I waited impatiently outside Stella’s hospital room where she is being checked by the doctor. She’s been in and out of consciousness and gone through two fluid IV’s and a nutrient one.
I had to be kicked out earlier. Apparently, it’s wrong to ask for the credentials of nurses.
My eyes could see her bruises through the window. The finger marks around her neck from when Carnellio squeezed her are pronounced. Her usually rosy cheeks now red from his hits. Her plump lips split from the same assault.
Footsteps sounded down the hall making me turn to Lorenzo, his hand running through his messy hair.
“How did it go?” I asked.
He flicked dirt off his dress shirt. “After you went all knight in Armani and left us to do the work? Good.”
I ignored his jest. My job was to get Stella out and I did.
“How’s Stella?” He asked adjusting his cufflinks. “Could not be yours.”
My jaw clenched from my older brother, one I needed to remember is my Don in public. “She isn’t like that.”
He watched me from the corner of his eyes. “You barely know her, thought I taught you and Romano better then to get someone knocked up.”
Romano appeared on my side as I straightened from Lorenzo’s words against Stella. I know her, she would not lie about this. “Thanks Lorenzo, I really appreciate your scolding. You’re my brother, not father.”
Lorenzo slowly turned his head towards me and I cracked my neck. He didn’t say anything but I could feel his thoughts and they are ones I didn’t want to hear.
“He does have a point though.” Romano muttered making me walk away from. If I keep standing next to them and their accusations, I will throw a punch.
I walked towards Stella’s room. It’s time to be with her, fuck anyone telling me I can’t be in there.
“Maximus.” Lorenzo said with my hand on the doorknob. My head slowly turned back to him. “Carnellio had an escape passage. He got away.”
I gripped the door handle tightly. “I want him alive.”
Romano gave a nod. “You know we will find him.”
Lorenzo still held my gaze. “Have you thought this through?”
My grip got tighter.
Thought this through? Having a child in the mafia world is dangerous. They are the first to die in a war and Stella doesn’t know about my life in the mafia. She has only been with me for a few months and already has been kidnapped.
Her innocence drew me in. Now it’s something I see being the reason she is killed.
And me a father? I am supposed to raise a kid. Can I do that?
“Get away from me!” The scared voice had me pushing the door open and my mind shut off my insecurities. Walking in I found Stella pushing away from the doctor.
Tapping the doctor to bring awareness to me, I smile softly at Stella. “Hey, it’s okay your safe now.”
Her eyes widened and she quickly glanced around the room before back to me. “Max?”
Fuck I have missed her voice.
“Si, I’m here.” I leaned against the wall, careful to not invade her space since she is nervous, the fight or flight instant pounding in her heart. She needs time to feel like she is safe again.
The doctor cleared his throat. “You may still feel drowsy; the drug they gave you is still in your system.”
Her eyes went wide with panic. “What did they inject me with?”
“Tranquilizer, you are okay it won’t leave any damages.” He said and her body sighed with relief.
Slowly she looked to me and I stared into her beautiful eyes. “You and the baby are okay, your safe.”
The panic in her eyes grew. “You know?”
“Doctor, we would like some privacy.” I waited till he left before speaking. “Before we start, I want you to know I’m not walking away. I’m here for you Stella, pregnant or not pregnant.”
She didn’t say anything making me wonder if I should let her sleep. “Do you want to talk?” She nodded. “When did you know?”
“The day I called you. Still processing but being kidnapped makes it hard.” Her voice was soft, exhausted. “Right, I’m pregnant. I barely remember speaking to the Doctor earlier who said I’m ten weeks and yes it’s yours.”
I felt my back straighten hearing it from her, my head slowly nodded trying to come to terms with it. Kids were never something I have thought about, never wanted with my job. And now it’s happened. With Stella.
At least that is a good thing.
“I don’t want your money.” Stella rushed out making my eyes snap to hers. “And now that we got that out of the way, I need to know what the fuck happened and why I was just kid-kidnapped.”
I looked her over trying to decide if she was stable enough for the conversation we need to have. I want to talk about us, but if we need this conversation first, I’ll do it. “He was a contract we are terminating, didn’t take it well. As I said before, my name is Maximus Sorrentino, Underboss of Lorenzo Sorrentino of the Sorrentino Mafia.”
“Mafia?” She asked laughing. “Underboss Maximus Sorrentino. I can’t believe that’s something that actually exists and isn’t some piece of fiction. Sounds ridiculous.”
She stopped chuckling and I puffed out my chest, I know she didn’t mean it but I take my family seriously, her joking about the family makes me want to defend it out of respect.
But I have to remember, she isn’t in this world and wouldn’t know how much respect is valued. Plus, Stella came out of a traumatic kidnapping, she can process me anyway she wants.
