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The Second Chapter…Meet Colette Baptiste

The second chapter is narrator by Colette Baptiste, Kylie’s cousin and Denis Baptiste’s only daughter. A “mafia princess” of sorts, she often sees things only through her own self-centered perspective. However, I love her. She’s my second favorite of all my characters. I think she’s funny and even has her caring moments. And I love her name. We will need to find a hottie to play her when my book gets made into a successful HBO series.

Chapter 2

Squad Cars

(COLETTE)

Okay, so that day—like the Thursday before Thanksgiving—really sucked. There’s no other word for it. It just plain sucked. My dad got arrested. Obviously, I couldn’t go to school. Who can sit through statistics with that shit on the news? And people would just be all staring at me—like I was the freaking criminal or something.

But, I had a good plan. I was going to hang tight until Kylie called me. She’d know what to do.  You need a plan in situations like this. Believe me.

I was on Long Island early that morning with my mom. She was freaking out, of course. But by about ten thirty, I got back the apartment on the West Side. It felt really weird knowing that just a few hours ago a bunch of cops had been swarming around the place. I felt kind of nauseous walking in the building.

My phone vibrated and almost fell right off the nightstand next to my bed.

“Hello?”

“Hey, beautiful.” It was Gabriel—a hottie that works for Kylie’s boyfriend (well, not boyfriend—I’ll get to that). “We’re going at 9. We got Lot 61. Do you and Styles want us to pick you up?”

“No, uhh, that’s okay…” I completely forgot to tell Kylie that I made plans with Thade and his boys. Plus, how was Thade going to pick anyone up? He drove a yellow Lamborghini.

After I hung up the phone, I sat there wondering what to do with the rest of my day before Kylie called. I took a look in my closet and started thinking about Thade “Diablo” Beauvoir and his friends. What would be a good dress to wear? What does a guy who calls himself “Diablo” like in a girl’s outfit? It was a ridiculous name. Kylie made fun of it a few times in the beginning. He took us out one time and gave the waitress a two hundred dollar tip for one round of drinks. When I asked Kylie where he wanted to go next she said, “I don’t know. Ask the big tipper.” But I couldn’t hear her right and thought she said “the Big Dipper.” You know, like the star or constellation or whatever. So, I call him “Big Dipper” or just “The Dip” now. But Kylie gets mad if I say it too loud. I don’t think someone who calls himself “Diablo” would take kindly to my calling him “The Dip.”

Plus Kylie can’t make fun of people’s nicknames too much. First, we live in the nightclub world—everyone has a nickname. Second, she has a nickname herself: Styles Baptiste. Kylie maintains that it’s not her fault she has a stupid nickname. It was all Mark’s idea. Back when they opened their club—they had this small place in Long Beach, a great summer hang out—Mark thought they could attract more people if she used my last name. And he was right. It sounded cooler—more dangerous even—to hang out with Styles Baptiste than Kylie Baines. Bland.

Anyway, Kylie doesn’t call Thade by his nickname or his real name. She doesn’t call him anything. She mostly avoids him now. We met him on Labor Day weekend. Kylie was totally drunk (my fault for ordering like four rounds of SoCo and Lime). She was fawning over this yellow Lamborghini parked outside Oxygen, this trendy club in East Hampton.  It was parked right next to a hydrant. What an ass! She pointed at the car and yelled to me. Who needs to drive that kind of car? Must be compensating for something. Then she made me take her picture sprawled out on the hood. Totally wasted, I know.

Then, in full spread on the hood, bleep-bleep… The sound startled Kylie and she slid right off the freshly waxed car. I laughed so hard I peed a little in my pants. What a friggin’ scene.

Then we saw who unlocked the car. Thade walked over to Kylie and helped her up. He made some lame comment about how she must want go for a ride. Kylie pushed her way past him, stumbling and still laughing as she came up to us.

As we walked down the street, Thade slowly followed us with the passenger window rolled down. He kept on until Kylie gave him her number. The very next day he was at my dad’s house for our Labor Day barbeque. Kylie’s face when my uncle introduced him was priceless. Priceless! I laughed so hard my margarita almost came through my nose. Then my dad shot me a look and I stopped.

Since then, they’ve been dating—kind of. More like a power couple in a loveless marriage. It’s kind of superficial, but it’s fun for me. Kylie doesn’t admit it, but she has fun sometimes too. How could you not be a little infatuated with someone like Diablo Beauvoir? He’s taken her out wherever she wants to go. Him and his entourage are always at our clubs—making us even more popular than we were before. He buys her tons of gifts. And he’s nice. I can’t really find much wrong with him. And it’s nice to see my cousin with someone who’s not a selfish, cheating dick.

