Mafia Puppet

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18 | the magrittes

third person pov

SHE HAD DISCUSSED it with her dad and he had told her not to worry. But how could she not? Francesca was her best friend. Her sister from another mother.

So she had told her father her worries again and he had replied with the same question. "Why are you so worried? She may just be busy being a rich girl trying to get rid of you."

But Sophia Magritte knew that her best friend was not like this. She was an angel, all innocent and naive, and it was her job to save her from the world. Innocence was too risky in this vile place and someone like Francesca would hardly ever survive. And that was what got her worried. After all, Sophia was the daughter of a cop who dealt with crime organizations and specifically human trafficking. She heard the stories—disgusting stories. Especially of the three main mafia families.

Back in university, Francesca had always kept to herself. Never talking to anyone and studying the course as if she had to. She had that sadness in her eyes whenever the day ended, as if she never wanted to go home and that was what made Sophia so wary of her rich family. Were they abusive?

She had researched about the Lastra family but all that came up was that her father owned many properties and clubs. The family didn't like making public appearances but they always had a smile on their faces that seemed too hollow if observed closely. Hence again, she told her father about her suspicions.

At first, he had ignored her words until she persuaded him into looking further. He had then budged and thought of inviting her over. In the end, her father thought that it was a great idea and from the distraught yet professional smile he had shot at her, she knew he was going to go all cop on her best friend.

"Dad," she had started. "I think she's in grave danger. She acts very weird and starts being defensive at every mention of her parents."

"Do you want to get caught up in the drama? I mean, she could be like some gang girl." Her brother had meant it like a joke but she didn't like his theory. Whatever the truth was, Sophia wasn't ever going to leave her best friend's side.

When Sophia was younger, her classmates had bullied her for having different eye colours. While one was brown the other was black and she was often called the 'cross-eyed idiot.' Francesca was the one who had helped her stand back up her stamped confidence. She had told her how lucky she was to have such a family and a peaceful life, even with the bullies. The brunette had told her that bullies fed off of fear.

Now it was her job to do the same—protect her. Sophia was going to protect her protecter no matter what it takes and no one was going to stop her. Francesca was her saving grace and she will be hers.

• • •

"Dinner's ready." Without knocking, Sophia's older brother barged in. He was a handsome man and not much older than myself—probably around Antonio's age. No, maybe younger.

I had been so used to ignoring hot guys that it was almost like a chore. Sophia's brother, who Sophia told me was named Chris, was extremely good looking with his chiseled features and spiked up blonde hair. But he didn't have the same affect on me as my husband did.

"Get out, you moron!" my best friend shouted, her voice making me flinch. I hated loud noise.

Chris rolled his eyes. "Whatever, sis." He shot a polite smile at me before stomping down.

"I'm so sorry about him. He's an asshole," Sophia apologized before she threw the white dress back on her bed. I was so glad that I wasn't changing. It would have been so awkward for him to walk in. Not only that but I would get in huge trouble.

Since Sophia had called me early we were trying on dresses and clothes. She wanted my opinion because apparently she just got a job. I felt bad for not being there for her. Not thinking I'd ever see her again, I had agreed with us working together once we were out of school but now I realized that I shouldn't have given her any false hope.

"The white dress is very pretty but it's more of a party dress than formal," I stated, trying to stray the topic off of her brother. I didn't like talking about guys. I wasn't allowed to.

"I thought the same too but it was really pretty and cheap so I was like why not. I'll wear it at your wedding," she joked.

I was jealous of her. She was so free and confident without even being that rich. But I guess the saying was true that money does not buy happiness. For one, I didn't ever believe that. I had always felt that happiness comes by the people one is surrounded with and not by their status. If I was rich and had a happy normal family like hers then I would be more than just happy. I'd be ecstatic.

Freedom was something I never had the pleasure of meeting. University was also Father and the Don's decision. If they had wanted, I wouldn't even see the doors of school. People labelled school as hell but for me it was heaven.

"Come, lets go eat. I'm starving." Her stomach grumbled at the same time making me chuckle.

