Chapter Thirty-Three: Mancini
Ren cleared his throat as he set the glass on the desk. “Aurora and I have been..."
“Have been what?” Dom asked as he watched the boy, who was terrified. “Spit it out, boy!” He hollered, making Ren jump. He got immense pleasure in that and sat back with his glass of Chardonnay and grinned.
“We- hell, I don’t know what we’ve been doing. I would never call her my mistress; she’s too good for that, and lover doesn’t sound any better. I guess you can call her my girlfriend, no wait, my fiancée..."
Dom spat the Chardonnay out on his desk. Okay, that part he hadn’t expected. So, the two have already decided without him, have they?
Ren jumped from his chair and moved to stand behind it.
Dom chuckled, “sit down, boy, I already know you’ve been sleeping with my daughter.”
Ren’s eyes became round as saucers as he sat back in the seat.
“Why do you think I sent you to get her, boy?” Dom asked as he mopped up the liquid from the papers on his desk.
“I’m just disappointed that it took you this long to come to me,” Dom said as he tossed the napkins in the trash and looked at Ren.
“Ohmigod,” Ren covered his face with his hands, “the pool,” he said with a groan.
Dom laughed, “believe me, boy, I was more shocked then you are, when I finally realized it was my daughter in the pool with you and not some girl.”
“How did you know?” Ren asked as he looked up at his boss.
Dom shrugged his shoulders. “Martina tattled on the two of you, she had come to your house to seduce you, and you were in bed already, with my daughter, and she heard you say Aurora’s name.”
“Shit,” Ren grumbled.
Dom laughed, “she thought I was angry.”
Ren looked up at him. “Weren’t you? Aren’t you?”
Dom shook his head. “No, Son. As I said, why do you think I sent you to retrieve my daughter? I could have sent Sofia and Nicola to get her, but I chose you.”
Ren stared at Dom. “Wait- you mean to tell me, we have been terrified of you finding out, and you already knew?”
Dom laughed, “it was my plan all along, boy. I knew my daughter needed a good strong man in her life. I wasn’t there for her.”
Ren frowned, “so, it was a setup.”
Dom stood up from his chair and leaned across the desk. “Placing you in a dangerous situation with my daughter, knowing you would lean on each other, knowing you would protect her with your life. That was my doing. You falling in love with her…,” he grinned, “that was your doing.”
Ren rubbed his chin with his fingers as he thought it over. He had fought it so hard, his attraction for his boss’s daughter. But in the end, Ren had succumbed to her charms. And yes, he has fallen head over heels in love with her. But the question was if Dom hadn’t sent him after her, if they hadn’t been in danger, if they hadn’t leaned on each other, if he had met her here, at the mansion, would he have fallen for her still?
“Ren, you’re overthinking it,” Dom said as he watched the boy.
“I’ve got to go,” Ren said as he jumped to his feet.
“Ren,” Dom said as he got to his feet.
Ren ignored him as he left the room and headed for Aurora’s room. He found her in a chair beside the window, reading. When he entered the room, she looked up from the book and smiled at him. She was in a long-sleeved shirt that covered almost all of her scars across her chest. But it was so tight, he could see every curve of her breasts, of the lush hips that disappeared into the chair. Yes. He decided as he moved towards her. He would have fallen for her the moment he had laid eyes on her, no matter where they had met.
“Ren.” She squealed when he lifted her into his arms. The book in her hand fell to the floor as he carried her to the bed.
“I love you, Aurora,” he said as he laid her down on the bed.
She smiled when he came down with her. “I love you too.”
He grinned, then claimed her mouth. This is where he is meant to be, here, in this woman’s loving arms.
“I don’t care if you hang me from my balls for saying this!” Ren bellowed as he entered his boss’s office. “I love Aurora, and I want to marry her.”
Ren paused when he saw the others in the room with Dom.
“About time,” Sofia said with a laugh.
“No, kidding,” Nicola chuckled.
“Piccolo will be happy,” Paolo said with a nod.
“What’s going on here?” Jayme asked as he looked around the room at everyone then at Ren.
Dom stood up from his chair with a wide grin. “Are you going to do it properly?”
Ren stared at Dom. “What?”
“Are you going to properly make your engagement official?” Dom asked as he eyed the boy.
“Oh, yes sir,” Ren said with a nod, utterly shocked at how calm Dom was of his announcement. He knew the man had wanted him to get with his daughter, but he’d seemed a bit shocked when he’d called Aurora his fiancée.
“Oh good, another wedding,” Isabella said with a grin.
“Can someone pleeease tell me what is going on?” Jayme asked as he stared at Ren.
