53 (part i) | his confessions
"Antonio," I mumbled on his chest.
He hummed in response as he tugged at my hair gently.
"Do you know how the FBI found me?" I asked, worried about our family.
His hand momentarily froze before he replied. "Let me deal with that."
I didn't pester him for more information. I understood him and I trusted him to not involve me. I didn't want to get involved anyways. "Should I be worried?" I asked, drawing circles on his chest.
He shuffled under me to get more comfortable. He wrapped an arm around my shoulder. We weren't that modestly dressed. He was shirtless and in sweatpants and I was in my short red nightie.
"Just stay away from your friend Sophia," he said.
My hand froze at his words. "What's going to happen to her?" I asked.
"There is always a warning first," he said.
I wasn't a fool to ask more. I understood that I needed to stay of from the business. It was how it was supposed to be. I took care of him, he took care of the business. Despite that, I couldn't help but feel for Sophia. I really hoped that she wouldn't or didn't take the warning lightly. Warning in the crime family varied. There was either shooting at the house, breaking in, beating up the son of the family or something similar to such. I figured it would be beating up Chris, her older brother, if they didn't back off.
"I don't want you worried about that again. Did you have any contact with her again?" he asked, rubbing his hand on my bare back, making involuntarily shiver.
"No," I told him. "Not until she called me the last time."
He pulled my closer. "The Magritte's would not be spared if they do not back off soon."
"Are you mad?" I titled my head up to gaze as his face. A small stubble was growing that he needed to shave in the morning.
He shook his head and closed his eyes. "No, just annoyed. But I think we were underestimating the Magritte. Sophia's dad is a cop. He thought bugging your phone would help him. That's illegal without court order and he knows it."
"Did you get him fired?" I already knew the answer before he said it.
"Yes. I just blacklisted him. If he still doesn't back off, then there will be severe consequences," he mumbled calmly.
My eyes widened. "What about his family?"
Antonio had no care written over his face. "His wife and son can still work and from what I've gathered, Sophia graduated University with a degree."
I nodded solemnly. At least they wouldn't end up on the streets. "Do you want me to tell Sophia to back off? I don't want her involved," I asked him, hoping he'd agree.
Right now I wasn't just talking to my husband. I also talking to the Don of the Family. His opinion mattered and if said no then I wouldn't object. He was not a fool and I trusted his judgement.
"She is already involved, especially from the moment she helped her father pull that stunt. I must say, her acting was terrible." I wasn't even surprised that he heard my call. I expected him to. "But I do not want you involved and I mean it, Francesca," he told me seriously. I was about to nod in understanding before he continued. "But if it comes to that, then yes, you will see her on our terms."
A smile bloomed on my face as I turned my head up to look at him. "Thank you."
He nodded. He placed one of his arm under his head while using the other to peacefully make patterns on my spine. "How was your chat with nonna?" he asked, changing the topic.
I even forgot about that. "It was good. I like her," I told him, smiling.
"What did she tell you?" he questioned. Even with the peaceful look on his face and his careless tone, I knew that he was completely alert and gauging each of my answers intensely.
"She talked to me about how to be a proper Donna. She gave me some tips," I replied.
I wanted to ask him about his mother and why he killed her but then I opted not to. I knew it would be a sore subject for him and I didn't want my curiosity to hurt him. It was the past and I didn't want it to affect my future. He was the Don. He must've had some reasons that I had no business in. And I didn't want to ruin this moment. Us mattered more than mere curiosity.
"What is it?" he questioned again. "What else did she tell you?"
I pursued my lips. "Nothing important."
"You've stiffened, bambola," he noted.
How did he notice everything?
"She told me you killed your mother Bella," I blurted out, knowing better than to lie. I could lie to anyone but him, because lying to him just felt wrong.
He opened his coal eyes and shifted so he was in a sitting position. I sat up as well and held my weight on my elbows. He leaned against the headboard. I couldn't help but trail my eyes down his naked chest before our eyes met again and I felt my lips go dry. I had the sudden urge to lick his chest.
