Isabella let out a huff as she tried getting the mid-length black dress to hug her body. The feeling of someone zipping the piece of clothing up had her turn her head. A grateful smile spread on her face as she locked eyes with a familiar blue.
Yesterday, she hadn’t seen Giovanni all day since he was cooped up in the office – guessed he wanted to keep to himself and stay distracted by working.
‘’Isa,’’ he began speaking but stopped once she moved closer.
He didn’t have to say what he wanted her to do and she gripped onto the loose tie around his neck, tying it for him.
‘’I didn’t know you’d be able to do it,’’ he voiced his thoughts.
If he wasn’t sure then why did he even ask? That makes no sense. I mean, technically he didn’t ask but he still a kind of asked. Right? Isabella tightened the pitch-black tie. He can be strange at times.
‘’Do you plan on sleeping in your office today as well?’’
His eyebrow shot up. ‘’What is that supposed to mean?’’
‘’I can’t imagine sleeping on a couch everyday feels nice.’’ She traced along his jaw, the stubble prickling her. ‘’You don’t look like you slept well.’’
‘’Thank you for the compliment.’’
‘’You know that I don’t mean it like that, Giovanni.’’
‘’I know,’’ he said and held his hand out for Isabella to take. ‘’Let’s go. Everyone is waiting downstairs.’’
The sky was, fittingly so, painted with grey clouds during Silvio’s funeral. Everyone attending it was, from top to bottom, dressed in a sombre black.
Isabella moved her gaze from the casket to Giovanni, he looked as if the sight had no effect on him. Putting up a stoic look appeared to be done without effort by him. She reminded herself that it was a different story on the inside.
Reality dawned upon Celia when she saw everyone place a single rose on Silvio’s casket. The idea of her husband being dead was more of an abstract concept until that moment. She grieved, crying her heart out on Donatella’s shoulder while her sons watched from a distance.
The roaming of Isabella’s gaze came to a stop, settling on Raffaele’s bloodshot eyes. Clearly, he had already emptied his heart. There were no tears left for him to cry.
‘’Have you talked to him?’’ Isabella whispered to Giovanni.
He glanced at his brother. ‘’He’ll manage.’’
‘’I want to put all of this behind me.’’ Giovanni intertwined his fingers with Isabella’s and dotted a kiss on the back of her hand. ‘’And pray for good to come.’’
The whole family watched the casket lower into the grave, hearts sinking with it. Silvio was buried with prized possessions such as the cross necklace he got from his father and the golden wedding ring he got from Celia.
Later that night, Isabella found Giovanni sitting on the ground with his legs stretched, reading a story to Dante’s kids. She had to stifle a giggle when he continued reading out loud, not realizing that his niece and nephew were already asleep.
‘’Don’t you think that’s enough?’’ she kept the volume of her voice as to not wake them up.
Giovanni looked up from the book and saw Caterina’s sleeping figure. ‘’It usually takes longer for them to fall asleep.’’ He switched the nightlamp off and placed the book beside it before exiting the room.
‘’It has been a long day for them.’’
‘’Did Bianca come home?’’
‘’No,’’ she answered, simultaneously shaking her head. ‘’She will probably go and visit Dante again tomorrow. If you want I can keep watch over the kids.’’
‘’If you don’t mind.’’
‘’I wouldn’t have suggested it if I did.’’
Shivers ran along her body as they walked down the hallway, his gaze on her was unwavering. The second the two of them entered Giovanni’s room, Isabella could more or less anticipate his next move.
‘’What was that for?’’ she asked after their kiss ended, their lips close enough to graze each other.
‘’Do I need a reason?’’
Even if Giovanni didn’t say it, Isabella knew he needed to distract himself. She wasn’t going to push for an answer because there was no need to. Taking away some of the pain was more than enough for her.
‘’No, you don’t. I’m yours.’’ Her cheeks colouring themselves.
‘’The things you say sometimes.’’ Giovanni lifted Isabella up, carrying her to his bed.
‘’Who do you think I’ve learned it from?’’
His lips twitched, a smile tempting to break out. His frame casted a shadow over Isabella as he hovered above her, planting kisses on her body and the rest of the night was spent in each other’s arms.
Leone straightened his trousers and crouched down in front of a gravestone, the name Silvio De Rege carved in it. He let go of a small rose bouquet and prayed, thanking Silvio for taking him in when he was a kid.
Leone was conflicted. He loved and hated the old man. Silvio was a father figure to him and owed him many things but it didn’t change that there wasn’t an ounce of regret in his actions. He wouldn’t hesitate to kill Silvio again to reach his goal. Tearing down the De Rege family was something Leone was prepared to do at any costs.
Afterwards, Leone proceeded to pay a visit to church.
‘’Lord, forgive me for I have sinned,’’ he said in a low voice.
The priest saw the lone man and took a seat beside him.
‘’Care to get it off your chest, Child?’’
‘’I think I’ll pass,’’ Leone said with a chuckle.
‘’You can trust me. Whatever you say stays right here.’’
‘’It’s between me and God.’’