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Let me know (you were never in my way)

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I hate surprises.

 

You hate the mainland.

 

I hate surprises on the mainland. And you're even a shittier driver here.

 

Parking is hard!

 

It's not like Johnny hates surprises because it's a surprise- he just hates coming to the mainland. But when Boss asks you to do something you just go along with it.

 

So here he was. Window rolled down in the '02 Diamante, arm out catching the wind and letting it move through his fingers. Mainland smells like nothing. Nothing and it's way too fucking loud.

 

To many kids to many cops to many stores. Where did people even get the money to shop at all these places? It's to big .

 

Not that Johnny's ever had a problem with anything big.

 

He set his head back. "Remember when you would listen to me? No questions asked?"

 

The Boss cracks a smile and turns his head. "I remember being scared like a little bitch to say anything least I have to listen to you complain."

 

"So you do. I remember it fondly at times. Especially at times like this when you force me to come to Michigan."

 

"...force you?"

 

" And not only that but you don't even bring me anything to drink."

 

"Can we go back to the force you part? Johnny I used all of my strength to get you to sit down and take off the necklace giving you an allergic reaction and I'm pretty sure I'm only still living because you like me. You waltzed onto the boat, complained coming over here." Boss weaved as a pedestrian walked in his way, fucking Michigan." And willingly got into this car."

 

"Well yeah you're the Boss."

 

"Trust me if I thought you would listen to me based solely on that fact you would stop wearing the expensive silver and get the chains your not allergic to."

 

"It's a statement."

 

"It's called sensitive skin."

 

Boss really should have expected the receipt thrown at the side of his face.

 

***

 

Johnny didn't get it.

 

Well no. It's a house. He knows that but he doesnt get why they're here .

 

But the Boss just gestured him inside as he walked behind him.

 

So Johnny did what Johnny does best-trusted the boss and walked into the house like he owned it.

 

First thing was the smell . Lysol and vinegar, nothing else. The walls were covered in scotch marks only to be beaten by the hardwood floors. The dark green furniture blended in with the dark green walls. There were an assortment of pictures scattered around the place. Wait, hang on-

 

"Yo is this you ?" Johnny fingers one of the photos on the wall. He's around his preteens with gangly hands on small wrists holding onto some plaque that Johnny can't make out. But it's the Boss.

 

He looks more and its...it's all the Boss. Baby pictures with fat arm rolls waving to toddler pictures holding stuffed animals by its stomachs. Pictures of the Boss as a kid elbow deep in something or other. Birthday parties, graduations, gun permits.

 

All of it was the Boss.

 

"Yeah." The Boss murmured Johnny jumped. Forgot he was actually there for a moment. "This is my parents house."

 

Johnny just about shit himself.

 

All he could do was stare at Boss- for a moment, just one, the Boss wasn't this crazy asshole,he was someone's son .

 

"Jesus."

 

"Never met him." The Boss joked. "Although I've met the devil few times. Impressed with me I think." His gaze shifts off from Johnny's. His blue eyes tighten and his jaw sets. A smile of sorts. "Hey ma."

 

Johnny fucking whips his head around, so hard his glasses start to fall off. He pushes them back on and studies the women in front of him.

 

She was tall . As tall as The Boss. She had frizzy hair in clumps of brown and grey, dressed in  right saggy clothes. She had a peace sign made of turquoise hanging from her neck and glasses just as thick.

 

Dark eyes,crazy outgrown eyebrows and a nose just the tiniest big for her face. She was grinning and Johnny could see all her fillings. "Hi baby."

 

Her stomped across the floor in her clunky clogs and pretty much shoved Johnny out of the way to grip The Boss's shoulder. She squeezes, runs her fingers over his shirt. "I can't believe it."

 

Fingers through his hair. "I just can't believe it!"

 

Smooths out his shirt, runs a finger across his forehead and sticks his thumb into his mouth to tap his teeth. "I cant fucking believe it!"

