35 | a rash decision
The brunette woman sat beside me on the resting couch as she searched for what I assumed was the tag on the exotic red dress.
She huffed as she turned towards me. "Can you find the tag? I just can't seem to find it." she said.
I gingerly nodded. Alessia was still inside one of the stalls and we were all alone. Stiffly, I took the dress from her hands.
It didn't take long for me to find it. "Here," I said, handing the clothing back to her.
"Can you tell me the price, please?" She gave me a friendly smile. "I can't read."
I returned her smile and looked down at the small rectangular paper on my hand. "It's—." My eyes snapped up as if someone threw a bucket of cold water over my head. She gave me a nod of encouragement.
I know who you are, the note read. Don't worry. I can help you. I'm the FBI. Contact the number below.
I quickly threw the dress in her lap and looked away but she placed a hand on mine and gave me the dress.
"Actually, I think you should have this. I think it'll look good on you. Please try it," she said, standing up and walking out of the change room.
I felt like my heart was going to burst at the rate it was going. I jumped when I saw a pair of shoes in front of me. I couldn't even relax when I saw it was just Alessia.
"How do I look?" she asked, grinning widely. "This actually looks good. I like it."
I nodded numbly. "Great, we'll buy it." I said. I couldn't meet her eyes.
"What's that?" She spoke again, pointing at the red clothing. "No offence but isn't that too sexy for your taste?"
I snapped back to attention. "Sorry. Yeah, you are right. I just like the fabric," I muttered, unfocused. "Go change back to your old clothes. We still need to go get you admitted to school."
She looked at me weirdly before shrugging and going back to the smaller room. I threw the dress away and stood up from the couch. Alessia was humming and I was glad that there were no other people in this room. I felt like I was suffocating. How did she know who I was? How hadn't the bodyguards noticed? I suddenly felt unsafe as I was doing a big crime by just being in the same room with the cops without permission.
Alessia came out of the stall soon after but it felt like hours. I felt like I was cheating. I was at no fault here but the Family wouldn't see it as such. I would get punished for being too careless and bringing the attention of the police. If I didn't tell them then they would think I was considering the option.
Was I considering the option?
No, of course not.
But this may be your only chance to freedom. Take the note. Maybe you could help your sister get a better life.
I shook my head vigorously. I didn't care if someone was watching me. If I took this note the I was digging a deeper hole for myself.
I picked up the dress in my hands and stood up. My mind was not functioning. Why was I even considering this? Who was my loyalties standing with?
I didn't know what was the right thing to do. From childhood I was told that breaking omertà was a death sentence itself, even thinking of it. I was doing exactly that. It didn't matter if I was Antonio's wife or not. It didn't matter if I was a woman. It didn't matter that I was yet to do something about it. All they would see was that I had it and I considered it. (code of silence)
Some police were at our beck and call while some were our mortal enemies. Omertà didn't just stand for the Family. It stood for all the Nostra Vita Families. It didn't matter if the enemy murderered your friend or family. It didn't matter who or why or how they did it. The authorities could never be involved. If there was a problem, then the made man must go to the Don. If caught committing a crime that was done by the enemy, he or she would still have to take the blame because giving away another man in from the Mafia is breaking the code.
Every Family had issues. The Families in this organized crime did as well. The Lambardi, the Bianchi, and the Giordano Families were all enemies but we were not allowed to involve the police at all costs. It's betraying our kind.
I found it disgusting and odd. It was rare to find a cop not under the pay check of a Family and if any other Family were ever to find out, they'd have me clipped out. They'd have the perfect excuse. I was a traitor.
Yet I still snatched the tag off and stuffed it inside my jean pocket. I looked around and made sure no one was watching. My breathing was ragged as I waited for Alessia to come out again.
Finally, she did with the pairs of clothing in her hand. I barely heard her as she talked about which ones she wanted and which ones she didn't. I just nodded along. All I could think of was the small peace of paper in my jean pocket. It was as light as a feather but it felt as if it weighed a ton. I felt like an idiot. I felt guilty.
I wasn't lying to the Don but hiding crucial things from him. One was of my sister's plans and second was going to be this note. I couldn't help but feel that this could be God trying to change my fate that I begged to be different. Yet I knew the risks I was putting myself and my family into.
I was almost betraying my husband. I felt like a cheater. I felt fear. I was always told that cheating on the mafia would never end good. They'd hunt me down till my last breath.
"Are you okay?" Alessia asked me as we made our way to the counter.
I couldn't even smile at her but I tried. It felt more like a grimace. "Yes, of course. Do you mind if we cut this trip short? I really need to get home."
I needed to think this through but right now I couldn't do anything but create more suspicion. I paid for the clothing and grabbed her hand.
Fabio instantly took the bags from our hands. I noticed that he had a new briefcase with him as well.
"Did Omero bring the necessary files?" I asked as we walked out of the store.
Fabio handed the shopping bags to my other bodyguards but he kept the black briefcase. It was then that I noticed how much money we used. "Yes, ma'am. Master Omero just left."
I nodded, glad that I didn't have to face him. "Now to the school."
Fabio instantly barked orders in Italian to the men. They surrounded Alessia and I once again, forming a protecting rectangle around us.
"Do we have to have them guarding us like dogs?" Alessia suddenly asked. "It's fustrating."
My eyes widened at her words. I tightened my hold on the younger's hand. "Yes, they have to. We have many enemies."
Alessia rolled her eyes. "What enemies? How can enemies even think of coming after us when we have these brutes patrolling over the whole mall telling everyone who we are. Great way to keep away attention," she said sarcastically.
I rolled my eyes which would get me punished if my husband found out. After all, it was unladylike for a mafiosa. "Alessia, please be quiet." I wasn't in the mood for this. All I wanted was to go home and figure out what to do next.
I didn't like keeping things from the Don and neither did I like feeling like a traitor. Keeping silent could arise more problems in the future and speaking now would bring problems now. Either way I'd be in trouble. I just didn't know how much. My husband was unpredictable and I didn't want to guess his anger. I didn't want to be on the other side of it.
But did I really have choice on that matter? After all, I had taken the note. I had made my decision.