Splintering Hearts Chapter 28
Sal Mancusi and his wife Angela followed Mr. Jonas, the funeral home director, into the dimly lit room. The phone call Sal had received earlier that morning stated that the job had been done, and his son needed him to come to Port Charles to see the finished product for himself. Sal wondered why Bobby didn’t call, but the man explained that Bobby was instrumental in getting the final details completed, and Sal would see him as soon as he arrived in town.
Angela’s sniffles prompted him to drape his arm around her shoulders. The aging mobster derived little pleasure in hurting his wife, but she needed to know that their ne’er-do-well son, had met his maker. As expected, Angela was inconsolable.
Though it pained him to see his wife so grief-stricken, he had no regrets about his son’s end. Disloyalty was unacceptable. Eric had turned on the family, causing Bobby to serve ten years in prison. He had to pay for that, and his life was the ultimate price. Angela would get past her grief, she would just need time, and he would be there for her.
Standing before the closed coffin, Mr. Jonas turned to the Mancusis. “Are you ready?”
“Wait. Where is my other son?” Sal asked.
“He was just here, sir. I’m sure he’ll be back at any moment.”
Sal nodded. “You may proceed,” he said, his full attention on his disheartened wife.
Angela tightened her grip on Sal’s hand as Mr. Jonas lifted the top half of the coffin. All color drained from her face. “Oh, no,” she whimpered.
Sal’s gaze left the stunned woman and turned to the open casket. “Oh, my god!” Sal shrieked in horror. “What is this?”
Mr. Jonas was perplexed. “Is this not your son?”
“This is supposed to be Eric, not my Bobby. What is going on here?!”
“What you wanted, Pop,” Matt said, making his way from behind the thick greenery and huge floral arrangements that surrounded Bobby’s coffin. “Thank you, Mr. Jonas, that will be all.”
The man wasted no time in making his exit.
Matt stared at his brother’s lifeless body then turned to his father. “Are you happy now? This is what happens to people who live in your world.”
Ellen entered the funeral home and was met by the sound of raised voices. Following the noise, she stopped just outside the room that housed Bobby’s remains. It was decided that she would stay at the apartment while Matt dealt with his family, but after he left, she realized she couldn’t stay away. Considering the way things were going at this point, she knew it was a good thing she showed up.
“What have you done?” Sal railed.
“Survived, Pop. I’ve always had that survival instinct, and thanks to you I now have a killer instinct, too.”
“So, you did do this?”
“No, you did this. You did it when you sent Bobby after me…<I><b>again</I></b>. All I wanted was to be left alone, but you couldn’t do that. Now you have a dead son, but it’s not the one you wanted, but it’s sure as hell the one you got. When is it gonna stop?”
“Eric, what….” Angela released a breath. “I don’t understand. What are you doing here, how did Bobby…?”
“Pop’s plan gone horribly wrong.” He turned to the emotionally overwhelmed woman. “I live here. I’m a doctor and my name is now Matt Harmon. You can ask him for the specifics,” he said glancing at the older man. “Bobby came after me, per Pop’s request, not that Bobby needed a reason or anything because he was so full of hate.” He closed his eyes for a moment then continued. “You have to know that I didn’t want to kill him, but I didn’t have a choice.”
“Liar!” Sal screamed as he lunged toward Matt. “You worthless--”
He stopped in his tracks when Matt pulled out a gun.
“Don’t take another step.”
“Matt, please, put the gun down,” Ellen said as she entered the room.
He kept the gun on his father. “Ellen, you’re not supposed to be here.”
“I know what we agreed to, but I couldn’t stay away. Matt, this is not the answer.”
“Huh,” he grunted. “This is the only thing this man understands.”
Sal’s angry glare fixed on Ellen. “Who is this woman?”
“None of your damn business,” Matt answered.
“Well, it doesn’t matter.” Sal grabbed Ellen by the shoulder. “You don’t belong here, so get out.”
Matt raised the gun to his father’s head. “You got one second to take your hands off her or I swear I’ll blow your brains out where you stand. Don’t test me.”
Tears filled Angela’s eyes. “Sal, let her go. There’s been enough pain and suffering, please let it end now.”
Sal released Ellen’s arm and Matt moved in front of her. “I agree with you, Mom. There has been enough pain and suffering, and I want it to end, too. But I wonder if that can happen with him still alive.”
Angela approached Matt and placed her hand on his gun. “This is the problem, put it away.”
Matt shook his head. “I can’t do that.”
“Yes, you can. Sal’s not going to do anything. Please, put it away.”
Matt applied the safety of the gun then placed it in his jacket pocket. “All right, it’s done.”
“Thank you.” Angela sighed. “This is a day no mother should ever have to endure. No mother should outlive her child. I am happy that you’re alive, and you’re doing so well. I’ve missed you so much, Eric. Not one day has passed that I haven’t thought about you and prayed that wherever you were you were okay. It does my heart good to see that you are.” She kissed his cheek. “I want you to know that I don’t blame you. I raised you, and I know the kind of person you are.”
