APOLLO GRINNED AT ME, missing teeth flashing cutely.
"I got it right, Mamma!"
"You did!" I grinned back proudly, ruffling his dark hair.
"Alright, snack time sweetheart."
Apollo cheers, his warrior call echoing throughout the house on his way to the kitchen.
I chuckle, wagging my head in amusement.
Mechanically, as I do anything and everything, I take out a cutting board some green apples(Apollo only eats green apples), and I start chopping the fruit into wedges.
He giggles at nickname I gave him before preceding with his question.
"Where does Papà work?"
The knife's edge seems to glue itself to the cutting board, keeping my hand in the air attached to the suspended handle.
A Mafia boss with boundaries to his violence?
"...Papa can explain it better when he gets home. Okay, Apple?"
I place his snack in front of him to shut him up and it works. He hums and nods, dipping his apple slices into the yogurt.
"Papà told me that he makes bad people go away,"
I choke on air. "He said that?"
"Uh-huh. He said for me, he makes bad people go away."
Well, that sly bastard. He told the truth without telling the truth. I'm impressed.
"Well, I'm sure—."
The door swung open and in walk Salvatore. He had a grim expression on his face, making him look composed of all hard lines and edges.
He kissed Apollo's hair, ruffling it, then bent down to kiss me.
Before I could ask him what he was doing home at lunch, Apollo asked.
"Papà, what do you do?"
Salvatore sighed heavily, smiling tiredly at Apollo.
"For you, my son, I make bad people go away."
Apollo grinned before his smile faltered.
"What about everybody else, Papà?"
Salvatore visibly stiffened.
"Are we the bad guys, Papà?" Apollo quipped quietly.
"No, my son. We are not the bad guys. You are a good boy. And I... Well, Papà can a be a bad guy sometimes."
He sags into me, all strength having fled him at the admission of being a bad guy to his son.
"I don't think you're a bad guy, Papà. I know bad guys."
Salvatore paying rapt attention now, "I was running from them. You're not like them at all."
A question seems to lay laden on his tongue but he doesn't ask it.
"I am glad you think so. Now, run along and play for a minute or two so I can talk to Mamma, yes?"
Apollo races away, stuffed to the brim with satisfaction and green apples.
Warm hands wrap around my waist, hot breath on my neck. Small kisses are strategically placed in erogenous zones, eliciting a moan.
He groans in satisfaction.
"I need you again tonight, wife."
I swallow harshly.
He growls in anger, spiking awareness and arousal through me.
"Yes, Salvatore I want you to have me tonight, or Yes, Salvatore I'll do what you say so you don't kill me?"
I chuckle at his irritated tone. He may have forgotten because of my submission, but I will remind him.
"I do not fear death, Husband. In fact, most days, I plead for it. You still don't scare me."
Shocked, he lets go of me for a moment. A rare smile lights up his face.
"Good girl," he murmurs, kissing my head.
He frowned slightly but didn't say a thing else.
"I have to get back to work, don't leave the house—"
"I know, I know. I won't."
"Baby girl, don't interrupt me," he said sternly.
"Yes, Salvatore. "
"Papà, Papà!" Apollo raced into the room, jumping on Salvatore.
Salvatore spun around quickly to catch him.
"What is it, figlio?" he asked concerned.
I couldn't help my smile, as he frantically looked over Apollo for injuries.
Apollo squirms away from his dad's hand, batting it was lifting his head and turning it all which ways.
"Papà! Stop it!" Salvatore fusses over him a bit more, before finally relinquishing his suspicion.
"Well, what is it, Apollo? Why do you come in here screaming, hm?"
Salvatore's brow furrows in frustration and concern, his accent thickens even more so, and his contractions drop.
His tone is one of scolding, and I realize that Salvatore really cares about this little boy.
Just like I do. I knew he cared about Apollo, but I didn't really realize to what extent.
I didn't realize he'd adopted him just like I did.
I didn't realize we were parents.
I knew I was, but I never equated my husband as the father to my child.
"I just wanted to ask if we could go to the movies," Apollo pouts sadly.
Salvatore sighs heavily. I can tell it's a no, and so can Apple.
"Please, pleaseeeee, Papà? Just once?"
Salvatore glances at me for help.
"Apple, why don't we watch a movie here? We can have popcorn and candy and Papà can watch it with us!"
Salvatore opens his mouth to protest, but when Apollo cheers he lets it go, shooting me a glare.
I shrug. It's better than him begging to go out to the movies.
He looked like he was going to crack already.
"Alright Apple, go pick a movie while Papà and I talk. "
He skips away happily. Salvatore glares at me stormily, his jaw clenching and unclenching.
"Why did you tell him I would be there? I have work!"
"You were seconds away from telling him yes. Besides, he wants to spend time with you."
"Delphine, I have work," he reiterated sternly.
"Then tell him yourself."
His eyes narrow, and I smirk. He won't do it. He can't.
"Fine, you win," he bends down to whisper in my ear. "But I want payment for my lost wages."