Giovanni got greeted with the sight of two arguing men. One of them was the gate guard and the other was someone unknown to Giovanni. He watched the stranger attempt to hit the guard but got hit instead and stumbled back.
Giovanni found it strange that someone would come uninvited to the mansion today. It was made clear to the people of the town that the family wasn’t doing any kind of business. After all, it was Vincenzo’s wedding. It was a day of celebration. Giovanni crossed off the possibility of the aged man being from another family of his list. The De Reges were not in a feud with any of the other families.
He isn’t from around here.
Giovanni stepped closer to get a better look at the grey-haired man. He looked somewhat familiar even though he had never seen him before.
The man laid his eyes on Giovanni and assumed he was one of the higher-ups. ‘’You seem like a smart and reasonable man. I deserve to be at Vincenzo’s wedding but this son of a bitch won’t let me!’’
‘’Watch your tongue.’’ Giovanni’s eyes turned ice cold. ‘’Your name?’’
The man’s lips thinned when Giovanni corrected him on his language. ‘’Ivan Petrov. I’m Vincenzo’s real father.’’
How convenient. Giovanni thought back on the time Vincenzo asked to help him with his revenge. Why would he come here though? He, out of everyone, should know that Vincenzo won’t welcome him with open arms.
Giovanni motioned for Ivan to come closer. When he did, Giovanni went in for a right hook on Ivan’s lower jawline and instantly knocked him out.
‘’Bring him to the basement. Don’t speak about this anyone and don’t let anyone see him.’’ Giovanni ordered the guard.
Meanwhile, Isabella and Luciana danced amidst the other guests to the music of the live band. They tried to have Sergio join them but he wasn’t having any of it.
Giovanni got back and stood beside Raffaele who had his gaze fixed on Isabella and Luciana.
‘’So what was the problem?’’ Raffaele said.
‘’I’ll tell you later.’’
For now, Giovanni would stay silent. He would inform the Acardi brothers about Ivan after the feast was over. There was no rush. Ivan would still be locked in the basement after the wedding had ended.
The band began to play slow dance music meant for couples. Isabella and Luciana walked back to their table. The couples, on the other hand, stood up to dance with their partner. Isabella’s eyes sparkled as she watched the couples. It was something she wanted to experience herself. She wanted to be up there with everyone else. She wanted to dance with Giovanni.
Luciana tapped Isabella’s arm. ‘’Look! He’s looking at you.’’
Isabella followed Luciana’s gaze and saw Giovanni looking at her. She went back and forth on what to do. Eventually, she got up from the chair and walked up to him. There was a hint of hesitance forming in her head as she came closer. Afraid that he might reject her request to dance. Isabella shook the feeling off her and made her mind up.
‘’Would you like to dance with me?’’
The hard look in his eyes became softer and his voice was gentle, ‘’I’d love to.’’
Giovanni took the hand she held out for him and the two danced to the music. Isabella wasn’t short by any means and her heels added to her height but Giovanni was still taller than her. She placed her hands on his shoulders while he had his hands on her waist.
‘’I’ve always wanted to do this,’’ Isabella admitted.
‘’Slow dance. I’ve never had anyone who I could do it with.’’ she smiled weakly.
Giovanni chuckled. ‘’That is probably because of your brother.’’
Isabella loved hearing his laugh. She wished to hear it more often. It made him seem a little bit more approachable to her. Giovanni hadn’t changed and neither had Isabella but seeing this side of him got her to be comfortable around him.
‘’When are you leaving again? You said you don’t live with your family, right?’’ Isabella lowered her eyes before voicing her other thoughts. ‘’Am I going to see you less now?’’
Unlike his brothers, Giovanni moved out of the mansion when he was twenty-three. He lived in one of the hotels owned by the De Rege family. It was only because of the wedding that he had temporarily moved in again.
I do have to deal with Ivan later on but that can wait until tomorrow.
‘’I’m leaving tomorrow,’’ he replied.
I could stay longer. A day or two longer. Giovanni thought as he looked at the girl in his arms.
‘’Nevermind that. I’ll stay here for a few more days.’’
Isabella smiled at his answer. When she noticed his gaze drifting elsewhere, she raised a single eyebrow at him.
‘’For someone who doesn’t want anyone near his sister, he doesn’t seem to have a problem taking someone else’s cousin for a dance,’’ Giovanni said as he spotted Sergio dancing with Luciana.
‘’What are you talking about?’’ Isabella looked over her shoulder and laughed. ‘’I don’t think my brother had much say in it. He doesn’t like to dance.’’
‘’You’re telling me Luciana forced him? I didn’t know she was this bold.’’
Isabella’s laugh stopped abruptly when she saw her father watching her and Giovanni. Her father was no longer in denial. A scowl was apparent on his face.
‘’My father is looking at us.’’ Isabella ducked her head trying to hide from her father’s scrutiny.
Giovanni wasn’t bothered by it. ‘’Then don’t look.’’
Isabella searched his eyes to gauge how serious he was. Nothing about his face gave away that he was joking.
‘’Me not looking isn’t going to change that my father is looking this way. He doesn’t look happy. I think this is the first time he has ever seen me with someone.’’
Giovanni moved his body in such a way that Isabella would be shielded from her father’s gaze. He knew Isabella cared about the opinion of her family and wanted their approval of their relationship. While Donatella didn’t need any convincing, Alberto and Sergio were another story.
Giovanni grabbed her by her chin to make her look at him. ‘’Don’t worry. I’ll convince your father soon enough.’’
‘’You will?’’ she looked at him with a hopeful look.
Giovanni kissed her on her forehead and assured that he would find a way to do it. He was serious about her.