Not good with summaries. The life of a man in the mob is very different. Life is hard on the streets especially without friends. A story with the Knockaround Guys with another fresh face you wouldn't have expected.
Prologue - 16 Years Ago...
"Ow!" The little boy cried, rubbing his arm gingerly. "Your such a jerk." He grumbled a little pathetically.
"Don't be such a wuss!"
The summer heat was sweltering in Manhattan. Temperatures and emotions were rising high in the blistering heat and it was easy to see why these five kids were bickering in an alleyway playing basketball.
"That was a foul!" Little Johnny said indignantly. The boy had dark brown hair and glittering blue eyes. He had very pale skin covered in patches of freckles. He was known to be a little bit of a baby at times, since he was the smallest in the group, but he was rather tough compared to most.
"No it was not!" Matty replied. This boy was tall and lanky with an angular face, dark hair, pale skin, and deep green eyes. You could tell by the way the group responded to him speaking: he was obviously the leader of this little gang of misfits.
"Yeahuh!" Johnny spat.
"Well why don't we jump for it?" Chris chimed in. He was already an Italian heart breaker with lots of charm, olive skin, dark hair, dark eyes and a wicked smiled.
"Always the peace maker. Looked like a foul to me." Taylor laughed.
"Shut up oaf!" Chris growled.
"I'm not jumping for it!" The girl finally yelled, "It wasn't a foul! I stuffed his shot fair and square!" She stomped her foot and swatted the long curly tendrils of blonde hair out of her face. Her name was Maggie and how she fit in with this group of twelve year olds no one could really understand. Aside from Matty and Taylor, she basically ran the group. She was smaller, about the size of Johnny, about a head shorter than Chris and Matty, about a year younger than all of them, and she could probably fit in Taylor's pocket. Her waist length blonde hair was tied up tightly into a messy bun. Her Face was smudged with sweat and dirt from the asphalt and her tank top already bore some black scuffmarks from the old basketball. "Matty saw it and he says it wasn't a foul!" Her hazel eyes glittered angrily.
"Well me and Taylor say it is!" Johnny growled, nose to nose with the pretty little girl.
"Look guys this is dumb, lets just jump for it!" Chris said, trying to pull the two smallest members of their group apart.
"No! It was a foul!" Johnny said.
"Was not!" Maggie growled.
Taylor rolled his eyes, "This is why I hate playing with girls." He sighed. His intention was to diss Johnny for being such a baby and to poke fun at Maggie for being so upset about it. He instantly realized his mistake when Maggie trained her vicious glare to him.
"What was that, monster?" She growled, her little hands perched on her hips.
Taylor was the biggest twelve-year-old anyone in New York had ever seen. He was already stronger and tougher than any of the kids (plus their older brothers) on his block. He had a reputation to maintain, and though Maggie was his best friend - other than Matty - he wasn't about to back down from a girl. "I said this is why I hate playing with girls." He stepped forward, towering over the little blonde.
She stared up at him defiantly, squinting her eyes and glaring at him, her lips set into a thin line. She took a few steps and poked her tiny finger into his chest, "Excuse you Taylor James Reese, you better watch your big dumb mouth!" That was when Matty took a step back, pulling the wide-eyed, gape mouthed, Chris and Johnny with him. No one insulted Maggie Henessey and got away with it and no one insulted Taylor Reese and kept their teeth.
"What did you say to me little girl?" He growled.
She took another step towards him, her thin little eleven-year-old body being overshadowed by his. "You heard me, moose." The corner of her lip hitched slightly. She knew that Taylor hated being called moose by anyone. He was sensitive about his large nose, something he never told anyone except Maggie - not even Matty.
"You're lucky you're a girl Maggie. Cause my mom taught me not to hit stupid whiney bratty little bit-,"
Maggie punched him right in the nose before he could finish the sentence. There were two sickening cracks that echoed in the enclosed alley. Taylor crumbled, whining a bit and holding his broken nose, while Maggie stood there, shaking with fury, her middle finger of her right hand dislocated from the socket.
"Don't you EVER call me that Taylor!" She screamed, you could hear her voice tremble, but no one knew if it was from fury or pain. "If you don't show me some respect, I swear to god I'll bust your damn head wide open!" She turned on her heel and ran out of the alley leaving three boys in a huddle and one leaning against the alley wall with his head bent back and blood streaming down his face.
"Good one oaf." Matty smiled. Johnny and Chris snorted softly and walked over to their friend.
"We better get you home." Chris smiled and ducked under one of Taylor's arms. "You're bleeding all over everything."
"Yeah, we'll tell your mom you got in a fight with some gang bangers who were trying to beat me up." Johnny smiled, pulling some tissue from his pocket and stuffing it up Taylor's nose.
