Capricia stared at him. “Well...uh.. if you want to..” She stared down at her lap, breaking eye contact with those penetrating, affectionate eyes. Her heart started to pound and she held her hand to it as if she were afraid that it would break through her skin and proclaim to him the sudden, strange devotion and tenderness Capricia now felt.
Leonardo patted her on the shoulder, his caress almost startling goosebumps of thrill into standing on Capricia’s skin. He stood up, still smiling, and said regretfully, “Well, I have to go. It’s getting late. Take care of yourself, and watch out for Andrew, okay?”
“Okay,” answered Capricia. She watched him leave the room, enjoying the swing of his broad shoulders and his easy strides. Then she sank back into the velvet folds of the couch, deep in thought.
Leonardo quickly exited into the hall, his spirits high. She is very.. special, he mused. So untouched by her surroundings and unusually kind. I don’t know how to explain it, but I am absolutely certain that she is nothing like what everybody else sees her as. And that name! Pocahontas! It’s perfect for her... much more fitting than the name Andrew took it upon himself to give her...what a jerk. I’d love to beat his head in for what he did to her, he thought angrily. Why, treating Pocahontas that way! He should get a taste of his own medicine.....Leonardo’s hand balled into a fist and punched restlessly into its neighboring twin.
“Hey, buddy, why so intense?” called Zak, hurrying over to his partner.
Leonardo shook his head, startled out his reverie. “Huh?”
Zak slapped him on the shoulder. “Wake up! Get in the room.” Leonardo followed him reluctantly into their room. “Now, what’s wrong??” he repeated quietly in the safety of the room.
“Uh, well,” Leonardo thought fast. “It’s just that -- Andrew hasn’t put me on his special shipments yet....”
“Whoa there! It’s only been a day -- don’t get discouraged so easily,” Zak said consolingly.
Leonardo grinned in relief. His old buddy hadn’t seen through his lie. “Now since when have you ever been supportive?” he joked.
“Since now...since it has to do with my job,” joked back Zak in a defensive manner. “Now let’s get some rest.”
Capricia woke up the next morning, her body stiff and aching from staying up so late. “Uhh,” she groaned, slowly pulling herself into a sitting position. Then a smile played on her lips as she remembered the reason for her late bedtime. “That Leonardo,” she pondered aloud. “He’s acts very unusual for a gangster...I’ve never met any man in this mob who didn’t automatically try to get me into their bedroom at night...until now. He actually wanted to talk to me. And he even seemed to care..” her sentence trailed off as Andrew appeared in the door. “Andrew!” she cried, startled. “What are you doing here?”
Andrew leaned against the door frame. “Just wanted to make sure my Capricia was up,” he said. Capricia bristled inwardly at this possessiveness, but said nothing. Andrew strode over to the bed. “Come on,” he demanded, as Capricia tried to gather her thin covers about her protectively. “Let’s get you dressed.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her from the bed, easily dislodging the sheet clutched in her hands. “Let’s see.. you should wear...” Andrew opened her closet and begin to sort through her hangers. He pulled out a crimson dress, a form fitting number with spaghetti straps and a length which fell mid-calf. “Yes,” he mused, “This will be perfect for my best girl.” He stared at her suddenly, his gaze trailing up and down her body. Capricia fought the urge to shout “Stop looking at me like that!” and crossed her arms, sure that his piercing look could penetrate the pitiful cover of her small nightdress. “Now, get going, “ he commanded, thrusting the dress into her hands and leaving the room.
Capricia reluctantly dressed in the tight thing. Rebelliously she thought, Leonardo would never look at me like that! He would never make me wear stuff like this all the time! She surveyed herself in the mirror and sighed as she took a brush to her long dark hair. Too seductive, she thought. Big surprise. Andrew always has to keep me looking this way...if I showed up in anything less than form fitting, he’d beat me up and send me back to my room to change in something “more suitable.” If I didn’t look this way, she suddenly realized, he probably wouldn’t even care about me....a tear escaped from the corner of her eye. Fiercely she wiped it away. “Oh no, you’re not starting that again!” she scolded her reflection. Capricia abandoned her depressing thoughts and left the room, heading to the bar for breakfast.
In the other room, Zak and Leonardo prepared for the morning. “Man, I’m starving,” complained Luke.
“Me, too,” agreed Leonardo as he neatly smoothed a sheet over his bed and fluffed his pillow.