What is wrong with me today?
He beckoned me closer with his eyes. I laid my head on his chest again and my hand fell on the nape of his neck. He wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me closer, so close that my whole body was leaning against him.
"I did." He didn't deny it.
Now that the topic was already brought, I asked my next question. "Why?"
The silence thickened. I could even hear the raindrops outside.
"You do not ever ask about my business, Francesca. You stay away. You see and hear but you keep your mouth shut," he spoke slowly. "Do you understand that?"
My breath hitched. "I know," I said. I didn't apologize for some reason despite it being expected of me to do. It was weird that not long ago I wouldn't even have dared to question him and here I was doing the very opposite.
"Bella was my mother," he said after a moment, surprising me. "She gave birth to my brothers and I. But she didn't raise us. Alessia's mother, Rosemary, did."
I tilted my head up to look at his face. He had a lazy look on his face as he stared right back down at me.
"I was fourteen, Francesca, just fourteen when I killed her," he continued. There was a rough edge to his voice.
"I'm sorry," I whispered. "You do not have to tell me."
"She couldn't tolerate Father's abuse and his scandalous ways anymore. She was tired of all that, but I failed to understand," he explained stiffly. "Rosemary was like the real mother to me."
My heart clenched in despair. I couldn't see him like this. I grabbed his hand in between mine and even though I knew he was strong, I needed him to know that I was listening and I was there.
"Mother and Rosemary were best friends. She trusted her to raise us properly and Rosemary did. Things changed when Mother found out Rosemary was pregnant with Father's child—Alessia. Mother was a smart woman. She figured it all out and she was so done of always getting betrayed—of always feeling stupid and weak," he said, staring up on the ceiling. I could see his Adam's apple move.
"Mother found a gun in the house. When I came home from school, she was pointing it at Rosemary so I pulled out one from a drawer near by. Guns were always kept loaded in the house. I don't know if I knew that or not, but I knew I had to choose in between Mother and Rosemary. Mother was going to shoot in seconds and I had a gun pointed toward their way."
"And then?" I asked.
The rain drops outside ceased. The yellow lamp beside us was the only brightness in the room. It shadowed his face as he looked down at me with a sigh. "Mother's gun was empty. She was never going to kill Rosemary." He looked me right in the eyes when he said his next words. "She wanted me to kill her."
"Rosemary. Mother was so sure that I wouldn't kill my own mother but I did and I was naive enough to do so," he answered.
He pulled me closer so that I was practically on his lap. I shifted around so that my legs were around his. If I moved any further, I would be touching his crotch with my warmth.
"Rosemary left us soon after she saw me kill Mother. She feared me and that was when Nonno and Nonna stepped in to raise us." He rubbed my arms softly, looking deep into my eyes. "To be the don, you have to kill your best friend who is most probably your rival as well. Rosemary and Nonna somehow convinced everyone that Mother was my best friend and I killed her for the rules. It was a jackpot for Father. It gave him the license to flaunt women in the Family with Mother dead. He didn't bother investigating further but he probably knows."
I flattened my hands against his chest. "Why hadn't your father raised you all?" I questioned, curious.
"He was never a good don. He didn't know anything about time management. He was the one who tolerated the disrespect toward the women and messed the codes up. Why do you think your father behaves with you like that? He wasn't put in his place at the right time and it gave the other men the opportunity to establish unnecessary dominance. The nation follows the king and Father was the king," he explained.
I couldn't help but smirk at his words. I knew he shouldn't be bashing the previous don even though he said nothing wrong. I couldn't help but move forward and graze my lips gently against his his ear as I felt goosebumps appear on his skin.
"And now you're the king," I told him, my voicing lower into a breathy whisper.
He instantly pulled me closer by tugging at my hair. I hissed at the stinging sensation but soon forgot it when I lost myself with him.
This time his touch was different.