Mafia Puppet

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65 | apologies and forgiveness

"I'M GOING TO homeschool Alessia," Antonio mumbled.

I nodded. "I think it would be for the best."

I stiffened when he hugged me from behind. "How was your day, bambola?"

I think I forgot how to breath.

"It was okay," was the only thing I said. It felt too intimate and for some reason, I felt at peace with his arms wrapped around me.

The trees rustled outside with the wind. The moon shone down on us and the large landscape made me feel safe, safe enough to be standing against the railings of the balcony without much worry. He made me feel secure and protected from the harsh world. It was ironic that he was also the one who had pointed a gun at me.

"You'll catch a cold," I finally said, keeping the slight bitter thoughts away.

He nodded as he laid his forehead on my shoulder.

"Go inside, Antonio." I swallowed. "We cannot afford you getting sick."

He stiffened. "Of course." He instantly let me go. I faintly heard his footsteps retreating. I knew I had hurt him. I knew that he thought I didn't care about him but only the Family and it's safety. That wasn't true though. I did care about him, so much that it was starting to scare me. However, I wasn't a fool enough to tell him that without receiving a sincere apology and care. I couldn't let him know my true feelings. What if he used them against me? I wouldn't be able to bear it again.

I sighed as I looked into the vast darkness before me. The trees covered the large landscape. I wasn't scared of the darkness as much as I was scared of what was to come. I hated to admit it, but I really was scared and this wasn't the fear of getting hit. It was the fear of losing people I had started to consider my own. It was the fear of losing my family. Raffaello's death was stirring up a lot of unnecessary chaos that he wasn't worth for. This war was becoming personal. No, it was already personal.

Why couldn't the man control his disgusting urges? How could he rape a child? That was against the codes as well. That bloody bastard! He deserved to die a worse death than he had. He really did. Nothing could ever convince me otherwise. But the Bianchi should of let us deal with it. If they had approached Antonio about it, being the Don he couldn't just let it go. Breaking the code only had one penalty and that was death but that death had to be given by the Giordano Family, not the Bianchi unless Antonio and Vincent formed a stronger alliance. And Antonio would've had to do something even if he didn't want to, which I don't think he didn't. He might as well have given the Bianchi his father himself. Antonio didn't even like the man. But killing him without consulting Antonio first was stupidity. Maybe they thought Antonio would hide Raffaello? In a way, they were right as well. They didn't know that the Giordano Don didn't like his father.

I sighed and shut the glass door behind me before pulling the blinds over. Darkness illuminated in the room once again and I shuddered. Where was he? Did he leave in the middle of the night? I needed him here with me. Safe and sound.

"Antonio?" I called out.

Silence.

I licked my lips as I turned on the dimmed lights. "Anto—." I trailed off.

Tears prickled the corner of my eyes as I took a step towards the bed. The red roses almost looked black with how dark they were. A fuzzy white bear sat beside them and a small box of my favourite chocolates. My fingers grazed against the soft plush toy's fur. It was beautiful.

"Oh, my God," I mumbled, picking it up. He had done something for me. My husband had done something romantic for me.

Please forgive me for I have broken your trust.

I bit my lips as I held back a smile. My fingers grazed over the letters sewn on the bear's tummy in crimson red. My heart leaped a beat as I fell on the bed with a large grin. This was his writing.

"I do," I whispered. "I do forgive you." I grinned as I brought the toy up to my lips and kissed it's nose.

"Well, I'm glad you do." A rugged voice came from the corner.

I sat up in surprise. Antonio sat on the couch holding a glass of scotch as he licked his lips. His black t-shirt clung to him like a glove, outlining his muscles and I could see his eyes darkening in desire under the warm light.

"You could've told me this in person," I said. "Why not? Why do all this all yourself?" I gestured toward the writing. No made man had ever given their wife this much importance. At least, not that I had ever heard of.

"Who said I haven't gotten it sewn by someone else?" he questioned with a tilt of his head in mere curiosity. The tension that was in his shoulders earlier was gone.

"This is your handwriting, Antonio," I said.

He glanced at the toy. "It is," he said before looking at me in a heated gaze. "But I only gave them the note with my handwriting."

I bit my lip as I grabbed the vase of roses and placed it on the bedside table before hugging the beat back to my chest and leaning against the headboard.

"You know you could've just acted as if you've done it?" My statement was more like a question. I was curious onto why he didn't just go along with it. He knew it would get me even more softer towards him.

"I don't want to lie to you," he simply said.

We stared at each other for a moment. The dimmed yellow light created a shadow on his face. It made him look more intimidating, but I liked it that way. I liked him.

"So?" he started.

"So...?" I raised my brows.

"Have you, I mean, really forgiven me?" he asked.

For the first time, I saw want in his eyes. It wasn't the sexual type. No. It was the want for partnership—love. From the day I had told him that I was falling for him, his behaviour had changed. It was as if he was trying to win me back—win us back—and turn everything back to the way it was before. And I wanted the same thing. I didn't want to hold onto a grudge against him any longer. I wanted us to be together because it was difficult staying mad at him.

"I have," I told him truthfully.

He nodded with a small tilt in his lips.

"Do you trust me?" I questioned.

"Are you planning to test me as well?"

I shook my head. "No, of course not."

"Do you trust me?" he asked back.

I pondered it for a moment. Did I trust him to not break my trust again? No, I didn't but I also knew that there were some things he couldn't share with anyone. Not even his brothers. But did I trust him to always be with me and protect me? Yes, I did.

"To some extent, yes," I answered finally.