“Come sit down Ren, I was going to have Nicola come after you, but figured you were with my daughter.”
Jayme looked from Ren to his father with his mouth slightly opened. He had known his sister was having an affair with their father’s second, but he hadn’t realized how serious it was.
He looked at Ren. “Do you have good intentions with my sister?”
Ren grinned at the kid. “Very good, I promise.”
Jayme nodded, then grinned at his future brother-in-law and held his hand out to him. “Then welcome to the family.”
“He was already a part of the family,” Dom grumbled.
“Yeah, but this is even better,” Jayme said with a grin as he shook the other man’s hand. “Looks like we need to get to know each other better if you’re going to be my brother.”
Ren grinned, “I look forward to it.”
“Can we get back to my death, please?” Dom asked with annoyance.
“I don’t like this,” Isabella said as she watched her husband.
Dom sighed, “I know, Amore. I don’t either, but it seems to be the only way to protect Aurora and get Trev to put his guard down.”
“How is it protecting Aurora?” Jayme asked, just now having learned all that has been going on around him. Being the invisible son has its disadvantages.
“Because they have no clue who your sister really is. Everyone who doesn’t know her; thinks she’s Nicola’s little sister, and we want to keep it that way,” Ren said as he sat in a chair next to the boy.
“Right,” Sofia said with a nod.
“Okay, so how are we going to kill my father, without actually killing him?” Jayme asked as he looked around the room.
“That is what I called this meeting for,” Dom said as he looked around the room. “I have a couple of ideas, and I want to run them by you.”
Three hours later, everyone was in agreement to one of Dom’s plans and left the office. Ren stuck around until everyone was gone. Dom looked at Ren, questions in his dark eyes. Ren turned to the man who was like a father to him. The man who had taken a troubled youth in and turned his life around. Made him strong, powerful, and confident. A man who kills to protect those he loves.
“Did you want something, Ren?”
“Your blessing, sir,” Ren said as he watched Dom.
Dom grinned, “I thought I had already given it to you.”
Ren smiled, “not exactly.”
Dom chuckled, “Lorenzo Mancini, you have my blessing to marry my daughter.”
“And mine, as well,” Isabella said from the door.
Both men looked to her with a smile.
Isabella moved into the room and stood beside Ren. “You saved my daughter’s life more times than I can count on one hand, maybe even two,” she said with a smile. “I have never seen Aurora so happy, not even when she was three and the Gem of everyone’s eye.”
“I love her,” Ren said as he stood.
She nodded, “I know. And I can see how much she loves you. When all of this is behind us, we will have the biggest wedding.”
“I think she would actually prefer a smaller one,” Ren said with a laugh.
Isabella grinned. “See, you know my daughter better than anyone. You are correct, she would probably prefer a smaller wedding.”
“Then it’s settled,” Dom said as he got to his feet. “Do you have what you need to make it official?”
“Yes, sir,” Ren said with a nod.
“Then, by all means, make it official, boy,” Dom said with a bit of authority in his voice, but a brilliant twinkle in his eye.
Ren grinned. “Yes, sir!” He said, then bowed to them, and left the room.
Isabella smiled as she watched the boy walk out of the room. “I like him, he’s good for our Gem.”
Dom grinned as he came around his desk and took her into his arms. “I agree, Amore, full-heartedly, I agree.”
“Aurora,” Ren said as he walked into her room.
He paused when he found her asleep on the bed still, from their earlier lovemaking. He grinned, then moved over to the bed and kissed her on the cheek. She didn’t wake, but she smiled and turned over. He touched the scar over her breast and took in a deep breath. They can do this tomorrow, tonight he just wants to hold her and show her how much he loves her.
“Wear something nice,” Ren said as he talked to Aurora on his cell phone.
“Something nice?” She asked, puzzled. “Aren’t we just going to the local cafe?”
He chuckled, “not tonight.”
She sighed, “I don’t want to.”
“Aurora. I don’t care what you want, I am taking you to a fancy restaurant, and that’s the end of it. Now get Sofia or your mother to help you pick out a dress.”
“Fine,” she grumbled.
“And Aurora,” he said before she could hang up.
“Nothing with long sleeves,” he said, then hung up the phone.
He chuckled as he placed his cell phone on his desk. He can imagine the annoyance in her eyes as well as the excitement. Tomorrow, he’s going to be killing Dom, and he wants to make her officially his; before all hell broke loose.
Ren looked up as someone knocked on his open door. It was his secretary. They paid the women who worked for him and Dom, very well to keep hush-hush of all the comings and goings and take care of anything that comes in. His secretary is a little French lady who had come to America on a work visa and has been an asset for the past five years.