“Hey, what are you doing?!”
“Making my bed, what does it look like?”
“Have you forgotten where you are? You’re a gangster in a mob . Gangsters don’t make their beds!”
“Can’t there be neat gangsters?” laughed Leonardo.
“No! Course not! Have you ever heard of a neat gangster?”
“See?” said Zak, triumphantly. He pulled the comforter off Leonardo’s bed and crumpled it up, then threw it down beside his bed. “You gotta mess things up a little.”
“Hey!” Leo said. But he helped Zak pull his sheet down and wrinkle it up, then rearranged his pillow, placing it at a more askew angle.
Zak surveyed the scene. “Perfect.”
“Yeah, you would think so! It looks just like your room in the apartment!” Leonardo jested, grinning. Zak punched Leonardo in the shoulder.
“Come on, we need to get going,” he said. “We’ve got to get moving on this case....Control hasn’t given us much time! And we want to get in on that award....”
“Okay,” conceded Leonardo. They traveled down the stairwell and located the bar. Irritated voices were heard as they approached.
“You betta gimme back my seat,” demanded one angry gangster, a muscular dark haired guy who appeared to be in his early thirties.
“Why should I?” challenged his opponent, a teenager not quite as built but slightly taller than the first guy.
“ ‘Cause I been sittin’ there since you’ve been playing with tiddly winks,” sneered the dark haired brute. He advanced toward the teen, raising a hammy fist.
Caprica rose quickly from her seat and moved between the two. “Come on, you two,” she pleaded. “It’s too early for fights. I know you’re all tired...but could we at least be civil?”
The older guy snorted, annoyed, while the teen gazed at her dreamily. “Capricia, why don’t you keep your pretty little nose outta this?” said the older one mockingly. He started toward the boy again.
Capricia pressed her palms with all her might against his chest, holding him back for the moment. “Come on, Matt, please stop,” she coaxed. “Can’t you sit somewhere else today?”
“What did I say?” Matt thundered. “Stay out of this, SLUT!” He pushed her roughly out of the way.
Leonardo charged into the room, angered by his treatment of Capricia. “Hey, don’t you know how to treat a lady?” he asked in a fog of rage. He helped Capricia up and then stood to face Matt.
Matt glowered. “I don’t see no lady.”
“Well then you aren’t looking hard enough. Don’t ever, ever call her that. And don’t ever touch her, got it?” Leonardo felt an inner anger too great to be contained even if it hurt his chances in the mob. He took Capricia’s arm. “Come on, let’s go,” he said, his features clouded and strained.
Zak watched him, puzzled. What was Leo doing? If Andrew saw this, he’d blow Leonardo’s brains out. Not to mention that was he was doing was very much out of the gangster character. What was going on?
Matt charged up to Leonardo. “Not so fast.” He grabbed Leonardo by the shoulder and gave him a left hook to the jaw.
Capricia swallowed a shriek of panic. “No, Matt!” she cried. She started to get between them, but Leonardo smoothly intervened.
“It’s okay, Pocahontas,” he said calmly. What did he call her? the spectators of the mob’s faces clearly read. Then they forgot this as they watched, in awe, as Leonardo threw a swift punch which landed in the unbeatable Matt’s Adam apple.
Matt croaked in spasms of pain. “You, yoou..” he rasped, falling into a nearby chair.
Triumphantly, Leonardo turned away from him and took Pocahontas’ hand, kissing it. She looked at him, puzzled but relieved. Her hand’s skin tingled a little from his lips’ caress, but she tried to ignore this thrill, murmuring, “Thank you, but you didn’t have to do that.”
“I have to defend your honor,” Leonardo replied, his words seeming like a jest fitting the moment but said with an undercurrent of sincerity. He still held her hand in a tender grip, which Capricia did not pull from.
“I- I think it’s already gone,” she whispered, the reflection in her narrowly slanted eyes shining mournfully. Leonardo felt a painful tug at his heart as he noted this. Still he gripped her hand a little tighter, secure in this action as the others in the barroom crowded around Matt. She met his gaze, and stared into his eyes. Leonardo detected a longing in her look which he knew his own stare probably reflected. Soo noble, so kind, his heart sighed, agonized, as it beat faster.