“The Dip” might not be the love of her life but he’s so much better than Mark Esposito. You’ve got to hear this one too. You know what’s kind of funny about Kylie’s reaction to Mark’s cheating on her? She didn’t lose it when she found out about him and Stacey, this slut they hired to be a bartender. She lost it way later.

The club was all Mark’s idea—I mean, Kylie had just finished her freshmen year of college at the time and he was like 25.  She didn’t really know much about opening a club. But she was excited about it all the same—Mark Esposito could get you excited about anything, about a piece of dog poop even. He was the type of good-looking, charming, smart guy that could say, “Check out this piece of poop.” And despite yourself, you’d probably say, “That’s some freaking awesome poop. It’s such a unique color of poopy brown.” Plus, he had money—he dealt both special K and crystal meth all around clubs on Long Island and Queens. So, essentially, Mark was a really likable douchebag. Kylie probably knew that dating Mark was against her better judgment, but she didn’t care.

So, like I said, they opened this club—mostly with Mark’s money. My dad offered to help Kylie (I thought she was dumb not to take it) but Kylie didn’t want any Baptiste money. She didn’t want to owe Dad anything.

She worked her ass off that first summer. They barely broke even—but they made it. Kylie started working for my dad at the Loose Moose during the school year just to pay the rent in the off-season. But the next summer—the club blew up. (I mean it was very successful. It didn’t actually blow up.) Mark convinced Kylie to use my last name and change her first name for all club purposes. Once she became Styles Baptiste, everyone wanted to hang out with her. I mean everyone. She worked all summer again, this time at both places: the Moose and her own place.

They made so much money. One weekend Kylie told me that her bar brought in over forty thousand between Thursday and Sunday. The more money they made, the more Mark spent. The more Kylie worked, the less Mark worked. But Kylie was too busy to see it. We think now that Mark started seeing Stacey about halfway through that summer. And he started doing his own product. That’s totally against drug dealer business code by the way. You never do your own stuff. That’s how you get sloppy. That’s how you lose money. He kept on seeing Stacey too.

That brings us to last June. Kylie found out about Stacey then. Obviously, she freaked one night. She was mostly mad at Stacey who made the giant mistake of calling my cousin a bitch and saying that she deserved it. I mean what the fuck, right? Kylie was so enraged that my brother had to hold her back. Her arms and legs were flailing and he carried her away. She got loose and Blaise couldn’t get her back before she cracked Stacey in the nose. It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. This girl who stole my cousin’s boyfriend, acted all two-faced for months, then talked smack about it, now stood there with blood gushing out of her face. Stacey yelled about how she was going to get her brother to come after Kylie. Blaise screamed back, “Yeah, you ain’t gonna do shit.” Then he turned to Vin and some other guys, “Get this bitch out of here.”

Mark had already wormed away though. I think he knew that Blaise might have kicked his ass if he stayed. From that night, the club was unofficially Kylie’s. On paper it was still Mark’s. But my family said Kylie owned it and Mark was out. That makes Kylie the owner—plain and simple. She was hurt though. Kylie didn’t even want the club anymore. My dad sent in some people to help her. Blaise had the pleasurable duty of letting Mark know that he was no longer welcome. But Kylie begged him not to hurt Mark.

But that’s not all of it. Like I said, the Stacey beat down was my second favorite moment. Kylie threw this awesome birthday bash for me the following summer. And Mark had the balls to show up. Incidentally, my birthday is the same weekend as Mark’s. He freakin’ trotted in with Stacey, his brother Jeff, and a whole bunch of other Puerto Ricans in tow—like he’s there to take back his territory. I remember this shit like it was last week.

“Oh my God.” I said to Kylie. We were in the back lounge sipping on some vodka cocktails.

“Oh my God, what?”

“I can’t believe this dickhead.” Mark and his group came in like they owned the place. I looked back and Kylie was gone. She was already half way to the bar. I grabbed Blaise. About five of us followed her. I kept jumping to see over people’s heads as we maneuvered through the dance floor. I saw Mark, but no Kylie.

Then I looked at the bar. Kylie walked around it, grabbed something, and started walking outside. She didn’t even acknowledge Mark. She looked calm even. I looked back at Mark and he yelled something to her. Then his face changed and he jumped over some booths to get to her. The rest of his group followed. I looked back at my cousin. She had a baseball bat in her hand.

