A dreadful call reached the De Rege household.
Leone tried his hand at another hit on the De Reges and this time with more success.
After Silvio, Dante and Raffaele finished their meeting with the Licciardi family, they drove back to the mansion but a car crash kept them from reaching it. The only one making it out of the assassination attempt fairly unscathed was Raffaele, he was lucky to only have gotten a small head concussion as the other two were found in a much worse state.
The dimly-lit living room in Dr Leonetti’s house had an air of fear and anxiety flowing through it.
Giovanni was on the couch. Shoulders hunched, elbows on the knees and his hands clasped. The expression on his face was one never seen before by Isabella. The look of helplessness and dread sinking in his eyes was terrifying. It looked as if he was imagining the worst possible scenario and tried to mentally prepare for said outcome.
Isabella turned her body toward him and placed her hand on him, slowly stroking his back. Neither of them uttered a word; there was no need to. He knew she was there for him. He straightened his spine and took hold of her hand to dot a kiss on it. It was different from usual; distracted, his mind somewhere else.
Raffaele was still in the same bloodied clothes from the car crash. Unlike his brother, he was restless. The dirty sole of his shoe constantly tapping against the carpeted floor. Every other minute he would exit the living room but only to pace back and forth in the hallway.
Celia let darkness enter her vision as she recited prayers. All that she asked for was the safety of her son and husband. That was all she wanted. All she needed.
Bianca sat beside her mother-in-law, quietly listening to the murmur of prayers. Anything would do for a distraction. She knew being alone with her own thoughts would be no good.
Giovanni dragged his gaze off the floor and let it wander onto the antique clock, from the swaying pendulum to the long hand.
Not even ten minutes had passed since they arrived at Dr Leonetti’s house.
The loud noise of the front door being slammed open alerted Giovanni. His eyes cut to the direction of the hallway and his hand reached for the gun on reflex.
‘’Uncle Antonio, easy on the door! I’m already on edge!’’
His brother’s shouting had Giovanni dropping his hand.
‘’I sent Lorenzo to take care of the wreck,’’ Antonio said to Raffaele as he rounded the corner, joining the rest of the family. ‘’How are things here? Any news?’’ he asked no one in particular to which Giovanni merely responded with a shake of his head. ‘’Who else knows of the crash?’’
‘’Only the people here.’’
Antonio glanced at Bianca. ‘’And the kids? Where are they?’’
Bianca gave off the impression of being numb to everything going on around her and so Isabella answered in her stead. ‘’They are at home. My mother is watching them.’’
Despite the stoic look on Giovanni’s features, the anger inside him was out of control. One part of it directed at himself for not acting sooner on his instincts and the other at Leone for betraying him.
‘’We planned on calling him into the room tomorrow.’’ Giovanni exchanged a knowing look with his uncle.
Raffaele scowled. ‘’What are you talking about? Call who in?’’
His eyes flitted to his mother. Her heart would shatter like glass if she found out. Giovanni could not answer his brother’s burning question.
‘’I’ll tell you later.’’
‘’I’ll tell you later,’’ Raffaele’s mutter was followed by a scoff. ‘’I swear if-‘’
‘’Raffaele,’’ the sharpness in Giovanni’s voice sent chills through everyone. ‘’Not now.’’
Isabella couldn’t help but flinch a little. She watched him lean back and hold onto her hand again as if she was grounding him. Everything about him felt tense. She doubted he even realised how strong his grip on her was.
The waiting felt excruciatingly long; seconds feeling like minutes and minutes like hours. When the clock struck ten, Dr Leonetti came to inform the family on Dante’s and Silvio’s condition.
Giovanni rose to his feet, waiting in anticipation for the doctor to speak.
‘’Dante is in a coma. He needs to stay here until he’s stable. His wounds from the crash have been taken care of. There will be scars but nothing all too bad.’’
‘’And my father?’’
Dr Leonetti replied with a sombre expression and a shaking of the head. No words had to be said out loud.
Ice spread around Giovanni’s heart like wildfire. His voice seemed to be lost and his body frozen. It felt as if weights had fallen onto his chest, crushing him with everything they had.
‘’No.’’ Celia’s trembling hand covered her mouth. ‘’No, please.’’
‘’My deepest condolences, Mrs Rege. I tried-‘’ Dr Leonetti’s mouth shut when Raffaele grabbed her by the collar. Her eyes widening in fear as she knew what made men were capable of.
‘’You tried what? We pay you to save them!’’ Raffaele bellowed. His eyes burned, tears threatening to reveal themselves.
Giovanni forced himself out of his daze and tore his brother off the doctor. He pinned him against the wall, his forearm digging into his throat. Both of them sharing the same pained look. Only when Raffaele tapped his arm, he released him.
‘’I can’t believe it.’’ Raffaele massaged his throat as stared blankly at his brother’s chest, not having the strength to lift his head.
Giovanni wanted to tell him he wasn’t alone in feeling that way but the words died on his tongue. Numbness was all he was feeling.
‘’I’ll make arrangements for the…funeral.’’ Antonio blinked his tears away.