“Yes, Mrs. Freisure?”
“There is a man in the waiting room who insists on seeing you. He won’t tell me who he is.”
“I’ll go see,” Ren said as he got to his feet and walked past her and down the hall.
When Dom chose this mansion, he had liked the number of floors, and the fact that he could turn the entire third floor into his offices and live on the bottom two levels comfortably.
Ren entered the waiting area ahead of Mrs. Freisure. “Can I help you?”
Ren froze, he would recognize that voice anywhere. It was the voice of his past. One he did not want to be pulled back to.
“Father,” Ren said with an angry growl.
“I see you’re still angry with me,” Riccardo Mancini said as he watched his only son, glare at him.
“What the hell are you doing here?! How did you find me?” Ren demanded.
“I saw your picture in the papers with the Romano girl. I wanted to get to you before the wedding, but I couldn’t get away. I’m happy to see that you didn’t marry her.”
Ren snorted. “What would have been the problem with that? And why should you care?”
“I care, son, believe me, I do,” Riccardo said with a heavy sigh.
“Yeah, sure, you cared so much that you abandoned Emma and me..."
“I didn’t abandon you, boy,” Riccardo said with a shake of his head, “your mother..."
“My mother? She doesn’t exist.”
“I heard what happened to Emma,” Riccardo said, surprising Ren.
“And you did nothing about it?!”
Riccardo sighed, “there was nothing to do, you had already killed the man.”
Ren snorted. “What do you care?”
“Boy, I know your mother filled your head with a bunch of crap..."
“I don’t have to listen to this.” Ren snarled as he turned to leave the room. The door closed in his face, and when he went to open it, it seemed to be either locked or someone was holding it. Either way, he was going to break down this damn door and get away from this lying ass...
“Lorenzo Mancini!” Riccardo hollered.
Ren stopped pulling on the door and stood there seething.
Riccardo took a deep breath. “Look..."
“No, you look,” Ren said with so much anger and hatred in his blood that his voice dripped with it. “We needed you! Then you stopped paying child support, and Mama sold Emma..." He stopped talking as the memory clogged his throat with emotion.
“I never stopped paying, Ren. I was even paying years after your sister and mother were dead. I found out that my checks weren’t being cashed and escaped the job I was on to find out what was going on. That was when I found out about your sister and mother.”
Ren glared at his father. “And you didn’t think to look for your lost son?”
Riccardo shook his head. “I did, Son, believe me, I did. When I found out the man who had killed your sister had died the same day as your sister and mother, I just knew it had been you. By this time, Domenico Romano had already taken you in, and I had no way of finding you.”
“If you knew I was with Dom, why didn’t you come for me?” Ren asked as he fought back a tear.
Riccardo took a deep breath and studied his son. He has grown into such a strong man, he couldn’t be prouder.
“I didn’t know you were under Dom’s care until I saw your picture in the papers with his daughter and investigated,” he said as he took a step closer to his son. “That was when I figured out why I couldn’t find you.”
“Why did you leave us?” Ren asked.
Riccardo shook his head. “Your mother took you. I didn’t leave you. I came home from a mission and found the house empty except for my belongings. Which were scattered around the house, mostly broken. I searched for all of you for months, until I got the divorce papers and knew there was no way I would get you or your sister. She had already poisoned you and your sister against me..."
“You still could have tried.”
Riccardo nodded, “I could have. But to what avail? You and Emma already thought the worst of me. I couldn’t handle seeing my children look at me for the evil man their mother portrayed me to be.”
“If you didn’t love mother, why did you marry her?” Ren asked. He has always been curious about that.
“It was an arranged marriage,” Riccardo said with a heavy sigh. “But don’t think that because I had a loveless marriage, that I didn’t love my children.”
“Mother said that you had stopped paying, so she had to sell..."
“I found out that your mother had been spending the money I was sending on drugs, and other unsavory things,” Riccardo said.
Ren took a deep breath. “Why are you just coming to me now, Father?”
“I tried to go to the wedding, but Domenico blocked me. It took me all this time to explain to him what had happened and show the proof that I was indeed taking care of my family.”
“Dom knew you were trying to find me?”
“Don’t blame Dom, Son. He didn’t want you to know until he was sure I could be trusted. He would have told you either way.”
Ren nodded. He knows Dom would have told him. He would have checked and double-checked everything before letting Riccardo anywhere near him, then told him of the cad if he had discovered something dastardly. He laughed at the word; he’s been watching too many old movies with Aurora.
“Where have you been?” Ren asked.
Riccardo took a deep breath. “Well, I guess you’re old enough to know.”