Zak watched from across the room. The closeness of Leonardo’s and Capricia’s actions were not lost on him. These actions are very dangerous to the case.. and John, he thought. She’s bad news and if anyone sees this he’ll have a price put on his head by Andrew. Zak trotted over to Leonardo and laid a heavy hand on his shoulder. “Come on, Leonardo, let’s go,” he told him, a warning note in his tone. “We haven’t eaten breakfast and I’ve got something to show you.” He glanced at Leonardo and then turned an intimidating gaze on Capricia. She reluctantly slipped her hand from Leo’s after a moment’s more of bliss.
Leonardo sighed softly, letting his hand drop to his side. “See you later?” he asked hopefully.
“Of course,” Capricia returned significantly. She slowly turned and walked away.
Immediately Zak turned in Leonardo. “What are you doing? Why are you being so nice to her?”
“To butter her up, of course.” Leonardo shrugged, still being deceptive to his friend.
“Don’t lie,” whispered Zak intensely. “There’s more to it than that. You like her!”
“Sure I like her,” said Leonardo indifferently. “Who wouldn’t like her? She’s got a great body,” he lied, concealing the true nature of his feelings for Capricia.
“Oh, I know there’s more to it than that..” Zak said suspiciously. “You looked at her like --”
“What’s going on in here?” boomed Andrew’s voice. Everyone scattered, standing more at attention in his commanding presence. Andrew noticed Matt’s anguished groaning suddenly. “What’s wrong with my best man Matt?” he queried. Everyone fell silent, knowing Matt was Andrew’s favorite helper when it came to special transactions as well as his best buddy. “Capricia? What happened here?” he demanded of his girlfriend.
Capricia cast a nervous glance at Leonardo, who nodded. “Well, Matt got in an argument with Leonardo and Leonardo hit Matt in the Adam’s apple,” she summed up.
“Leo did this, huh?” said Andrew. He walked over to Leonardo, and jabbed his pointer finger in his (Leo’s) chest. “You, a new guy, did this?”
“Yes,” confirmed Leonardo, not about to back down.
Andrew’s stern features broke into a grin. He laughed heartily. “Welcome to the gang!” he shouted. Everyone relaxed and followed suit with their own laughter. Zak grinned and gave Leo a small thumbs up, knowing this to be a very positive step for their mission. “Listen,” continued Andrew, “ I want to talk with you. Alone. I got a special job for you.” He started towards the door, beckoning for Leonardo to follow. Leo did so, raising his eyebrows happily at Zak at the sudden progress he was making for their case. Andrew led Leo to his office.
Capricia overheard this last directive of Andrew and followed, curious and worried about what Andrew wanted Leonardo to do. She silently creeped towards the door and leaned her head to one side. Inside, Andrew was saying:
“Okay, listen. I got a special deal going down and you’re just the man to handle it.”
Leonardo eagerly pricked up his ears. What a break! This has to be the special shipments, he reasoned.
Andrew continued. “I got a shipment of..” he paused, and looked around furtively, then went on. “..guns coming in at my warehouse from Brazil. I need someone to handle the money and get the guns in without the cops smelling something. Think you can do that?”
“Yeah, sure, piece of cake.”
“All you gotta do is wait at the warehouse for the special knock. Then you ask for the password. If they give it, let them in. Have them show you the cargo. Count it. There should be one hundred crates in all. Then you hand them this suitcase. It’s 1.5 million dollars in small bills, like they requested. Let them count it if they want, but make sure they get all the crates inside first. Got it?”
“Yeah, it’s memorized. Easy.” YES! Leonardo rejoiced in his head.
“Now, the warehouse is at this address. Go right away. If the shipment doesn’t show up in twenty minutes, call me. When you’ve completed the deal, come back here immediately and tell me.”
“You got it, boss. I’m on my way.” What a big break! he thought, exhilarated.
Outside the door, Capricia heard the conversation in its entirety. Oh, no she thought sadly. He’s getting involved with Andrew’s big, dangerous deals already. He’ll be sucked into the mob for good and Andrew will have complete control of him. And maybe he’ll even start to change...and become like all the other mobsters....and lose all his endearing, sensitive qualities... Suddenly the door started to open and Capricia immediately took refuge in the shadows. Leonardo was coming out, his steps long and purposeful. She watched him exit outside to go to the warehouse. What do I do? she fretted. Do I go to the warehouse and warn him? Or do I not interfere and let him handle it? Immediately Capricia knew she had to go and talk with Leonardo about helping Andrew with his deals. She hurried outside to her car.
