Tommy had said that he would call her after he got everyone together that night, just incase she changed her mind. Jenny could only beg him with her eyes to leave. She knew that if he wanted to, he could sweep her off her feet like she had always dreamed of and if they had any of their Irish luck left they'd be happy for awhile. He didn't. Looking back, she silently thanked him for that. Tommy understood the ties of family, that's why his was running away. Jenny continued to wipe the counter clean of thirty year old grime and bit her lip, trying to focus on anything other than the tears causing her vision to blur.
The diner was deserted when the phone rang a few hours later. Jenny didn't know who she wanted it to be. A feeling of dread consumed her when she heard the high, breathy voice. Samson was upstairs, waiting. Her short nails dug into the flesh of her palm.
She closed the diner 2 hours early. Knees slightly trembling, her feet carried her up to the flat she and her father shared. A small wave of relief passed over her when she saw him soundly asleep on the sofa from the hallway. It barely stirred her conscious that she was not relieved that he was safe as much as that he wouldn't hear anything from her room. She took a deep breath and pushed open her door, shutting it silently behind her. Samson was sitting on the bed, keeping her fiery gaze.
She tried to block it out, focus on anything but what he was doing, but chopped memories jarred through anyway. A calloused hand pressed on her thigh, forming the beginnings of bruises. Her feet digging into the denim that had been quickly ripped from her, bunched up at the end of the bed. A grimace was visible through the involuntary tears that trickled down her flushed cheeks.
She stripped the sheets and loaded them into a trash bag. She could burn them later. After a moment, she pulled the wedding band from her finger and flung it in with the moist linens. What did that ring even mean now? Her husband had been dead for a year. The number of sins she committed could only rise.
She carefully put on a green shirt and black jacket over her grey tank top with her dark pants, focusing on how the well worn fabrics felt between her fingers. They would hopefully wash well.
It was nearly midnight. She had been sitting there on the hard steps for about an hour, which was unwise considering that the super was an occasional at the diner. She played with a metal pole in her hand she had spotted while cutting through an alley. Finally, he stumbled up the flight below drunkenly, not even noticing her.
After the first blow, he had looked up at her, wide-eyed. Before the loud crunch of his skull on the concrete, fragments of thought might have formed. To be honest, she didn't give a damn about what they could pertain to. Simple sounds and sensations were propelling her, letting her playing by ear. She dropped the pole and it clinked on the ground.
Tears made her vision hazy, but she continued to walk down the deserted blocks. She tried to stay on her disconnected high, but as what she had done sunk in, she was filled with a sudden need to know the truth. She needed to know that Tommy was gone forever. And then, well, she didn't know.
There was a van driving down the road about 100 feet ahead of her. It turned the right corner under the bridge. In the distance, she heard screeching car tires.
From the distance under the bridge pillars, she could clearly see two figures, Dokey, and –her heart leapt momentarily -Tommy walking towards him. He was holding his jacket out, showing her was unarmed. There were five or six thugs behind the Irish mob boss. By the van, Jimmy and Kevin were watching. Assumingly, Sean, Jimmy's girlfriend, and Mrs. Donnelly were inside the vehicle.
Suddenly, as she walked closer to the scene, Jenny could make out the words- like a buzzing had been removed from her ears.
She wanted to move, do something besides standing there like an idiot. Then again, she was covered in Samson's blood. Then again, Dokey and his friends had guns. Some of those guys were such addicts they'd shoot at any sudden movement.
"Tommy," The tension between them could be felt from where she stood. "I want you to watch this."
She hated this neighborhood. Ever since her mother died, she learned that the world wasn't perfect and her neighborhood was called Hell's Kitchen for a reason. She remembered when she sat with Tommy on the hospital stairs, waiting for news on Jimmy. When she sat with Mrs. Donnelly after Sean, when this whole mess started, and most recently her father was slowly but surely losing it.
The only things important here were money and family. Unfortunately, one always took priority. Depending on which one that was, you could get killed. That's what made this neighborhood the way it was.
Dokey raised the gun. She begged her mouth to yell, to warn them even though it had been too late the moment Tommy killed Huey.
Dokey knew what she meant. Tommy killed his brother, and so he had no choice, in his eyes, but to get revenge. If the Italians had just butted out, it might have been different. Hell, if Kevin hadn't lost all that money gambling none of this crap would have happened. If her husband hadn't been selling drugs on the side so they could pay rent every month he'd be alive.
She was crying now. Jenny hated crying, it meant she was weak, it reaffirmed that she wasn't one of the boys. Boys didn't cry, they beat people up and broke girls' hearts.
A series of shots and shouts rang out, tires screeched and sirens could be heard far off. She felt like one of the bullets had gone through her own stomach. Deep down, she knew that there was a reason she said no to Tommy earlier that night. Family was the most important thing. To say yes to Tommy was to be his family, and to have said yes would have meant her in the back of that van with a bullet in her heart. And Tommy wasn't worth that.