After seeing a very appealing picture of Matthew and Mary from 3x01 while walking on Tumblr, suggesting that Matthew looked like a gangster...I decided to take it upon myself to write something. So prepare for Boardwalk Empire/Gangster Squad/Downton Abbey...its about to get exciting!
All lines taken from Boardwalk Empire/Gangster Squad/Downton Abbey; Boardwalk Empire belongs to Terence Winter, Gangster Squad belongs to Will Beall and Downton Abbey belongs to Julian Fellowes.
Thankyou to my darling beta Rachel Smith Cobleigh for the hints, tips, revamp and polish, grateful as ever.
Its taken me months to put this up...but just in time for Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you all and Enjoy! P. x
Every man carries a badge, some symbol of allegiances, and his were the scars of a boxer who had never started a fight but had always finished it. A Jew who'd gained the respect of wops through his fists and his words. A man who'd looked like an easy target, but who'd turned the tables on them more than once. He had their grudging respect. He just had a grudge. He wanted out of this town, but he wasn't leaving until he'd settled the score. His name is Matthew Crawley.
Stone's Bar, Boston, Massachusetts. Mid September 1934.
The soft flickers of the candle flame; the bright, comforting light of the glass chandelier that hung in the middle of the room; the waft of tobacco smoke; the happy chatter and laughter of people; the stumbling and slurring of the drunk; the sharp thrum of jazz.
Before the barman could tell his boss he was off for the night, a man swung onto a seat at the bar, putting down a five-dollar note and ensuring that the barman stayed for another two minutes.
The barman sighed. "What do you want?"
Sharp blue eyes glared at him from underneath the brim of a black trilby. "Whiskey."
The black trilby landed on the bar as the barman filled a tumbler with rocks and moonshine. Raising the glass to the barman with a mocking twist of his lips, the man threw back a swallow.
Another familiar figure appeared beside him, tapping him on the shoulder, and the man turned to look at the newcomer. Oh jeez, not these two. The barman started to surreptitiously move some of his glassware to a lower shelf. He had no desire to go to the trouble of replacing it all again.
"Matthew." Tom jerked his hand at the barman, who sighed again and started to fill another tumbler with whiskey. Why did they have to show up tonight, with Blake and company on the other side of the room?
"Took your time," Matthew said with a lazy drawl.
"Yeah. Well. When you're an Irishman..." Tom picked up the glass that the barman pushed towards him, giving the barman a nod of thanks. The barman hoped that he'd get paid for his trouble this time.
"As a former attorney, I have a rights list. I could charge you."
Tom raised his eyebrow and smirked. "What with?" He lifted the glass to his lips.
Matthew smirked. "Being a fugitive."
Tom coughed on his drink, pulling at his collar. He glanced away from Matthew, towards the mobster court that was sitting, shrouded in smoke and shadows, thirty feet behind them. At least Blake and Judge Crawley hadn't seemed to notice them yet, but the barman saw Blake's bodyguards, Green and Kent, eyeing the newcomers with displeasure. Charles Blake and Judge Robert Crawley were deep in conversation with Suffolk County Sheriff George Murray, probably cooking up some scheme that the barman would do well to know nothing about. He just wanted to get home; Lou was probably waiting up for him and he smiled at the thought of seeing her soon.
Raising an eyebrow, Matthew glanced over at Blake's table, took another swallow of whiskey, and then turned back to Tom.
"Tell me. Who's the raven head in the white?" Matthew asked, placing his glass down on the bar. The barman followed his gaze and saw the stunning doll who'd come in with Blake now eyeing Matthew with interest. The barman rolled his eyes. Oh God, not that. That was certain to provoke Blake's anger. What was the fool Matthew Crawley playing at? Did he want to get himself thrown out again?
Tom shot Matthew a look of caution. "That's Mary Crawley. Blake's etiquette tutor."
The barman listened to this with interest. Crawley, eh? How many Crawleys were there in this town? Everyone knew that Matthew was no relation to the judge, but the barman would bet his hat that the doll was Judge Crawley's daughter. Linking his family with Blake's would go far to secure Judge Crawley's position in this town.
"Is that right?" Matthew smirked, pulling out a cigarette and tapping it.
"He's trying to get all sophisticated." Tom smirked too, lighting a cigarette.
"I haven't been sophisticated in weeks." Matthew took a long drag and then blew out a cloud of smoke. Mary Crawley's eyes focused on Matthew with undisguised interest.
The barman rolled his eyes and continued moving the glasses down to the lower shelf.
Tom whistled. "You are mad." He shook his head. "I'm telling you, Matt. If you go anywhere near her, Blake will skin you alive."
Matthew shrugged, still looking across the room at her. "She's beautiful. He's mad if he doesn't treat her right."
"How do you know he doesn't?" Tom asked, shooting him a worried glance. "She looks fine to me."
"Fine indeed." Matthew's voice curled appreciatively.
The barman watched as Mary Crawley whispered something to Blake, who nodded distractedly and gave her a brief smile, and then she rose gracefully to her feet. She was stunning, that couldn't be denied. She looked expensive, though. His Lou was a sweet little thing, undemanding, more his speed.
Mary stepped out from the table of mobsters and made a deliberate path towards the bar. She sauntered past Matthew, not looking at him, the silk of her thin gown rustling softly as she passed.
