Chapter 29: It doesn’t matter why
The words ring in my head like noon bells of a church. Marry him? We’ve just got together. Although I can’t see myself being with anyone else. I guess everyone says that when they are happy in a relationship, then things don’t work out. I want us to work out. But I can’t help feeling like this proposal isn’t for us, it isn’t because of us. He wants to piss Alfonso off. Marrying me is icing on the cake. It would be a widely known affair with Alfonso invited, just to show off. I want him to ask me because he genuinely wants to marry me.
But would I say yes?
I haven’t known him too long, and yet, I suppose, I live with him already, I work with him, I sleep with him, we spend a lot of time together, more than the normal couple would in the first few months of a relationship. We’re not normal, so I can’t go on the advice of normal relationships.
Is it strange that I want to say yes?
I’ve never met anyone like him, who makes me feel the way I do, and I’ve met a lot of men. Even J, who I consider a friend, could never make me feel safe. What happened to J, and Harry? And the diner? I should ask Enzo about that. That place was my new home, a stable healthy place for me for three years.
“Belle?” he asks, anticipating a reaction. I know that he’s very impatient, that he doesn’t know how to read my expressions and it makes him angry. He doesn’t know what I’m thinking. His nervous face pales into a fearful one, as if he cares whether I say yes or not. Is this really not just for the war? I want to marry him. But I want it to be real.
“Do you really want to marry me or is it just for my uncle?” I question. I need to know.
“It’s both,” he answers without hesitation. “Marrying you would piss him off, it would also keep you safe. You’ll be a Calabria, officially part of this family. You are a Moretti, you’re your father’s heir. Technically, your family empire, it should be yours. We can get it.” He steps closer to me so our bodies are touching, ignoring everyone else in the room. “But more than that, I love you. I’ve never loved anyone. I’ll keep you safe and loved. I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me, Belle?”
I think he’s honest. I know he’s being honest. He wants the power that could come with marrying me. But I believe he loves me, and he wants to be my husband. If he didn’t, he could be forcing me right now, and I wouldn’t be able to do anything. But he’s telling me he loves me, in front of his family. I love him.
“Yes,” I breathe out. He forces back a wide grin and settles for a content smile, bringing me closer and presses his lips to mine. It’s short, as we have company, but contains so much meaning. I’m marrying him.
“I wanted you to have this ring, son. To give to Isabella a while a go. I keep it on me, it was your mother’s.” Tony takes out a chain around his neck and uncovers a beautiful ring hanging around it. Enzo clasps it in his hand and then slips it on my finger, bringing my hand up to his lips and kissing it.
After lunch with his family, Enzo and his brothers have business to take care of at a club. I change into some casual clothes and head into the kitchen with a book. When I enter, everyone’s chatting and joking around as they usually are. Enzo and I agreed that until he’s looked into Ranger, no one else will know my true identity. But him getting married to me is something I can divulge. Ranger and other guys already know.
“Hey, Belle,” Sofia greets and I smile back at her, coming over to help. I enjoy doing menial chores, it makes me feel somewhat normal. I’m going to be marrying one of the most powerful men in New York. “How was lunch with the old boss?” She looks over at me and her eyes widen as she watches me chop. “What the hell is that on your finger?!” Everyone else whips their heads around to look at what Sofia is screaming about, and their eyes widen at me too.
“He proposed to me,” I mutter, alarmed by their reactions and terrifying expressions. Their eyes are bulging out of their heads.
“You said yes? Or was it like a no choice thing?” Sofia questions, still astounded.
“I said yes,” I reply, staring at my ring a little. It glistens when the sun beams hit through the window.
“You said yes,” Joe mumbles in absolute disbelief.
“Why would he marry you?” Gia questions. I glance over to her to see her doubtful expression, scoffing at me.
“Why don’t you ask him?” I retort, a little hurt by her words. He didn’t know who I was and still claimed to love me. Why does he love me? It shouldn’t matter to me. He loves me. It shouldn’t matter why. Why does anyone love? Sometimes there aren’t reasons. You just do.
“What’s so special about you anyway? He took you from some shitty diner in a shitty neighbourhood and now he’s asking you to marry him?” Gia questions.
“What about your parents? I never asked about your family. He take you from anyone?” Joe asks curiously.
“No. I don’t have anyone,” I respond a little sadly. I mean, I have family left, my uncle. But I can’t consider him my real family, that is not family. What he has done to me, what Christian has done, that’s not family.
I’m getting married without my parents, people who are supposed to love me, and be here.
My mother, she committed suicide, found life with Christian overwhelming, even if she did have a duty to protect her daughter. I can’t really blame her, I understand her decision. Being married to that monster is the cruelest punishment out there. It wasn’t that he hurt her, too much, but it was the way he was, the cold nature, power-hungry.
My father, that was all me. I killed him, and yet, does it make me a monster that not one part of me regrets that decision. Still, after all these years, I thought I would develop some... remorse. Just for killing, the act itself. But I can’t. Maybe that’s why I’m comfortable with the way Enzo is, the fact that he can kill without a second thought. He kills with reason though, with an end goal in mind. Someone betrays him, he kills him.
My father is supposed to give me away on the day, my mother supposed to be weeping in joy that her baby girl is getting married. Instead, my father will be cursing from his grave, screaming that I’m a traitor. He wanted me to marry Enoz, just not like this, not so dignified.
“Belle,” a voice calls out, and I peer over my shoulder to see Ranger by the door, his expression blank and emotionless. Should I go? Do I have a choice? I have choices now, Enzo gives them to me.
I find myself following him out anyway, willing to listen to what he has to say. I wait patiently for him to talk, but he just towers over me, glaring harshly. The next thing I know, I’m slammed up against the wall, his hand clutching my throat and other hand trapping my hand down. I squirm around, trying to push against him but he holds me tightly to the wall.
“What are you doing?” I squeal, my voice hoarse from the hold on my throat.
“The question is, what the fuck are you doing, Belle?” he growls, pressing me into the wall with his body. “I had a nice little chat with your fiancé earlier. Congratulations by the way,” he sneers.
“This is what you’re mad about? That I’m marrying Enzo?” I question but he presses me in further.
“Well, yes, but, you see, that’s not what he wanted to talk to me about. He was acting very suspicious of me, very. He told me he knew that Dante and Gio weren’t the moles. That someone close to him was. He was suggesting me, I know he was. I wonder why. Belle?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking abo-”
“Don’t play dumb now, Belle. It doesn’t suit you. You made him suspicious of me, you’ve been avoiding me for weeks. So, tell me, Belle, why?” he hisses. I stop squirming and stare at him dead in the eyes.
“This is your answer? To intimidate me? What would Enzo think then? You need to take your hands off me, now.” He smiles humorlessly and lets go, backing up from me. I’m right, this isn’t going to help. This only makes me all the more sure. If he wasn’t the mole, why would he be so worried?