Anthony Sorrell looked up from his reading. His second-in-command, Marco Sant ‘Omero, stood watching him with a curious expression upon his face.
“What is it, Marco?”
“I am a little confused, Boss. You haven't said anything about what you plan to do about Corinthos.” He hastily added, “Not that I'm trying to second guess you or anything. But shouldn't we be working on a plan by now?”
Sorrell directed Marco to take a seat at the kitchen table. “Sonny Corinthos is a predictable man. He will expect us to dig in for the long run and move cautiously.”
“And we aren't?”
“No. This is the time to strike boldly. Perhaps the element of surprise will finally be Mr. Corinthos' undoing.” The mob boss closed the folder he had been perusing. He set it aside, rose and made his way to the counter behind Marco's chair.
“Sonny Corinthos has been quite fortunate in his anticipation of our actions this past year.” Sorrell selected a firm, ripe orange from an oversized glass bowl filled to the brim with fresh fruit of every kind. He placed it on a clear glass saucer and returned to his seat opposite Marco.
With the precision of a world-class surgeon, the mob boss cut the orange in half. The kitchen quickly filled with the fragrant aroma of the fresh fruit. “The number of occasions that Mr. Corinthos has preempted our advances into his territory is quite impressive for one so lacking in imagination,” Sorrell observed. Lightly he steadied the fruit with one hand as he sliced it into precision wedges with the other. In silence, Marco watched his employer expertly wield the wicked little knife.
“The other families felt no concern for Sonny Corinthos' unlikely streak of good fortune. But I,” Anthony Sorrell averred, “ I am a curious man.”
“Unfortunately for you, Marco.”
Marco Sant ‘Omero made an aborted sound of protest. He seemed to think better of his objection and instead allowed his shoulders to sag for just a moment. “How long have you known?”
“That you were in the pocket of the federal authorities?” Sorrell completed. “It does not matter.” He laid the knife down on the edge of the saucer and ate several wedges of juicy orange. “Oh, pardon me,” the mob boss apologized. He slid the saucer toward Marco, silently extending an offer to share. “It is really quite good,” Sorrell insisted in response to Marco's refusal.
Anthony Sorrell leisurely finished off the wedges of fruit and then delicately wiped his fingers on a linen napkin draped across his lap. He picked up the saucer and knife and carried them to the counter. As he passed his second-in-command, Sorrell saw the man flinch in fear. Marco sat stiff and frozen, afraid of Sorrell's unseen presence behind him.
The sound of water running in the sink slightly eased the tension in Marco's shoulders. He could hear the distinct clank of glassware being moved around in the soapy water and allowed himself to exhale raggedly.
It was the last breath he took. Marco felt a line of fire across his throat and then breathing became impossible.
“I loved you like a brother,” he heard Anthony Sorrell whisper sadly in his ear.