The bitter cold winds swept across Tomas Delgado’s face the instant he crossed the threshold onto his porch. A faint frown creased his brow as he squinted his eyes to read the time on his wristwatch. Kissing his teeth to express his disapproval, he glared down at his tardy guests as they leisurely walked toward him. One agonizing pace at a time. The three men he had been expecting were his two brothers, Diego and Niro Delgado and his second in command, Vince Cantor. One more attendee of this significant gathering was Arturo Rios. A punctual man, just as his boss, Tomas. An attribute that easily bonded the two men. The three late comers nodded courteously at their leader as they scaled the staircase onto the porch where Tomas stood. The floorboards creaked under their weight. Their buoyancy forced Tomas Delgado to rethink the verbal attack he had primed to unleash to soothe his growing rage.
Diego Delgado offered a cynical smile upon reaching his brother. His right hand stretched out for a handshake. Unenthusiastically, Tomas received him with a firm shake and a stoic expression.
“You’re late.” He couldn’t help but point out the obvious.
“We are here.” His defiant brother retorted.
“Follow me.” Tomas instructed as he turned his back to the group and walked back into the building. A five thousand square feet property he purchased five years prior in Mendoza, Argentina. The residence was designed with secrecy and defense in mind. A place to organize a coup he had been formulating for over a decade.
All four men walked in silence until they reached his study. Tomas pushed the door inward and marched to his seat behind a huge mahogany desk. The rest joined Arturo in chairs across from him.
“I take it the time has come to execute your master plan?” Diego began with a derisive tone.
Tomas nodded his response and remained in silence for a long moment as he scanned the faces of the men before him. He understood too well the anxiety each man before him was feeling because he felt it as well. They heard the rumors and two of the men in the room had experienced firsthand the power of the man they hunt.
The terror within each man could be sensed. The fear of the unknown seemed impossible to deal with. Their hearts were fearful, not daring to face impossible odds. If they were terrified, they were soldiers first and did not show it.
“About time.” Niro Delgado, the youngest of the three brothers expressed his impatience for a plan they had been in preparation for the past decade.
“This must be impeccably executed. This is not a test. We have one shot to do this and do it right.”
“This has been in the works for many years, Tomas. We are over-prepared.”
“We are ready, boss.” Arturo coincided.
Vince and Niro concurred with more than a few nods.
“Carlos will be back in town before the new year for his famous year-end celebrations. As prudently planned, it’ll go down on New Year’s eve.”
“Do we have all the men we need?” Said Diego.
“Yes. I secured the support of three prominent families, names I will reveal at a later date. To commemorate their endorsement, they’ve dispatched their men to assist us. So far we have eighty men at our disposal.”
“That’s comforting to know.” Diego murmured.
Sensing his repugnance, Tomas elected to disregard his impudence but would address it after the meeting.
“Weapons?” said Niro, who had been in full support of his brother’s strategy since the beginning of the lethal plan.
“I have been preparing for this long before I brought you all in. We have more than enough to see us through.” Tomas reassured.
“New Year’s eve, it is.” Vince Cantor uttered with a single bob of his head.
“New Year’s eve.” All five men repeated in unison.
When they stood to exit their boss’s office, Diego Delgado remained in place. A move that did not surprise Tomas. Diego’s eyes focused on his brother as he brought his closed hands in front of his face as if saying a much-needed prayer.
“Say what is on your mind.” Tomas let out the moment the double doors shut behind the last man.
“Have you really thought things through to the tiniest detail?” Diego rubbed his chin as he considered the realities.
“It’s been over a decade, Diego. This is the only way in.”
“Besides all that, have you thought about the man? Do not forget you wouldn’t be where you are if it weren’t for that bastard. He elevated your status in this world. Everybody knows the romantic tale of Carlos and Tomas. After you do this, people will be reluctant to deal with you. The usurper. They will smile in your face, even support you in public but behind closed doors, there will always be a dark cloud hovering over your legitimacy.”
“You think I haven’t thought of that?” Tomas responded defensively. “I have considered all the facts. This is not about friendship or loyalty. This is about power, respect, wealth…”
“To what extent?”
“If you’d rather sit this one out, I absolutely understand…”
Diego raised his hand up, “I will walk with you to the end of this world, you know that. I want to guarantee that you understand the significance of your actions. This thing ─ would define the reputation of the Delgado family for centuries to come.”
“We are doing this.” Tomas remained in control.
“Yes, we are.” Diego rose to his feet and offered him a quick salute followed by an astute glare before walking out of the room, leaving in his wake a thick cloud of uncertainty.
Release Date: 01.21.2020