06 | an awkward silence
"Hey," I greeted stiffly. I was glad that I had changed into a pair of leggings and a long-sleeved shirt before I came here. It was cold.
I didn't think anyone lived with him. I didn't see any bodyguards inside the house yesterday, but I was, of course, mistaken. He most likely gave them a day off.
The maid jumped in fright. Her eyes widened and she almost burned herself. It was as if I talking to her made the world upside down. More precisely, her world.
I rushed forward. "Careful."
She looked around in fright. She was afraid of someone seeing us. "Um, Madam."
"Call me Francesca," I spoke out of reflex before mentally facepalming. I was the Don's wife. Her calling me by my name would disrespect the Don and that was something he would not tolerate.
She shook her head. "I can't, ma'am. You're my Mistress."
I nodded, relieved. I did not want to be a hypocrite and tell her not to just after I did. "I came to make breakfast for the Don."
"Oh. I didn't know if I was supposed to or not, so I already started. I'm sorry." She shook with fear.
"It's fine. I'll just help." Her eyes widened, but she did not say anything when I took her place and started flipping the bacon. "So, how long have you worked here?" I asked.
I hoped to get to know at least one person from here. I did not want to live in boredom forever. Mother often stayed away from the servants and my house but that was because Father thought it was not ethical to talk to people with such low status in the mob.
"F-For one year," she stuttered as she worked on making the eggs.
"Oh." I was surprised. I thought she would be much senior as she was working for the Don himself but I did not question it further. That would be questioning the Don. Plus, she was very young and beautiful, probably in her thirties. The reason seemed obvious. "Sorry, I didn't ask your name."
"It's Mya," she squeaked out.
He then came in fully freshened up. There were stools behind the grey marble counter. Apparently, he didn't use the dining room because he sat here, fiddling with his phone and looking intimidating in his three-piece. I realized that most of the time he wore black. It was like his colour because even at our wedding and thereafter he was wearing a dark suit. I couldn't deny that it suited him and his dark aura, but black was not the only colour someone could have in their closet.
He barely glanced at us. Not wanting to keep him waiting I gestured Mya to bring a plate, serving him the food I helped cooking. I stood quietly while Mya started washing the dishes. I could see her trembling but that wasn't what surprised me. It was the fact that she kept on covering her neck after he came in and she was, well, blushing.
My eyes snapped to the stiff form of my husband. Even though I was far from loving him it still made my heart clench that he kept a mistress in the same house as me and did not think I was worth the trouble if shifting her to another house. It made me feel humiliated even though I had no expectations. I hated it. Was I being possessive? No, certainty not. This bruised my already dead ego. But I didn't deserve to have an ego, did I? I was a woman in the Giordano Family. Women didn't have rights here. However, keeping a mistress in the same house as his wife was an insult to the wife. That was not allowed, especially if the mistress was also Italian. Mya looked Italian enough.
I wasn't too sure how the Don handled it now or did the rules even matter for the man. Men were allowed to keep mistresses and a wife, but they had to keep them separate. If a man can handle multiple without a fuss then he was called 'manly.' I did not think the Don could handle both of his women living in the same house. It would be a stain to his reputation that he could not provide a different and lavish lifestyle for both. It would also alter with his image because he was degrading me publicly. Losing face was something a mob man could never afford.
"Francesca, there is a dinner hosted by us at eight for the immediate members. Mya will help you cook. She has done it before." He didn't waste his time in goodbyes and just left. I was glad, for one, because I wanted to have a word with Mya. I wanted to know if something was actually going on rather than jumping to unnecessary conclusions. Then, I would decide what to do.
Both of us were silent for a couple of moments. She didn't speak either. Her eyes refused to meet mine as if she was guilty.
"Mya," I started. I could literally see her stiffen. Her shoulders tensed and her scrubbing became harder. "Why did you act like that in front of him?"
I did not understand. She should be used to him by now, shouldn't she? She spent more time here than I ever did. She even knew more about my husband than I did.
"Um, I-I'm just nervous around him, I guess." She awkwardly laughed., but I was no idiot. I was raised in a family who constantly lied to me. I knew a liar when I saw one. She must have seen the pointed look on my face when she turned around because she started shaking her head.
"I want to know if you and my husband have something going on." I went straight to the point. What difference would it make eating around the bush? I would just sound more pathetic.
She looked down. "No, no. Not with him. It was with the younger master. When I first came here, he pursued me and after he was done he, uh, didn't think I was worthy enough but the Don had walked in on us and till now I still can't look at him. It makes me feel—." She cut off.
I instantly felt bad about making her spill out her secrets but I knew that if I did not know I would have gotten many sleepless nights. I was not really fond of the fact that I would have to share my husband. Which wife would be? But that was how it worked in the mafia. At least, in this one. To him, she was a puttana of his brother now.
"Thank you for telling me, Mya. Do you know how many people are coming for dinner?" I changed the topic. It was getting very awkward.
She nodded with a slightly surprised face at my gratitude. It was obvious she was not used to this kind of treatment. The nice type of treatment. I knew how she felt. It reminded me of myself and Arianna.
Five years ago, when I was younger, I had been told about the alliance with the Don. Since then, Father stopped scarring me and took his anger out on Mother and Arianna. That did not mean I was pampered with love but I was surely in a better position than them.
"Around ten to twelve people, Mrs. Giordano, but it'll be better if we make it for fifteen people. The other masters tend to bring others sometimes and it's a small diner so the uncles wouldn't be here."
I did not need to ask who these others were. I already had the hinge. "Okay. I suppose we could start few hours before it." I paused, hesitating if I should ask. "And who did you mean by other masters?"
She raised her head in surprise before dropping it down again. "The Don's younger brothers." I thought he was an only child? "Master Dante is the second oldest. Master Costanzo is the third and Master Omero the youngest."
"Oh?" It came out more like a question. I did not know we had others living here. I did not have a choice on who I wanted to live with either. I just had to deal with it, and I would.
Don't make them be like Father.