72 | the meeting
We brought Angelina blinded folded into the hotel at the outskirts of our borders meeting the territory of the Bianchi. Looks and words could always be deceiving, and even though Angelina had a certain honesty inside her I could not trust her. She was, in the end, the enemy. She was a Bianchi.
Antonio was going to offer Angelina back to Vincent. The deal was that in exchange for Angelina and Vincent's family, Vincent would promise to join hands with Antonio to end the regime of Luciano Lambardi. It was a deal that would be made on honour. Vincent had to agree to help. He would gain the most as well. He would find his step-mother and step-brother safe and well protected.
"Antonio, I was thinking," I started. He looked up from his phone. I fiddled with his blazer that I wore comfortably as we waited comfortably for the Bianchi to arrive. We were a bit early, analyzing the arrangements to keep the percentage of prospective deaths occurring low.
"I was not aware you can do that," he sassed.
I glared at him.
He chuckled. "Jokes apart. What were you thinking in that pretty little head of yours?"
I blushed a little. "Rather than risking everything like this, why can’t we call a Commission meeting?" I asked.
AAntonio smiled softly at my question. He is so beautiful. "Because the Commission involves other Mafia Families as well, not just the Nostra Vita Families. We do not want Chicago or the Boston Office to know about our duels in depth. If they get a hinge, they would take advantage, sweetheart."
"But why can't it just be between the Nostra Vita Families? I mean, we do not need to involve them. It's none of their business anyways. The Godfather is a Giordano and the Lambardi are wrong. Why can't we just demolish them rather than calling a war?"
"It's not as easy as it's said. We cannot just get rid of a Family and expect no consequences. We have trade in their territory. Not to mention that if we do not notify other mob dons then it would be offensive. Bambola, don't worry about all that. Leave it to me. I would not have brought you here and risked your safety had I not needed to," he said, cupping my cheek.
I understood what he was saying. In short, he was telling me to mine my own business. I did not want to be here either, but we were supposed to give Angelina to Vincent. It was more safer if I came along so both Vincent and Antonio would be held back from fighting. So, if anything went wrong, Angelina and I were the scrapegoats. It was not our idea to bring me. It was the Godfather's suggestion and Antonio being the dedicated mafioso complied. It sometimes made me wonder how it would feel to be this man's sole priority. I knew it was never possible.
I watched him lean back lazily on his arms. He smiled at me and a small dimple popped up on his cheek. I grinned as a poked it. He softly chuckled and pulled me closer on his lap. It was a filmy moment as we held eye-contact. I loved every moment of it.
I leaned forward so he had to fall back on the bed as I straddled him and grabbed his hands, pulling them beside his head and pressing them down. My breasts brushed against his clothed chest as our breaths mingled from a short distance.
He watched me in curiosity, but did not push me off. I felt in control, but it was the control he was giving me. I did not mind. It must be hard to constantly look over your back and never trust a single soul, wife or not.
He tried to pull his hand out of my grip but I pressed them down tightly. I yelped as he flipped us over. Yanking my hands together and holding them above my head in a vice grip, he squeezed my throat lightly. "You started this, I'll end it." His lips trailed down my neck, pressing soft kisses before mashing his lips with mine. I wanted to kiss him, taste him. I wanted him all, every part of him that was unreachable. It was an unexplainable desire that went beyond the haze of lust.
I gave out a small moan, and right then a knock sounded on the door. "Toni, the Bianchi are here." It was Dante's voice.
"Don't moan," he hissed. "I don't want him hearing you."
He looked into my eyes. I kissed his lips, biting onto his lower lip. It probably drew blood, but that was not my fault. I was following his orders. If not moan, then I had to do something. I sucked on his lower lip, hoping it would soothe the burn I gave. He pushed his tongue into my mouth and we fought for dominance. It was as if he was fūcking my mouth with his tongue.
"Toni, that dīck wants to see his wife." Dante came back. Or, he just never left.
Antonio pulled away from me with a sigh. He stood up and fixed his slacks and shirt back into place. "I'm sorry for the...ugh, delay."
He clenched his jaw as he threw daggers in my direction. "This is all your fault, Francesca," he snapped.
"That is why I said sorry,” I answered back smugly.
He leaned down and yanked me towards him by my brown locks. I hissed. "Careful, sweetheart." He smiled darkly. It was psychotically beautiful. "Next time, try not to pounce me before I have a meeting."
"You could have said no," I said. He consented.
He shrugged. "I could have, but then you would have never done this again. It would have broken your confidence, and I love the way you are, and I did enjoy it. It's quite fascinating to watch you."
"Why?" I asked. It was always amazing how this man had so many sides to him. Sides that only I will ever get to see and it made me feel special.
He merely shrugged and pulled me closer by the waist, pulling a gasp out of me. "I don't know, bambola. I may not love you, but I love your love for me." The dark glint in his eyes turned obsessive, vicious almost. "I love your difference when you see me. I love that whenever you look at me, you don't see me but your life in me. Your small and stubble reactions when I'm near you, the way your eyes glow, the way you have a boundless loyalty towards me that even if I strike a dagger into your heart, you will try to justify it. A scratch on me is a burn to your heart. I love that obsession. It's like a drug and it makes me feel loved." He looked hazed as the look in his eyes softened undeniably and honesty sparked within.
My hand raised to cup his cheek but he stepped back at another knock from Dante. I was going to frame Dante of murder one day if he kept this up. I bristled with annoyance. The moment was ruined.