"Two of them." Taylor said weakly as the guys helped him steady himself.
"Yeah, big ones." Matty laughed and helped Taylor navigate his way home.
A few hours later, Maggie had her finger popped back into place by her father and she took a long hot shower to get all the grime off of her body. She was sitting in her bedroom, wearing her father's old Notre Dame Basketball t-shirt and a pair of running shorts, sniffling softly and using the hem of the t-shirt to wipe away the tears on her cheeks.
When she came home crying on this particular Sunday afternoon, her father welcomed her home and fixed up her hand. The only thing wrong was that her finger was dislocated, her knuckles had started bruising, and her heart was broken. He popped it back in, gave her some children's Tylenol and sent her off to take a shower.
Most days she was thankful that her father never really asked questions. He also never minded that his eleven year old daughter's best friends were Matty Demaret, the notorious Benny Chains' only son, and Taylor Reese, who was a rather nefarious fighter for a twelve-year-old, who lived with his mother a few apartment buildings away. He had a restaurant co-owned by Chris Scarpa's father that was in the middle of the city, only a few minutes away. He worked almost all the time, everyday - and that's how Maggie came to know Taylor Reese since she was born, because Taylor's mother took care of Maggie almost all the time, everyday.
She loved her father very much and he tried very hard to be a big part of her life, but when Maggie's mother had died only three years after she was born he was left to bring up a daughter all by himself. He was a tall, dark Italian-Irish mix with dark hair and dark eyes and only if you saw a picture of Maggie's mother would you know where she got her looks. He worked hard to support them, provide a roof over her head, food on the table, and clothes on her back. He also managed to pay Mrs. Reese a bit of money a week as thanks for watching his only little girl.
Maggie knew that he loved her and that he worked so hard so that she could have a good, healthy life but it was hard to not have a mother. Especially right now. And especially since the only woman she would have talked to if she had the chance was the mother of her problem.
The problem was that Taylor and Matty were her best friends. They were all that she had in this world aside from her father. She tried, once, to hang out with girls at school but she couldn't stand their constant chatter about how cute someone was or the newest fashions. She was only eleven and she didn't care about boys or clothes. Most days she wandered around school with Taylor, Matty, Chris, and Scarpa wearing ratty old jeans, an old t-shirt, and a baseball cap talking about cars or sports. She didn't fit in with anyone else, but then again, neither did they. She sniffled again and cursed Taylor Reese silently. Then there was a knock on her door.
She jumped a little and wiped her nose across the neck of her t-shirt. She hopped off of her bed and opened her door. She looked up into the brown eyes of her father who was smiling down at her.
"You have a visitor." He said and stepped to the side.
Behind him stood Taylor Reese, his arms crossed behind his back and the toe of his sneaker scuffing along the wood floor. He looked perfectly normal except for the two very dark black eyes with a band-aid over his nose.
"I'll leave you two to talk." Her father said. He smiled and walked away leaving the two facing off.
"Can I come in?" Taylor said without looking up.
Maggie glared at his downcast forehead and turned on her heel. She jumped onto the bed and crawled into the corner where it was pushed up against the wall. She folded her legs, Indian-style, and wrapped her arms around the pillow. She perched her head on top of the pillow and stared at her feet.
They had a common ritual every time Taylor came over. She'd scrunch up in the corner of her small twin bed and he'd sprawl across it, taking up all the room. This time, he slowly climbed up on the opposite edge and sat there, staring down at his lap.
She cleared her throat to tell him to start talking or she'd kick him out, but then he launched himself at her. For a moment she feared for her life, she knew that if Taylor was really pissed off he could definitely do some damage and she was thinking about taking another swing at him. She may not be able to stop him, but maybe smacking his nose again would slow him down. But then she realized that his arms had wrapped around her small little body and pulled it to his gangly one. He was shaking a little bit, and for a second, Maggie thought he might be crying.
And then he started speaking, rapid-fire, "Maggie I'm really really sorry. I never meant to call you a... bad word. I was stupid and I wasn't thinking and I deserved to get punched in the face about a hundred times for what I almost said. I'm really really really sorry and I'll be your personal slave forever if you promise not to be mad at me." His face was buried in her damp strawberry scented hair.
For a moment she was speechless. Taylor usually only had two emotions: fury and apathy. This show of affection was something she was not used to seeing from him - if anyone. She unfroze and wrapped her small arms around him.
"Don't worry Taylor. I'll always love you." She said into his shoulder.
"I love you too." He smiled and hugged her tighter, "You're my best friend and like my little sister."
Maggie nodded into his chest and sighed. If only she meant it like that too.