Blaise ran outside with his friends and a few other bouncers. When I finally pushed my way through, I saw Blaise put is arm across Vin to stop him from reaching Kylie. I heard him say, almost sinisterly, “This is going to be fucking awesome” as I walked up.

I scoured the parking lot for Kylie, trying to figure out what “this” meant. Then I heard it. Glass shattered and hit the pavement. She was busting all the windows on Mark’s Escalade.

“What the fuck? You fucking bitch!” I heard Mark scream from about thirty feet behind me. He ran up but Blaise turned and hit him. I had like two seconds to get out of the way before all the guys starting fighting. It was crazy. You know, punching doesn’t sound like the way it does in movies. It’s kind of blunt. Not glamorous or cool at all. It just sounds really disgusting.

The cops were there almost instantly. Someone on line outside must have called. The next thing I remember was Kylie and Blaise (and just about every guest at my birthday party but me) getting put in cop cars. There was a big crowd surrounding us. So many people but they hardly said anything.

It’s not everyday you see a brawl and a girl taking a baseball bat to the windows of an SUV. I saw Kylie stare at Stacey while the cops were cuffing her. Stacey yelled, “You stupid bitch!”

Kylie smiled real big and laughed at her. Stacey said, “You don’t have anything to say for yourself.” Kylie looked at her hands behind her back, “I do. You just can’t see my finger.”

As she got into the backseat of the squad car, she called out to Stacey, “How’s your nose?”

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The first chapter…Meet Kylie Baines

Below is the first chapter of my novel. It’s told by Kylie Baines–pretty much the main character as most of the action revolves around her. She’s trying to finish her last year of college while helping run the family businesses. Except her family doesn’t exactly own restaurants or veterinarian clinics. They dabble in all kinds of business, anything they want to make their business really. Kylie has just found out that her uncle (the head of the family) was arrested this morning. To make matters worse, she received a found call from her uncle’s eldest son–the man who happens to be an Asst. District Attorney. So, her uncle is about to be taken down by his own son.

Chapter 1

Deep Breaths

(KYLIE)

 

After I hung up the phone, I sat in my car and stared for a moment—trapped in the replay of the conversation that just happened. I hate when life feels like it’s happening to you. You’re not living it. You’re just being rolled over by its events. And all you can do is stand outside yourself and watch—like you’re in a movie or TV show or something. That’s how I feel sometimes—blurry and surreal.

My mom called as I started walking to Darcy Hall, already fifteen minutes late for my meeting with Professor Barnes.  Mom was the last person I wanted to talk to. And, of course, I immediately felt guilty for the big sigh I let out when I heard her worried voice on the other end. I wouldn’t have even answered but it was too late. Between the juggling of my bag and my many layers of clothing, I forgot to look at the caller I.D. And I was hoping it was my cousin Blaise calling. Not that Blaise was the type to have a plan, but at least I could commiserate with him about our situation.

To make things worse I made the stupid mistake of telling her that Brice had called me. Before she called she was just worried about my uncle’s arrest. Now her concern had at least doubled. I was sure she was just sitting there thinking that I would be arrested that day too. Even I was panicking about that. As I walked quickly up the endless row of cars, my eyes darted between the many potholes in CSU’s student lot and the lot’s entrance. I was sure there would be multiple NYPD squad cars followed by Channel 5 News trucks speeding in any second.

Then something else grabbed my attention. I saw another Mercedes CLK—this time in navy blue. I had never seen another car like that in the student lot. Like a Benz or Jaguar or Beamer. It was brand-new too. Most students drove little Hondas or old SUVs their parents gave them. No one takes a car like that into this part of the Bronx. I looked back at my own CLK and regretted how dirty it was. (Should’ve never gotten the car in white.)

After walking a few minutes I felt slightly better.  Better considering that I just found out my uncle had been arrested, my thickheaded egomaniacal cousin was probably going to prosecute his own father, I would probably be called in to testify, and I was late for school—the only semblance of normality in my life. To top it all off, I just basically hung up on my mom who was only calling to make sure I was okay. I think it was just numbness from the cold instead of actually feeling better. My mind was still everywhere.  I just had to calm down.

Breathe in.

I felt the crisp November air flow into my nose. This week the wind was assaulting compared to the fifty-degrees and partly sunny we had last week. It whirled around and pushed against my steps, making me take notice of it like an annoying younger sibling.

When my life feels like it’s going to shit, I sometimes focus on my breathing.  It gives me something steady to concentrate on, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of yoga guru who meditates all the time. And I know it’s cheesy but when I think about my breathing, suddenly I become aware of my life in a different way. I feel solitary, but not in a self-pitying way.  Not isolated, just solitary.

