The Morelli Bros. (Prologue, i.)

Deep in the heart of Manhattan, there were two young brothers struggling to keep their family business afloat.  Every day was a constant battle and if they were lucky, they were able to hold onto the few remaining customers that had been loyal to them since their father first strapped on his leather workmen’s belt.

Their father had been a man’s man.  Born in his homeland of Italy, Rocco Morelli spent his life doing the only thing he knew how.  The better part of his life had been spent working various odd jobs in order to save up enough money so that he may chase his dreams and thrive.  He wanted to marry his sweetheart and give her the family she always wanted in a country where any and everything was possible.

It was a big dream, a HUGE dream, but he’d had the strength to pursue it.  Though squat compared to his countrymen, he was very strong and this allowed him to take many types of employment that most would shy away from.  He carried stones from a nearby quarry while renovating homes.  One summer saw him working as bouncer for a local entertainment business, while another found him in a junkyard sorting through scrap metals worth salvaging.

His dreams would only grow on the foundation of his marriage and it wasn’t long before he discovered exactly where he was meant to be.  Time, as it always tends to do, brought some exciting changes to their village.  And, as tourism continued to expand deeper into the heart of his homeland, it brought with it the entrepreneurs seeking to peddle their own brand of change.

By this time, he was in his mid-thirties and his wife was carrying their first child.  As the westerners slowly dug into Italian soil, so would it would come to be that his fallback jobs begin to vanish.  Desperate, he took the only option left and took work for a Plumbing company that sought to revolutionize the way people lived.

Though it was a dirty business, he had a great aptitude in the work before him and it wasn’t long before he excelled past every man he worked with.

The months rained down until a year had passed.  He saw the birth of not just one son, but twins!  He also watched helplessly as his beloved slipped away while giving birth to their second.

By this time, he’d saved enough money to take his family across the ocean and start a new life.  There was enough in his savings to build their home and open a small Plumbing business of his own; they had only been waiting for the pregnancy to pass before traveling.

His heart, broken after the passing of his wife, had very little love left to give and it was with sadness that he looked upon the two little lives she had left him.  For the first few years, he tried to be the father they needed while still working for the Plumbing business.  But when the pipes were laid and the toilets installed, the company moved on, leaving him exactly where he was before they arrived.  Of course, they had offered him a position if he were to relocate with them, but he simply couldn’t do this with the responsibility of his two boys.

They say that time has a way of healing the broken heart, but what they didn’t account for was the man who had poured his heart into everything he had before the break. Once a man who openly smiled and spoke to everyone he met, Rocco withdrew deep into himself until his brooding features often caused others to shy away.  Though he provided for his children, he didn’t have the love needed to give to them.  So cold had his heart become that when he finally got around to signing their birth certificates, he didn’t bother to add their last name.

As illogical as it was, he had begun to blame them for her death.  These two small children who had been born ten minutes apart, one short and chubby, the other long and skinny, who could only smile when he looked upon them.  He blamed them, even though they coo’d in his presence and never cried unless they were hungry or needed changed.

It was just as well that they never fussed and better yet that their bond was strong enough that they could comfort the other while he was around, because in his melancholic state, he turned to the bottle in hopes that it would ease his pain.

Rocco was a man of action.  His hands had built many wonders over the years, all of which were the pride of the owners he had worked for.  The renovations were a thing of beauty, built with the same hope that fueled his dreams.  In his brief stint as a bouncer, he’d imparted much knowledge upon several young hopefuls, all of whom to this day had become very successful in settling the riffraff.  And there were toilets in every home of his village.

Yet, for all his knowledge of labor, he hadn’t the insight to be the best father these two young boys needed.  Rather than losing this dark cloud to the warmth their hearts radiated, he turned to a solution that was only temporary at best and would ultimately change him into someone that his wife would never have looked at twice.

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