Scratching my upper arm, I shift where I stand behind the Boss and keep my eyes trained on the phone as Braginski picks another petal off the sunflower in his hands and hums. It isn't an easy task to be seen and not heard, but after ten years of backing up the Braginski family, I'm far too used to it to be skittish anymore.

Smile on his face, Braginski opens his mouth and says, in that accented English I've grown accustomed to, "You know what to do with the body," ridding the flower of its last petal and tossing it somewhere for one of the others to pick it up.

For a while, all is relaxed and calm in the hideout, Braginski de-petaling sunflowers as I flank him from the back. Suddenly, the door bursts open and in walks a man none of us have seen before, platinum blond hair short and messy, deep blue eyes seeming to cut a path through all who stare into their depths; he's delicate yet powerful at the same time, and I can see a knife glinting in his hand.

Before I can count to three, I and everyone around me has their gun out and pointed at the newcomer while he stands there calmly, unafraid and unwavering. Someone whispers, "Why the fuck aren't Gordon and Clyde doing their jobs?"

Manic smirk setting in on our intruder's face, he replies, "I already killed them. Such a mess it left on my knife, too."

Braginski crosses his legs, interlocking his fingers and resting his chin on the little bridge they make. "What is your name?" he asks the blue-eyed man, curious and intrigued by this newcomer.

He turns to face Braginski. "Natalis Arlovsky," is his answer, hand on the knife tightening ever so imperceptibly—I've been trained to notice the smaller details of body language, so I find it glaringly obvious. "I've come with a proposition."

I see him step forward slightly and begin to make my move, but Braginski holds up a hand to order my halt, saying, "Please, do tell," and motioning to the area right in front of the table he is leaning on.

Natalis nods. "I join your Mafiya," he starts, spinning his knife expertly with his fingers, "and in turn you become more successful, powerful, and feared than you ever imagined. If anything, your Russian Mafiya needs more purebloods."

This piques Braginski's attention. "You are Russian?"

"Belarusian, actually," he answers, "but I speak Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian, English, and Italian. I could be a valuable asset to your…" He waves a hand as though searching for the right words. "…operations."

From behind the chair Braginski is sitting in, I place a hand on his shoulder and lean in to whisper, "Sir, are you sure he is to be trusted? We know nothing of him," into his ear.

The response I receive is, "We will take him for a, how you say, 'test run' to see if he is acceptable. If not, he will be killed; I cannot afford to have someone this, uh, talented," here his eyes flicker over to Natalis, "working against me."

I nod.

He faces Natalis once again. "Tell me, Mr. Arlovsky, what drove you to me? How did you find out about my little club here?"

"You are well-known amongst mobs back in the mother country," Natalis responds, sheathing his knife in a holster on his belt. "Many Mafiya heads speak of little Vanya Braginski and his great successes in America; you are feared, respected, and endorsed as far away as Germany. It took me many years to find you, but once I followed the trail it was not difficult to track you down. You needn't worry about my source, though—I killed him already."

From the approving look on Braginski's face, I can tell that he is beginning to be sold on the idea of letting Arlovsky in; after all, strategic killing is appreciated in the Braginski crime family, but never amongst family members unless for a good reason. It is because of that rule that Yekaterina Braginskaya, Braginski's beloved older sister and only remaining family, is still alive.

A moment passes, then, "Romulus, find our guest a chair," and I nod before carrying out the orders given to me, locating a chair and setting it in front of the table Braginski's seated at. When I pull the chair out to allow Natalis to sit, he shoots an icy glare at me and snatches the chair from me, as if offended that I am polite. I assume my rightful place behind Braginski as he rests his chin in his hand and cocks his head to the side while studying Arlovsky. "Tell me more about yourself, Mr. Arlovsky."

"What more is there to know?" he says, absentmindedly fiddling with the ends of his hair before realizing what he's doing and dropping his hand. "Do you wish to know my shoe size, height, and social security number as well? I don't see how any other information I could give you would be important or imperative to anything. I say this as politely as possible, but it seems to me as if you're stalling and purposely pushing my boundaries to get me pissed off enough to lash out. Well, try as you might, it won't work, as I've been forcing myself to keep calm and hold a straight face throughout the most difficult of times since I was little.

"You have my name, country of origin, and semblance of a résumé. Anything else cannot be found nor will I tell you because I have already taken the steps necessary and erased any trace of myself, my information, or anything of the sort from all databases. Now, I ask you a question—

"Am I in, or not?"


Author's Note: Sometimes, I don't even understand some of the ideas that come to me but write them anyway. Like this one, this confusing piece of shit that most likely won't be longer than eleven or twelve chapters, and probably won't have very long chapters at that.

One thing I knew I wanted to try was writing something in first person, but the narrator isn't a main character and therefore you only get that character's take on things. Originally I was going to write this in third person limited, but didn't like the way it looked and changed the point of view.

Yes, Grandpa Rome is the bodyguard. :D

The rating may or may not go up, depending on how violent my little Mafiosi feel like becoming, so don't freak out if you start reading and see that crikey, the rating's gone up!

Since this was only the "prologue," not much happened action-wise. But don't worry; the next chapter will have a bit more action and plot development. It may seem a little slow right now, but it'll all be worth it once it hits the climax. ;)