My bag got gradually heavier on the long walk to Darcy Hall on the other side of campus, almost to the new library. I switched it to the other shoulder and now the monogram faced inward and laid up against the side of my body. I thought about that monogram for a moment. KCB. Kylie Carine Baines. I was suddenly glad that my real last name wasn’t Baptiste. But then I realized…it doesn’t matter anyway. No one knew me as Kylie Baines, daughter of a school district superintendent Patrick Baines. I was Styles Baptiste, the niece of Denis Baptiste, Jr. who ran one of the biggest crime families in New York.

Then I thought about whose bright idea it was for me to change my name. Mark said it would be great for our club. The name “Baptiste” would bring everyone in. And it did. And for a while, things worked out great.

Mark Esposito. That name came slithering out of the corners of my mind since Brice called this morning. And now it had made its way to the bottom of my stomach where it contorted around and wringed out my energy. I had no nostalgic feelings towards my ex-boyfriend. A lot had happened since we opened that club.

But I shouldn’t be wasting my time on Mark and the past. I needed to keep my head on straight. I had a lot to take care of with school, and a lot more to take care of when I got home. Thinking about my ex was the last thing I needed to do. I decided to call my cousin Blaise to find out the latest details.

Yo, it’s Blaise. You know the drill.

I’ve always hated his stupid voicemail message. I stopped in my tracks and nearly growled. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t answering his phone. There was a good chance that while my uncle was arrested he was in the shower. Shit, there was a good chance my cousin was still in the shower. And he wonders why Uncle Denis has me take care of the important stuff.

I called Vinnie instead. He was one of our most trusted employees. On the surface he was just a manager at The Saddle, the strip club my uncle owns on the Lower West Side. But, he did a lot more than that.

“Hello.”

“Vinnie, where’s Blaise?”

“Not sure.”

“You need to find Blaise. Make sure he’s calm. Then tell him to liquidate the two accounts in the Bahamas. He knows which name to use. He has to start on this before they freeze it. Also, tell him not to call Andy Schwartzman. The D.A. will expect him to represent us. But, we’ll be using…”

“Not Andy. He always…”

“Don’t ask fucking questions, Vin.” Vinnie was about ten years older than me. I trusted him but our working relationship was strained sometimes. It was hard taking orders from a 21-year-old girl. But Vin never went any further than the occasional question. “I don’t think you know how serious this is. Brice fucking called me. The prick called me to throw this in my face. And you know why he’s so happy? Because they have Mark.”

“Shit, they have Mark?”

“Just tell Blaise to get in touch with Sal. And tell him to call me…later. And tell him not to make a big deal about meeting Sal. Discreet. Not like how he did the trucking deal…And make him think all this was his idea.”

Vin laughed a little at that last one. “Take care, Styles. Don’t worry about it, okay? Relax.”

“Yeah. Relax. Maybe next year.”

I didn’t realize it but there were two students walking about five or six feet behind me. Barking orders on a cell phone wasn’t exactly blending in on a day like today. I looked over my shoulder, but they were deep in conversation about some party going on this weekend.

Just as my fingers started to turn white from the chilled air, I turned the corner and saw Darcy Hall. It was one of the older buildings on campus.  In the middle of the big city, CSU was a little piece of ivied academia, a little beacon of knowledge and wisdom or so it would seem. I liked being there—I didn’t have to worry about anything else but school. I wasn’t Styles Baptiste there.

When I got inside Darcy Hall, I peered into every classroom as I walked down the newly renovated hallway. Everything inside was brightly lit—in a nauseatingly radioactive way. As I walked past, I turned my head as far as it would go to see every bit of the classroom without having to halt my stroll to the elevator.

At the elevator—another deep breath. I looked at the floor in front of me and shifted my weight from side to side. Late, yet again, for an internship with Professor Barnes I fought so hard to get. Maybe I should stop pretending like I’m a college student and just work for my uncle full time. At least I’m good at that.

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Prologue of North Shore / South Shore

Yes, I have a prologue. I think the first thing you might notice is that it’s not in Middle English like Chaucer’s. Oh good one! What an English nerd joke!

Anyway, I put the family tree (it’s a big family drama, think Dallas, that focuses on the lives of these old high school friends, think The O.C., who are now reunited during their college years). And then there’s the prologue which is written in third-person.

Sorry about the alignment of the text. I had to align it center so the family tree wouldn’t look odd. But I can’t get the body of the prologue to align left justified. Oh well…

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