He nodded. The answer didn't please him but he didn't comment as he got up and walked towards me. I moved back in bed, noticing that I still hadn't gotten my answer yet but I decided not to dwell on it anymore. I didn't want him to actually tell me no. The last time he did, it cut deep.

"Fabio will come with you tomorrow as well, but Stefano will be in charge and don't forget to send me a text every hour," he said. When he saw my questioning gaze, he elaborated. "I know you trust Fabio more than Stefano."

I smiled. "Thank you."

He didn't answer and just shut off the lights using his phone.

"Good night," he said.

The bed dipped beside me as he laid. "Good night."

A smile bloomed on my face when he wrapped his arm around my waist and spooned me from behind. I chuckled. Maybe this was a new beginning. This was the one good thing in the abyss of darkness I was seeing ahead. And with that thought I fell asleep in the warm embrace of my husband's arms, promising myself that I would worry about tomorrow later.

The next morning went by quickly and I was happier than I had been for weeks. We all had breakfast together again and the brothers left for their respective things. When I saw Alessia, I couldn't help but dread our next conversation. I knew Antonio was going to be hell bent on homeschooling Alessia and I wasn't opposed to that idea. If she really had boyfriend in school, then it was time she was kept away from his company because if this got out then it would tarnish her whole reputation and ours. I wasn't naive enough to think that Antonio didn't tell her anything when she came here. I knew he would've set ground rules and the biggest one would've been no boys. Alessia broke his rule and I didn't know the outcome of it. I just knew it wouldn't be anything good.

When Antonio left for his business and I left with Fabio to the warehouse, I missed his presence. I wanted him to come with me to the doctors. I wanted him to take more initiative and responsibility or at least show that he cared about our child. But I knew he wouldn't because he prioritized his work more than us and as much as I hated that, I couldn't ask him to prioritize us when there was war hanging on our heads.

I watched the cars pass by as we drove towards the warehouse. We were actually being discreet this time. My car was no longer a black SUV. It was a blue Audi. Fabio sat at the front and I sat at the back. Stefano was at the warehouse making sure of the security measurements. We were trying to blend in. If I didn't see the cars following us from the start, I would've thought that Antonio let me out of the house without protection. It was almost humorous. Antonio would never let any harm come my way as long as he was alive.

When Fabio and I reached the warehouse, not a lot of bodyguards were there. It must've been to avoid off attention. "Don't you think there are too less of bodyguards?" I voiced out to Fabio.

Fabio turned back in his seat. He reached behind the seat and pulled out a black gun"Do you know how to shoot, Donna?" he asked, handing the pistol to me.

I took it while shaking my head. "No." Wasn't that supposed to be obvious? The husbands were the ones to protect the wives in the Giordano Mafia.

“Then you'll get control and that will be your freedom.”

I guess this was the first step. I wanted to learn how to protect myself. I no longer would tolerate being defenceless when I could be capable of protecting myself. I needed to ask hi—no, tell him to teach me how to shoot.

"Nine bullets." He tapped the pistol before handing it to me. "You shoot with your dominant hand and steady the gun with your other hand."

He showed me the basic procedures before I dropped the gun in my bag. It was just for safety measures. I trusted Antonio to not meddle with my safety. He wouldn't gain anything from killing me off and with what happened last night I didn't think he would ever want to kill me.

"Fabio, will you do me a favour?" I asked him.

Fabio stiffened.

I sighed. "It's not dangerous and the Don doesn't need to get involved. It's personal."

Fabio pursed his lips. "I cannot hide anything from my boss, Donna."

"It's harmless," I said, and it was. This didn't need to get Antonio involved. At least, not until I look into it myself.

Fabio thought about it for a moment before he nodded.

I smiled in relief. "There is this boy. I only know that his name is Matteo and he goes to Alessia's school. I want you to find out as much information about him as possible without anyone knowing and I mean anyone, not even the boy himself. This is just between you and I. Can I trust you with this?"

Fabio furrowed his brows before he nodded. "That's not much information, Donna. How can I find someone with just a name?"

"He must go to Alessia's school. Fabio, I can't have anyone knowing about this. Not even the brothers," I told him again.

A look of recognition filled his face when I mentioned Alessia. For a moment, I thought I made a mistake. What if he tells Antonio about this?

But then Fabio nodded again. "I'll find out by tomorrow for you, Donna, but if I think it is anything harmful to the Family then I will have no choice but to inform your husband."

"Please just tell me first. I wouldn't ever want harm to my family either and if it something severe I'd be the first to tell the Don."

Stefano opened the door to my side before he could reply. "Ready, Donna?" Stefano asked.

I nodded and stepped out, leaving rest to fate. Fabio and Stefano shared a stiff nod.

"I think it's best if you stay in the car, Fabio. We won't be quick and the Don wanted the Donna home as soon as possible," Stefano said.

Fabio glanced at me and waited for my approval. I nodded. I wanted to go home as soon as possible as well and the warehouse was well guarded.

The guards titled their heads down in respect as we walked by. Stefano led me up the stairs of the warehouse and into a loft. I instantly spotted the doctor sitting on the chair. She seemed like the typical doctor with a pair of spectacles bridging on her nose and grey hair.

I glanced at Stefano only to find him looking around the room for safety measures. His gaze lingered on the closed door to the washroom before he looked away.

"Mrs. Giordano, it is a pleasure to finally meet you!" Mrs. Colombo chirped, walking towards me.

"Likewise." I shook her hand, bringing my attention away from my bodyguard as he left us alone.

"Let's get started, shall we?" she asked, smiling widely.

I smiled. "Of course."
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