They run away.
It's stupid, really. They're going to get caught, get their little feathers plucked off one by one, but Eddie's shotgun staring at the both of them never deterred anything. Pack the bags. Snag a car. A small one—one no one gives a shit about. Don't write any letters. Pass Joe his last beer.
They're going to run away.
Run away and forget about the home that never welcomed them.
Tune. Tune. Tune. Buzz. Tune.
"You trying to serenade me, or what? You've been changing the radio stations for the last hour."
"Not now. We're in the car."
Not that they ever had gone that far. Somehow, that thought makes Vito uncomfortable. He shifts. Reaches for the dial. Stops.
"Oh, yeah. Hey, here's one you always liked."
Tea for two. And two for tea. Tea. Sugar cakes. No one else to bother two people who downed tea like booze.
Right. "Here's your chance to start winning me over, Vito."
It's all a cover-up. Empire Bay is but a dot in the distance. Henry doesn't speak about it, so Vito doesn't speak about it. Or maybe it was the other way around. Everything's uneasy. The song makes him uneasy. It makes Henry uneasy. They can't think about what lies ahead.
His fingers reach for the same area again. Except, this time, he turns the volume all the way up and downs the last of his whiskey. Tea for two. Two. Two. Two.
They were two.
"All right, then." Where to begin?
"Tea for two, and two for tea …"
"Wow. They didn't lie."
Of course they wouldn't lie.
"Yeah … All right, I'm going to—"
For fuck's sake.
"Won't take long."
There's only one bed. A small bed. The type of bed that consists of stained sheets and lumps caused by God knows what. Vito tugs awkwardly at his tie while he flicks on the television. Dino Martini's performance of Ritorna Me is on; it's a good song, one of his favorites, but the memory of Joe and that fuckface commiserating in a carcass' home simply makes him sick.
He turns it off. He can hear the sound of the shower running in the bathroom as he looks at the floor. The shitty floor. The floor that contains unmentionable things. Unknown things.
Henry will want the bed, right? Vito looks at the floor again. He sighs. Digs in his pocket for a cigarette, and remembers that Henry chain-smoked everything while they were on the move. At least he had his lighter. He turns it on, and rakes his fingers through his hair right after. Damn fire made an army of cockroaches scuttle away into the corner of the nightstand.
What to do?
Henry hates tomatoes.
"I hate that shit."
"You're fucking Sicilian, Henry. How the hell do you not like tomatoes?"
"Fuck. Get that thing away from me."
It's strange. The man literally turns into a little kid when Vito holds the speared piece of tomato up like a doctor. A quack doctor. An amused doctor. A doctor who didn't know that there are actually Sicilians who hate tomatoes.
"Then, you don't like pasta?"
Henry turns his face farther away from Vito's fork. Others in the diner are staring, but one irritated glance makes them glue their eyes permanently to their plates. Vito arches an eyebrow.
"I do. I just don't like raw toma—fuck!"
The tomato. It makes a disgusting sound when it hits Henry's cheek. Vito blinks.
They both blink.
And then, Henry makes him unable to blink.
"It was an accide—"
The bill comes out to be much higher than they expect.
They eat, sleep, and drive. Where to again? Vito shrugs. Henry shrugs. They're running away, and that's all that matters.
Hit that motel. Henry likes to buy cheap cigarettes at gas stations, and Vito likes Coke in glass bottles served at small diners. Cash runs out; what to do?
Oddly, Henry speaks up first. About this. About what they're going to do. About what Vito tries to push into the back of his mind every day the car comes to a standstill.
"Maybe a house?"
No, too risky.
"In some random place. Hell, Canada, if we have to."
No. Too many other families.
"A big one by a lake."
No. Henry, stop. Vito stares out the window. Looks at Henry. Tries to tell him that there are such things as false hopes, and false hopes sting much more than some goddamn bullets. But Henry pushes on, and listening makes his fingertips tremble when he lifts a cigarette to his lips.
"We could … just you and me."
The cigarette drops onto his lap.