"Ace!" Dante never called his brother Ace, Antonio's mob name that he usually was identified as. It must be serious.
"We will talk about this later. You need to go right now." I fixed my dress. "I'll get the door. You go fix that." I looked at his crumbled vest. The confrontation was overwhelming me. It was unexpected and still felt out of the blue even though I had noticed the changes in him when he was around me. I was never ready to fully accept it, afraid that it may just be another test.
He reached up and fiddled with my hair trying to make me look less like I had been in a make out session with my husband just minutes ago.
He sighed. "I don't want anyone to see you like this."
"Like what?" I asked. Most men loved to flaunt women with their marks, but my husband was always a weird one. "I thought you liked it." I did remember him asking me to never cover them on the initial days of our marriage.
He titled his head. "I do. They show my dominance in the relationship and while that is fantastic, I have come to realize that there is no reason to put on a show and insult my wife like that."
For the nth time today, he left me speechless once again. "You think it's compromising with my dignity and honour?" I asked to confirm.
"Is it not? Do you not want to cover them up? You think I do not know? You did since the day I first time put them on you and made you flaunt them," he admitted, looking away. Was he guilty?
He never cared then. Now he did.
"Don, please. Things may get out of hand." This time it was another man.
"Go," I rushed. "Wait, wear where this.” I gave him his blazer and fixed his tie.
"Take your time. I'll ask Fabio to escort you to the dining hall," he said before briefly pecking my lips. "Don't come out unsupervised and bring Angelina with you."
"This conversation is not over," I told him.
"Of course, I look forward to it."
I nodded and he left. I made it quick. If Vincent thought we played him then things would get ugly real fast and if Antonio got mad then there was nothing that could stop a new blood bath. Both men had high egos and I seriously did not want to be caught in a crossfire.
I ran to the washroom, wore my new flats and applied a bold shade of red on my lips to cover the swell. I had makeup in my bag so it was easy to cover up the prints on my neck, and then I was good to go.
Fabio waited patiently but I could see that he was worried. "I have to get Angelina."
The man nodded and we raced down the hall. The bodyguards planted on either side of her room pushed the door open. I sighed in relief when I saw that she was okay and merely watching TV.
"Angelina, let's go," I said.
She blinked. "Vince is here?"
She brightened up like a Christmas tree and flung up from the couch. "Let's go!"
I felt bad for her. Vincent may be in love, but he had to punish her for this disobedience. If he did not then his honour was already down the drain. He would be seen as a man who was not able to control his woman. It was very patriarchal and sexist, but it was what it was. If I were Vincent, the smart thing to do with her was to punish her, save face and then convince her for forgiveness in private. Or, at least, fake it all.
We walked down the hall and towards the large hall where I knew was where the meeting was kept. It was tense and it made me nervous. What if things went wrong? What if Antonio got hurt? What if I get hurt? What about my child? There were so many possibilities on how this could go down.
“Did you meet him yet?” Angelina asked. Her voice suddenly sounded weak and fearful.
“No,” I answered briskly. “But you will meet him now.”
“He’s not going to be happy,” she muttered under her breath.
Precisely, I thought. Of course he would not be happy.
“I was only trying to help,” she continued.
I sighed. “Angelina, if this goes down peacefully then I’m you’ll be fine.” I did not know Vincent enough to claim this but it helped calm her nerves a bit. That was enough. We could not have her paranoia inflicting our plans.
With Fabio and Angelina, I walked into the vacated room. No one was here other than us. There was no staff either. I did not know how Antonio managed to do that in hours. He most probably didn’t even do it and just ordered Pietro to.
I instantly spotted my husband. It was hard not to. A leader always stood out. There were eight men, four from Vincent's side and four from ours, disregarding Vincent and my husband. Pietro stood beside Antonio just as Vincent's underboss did and the rest were scattered at the back with their hands clasped in front. I knew they were all armed.
"Vince!" Angelina cried in glee as she rushed forward and hugged him.
I refrained from showing my true expressions. When she was so in love with her man, she should not have risked his life and dragged him here. It was stupid. For some reason, she reminded me of the female leads in irritating, unrealistic novels I used to read when I was in university. Sophia would sometimes lend me her phone for books. The stories would always lighten the mood and make me comment on how different reality is.
Antonio gave me a nod as I walked towards him and stood a step behind his large frame. It showed the power dynamic in our relationship and his higher position in the mob heirachy. It was a form of respect that I had no problem giving him.
A green golf table separated them from us. It may be a truce call but it could get bloody soon. It was like an unsaid border between them and us. Vincent turned to us. "What do you want in return, Giordano?" he asked, a tone of disrespect prominent.
"I gave you your rightful property that you were obsessively trying to fight for, Bianchi." It was almost a taunt in all seriousness.
Vincent glanced at Angelina before pulling her behind him. Her eyes met mine and she gave me a small smile. I returned it with a slight nod. It was best to keep her aligned a bit towards us. After all, she was originally from this family albeit the daughter of a new associate.
"And in return what do you want?" Vincent snarled again.
"Just a tiny info to give you. You suspect the Lambardi, but we have proof to prove it," Antonio said.
I suddenly knew where this was going. Antonio was not demanding anything yet. It kept the suspense up and created more tension. He was pressuring Vincent, letting the man bask in the paranoia of what was going to happen next. It was a smart tactic if you wanted to disable the opponent into making rash decisions.
"What do you mean? What's the proof?" Vincent asked, the curiosity visible as day in him.
"Mya,” my husband answered.