Tears filled Matt’s eyes. “But I did shoot him. I ended his life. These hands are supposed to save lives, and I took one.”
“You would never hurt anyone if you didn’t have to.” She placed a kiss on his hands and moved to the coffin. “Bobby was my son, and I loved him, but he was different. He had so much anger.” She bent forward and placed a kiss on Bobby’s forehead before turning to face her husband. “If anyone is to blame for what happened it is you, Sal. You are responsible for the life Bobby lived and for his death.”
“I didn’t kill him. Our sorry excuse for a son killed Bobby. He could never be the man Bobby was, so he had to kill him.”
Listening to Sal spout Bobby’s virtues was more than Ellen could stand. “Bobby was no man. He kidnapped me, held me hostage, and he would have--he was no man, he was an animal.” She turned to Mrs. Mancusi. “I am sorry for your loss, but if it weren’t for Matt I would be dead. I’m his boss at the hospital, but I’m also his friend. Matt is a wonderful man, an amazing doctor, and a gifted surgeon. You should be proud to call him your son.”
“She’s right, Sal. I watched how you instilled that violent single-mindedness into Bobby and how he sucked it up like a sponge, but not Eric. That wasn’t his nature. It was his nature to help, not hurt. I watched him struggle to gain your admiration and your love, but your world was not the world for him.” Though tears shined in her eyes, the genuine happiness she felt for her Matt’s success was evident. “I am very proud of you, son. You have managed to create a wonderful life for yourself.”
Matt nodded. “Yes, I have. But for how long can I keep it? I’m tired of running and I have more plans for my life…for my future,” he said looking at Ellen. “What kind of life can I have knowing that at any moment his need for revenge would put me and the people I love in danger?”
Sal was quick to offer a reply. “You don’t have to worry about that, because you won’t have a life. You killed Bobby, you don’t really believe you’ll get away with that?”
“Well, if he doesn’t believe it, I do,” Angela said. “There’s been enough bloodshed. You’re going to leave Eric alone.”
“Look what he did?” Sal’s anguish was palpable as he stared at the body of his deceased son. “He killed him. He killed my son.”
“You killed our son, Sal. You may not want to accept that, but it’s the truth. Bobby’s blood is on your hands. If you hadn’t sent him after Eric he would still be alive. A criminal, but alive. As wrong as it is, I’ve accepted the life you live, and the life I have to close my eyes to as your wife. This life is not for Eric, and he shouldn’t have to suffer because he’s your son, not anymore. I’ve never asked you for anything, but I’m asking for this; leave him alone. Walk away and don’t look back. Do this for me. I can’t lose another child.”
“Angela, you’re asking too much of me. I can’t let him get away with this.”
“I came here expecting to say good-bye to Eric, but instead my oldest child is dead, because of your violence. I don’t want anymore of this.” Angela’s pressed the palms of her shaky hands against Sal’s chest. “Show me that the man I fell in love with all those years ago is still buried somewhere inside you. The fact that I even have to ask you this breaks my heart, but I’m going to do it. Please, Sal, don’t kill our son,” he voice was thick with emotion as she continued her plea. “Please.”
Several moments passed before he answered. “Fine,” he said. “He’s already dead to me anyway.” Sal moved around Angela and walked over to Matt. His voice was deadly quiet. “Understand, I’m doing this for your mother. No other person could get away with what you did to my Bobby. To say I hate you would be a lie. Because I feel nothing for you, hate would be a wasted emotion. Make it your business to stay away from me, because if I ever see you again all bets are off.”
It was no wonder Bobby was the way he was. Sal was the coldest most unfeeling person she’s ever met. In hindsight it made Bobby look like a Boy Scout. It hurt her to listen to the man; she could only imagine what Matt was feeling. She squeezed his shoulder in an offer of silent support.
His hand covered hers. “Fine,” Matt said. “I just want out of this.”
Sal took the few steps back to the open casket. His body seemed limp as he stared down at his son and spoke silently to him in Italian. He turned to his wife when he was done. “Come along, Angela. We need to make arrangements to have Bobby…” Sal cleared his throat and wiped away his tears. “We need to have him sent home.”
Angela made her way to Matt and kneeled before him. “I’m sorry about everything, but you don’t have to worry, it’s over now. I love you.” She kissed his cheek and gave him a hug. “I know you’re going to have a wonderful life,” she said smiling at Ellen. She stood and shook the doctor’s hand. “Thank you.”
“For what?” Ellen asked.
“For making my son happy. It’s obvious you to have something very special. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about him.”
“But I’ll worry about you, Mom.”
“Shh. Don’t. I’m used to your father. I don’t like the life he lives, but it’s all I know, and I’ll be fine.”
“Angela!” Sal shouted.
“I have to go. I love you, always remember that.”
Matt sniffled. “I will,” he said, his voice hoarse with emotion. “I love you, too.”
Angela gave him a final kiss then walked out of his life forever.
Ellen moved in front of Matt and took his hand. “Are you all right?”
“I will be.” He took a deep breath and released it. “Come on, let’s go.”