Slowly her face changed from confusion to fear. Moving slowly, I sat down beside her on the bed, lightly touching her arm hoping that I can calm her down. “Easy Stella, once your calm I’ll explain everything.”
“Calm? First you don’t ever tell a woman to be calm. Second, you don’t to tell a woman who is still handling the fact she is pregnant to calm down. And third, why the hell would you tell a woman who was kidnapped to be calm.” She grumbled forcing herself to sit up, her hand going to her head once she swayed.
I went to help her, but she waved me away.
I bit my lip to keep a chuckle in, she can go from quiet to a spitfire. “Being in the mafia isn’t as bad as you think. We are a family. You will be safe with me and I will assign body guards to protect you.”
“I have listened to the kingpin podcast.” She muttered, my lip fought against itself to not rise at her adorable curiosity. “So that’s going to be my new life; drugs, sex, guns and then one day you either get shot or sent to jail for the rest of your life.”
Liking my lips, I chuckled. “We are not the cocky idiots that were during those times. We are far smarter and not involved in so many pies. You ever hear of Omerta?”
She shrugged. “Heard it on the podcast, something about secrecy…”
Nodding I took a breath. “It’s a code of silence. I need to tell you everything, but I can’t until you swear to never break my trust, it’s not just my life that matters in this family.”
“You mean mafia.”
I bit back any retort about her snap of ‘mafia’. “We are a family first. Mafia is more of a job title. I need you to swear to Omerta Stella.”
She fidgeted on the bed. “And you would trust me swearing?”
My hand moved to push back a lock of hair that fell in her face. “You are many thing Stella, but a liar is not one. Please, swear.”
“Okay, I swear that whatever you say to me will not leave my lips. I swear Omerta to the Sorrentino Mafia.” She leaned back, her legs pulling up to her chest waiting for my explanation.
Leaning back, I nodded, good enough for me. “As I said, the Sorrentino business is the Sorrentino Mafia. Mostly we are pretty legitimate; clubs, restaurants, shipping and some other businesses. Then we also give out loan and guns which we only get for ourselves and select clients.”
She sucked in a breath. “But it’s still illegal.”
“I like to say we dance on the line, most of it is legitimate but we do cross for the right reasons.” I watched her bite her lip focusing on what I was saying to her and what it meant.
The seconds ticked into minutes before she finally said anything.
“Did you get the guy Carnellio or am I still in danger from him?” She asked without showing emotion.
“I will get him.” I bit my jaw looking at her, her question sent rage through me at the thought of someone daring to use her against me. “And yes, you are in danger. If someone were to know who you are, that you are caring my child. They will cut the baby out of your womb and let you bleed out. But no one will ever touch you again, I made a mistake not putting someone on you and I will not be repeating that.”
Immediately I cursed myself. Yes, she needs to know the truth about me but maybe I should give her some processing time.
Stella paled and jumped off the bed walking slowly backwards with her hand over her stomach. “No! Who the fuck would do such a horrible thing!”
“My enemies.” I said matter of fact, I hated seeing her look upset but it is necessary. She needs to understand the danger she is in; because of me.
“I want to go home.” She straightened her spine, her body slowly shaking. “I need to go home.”
“No.” Absolutely not, I will not let her be taken again.
Her eyes squinted to glared at me, the glare having the same effect as a disgruntled kitten. “You don’t get to control and tell me what to do. I have found out I’m pregnant, been kidnapped, beaten and now I find out you are a part of a real Mafia whose enemies will cut out my child. I. Am. Going. Home.”
I closed my eyes taking a breath, counted down from ten then opened them. She needs control and I must let her have it.
Stepping of the bed I nod. “I won’t fight you if I can put body guards on you. They won’t get in the way.”
She sighed motioning between us. “How will we work.”
I shrugged. “With one day at a time. I’m here for you, for us.”
“Am I safe with you?” She asked, vulnerability in her eyes.
Stella sighed. “Fine.”
“Give me a second and I’ll take you home.” Stepping out of the room I walk to Lorenzo and motion to Stella. “Okay if I put men on her?”
Lorenzo nodded. “Si, already put the order in for security at her apartment. You sure about this?”
“She’s... she’s different. I don’t know how to explain it but she is carrying my child. I won’t walk away from her.” I muttered looking back to see her ready.
A hand landed on my shoulder making me turn back to Lorenzo. “You’re a good man Maximus, don’t let her abuse that.”
I understand he is trying to protect me, but I had to bite down saying she is a good woman. In the Sorrentino family no one trust anyone till they have shown all their sides. He doesn’t know her and can’t trust her.
Giving a final nod I walk back to Stella who looked to me, her eyes and body exhausted from her ordeal.
“Let me take you home.” I said and she nodded.
My arm wrapped around her waist and thankfully she let her body relax into me.