Like he never wished for that already.
"What's that?" He already knows what it is, but Henry just lights another damn cigarette, and Vito's not too sure if the dingy motel room ever had enough space for the both of them. "Henry."
"I ain't going to lie: It's not what you put in your coffee."
Dope. It's fucking dope. Goddamn it, they were never supposed to touch that shit. It mocks his indignation when the light from the bathroom passes through the crystals—it makes him restless and exhausted at the same time.
Is that a cockroach on the wall? Maybe. Or maybe not. Henry's mouth is moving. His fingers open the bag. White powder spills out onto his palm.
"Henry," he warns. "Don't touch—"
"Funny how the thing that got us started was the thing that was going to kill us."
" … I don't find it funny."
The other shrugs, and suddenly holds it up to his face. Vito's head is spinning, his throat tightens, and the slow anger pulling at his gut rushes up to his tongue; if this is a prank, he doesn't find it hilarious one bit. He watches sin getting closer and closer.
His feet move on their own accord. His hand shoots out to wrestle back the sin. "What the fuck are you doing?"
Indeed. Henry spills the contents into his mouth. His fucking mouth. He looks at Vito, grabs him, and could've attacked Jesus with all that intensity.
Something's unbearably sweet. Vito looks up. Down. Up. Down. He thinks he breathes a sigh of relief against the corner of Henry's mouth, but he's not too sure. Damn fucker.
It's sugar. What a liar.
"This is what you put in coffee."
"Except we ran out."
Henry never brought any dope to begin with. That day isn't mentioned again. Only, Vito now drinks his coffee black and hates donuts.
They're both watching some called Gun Fury: It's terrible. Not to mention, the television screen keep flickering on and off, and the voices sound like metal is being compacted. Henry's annoyed. Vito's annoyed. But for some reason, they keep watching.
Lies. They both know the answer. Vito's hand, tapping to some odd rhythm, gets another melody transcribed onto the back. Henry's movements are light but sure. Vito keeps tapping.
The main character in the movie shot up a couple of guys. Vito's fingers get shot up, too. By touch. By sound. By Henry. He's not sure if their hazy because they're exhausted or because—
Henry clears his throat when Vito finally catches his eyes. The latter does the same. The television keeps playing like a fool. Gunshots are heard. It makes the silence dominating.
Yes. He knows. Presses his mouth against the other's. Nods. Keeps tapping.
And feels the palm of Henry's hand close over his own.
The road is bumpy along this area. They don't really know where they're headed. Henry drives. Vito watches day in and day out. Then, Vito drives. And Henry can stare out the window while they pretend they're both crossing the bridge in Empire Bay.
There're no motels or hotels here, not that they can afford the latter. They're broke as hell. They work odd jobs to earn a bit of dough: taking cars, delivering, running random errands for townspeople they'll never see again. They drive along the smaller, lesser known roads in order to avoid the very people who defined who they were. They eat only when they have to. It's not easy.
But it feels good. To be out. To drive when they want to. To do something not because they're ordered to, but because they simply want to do it. Cigarettes taste better in the night air, too.
The car stops. Henry takes the keys out of the ignition, and pops open the glove box to put them in it, taking out his piece to lay it on the dashboard. Lowers the seat. Vito does the same. Tonight's another time under the roof of their ride, not a building. They're used to that.
"Come here," Henry whispers. His voice is faint, but Vito hears it loud and clear. "My balls are going to freeze."
"Want me to take out the blanket?"
"No. Don't need it. Just get your ass over here."
"Then, move over a bit."
Henry moves to the left. Vito slides closer. Doesn't work. They end up moving over to the back seats and pushing the front ones as far as they can go. He finds that the blanket is in the back. How fortunate. Vito unravels it and cover the both of them while Henry leans against the window after grabbing his Colt and stuffing it behind the headrest.
His hand feels warm.
They both know that. Even when it begins to rain, his hand feels warm when a finger traces his palm.
They have a long day ahead of them. But the night is always short, anyway.