Leonardo paced back and forth, tense with anticipation. Okay, you can handle this, he reassured himself. You know what to do.. you’ve done similar things before. You just got to make sure you get a good look at the truck to help get more information for Control, he told himself. Leonardo relaxed a little bit. Yeah, I’m fine, I can do this.
Capricia slipped in the back door, quietly making use of a spare key Andrew had lent her once but forgotten to retrieve. She lightly touched Leonardo on the shoulder. “Leonardo?” she said hesitantly.
Leonardo jumped, startled by her touch. “Cap-- I mean, Pocahontas?! What are you doing here?” he asked, beaming at her.
Capricia smiled a little bit, but quickly grew serious. “You don’t want to do this,” she told him.
“What are you talking about?” Leonardo asked, surprised at her solemnness. “You don’t want to do this!” she cried, her intensity growing. She laid a hand on his shoulder. “Please, don’t do this. You’ll get so deeply involved with the gang ..too deep...so deep that you’ll never be able to get out of it!” “What? Of course I’ll be able to get out the gang when I want to,” he reassured her, concerned by her obvious worry.
“No you won’t...no, you won’t,” she cried, distraught. “You’ll be trapped by Andrew and blackmailed into staying. He’ll have complete control of you, like a slave. You’ll have to do everything he says out of fear of being killed or beaten, or.....I don’t know, everything bad.....do you want to be his little puppet like me who must obey his every command?” Her eyes, brightened by tears, stared into his. “Oh, I couldn’t bear it if you were!”
“Pocahontas, oh Pocahontas,” said Leonardo gently. He moved closer to her, taking her in his arms. Without fully realizing what he was doing, Leonardo instinctively stroked her smooth hair and then brought his hand to her face, cradling the soft cheek with passion.
“Leonardo, please,” beseeched Capricia, entranced by his tenderness. “I-- I started out just like you..I thought I was helping out Andrew, only this was by giving him affection....I thought it was great to belong, to be a part of something...and then he just started using me whenever he wanted a kiss and wanted to look good, flaunting pretty girl on his arm, and now he wants to get intimate and I won’t grant his wish, so he ends up punching me..” The tears finally slipped from her pupils.
“Pocahontas, listen to me,” commanded Leonardo, lifting her face slightly to better face him. “you are a very special person. You don’t know how special you are...and it’s not because you are beautiful on the outside, which you are, but because you’re beautiful inside. You have a kind heart and a nobleness about you..not to mention a real sensitivity and innocence despite what all you’ve been through..and it’s just that you’ve been with that bloodsucking Andrew too long to see it. He’s slowly killing you, Pocahontas, taking away your freedom and your will...”Leonardo trailed off, exhausted by the expression of his heart’s emotions and true feelings. He held Pocahontas in a loving gaze that she returned without holding back.
“Leonardo, I....I can’t believe you’re saying all this..I fell the same way about you, too..” she began slowly.
“Shh,” Leonardo said. He leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. Then he found that he could not withdraw. His love for her was growing too great to be without any outlet. He wrapped her more tightly in an embrace and pressed his lips onto hers, giving her a physical show of his affection which she hungrily received and gave back in full.
All of the sudden, an rough hand pulled Leonardo from Capricia, knocking him to the ground.
“Andrew!” cried Capricia, horrified. Oh, no, she thought, he’s seen us and God only knows what he will do.
Andrew stood over Leonardo, his face contorted with great rage. “I just came to see what was going on since no one notified me that the shipment was late.....and I find this creep kissing you,” he said, his voice assuming a dangerously low pitch.
Leonardo rose slowly, and met Andrew’s unwavering gaze. For him, he felt no fear, knowing he could handle the jerk if he fought him, but if Andrew decided to turn on his “Capricia”, Pocahontas, well... a cold fear engulfed him but he swallowed it quickly, and tensed his body for any sudden blows.
Meanwhile, Capricia felt her body tremble as she watched the two engage in a meaningful staring contest. She knew that look; she had observed it during Andrew’s unpleasant “business situations,” and it meant trouble. The swiftly drawn brows, flashing eyes, and stiff stance could only meant one animal instinct of Andrew coming into play: kill or be killed.
In one swift motion, Andrew swung a balled fist at Leonardo. Leonardo skillfully dodged the blow and landed a punch to his jaw. Furious at this turn of events, Andrew charged into Leonardo, knocking him to the ground.
