to be fair, its not as if antonio started out with a good hand in life. his parents, maria and gian left italy as young parents. their whole relationship had been scandalous from the get go, as gian was poor, and maria came from a wealthy family. and being knocked up at sixteen wasn't going to play well with her parents.
so they came to los angeles, with the cash maria had managed to take and in october of 1991, had antonio. the money that his parents had managed to take mainly went into settling into new lives and raising him. which is to say that by the time he was three, it was close to drying up, and threatened to be completely depleted when his mother ended up pregnant again.
his father did what he could: he turned to crime.
it wasn't so obvious or so bad at first. running errands, keeping his head low, helping people work around rico. meanwhile, antonio was sent to private school, and he excelled under attentive, pleased teachers. a little bit of a trouble maker, and more of a leader than a follower, but easy going and happy. and as he got older, he started to have a curious pleasure with computers, starting to teach himself while at school.
and then, a few months after he turned thirteen, his father didn't come home. it took three days for him to finally be found, stuffed in an oil barrel, identified only by his teeth.
everything went down hill. his mother couldn't make it on her sole job as a school teacher for the private school. once that semester ended, antonio had summer and public school to look forward to. the transformation to a sort of upper class kid to middle to lower class was something to behold. the rules, structure, and resources of his private school were no longer available and antonio had to figure things out for himself.
that included: learning how to fend for himself, that he wasn't as straight as he previously thought he was, and that his father had turned to crime out of convenience. being good, he quickly discovered, couldn't get you where you needed to go fast enough. he fell in fast with other italian kids, then falling in with their families, and eventually, the mafia itself.
it felt almost inevitable that he'd find them. the change in focus within the american criminal system allowed them to start building themselves back up, and antiono found himself within the ranks of the los angeles crime family. and some members weren't very quiet about how useful or pretty they found him. including underboss matteo lucchese, who made sure to work behind the scenes to have his associates give antonio more missions, more side hustles.
whatever part of his nagging conscious that understood this as wrong was slowly quieted as he paid less attention to school and more attention to the mafia/ by the time he turned seventeen, he dropped out of school to work full time: running whatever errands that were needed, intimidating anyone that lucchese wanted, and eventually, putting his skills with computers to use in committing cybercrimes ranging from simple fraud to aiding in drug trafficking.
he rationalized it all: going straight was never easy, it never made you enough money, and there wasn't the implicit trust. and why would he go straight, watching the economy tank and his mother having to take more back breaking jobs in order to keep a legitimate roof over her head? she refused to take the money that antonio offered. so he went directly to her boss to give him a raise or lose an eye.
he probably would have assimilated into the more violent, overt aspects if it weren't for matteo. there were rumblings by the time 2009 rolled around, that the current boss wasn't going to last longer. and while subtle shifts were happening, matteo took the time out to officially reach out to a newly eighteen year old antonio to offer him a role as a personal assistant to him, his right hand man.
well, on paper, at least.
the men who picked up antonio knew what the offer really was: an easy, pampered life if antonio climbed into bed with him after years of more subtle, behind the scenes interactions. those mostly had been regulated to subtly communicating or assisting antonio; stepping in when things went wrong, giving him more money, and more than a few times, a lingering touch or a comment about his looks. this time, there weren't any minced words; simply an offer laid out on the table, and a decision made easier from years of carefully curatead attention.
the worst thing about it is the fact that after having matteo provide and help him for years, antonio bought it as something loving and real, and not the actual manipulation it was - and is to this day. since then, he's officially been the point man, the confidante of matteo in various ways. he's travelled across country in order to make connections for matteo, to accompany him in varying capacity and as the years have gone on, he's been more and more involved within the crime syndicate. matteo personally saw to it that his computer skills were nurtured and put to good use, even relying on him to explain certain facets of the news and their operation.
by 2016, antonio rested comfortably with the famiglia. despite a few close calls, he never was charged with any crime. however, by the time 2016 rolled around, it was evident to his mother that despite what he said, she knew that he was actively working with the mafia. he couldn't convince her otherwise, in part because of his recklessly extravagant spending and lifestyle and in part of matteo's overbearing PRESENCE in their lives. matteo always eemed to be at every family function, perpetually called antonio away at a moment's notice, and never seemd to be satisfied with anything antonio did unless it served him. up until that point, antonio had been quietly helping her with her living; but once she figured out the truth, an argument ensued.
his mother desperately tried to explain to him that his relationship with matteo was manipulative and destructive, that he was taking and taking from antonio. it was ugly, and his mother had never approved of his bisexuality. with his refusal to part matteo and her own admitted bipphobia, they parted ways bitterly. it's an action his mother has regretted and that antonio desperately wants to forgive her for -- without leaving matteo, of course.
of course, he tried to prove her wrong. he tried to date outside of matteo, and despite the attempt, due to his lifestyle, it lasted from early 2017 to september 2017. it left him wanting in ways antonio never expected, but burying it under the familiar mafia work and a move to boston helped antonio ignore it. january 2018 had him situated comfortably in boston with matteo, as california finally started to become too hot for the family. starting off anew, antonio finds boston a very large change of pace, but a place he's willing to stay for as long as he needs to.