Gian (Trassato Crime Family Book 1)(2)

By: Lisa Cardiff

Now, I found myself in the same situation, only amplified one hundred times. I didn’t have any money, aside from the three hundred dollars in my wallet and the joint bank account I shared with Kevin, which I refused to touch. I hadn’t contributed any money to the account.

Dropping my head into my lap, I screamed a slightly unhinged and utterly unbalanced cry. It didn’t begin to relieve the stress building inside of me with every passing second. What could I do? I was jobless, moneyless, and homeless, or would be when I rallied enough courage to walk out the door.

When I left my mom’s house two and a half years ago, she warned me New York would eat at my soul until I became a hollow shell. I laughed in her face because I didn’t think history would repeat itself. Unlike her, I wouldn’t settle for being a second-rate dance and acting teacher in a little-known town in Nebraska. I refused to give up until I had the world in the palm of my hand.

In my mind, I had more discipline and talent than my mom, and that was all I needed. Unfortunately, neither of those things meant much in New York. It might open a door or two, but to keep that door open, I needed connections, lots of connections, more than a girl from Nebraska could ever dream of having, and a really good string of luck.

The buzzer rang. I opened the door to find Carmela Trassato’s hopefully cautious face on the other side. I’d met Carmela in a coffee shop a few days after I moved to New York. Hopelessly lost, I’d asked her for directions to an audition, and she’d escorted me there. We exchanged phone numbers, and slowly, she became a permanent fixture in my life.

“Hi, Evie.”

“Hey, Carmela,” I responded, opening the door wider, welcoming her into my soon-to-be ex-apartment owned by my soon-to-be ex-fiancé.

“I guess I’m a little late to stop the shit storm.” Carmela pushed her not quite black hair away from her face as she looked around my normally meticulous apartment.

“Yep, and I already drank his precious bottles of Bordeaux, so I can’t even offer you a really good glass of wine.” I kicked the door shut with my foot, enjoying the black smudge my lace-up pale pink flats made on the pristine white paint. Kevin would freak when he saw it.

Carmela flopped down on the sofa, propping her feet on the coffee table, another thing that would drive Kevin crazy. He never liked Carmela. He said she was too aggressive. Most likely, because she always called him on his lies and pretentious behavior. She saw through everyone. She had to. She came from a huge Italian family that I suspected had more than a few unsavory connections. She never admitted anything, and anytime I questioned her, she changed the subject so skillfully I barely noticed until a few hours later.

“Do you think he’ll let you stay here when he sees the debacle on the sidewalk?” Carmela picked up the empty bottle of wine and inspected the label.

“He says it won’t happen again.”

“And you believe him?” Carmela asked, raising her beautifully sculpted eyebrows, the kind you can only find in a salon.

I sighed. “No. I’m not that dumb.”

“Thank God.” She raised one hand into the air. “Finally. You’ve seen the light. Are you telling me I won’t have to endure another moment in his company?” She never referred to Kevin by his name. She called him the prick, the art douche, or scecco, which I think loosely translated to jackass.

I shoved her shoulder lightly. “About time, huh?”

“No comment.” She tossed the empty wine bottle on the floor. A few deep burgundy drops splattered on the white and black cowhide rug. “So what’s the plan?”

“I don’t have one. I’m done with Kevin, though.”

A disbelieving look flashed across Carmela’s face, and while I hated that she doubted my conviction, I understood. I had overlooked so much of Kevin’s crap in the past six months that I barely believed myself.

“For good this time. I promise.”

Carmela shifted toward me and pointed at my ankle. “How’s physical therapy going? Do you think you can start auditioning again?”

My stomach bottomed out, mirroring the trajectory of my life. My gaze bouncing around the room, I considered my words. I settled on the truth. “I’ve been lying to you. I haven’t gone in a really long time.”

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