Liberty City, January,1987

"You're beautiful, you know that" Nick Brennan told the girl as she slid up and down in his lap. He smiled at her, showing nicotine stained teeth and trying to fix her gaze with his warm chocolate brown eyes.

"Uh-huh" she said, giving no visual response she had heard him. She was a consummate professional and there was no need for sweet talk now they were in the act.

"I mean, for a whore" he said, his smile broadening. He lied, she wasn't beautiful. He pulled her to him, feeling that he was close. In a few seconds he came inside her. He sat back and relaxed against the seat, enjoying the feeling of warmth and happiness. She pulled away and sat down next to him. She quickly pulled her top back on and her pants up and sat in the back of the car, waiting for him to move.

He leaned over her and opened the door for her. She stepped out and as she did he pushed her roughly with one hand so that she tripped and fell. She landed on the floor and her head hit concrete with a crack. Reaching into the front of the car he pulled a gun out of the glove compartment. He stepped out of the car and into the cold of the Liberty city winter. He stretched as he did so, straightening out his back. His body reminded him he wasn't so young anymore with a short sharp jolt of pain up his spine. He frowned and the lines on his handsome face showed up more than usual.

The prostitute wasn't moving but he shot her in the head, just to be sure. The silencer muffled the shot just enough that any police officer listening could disregard it as a car backfiring and go back to his donuts. She hadn't made a sound. Nick was a little disappointed. He liked it when they screamed.

He pulled up his fly and got back in the car. Starting the car he pulled out of the alley and into the traffic. At the end of the street he made a right and drove past the adult bookstore and sex club and on towards the park.

He didn't feel satisfied. He toyed with the idea of going to visit his wife but felt no real inclination to see her. Lately he didn't see her much. He had married her seven years ago. She was a Forelli, he needed a way into the Forelli crime syndicate. Perfect arrangement.

But now things were different. The Forellis had almost wiped out in their war with that bastard down in Vice. The Leones were taking over. His wife had lost her looks with the passing of time. Now she had lost what little attraction she used to have for him. She was of no use to him anymore and they were a liability, her and the kid. He couldn't be looking after them when it was hard enough to survive himself.

Thinking about the kid brought waves of resentment. A grimace crossed his face. The kid had been a mistake. He didn't want kids, she didn't want kids, but there it was. Corinna forgot to take the pill on the important day or something. And now they were stuck with it.

Nick supposed he was lucky he only had the one. He believed in putting it around, he didn't believe in contraception. Of course he stretched to the pill for his wife, because there was no way he could afford another mouth to feed. But with him, with other women, no way. He believed in living dangerously, otherwise what was the fucking point? Disease didn't worry him. He had a sneaking suspicion he was indestructible. So far life was proving him right. Over the years he had watched his friends in the business die around him. He remained unscathed.

But these days you had to be on edge all the time. Alert to the fact that around every corner there could be some Leone goon ready to kill you for past crimes.

It started to rain. He decided there and then that he was leaving Liberty. There was nothing left for him here. He had to get out. Head somewhere warm and sunny.