Mafia Puppet

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73 | an uncanny alliance

"MYA?" ANGELINA'S MEEK voice sounded.

Shut up, you fool.

I chose to answer this. Vincent would not want his wife talking to another man, especially a man that was her former boss and who she ran to just hours ago and made him lose face. "Mya, our former maid, was a traitor. She worked for the Lambardi and was directly involved in an attack. She named the Lambardi," I stated. It was vague, but it answered Angelina's question. I did not know what to give out and what not to. I was not prepared for this. All I was prepared for was to be the trophy wife which I had no problem in being. Not Angelina asking questions.

"We have Ruby, Father's girlfriend, to prove that the transaction happened. A man from the Lambardi family sold your sister to my father," Antonio stated.

"So the Lambardi have issues with you guys and we are dragged into this." Vincent raised his brows.

Antonio tilted his head. "Well, my sister was not the one raped."

My heart stopped. Chills went through the people around. I could clearly feel the tension rising. Antonio should not have said that.

Vincent growled. "Your father was the one who was a fucking perv, Ace."

"You could not defend your own, and now you don't have the balls to fucking seek vengeance against the person who dragged your family into this. You want to let go of the man who forbade you from killing the one who took away the virtue of a young, honourable Bianchi woman—for what, to cause a minor squabble between us so we kill each other and he comes out as the top dog? To be petty?"

Vincent stared with a clenched jaw.

"We, the Giordano, will exact our vengeance with fucking class. And, do you understand why? It would just be for leaving the Giordano pride—my wife, their Donna—shaken up. Are you okay with that, mi amigo, to sit like a coward while your woman fights for you, because, let's face it, your woman did have the audacity to walk into our territory?'' the Giordano Don mocked. He was pushing the buttons of the enemy. Ego was always a prideful man's Achilles heel. Vincent was no different and Antonio knew how to perfectly manipulate it.

Fall for it. Fall for it, Bianchi. The look in Vincent's eyes was enough to send chills around the room and Angelina, too, visibly gulped. She did not expect to be brought in between. She was just a pawn. Complimenting and comparing her with her prideful husband was butchering their relationship and forcing Vincent to make rash decisions, to prove his stance in their relationship. And it worked with how visibly tight he held her, to the point she flinched in pain. I felt bad for her. Antonio was using her nativity and kindness to challenge Vincent's ego. She had become a puppet whose strings we now held.

"How do I know that you won't turn on me?" Vincent asked after a moment. And fall he did.

If my husband and I were alone right now, then I knew he would have had that smug look on his face that I absolutely adored. It was the look of winning, but one should never get too confident until the victory was announced. This could still backfire. I placed my hand on his back to warn him of staying aloof. After all, it was not over yet. Vincent had a valid question. How could he trust us? The Bianchi boss was not as stupid as his wife. He would not trust the enemy as easily and he shouldn't. Antonio was not going to play fair.

"I apologize for cutting in." I spoke. He tensed beside me and I smiled. "You are gaining more than us, Don Bianchi. We could have kept your family hostage to make you bend to our will, but we did not. We want peace. We are taking a step forward and I hope that is enough of reassurance. We know what is best to do and I hope you know what is best for your Family as well. There is nothing personal in this, unless we both benefit from it."

Vincent pursued his lips as he watched me, not once did his eyes take on the look of lust or disgust for me speaking in between the men. I honoured that. If he was not a mafiaso, I would have called him a good man.

"Then I prefer a more solidified reassurance of this truce. A truce that is based on alliances and not words," he spoke, giving me a slight nod. It was a respectful gesture and his tone had turned noticeably less sharper. Women had that effect. Maybe somewhere in the Bianchi Family the codes were still honoured, unlike the Giordano Family.

"And what do you suggest, Bianchi?" my husband asked, his fingers tightening their hold around my waist. I licked my lips. By now I had realized that this was his jealousy. But, he was too smart to act on it and throw a fit. Antonio would not give the opportunity of someone else seeing his mask of composure frisk off, showing them that he indeed have feelings and give them an opportunity to have a say in our relationship.

Vincent stayed silent. To save the situation, their consigliere Danilo—if remembered correctly from the cruise party—stepped up. "I have a suggestion, Don Bianchi," he approached Vincent.

Vincent and Antonio shared a nod as the Bianchi men stepped back and spoke in hushed voices. I held back a smirk. We all knew what the suggestion was. Due to both companies' high egos, no one wanted to call it first. In times like these, I hoped the Godfather would be here. Although highly sexist, he was a wise man when it came to calling a truce. Convincing Antonio was not easy so it had left me by surprise when the man just did it over a phone call. However, at the end of the day, the old man was the top dog of the whole Nostra Vita and his grandson had to comply, irrelevant of his own judgment. It even proved how high my husband regarded the older man and so it was no wonder the loyalty he shared to the mob. Antonio did not live in the world of crime because he was born into it, he stayed because it was his family. Just like it was mine. We didn't run from our families. We embraced it, regardless of how much it ruined our lives in the process and how many lives we ruined in the process. You join by blood and leave by death. There was no other way. Loyalty and pride ran in our veins and there was no way it could be snatched away. It was selfish, but it was what it was.

Dante approached us with Fabio and Antonio's head bodyguard. Pietro was not here. He was back home to look after things there. Since we were at the brink of war; we could not risk leaving our family alone and however much of a perv the man was, he was a good underboss.

"Where is Alessandro? Why are you here?" my husband asked, looking at Dante.

Dante pursued his lips. "That's the thing, Toni. Alessandro is missing."

Antonio peeled his hand off my waist as he took a step forward. "Missing?"

