F I F T Y - S E V E N
“Marriage is no joke, Dominic. Most likely, you will fuck it up.”
I looked at him through the mirror as Viktor sat, bending over and tying his shoelace.
I paused midway while fixing the damned bow tie, which definitely didn’t want to be symmetrical, and turned around to face him.
“Remind me again, why did I choose you as my best man?” I scowled.
Viktor smirked. “You needed someone in case Ralph shoots you in the balls. And because Marco is less likely to stop him, I am the next best option.”
“Right. Thank you.” I flipped him a bird and turned back to fix the bow tie. “And to refute your unsolicited advice, if you can make your marriage with Mia work, so can I,” I said and shrugged. “It would be a walk in the park for me.”
“Except the park is on fire,” I heard him mutter as he left the room.
High and Mighty fucker.
I have never been so antsy in my life as I waited at the altar and counted every second inside my head. It was not like I wanted my wedding to over quickly, but the sheer happiness was exhilarating.
Lord knew we earned it. Lilliana and I fucking earned every speck of our life together. And the Devil knew what we would do to those who came for us ever again.
I have a woman in my life who loved violence as much as I did. She kept me on my toes and my dick hard every hour of every day, and I was an excited fucker for everything that she was.
The room hushed, and gasped as I looked up at the entrance. Lilliana.
When my eyes landed on hers, I could not think or breathe. She was looking so beautiful, so magnificent that I was afraid I’d miss a moment of a lifetime if I’d blink.
I took her hand and steadied her steps, brushing off the thin line of water trickling down her eyes. Even though Lilliana bit on her lips and tried her best to stop the tears, it seemed inevitable.
The officiate took over, and I did not care to listen to his words because the woman standing in front of me stole every last of my breath. She understood me in a way most people have never wanted to, and for that, I would always be grateful to her.
“…Dominic Romano, I vow to love and cherish you a lifetime for now.”
Her words gripped tight around my heart and filled me with something I never thought I would ever dream of - hope.
For the first time in my life, I did not want to be a Romano. Yes, I was proud of that name that gave me all the privileges and power in the world, but it was different with Lilliana.
With her, I was just a man in love with a woman.
And I loved her the way she was supposed to be loved – devotedly, passionately, and undyingly.
I found Marco sitting at one of the tables and sauntered closer. As I neared, he was sniffing into his glass; what I assumed was a non-alcoholic beverage. Chuckling, I drew back the chair and sat down.
“Ugh. It tastes like piss!” He poured the contents into the flower pot on the table and slammed down the glass. “Do you really want me to drink this shit on your wedding day?”
“As the only brother of my beautiful wife,” I emphasized the words, with every bit of sarcasm, I could inject, “…I would rather not have you dead today. So, please try and stick to water or juice.”
My eyes caught the sight of someone over Marco’s shoulders as squinted for a better view. Tall, blonde, and impeccably suited.
Who the hell invited him?
As he unmistakably neared with a reserved smile, I had to get up and extend a hand. “Edward, what a pleasant surprise.”
He took my hand and shook it. “Congratulations on your wedding, Dominic.”
“I hope you don’t mind me crashing your special day,” he mannered, reading into the surprise etched all over my face. “I just happened to come across Samantha, here in Italy, who was kind enough to invite me.”
His head moved around, scanning the place. “Although, I don’t see her around…”
Marco gave me a funny look that translated into—“what the fucking fuck?” as a smile, let free of his lips.
“She must be somewhere…here,” Marco drawled.
It was only then Edward’s attention fell on him as I quickly introduced. “Oh, you both haven’t met, Edward. That’s Marco Alessi—”
“I know him,” he cut me in, shaking hands with him. “I mean, only through reputation.”
“Well, that is a dangerous thing,” Marco chuckled.
“I am really glad you could join us here today, Edward.” Just as I finished my sentence, I spotted Sammy. And for a second, it was difficult to believe that she was actually hurried towards us, as quickly as she could in her high heels. “Ah, there’s my sister,” I pointed dryly.