"I'll be back," Matthew announced to Tom in a low voice, standing up and giving him an unreassuring pat on the back.
"Be careful, Crawley," the Irishman hissed, watching his friend follow the doll towards the back hall.
The barman kept his head down and considered whether he ought to move some of the bottles of whiskey under the bar as well. He shrugged. Better safe than sorry, he thought, and turned to his task. It wasn't any business of his what Matthew Crawley got up to. No siree.
As Matthew followed Mary Crawley, his eyes travelled appreciatively over the slender lines and curves of her back. She seemed a touch thin to his eyes, her shoulder and backbones more visible than he liked, protruding from under her pale skin, and a spark of worry for her shot through him. He wondered idly how those backbones would disappear when she arched up off a bed and he wanted very much to see her do just that. Her long black hair cascaded down her back, swaying gently as she walked, and it tapered just above a dip of white silk that clung to the small of her back and outlined the shape of her perfect backside. His hands ached to cup it firmly, to press himself against her and to run his hands over her delicious body, but that would have to wait.
The corridor was dimly lit, leading to the gents' and ladies', a storage closet, and the boss's office. As the boss was standing near the front door at the moment deep in conversation, on the opposite side of the dive, Matthew was unworried when Mary stepped into the office with only a brief glance over her shoulder, her eyes beckoning to him.
When he entered the office and saw her half-seated on the edge of the large mahogany desk, he smirked and softly pushed the door closed behind him. He turned back to face her and saw that she had placed a cigarette between her rouged lips.
He approached and settled against the desk beside her, silently offering her a light. She leaned closer to him, placing her cigarette near the flame, and took a few puffs, then slowly blew out a cloud of smoke through her nostrils. Her eyes were fixed on a point across the room, but her awareness was clearly directed at him. The edges of their hands brushed where they rested on the desk between them.
He felt for his pocket and dropped the lighter in it, unable to take his eyes away from her pale, haughty beauty and those stunning doe eyes that made him weak in the knees.
"Tell me, handsome," she spoke for the first time, her voice a pleasantly low tone. "What brings you here?"
Matthew drew on his own cigarette, considering his reply. For all that she was a heady mix of sex and class, he needed to play this carefully. Was she working for Blake, trying to trap or use him? Was she truly an innocent bystander, merely interested in a brief release of tension in this office before the boss came back? Or was there more to her than met the eye? How Matthew answered her now could make or break any number of things. He needed more information, and he needed to get it without showing his hand first.
He gave her a sly grin. "Interest."
"In what?" she asked, eyeing him and not yet smiling herself.
Matthew shook his head and blew out a thin stream of smoke. "Charles Blake."
Her eyes rolled. "Ah. Go on."
That seemed promising to him. He crossed 'innocent bystander' off the list.
"Yes," she said with a small smile, her gaze roving over him, taking his measure and making him warm. "I know who you are, Mr. Crawley."
He raised an eyebrow playfully. "Should I be flattered?"
"That depends," she replied, her lips quirking, and she placed her cigarette between them again. How he wanted to see those full lips wrap around something else—
Focus, Matthew. He swallowed and tilted his head in amusement. She really was quite the siren.
"You have me at a disadvantage," he said. "You know me, but I know nothing..." He let his eyes trail over her body suggestively. "...about you."
"True," she said, her doe eyes dancing but her mouth revealing nothing. Damn, this doll was good. He was going to have to tip his hand slightly. She knew the game he was playing. He could only pray that she was willing to continue playing it with him.
"I find myself fascinated by his interest in you," he said, watching her face for some reaction, but it remained frustratingly, intriguingly impassive.
"I see. And why does that fascinate you?"
Matthew laughed and whistled. "You could be in for a long night, sweetheart."
She blew out a cloud of smoke. "I'm sure."
Matthew wanted to play his words carefully but instead came out with exactly "How do you know Blake?"
The doll's lips twitched. "I'm his etiquette tutor. I thought you knew that." She shook her head and clicked her tongue. "Oh dear, Mr. Crawley, you are slow."
Matthew scoffed. "You mock me, darling."
She smirked. "Oh really?"
Matthew was determined to stay focused. "Seriously, how long have you known Blake?"
"A few good years. He's a kitten, really."
Matthew's mouth dropped open. "A kitten?! Are you mad?"
He saw that she was taken aback by the remark. "What do you have against him?" she demanded, her brow furrowing.
Matthew glared at her with wide eyes, his jaw clenched; he was gritting his teeth, struggling not to curse at the beautiful woman who was sitting beside him .
"I'm not answering that," he bit out, looking away as he lifted his cigarette to his lips. "That's for him to tell you."
"Well he's not here and I'm asking you."
A knock on the door interrupted them.
"Who is it?" Matthew called out, annoyed. He wasn't concerned; he had connections to the boss here. When Tom stuck his head round the door with wide eyes, Matthew's annoyance quickly shifted to concern. From the expression on Tom's face, it was clear that he didn't want to interrupt them. "Tom?"
Mary looked between Tom and Matthew with a frown, looking to Matthew for some explanation.
Tom cleared his throat. "It's Anthony. He's dead."
Quotes are from Gangster Squad.
Reviews? Thoughts? Questions?