I watched the temper flare in his charcoal eyes. "Where was he seen last?" I asked.

Dante glanced back at Enrico and Fabio. "With Fabio?"

The man looked like a deer caught in headlights as he shook his head. "I did see him last but he only told me that he was going to see the back door."

I furrowed my brows. Alessandro's movements had turned suddenly sketchy. He would not betray us, would he? Alessandro called me his sister. He was my husband's best friend. And, he was the consigliere of the Family. He knew everything. We could not afford his loss.

"Go find him," Antonio hissed. "And I don't want any blood today, irrespective of whose. This truce is important and I would be damned if I let Luciano fuck this up."

Dante instantly shook his head with a clenched jaw. "I am not leaving you two here with these fuckers. Fabio, go find Alessandro."

Antonio shook his head in sheet disappointment. "Do as you're told, Dante. Stop acting like a kid."

"No, I'm not leaving you here. What if something happens?"

"I can protect myself and I can protect my wife too. If Alessandro is in trouble then he needs us, Dante. We are family." Antonio spoke as if he was explaining his child, softly and with a clear hint of tenderness.

Dante huffed. "No, you are my family and I refuse to leave you here. I don't have a good feeling about this."

"They are watching us, Antonio," I whispered under my breath.

Antonio shook his head in disappointment and turned away. Dante stayed. His loyalty was understandable and praiseworthy, especially since he was not wrong. There was a bad feeling in my stomach as well. I wanted to leave this place. It was almost claustrophobic, but I could not leave my husband behind. He would never agree to go first, high ego and all, and neither would Vincent.

"We have a suggestion," Danilo spoke, clasping his hands together firmly. Vincent stood beside him with a forced expression of sanity. He was seething and it was more than obvious with the way his wife was standing like a withered plant beside him.

"And that is?" Antonio raised his brows.

"An alliance between us would be very beneficial. Trust is an important factor, but as easily as it is given it can also be snat—."

"Get to the point, Danilo." I placed my arm around his. Antonio needed to calm down. Alessandro's disappearance could not hinge our real motives in coming here. The truce was more important.

Vincent's nose flared. "You have a little sister and I have a little brother. Both are bastard children, but I care and honour my brother enough to be suggesting an alliance between us through a sacred alliance between them," he suggested, voice turning softer towards the end.

"It will be more beneficial and lasting. We promise to honour the Giordano princess the same we would honour our own," their consigliere added.

Antonio remained silent. I wondered why. I knew he cared for his sister but I also knew that he loved the mob even more. He was hesitating because maybe somewhere he still knew this was wrong.

"They love each other," I whispered under my breath, taking his guilt on me. His form relaxed a bit as if that was the last push. Alessia was indeed better off staying with someone she knew and loved rather than getting pushed into the arms of a man who did not want her.

"If we give you a woman of ours then it would only be fair if we get one in return," Antonio bargained.

I flinched slightly. This was disgusting and cheap. Women were not objects, but there was no way I would let him lose face in front of our rivals by contradicting what he just said. The only way I could show my disapproval was by digging my nails into his arm which, by the way, barely did anything because of his suit.

Vincent glared at us. "My sister is dead."

Antonio nodded in faux sympathy. "I am aware, may she Rest In Peace."

"I will not give a woman from my family into yours because let's face it, we all know how your Family works," Vincent said.

"Then what makes you think I will believe that my sister will be unscathed in your Family. We all know how unsafe it is. A cousin of yours will just solidify this pure bond of trust and truce," Antonio remarked.

Vincent slammed his hand on the golf table. "We follow the code. I would never go against what honour forbids us to do. I have given my word and I will follow it through and thoroughly."

"Can you vouch for all your men?" Antonio questioned.

"Can you?" Vincent retorted.

"I can assure you that she will be in safe hands. My brother is as good as a man can be," Antonio promised.

Dante stayed silent to all despite his life being compromised in all. He submitted to his brother's word and that was his consent enough.

There was another awkward silence where the men glared. Neither of them wanted to go through with it nor did they trust each other. I was fed up with it. All of this constant back and forth just to stand strong against the vintage Lambardi Family. It was not going to work if the mere base of trust was refused.

Vincent finally nodded. "On blood we shall join together to end the one rising against us."

"Amen," my husband said.

"Amen," I repeated along with Dante.

There was a tense silence as the truce was finally called. Relief filled my chest. It was about time. There would be no war between us and in no time Luciano Lambardi would be taken down as well.

"I need you to hand me over Mya and Ruby. I will need proof to show my Family," Vincent said. His tone was less aggressive now. "And my family?"

Antonio nodded. "They will be sent to you shortly. Both of them."

Vincent nodded. "It will be a pleasure to continue business with you."

Finally, all of this was over and we could go hom—.

"Wait!" Fuck you, Angelina. "Where has consent gone? At least ask the said grooms and brides whether they want to wed each other. We cannot be selfish, Vincent. Please."

She had a point, but was stupid to say it now.

"Shut the fuck up. You have no right to talk right now. I'm here because of you," Vincent snapped.

Angelina cried. She raised her hand to smack him but he grasped it with quick reflexes. However, the damage had already been done. He lost face in front of his rival. "I have been too, too lenient with you, Angelina," he growled.

Vincent turned around and gave us a nod of farewell. "I believe we have discussed the important matter. Valerio will wed your sister honourably once she comes of age, but until then my cousin should have no qualms with your brother."

Antonio tilted his head, a cruel smile on his lips. "That she won't, Bianchi."

I doubted that.


•••

I may have to change my cover and remove the aesthetics. Copyright and all. I was young when I put them. Now I know better :)
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