POISONOUS GREED

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Chapter 7 - Disruptions

Never let someone waste your time twice.”

My body jerks. I deeply inhale from my mouth before coughing out all the air inside me and pushing myself up, resting my upper body on my forearms that lay flat on the bed.

The sound of glass shattering into pieces echoes throughout the household with argumentative yelling following right after. Voices from many rip through the air, sounding enraged as they speak over one another.

Sliding off the bed I grab my fluffy white slippers and place them on each foot as I wobble on shaky legs that apparently aren’t as awake as I am.

Quietly twisting the door knob open and poking my head out, I look out into the hall but don’t see anything out of place. It must be coming from downstairs.

My top teeth sink into my bottom lip, nervously biting as I debate on whether I should pry on the situation or not. Mom always says that I should stay away from the chisme, but I can’t help it. The curiosity of knowing what’s going on behind closed doors is too great.

A flaw of mine.

Tiptoeing down the hall and stopping at where the wall ends and staircase begins, I peer over and try to get a good look at what’s going on downstairs. I can’t see anyone but I can hear my father’s voice amongst a few others.

Some I recognize, others not.

Kneeling to the floor, my hand splays over the ground as I lean forward and attempt to look between the gaps of the banister.

Nothing, I still can’t see anything. They must be in my father’s office so I stop trying to look and just listen instead.

The harshness of a familiar tone lashing out catches my attention first. “-half of the fucking shipment containers, do you understand what that means!” Words are spewing out from a voice that’s losing composure.

Mr. Romano? What is he doing here?

“-the crates in my section blew up, the entire fucking warehouse almost caught fire!” Another chimes voice in. I can’t be sure but I think it’s Mr. Riccardo. “I should’ve just kept my shit at Giordano’s dock-”,

“You don’t think If I’d known I would’ve stopped that shit from happening!” My father’s voice interrupts. A boom resonating after; I think he’s broken something. “My stock was in there too dammit!”

“Seems like quite the coincidence, doesn’t it Valentino?” Whoever is speaking now isn’t someone I know.

This person is bold... which will do no good in this situation.

It’s quiet now — seconds passing slowly.

“The fuck is that supposed to mean, Francesco?” Vileness seethes from my father’s throat, challenging and threatening all at once.

It’s a toxic choice to condescend the Don.

“I just want to know why this happened... if you’ve made any enemies that you are not telling us about.” The man whom I’m assuming is Francesco speaks as if he has a right to. However, patronization can lead to bad things... and I fear that I might witness that now.

A small metal click has me widening my eyes as a hard crunch hits off the walls and a seething groan invades my ear.

He’s hurt, I’m sure of it. And I don’t want to stick around to find out what’ll happen next.

Crawling backwards and away from the staircase, my backside accidentally bumps into to something and I momentarily freeze. When nothing happens I let out a sigh of relief. For a second there I was worried that I might’ve hit one of the small tables that carry decorative vases that my mother loves so much.

I feel silly for psyching myself out.

The corner of my lips slightly raise as I silently praise myself for my sneaky skills. That is until I turn around...

Looking over my shoulders, I catch sight of a pair of legs that are in enwrapped in dark linen. My lips part, a gasp emitting while my eyes travel upwards to meet the eyes of the owner of those legs — it’s none other than Alessio who’ve I’ve ran into.

My mind is screaming for me to close my mouth. I must look like a gaping fish out of water! But I find myself not being able to move. A wave of emotions on the verge of taking over me.

Embarrassment.

Mortification.

“Find what you’re looking for?” The arch of his brow raises with a humorous glint in his eyes.

A hard swallow makes it down my throat and the corners of Alessio‘s lips tug upwards a little, giving me his own version of a smile.

I think he’s laughing on the inside and that brings heat to my face.

“Um.” I’m at such a loss for words that I can’t even find my voice as I scramble to move my butt off his legs.

How did he even get upstairs? And how is he able to get pass through everything with anyone noticing.

