It wasn’t like Tommy to be this silent during a family meeting, usually his voice would be booming, orders and instructions roaring from his mouth. But after Michael’s audacious suggestion to restructure the company, Tommy had become quiet, his eyes fixated on the window.
Then Isaiah bursted into The Garrison, his breath heavy. “Tommy, it’s Barney - he’s fucking cut through the rope! We’re giving chase but we need more help.”
Despite the panic in Isaiah’s voice, Tommy continued to look dazed. Polly looked at the others anxious.
“Tommy,” she called.
He blinked bewildered as he snapped himself back to reality. “Yeah...erm, Arthur, all of ya...go find him and bring him back here.”
Arthur moved cautiously, the casual tone in Tommy’s voice making him nervous.
“Go!” Tommy boomed and they darted out of the room, all except Polly, Michael, Gina and Aberama. They watched him, all curious about what was going on in that fucked up brain of his.
After a moment of silence, Tommy stood up and glared at Michael, who despite wearing a confident smirk, shivered with fear. “You better not be here when I come back.”
Polly stood. “Where are you going, Tommy?”
Tommy headed towards the door. “Home.”
It had been a while since Tommy had been to the beach. It was a favourite pastime of his when he was a child. But like everything in his life, the occupational hazard that came with his profession ruined its sweet memories with blood and death. How amusing that he’d come here again to find salvation - if that was even possible for a man like him.
Has he drove past a sign that said ‘Welcome to Margate’ , Tommy exhaled. Almost there , he thought. Almost home.
When he reached the top of the hill, a mansion greeted him. Others would’ve gawked at its size but Tommy had seen it quite enough times to still be dazzled by its structure.
Tommy opened the back door of his car and a brown dog raced out. Hearing his familiar bark, the mansion’s door opened, letting the dog in. A maid stood at the entrance, a surprised expression on her face.
“Mr Shelby, we weren’t expecting you until next month.”
“Had a change of heart. Is he sleeping?”
The maid smiled. “Yes, he’s just taken his medication.”
“Did you check if he swallowed it?”
The maid pondered for a moment and Tommy smirked. “Don’t worry, I’ll check myself.”
He followed the dog up the stairs and into the Master Bedroom, where Alfie Solomons slept peacefully. Tommy put a finger to his lips, silencing the eager dog who was excited to surprise their master. Tommy just wanted to admire him for a while, even if he was pretending.
As expected, Alfie soon opened his left eye and peered around the room. “She gone?”
Tommy smirked as he leaned against the door. “Yes.”
Immediately, Alfie spat out the tablets into the bin beside his bed, hurling at the awful taste of it still in his mouth. “Fucking awful they are, just fucking awful.”
“They’re not sweets Alfie, they’re not meant to taste nice, they’re meant to make you better.”
Alfie pointed to his right eye, blinded by the gunshot Tommy gave him months ago. “Great job they’re doing aren’t they,” he huffed as he sat up against the head of the bed. “Nah, I think I’ll just rely on the good ol’ Lord for this one.”
“You sure he’s still on your side?” Tommy asked.
“I’m alive aren’t I? I’d say that’s a good sign I’m still in his favour.”
Cyril’s impatient whimper interrupted them and a bright smile curled onto Alfie’s face.
“Is that you, Cyril? Come here, boy!” he called and Cyril leapt onto the bed. “Didn’t see you there, my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be due to a certain cunt standing over there but I’ll be okay!” Alfie said as he petted Cyril affectionately. “Is Papa Tommy taking good care of you? No? He hasn’t fed you your favourite snack, ‘Peaky Blinders and mash’? Well that’s very naughty of him isn’t it? Let me sort that out for you-”
Suddenly, Alfie pulled out a revolver from underneath his bedsheets. Tommy rolled his eyes at the familiar scenario.
“What you doing here, Tommy?”
“How many times are you going to point that stupid gun at me?”
“Well considering the events that took place a few months ago I think it’s fair that I do what I’m thinking of doing to you right now, mate. ”
“What happened to for better or for worse ?” Tommy asked.
“Oh fuck off, since when did you stay honest to your vows?”
“Since the day we got married.”
Alfie blinked in shock but then composed himself and returned to his usual suspicious glare. “You still got the ring?”
Tommy waved his hand in the air. “Always.”
“You been unfaithful since you left here the last?
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
Alfie narrowed his eyes at Tommy, doubtful of his words.
Alfie smiled, happy with his answers.
“Looks like we got a keeper, eh, Cyril.”
Alfie placed the revolver on the desk next to him, inviting Tommy to safely enter. He removed his coat and hung it next to some of his jackets that he often kept at Alfie’s house before sitting on the bed next to him.
Leaning in, Tommy pressed his lips against Alfie’s, a luxury he’d been denied for weeks. Their kiss was slow and soft, a silent confession that neither had the chance to say for a long time. Society and their families would’ve given them hell for sharing their love publicly, so for now, they had to keep it a secret.
Parting from each other, they rested their foreheads together. Alfie reached for Tommy’s hand and nestled his scarred face in his palm.
“I’ve missed you,” Tommy confessed.
“So have I, darling.”
Tommy planted a kiss on his scarred cheek before cradling Alfie’s head against his chest. For a few moments he held him in silence, the feeling of Alfie in his arms giving him a comfort he’d been yearning for a while.
“Now are you going to take your tablets or am I going to have to ram them down your throat?” Tommy warned.
“Where did I put that revolver?” Alfie said as he looked around the room before pointing to the gun on his desk. “Ah, there it is.”
But before he could reach it, Tommy pulled him back down onto the bed with him, laughing as Alfie tried to squirm out of his hold.