By the time she stood alongside me, Sammy was breathless. “Edward…”
His eyes swiped over her in recognition and. I smiled. “You look beautiful.”
It was my turn to freak out a little silently. As a brother, I have universally doubted every man that has crossed my sister’s path, and the fact that there was no dirt on this guy disturbed me more than ever.
“Sammy, I believe Edward hasn’t met the new bride yet,” Marco interrupted with a smile he only reserved for strangers. “Why don’t you take him to meet, Lilliana?”
Marco and I watched them walk off towards the small gathering centered around Lilliana as I muttered under my breath, “Asshole.”
“You got any beef with him?” Marco smirked. “The man’s a saint compared to us.”
“Saints don’t chop off dicks,” I recalled.
He nodded, leaning in a little and lowering his tone. “I know you are still mad about Lorenzo, but you got to accept that you made him suffer till the last breath. You burned him alive and made an example of his death. There’s not a man in Chicago who’d dare to come for our women.”
If death could absolve his sins, I would have been satisfied. But it doesn’t. Lorenzo was not the first man who betrayed us, and something I have learned in our business that he won’t be the last. Where there were money and power, there would always be enemies from within and outside.
But Lorenzo crossed the line. Something we would neither tolerate nor forgive, even with the brutal outcome of his fate.
“I hope not.” I sighed and looked at the path once again. “Why the hell is this Edward here?”
Marco tapped my wrist gently, offering some kind of consolation. “If Edward had any intention to harm Sammy, he had plenty of opportunities and yet he did not cross the line. He saved her life.”
“I am just being cautious.”
“Dominic, you are a married man now. And you have better things to worry about—like my sister.”
Maybe he was right.
In the middle of our dance, Mia cut in, wanting to dance with Dominic. And naturally, I was left with a partner I was least expecting to dance with - ever!
“God, who would have imagined this day?” I chuckled under my breath and took his hand as gracefully as he had offered. Viktor was quite a gentleman when he wanted to be.
“Which is more surprising,” he smirked. “The fact that you are marrying my brother or that I am dancing with you?”
“Tough choice.” I contemplated. “I’d say both. But, thank you, Viktor. For not killing me that day.”
We danced slow, without beat and rhythm because Viktor has, undeniably, no sense of music. How Mia got around dancing with him was a miracle.
“You are welcome.” The smirk gave away to a sinister smile. “But, just so we are clear, I had every intention to kill you.”
“No, you didn’t.”
His cocky brow raised a little at my tone. “You seem confident.”
“I am.” The corner of my lips pulled up. “If you are half the man I think you are, you are less likely to waste your words if you are going to use the bullets.”
“Charming,” he remarked. Even if Viktor were impressed, he would not let it show. “Figures, why Dominic is so taken by you. Just promise me one thing: you won’t be shooting my brother even when you are tempted to.”
“I don’t remember taking no such vow at the altar.” I winked.
A rare, unfiltered smile broke out on his lips. “We are good then.”
Viktor walked away, wearing the same smile as he retrieved his wife and planted a kiss on her lips. Without a word, she melted into him. When I gazed at them, it was no longer in a profound reverie.
My eyes swooped down on my hand as the diamond cuts shone brightly under the sun. I didn’t exactly have the time or inclination to wonder how Dominic found such an exquisite ring on such short notice because I was too taken by the wedding.
This day was as surreal as it got. And the weight of the ring on my finger was one of the many things to remind me it was every bit as real as my life with Dominic.
All of a sudden, a hand wrapped around my hips and a body pressed against me from the back. “Rule one,” Dominic whispered into my ears. “You don’t leave the sight of your husband.”
Giggling, I spun around in his arms. “Rule two—your wife makes all the rules. And it’s non-negotiable.”
With that, I took his lips, letting the happiness explode inside of me.
I have never kissed another man before Dominic, and he was the only one I would ever kiss. Until the end of time.
Thank you for being so patient and supportive, guys. 😘😘 The Epilogue for this story is coming up tomorrow. And the bonus chapter for TMA will be up in this week itself.