Vinnie & Maria



Vinnie climbed the stairs to his apartment and unlocked the door. His little place was looking a lot better these days, ever since Maria had started spending her afternoons here instead of at the library. Colorful prints and hand-woven rugs decorated the walls, and the rattiest furniture had been replaced with inexpensive but tasteful new pieces. A woman's touch.

"Hola, Senorita," he called out in atrocious Spanish.

"Hola, Se–or," answered Maria, sounding happy and amused. "Como estas?"

She was in the bedroom, sitting Indian-style on the bed surrounded by papers and textbooks, wearing only her bra and panties. Her school uniform was folded neatly on a chair. Vinnie leaned against the doorway and stared her with an appreciative smile. "Bien. Mucho bien, gracias."

"It's nice that you want to learn Spanish, Vinnie, but I do speak pretty good English. My native language and all..."

"That last one exhausted my vocabulary, so it's just as well. How's the studying going?"

She closed the textbook in front of her with a crack. "Chemistry, ick. Time for you to teach me something that's more fun. Hit the showers, mister."

"Shower?" He brushed at the grass clippings stuck to his arm. "Yeah, maybe you're right. Don't go anywhere."

When he padded back into the bedroom five minutes later with a damp towel around his waist, the books were put away and she was sitting against the headboard with the sheet draped loosely over her body. She had loosened the knot in her hair, and it cascaded down past her shoulders in thick, glossy waves. He sat down next to her and gave her a long hard kiss. The sheet slid away, exposing her full, soft breasts. He kissed his way down her face and neck, inhaling the sweet aroma of her skin, and then took one of her nipples into his mouth. He teased at the soft, warm flesh with his lips and tongue, making it swell and pout.

"That feels so nice," she said, rubbing his neck. She put her arms around his broad, muscular chest, holding him possessively close.

He moved to her other breast, and soon he felt her hand slide under the towel and move towards his groin. She took his stiffening cock in her hand and just held it, keeping it company as it came fully erect. Then she squeezed it gently and started rubbing the underside of the head with her thumb, making him groan.

"Did I teach you how to do that?" he asked. "I must be a damn good teacher."

"Nah, I used the experimental method - we learned about that in school. Tried all sorts of stuff, and watched to see which ones made you squirm." Her thumb slid up over the little slit, smearing out a drop of precome. Using it as a lubricant, she started moving her thumb in slow circles. "See? You're squirming."

"Yep. Bet I can make you squirm, too."

"I know you can," she giggled. "I love it when you make me squirm, Vinnie."

He pulled the sheet away from her legs and pushed her thighs apart. Her sex was a symmetric ribbon of dark pink nestled in the glossy curls of her pubic hair. He shifted position, bringing his head down into her lap, and breathed in her faint, musky aroma as he nibbled on her inner thigh. She trembled and stiffened, anticipating the pleasure to follow. Finally he put his mouth over her pussy and teased at her outer labia with his tongue, letting his saliva mix with her juices as she opened up.

"Oh, yes..." she sighed. "Lick me."

"Are you sure?" he teased. "You don't think it's nasty any more?"

"Of course it's nasty, but it feels sooo good," she said. She lay back and spread her legs, inviting him to burrow in deeper.

Vinnie lapped away contentedly, stimulating her with long strokes of his tongue, until she was moving her hips in time with his head and moaning. It had taken a lot of convincing before Maria had let him go down on her - some sort of cultural thing. At first she had been stiff as a board, unwilling to spread her legs and relax. But Vinnie's unfeigned enjoyment and the undeniably pleasurable sensations of a probing tongue in her pussy had eventually changed her attitude. Now she was addicted to it, and it was a regular part of their lovemaking.

When he sensed that she was ready, he moved his attention upward, concentrating on the meaty little bump of her clit, circling around it with the stiff tip of his tongue. She gasped and lifted her hips up, and he slid his hands under her ass, squeezing her buttocks.

For a few seconds there was only the sound of her ragged breathing as she focused intently on the waves of sensation coming from her pussy. Her orgasm was a teasing, lurking promise, hovering just out of reach. She needed the stimulation just a fraction of a millimeter higher, just a tad faster... she lifted one knee, shifted her weight slightly, and Vinnie's tongue suddenly hit the right spot. Her orgasm blossomed quickly inside her, like fireworks exploding in her stomach, and the pleasure was so unbearably intense that she cried out without even realizing it.

Vinnie wiped her copious juices from his mouth and smiled up at her. Her warm brown eyes were still hazy and unfocused, but she smiled back at him lazily.

