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Beta'd by HollettLA
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU CONTINUE! AS THIS WILL BE MY FIRST AND LAST DISCLAIMER. I DO NOT PLAN TO MAKE APOLOGIES OR HAVE EXTREMELY LONG AUTHOR'S NOTES IN EACH CHAPTER. BUT I WILL BE PLACING WARNINGS ON THE CHAPTERS THAT NEED THEM. THAT'S IT, THOUGH! AGAIN, PLEASE READ THIS: You know how in life you don't get any guarantees? Well, this fic is like that. This is a mob story. It isn't all rainbows and sunshine and fluffy kittens. Bad things happen – both to the good guys and to the bad guys. There is crime and violence and more than a few tears. If you don't think you can handle it, no apologies needed. Just click the X in the corner and move on. I won't be offended or take it personally.
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And you know me, whatever happens to those around them – and I make NO promises to that effect – Bella & Edward WILL get their HEA.
If you're still reading this, welcome to "Tribute" by SexyLexiCullen
Summary: The Few. The Proud. The Strong. Returning Marine Edward Masino has spent the first years of his adult life embodying that motto. But as he moves back to the Brooklyn neighborhood where he grew up, he is introduced to a whole new code of ethics. He quickly learns that some rules cry out to be bent, but there are others that, if broken, will get him killed. Rated M. Drama. Humor. Romance. Hurt. Friendship. Crime, you name it. It's listed Drama/Romance, but there are many facets. EVENTUAL Canon Couples (Rome wasn't built in a day) Edward/Bella.
*See bottom for cast of major players/posting schedule*
When I got off the bus, I took a deep breath through my nose—enjoying the smell of motor oil and that special something . . .
"Move it, pal!"
Smiling brightly, I went to get my bag. "I love New York," I told the bus driver.
"Enjoy your stay."
Sighing, I grabbed my large duffle they provided me when I joined the Marines four years ago.
It was a tough decision, leaving North Carolina, but I did it. I needed more, and yet I had no idea what "more" was.
But now I was home—where I grew up.
Having only lived in Brooklyn until I was fourteen, and because I haven't been back since, I figured things changed; however, I was still excited to be back.
My father died when I was fourteen, and then Social Services found my mother in Washington State, where I was shipped off to. College…school in general never interested me, and it wasn't as though my mother had the money to send me anyway.
I joined the Marines when I was seventeen . . .
My mother did me that favor; she signed the papers and let me enlist early.
I wasn't ambitious either. I was never high in rank, never truly gave a fuck, except that they fed me and put a roof over my head. Although being a Marine has been my life for a while now, I was excited to have the chance to unwind, figure out who Edward Masino truly is.
I stopped in my tracks to turn and drop my bag. "Jasper?" With a crooked smirk, I looked my childhood friend over from head-to-toe. He was tall now—a man, just like I was.
"What's up?" He embraced me, slapping my back and pulling away. "All grown up." He palmed my cheeks.
I chuckled, nodding my head. "You, too."
He grimaced, pointing down to my bag. "This is it?"
"Yup," I said.
"Your whole life fits in one bag?" Jasper said under his breath, but I still heard him. He looked a bit scrawny, tall and lanky, and he tried to lift the goddamn thing. "Damn, Eddie—no wonder. What'cha got in here…? Your issues?"
"Funny…and no one calls me Eddie anymore." With ease, I picked it back up and slung it over my shoulder. "Thanks for meeting me."
"No problem. I'm double-parked, though—we gotta move it."
"Bet." I speedily followed him onto the escalator, only to run down the moving stairs. People milled about the busy terminal, and we wove our way through them.
Even as a kid, the Port Authority fascinated me—all these people—going this way and that way.
And everyone has a story . . .
Suddenly, Jasper ran even faster, sprinting and shouting at the officer who was giving him a ticket. "Oh, hey—" he waved his hands, "I was just picking up a friend. I'm here now. No need for a—"
"Ticket?" the cop finished for him, smiling. "This is a no parking zone." He slapped the piece of paper into Jasper's hand.
"Uh . . . he's disabled." Jazz jerked a thumb to me.
To hide my grin, I averted my gaze, slightly adjusting my bag.
"He just got outta that VA hospital—"
"Not my problem." The officer walked around Jasper's Honda Accord.
"Where's your sense of patriotism?!" Jazz hollered after him. "Never forget!"