Great, my day just started and it’s already starting off regretful. Having the man who just became my fiancé find me sneaking around on my hands and knees has to be the highlight of the day.

Pressing my lips together, all I can do is give him is a shrug as I sit back on my legs and look down at my hands in my lap,

“You shouldn’t be looking into places you’re not supposed to be, little mouse.” Alessio is talking low, cautious that if we were to be seen together like this it would seem inappropriate.

The pet name he’s given me has me gently biting the inside of my cheek as I watch his shiny shoes shift their weight to one leg so he can lean his shoulder against the wall.

Alessio crouches down to my height and places his fingers underneath my chin, bringing my head up to look at him. “Look at me Cherry,” he says gently and I do.

I think I already like him doing this. When he puts his hand underneath my chin to lift my head up it makes my stomach tingle, like butterflies.

It’s strange but nice.

When i’m able to meet his gaze, I find something a little off.

He has a wicked expression on his face with his sight focusing on what’s behind me.

He’s lost in his distraction and I’m lost with my own.

There’s a fine cut over the cheekbone on the left side of his face. It’s deep and bruising, but Alessio seems unfazed by this.

“Interesting shoes,” he mumbles with slyness.

“What?” I ask, looking at the slippers on my feet.

Of course now it makes sense once I realize that he’s referring to not only the fluffiness of the slippers but a little bunny face that’s been embroidered on it as well.

If I could disappear from the face of the earth right now, I would.

I doubt my skin can get any hotter than this.

“What?” He’s teasing now, or at least trying to. Alessio is better at being intimidatingly scary rather than comedic. “Cat caught your tongue?”

Quickly shaking my head and stutter out, “n-no.”

Another exploding sound of glass breaking captures our attention.

The breath is drawn out from my body.

My father must be still going at it.

Stretching his body back up Alessio holds out his hand for me to take. “Go find your mother,” he tells me carefully as if somethings going to happen right now, “don’t worry about this”.

Taking one last look at my shoes he scoffs with that same smile of his and let’s go of the hand that I forgot he was holding.

When he side-steps to go around me I naturally grab onto his forearm as if it were a normalcy between us. “Will everything be okay?” Asking with concern for my family’s safety. But when I realize what I’ve done, I let go and step back.

“I’m sorry,” I rush out, looking away.

It’s none of my business, I can’t be asking questions, and I especially can’t be stopping Alessio like this.

He steps into my circle and takes my hand in his, smoothing his thumb over my knuckles. “Va tutto bene.” Alessio’s calmness takes me by surprise. “Now go find your mother and stay with her.” Not saying anymore he takes this opportunity to tuck a piece of my hair behind my ear.

Can he hear how loud my heart is beating?

As his eyes wander over my form, he stops at my shoes again, staring a little longer than necessary with a smirk before shaking his head and walking to the staircase.

Heavily exhaling, I turn down the hall and scurry to my parents room. Standing outside the door I raise my hand and softly knock on the wood.

Cracking open the door my mother pops her head out. “Cherry!” she’s yelling with a whisper, grabbing my wrist and yanking me inside. “Why did you leave your room.” she hugs me to her body and shuts the door, locking it.

“Mama,” I whisper because she’s holding her index finger up to her lips as we walk to the bed and sit down on the small bench at the foot of it. “What’s happening?”

Her eyes shut. My mom has been stressing lately and I know she’s tired. “There’s been some kind of accident.”

She’s visibly upset with what’s happening; understanding that things can go bad quickly.

“What kind?”

Hesitation temporarily holds my mother’s voice hostage. I know she trusts me, we trust each other. And although we have a good relationship, somethings are meant to stay in the dark. So I wouldn’t be surprised if she couldn’t speak on what’s going on downstairs.

“There was a fire down at the docks,” finally saying. “No one is sure if it was intentional or not accident yet.”

I don’t really know what kind of stuff happens at the docks, but what I do know is that it’s apart of my father’s business, his empire along with a few others who have invested into this lifestyle.

“What will happen now?” We exchange a look of worry.

“Now we wait.”

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