Mafia Puppet

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58 | up on the boat

"YOU ALL MAY have heard by now. My dad's other family is missing." Vincent's jaw ticked as he spoke.

I leaned my back on the couch and watched the men talk. Gino, Joseph and Luciano hadn't said anything for a while.

"I will send scouts to look for them in all of your territories," Vincent Bianchi finished.

There was silence before chaos filled the room. Everyone started talking at once. I watched with mild irritation at how childlike everyone was being. Antonio's eyes met with mine and I could see how bored he was. I looked away. I was still mad at him.

"Don Giordano's wife, right?"

I turned to Angelina in surprise. "Yes," I answered with a polite smile.

She reached out a hand for a shake. "Angelina Bianchi, Don Bianchi's wife."

Vincent must've trusted her a lot to bring her here. But did that mean Antonio trusted me a lot as well? That seemed unlikely with the stunt he just pulled.

She chuckled as she glanced at the arguing men. I could see the sadness within her eyes. I didn't question her. It wasn't my business. I followed her gaze. Almost everyone was pissed off. My husband and Vincent just sat there calmly though. If they were girls, then they'd surely be checking out their nails. I hid my laugh. Antonio with long hair and nails was not appealing at all.

Angelina turned to me. "I couldn't meet you at your wedding. I apologize for that, Donna Giordano."

"You were at my wedding?" I asked, confused. I didn't see her but then I remembered how fast Antonio pulled me away. I quickly realized I was being rude. "I'm sorry, I just didn't notice. The Don and I left very early and I hadn't had the chance to meet everyone."

She chuckled as she leaned against the white couch. "I understand. Your husband greeted us before the wedding so it was fine."

My head snapped to the men once I heard someone slam their palm on the table. Vincent had a furious glint in his eyes.

"Oh, God, no," Angelina mumbled beside me. I didn't think it was meant for my ears.

I looked at them more intently. My husband didn't care. He was still bored but everyone else sort of flinched back. However, I knew better. In reality, Antonio was probably the most attentive right now. This cool aura was definitely a facade and he was very good at it apparently.

What an actor.

"Shut the fuck up all of you. If I find out that my family has been harmed in any way because of any of you, I swear to god I will end you all."

What an idiot, I thought as I stiffened. What a way to piss off all mob bosses of the Nostra Vita.

"Enough!" Don Luciano Lambardi snapped in fury. "What the hell is this meeting for; for you to insult us every moment? How dare you blame us when you are unable to protect your family?"

Vincent fumed. He was too proud to admit weakness. He'd never admit that his family ran off without his notice. The Bianchi were already looked down upon because of it. His reputation was at stake.

I looked at Antonio to see what he was thinking but he looked as composed as ever. That was until he abruptly stood up and casually fixed the cuffs of his suit. "This meeting adjourned. Bianchi, I assure you that your family will not be found in my territory and if they are then no harm shall come to them. You have my word." And then he walked around the table.

I didn't stand up instantly as I should have. Something compelled me not. It must've been my pettiness because I was still mad at him, but when he stood in front of me and extended his hand out for me to take it, I took it. It wasn't because I was fine with him but because I didn't want to insult him in front of his colleagues. Antonio had never insulted me in front of others and I wasn't going to do the same.

I watched the men eye us as we left. Alessandro and Pietro stayed behind though. I glanced at Angelina and saw her give me a small smile. She seemed cool. I liked her. I nodded at her as a goodbye before Antonio pulled me out of the room.

Everyone was bustling around tensely downstairs. Antonio and I leaned down the balcony on the third floor. People were faking their laughs, talks and fun. It was obvious when observed closely from the top. Many were dancing to loud music on the dance floor. It looked so lively and glamorous. No one could could ever guess that a possible mob war could be inflicted with the talk upstairs.

I stiffened when I felt an arm wrap around my waist. He pulled me closer. If it were before the stunt he pulled, I would've leaned onto him lovingly. Now, I didn't want that. I felt betrayed. He could never understand how scared I had felt that time. And what sucked was that he didn't even care. He didn't even apologize. He didn't even regret it.

I stared across the hall as I ignored him. Amalia and Gianna were with other women, laughing and talking, but I could still see the stiffness in between them. It was almost unnoticeable but it was there, and since I noticed someone else may have as well.

"Come," he whispered in my ear. Despite despising him at the moment, I felt goosebumps appear on my skin.

Traitorous body.

I walked with him quietly. He pushed a tinted door opened and I instantly felt the cool breeze. I shivered.

My lips parted in surprise. We stood on the highest balcony of the cruise. The wind ruffled my hair back and I feared it would mess up despite being so astonished by the beauty of the nature. I stepped out of my husband's grasp and walked to the edge. My hand skimmed over the golden railings before walking alongside it. My lips dried as the wind started getting cooler, but I grinned when the breeze hit my skin. The fresh smell given by the water made me feel free. I felt like I could finally breath.

I knew he was watching me and slowly I did turn back around to look at him after a moment. He was leaning against a railing, watching me with his brows pinched and his lips pursued. My smile started to diminish. Was he going to throw me off and act like it was an accident?

