Mafia Puppet

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64 | brotherly affection

THERE WAS SOMETHING about today's family breakfast that made things stiff. Dante wasn't reading the newspaper. Costanzo was awfully quiet. Omero was biting his lower lip with a deeper glare than normal. And Antonio, well, was pretty chill which was odd since he was always so serious. Did he think relaxing himself would make things better? No, it actually made things worse.

The brothers started murmuring quietly. I caught few Italian words but none for me to connect some dots. Finally, I shrugged it off. It wasn't really my issue and until they needed me, I decided not to bother myself with it. Keeping myself normal would give them a sense of security that they have protected their family so far.

I had made breakfast today. When I laid off Carina, she barely resisted the urge to glare at me. In the end, she left with a hundred dollar bill I had tipped as a silent apology.

"Did something happen?" Alessia asked me, breaking me out of my thoughts.

"Business problems," I told her with a smile.

"Alessia," Antonio called out. She tensed beside me. "We need to talk."

Her frantic eyes met mine before she looked back at him. "Okay," she said timidly.

"And I want you to be there, Francesca," he said turning to me.

I momentarily surprised. "Of course."

The brothers shared a look. Were they going to tell her about Raffaello's death? Or were they going to reveal about the mafia? It made sense to keep the mob part away but I felt like Alessia had earned our trust. When Antonio had her settled here, he had made sure to cut all her ties with her step-father just in case. Being her legal guardian, it wasn't difficult.

As soon as they hounded down the food, we gathered into the large living room. Alessia sat on the couch opposite Antonio and I. He placed a protective arm behind me and pulled me closer. I laid my head on his chest, listening to his heart beat thrum peacefully. Dante leaned against the hand rest rather than sitting beside me on the three seat white couch. He crossed his arms which made him look more intimidating than usual.

"What's wrong?" Alessia asked, her voice filled with worry.

Costanzo and Omero looked towards my husband. I stayed still, watching her.

"It's about Father," Antonio started.

Alessia visibly stiffened. "Is he coming here? I thought I wasn't going to meet him until much later."

Antonio was going to allow Alessia to meet that sick prick?

"Alessia, you won't ever be able to meet Father." Antonio tried to soften his voice. Even Costanzo's eyes widened as he tried his best not to laugh which made Dante glare at him. It was a good thing Costanzo and Omero stood behind Alessia otherwise they would've seemed so insensitive to Alessia.

Antonio was so not good at this but I knew that if I interfered then things would get worse. It was not my place to tell her. This was in between the siblings.

"Father's dead," Omero suddenly snapped with dark eyes.

I flinched and sat up in surprise. Antonio stiffened beside me before throwing a nasty glare at his little brother.

Omero shrugged. "Stop trying to beat around the bush, Toni. You're terrible at it."

"I got to fucking agree on that," Costanzo jumped in with a small grin.

I instantly looked toward Alessia who was pale with shock. I jumped out of my seat. It was instinctual. When I reached her I grabbed her hand and pulled her into a hug. She felt cold and her eyes were blank but she managed to wrap her arms around me.

"H-How?" she finally stuttered out against my chest. "Just last week he sent me a diamond necklace and said he couldn't wait to meet me!"

I sucked in a sharp breath. Raffaello never met his daughter but he sent her gifts? I found it hard to believe that he loved her. If he did, then he would've came to meet her a lot sooner unless Antonio had prevented it.

I felt Antonio's familiar touch as he placed his hand on my back. I glanced up at him, Alessia still in my arms. He softly pulled her out of my grasp and pulled her into a hug.

His hand strummed through her blonde hair as he tightened his hold on her small body. My heart clenched at the scene. It was so lovely and cute.

Alessia tightened her arms around him as she sniffled softly. She wasn't exactly crying because it was obvious she had never met him. Maybe she had hopes in that man. It broke my heart to know that she was feeling for a sick piece of shit that was better off dead and not anywhere near her or our family. That bastard raped someone that was the age of his own daughter. Didn't he ever think that girl was also someone's daughter? He didn't deserve to know his daughter and Alessia deserved a better father.

Antonio pulled back and a little. I got a glimpse of her face and the shock was evident in her eyes. I just couldn't figure out if it was from the fact that Antonio hugged or that her father was dead.

"I-I, I need to go," she stuttered.

He nodded and watched her leave.

Dante turned to me. "You should maybe talk to her later."

I nodded. "I will."

"She isn't fucking going to do anything stupid, is she?" Costanzo snapped with a wary look on his face.

"I honestly can't believe someone would do something stupid for that motherfucker," Dante said with a gruesome look on his face.

"I hope Alessia doesn't tell people this shit," Costanzo said.

"She won't," Antonio told us. "Alessia doesn't know anything about us and I still don't trust her with anything more than she already knows. I won't risk bounding her up."

"You know she found a gun in the library, right?" Dante spoke up. "She's already suspecting things. What's the worse that could happen if we tell her?"

Costanzo rolled his eyes. "Her step-dad's a freaking cop and a loyal one. If he gets on our backs too then it'll be hard to fend them off. The cops in our territory are already giving us more than enough trouble."

"The Feds are taken care of," Antonio said.

"What about Magritte?" Omero suddenly looked toward me.

I stilled. What did Sophia do now?

My husband shrugged and sat on the couch. "Nothing. They backed off."

I relaxed. Now that Sophia was out of the way, a major problem was solved in my life.

"At least for now," Antonio said. "I had Benny threaten them."

Why did I feel like he wasn't doing anything too harsh because of me?

I gulped as I walked out. I wasn't too keen on listening anymore. I could only hope this wouldn't last longer and Antonio or Vincent would call a truce.

I ran upstairs and toward Alessia's room. I needed to tell Antonio to talk to her about what was going on or send her away somewhere safe where she could lead a normal teenage life. Alessia was innocent. She didn't do anything. She didn't betray us. But where could we send her, back to Italy? The moment she would step out of Antonio's protection, she would be betrothed to someone. Antonio was wise. If he were to chose a boy for her, he wouldn't choose a sick bastard like his or my father.

I stiffened when I heard her sobbing. She was crying because of the bastard she had never met before? I was right. Antonio was right. Alessia was too weak to know and handle the mob life. If such a small death had effected her so much then how much would knowing that we were the mob? Revealing something like this to her would just add more on her and our plate.

I raised my hand to knock on her door. She may need someone right now and I would gladly be that person. Antonio dragged her into this life without thinking thoroughly, but I would make sure she stayed safe and sane. She deserved the normality she has before.

But I stopped midway from knocking when I heard her speak. "I love you. I love you so much and going to school without you sucks, Matteo!"
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