Sparrow Page 2

I crossed one leg over the other and cupped one of my knees, amused. “Now your turn. How ’bout we hear about them sins, Father?”

He released a breath he’d been holding in a sharp sigh. “That’s not how confessions work.”

“Don’t I fucking know it,” I snorted. “This one’s a little different, though. So…” I brushed the screen dividing us with my glove and watched as he flinched on the other side. “I’m all ears.”

I heard the clatter of his rosary beads as they dropped from his hand and the creak of his chair when he kneeled down to pick them up.

“I’m a man of God,” he tried to reason with me.

I seethed with resentment. He was also a man who spilled secrets from the confessional.

“Not a soul on earth knew about the whereabouts of my father every Tuesday at ten p.m. Not a soul other than him and his mistress. And you,” I drawled. “Billy ‘Baby Face’ Crupti tracked down my father, unprotected and unarmed, because of you.”

He opened his mouth, intending to argue, but clapped it shut, thinking the better of it at the last minute. Somewhere in the distance a dog was barking and a woman was yelling at her husband in their backyard. Classic Southie reminders of the people I used to know before I moved to a skyscraper and reinvented myself.

McGregor gulped, stalling. “Troy, my son…”

I stood up, pushing my sleeves farther up my arms. “Enough. Out you go.”

He didn’t move for a few seconds, which prompted me to take out my knife and slice the grid open with a ripping sound. I shoved my hand into his booth, grabbing him by his white collar and pulling his head through the hole so I could take a good look at him. His gray hair stood out in all directions, damp with sweat. The horror in his eyes lightened my mood. His narrow, thin mouth hung open like a hooked fish.

“Please, please. Troy. Please. I beg you, son. Do not repeat the sins of your father,” he chanted, crying out in pain as I jerked him closer to my face.

“Open. The fucking. Booth.” I extended every word like it was a sentence of its own.

I heard a sleek click as he fumbled for the door. I released his hair out of my fist, and we both stepped out.

McGregor stood before me, several inches shorter. A chubby, sweaty, corrupted man pretending to be God’s messenger. A tasteless joke.

“You’re really going to kill your priest,” he pointed out sadly.

I shrugged. I wasn’t a hitman. I drew a thick red line somewhere near homicide, but this was personal. It was about my father. The man who raised me while my mom was too drunk on Bloomingdales sales and Sunday-brunch cocktails. She was so absent from my childhood, not to mention adulthood, that I was practically half orphaned. If nothing else, my father deserved closure.

“You’re just like them. I thought you were different. Better,” McGregor accused.

I pressed my lips into a thin line. My job had nothing to do with Irish mobsters. I didn’t need the Feds crawling up my ass every time someone farted in my direction and certainly had no interest in the framework of gang leaders and soldiers. I was a lone wolf, who hired a few people to help him out when help was needed. I had no buffer between me and my clients, colleagues and enemies. And most importantly, I sailed smoothly under the radar. Didn’t need to hide behind a dozen soldiers. When I needed someone gone, I handled them myself.

And Father McGregor had to pay for his sins. He was already supposed to be dead—collateral damage. But he hadn’t shown up where he was supposed to when I took out the guy he’d ratted my dad out to. Billy Crupti. The asshole.

So now I had to do this in a fucking church.

“Be quick,” he requested.

I nodded grimly.

“You were always his child. Had the Irish mob gene, the ruthlessness in your blood. You had no fear. Still don’t.” He sighed, extending his hand to me.

I stared at it like it was a ticking bomb, finally shaking it. His palm felt clammy and cold, his handshake weak. I pulled him into my body for an embrace, and clasped the back of his neck with one hand.

“And I’m so sorry,” he continued, sniffing into my shoulder, his whole body quivering as he struggled to hold back the tears. “Lapse of judgment on my end. I knew that he’d kill them, both of them. But at the time, I thought I’d be doing everyone a favor.”

“It was money, wasn’t it?” I whispered into his ear as we clasped each other, me pulling a knife from a sheath at my waist. “Billy paid you?”

He nodded, still sobbing, unaware of the knife. Someone had to pay him off, and pay him good to spill the beans about my dad. Someone who wasn’t Crupti, who couldn’t even afford the fucking special of the day at his local diner.

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