Okay, no. That's too much.

But it is still a possibility.

I let go of the thought as soon as it came. That wasn't possible. If I fell off then it would show people that he couldn't protect me. I knew him enough to know that he'd rather die than let that happen.

He titled his head a little and I felt like I was caught stealing even though he was the one staring. I turned away. When he touched me this time, it felt different. It felt awkward and I just wanted to get away from him. I stiffened when I felt him put his blazer over my shoulders.

"Did you really mean what you said yesterday?" he asked softly, his hands still on my shoulders but he kept a distance between us. His front barely grazed my back.


"When you said you were starting to, well...fall for me."

I didn't answer his question. "When are we going home?"

Moments passed in silence. I didn't speak and neither did he.

He sighed and grabbed my arm, turning me toward him. I looked him in the eyes fiercely. It wasn't my intention but I was in no mood to make mends either. I had some self-respect. If he wanted to act like this was all his job and a game then I could do the same. Pleasing him was my job anyways. I would see it as that now. That was what he wanted anyways. Why did I put much effort when he barely did? Why couldn't I have just let him go when I had the chance? Why did I want this to work so much before?

"Stop changing the topic," he said. "And stop frowning."

I looked away. "It doesn't matter anymore," I replied.

He instantly pulled me closer and dipped his head down, cupping my jaw so I had to look him in the eyes. "Yes. Yes, it does," he said breathlessly.

"No. No, it doesn't, Don. Because if it did, you wouldn't have acted like this, but I can't really blame you now, can I? You are the Don and I should have expected it. I should have known." I turned to walk away.

He abruptly turned me around. "Don't walk away from me," he hissed.

"Sorry," I said monotonously.

He stared down at me. His eyes narrowed into slits before he let me go. He knew I didn't mean it. I watched as he turned and left, leaving me all alone on top of the cruise.

• • •

I couldn't see him anywhere. I would be lying if I said I didn't want to see him. I felt safer around him. It was purely for selfish reasons. He was my protection and I hated that I was so dependent on him.

There was slow music going on the main floor. I stood against the bar quietly as I watched everyone. Some people were just looking around. Others were dancing and laughing. I spotted Alessandro and Pietro who were talking with other business associates, but I couldn't find Antonio.

I sighed as I turned around and stared at the bartender. He was a man with wispy red hair and a freckled face. He caught me staring and threw me a small smile. He instantly left the other customers and walked toward me.

"Possa avere qualcosa per una bella signora comme te?" he asked with a smile. (Anything I can get for a lovely lady like you?)

Smooth, I thought. "Solo acqua. Grazie." I wasn't very good at Italian. I understood it but I just had trouble speaking it sometimes. (Just water. Thank you.)

The man went away. I flinched when someone stood beside me. I instantly knew it wasn't Antonio somehow. Alessandro smiled before me, his red and black suit bulging out his muscles.

"Your husband is with Don Lambardi on the second floor. They're having a much more private meeting," he said.

I raised my brows. "Would there be any chance of the Feds being around?" I asked.

"Why? Are you planning to escape, sorella?" Alessandro asked jokingly but I could see the tautness in his eyes.

I stiffened. Did Antonio tell him? But from the way he way Alessandro smiled, I didn't think he knew. I think he was just wary that I asked. I couldn't blame him. Wives didn't take interest in such things.

"No, just worried that this place might be bugged," I said, sending a small smile to the bartender who handed me my water.

I saw Alessandro staring at me. I raised a brow in question, and he merely shook his head. "I never understood why Antonio was so smitten by you at first, Mrs. Giordano," he said with a thoughtful look. "But now I do."

I took a sip of my water. Pursing my lips, I decided to just go for it. "He talked about me?"

Alessandro smirked. "Now I wouldn't be such a good consigliere if I spilled the Don's secrets, would I?"

I shrugged nonchalantly. "You started it, fratello," I told him.

He tilted his head with a growing smirk. "Fair enough. Alright, this one time but just because you called me fratello."

I looked at him interested. He chuckled.

"Normally, the Don likes to keep his private life, well, private. But he crashed at my house drunk one time around last week." He looked at me as if I remembered the day he didn't come home. I remembered it very well actually. I had waited for him the whole night only for him to show up in the morning. "And he blurted some things out. Some shit along the lines of 'I love waking up next to her' and 'she's so smart.' Didn't understand any of the other stuff he mumbled," he continued.

He said that?

"Your husband is going to kill me when he finds out I told you this," he mumbled. "If he even remembers what we talked about. Fuck—excuse my language, Mrs. Giordano."

I chuckled. "That is if he finds out."

We looked at each other. "Then let's hope he doesn't," he said.

"Then that's fine by me," I told him.

"I like you. You're good for the Don. I'll ask Amalia to give you some company."

I stopped him before you could leave. He looked at me with a raised brow. "I want you to be honest with me," I said. He instantly straightened up a bit more at the seriousness of my tone. "What's up with Pietro?"
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