The later it got into the evening, the more customers began to filter out. With a flick of the wrist, Giovanni killed the lights in the restaurant. It was closing time.
‘’Are you sure you don’t want us to drop you off?’’ Luciana asked Isabella.
‘’No, it’s fine. My brother is already on his way to come and pick me up. Thank you for the offer, Luci.’’
‘’Okay then. Say hello to your brother for me,’’ Luciana said and turned to her aunt and the two guards. ‘’Are we going? I’m sitting in the front!’’
Their departure left only three more people occupying the darkened place that was full of life only moments ago. Not wanting to leave Isabella by herself until the arrival of her brother, Giovanni stayed behind as well as Leone by default.
Isabella sat by the window, watching the pitter-patter of the rain. Giovanni was planted behind her, his hand lightly brushing her back and Leone was standing near the entrance.
‘’You shouldn’t come here for a little while or the mansion. Any place my family owns for that matter,’’ Giovanni said.
She stared at his upper arm that was clad by the black suit jacket. ‘’Because of that?’’
Giovanni never got the chance to answer Isabella as he got cut off by Leone.
‘’Remember, Giovanni.’’ Leone held up the silver cross around his neck.
The capo wanted to make sure, Giovanni hadn’t forgotten the oath they made during their initiation process. Even though Giovanni was born into the De Rege family, he still had to take part in the ceremony like any other man to become a full-fledged member. Become a man of honour.
‘’I know,’’ he said to Leone.
Giovanni thought back on the burning picture of the saint in he held during the initiation. Breaking the code of silence meant his flesh and soul would burn like the saint.
‘’You’ll be safe, right?’’ a slight tremble was heard in her voice.
Isabella rose to her feet and faced the other way, feeling her eyes burn. Drops of water pearled down her cheek. It didn’t take long before Giovanni had her meeting him and wiped salty tears away.
‘’How can you be so sure?’’
‘’I’ve always been like that. I’ll make sure it won’t happen again.’’
A tall figure entering the building made the two of them looked to their side. Sergio closed his umbrella and shook it, letting water droplets fall onto the doormat.
‘’Stupid rain,’’ Sergio mumbled and greeted Giovanni before looking at the man on his right. ‘’You are?’’
‘’How about you tell your own name before demanding mine?’’ Leone wore a tight smile.
‘’Sergio Donati. Her brother,’’ he said and pointed at Isabella.
‘’That’s more like it. I’m Leone.’’
‘’Aren’t you lovely,’’ Sergio said sarcastically and faced his sister. ’’Let’s go, Sorellina.’’
‘’Wait, I need to ask you something.’’ Giovanni gestured for Sergio to come to the back.
Sergio raised an eyebrow and put the umbrella to the side. Curiosity got the better of him and was behind Giovanni within seconds. He leaned against the wooden wall and crossed his legs at the ankles.
‘’What is it?’’
‘’How familiar are you with other hitmen?’’
Sergio laughed. ‘’Personally? How about not? I don’t bother with others.’’
’’Do you know of anyone with connections?’’
‘’Only one,’’ he sighed heavily. ‘’He works at the port as a longshoreman. I don’t want anything to do with him. I’ve heard you can’t trust the guy for as far as you can throw him. He’ll do anything for some quick cash, even sell his client’s info.’’
Giovanni had a good idea who Sergio spoke of. He was a frequent visitor of the Port of Naples as it was the place where the family had several containers filled with white gold. Checking up on their goods was one of his duties as a capo.
‘’Short man, balding on the head and always has an handkerchief hanging out of his pocket?’’
‘’Probably completely bald by now but yes.’’ Sergio nodded. ‘’You know him?’’
‘’I should’ve gone to him from the start,’’ he said more to himself than anyone else.
Giovanni now knew what his next step would be. If he could get any information out of the man, he might be able to figure out who sent the hitman after him. He would find the person responsible for the hit. At the end of the hunt, the soles of his shoes would be covered with red ink.
The two men returned to the front and met up with Isabella.
‘’Let’s go, it’s getting late,’’ Sergio said to his sister and held the door open.
Isabella stopped before Giovanni and gave the umbrella she had brought with her. ‘’You didn’t bring one with you, right? You can borrow mine if you promise to return it.’’
‘’I promise.’’ He dotted a kiss on her smooth cheek. ‘’Thank you, Isa.’’
Whether his enchantment came from his touch or his new nickname, there was no denying how he set her skin alight. Sparks skittered across Isabella whenever he was close to her. The worry in her heart dissipated and got replaced with temporary delight.
‘’You don’t like it?’’ He raised a single eyebrow.
‘’I do,’’ her voice soft and sweet like honey. ‘’I should go. Ser is waiting.’’
‘’He could wait a little longer.’’
Isabella laughed while shaking her head at him. She headed over to her brother and turned to Giovanni one last time to wave at him.
‘’Don’t do that in front of me again. Ever.’’ Sergio held his umbrella up and walked under it with Isabella.
’’I already know you two are together but I don’t need to actually see it.’’
‘’Sorry.’’ She poked her brother’s cheek to get a smile out of him.
‘’Strange because you don’t sound like it.’’ The corner of his lips quirked up.
No matter what, Sergio could never muster any kind of negative feelings toward his sister. Irritation and anger only lasted for a short while before forgetting all about their differences. If Giovanni made her happy, Sergio wouldn’t deny them.
‘’What did you two talk about?’’ she inquired.
‘’He asked me to be the best man at his wedding.’’
Isabella glared daggers at him. ‘’That’s not funny.’’
‘’No?’’ He smirked. ‘’We talked about you.’’
‘’What! What did you say? What did he say?’’
‘’Just the usual.’’ Sergio dug his own grave with his lies and couldn’t think of a proper answer.
‘’Could you be any vaguer?’’
‘’Fine! It wasn’t about you,’’ Sergio sighed. ’’You don’t want to know, Sorellina. Really, you don’t.’’
Isabella frowned at the sudden change in her brother’s mood. It wasn’t often, she got to see his serious side.
‘’I’m letting it go for now but you’re hiding something from me.’’