Once he was gone, I laughed at my old friend. "Still a pathological liar?" When he was a kid, he'd make up the most unbelievably funny and outlandish stories. Some of which would actually get us out of trouble, while others got us into more hot water.
"No way." He entered the car and then popped his head out again. "Get in."
Still laughing, feeling amazing and lighter than I had in years, I did as he said—throwing my bag into the back seat. "Thanks for letting me crash at your place, too." I hit his arm as he started the car.
"Don't mention it. When Grandma died . . . she left me the house."
"Seriously?" I asked, surprised. When we spoke, he hadn't mentioned it. Then again, we only talked briefly about me coming back to New York.
"Dead-ass." He pulled away from the curb. "All I gotta do is pay taxes."
"You can have my old room—Gram's bedroom was bigger, so I moved into it." He looked back to me. "I sold a lot of her shit—I'm still going to school."
"Good for you," I said.
"Bells and me do okay . . . She just graduated high school and plans to start school again in October—that's when her classes start—she wants to do hair or something, and she's looking for a summer job now." He crossed his fingers. "I just hope she gets off her ass and does something."
"Isabella . . . How is she?" I laughed at the memory of the small girl. "Oh, I mean, Bella-Boo-Baby!" That's what their grandmother used to call her. I'd dubbed her Silly Girl because she was just...a silly girl.
"Bella-Boo's not a baby anymore." He snorted.
Jasper's little sister used to follow us all over the neighborhood. She used to dress like us, act like us, and she tried her best at sports.
My friend used tease her, and then she'd come to me with tears in her eyes. In some ways—on a couple of occasions—I was more of a big brother to her than Jazz: helping to dry her tears when she'd scrape her knee to letting her hang out with us. I'd be there for her sometimes.
For the most part, the three of us acted like siblings; I was always at their house.
One time, when Jasper, some kids from the block, and I were playing stickball in the street, Bella pulled back to take a swing and went too far—wound up giving me a black eye . . .
She cried and kissed my cheek, saying it was "all better now"; meanwhile, I was cupping my eye, all dramatic-like, swearing I was blind. But I did say thank you for that kiss.
That was the last memory I had of her.
He rolled his eyes. "She's a pain in my ass...acting out, loose with her mouth, trying to be some tough guy, trolling around the 'hood with her girls and shit."
Surprised by that, I asked, "Really?" She was many things, but she was also very sweet, a good girl—almost honest to a fault, which was the exact opposite of her brother. Bella never got into any trouble.
"She used to be this little goody-two-shoes."
He made a face, shaking his head. "I don't know, man...It's been hard. Grams babied her—fuckin' coddled her, and Bells took it really hard when she died. To top it all off, now I have to teach her to be an adult?" He pointed to himself.
"I mean, me...?" He pulled at his hair, groaning through a chuckle. "What the fuck do I know? It's like the blind leading the blind, but I try my best . . . I know she's still hurting, though," he whispered that last part, and I didn't catch it.
"Must be hard," I commented, staring out the window. The streets of Manhattan were as busy and crowded as they ever were, and it was weird. Odd because I still had a sense of direction, knowing we were headed to the highway. I didn't even drive back then, when I lived in New York City. Well, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
But then Jasper smiled, giving me a brief glance; I'd turned back when I felt his eyes on me. "That's my sister, though, you know? I'll do anything for her, but she does have…issues. I think she's still depressed—or lost, masking it with a smile. She went from being this shy homebody when Gram was alive—always studying, doing the right thing, and now . . . Well, she hasn't been the same since Gram died, which was the same time she got with her boyfriend." His voice continued to rise, like he was getting even more upset. "She's not being Bella. She's trying to be like the crowd she's chillin' with, especially that fucko, her man."
"Who—" I was about to ask who she was dating, when he cut me off.
"Worst part is…" he sighed, stopping short at a red light. "Bells knows I worry, and she feels bad about it, so she tries to act normal—act happy…And she won't talk to me about a damn thing, when we used to be close . . . Otherwise, all the girl does is chill with her friends, trying to act grown, rolling with them. When—" He just stopped talking.
I didn't know what to say, just listening again.
"I just don't think Bells knows who she is yet—she's not a person yet, still very young and immature. Like she's stuck? Hell. I don't fucking know." Jasper looked to me again. "Sorry for venting, bro." He chuckled, letting out a large breath. "I just—"
"Dude, I'm here. I'm listening," I laughed, patting his back.
