Fresh on the Traffic squad, Adrian Dantonio wanders into the Central Police Station, which, now, looks so much more ominous and menacing than it did during his regular, uniformed policing days. A brand new $50 suit was his mother's present when he returned home with a promotion and he couldn't be happier. His blue tweed jacket clings to his slender arms, the matching pants making him appear taller and slimmer. His dark hair is slicked back, into his soft hat, and he straightens his bow tie as he exhales and prepares to step inside.
Upstairs. Gosh. He never thought he'd get this far. He climbs the stairs and makes it to the traffic office.
"... And here he is now!" The new captain goads him in and he shuffles through the door. "Everybody, say hello to our new detective; Dantonio." A slow clap fades in and out across the office as the more seasoned detectives look him up and down. "And everybody say goodbye to our very own Phelps as he's moving up in the world." Cole stands, takes his notebook from the table and leaves the office, shaking his ex-partner's hand as well as the captain's. "Bekowsky, you'll be showing the rookie the ropes. You've had quite a few newbies, recently, but let's hope this one sticks." He shuffles his papers as Adrian stands, awkwardly, at the front. "You can...go sit down, son." He nods and Bekowsky, begrudgingly, pulls the chair out beside him. “Bekowsky and Dantonio, we’ve got one of the cars from the hot sheet. The 1947 Delahaye Coupe in candy apple red. It’s just been seen down on 6th. Get down there and bag that son of a bitch.” Just as he’d sat down, Adrian must get up, his notebook shaking in his hands.
“How long were you in patrol, Dantonio?” Bekowsky asks as he revs the engine on the police car.
“About three years.” The dark-haired man answers, truthfully, and the older man scoffs.
“Just the three? I spent ten years working my way up to this desk. Started in the force when I was sixteen. So, wait…how old are you again?” A look of panic crosses Bekowsky’s face for a moment before the kid answers.
“Twenty.” Six years younger and all the looks of an eighteen-year-old. The years hadn’t been as kind to Bekowski. He hasn’t gotten taller or leaner, just more and more tired. The looks of a juvenile delinquent still radiate just beneath his mature exterior, the scars from his brawls on the school field only just beginning to fade. But, Dantonio still looks like he could be in school, eyes wide and mouth peaked into a permanent, nervous smile.
“Wait. Which high school did you go to?” Bekowsky continues his never-ending line of questioning.
“Oh! Umm… Arcadia High. You might’ve known my older brother, Fabio Dantonio. He was a big football star, back in his day.” Dantonio explains, remembering his older brother.
“Oh, shit! Fabio was your brother? I knew I recognised you rom somewhere.” This doesn’t help. In high school, the kid was only just coming up to junior high and Stefan can still see the child in him.
Fabio Benito Dantonio. Captain of the football team and all-round nice guy. Girls were falling over trying to get to him. He had a steady high school career; sports, studies, relationships. He had the lot. Some of the guys who were less subtle made moves but Stefan stayed in the background, going to his games and pretending to like sports. Truth is, Fabio got him. He understood him. He understood everyone. He was cool, confident and funny but, also, charming, intelligent and empathetic. He got close to Fabio during his times going to the school gym, now and again, but images were important back in high school, as they forever would be. He wouldn’t be kicked off his track team for being a faggot. Not then. Now, here’s his kid brother, trying to win the award for the ‘least talkative partner in the squad’ badge.
“I remember Fabio. Where is he now?” He asks, curiously, and the younger man tenses before swallowing the lump in his throat.
“He fought in Okinawa.” He doesn’t need to continue but the kid does. “He – umm… – never came back.” The atmosphere in the car grows heavy with loss and guilt as well as Bekowsky’s buts and what ifs.
“Oh.” Comes his only reply as they take off to their first case together.
6th Street is bustling with life, the candy red Coupe parked in a dark alleyway near a seedy bar; The Jaded Tiger. The oriental-themed bar has been somewhat abandoned since the middle of the war, due to it's theme. There won't be many people in there and one would've though it would've shut down but, no. The management must have some money to keep it open this long. The job is simple; wait until the driver comes out and then apprehend.