Chapter 2: II

Ash was actually very angry as he entered the diner. His friend and contact in the police force had been posted to patrol the streets of Gulden, not Ganghaven. Ash didn't understand why the cops left a place that was in dire need of their presence, and went to a place that was already full of 'em. It was grossly unfair, if you asked him.

Ash shook his head and sighed. That was the problem, nobody cared enough for Ganghaven, he thought. He wondered if it was a crime to be born into a low-income earning family.

His scowl intensified when he saw that his usual table at the diner was taken. Upon further examination, he found that the three women who'd taken up his space were actually beautiful. That wiped the scowl off his face. Maybe he could join them; flirting with beautiful women always put him in a good mood.

As he walked up to them, he saw that one of them had a tattoo sleeve. But that wasn't his problem. His problem was one of the tattoos. It was one of a hawk in flight. Ash recognized it as the tattoo of the Street Hawks, which meant that the woman sitting at his table, wolfing down her huge sandwich was the leader of the gang. Immediately, Ash's scowl returned. Sure, the Sopranos hadn't had any wars with the Street Hawks, but he hated them nonetheless. They were like every other street gang, out to get money and power at any cost, even if it was human life.

Except him of course, his reasons for being a gang leader were less sinister, although no one outside his gang was privy to that piece of information.

He looked at the table again and wondered if her two friends knew what she was. Yes, he thought, the signs were there; in the way she dressed.

He walked up to the women and sought out the gang leader, “You're in my place. Please leave.” He said coldly.

Their jaws hung open for a second, before the gangster recovered herself and said, “Make me.”

Ash was hit by a bolt of shock. Not because of her response, because he expected nothing less, but because she was actually very beautiful up close. Sure, she cut her hair really short and didn't have any makeup on, but those did not detract the beauty that lay in her obsidian eyes, clear skin and her luscious lips.

Hell, he even found the intricate designs of the tattoos on her arms sexy as hell. He wondered how they'd taste if he licked them.

Wait! What? Where had that thought come from? Remember what she is, a soulless gangster, he told his brain.

“Jacob! You let these women take my table?!” Ash hollered at Jacob who suddenly remembered something was burning and left quickly.

“You will not blame him! I came here, saw an empty table and sat! And I didn't see your name or 'the Quartet' written on it!” She said defiantly.

Ash felt like laughing but held it back. She probably wouldn't appreciate it if he told her she looked cute as hell when she was angry. Then, her insult hit his brain.

“Now, wait! My gang is called the Sopranos, not the Quartet. Get that right!” He said with clenched teeth.

“What do you guys do? Sing people to death? Y'all, let's get out of here before he decides to do just that.” She said, and her friends stood up.

This time, Ash retained his laughter with more  restraint. The quip wasn't a new one, but coming from her, it sound really funny.

“No, no, no. You three can stay. I would never sit at a table that has been tainted by the Street Rats.” Ash sneered, “In fact, I just remembered, I have somewhere else to be.”

“Like on a date with the hot Miss Thumb and her four sisters?” She replied before flipping him off.

This time, a chuckle escaped Ash before he could stop it. Truth of the matter was that he'd probably do as she'd taunted. But she didn't have to know that. He smiled at her friends, “Make better choices when it comes to friends.” 

Then, he sauntered away like he had no care in the world.

*   *   *

Jo growled at the man's retreating figure, ogling his ass. She admitted to herself that he had a very nice ass, muscular and sculpted, but that didn't prevent him from being an asshole.

She'd seen him as he walked in, a lock of brown hair falling over his face. He was lean and less muscular than how she usually liked men, but he made up for that with his piercing green eyes that were noticeable from a mile away.

He'd then walked over in a saunter that exuded confidence and sensuality.

“A hot man is coming here. Don't look.” She'd whispered to her friends, who'd immediately turned and asked, “Where?”

Then, he'd approached them only to accuse her of stealing his spot. It had taken a while for his rude words to sink in, because she was taken in by the devastating combo that was his green eyes and criminally full lips.

That was until she'd seen the purple bandana sticking out of his pants pocket. That shade of bandana that belonged to the Sopranos.

Knowing he was a gangster had launched her into attack mode. She'd been angry at him, but more angry at herself for being attracted to what she hated the most in the world; a gangster.

“What was that?” Andrea asked Jo, snapping her out of her thoughts.

Jo frowned, “What was what?”

Sia fanned herself with her hand as she replied, “You two were sending out some pretty strong vibes. If he'd remained here a minute more, you two would have burned the clothes off each other.”

“That's nonsense.” Jo said.

“No, it's not. You like him, but that's okay. I mean did you see his hair? His face? His eyes? What's there not to like?” Andrea asked, feigning a swoon.

“The fact that he's a gangster.” Jo replied instantly, “Moreover, I didn't notice he was handsome.”

“Liar, liar.” Andrea said.

“Pants on fire.” Sia finished in a sing-song voice.

Jo flipped them off and returned to eating her burger, thinking that she wouldn't mind eating something else, preferably a tall, brown haired, green eyed—

She shook her head to dispel the stupid thought and took a drink of her beer. 

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