Tony crawls into bed with Drake Senior. Finding out, Angelo slugs Tony. Janet is entrusted with a horrible secret that will change the family forever, a secret that is finally revealed.
This book was previously published.
There were well over a hundred people at Drake’s Christmas party. Some of them Tony recognized, others he had never seen before. These were people who worked on the many facets of the rock scene: producers, sound people, video camera people and the list went on and on.
Frank was there with his latest girlfriend, a British fashion model named Trish. He took Tony by the arm and introduced him to face after face. Then Drake and Pepi took him around and introduced him to more people. He met two well-known rock stars and a Hollywood actor. That was cool, but he was too shy to ask for their autographs.
The liquor came around often on trays carried by four or five waiters. A huge bowl of rolled joints, courtesy of Frank Carr, sat in the middle of a buffet table next to the fancy sandwiches. By quarter to twelve, there were a lot of people who were drunk as well as stoned.
Johnny Russo was the centre of attention. He sat in a red velvet easy chair on a raised platform in front of the huge window. His chair was right in front of the grand piano in the middle of the huge living room, where the majority of the guests had gathered. Tony hadn’t had more than a few minutes to talk to him all evening. He was always surrounded by people and appeared to be having a really good time.
Just at the entrance to the living room in front of the curved gold-handled staircase sat the Christmas tree, the candles now all lit up and illuminating the big red bows. Many people stopped to admire the tree or stood pointing up at the mistletoe, demanding that their companion honour the tradition and bestow kisses upon them.
Drake often got caught under the mistletoe. People either lured him there or caught him by accident. The thought of catching him there himself occurred to him, but he didn’t dare.
Janet and Mac were cuddled together on one of the sofas. They looked happy. His grandmother sat in the corner of the room, a little overwhelmed by all the people. Tony sat by her often.
It was almost midnight when Pepi stepped up onto the platform. Tony glanced over at his father, who was saying something to Drake. Drake handed his brother a microphone and then went to turn off the sound system. The music that had been playing all evening came to an abrupt halt.
Pepi positioned himself behind the piano and waited for Johnny to speak.
“Good evening. First, we would like to thank everyone for coming,” Johnny said. “I look around, and I see so many good friends and loved ones. I am thankful to be here.”
There was a round of applause.
“I would also like to thank all of you who lent us such support during the past few months. Thank you for your cards and letters, the flowers, everything. It will never be forgotten. I’d like to say also that this is the first Christmas that I have the good fortune of spending with my son. Tony?” he said, motioning for Tony to come forward.
Tony slowly walked over to his father and placed his hand on Johnny’s shoulder. There was applause again as Tony smiled shyly.
“Every year, Drake hosts these Christmas parties, and we are always so grateful when you all grace us with your presence,” Johnny continued. “Please, continue to have a good time and if you end up sleeping in one of Drake’s bathtubs tonight...well, it won’t be the first time.”
There was more laughter.
“Now, we’re going to do something we have always done at these parties, and that is to sing Christmas carols. I invite you all to join in while Pepi plays for us. Drake, where are you?” He looked around with a grin. “Drake is always somewhere he shouldn’t be.”
Laughter, and someone shouted out, “That’s Drake for ya!”
Drake shook his head with a grin as he stepped up on the platform and positioned a mike on top of the piano. He glanced out at the crowd. “I’ll find out who said that, and you’ll be punished.”
“Please do!” came the taunt. Drake made a comical face in reply.
“Where’s Mac?” Pepi enquired at the same time that Mac quietly stepped up behind Johnny’s chair. He patted Pepi’s shoulder, and Pepi nodded in satisfaction. “The gang’s all here!” he called.
Tony went to step down off the platform, but his father stopped him. “You’re part of this family. Stay.”
Tony felt a warm glow move through him. “Thanks, Dad,” he said softly.
Pepi began to play ‘White Christmas, singing the first verse on his own.
Tony was amazed at what a good voice he had. Pepi always sang backup.
Mac sang the next verse. Tony’s eyes widened. He looked at his dad. “Wow, they both sing so well.”
Johnny nodded as Drake’s deep baritone voice completed another verse, and then Johnny himself sang. They came together in beautiful harmony in the chorus. Tony closed his eyes, listening to the blending of their voices. What talent they had.
Pepi began to play ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas,’ and Drake sang the verses, with the rest of them helping out on the chorus. Drake had the sexiest of voices, and it was perfect for that song.
They were now singing ‘The Christmas Song’. Johnny was trying to encourage Tony to sing, but he was too shy.
The guests in the hall stood perfectly still while they sang. Although Drake kept urging everyone to join in, no one did. They were lost in the beauty of those voices echoing in the hall.
Pepi stopped playing. He looked at his two brothers. “Do ‘Ave Maria’,” he said.
There was applause.