The minute Don Silvio saw the Donati family set foot inside his home, questions began swimming in his mind. Once the family of four was taken care of by his wife, Celia, he requested his son to meet him in the study.
‘’Care to explain?’’
Giovanni did exactly that and when done speaking, his father slowly bobbed his head – understanding the severity of the situation.
Silvio remembered his conversation with Giovanni about Isabella. While his son already spoke of his intentions regarding Isabella, it were his actions that showed the sincerity in them. Silvio always taught his sons to protect and take care of the ones they cared for and Giovanni lived by those words. He could feel his heart swell with pride as he looked at his son.
‘’You’ve done the right thing.’’
‘’I know,’’ Giovanni said, making his father laugh lightly at his straightforward response.
‘’But be careful not to slip any information around them.’’
‘’That’s do-able. Anything else?’’
’’Don’t bite off more than you can chew, Figlio.’’ Silvio’s eyebrows rose high. ‘’I hope you’re not thinking I’m getting senile. I know you’re going after the ones responsible for the stolen drugs but I assigned Dante to that job. Not you, Giovanni. Focus on who hired the hitman,’’ Silvio said in a stern tone. ‘’And, of course, the situation with Donatella’s daughter.’’
Giovanni knew his place and merely nodded in response. Despite hearing that his older brother wasn’t getting anywhere with the task given to him, the Don’s tone seemed to tell him otherwise.
‘’I’ll be on my way if that was all,’’ he said and exited the Don’s study.
He reached the living room, expecting to see the Donati family but got greeted with his brother’s figure instead. Giovanni walked up to him, tapping on his shoulder and effectively making Dante turn to him.
‘’Where are they?’’
‘’They’re being shown to the guestrooms.’’ Dante nursed a drink in his hand. ’’Did Papà say anything interesting?’’
‘’It was more of a Don talk.’’
‘’That must have been nice.’’ Dante chuckled, recalling the times he got scolded by their father.
‘’Could have been worse considering I acted without his permission.’’
‘’That’s true.‘’ Dante showed him a toothy smile. ‘’You lucky bastard.’’
Giovanni began to turn on his heel. ‘’The guestrooms you said?’’
‘’On the second floor. Not the first.’’
He ascended the left twin staircase and rounded the corner. The wall sconces lit up the otherwise dark long hallway as the ceiling lights were off. All doors except for two were fully closed. Giovanni tapped on the door with his knuckles, announcing his presence and stepped inside.
‘’Can I help?’’ Sergio lowered the phone from his ear.
Giovanni cursed in his head. ‘’No, I apologise. Wrong room.’’
‘’If you’re looking for Raffaele, he’s probably showing my parents their room now.’’
‘’Good to know.’’
He promptly shut the door, leaving Sergio and went to the next guestroom. He knocked on it, this time waiting for someone to allow him inside. A female voice answered and Giovanni was glad he didn’t pick out her parents’ room by accident.
‘’Giovanni? I was just unpacking.’’ Isabella turned her head to the zipped up suitcase. ‘’Or at least, I planned on doing that. I got a little lost in my thoughts.’’ Her laugh came barely above a whisper.
With a click the door shut behind him, giving them privacy. ‘’Don’t dwell too much onto it, Isabella. If you let it get to you, it will eat you from the inside.’’
‘’I can’t help it.’’ She folded her arms and her eyes swirled with worry. ‘’They’re my family. I love them.’’
Giovanni made her uncross her arms by taking hold of them by the wrist. ‘’Nothing will happen to you and them. I’ll make sure of it.’’
’’What if it does happen? God, I’m so scared I’ll lose them.’’
Before even realising it, he held Isabella in his arms, assuring her that she was in safe hands. The look written on her was one that didn’t belong there. He wanted to make the feeling go away by giving the comfort she desperately needed.
Isabella had her arms around his neck, hanging onto him as if he was her lifeline. Her cheeks rested on his shoulder, a few loose strands on her head lightly tickling him. She closed her eyes, allowing herself to fall in his strong grasp.
While a life in which one had to constantly look over their shoulder seemed surreal to Isabella, it was nothing new to Giovanni. The family he was born in being the cause of it. Giovanni had long since made peace with it and he believed he would’ve ended up in this lifestyle even if it weren’t for that fact – maybe not a capo like he was now but more like a soldato. Giovanni had never been one to shy away from violence but rather welcomed it with open arms.
‘’How do you do it?’’ Isabella stroked his left arm, careful not to bring him any pain.
‘’You get used to it.’’ His hand drew circles on the small of her back. ‘’But I don’t want that for you. You shouldn’t go through these kinds of things.’’
‘’But it is already starting to and I don’t want to crumble under it.’’
Giovanni’s jaw became hard and he let go of her middle, grabbing her by the shoulders instead. ‘’You won’t.’’
You’re stronger than you think, Isabella. Don’t let it get to you.
‘’How can you be so sure?’’
I believe in you.
‘’I just know,’’ he said to her.
A genuine laugh played on her lips, eyes smiling along with it. He made her worries dissipate for a moment. Isabella knew this part of him would never tire her.
‘’I was little out of it this morning so I didn’t say anything but thank you for helping us.’’ She sent him a small smile.
‘’It’s really my father who you should thank. The house is his after all. I would’ve brought you to my apartment but that could’ve proven to be a little tricky.’’
And dangerous but she doesn’t need to know that.
‘’I’ll remember to do that.’’
‘’He will appreciate it.’’
‘’I forgot you don’t live here.’’ Her smile faltered. ‘’When are going again?’’
‘’No, I don’t but I’ll be staying here for a while.’’
‘’You are?’’ Hope glistened in the green.
‘’Sì, it will be easier for work and everything.’’
Giovanni was uncertain whether he was speaking the truth or not because he knew having Isabella down the hall would be a distraction.
A charming smile sat on her lips again as she tilted her head and kissed him. Soft and gentle. Embers skittered along their senses at the touch and the signature pink was to be seen on Isabella’s cheeks.
Isabella was a distraction he would have a hard time trying to resist.