"Thank you," she said.

"You don't have to thank me," he replied automatically, and they both smiled. "Didn't take as long this time, did it?"

"I don't know, I wasn't paying attention to the time," she said. "It takes a lot of concentration to come that way. Not like..."

"Not like what?" he asked, sitting up. His cock jutted up into the air like a flagpole.

Maria looked embarrassed. "Like when I do it to myself."

"Oh, so you masturbate?" he said. "You never told me. How naughty. Jeez, here I was thinking you were a nice girl and all..."

"Oh stop," she said, giggling and kicking him playfully. "I *was* a nice girl until I met you."

"But you had these... urges," he said dramatically.

"Yeah, I had urges. Every day after school I had an urge."

"Every day, huh? Interesting. You'll have to show me some time."

"Show you? No way!"

"Yes way. I want to see how you get yourself off. Maybe I'll learn something."

"Hmm. Maybe someday. It's easier that way, but it doesn't feel nearly as good."

He picked up one of her feet and moved it into his lap, and rubbed his cock against the sole. She giggled. "That tickles!"

"Don't forget, I have urges too," he teased. "Not as strong as yours, I'm sure, but pretty strong."

She sat up so that she was facing him and squeezed his firm cock in her hand. "Poor Vinnie. What would you like your Maria to do about those urges?"

"Maybe you could kiss it?"

She smiled. "Maybe I could." She leaned forward into his lap, and her hair spilled forward in a dark curtain, shielding his view. He felt her tongue touch the underside of his cock, a little exploratory lick, and then her hot mouth closed over the head. She didn't take him in any farther than that, and he had to restrain himself from thrusting upward. He was dying to fuck her lush, beautiful mouth, driving himself all the way to the back of her throat, but he had decided to take it very slow and easy when it came to sex with Maria. As it was, he felt vaguely guilty about corrupting a high-school girl, even if she was 18. He closed his eyes and sighed, his stomach muscles tensing and twitching as she licked and nibbled tentatively at his cock. After a few minutes she lifted her head and looked at him, her lips wet with saliva.

"I really don't know what I'm doing," she said with an apologetic smile. "You've got to teach me."

"I will," he said. "But there's no rush. Besides, you're doing great."

"No, I'm not," she laughed. She moved closer to him, pushing him onto his back, and straddled his waist.

"Let's make love," she said. "I'm getting pretty good at that, at least."

"That you are."

His erection still intimidated her slightly, seeming too large to go into her pussy, but now she knew better. Now she knew how it felt to have her insides filled up by a hot, rigid cock, and she was as anxious as Vinnie was.

As Vinnie held his cock in place, Maria positioned herself carefully, getting the angle just right, and then slowly allowed the rigid shaft to slide up inside her. When she finally sat astride him, pinned in place and deliciously full, the feeling was so wanton and yet so indescribably right that her body gave an involuntary shudder of pure joy. As if of their own accord, her hips began to make little sliding and twisting motions, grinding her sex against his pubis, and her body greedily soaked up the little spikes of pleasure.

When Vinnie reached up and cupped her breasts, she put her hands over his and pressed them more firmly in place. Her whole body seemed to be giving off slow waves of pleasure now, and she closed her eyes and just let herself drift along on the rhythm of Vinnie's long, smooth thrusts. After a while the steady buildup of pleasure became overwhelming, and she found herself restlessly pushing the pace, lifting herself up to lengthen the long, pneumatic strokes, wordlessly urging Vinnie to increase the tempo.

"Harder," she finally moaned. "Do it faster. Please..." Her voice was whiny and selfish.

Vinnie smiled and gripped her waist. He smoothly accelerated the pace like a powerful luxury car, and Maria started uttering a strangled little "oh!" every time he arched up into her with a smack. The orgasm snuck up on her, seeming to gather itself out of thin air like a summer storm, and the climax was a long and drawn-out pleasure ride that left her gasping for air and momentarily dizzy.

She leaned forward, draping her limp honey-colored body over his, and kissed his mouth tenderly. She smiled as she felt him pull her thighs apart, making room for what he needed to do. Then his big hands covered her round buttocks, gripping the muscles underneath her warm skin, and he quickly sought out his long- delayed pleasure, urgently driving himself into her.

Maria felt incredibly womanly and somehow privileged to be the object of his primitive exertions, and she was happy to give her body over to him entirely. When he began to groan and lift his head off the bed, she contracted herself around him, trying to make herself even tighter, and then she felt the warm flooding rush of his release.