"Yeah, I can hear that." I smirked. She rolled her eyes playfully.

The stairs made an annoying creaking sound as we both raced down. I felt blessed without my heels on and though I was used to them, they just weren't comfortable.

Chris was on his phone and sitting behind the square dining table. There was another man who sat at the head. I felt bad for not meeting them sooner because Sophia instantly dragged me up.

"Guys," my best friend called. Every pair of eyes snapped to me making me stand still in discomfort but I was wise enough not to show it.

"Confidence is everything. Hold your head up high and smile, daughter," Father had told me once. It was when he was in a good mood and thought that I was being obedient.

"This is my best friend, Francesca. Franci, these are my parents and I told you about Chris, my brother," she introduced.

"Aww, you guys talked about me," Chris butted in making her scowl in disdain.

So this was how normal siblings were like. They annoyed each other. I knew Sophia long enough to know that she despised her older brother but when ever she talked about him there was always a soft tinge to it.

I made sure to keep my face from giving anything suspicious away, especially with FBI in the house. I didn't know if he was working for my husband or not but I was not going to take any chances.

"Yeah, I told her how much of a weirdo you are," Sophia retorted.

Chris opened his mouth to insult back but their mother cut him off.

"Quiet both of you. You guys are giving our lovely guest a bad impression," her voice was sharp as a blade and motherly too but it had no effect on me. Sure, she was not scolding me but I should at least feel a bit intimidated yet I had seen so much in life that she just looked odd. My situations were, obviously, not the best. "I'm so sorry, dear. These two just don't know when to stop," she said, glaring at her children.

She beamed at me in a motherly fashion. Even though I didn't encounter the best adult figures, I knew this lady would be one of the sweetest people I'd ever meet.

"It's fine, Mrs. Magritte. Thank you for having me here," I told her. Before I could blink she had rounded the kitchen and stood in front of me before pulling me into a hug. I shuffled my weight on my feet at first before awkwardly patting her back. I really didn't know how to hug someone without it being weird.

"You are so sweet and beautiful. We are lucky to have you here." She beamed at me before ushering me to the table.

Her husband hadn't spoken a word to me and that made my fingers sweat with anxiety but I was careful enough to mask it. I gave him a polite smile which he returned.

"You can come here whenever you want." He sounded like he meant it but I was still wary. He was the police. They were all sketchy. I didn't trust them.

"Thank you, Mr. Magritte."

"Wow. You bonded faster with them than I ever had in my twenty three years of life." My best friend stared at me wide eyed before beaming.

I chuckled. "Your parents are very sweet."

Sophia was about to remark but seeing that they were all there, she didn't. I felt eyes on me and I instantly found Chris staring at me. He smiled and I gave him a nod. He better not make a move.

I soon forgot about it once Mrs. Magritte brought in the delicious looking lasagna with garlic bread. It felt like years since I last had that and garlic bread was just awesome.

"It smells lovely," I commented earning a warm grin from the woman. "Even better than my home food."

"Thank you, dear. You're too kind. Do you cook, honey?" she asked as she sat across from me.

Mr. Magritte sat on the head while his wife and son sat on his right. I and Sophia took a seat on his left. The table was tiny.

"Yes, ma'am."

A surprised expression fell on her face before she started smiling again. The woman seemed like to be the one who would grin even if gunshots were firing in her house. She was just a bubbly woman and I admired that trait. It was difficult to stay happy.

"That's awesome! I respect a person who can cook. What do you usually make?"

"Mostly Italian food. I took classes because their dishes are very fancy looking." I couldn't exactly give that I'm Italian to the FBI. I really didn't need them doing any background checking. But even if they did, they wouldn't find anything important. I didn't do anything wrong. My family and husband did.

"Why are you guys bonding over food? I feel so left out. I can't cook," Sophia grumbled.

"Me too," Chris agreed as he stuffed his face with bread.

"Me three." I almost jumped at Mr. Magritte's voice. He seemed more at ease now. He wasn't analyzing me anymore. I guess he found what he was looking for...which was nothing.

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