A/N: This was originally a co-written story between ryando and I, but due to circumstances, it's mine now. I'd like to. . .reluctantly. . .thank ryando for the original idea, and for letting me keep the title after many hours of debate.

Anyone who read the original first three chapters, please read them again, I plan to change the story slightly.

Chapter One: A New Life

"Dad! Are we there yet?" yelled Amy from the back seat of our royal blue sedan.

"Almost." I laughed, sharing a smile with my wife Christy. She had beautiful, porcelain skin and silky black hair. When she smiled, there was nothing the world could do but smile back.

She didn't mind my job. And I was glad. With the money I was making, I could buy whatever my family wanted. My employer even bought us a new house in Liberty City.

I was a driver for the Mob, the Leone Mafia. I had been for a few years, ever since one of my taxi fares, a young Luigi Goterelli, commended my skills to the Don himself. And when the Don moved to Liberty in 2000, he paid to bring my family and I with him.

I looked out of the window as I drove around the streets. Portland didn't look like the kind of place I wanted my daughter to grow up in, but Mr Leone assured me that this would be my last job. I could retire. I laughed when he said that – retire at twenty-five? Then again, the Mob's retirement plan isn't easily turned down. He said I could buy a house in Shoreside, the rich neighbourhood, with the money I would be rewarded.

We pulled into the driveway in front of the house. It was less magnificent than we had hoped. But it was only temporary. I climbed out of the car, and helped Amy out of the back, then I picked up our bags and carried them to the doorstep. The warm July sun beat down on us, reflecting off the car and windows. I creaked open the door and led the way in.

The interior was. . .liveable, at best. I wouldn't have wanted to stay more than a few weeks. I think that's how Christy felt too, until I reminded her – only temporary.

Mr Leone had given me most of the day to settle, told me to come see him at his mansion at around six.

I let myself fall back into an armchair and relax, and Christy went to the kitchen.

"Daddy, where's my doll?"

"Oh, it's in the van, precious. One of Mr Leone's friends is bringing it over tomorrow."

"But I want my doll!" she cried.

Just then Christy came running through, with a little plastic doll in a pink dress, and made everything better. Wow, she always thought of everything.

At six, I gave Christy a kiss on the cheek, gave Amy a hug and departed to Saint Mark's. The street was rife with homeless people, gang members carrying knives and baseball bats, women wearing virtually no clothes at all.

Only temporary.

The Saint Mark's area was overrun with sharp suited "businessmen", flashy black Sentinels cruised along the streets. I found it quite intimidating.

Thanks to the instructions and map left in the house, I found the Don's house, and slowly drove up the dirt path to the parking area. I told the man at the door who I was and he simply nodded and led me inside, into the luxurious lounge area where Salvatore sat with some men.

"Ah, nice to see you again, kid." Salvatore left his seat to pat me on the back. "Please, please sit down." He turned to his company, "This is the guy I've been telling you about, the one Luigi found. Kid, this is Toni,"

"How d'you do." said Toni, with a hand shake.

"This is my son Joey."

"Pleasure ta meet ya."

"And this is Mickey Hamfists, Luigi's doorman and a bit of extra muscle around here."

Mickey, who had let me in, nodded to me.

"Anyway, kid," said Salvatore, "I want you to take these guys to the old school hall for a wedding. Get the job done, and you get your payment, and won't be tied to the Mob any more."

"You got it, sir."

"Well?" said Toni, "Let's go already!"

"Joey, you stay here." commanded Salvatore.

We went out the front door and down the steps. I started to walk to my car.

"What you goin' to that pile of crap for?" grinned Toni. "Here." he threw me his keys.

I climbed into the front seat of his orange Kuruma, he and Mickey got in the back.

"We gotta go pick up Luigi. I'll give ya directions to his club."

Following Toni's directions we passed through Chinatown with some hateful expressions from the Triads and pulled up outside the neon lighting of Sex Club Seven.

Mickey stepped out of the car and walked round to the back entrance, returning with Luigi following behind. This time Mickey sat in the passenger seat and Luigi sat in the back with Toni, and they told me how to get to the hall.

I slowed down to manoeuvre the car around the plants in front of the school hall, and parked at the entrance.

Luigi said to keep the engine running. I didn't understand why I had to wait if they were going to a wedding, but for the amount of money I had been promised I was willing to do pretty much anything. There was a lot of shouting inside, and what sounded like gunshots, and things started to make more sense. I saw Toni leave first, yelling something like, "Take that ya Forelli Bastards!", then literally dive into the car, Mickey and Luigi following soon after.

"Get us the hell outta here, kid!" yelled Toni, his voice almost inaudible over the screeching of tyres all round us. The smell of burning rubber filled the air, the car literally leapt over the plants and kerbs and we sped off down the street.

"Wow, wait til I tell my wife about this!" I laughed.

The passengers exchanged looks quickly, and resumed staring out the windows, the chasing cars disappearing in the distance.

"I know somewhere we can go." said Luigi. "take us to 8-ball's yard, we can lay low there for a while."

"You got it, sir."

It was a straight road, through prime Mafia territory. Toni motioned for me to pull over, beside a navy blue suited man. Toni whispered to him, and he replied with a nod, before running off, talking into his cell phone. He stood in the middle of the street, directing Mafia traffic East in the direction of the school hall.

Toni was smiling.

"Alright, kid, 8-ball's is just up ahead, behind the auto dealers. Just take the road here, that's it."