"That was fun," she whispered, brushing a damp strand of hair away from his eyes. They lay entwined on the bed for several minutes, sleepy and comfortable in the warm, sunny room. When Maria finally pulled herself upright and padded off to the bathroom, Vinnie started to think about the future. It wasn't something he did very often, but he had a feeling it was time to start.


The Ocean View Gym was a no-nonsense facility: a single hot, smelly room filled to overflowing with free weights and Universal machines. The clientele was overwhelmingly male, and they came for one reason only - to lift weights. Like most boxers, Vinnie instinctively mistrusted any sort of amenities or frills in a weight room, and Ocean View fit the bill perfectly.

He was working his legs this morning, doing a descending series of squats with a huge black man in his forties who went by the name Giant. His thighs were quivering like jelly and he felt sick to his stomach, which meant that he was getting a good workout. He was spotting for Giant when he noticed Joey wandering through the room, looking decidedly out of place in linen slacks and a white turtleneck.

He grinned, called out "Hey Joey! What's going on, you lost or something?" Joey had a well-known aversion to exercise.

"I'm looking for you," said Joey, coming over. His face was unusually serious. "We gotta talk, it's important."

"Sure, no problem." He helped his lifting partner guide the bar back onto the shoulder-height brackets. "Gimme five, OK Giant?"

He led Joey into a quiet corner. "What's up?"

His friend looked uncomfortable. "Fraid I got some bad news, Vinnie. The Mexican dude, Jose'? Word on the street is he's gunning for you."

"Gunning for me?"

"Yeah, as in he wants to kill you. I asked around a little, and this ain't a threat to take lightly. Wouldn't be the first time this dude popped somebody."

"I'm giving the guy a rematch in a couple days just like he wanted," said Vinnie, completely mystified. "So what's his problem? He trying to psyche me out or something?"

"Listen to me, you big white moron: he found out you're screwing his little sister!"

"What!" It didn't take him long to figure it out. For once in his life he was only screwing one woman, so there weren't many options. "Maria is Jose''s sister?"

"That's what I been told, Vinnie. Could be bullshit, but then why would Jose' be after you, right? Listen man, it gets worse."

Vinnie stared at him, wondering what could possibly be worse.

Joey actually looked embarrassed. "I shouldn't be the one to be telling you this, but the rumor is, you knocked...she's pregnant."


"Yeah, I'm sorry man. I take it she hasn't said anything to you?"

Vinnie shook his head, looking stunned. "I gotta go talk to her. Thanks for telling me, Joey."

Joey grabbed his friend's arm as he started to leave. "Whoa there, cowboy. Isn't she in school right now? What are you going to do, walk into her algebra class and confront her?"

Vinnie shook off Joey's hand. "I don't know, I'll think of something."

"Listen up," said Joey seriously. "I know it don't look that way right now, but Maria ain't your main problem. Jose' is. You gotta stay off the streets, or you're gonna get killed."

"What am I supposed to do, lock myself in my apartment?"

"I don't know what the fuck you should do! All I'm saying is that you gotta think before you act."

They stared at each other for a few seconds in silence. Then Vinnie sat down on a weight bench with a sigh. "You know where Jose' lives?"

Joey sat down next to him. "Nope. Why? You gonna go kill him before he kills you?"

Vinnie shook his head. "I was think more along the lines of talking him out of it. But first I need to talk to Maria, find out what's going on."

"Might just be a bullshit, about her being pregnant. A gangster like Jose', he might be pissed enough that you're messing around with his sister to put out a hit."

"Maybe." But he had a sinking feeling it was true. The first time they'd had sex, after he brought her home from the West Club, like an idiot he hadn't used a condom. And Maria had seemed very quiet and preoccupied the last couple days. Combine all that with the famous Vinnie Barnes Losing Streak, and there wasn't much point in being optimistic.

"How can I get her out of school so I can talk to her?" he asked.

Joey smiled. "Gotta be a hundred different ways. Come on, we'll think of something in my car. You don't want to be driving your ugly-ass landscaping truck right now - they might be looking for it."

Vinnie nodded. "Thanks Joey."

Joey slapped him on the shoulder. "Managing 'El Toro' has been a sweet gig. You get whacked, it's gonna put a real dent in my cash flow."


The side door to Our Lady of Peace opened, and Maria stepped out and scanned the parking lot. Vinnie was standing next to a shiny silver El Camino, dressed in his workout clothes. He raised his hand, and she hurried over.

"What's going on?" she asked. Vinnie looked so serious and worried, it was giving her a sick feeling in her stomach.

