Truths & Chains – Chapter Ten


Vito sat in the passenger seat of Tito’s car, swiping left and right on Grindr to kill the time. It was unlikely he’d find Gorgeous on the app, but it was worth a shot. If he’d known Tito would be coming home and they’d be jumping on the job that night, he’d have given Gorgeous his number. Sure, it was against his personal rules, but who the hell cared. Gorgeous was a beautiful challenge, and he wanted him naked as soon as possible, something he unfortunately couldn’t accomplish if he wasn’t at O’Riley’s place at the same time Gorgeous was.

If Gorgeous showed up. He apparently didn’t ‘do’ one-night-stands, but he’d given Vito a hell of a kiss after last call. So much of one that Drake had yelled at him to make sure he didn’t undress Gorgeous then and there. Vito definitely had a chance with him, and soon, no matter what Gorgeous declared his stance on one-night-stands was.

Still, his chances meant nothing if he couldn’t get to the bar before Gorgeous got tired of waiting for him.

“Vi, you there?”

Vito glanced out through the windshield before touching a finger to the bluetooth in his ear. “Present.”

“Everything I’ve come across has matched the layout thus far. I have one more explosive to lay, and then I’ll be back to the car. Then it’s your turn.”

“So sneaky, Ti. Laying bombs in a busy nightclub like a sneaky little mouse.”

Tito snorted. “Distraction is easy when the bad guys are all strung out on God only knows what.” A pause. “Returning to radio silence. See you in a few, Vi.”

“See you soon.” Vito muted his end of the call again and went back to his phone. The more he scrolled through person after person, the more certain he grew in his assumption that Gorgeous would be nowhere to be found on the app. Unless Gorgeous had his settings banning anyone with tattoos, muscles, and Italian accents, Vito would’ve already run across his profile at least once.

“I’m on my way out. Get yourself ready for your turn,” Tito said.

Vito reached up to unmute his Bluetooth. “I was born ready.”

Tito snorted. “Sure you were.”

“You’re just jealous.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.”

Vito rolled his eyes as he exited out of Grindr. Hopefully, he’d be in an out in good time and he’d still make it to the bar before Gorgeous got bored of waiting for him to show up. The job would give him the high he needed for at least a night, maybe two, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t still banking on getting laid.

As Tito pulled open the driver’s side door, Vito exited out of the app and locked his phone. “Good to go?” Vito asked.

His brother nodded. “Everything’s in place for you. I’ll walk you through the layour once you’re inside. After you get the dogs and get out—”


Tito rolled his eyes, but he nodded. “Yeah. Boom.”


“Good. Let’s go wreak some havoc on Hernandez’s operation.”

“Fuck yeah.” Vito climbed out of the car and headed for the nightclub. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket. Well… Tito’s leather jacket. He’d made sure to snatch it from his brother’s closet while he was in the shower before they’d left. “So, what am I expecting once I’m inside?”

“The nightclub portion of the operation is the top level. That part’s all above ground. Keeps things nice and loud to cover up any noise from what they’re doing downstairs.”

“Fuckers,” Vito muttered. He pulled a pair of gloves from his pocket and put them on. “One of the dudes I play poker with, Franco, he says it costs a couple ground to get past the guard at the door. Do I really have to give that to the bastard?”

“If you want to make it down to the basement, giving him the money is our best bet. I did it.”

“Ugh. I don’t want us funding a fucking dog fight, Ti.”

“Hey, it’s not like he’s going to be keeping it. Take our money back when you kill him, after the dogs are safe. Just consider the grand a downpayment for his death or something. I’m sure you can make that work in that fucked up head of yours.”

“Oo, I do like the sounda that. You’re a genius, Ti.”

Tito laughed, though it was cut a little short with a cough. “Thanks.”

Vito cleared his throat. “How am I getting back out afterward? I can’t bring them back through the nightclub with me, so coming out the way you did is out of the picture.”

“According to the blueprints, there should be a small passage in the basement that leads to a house behind the main lot. The house should be empty and not much more than a temporary hideout, so you and the dogs should be able to sneak out through there. After you confirm the passage’s location, you know… you can have some fun.”

“Well, I do need me some fun.” Vito stopped at the door to the nightclub. “Heading in now.”

“Let me know when you’re through to the basement.”