Deep down, I know all too well what it's like not having anyone to confide in. Your problems build and build, and then you unload on the ones you trust. Sadly, I've yet to have that opportunity.
But I hoped Jasper would be that person for me, too.
"Plus, that motherfucker—her boyfriend is always lounging on our couch." He carried on. "He's . . . bad news. You know, he runs with Emmett and them."
"Emmett." I slapped my knee. "How's he doin'?" When I was a kid, Emmett was the toughest kid on our block—always getting into trouble, always up to something, but the chicks loved him, and he always looked out for Jazz and me.
Jasper's face fell. "We don't—we don't hang out like we used to."
"Oh . . ." I stared out the window again, at the bumper-to-bumper traffic we were in. "This is probably the only thing I didn't miss." I gestured to the street.
"Eh . . . s'not too bad," he mumbled.
"What's Emmett do?" I asked.
Jasper gave me a fleeting look and then focused on the road. "You remember Carlisle Colleoni Jr.? I know you remember his father, Senior."
Thinking back, I remembered the name all too well. He's quite a few years older than me, and our fathers used to be business associates.
Now the Colleoni family is one of the largest of the five families here in New York—the Mafia. "Of course."
"He's associated," he whispered, turning on the radio.
I shook my head. "Emmett's Irish—"
"And he's all balls." Jazz snorted. "He's Carlisle's little errand boy, but fuck, man. Emmett is living large—gotta a nice apartment and his whip is hot. He never left the block, though—still lives down the street."
"Cool," I commented.
"Cool? He's either looking at future jail time or a cemetery plot—no offense." It was no secret that my pops' was killed in the line of a different duty. "Is that why you came back? Fulfill your namesake?"
"No," I was quick to say. "No way. I came back here because . . . I didn't wanna go overseas again. I was only enlisted six months when I was first deployed—sent me to Iraq."
"Damn," Jazz commented. "You signed up early, too, right?"
I nodded. "Then I was stateside for nine months—training, training others—before I went to Afghanistan…spent a year there," I sighed heavily. "So, when it came time to re-enlist . . . I just didn't. I hated the South and out West . . . There ain't shit out there."
"Right . . . What are you going to do for money?"
"I have some saved," I said.
"We need a counter person at Sal's."
"You're working at Sal's Pizzeria now?" I threw my head back and laughed. We used to steal sodas and anything else we could from there. And old man Ruffalo, the owner, used to chase us out with his broom.
"Emmett has his purposes . . . I don't know. Bells and I fell on hard times. I wouldn't do certain things . . . and Emmett pulled some strings. I manage now."
I shrugged. "I have some cash saved. I'd like to get a car, but I don't necessarily need one. I don't know."
"What the fuck, bro? You just hop on a bus with nowhere to go, nothing to do?" He chuckled. "That takes balls. I could never do that."
"Have you ever . . . even left New York?"
He frowned. "Nope . . . got everything I need in these five boroughs." He winked.
I nodded, reaching into my pocket for a cigarette. "Do you mind?"
"Not at all." He opened his window, turned the music up, and we entered the highway.
Traffic let up, and we didn't hit any more for the duration of the drive. Jasper spoke more about Emmett—said his relationship with him hasn't been the same since he dated Bella. That shocked me, especially since when I think about her, all I see is this little kid, and Emmett . . . Well, he looked like a man back in the ninth grade. I understood it, though. There's no beef between them anymore, as Emmett only took Bella out on one date, but they just don't talk.
That's like the cardinal rule of brotherhood.
Never touch a guy's sister or his girl.
Thank you for reading
Please leave me your thoughts
I'll be posting chapter two later on tonight!
Posting Schedule: I plan to update/post once or twice daily.
This is a drabble, but I'm wordy so...some chaps are shorter/longer.
Tribute Cast (Please note the name changes/I even list people spoken about often yet are dead)
Edward Masino, Sr. (Deceased)
Edward Masino, Jr.
Grandma Cigno (Deceased)
Isabella (Bella) Cigno
Carlisle Colleoni, Sr. (Boss)
Mary "Alice" Colleoni (their daughter)
Carlisle (CJ) Colleoni, Jr. (son/under boss/capo/original character)
Marie Ferraro Colleoni (CJ's wife/Original Character)
Bianca Colleoni (CJ's daughter)
Riley Esposito (CJ's right hand)
Rosalie Guzzo (Second cousin to Alice)