He looked around, and saw that there was no one within earshot. "I heard you were pregnant. Is that true?"

She stared at him silently. For Vinnie, it was answer enough.

"Why? Why didn't you tell me?"

"I thought...I just found out a couple days ago..." Her eyes filled with tears. "I was going to tell you this week, Vinnie. I'm sorry." The stress of the last three days suddenly overwhelmed her, and she started crying.

"'s going to be OK, Maria." He pulled her close, and she threw her arms around him. They clung to each other wordlessly for a few moments.

"How did you find out?" asked Maria, lifting her face up to look at him.

"From your brother. That's why we're here actually." He suddenly remembered the death threat, and his heart sank.

"My brother? You mean Jose'?"

"That's the fellow," said Vinnie dryly. "He didn't take the news very well, apparently."

"I hardly even know Jose', how the hell did he find out?"

Vinnie looked confused. "You didn't tell him?"

Joey said "Folks, we best be moving along now. Vinnie don't look much like Maria's daddy, and the sisters are getting a mite suspicious." A pair of nuns were standing in the doorway, staring at them.

Vinnie and Maria climbed into the back seat, and Joey pulled out of the lot.

"So who did you tell?" asked Vinnie. "You must've told someone."

"I told my friend Marcella. Same thing happened to her last year. I made her promise not to tell anyone, but... " She shook her head angrily. "She's been wanting Jose' to notice her for years. So Jose' told you?"

"Not exactly." There was a few seconds of silence. "According to Joey, he's threatening to kill me."

Maria eyes got wide. "Oh my God!"

"Right," said Vinnie. "You know where he lives?"

She nodded. "Yeah, I can tell you how to get there. But are you sure that's the right thing to do?" She looked at Joey. "What do you think?"

Joey shrugged, his eyes on the traffic. "Can't hurt, might help. Jose' ain't likely to start blasting away at somebody in his own front yard."


When Jose' Fuente walked into his untidy bedroom, shirtless and barefoot, Vinnie was standing in the corner, holding a small, ugly-looking gun down against his thigh.

Jose' was startled, but he covered it well. He took in the gun and the open window with one glance, and his face hardened into a mask.

"You," he said. "What the fuck do you want?"

"I heard you were going to kill me."

Jose' didn't say anything for a few seconds, but Vinnie was determined to wait him out. Joey's gun felt awkward and slippery in his hand. He wanted to wipe the sweat off his palm, but he didn't dare set the gun down.

Finally Jose' said "You've been fucking around with my sister. Got her pregnant."

"I happen to like Maria a lot."

Jose' sneered. "You do, huh? Nice young piece of Mexican ass for you to play around with."

"It's not like that."

Jose' sat down on the bed, pushing a tangled pile of clothes out of the way. He had a big tattoo of a snarling panther on his chest, and Vinnie had to force himself to not stare at it. Jose' said "You shoot me, I guarantee you won't get out of this house alive."

"I don't want to shoot you. I just want to talk."

Another long silence. "You got cojones coming here, sneaking into my room, I'll give you that. Tell you what I'm gonna do - you promise me you'll never go anywhere near my sister again, and I'll let it go."

"No way."

"Why the fuck not?" His voice was still flat, but Vinnie sensed that he was genuinely puzzled.

"I'm in love with Maria. She's going to have my baby, and I'm not going to just disappear."

"No, she's *not * gonna have your baby, asshole." said Jose'. "You better get that straight right now. You off the hook on that, so just walk away."

"Why the fuck are you so damn interested? Maria says she hardly even knows you. You're the one that should stay out of it."

Jose' stared at him. "You wouldn't understand, white boy."

"Try me. And cut the racial crap. What was it they called it in the OJ trial? The race card. Don't play that stupid race card with me." He realized he was waving the gun at Jose', and returned it to his leg.

"Maria is a special girl. She's smart, she's a good person. She's gonna go to college, be a doctor or something like that. Have a good life."

Some of the things that Maria had told him went through his head. About Maria's mother, and her single-minded plans for Maria's future. Jose''s mother.

"This isn't really about Maria, is it? It's about you and your mother."

"Fuck you. Don't you talk to me about my -"

"You fucked up your life completely, and fucked up your brother's lives too. One big, happy family of gangbangers. You felt guilty about that, and now you're trying to make it up to your mother by protecting Maria."

Jose' chuckled, spreading his hands apart as if to say 'you got me.' Vinnie queasily wondered what made this guy tick. He makes a little comment, the guy takes it personally. Now when he accuses him of destroying his family, he shrugs it off.