“Will do.” Vito opened the door and walked inside. He was used to most nightclubs having a bouncer or two posted at the front doors, but there were none. He figured there wasn’t really a need for exclusivity here. They needed as many people inside as they could possibly cram in there. Loud music, dancing, shouting. Every bit of noise only served to benefit them and their ‘business’. A bouncer or two restricting who could enter only made their basement work riskier.

Vito waded through the crowd of dancers, hardly able to appreciate the men and women rubbing up against him as he squeezed past. Not only were they in the way of his actual mission, his secondary mission of the night still involved a beautiful challenge he hoped he’d be able to catch at O’Riley’s. Anyone else interested in him would have to wait until both missions were completed, or until his second mission told him in very firm terms to fuck right off.

At the door in the back of the club, Vito kept his head down and held up five grand. The guard counted through it and opened the door. Vito closed his eyes for a moment before stepping through. Once the door closed, he rolled his shoulders back and tilted his head to the side until his neck popped. “I’m in.”

“Are you at the top of a staircase?”


“Good. Head down the stairs, walk past the first hallway, and  take a right as you come to the second hallway.”

Vito headed down the stairs and walked past the first hallway. “Take a right?”

“Mmmhmm. Your non-dominant hand.”

Vito nodded and took a right down the hall. His short-term memory was as horrible with directions as it was with names, and the other part of his memory always struggled with differentiating between left and right. Tito was the only person who knew about that difficulty, and he always helped with directions without being an asshole about it.

Unfortunately, Vito wasn’t sure he’d be the same way if the shoe was on the other foot. Unlike his brother, Vito specialized in the art of being an asshole.

“How’s the hallway looking?” Tito asked.


“Good. I think it was shift change or bathroom break time when I was in there. Bo says the rings they’ve busted in Los Angeles have had two men in the rooms where the dogs are caged. They guard them, prepare the steroids… Whatever the hell else the bastards do. So you’ll need to take care of them before you can get the dogs out of there.”

“Speaking of, what kind of trouble am I gonna be in when I unlock these cages? Am I gonna get mauled by a dozen roided out dogs?”

“I… wish I had a good answer for that. Bo says the true danger of it depends on each dog. He says they usually seem to react positively to being rescued, like they know you’re not like the other people they know. Tail wagging and everything. He said that’s a pretty common account given by the people who do this, like, all the time.”

“God, that’s fucked. Everything these monsters do to them, and they still think humans deserve any sorta chance with them?”

“Dogs are usually loving by nature, I think. It’s the people that try to fuck them up, and with a lot of these dogs, they aren’t in the ring long enough to completely abandon that part of themselves. Thankfully.”

“Thankfully,” Vito echoed. “Where’m I goin’ next, Ti?”

“There’s a door at the end of the hall, and then you’ll hit a staircase behind it.”

“Does the staircase open right into the room with the dogs? How careful do I need to be when I reach the stairs?”

“It opens into a short hallway. After that, you’ll be in the room where they keep the dogs. I don’t know where the guards will be stationed on the way to the room, so you’ll have to play it by ear.”

“Ah, that’s what I’m best at.”

Tito snorted. “Only because you suck at following directions.”

“Doesn’t make me any less awesome at playing it by ear though.”

“Thank God. I on’t think you’d have a job if it did.” A pause. “How’re we doing?”

“Openin’ the door to the stairs now.” Vito pulled open the door and peered down a dimly lit staircase. “I don’t see anyone from the top here, but I’m gonna stay quiet for a few, just in case they’re close by.”

“Sounds good. Talk when you can.”

“ ‘Course.” Vito stepped through the doorway, pulling the door closed behind him. He made his way down the stairs, one gloved hand sliding along the wall, the other wrapped around the knife holstered at his hip. At the end of the short hall, he pressed himself against the corner near the doorway. Leaning to the side, he peeked into the room.

Cage after cage lined the room in four rows. Two men stood in the room, one smoking a cigarette while the other toyed with one of the dogs through the cage. Vito’s lips curled, but he kept his thoughts to himself. Verbalizing them would only get him seen, and being seen would alert the ring leader to his presence. He wanted to free the dogs and kill every last one of the bastards responsible for the abuse they had suffered. Anyone knowing he was there prevented both aspects.

Vito leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes. He listened to the sounds in the room, waiting for the footsteps to draw closer. Practically able to visualize the man’s boots   hitting the floor, he waited for them to pass the door. He leaned around the wall, hooked an arm around the smoking guard’s neck, and yanked him out into the hall. With a slight lift of his arm, he slit the guard’s throat from carotid to carotid.