I steered the car around the track, to 8-ball's trailor, and, as always, remained in the car until oredered to leave. Toni led the way to the door, and knocked loudly and repeatedly on the glass. A minute later, 8-ball appeared in a white long sleeved shirt and blue jeans.

"What's up, guys?" he said.

"8-ball, you got a minute?"

"Well, uh, I'm kinda busy right now." At this, a young woman appeared, leaning over 8-ball's shoulder. She smiled at Luigi, who nodded approvingly.

"We just gotta lay low for a while."

"Trouble with the Sindaccos again?"

"Forellis actually. Anyway, can you spray the car? Then we'll be outta your hair."

"Sure, I guess. Since it's you guys. I'll be back in a minute, babe." He eased the door shut. "Ya got keys?"

"Right here." I said, tossing him the keys.

He got into the car and reversed it into his garage, and closed the door behind him.

"I gotta go have a word with the Don." said Toni after a minute's silence. "I'll walk."

"Ya sure that's safe?" asked Luigi.

"Sure, I know a shortcut. Y'know, up the hill – none of the Forellis set foot up there."

"What about your car?"

"Kid, you make sure that car gets back to me at the Don's place, alright?"

"You bet, Mr Cipriani."

Twenty minutes later, the garage door reopened, revealing Toni's Kuruma in a new bottle green shade.

"Nice work, 8-ball." grinned Luigi. "Here's a little somethin' for your trouble." He placed some notes in 8-ball's shirt pocket, then climbed into the back seat of the car with Mickey.

I started the engine. "Where to?"

"Uh, take me back to my club, will ya? Mickey'll come to, right?"

Mickey nodded obediently.

"Sure thing." Obedience and good manners paid if you were tied to the Mob.

I drove out of the yard and along the street.

"Oh, y'know what, kid? Take us South from here. We wanna avoid the ruckus up ahead."

I obeyed, and drove through Hepburn Heights, and parked at Luigi's club to let Mickey and Luigi out.

"Ya did good, kid. Salvatore oughtta give a nice tip. See ya around."

I gave a subtle wave and sped through Hepburn Heights, past the car crusher, and up to Salvatore's mansion. I left Toni's car parked in the driveway. When I went inside, Salvatore, his son and Toni were standing together, talking in a low, almost inaudible murmur. I tried to listen.

"Yeah, dad, Chunky Lee Chong's history."

"You did that?"

"Nah dad, some guy did it for me, 8-ball's friend. Y'know the silent guy."

"I wanna meet him."

"So, Mr Leone," interrupted Toni, "what do we do about that other problem?"

"You know what to do about it. Both of you, go."

"Right, boss."

"Right, dad."

"Ah, my good friend!" exclaimed Salvatore when he noticed my presence. "What will I do without you, eh? You've been invaluable to me since I met you. I'm sorry to see you go."

"Yeah, me too, but-"

"And this, my friend, this is for you." He opened a briefcase of cash and showed me the money inside. "Half a million."

"Wow, that's so generous of you, I-" He placed the case down and embraced me with a hug and kissed my forehead.

"Well, it's been a pleasure, sir, but I have to be leaving."

"Nonsense!" cried Salvatore, nervously. "Stay a while! Here, have a drink." He handed me a glass and showed me to a chair. "So tell me, how are your family?"

"Great. My little girl's so smart, and-"

"Wonderful, wonderful. And. . ." We talked for quite some time, a number of people passed through the room, only Joey and Toni I recognised. Eventually, I left apologetically and dug my car keys out of my pocket, and began the drive home. I enjoyed driving. After all, it was my job. A well paying job, at that too, I thought, looking at the case on the passenger seat. I didn't have a care in the world. As far as I knew, nothing could bring me down.

The wailing sirens and rising smoke coming from my street should have been a clue.

I raced down the street, the whole time praying it wouldn't be my house, my family, my life. . .

The car screeched to a halt behind the fire engines and I saw the horrific sight in full. Smoke billowed from the windows, fire blazed from the kicked down door. I could hear the screams from inside, I snapped. I threw my coat over my head and made for the door. Firemen tried to pull me back but my intense willpower pushed me onwards. Rubble crumbled above my head, the fire spat at me and hissed like an animal.

I found her in the kitchen, her leg was trapped under a piece of the fallen ceiling.

She was already dead.

I still heard screaming. Amy! She must have been put to bed already. I scrambled up the stairs, skipping two or three at a time. I held my hand over my mouth to stop myself from choking on the fumes and flung open the first door I found. I saw Amy sitting there, tears in her eyes, hoarse from screaming.

The roof started to crack, I shielded myself as a support beam detached and fell about the door, bringing the rest of the wall with it. Amy was still on the other side. I could hear her screaming "Dad! Dad! Help!" but there was nothing I could do.

I ran back outside to get a fireman, and saw the house cave in behind me. The roof fell, the bricks shattered and fell inwards. All that was left was rubble.

I sat at the kerb, my head in my hands. Some people came over to check on me but I lashed out at them to leave me alone. The last thing I remember seeing was them putting my daughter into a body bag, and leaving the scene.

The sound of my cell phone ringing jerked me back into reality. I checked my watch. About an hour had passed since the scene. I remember them saying the time of death, ten forty-five pm.

I answered the phone, my shaking hand struggling to keep it at my ear. I managed to force a "hello?"

"Hello there." came the voice, a gruff, muffled male. "You used to work for Salvatore Leone? Am I correct?"

"Yes, but this isn't really-"

"It was unfortunate what happened to your family, but I have some information for you."


"Yes. I know who killed your family."