“NO!” shouted Capricia, rushing towards them. She pulled at Andrew’s shoulders in a panic, crying, “Please, Andrew, it was my fault! It was all my fault!!” Beneath him, Leonardo’s eyes widened slightly in fear. He had to keep Andrew distracted from Pocahontas, no matter what -- he musn’t give Andrew an opportunity to hurt her. As Andrew’s arm raised to knock her away, Leonardo sprang into action, lifting his legs with all his strength to kick Andrew, catapulting him over him and knocking the brute to the hard, concrete floor.
In the couple of seconds of a break that followed, Leonardo seized the chance. “Pocahontas!” he shouted. “Get out of here!”
She rushed over to him, and helped him up, drawing him close with concern. “Are you all right? Did he hurt you?”
“Pocahontas, I mean it, get out of here. I don’t want you to get hurt. I can handle this,” he implored urgently, knowing that Andrew must be well on his way to recovering and resuming the fight.
“No! I can’t leave you here! He’ll kill you!” She gazed with great fear in his eyes.
Leonardo stroked her cheek comfortingly. “I’ll be all right. Now get out of here!” He shoved to her the door as gently as possible as he felt a hard thud of Andrew’s hands pushing him in the back. Capricia/Pocahontas grabbed the knob and in an instant was gone, running for help.
“What did I say in rule number three? Huh? HUH?!” demanded Andrew as they rolled on the floor, tackling one another.
“I know, I know, ‘don’t touch my girl!’ ” grunted Leonardo. “Maybe I wouldn’t have had to break your stupid rule if you didn’t beat her and try to take advantage of her!”
Andrew rolled over Leonardo and pinned him to the floor. “What I do with my Capricia is my business,” he hissed angrily.
“She doesn’t belong to you! And her name is Pocahontas, not Capricia, Pocahontas ! You call her by the right name and show her some respect!” Leonardo pushed Andrew away and stood over him menacingly. As he watched the mobster rise, he felt a fire consume him as he pictured Pocahontas crying because of him, Pocahontas nursing a hurt cheek because of him, Pocahontas acting fearful and subservient before him, her eyes fixed on his muscular arms, Pocahontas feeling inferior and worthless....Leonardo fired punches left and right into Andrew’s stomach, suddenly energized and strengthened by these images which enraged him. The mobster choked a little, the wind obviously knocked out of him, as Leonardo finally started losing steam. His (Leo’s) head started to spin a little bit, so he tilted it downward towards his knees, and his thoughts flew ever more to Pocahontas. He longed to got to her now, to say, “Come with me,” and take her away from this place so it will all be over and she would be safe and happy with him....
Leonardo’s head snapped up as Andrew caught his breath and threw his fist into his cheek, bringing a brisk slap of fresh pain to Leonardo’s body. The blow was more than he expected, and he staggered backward. Andrew pounced on the chance to take care of this traitor, once again pinning Leonardo to the ground. But this time, he reached back to his waist and something bright and shiny like the tail of a silvery fish flicked in his fingers. “I’m gonna waste you, you traitor,” he whispered, panting. “And when I finish you off, I’m gonna make sure my girl learns through a hard, painful lesson to never give slime like you the time of day.” He held the glinting blade to Leonardo’s throat, a hard, menacing grin stretching across his lips. Leonardo wanted to struggle, to call out for Pocahontas, but his body was drained and his throat suddenly voiceless.
At the other end of the warehouse, a burst of strange, foreign talking was heard, accompanied by the banging open of a door.
“What the--” murmured Andrew in astonishment, blade all ready and raised to slit his prey’s throat. “I gotta get outta here....” He glanced at his prey, and added, “Never mind. I’ll deal with you later.” He reached near him into the depths of large shelving unit, producing a pair of cuffs and some shackles. Effortlessly, he twisted the struggling Leonardo over and cuffed him and shackled him. Desperately, Leonardo started to call for help, thinking perhaps the foreigners would aid him, but Andrew covered his bases. A large hand clamped over Leonardo’s mouth, impairing his vocal ability as Andrew dragged him out the back door and into his trunk. ”Let’s go for a little ride,” sneered Andrew. He balled one large fist and knocked Leonardo hard against the head. Leonardo’s head slumped to one side, as bright stars flashed in his brain then faded to darkness.