59 | confirmation
"What about Pietro?" he asked casually, but I knew better.
"Well, since he is your friend you must know something," I said. "Maybe even the reason why he can't take his eyes off me throughout this whole party."
Alessandro showed no reaction to my words but from the slight twitch in his hand and the tightening of his grip on his glass, I knew he was mad. But, oddly enough, I wasn't scared of him. I was starting to trust the fact that most of Antonio's men were decent. At least, the men I had encountered so far.
"I don't know what you are talking about, Donna," Alessandro muttered, his eyes narrowing into slits but not at me. He was looking around the room, looking for someone.
"He's standing in the right corner glaring at us as we talk,” I told him, taking a sip of my water.
Alessandro's head snapped to the right. "Donna, excuse me." His voice was clipped as he placed his drink aside and made an attempt to move.
I instantly stopped him. "No. We don't need the people thinking that the consigliere and the underboss have issues. Alessandro, do you think Pietro is stupid enough to do anything?"
Alessandro almost gaped at how casually I called Pietro stupid. Even I was shocked at myself, though I made sure not to show it, that I called a man stupid, and not just any man but a mafioso who was a underboss. This surely must've offended Alessandro. It would’ve offended the whole Family. It was Alessandro’s duty to tell Antonio. That should’ve scared me for sure but again, for some reason, I wasn’t. In fact, I wanted to piss Antonio off. I wanted to be petty for once. I wanted him to feel that he made a mistake by breaking my trust.
"No," Alessandro said after a moment. "Pietro knows his limits and the Don has made it very clear to us that no man or woman should touch the Donna."
I nodded, ignoring the slight warmth blooming in my heart. I was about to reply when I saw Antonio walk down with the other four dons. He and Vincent were standing at the front as they came down together. They weren't talking but everyone knew they held the real power. They were enemies and allies if that made any sense. Both Mafia hated each other and would love to take the other down but if another rival tried to take advantage, they'd always be on the same side.
Antonio nodded at the other bosses and broke away from their side, making his way to us.
"Don," Alessandro greeted before walking away, leaving me alone to face the brute.
I raised a brow as we awkwardly stared at each other, and then slow music started on the dance floor. My eyes widened when I noticed all the men taking their women to the dance floor, even the other dons. This meant I had to dance...with Antonio.
And like I had expected, Antonio raised his hand toward me. "Would you allow us a dance?" he asked softly. It felt weird.
I gave him a fake smile and his eyes seemed to lighten up. "Of course, Don Giordano."
And then it disappears. He gripped my hand and pulled me to the middle of the room before wrapping a wand around my waist, pulling me closer than ever. The lights dimmed and a blue glow shined across our faces. He dipped his head down as he placed a kiss on my forehead lovingly.
What the hell are you doing? PDA is not allowed! It would make you seem like a wimp!
"What are you doing?" I gripped his arm tightly as I harshly whispered.
He looked down at me. "Kissing you."
"I know that but on my forehead?" I said. "That would make you se—"
"—em less manly?" he finished. "I know, bambola." He didn't explain further and honestly, he didn't need to because I understood. He was trying to convince me to forgive him—make things just like before.
We danced to the music elegantly. I was suddenly thankful to my dance teacher. Despite my many failures, she had never given up on me and because of that I was able to dance right now without any problem.
I tilted my head up, meeting his hooded eyes, and then I couldn’t look away. As if in a trance, he held me bewitched and all at his mercy. My feet moved along the music but my eyes stayed on his, challenging him to back down. He didn't, but neither did I.
Until he dipped out new his head and stole a kiss from me. "Antonio," I hissed in warning.
A small smirk made its way to his face. "You said my name again."
I bit my tung in embarrassment. I wasn't going to forgive him. I couldn’t ever forgive him. I wasn’t ready and I don’t think I could ever be ready. The anger, the pain, it was still too fresh.
"You just surprised me," I told him, looking behind his shoulders. My eyes narrowed as they met the ones of Pietro.
What's honestly his problem? Maybe he's just looking out for me, I thought. Yes. Maybe that’s it. I’m just overthinking things again.
Who was I actually trying to convince? I was no fool. I knew he liked me. I was just in denial. But I didn't want to take the risk. Confusing my dear husband, I placed my head on his chest so Pietro couldn’t see my face. From where he was standing, this would look like a romantic pose. Hopefully, he would be reminded who I was with. Pietro may be a handsome hunk but I would never replace him for Antonio. Even the thought of it made me want to puke.
Antonio stiffened. His grip on my waist tightened but he didn't question me. He just pulled me closer. I liked the warmth he gave. I liked Antonio, a lot. Other than the presence of Arianna and Mother, he was the only one I felt safe with. That was until the stupid stunt and the manipulation. He was toxicity at its finest.
"Francesca," he murmured in my ear.
I didn't reply back. Suddenly my head felt dizzy.
"I promise you that after today Pietro would not make you uncomfortable again," he said to me.
So he knows.
"Just don't kill him," I mumbled onto his chest.
I felt his hand on my bareback and despite my mixed feelings, it spread tingles in my stomach. "You have my word."
And that was all I heard before darkness enveloped me.
• • •
"What happened to her?" I heard someone harshly whisper.
"D-D-Don, it w-was the pregnancy symptoms. Francesca is—."
Antonio cut him off. "Don't say her name," he said silently. It was anything but calm. It was threatening.
"Y-Yes. M-Mrs. Giordano is pregnant for two weeks now. She fainted due to stress and the lack of hydration," he said.
I tried to pry my eyes open but I couldn't. The light was too bright.
"Take the light away," my husband said stiffly.
And then the brightness was gone. I felt someone grip my hand tightly. I instantly knew it was him. No other man would ever dare to hold my hand without the permission of my husband, even Father.
"Open your eyes slowly," Antonio said, his tone much softer. I gripped his hand as I tried to pry my eyes open but they felt like they were glued together.
The first thing I saw was the beige wall above me and when I tilted my head to the side I saw him staring down at me.
"H-How long was I out?" My voice was hoarse and stiff. I tried to sit up but my head felt heavy. He placed a hand on my back and pulled the pillow up so I could lean against it.
"Mrs. Giordano, you fell asleep right after you gained consciousness. You’ve been out for hours," the doctor said.
I looked around only to realize we were in a different room. We were back at the mansion and in our room.
"Get out," ordered Antonio.
Somehow, I knew it was for the doctor who quickly fumbled out without a word. I looked away from the man’s piercing gaze. The white duvet suddenly seemed too interesting.
"I'm going to go take a bath," I mumbled out before stepping out of bed. I couldn't stay in the same room with him alone. I wanted to avoid him at all costs.
I breathed out a sigh of relief when I noticed I was still in my dress. However, I also realized that Antonio's shirt was buttoned up over my dress, covering my cleavage that the dress exposed.
I looked up at him who suddenly seemed too close. I could feel the heat radiating off of him.
"Francesca," he spoke. "Can we talk?"
I licked my dry lips. "I'm very tired and I just want to take a bath to relax if that's fine by you, Don."
He stared down at me with pinched brows but I could tell the solemn expression hidden behind. "As you wish." And then he stepped away.
I instantly walked past him. Even though I knew he was watching me, I didn't once look back because from all these days with him, there were two things I learned. One; was to never trust a mafia man, and two; was that they loved a chase. Everyone held a secret agenda. It was only a matter of time before it came out. It was a lesson Antonio taught me very well and it was the lesson that I would never forget. It was a lesson that Antonio would regret ever teaching me.