 

Johnny can't fucking believe it either. The Boss is just standing there looking down at this crazy women whose full on about to pick his nose and he's not doing anything about it. Just taking it.

 

The boss looked up and finally the crazy turns and notices Johnny. But she just keeps smiling. "Who the fuck are you?"

 

It's so calming. Like she asked what time it was. It took him off guard and it was a moment before he could answer. "Uh. Uhm I'm Johnny. Gat. Johnny Gat."

 

She stares at him. Then pats his head. "I cant believe  it." She murmured.

 

Johnny looked up at the Boss and he's staring at her petting Johnny's hand. "Ma." He says. "Loraine?"



She squeezes Johnny's cheeks and leans in so close that Johnny backed into the wall. Her breath smelled like sour candy."That's what you call me. You call me Loraine."

 

"Loraine." Johnny repeated. He wanted to rip off Loraines hands.

 

"Its not my name." She said. "Baby knows that. But he doesn't know my name. I don't know my name. He knows my name."

 

Then she grabs Johnny's wrists and yanks towards the next room before he could think who the He was. Johnny feels the Boss hand on his shoulder and feels it squeeze. As they are walking he whispered "She's harmless."

 

Loraine isn't listening and Johnny wondered if she ever did. She's humming under her breath. "What's her name?" Johnny asks.

 

The next room is a dining room where Loraine let's go of Johnny's wrist. She turns towards the Boss and smooths out his hair. Licks her thumb and rubbed it across his cheek. "My baby boy. My baby baby."

 

Then she turns and goes into the other next room with lead feet.

 

The Boss takes a deep breath and holds it. Let it go."I never knew. My father changed it."

 

Johnny looks into the Boss's face. He's not sure what he's feeling-curious that's for one. Creeped the fuck out is the next.

 

So he shifts in his standing spot. Jean's suddenly feel scratchy and he's wishing he wore slacks. Glad he wore his clear glasses least Loraine tried to poke his fucking eyes out. "She's uh…" crazy? Friendly?

 

"Something." Boss murmurs. He pulls out a seat and gestures for Johnny to sit. "It might be a while."

 

As he said that a clank clank clook was heard from the kitchen. She didn't stick her head out t say she was okay.

 

"Right." Johnny says. He sits back in his chair and looks around. No pictures in here, just decorative plates in shelfs.

 

He started tapping his fingers on the table. "Alright why we here? Not that in not thrilled to have seen you in a Jersey way to big." He adds. "But there has to be something else? Someone die?"

 

The Boss shakes his head. "Just kind of...I dunno. Enjoy the time? Jesus I had this all planned out."

 

"You're not proposing are you?" Johnny asks. Not that he would be totally against that.

 

But he gets a flat look then a smile. "You're always hitting on me."

 

"And you're always cock teasing me. Pot versus kettle." Johnny jokes.

 

It's not like they haven't been...whatever. They've been "whatever-ing" for a little while now. It's been. Well.

 

Fucking-fantastic.

 

Going out to their city, being able to drink all the Freckle Bitches homemade lemonade still their body bursts and protecting their turf. Watching The Boss be The Boss  and doing what he's made for then Johnny coming home to see him in ratty jeans and t-shirt. It does stuff to a guy.

 

And it makes sense. After Aisha Johnny wasn't really sure he was ever going to be able to love someone again.

 

He was right. He always loved The Boss. Even talked about with Eesh once.

 

What would you say to me asking Playa to move in with us?

 

How long you guys been fucking for?

 

What- what no. Were not having sex. I wouldn't cheat on you.

 

Honestly Johnny I thought you and him were a packaged deal now. I would understand.

 

Eesh.

 

Have you seen his ass? I would fuck it.

 

...obviously.

 

Johnny loves the Saints. The Boss is the Saint. Saves everyone's ass at the last moment,kills anyone threatening anyone.

 

The boss is grinning. "That's kind of why I brought you here."