Jose' was still smiling, seeming to sense his discomfort. "Back when Maria was a little girl I promised my mother that I would protect her. Everybody in the neighborhood knows she's my little sister, and they know they better treat her right. I pay tuition for her private high school. I'm gonna pay for her college. And when some asshole starts hassling her, I take care of it."

"And then your momma forgives you and you all live happily ever after?"

"You think that's bullshit?" Jose' leaned forward and rubbed his face reflectively. "Go ahead and think that. But if it wasn't for me, Maria would just be another fucked-up barrio chick. Probably be a hooker or an addict or both."

Vinnie tried to imagine Maria like that, and then quickly pushed the image out of his mind. "You think this is what your mother would want? For you to kill me and arrange for an abortion for Maria?"

"I've done plenty of things my mama wouldn't like," said Jose'. "I've killed people before, I've done all sorts of bad shit. All my mama knows is that Maria is a good girl who's gonna be somebody, and that it's partly because of me. Except now you come along and fuck it all up. You say you love Maria, but all you've done is fuck up her life."

"I can't change what's happened, and I'm not going to stop seeing Maria," said Vinnie carefully. "If she wants to have the baby, which I hope she does, I'm going to support her decision and be a father to the kid. Either way, I want her to go to college too. I don't see how that interferes with your promise to your mother."

"You don't, huh?" Jose' scratched under his arm, looked at Vinnie thoughtfully. "We're goin' at it day after tomorrow. Big rematch."

Once again Vinnie was caught off guard. What the hell did the fight matter, compared to this? "Yeah, well, I might have to cancel. Seeing as I got a death threat, and all."

"No way, man. The fight stays on. But we gonna make it interesting. You win, I let you date Maria. You lose, you never go near her again. What do you say - pretty fair, eh? Specially seeing as you got that big reach advantage and all."

"You're crazy, you know that? You want to settle my future, your sister's future, with a fistfight?"

Jose' grinned. "People's lives been fucked up for stupider shit than that. I seen it happen all the time."

After a long moment, Vinnie nodded. "OK, I guess that's how it's gotta be."

"That's right. That's the way it's gotta be."


Tigertail beach was buzzing with the electric hum of adrenaline and blood-lust. Joey pushed his way through the restless throng of people and found Stevie TuTone.

"Where the fuck you guys been?" asked Stevie. "Fight was supposed to start twenty minutes ago."

Joey shook his head. "Just got a call from Vinnie. Ain't gonna be no fight. He just retired."

Stevie turned pale. "He pussied out, you mean. Didn't want to face Jose' again."

Joey nodded. "Between you and me, that's about right. I ain't happy about it either. Wish he'd at least had the guts to tell me before the last minute."

Stevie glared at him, his teeth gritted. "These people came to see blood. What the fuck am I supposed to tell them?"

Joey slapped him on the shoulder. "Ask for a volunteer from the crowd, Stevie. Wave that paper bag fulla dough around a little. There's bound to be some sucker out there who thinks he's got the right stuff."


The Nevada desert was slowly cooling down from the white-hot intensity of midday, and the setting sun was transforming the pale blue sky into a delicately shaded canvas of pink and orange. The highway stretched out endlessly in front of them, an arrow- straight strip of blacktop bisecting the flat, dry landscape.

Vinnie shifted his eyes from the shimmering horizon to the warm figure nestled against his right side. Maria was staring quietly at her outstretched left hand. The diamond on her ring finger absorbed the dim sunlight and returned it as flashes of pure fire.

He smiled, and said "Still think it's too big?"

She looked up with a start, closing her hand reflexively, and then laughed. "Maybe not. I'm getting used to it."

"They'll be missing me on Tigertail right about now. I told Joey to wait until the fight was about to start, make it look like I chickened out. I bet Stevie is going nuts, calling me all sorts of bad names."

She rubbed the inside of his bare thigh reassuringly. "You regretting it?"

"Nope. Not a bit. Jose''s going to come out looking like a hero, and that's exactly what I want. What we want."

They rode along in companionable silence for a few minutes.

"My mother liked you, I think," said Maria.

"She's a nice lady. I think she knew we were going to get married whether she said it was OK or not."

A glowing green road sign appeared in the distance, and slowly grew in size.

"Las Vegas, a hundred and twenty miles," read Maria. "I really don't believe we're doing this."

"You still got about two hours to change your mind."

She leaned her head against his shoulder, her thick hair tickling his neck.

"Nope. Never, ever."



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