Eyes on the second guard, he lowered the dying man to the floor. He wiped his knife on the man’s pants before adjusting his grip on it. He grabbed the man’s cigarette with his free hand and put it to his lips. No need to let a good soke go to waste.

He crept across the room, hoping not to set off one of the dogs enough to gain the second bastard’s attention. Thankfully, the only dog barking was the one that guy had been fucking with.

Vito came up behind him and covered his mouth with one hand, quickly slitting his throat with the knife in the other. “Both of our guards are dead,” Vito said, wiping his knife on the second man’s jeans before letting him hit the floor.

“That was nice and quiet. Good job.”

“What can I say? I’ve had a lot of practice.” Vito shoved his knife back into its sheath. He pulled the cigarette from his lips and blew out a puff of smoke. He took one last drag before flicking it to the floor and grinding it beneath his boot. “What’s the plan from here again?”

“Get you and the dogs out before the explosives go off.”

“How long do we got?”

“Twenty minutes. So let’s work on getting you out of there. Which way are you facing?”

“Hold on. I’m stealing their wallets.”


“Pfft, chill. I’ve got good intentions.” Vito pocketed the second guard’s wallet before heading back to the first. Using the toe of his boot, he rolled the guy onto his side. Still propped up, Vito leaned down and pulled his wallet from his back pocket. He tucked both into his pocket. “Okie dokie. I’m facing the staircase I came down.”

“Great. Turn toward your non-dominant hand. On the wall directly in front of you, there should be a crawl space. It’ll probably have a small door over it.”

“I’m lookin’ at a row of lockers, here. Think it’s behind them?”

“Definitely could be. The blueprints show it’s pretty low to the ground, so the lockers would likely make for a good way to cover it up.”

Vito rocked back on his heels. “Think I’ll make the news for bein’ a hero or some shit?”

“At any rate, that’s the hope. We need more good press under our name. Make things easier on Bo.”

“Then let’s do him proud.” Vito pressed his shoulder to the edge of the lockers and slowly pushed them along the wall. He stepped back, dusting his hands on each other. “Door has been lockated.”

“Perfect. Is it locked?”

Vito grabbed the little handle on the square door and pulled it open. “Nope, we’re all good. How long’s this passage thing supposed to be?”

“I’m not totally sure. More than a few yards and less than a mile. Probably about a block or so, if I had to guess,” Tito said. “According to the blueprints, it’s short and narrow for a few feet, but you’ll be able to stand up after you get past this.”

“Good.” Vito turned away from the small passageway. “Now… how do I go about gettin’ our deposit back?”

“That sounds like a you department sort of thing.”

“Fair.” Vito looked around the room. “Think one of the guys had a walkie talkie on him. What’re the chances its channel only goes to the guard posted outside the door upstairs?”

“It’s not worth the risk. If we set off suspicion now, none of Hernandez’s guys get blown up, you know?” Tito asked.

“Yeah. And I’m really lookin’ forward to the blowin’ up part.” Vito let out a harsh breath. “Think I could just go back up there and yank him on through the doorway?”

“Were people paying attention to the back of the club?”

“Not really. Super dark by the door too.”

“Then… I’d say go for it. The explosion will destroy their security footage anyway.”

“Aha, score one for Minetti.” Vito hurried back up the stairs, through the hall, and back to the door. He yanked it open, wrapped a hand around the back of the guard’s shirt, and tugged him backward. He closed the door, pushed the guard against it, and rammed his knife into his throat.

The guard gasped, breath struggling to squeak out past the blade. The guard’s eyes were wide and wild, frantic. Vito didn’t much are. There was something about that level of fear in a monster’s eyes that usually brought him some sense of… joy, but it wasn’t the same that evening. This death was far too easy for the fucker, far too quick. But Vito didn’t have the time for anything the man deserved.

He twisted the knife in the guard’s throat and ripped it to the side, severing the man’s carotid avery. He let this body drop to the floor and searched him until he found the guy’s wallet. He tucked it into his pocket alongside the other two, shoved his knife into its sheath, and made his way back to the dogs. He closed both open doors in the room, leaving the door to the crawlspace as the only option. “All right. What do you think the best way to go about letting these dogs out is?”

“I guess… start opening cages?” Tito suggested.

Vito let out a breath. “Good a start as any.”

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