countered, a smirk on his face as he pushed the couch back where it belonged. "What kind of white knight would I be if I let you do it yourself?" he teased, quoting Nora's assessment of him. There were worse things to be.
"Did you leave your horse in your other pants?" Adriana asked him, biting her lip immediately after. She hadn't actually intended to say that out loud, but too late ... Nora had spat soda all over her own hand trying not to laugh.
"On a steel horse I ride," he said, offering her a wink and quoting Bon Jovi. "Get your mind out of the gutter, Nora!" he teased, as he easily slid the chairs back into place, as well.
Spluttering, Nora had to retreat to the kitchen to clean herself up, leaving the couple alone. Adriana giggled softly.
"That was my fault," she pointed out, though she clearly didn't feel remorse for it. "I look forward to meeting your horse, sir knight."
He smiled, clearly amused by her flirtation. "Do you expect me to gallop?" he teased back, reaching for one of the sodas now that the living room was back in order. "No one has ever compared me to a horse," he added, mischief lighting his eyes.
"Tall, handsome, beautiful eyes," she teased, handing the soda to him. "All similarities. I couldn't possibly speak to the rest of your anatomy, though - I've never been that close to a horse."
"Sorry to disappoint, but I don't think that part of my anatomy compares very well to a horse," he remarked. If it did, it probably wouldn't be very comfortable, for either of them.
She laughed at that, despite the lingering tension that would likely not go away until they had squared everything to do with the "family" completely. "So no rutting like a stallion, then?"
"I doubt the stallion cares much about whether the mare is enjoying herself," he told her, hoping she understood what he meant by that. While rutting was all well and good for animals, he liked to think he could do a lot better than that where so-called rutting was concerned.
"Well now," she mused. "Isn't that interesting?" She winked at him, taking a sip of her soda even as she grinned, glancing toward the kitchen to check on her sister.
"It is if you're the mare," he countered, smiling sweetly back at her. "Why don't you go see what Nora is up to while I call Vince?" he suggested. Might as well get the phone call over with.
She smiled gently. "All right. Don't get too wound up, okay?" Her hand stroked his cheek for the barest moment before she slipped away, heading into the kitchen to join her sister.
"I'll be fine," he assured her, enjoying the simple touch of her hand, however brief, before she left him alone to make his phone call. He almost wished he'd grabbed a beer in place of the soda. Maybe that would calm his nerves a little, but it was too early to drink, and he needed to keep his wits about him. A cigarette would be even better, but he'd given those up years ago.
Just as he had been the night before, Vince was quick to answer the phone. "Matt," he said, his tone short but relieved to hear the other man's voice. "Report - what's happening at that end?"
Matt was just as relieved to hear Vince's voice on the other end, but he was dreading finding out what had happened at Tahoe. "We're fine. Just lying low for now," he told his boss.
Vince's sigh was audible. "Good to know. War's been declared in Vegas; we're cutting down the Puglianis' top shelf, thanks to your contact's information. They attacked our own, they get no quarter. You gotta stay low a few more days while we tidy up."
"Sorry, Vince. I know you didn't want that," Matt said, the frown audible in his tone of voice. It was the Puglianis who'd started it, but it would be the Molinaros who'd finish it.
"They forced my hand," Vince said in a stern voice. "Lie to my face, kill my guys, there's only one answer to that. Benny survived, by the way - ID'd a couple of Frankie's boys. That's how we know it was them." He paused before continuing, "Michael's under lock down."
Matt felt a wave of relief at the news that Benny had made it, but it was quickly followed by a sinking feeling when he realized Danny had probably not been so lucky. "What about Danny?" he asked, his voice quiet as he made his way up the stairs to one of the bedrooms so the girls didn't overhear his conversation.
He could almost hear Vince's head shake sadly. "Didn't get to him in time," the boss said reluctantly. "Looked like he convinced them he had your girls safely tucked away in one of the bedrooms - made them fight hard to get in. Overkill when they realized they were duped."
"s***," Matt murmured to himself. As far as Matt was concerned, Danny was the real hero of this story, but he didn't envy the man's end. "He was a good guy," he said, more to himself than to Vince. It was too bad they hadn't had a chance to get better acquainted.
"Seems like, yeah." Vince let out another heavy sigh. "You sure you don't need us to run protection, get you somewhere safe? No motor or anything?"
"No, we're good. I have a plan," Matt replied, though it was really Adriana's plan - or at least, her house. "No offense, but it's better no one knows." Just to be on the safe side. "Michael have anything to say?" he asked of the lawyer Matt was certain had betrayed him.
"I gotcha," Vince assured him. "Less people know, the better. And he's shut right now. Tried getting his secretary to shut down too, but May knows better than to push Joe's buttons. She's talking the pencil pushers through all the files."
"I'm gonna have to sell the house," Matt said, though that was the least of his worries right now. "And the boat," he added, as an afterthought. He fell silent a moment, as if considering his next words before continuing."There's something I need to talk to you about, but not on the phone."
"You trust me to get the house cleaned up and sold for a good price, or you want to get that one yourself?" Vince asked him. It wasn't a question the boss should be asking, proving once again that Vince did consider Matt to be far more than just a successful underling.
"I trust you, Vince," Matt replied without hesitation. He had no reason not to trust him; Vince had been like a father to him since he'd arrived in Vegas and even before that. After all, Vince and Matt's father had been good friends. There were few men in this business Matt trusted more, but what Vince would think of his proposal to go legit, he didn't know. "I'd appreciate that," he said of the man's offer to sell the lake house.
"We'll get it done," Vince promised him. "I still got access to your account, right? You always forget to change your passwords."
"Yeah, you've got access," Matt confirmed. Most people wouldn't trust anyone else with their bank accounts, but he owed too much to Vince to deny him that.
"Anything else you need done?" Vince asked then. "Your girls okay?" He knew they probably weren't, but those girls were as much family as Matt now. He had to ask.
"They're okay for now," Matt replied honestly. Both sisters were holding up okay for now, but Matt had a feeling they were still in a state of shock, and it was only a matter of time before the dam broke. "Don't worry. I'll make sure they stay safe."
"Yeah, well, don't forget to let your wife keep you safe, too," Vince advised him. "You don't have to always be the strong silent one, you got me? You have a little family now. Learn how to be a little bit broken around them."