Back Into Darkness

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Chapter 26: Planting doubt

Lorenzo Calabria

Belle is Isabella. The girl I was supposed to marry. Fuck me. Why the fuck am I in love with her? I'm fucking in love with her, and she's a Moretti. She lied to me. Maybe. I don't know. I guess she told the truth. She just hid things from me. If she's Christian's daughter, his wife's maiden name was Rose. Belle can be taken from Isabella. Her father abused her. She craved freedom. I took her from it.

I heard stories from my father about Christian Moretti, and a few rumors of how he treated his daughter, that he sold her, and her body, for his own personal gain. My father told me that she was smart and beautiful and that I would like her. I, of course, didn't believe him because he was just trying to convince me, or so I thought. But she's more than I imagined. My father told me that when he met her, he was immediately entranced by her beauty, as I clearly was. Which is why I chose her. She had mystery and innocence at the same time. My father said she gained his respect as soon as she spoke to him honestly, that her father had abused her but it made her stronger. I just thought he was lying, to make her seem amazing and the perfect match for me. But now, here I am, loving her. She's mine. My Belle.

Her father hurt her so much that she killed him. I can't help but be proud hearing that she had enough courage to stand against him, to defeat him. And because she killed my enemy. She's not my enemy, not really. She's not part of that family, she's not a Moretti. I didn't know it then but I know now. I saw it, as she looked out the window and saw her uncle. She went stone cold, she panicked. She knew she had to tell me. But she was fearful, right to her core. I don't want her to ever feel that way. Ever.

I head down stairs without her, my mind still reeling. I'll tell the guys she is sick and that she has to stay in our room. My father is expecting to meet her, but he already has anyway.

"Where is she? Belle, was it? Where is the little slut that stole my son's heart?" my father questions, raising his eyebrows at me as he sees me alone.

"She's ill."

"Hmm, really? She couldn't come to the last meeting and now she still can't come. I need to meet her, Enzo, before, she captures your heart fully."

"She already has," I mutter before walking over to my brothers and telling them she's ill too. They seem to question it, as they saw her earlier today, completely fine. Of course, when I give them a glare, they back away.

I watch Moretti and everything he does, as he does me. After I shot his right hand man, Adriano, he's seething, and I can tell. But he did almost kill Leo, my fucking brother. I decide to be bold, with my brothers behind me, and make the first move. I'm a little thrown by the fact that I'm in love with Moretti's niece. Does this change my plan? Maybe there's an easier way to do things. That I can use Belle to my advantage. I know why he's trying so hard to find his niece, because she killed Christian. What does he want more, power or revenge? Fuck, why does the thought of Belle killing Christian make me so unbelievably happy? I should be fuming with her, and I will punish her. But I can't put her in danger, I can't throw her out, she doesn't belong anywhere but by my side. She's my queen.

"Alfonso, it's been a while," I greet, hinting a bitter tone. He reciprocates my fake friendly attitude and returns a forced smile as he shakes my hand.

"Lorenzo, you've grown," he responds, referencing our ages and the fact that I'm so much younger than him, and therefore less experienced and smart. Alfonso is only seven years younger than my dad, whilst he's seventeen years older than me. "How are your brothers? All in good health?" He looks behind me and smirks when he doesn't see Leo. Leo is still recuperating and for his own health, he's resting.

"How's your right hand? Adriano, right?" I muse, a smirk tugging at my lips.

"He's fine," he grits out. We take seats on the couches, the other mob bosses watching us whilst mingling. "Let's cut the shit, Lorenzo. I'm here because you are going to give me what I want before I start a war to get it. And I'm going to win that war."

"You're cocky for a man who's troubled by searching for his niece," I state. Luca whacks me a little, gaining my attention and wondering what I'm doing sharing what we know about what Moretti is doing. I give him a glare, telling him that I know what I'm doing.

"My niece is none of your concern. And she's not missing. She's at home. That nasty little bitch is none of your business," he almost growls but remains composed. My father gives me a warning look but I ignore it. I know how to push his buttons.

"Really? I was thinking of going through with the marriage idea, joining our families together."

"You don't want that slut. My brother was mocking you by engaging you both. She's nothing but a common whore," Alfonso spits out and that makes my blood boil. This man is speaking about my Belle like this. She's mine. He's hurt her in the past, I know it. He'll fucking pay for that, worse than death. I need him to suffer. Belle is anything but a common whore, or a nasty little bitch or a slut.

"I do. I do want her. My father has met her and has told me that she would be a good fit for me. Her being Christian's daughter and heir, I would think joining me with her would cement an alliance," I suggest. My father narrows his eyes at me, questioning what I'm doing. Any time he has mentioned Isabella before, I've always been against the idea and refused what he said. But if Christian was still alive, I'd be forced to marry her anyway. Now, she belongs to me, she's not anyone else's. She's mine.

Alfonso scoffs at me and narrows his eyes.

"Of course, I've heard that you can't find her. Maybe that's why you're against it. Or maybe it's something else. Did you ever catch Christian's murderer?" I question knowingly and with a smirk. Alfonso's whole expression changes, twisting into a scowl as he understands that I know it was Belle who killed Christian.

"Yes, I killed the guy for it," he grits through his teeth. My smirk widens. Belle is a sore spot for Alfonso clearly. This young girl, seventeen, managed to escape his men, hide in the city and he's no closer to finding her. I bet he hasn't even found one of her apartments or the diner. She's smart, and she knows the mafia. She knew how to escape him, how to hide herself. She's my girl.

"Right." I'm guessing only close members of the family know, which begs the question, how do I know about Belle? I'll let him think he has a rat, someone feeding me information. I got drop points for his next few drops, thus reinforcing the idea there's a mole. He, like me, will start interrogating his guys, but it will be those closest to him. It will destroy them. You start questioning the guys closest to you who expect your trust and none of them trust you anymore. "It's a shame you don't support a union between your niece and me."

I move to talk with other bosses, keeping the peace as normal, making sure the status quo is instated. Alfonso keeps a watchful gaze on me, seething about our conversation quietly.

"What was that?" my father asks.

"What was what?" I retort, playing dumb.

"That shit about his niece. You didn't even like the girl. What's the angle you're playing because he seems very pissed off without reason."

"I'm just testing the waters." I had to know whether what she told me was true. I didn't think she would lie. But I had to make sure. And it looks like I struck a nerve. Belle really killed Christian, her own father. He must have been one hell of an asshole for my gattina to kill him. "I was also planting a seed. I know what I'm doing, father. You just have to trust me. I'm the boss, not you. Remember that."

"I do," he replies, nodding. "I trust you know what you're doing."

"Come by the house at lunch tomorrow. I want you to meet Belle."

Once the party is over, I abort the car plan. The rat idea is a more intricate plan. It also doesn't risk everything. If he didn't die in the car, he would be coming for me, hard. But, this will destroy him from the inside. What to do with Belle though? She's been a bad girl.

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