"AHHH!" Alfie heard her scream in pain on the other side of the door.
He looked at the ceiling and exhaled a deep breath.
"How did I end up here, Tommy?" He asked as he shook his head.
Tommy stared at him.
"Drink?" Tommy offered as he held a glass with amber liquid out, but Alfie shook his head.
"AHHH!" she yelled again, and Alfie released a frustrated growl.
"Is the bullet out?" Tommy asked.
"No." Alfie said shaking his head "And they won't let me in the fucking room." He growled angrily, motioning toward the door.
Alfie tilted his head back against the wall as he listened to her screaming on the other side. He closed his eyes and thought to himself, how did I end up here?
Alfie blinked open his tired eyes and turned his head only to find his face inches away from a pair of bare milky white breasts. He chuckled to himself as he leaned up and moved a second woman's sleeping head from his thigh. Crawling out of bed he found a pair of trousers and slid them on, then proceeded to walk toward the door, careful not to step on the third naked woman sleeping on the floor by the fire. He walked into his sitting room and looked out the window.
"Fuckin hell, what a night." He said as he stretched his shoulders, a grin on his face.
He gazed out onto the streets of his kingdom. Camden Town was always the most beautiful to him on Sunday mornings. Children playing in the streets, men and women strolling leisurely and talking with their neighbors. It was as if on Sunday mornings, the world stopped and his kingdom was at peace. Alfie looked across the street at the house that faced his directly and saw a couple moving their belongings out and onto a box truck.
The man looked at Alfie's window and the two of them made eye contact before the man quickly looked away and continued loading their belongings. Alfie owned the building, as he did every building within five blocks from his factory. He knew the couple was moving out, and he knew they would be out at noon so he could go look at the condition of the place.
"I thought I heard you get up." Rosalie said as she came behind him and wrapped her arms around his toned waist, and he could feel her bare breasts on his back.
Alfie held his glass and took a drink. "I have work to do." He said matter-of-factly.
"You always have work to do." She responded. "Do me instead." She said as she kissed his back.
Alfie exhaled a breath and walked out of her embrace. "Go on. Get the other girls and go." He said as he sat on his sofa and put his drink down.
Rosalie chuckled, "What do I look like? A whore? You think you can just tell me what to do and I will just listen?"
Alfie looked at her. He ran his eyes quickly up and down her naked body then held her eyes and said, "Yeah. Now fuck off."
Rosalie's flirtatiousness left and her shoulders sagged as she walked back to the bedroom to wake the women. As they left Rosalie turned to Alfie and said, "Just because you treat me like one, doesn't mean I'm a whore."
Alfie sighed impatiently at her and looked down at his paper as she finally gave up and left.
After noon, Alfie walked across the street to meet Ollie, his 27-year-old assistant.
"Doesn't look too bad. There are a few holes that would need patched up and the bathtub is rusted." Ollie said, giving Alfie an overview.
"And what makes you think I want to spend money fixing those things?"
"I just thought, because of its location, you might want to consider keeping it in good condition."
Alfie turned and furrowed his eyebrows at his assistant.
"It's right across from your house. And-" Ollie cut himself off and looked at Alfie.
"There is a tenant, interested." Ollie looked down and around the room, avoiding Alfie's eye.
"You?" Alfie guessed.
"No, sir. Not me… My, um, sister. I've managed to talk her into moving to Camden."
"Mm." Alfie grunted. "If I keep this place up to your liking-" He said giving Ollie a side eye, "Then I will have to charge extra. Can she afford it?"
"Yes, sir. She just rented a building near Camden Road. She's going to open up a book shoppe." Ollie said, pride ringing in his voice.
"Is she?" Alfie said as he turned to Ollie. "On this side or the Italian?"
"This side, sir. She is a Jew." Ollie replied his face falling.
"Mm. So your sister is going to open a shoppe on my streets. And she wants a new bathtub and a wall with no holes?"
Ollie stared at him, attempting to anticipate his reaction. Alfie stood for a moment before he walked up the stairs. He glanced in the bedroom and examined one of the holes in the wall, then proceeded to the bathroom to examine the tub. He thought about the cost of replacing the tub and fixing the walls and balanced it against what he could charge for rent and protection. Deciding he could use the replacement costs to his advantage nodded.
"Alright." He agreed. "Get a new tub, a nice one. Marble and deep. And get someone to fix the holes."
"And my sister, sir?" Ollie implored.
"There are other houses available." Alfie said as he looked out the bedroom window and noticed passively that he could see directly into his bedroom if the curtains were open.
"I know sir, but she is young and handsome. Those other houses aren't safe for an unmarried woman like her."
"Young? Fucking hell Ollie, how old is the girl?"
"She's a year and a half older than me. So, 28."
Alfie chuckled, "And you think you're young? Young is going off to war at 16. Not working in my bakery at 27."
Ollie said nothing and Alfie considered him for a moment. He wasn't the bravest or smartest man Alfie had but, he was an alright lad.
"Alright. But I won't treat her any different than my other tenants. She will pay or she'll be thrown out on her ass."
"Absolutely, sir." Ollie said with a smile.
The remainder of the week as expected. Alfie made threats, gathered money, and bent Rosalie over his desk more than once.
"We should have dinner this weekend. I can cook you something." Rosalie suggested as she smoothed her skirt and Alfie zipped his trousers.
"No." Alfie said as he sat and poured whiskey.
"Why not?" She asked as she sat on his lap and fixed his collar.
"Fucking hell." Alfie said exasperatedly under his breath.
"I'm the one you always call for. I never tell you 'no', even though there are other men that want to pursue me."
"So, cook for one of them."
Rosalie gave a mix between a sigh and growl. "I could you know. And I could stop coming when you call for me. But…" She said as she ran her hand slowly down his chest and stomach settling it between his legs. "who would take care of you then?" she asked as she began to rub.
"There are other women." Alfie said, his trousers giving no response to her hand.
"Yet, you never call on one of them." She said as she licked her lips. "Why is that Alfie?"
"I have work to do. You know the way out." He said as he grabbed her wrist and moved her hand away from him.
"One day you'll realize it Alfie. And you will beg me to do more than just fuck you." She said as she walked out of his office.
"Ollie!" Alfie called when Rosalie had left the building.
"Every day your sister doesn't live in that fucking house, is another day I lose money on it. I fixed the fucking holes and got a new tub. What the fuck is she waiting for?"
"I'm helping her move in on Sunday."
"And she will have rent ready at the set rate?"
"Good. Go home."'
Alfie woke up on Sunday to voices from the street. He growled as he walked to look out the window and saw Ollie and two other men that Ollie had recruited unloading furniture. Alfie looked back at the bed and saw Rosalie and the other girl he couldn't remember the name of and inwardly groaned. He knew if he were there when Rosalie awoke, it would be more persistence that he step out with her for drinks or a film. He slipped on some clothes and walked across the street.
"Oh, to your left boss." Ishmael grunted as he and Adam carried a sofa toward the house and Alfie stepped aside to let them pass.
"Over there please." He heard a woman say and he walked into the house.
"Like this?" Ishmael asked and Alfie watched the back of a dark auburn-haired woman nod.
"Yes, that's perfect!" she exclaimed.
"Sorry." Ollie said as he almost walked into Alfie, carrying a lamp and Alfie dodged him.
When he looked back at the woman, he found her looking at him, her hazel eyes curious. Alfie paused as he looked in her eyes.
Ollie cleared his throat. "Lidia, this is my boss. Alfie Solomons. Boss, this is my sister Lidia."
"Hello." Lidia said and she held out her hand.