"Aren't you forgetting something?"
"No," the tall, pudgy man said, walking toward his car.
"You owe me a hundred bucks, Al." Misty Sullivan, a thin, red-haired prostitute, glared at her client.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Look, we had a deal. I need the money."
"Not my problem." Al walked away, leaving Misty standing there, frustrated. Most girls would be able to call their pimp to make him pay up, but this customer was special. He was a made man in the Forelli family. No one in Liberty City would dare touch him. She counted her money anxiously. She was still fifty dollars short of the thousand Paulie demanded from her every night. She walked over to the street corner, anxiously looking for another client. She only had another half hour until Paulie came to pick her up and collect what she'd made.
This never would've happened when I worked for Luigi. Misty frowned, trying not to think of her former pimp. He was dead now. Dwelling on the past wouldn't help.
Unfortunately, no one else was interested in purchasing her services. A short time later, Paulie pulled up next to her. "You're short again, aren't you?" Misty nodded miserably and handed over all the money she'd made. I'd better make something tomorrow-the rent's due in three days. Paulie counted it and glared at her. "That's the third time this week you're short."
"I would've had the money, but one of my customers wouldn't pay."
"I told you before, that's not an excuse. You gotta make them pay, understand?"
"What was I supposed to do? He was a Forelli wiseguy," she replied. Paulie slapped her hard across the face. S
Something inside Misty snapped. "I haven't made any money in the past four days. You know why? I've given my cut to you to cover customers who didn't pay."
Paulie slapped her again, harder. "You shut that fat mouth of yours before I shut it for you." He punched her in the jaw, causing her to stumble backwards and fall down. He grabbed his cane and started hitting her with it. Misty curled up in a ball, forcing herself not to cry. The cane hit her first on her back, then on her legs, then her arms. She screamed in pain, earning her more blows until Paulie finally grew bored and stopped. He got in his car and drove away, leaving Misty lying on the sidewalk. She slowly stood up, stretching out her arms and legs. Thankfully, nothing was broken. She began the long, painful walk back to her apartment in Hepburn Heights.
As she passed by the Sex Club Seven, a pang of nostalgia hit her. When she first got into the business, the Leone family was in charge of this area of Liberty City. Luigi, a made man in the family, ran his prostitution business out of the strip club. He was one of the best pimps in the city-every girl in the city wanted to work for him. If there was a problem, like SPANK dealers or a client who wouldn't pay, Luigi would make sure it was taken care of. Naturally, he never beat his girls. Misty had it even better than most of the others, since she was the regular girl of the Don's son, Joey.
The thought of Joey Leone brought the normally stoic girl to tears. She brushed them away fiercely, trying to force herself to accept the fact that the chances of Joey returning to Liberty City were slim. After all, the Forellis were out for his blood.
After Mike Forelli died, everyone assumed that the Forelli family was finished. The only family members left alive were Sara and Luke, Mike's sister and son. Neither of them could take over-Luke was only fifteen, and the idea of a female being in charge of a Mafia family was inconceivable, at least to the ultra-traditional Leone family. But Sara was a bit of a maverick, and she took the reins of what was left of the Forelli family.
It turned out that Sara had a keen business instinct, much like her father Sonny. When Salvatore Leone died at the hands of an unknown sniper, Sara took advantage of the chaos to re-establish the Forellis as a presence in the city. She convinced a few disgruntled Leone associates to join her, and they muscled in on the protection racket the Leones were running. Toni Cipriani, the de facto head of the Leone family, tried to stop her, but Sara killed him before he became too much of a threat.
After Toni's death, Joey fled town. He really had no other choice-he was next on Sara's hit list, and none of the remaining Leone men would take him seriously as head of the family. Misty still remembered their last night together. He told her that he couldn't leave without saying goodbye to her, even if it put him in more danger. They spent most of the night holding each other as Joey finally confessed that he'd fallen in love with her. He'd wanted to tell her before, but he couldn't because he knew his father would never approve of him marrying a prostitute. He promised her that he'd come back as soon as it was safe for him.
It never became safe. Not long after Joey left town, the leaders of both the Colombian Cartel and the Yakuza were killed. Like a vulture, Sara swept in and added the territories of those gangs to her growing sphere of influence. Before long, every gang in Liberty was either wiped out or allied with the Forellis. Luigi had been killed not long after that. They never found the body. After he died, his girls scattered, ending up with other pimps, most of whom were as bad as Paulie.
Misty sighed as she reached her apartment and unlocked the door. Home sweet home. . .until I get evicted, anyway. She grabbed some extra-strength aspirin and swallowed them, not even bothering with water. After changing into a pair of fuzzy pyjamas, she grabbed a cereal box from the cupboard and opened the nearly-empty fridge, cursing under her breath as she realized she drank the last of the milk yesterday. She slammed the fridge door and grabbed a handful of cereal. When she finished eating, she closed the curtains and crawled into bed, hoping that things would be better when she woke up. Hoping that she'd get enough paying clients tomorrow, or that Paulie and the Forellis would get hit by a car. Maybe even that Joey would come home.
After all, hope was all she had now.