 

"Wait are you actually proposing?"

 

"Jesus H no. God no. No. Blegh." He actually shudders at the thought. "Not dealing with government. Just thought you might want to. I don't know."

 

"My baby baby." Lorraine sing songs from the doorway. Drifts in and Pat's Johnny's head. "You don't look like him.'

 

The Boss stands, takes the pitcher of something brown from her hands. "Ma, Ma. Dad is dead."

 

But she doesn't listen. She shakes her head side to side and her pendent hits Johnny in the face a few times. "No, no baby baby boy. He's coming back. He's going to want to see you."

 

Loraine lifts her hands and holds the Boss's face. Squeezes his checks.  "I can't believe it.Coming back, coming back. Baby baby he's coming back."

 

She slowly let's her hands fall down and walks into the kitchen as she repeats her chant. Baby baby he's coming back.

 

What the fuck. "What the fuck."

 

"I know." The Boss said. He's staring down at Johnny and hold up a hand. "Wait here a moment."

 

And Johnny waits there a moment. Admires the plates. They sure are plates.

 

Boss is back. "Here." And hands Johnny a picture.

 

It's the Boss as a child and Loraine. Besides her is a man almost as tall.

 

Blue eyes, blonde hair and shoulders as wide as a doorway. He has his hands around the Boss's shoulders just barely wrapped around the base of his neck.

 

Controlling.

 

It's not my real name.He changed my name.

 

"Oh." Johnny said softly.

 

"He was a biochemical engineer." The Boss said. "Worked for the government. Made explosives but he was to scared to actually make so he got the math wrong. Then he forgot how to do the actual formulas."

 

"I thought you grew up in the Island?"

 

"I did. For a while. My ma and I were there when he was away. I was actually born in the lake apparently because my dad was so anxious about somebody finding him. Who needed a hospital?"

 

Boss sits back in the wooden chair and it creaks. The walls in here were the same shade as green as the living room. "He was so fucking anxious all the time.You want me to keep going?"

 

Johnny had just been staring at him. 15 minutes ago he didn't know anything about the man and now...well.

 

"I may actually throw you out the window if you stop." Johnny said.



"Before I go on you need to read the back." The boss says. "Of the picture."

 

"Yeah I know Idiot." Johnny replies fondly as he slips the photo around.

 

Lorraine (34)

Dr.Greenwich (32)

Riley(7)

 

oh .

 

Johnnly let's it wash over him. Feels it in his toes first and waits for the tingling to reach his knee, bum and good.

 

Theres a warmth in his fingers that spread to his elbows and the sensations meet in his chest.

 

Riley.

 

He looks up.

 

The Boss-he has a name. This idiot has a name.

 

"Riley." Johnny said. "Riley-"

 

"Greenwich."

 

"Riley Greenwich." Johnny repeats.

 

It's weird. He still had dark hair and blue eyes. Bottom lip fuller than his top, nose just the bit upwards. Beard setting in his face comfortably. Johnny's pretty sure that's that same scratch on his mouth that Johnny licked at earlier.

 

He was the Boss. The boss. His name was Riley.

 

Johnny prided himself on being a calm man. So he proved himself by lounging across the rickety table and kissed Riley.

 

Riley. Riley. "Fuck." He groaned. Part from saying his name and part from the corner of the table sticking into his side.

 

Riley laughed and he breathed out against Johnny's lips. He wrapped his arms around Johnny's waist and brings him closer.

 

"Figuered-" one kiss. "-that saying boss- " another kiss. "-was losing its charm."

 

Johnny didn't care what he called Riley. He just wanted to call him.

 

The moment Loraine walked in from the door. "Baby, baby boy. Are you eating?"

 

And Riley jolted back from Johnny's mouth. He grins. "Yeah. Yeah sorry Ma."

 

Johnny grins back and keeps his hand at Rileys neck in support. Squeezes.

 

Riley presses a kiss against his knuckle.