Rafael DeLuca looked out the window and watched as the beautiful city of Boston came up to meet him as the plane made its descent. The city’s night lights sparkled like diamonds. As the plane got lower, he could see those very lights dancing in the ocean water. He’d never seen anything more breathtaking. He smiled to himself, truthfully, he had and it was even more beautiful, in Italy, his home.
He sighed heavily, he would miss his home, his yacht and his weekend sailing trips. The best part of his week, but he’d been promised he’d be able to do the same here. Hence why he chose these offices to inspect.
He’d been looking forward to this trip more than anyone could understand. Rafe unbuttoned his shirt to the mid of his chest and pushed the sleeves higher around his elbows, relishing the freedom. He’d barely made it onto the plane with his sanity in check, and now, thousands of miles away, he still felt suffocated. But that would soon change.
Restlessness crawled through him and vibrated under his skin. How much longer until we landed? He wondered looking at his wrist watch, seeing nothing but a ticking hand and numbers. He was stuck in his senses, the ones that told him the plane was slowly shrinking in size, closing in around him. He fought the urge to claw at his neck as a phantom fist closed around his throat, and settle for digging his finger nails into the palms of his hands. Just a little while longer, he told himself. A few more minutes and he would be able to breath freely again.
His private plane was about to land in a different country on a different continent, away from the headaches of family and the pressures of being a DeLuca. Once the plane touched the ground, he would make his way straight to the harbor and spend his night floating in the Atlantic waters, open and freeing and not closed and claustrophobic, and finally just breathe easy. He couldn’t ask for more. That very thought eased the restlessness, its tenacious grip around his chest disappearing just as the plane’s walls moved back in place and he inhaled a slow easy breath of cabin air.
He fastened his seat belt and waited for the plane’s wheels to hit the runway. With his home sanctuary invaded, he’d been left with nowhere else to run but here or New York. He opted out of the latter because Gabriella loved it there and the last thing he wanted was an unexpected visit from her. Not that she wouldn’t follow him here if inclined to do so, but there was nothing she hated more than humidity and water. Another plus to having a water bound sanctuary.
Rafe turned to his personal assistant sitting on the other side of the Embraer Lineage 1000. Though fitted for long business trips, it was still as luxurious as his standards demanded. Another one of his favorite toys as described by his younger brother Renaldo. One other thing, besides the yacht and Rafe’s Ferrari collections, he wasn’t allowed to touch. Just thinking about that ragazzo annoyed Rafe. The boy was fine with being mediocre, leaving the burden of the family empire solely on Rafe’s shoulders. The curse of being born first.
“Signore, your local assistant will be meeting us at the airport to send us straight to the hotel.”
Rafe looked at his Bvlgari watch on his left wrist and then back at his PA with a raised brow, “At this time of the night?”
He nodded, “Si Signore.”
Rafe groaned inwardly. That was the last thing he wanted. The whole point of arriving at two in the morning was to not meet anyone. He was looking forward to some time alone after months of having everyone in his face, especially his family and Gabriella. Even his treasured weekends had been stolen from him. One stress free day alone was all he was asking for. There was no way he was giving it up.
He waved his hand at this PA in refusal and turned to look back out the window, “Send them away Enzo. I won’t be available to anyone until tomorrow.” Rafe turned back to him with a look that said he wasn’t up to discussing the issue further and with a hard tone added, “Capisci?”
Enzo leaned back into his seat, “Si Signore.”
Rafe bounced slightly in his seat as the plane wheels touched the runway. He undid his seat belt and waited impatiently as the plane taxied in, his longing for solitude growing with each passing second.
“Is the yacht ready at the harbor?” he asked, his fingers tapping repeatedly on the arm chair.
“Si Signore ma...”
“But what?” Rafe demanded and maybe too loudly by how far up Enzo jumped from his seat, his eyes widening a fraction too big.
Rafe knew all his employees were afraid of him. They nicknamed him il terremoto, the terror or earthquake. Apparently he shook them to their very core with fear whenever he was around but he didn’t care. He was their boss, not their friend. With his father letting go of the reigns more and more, a thousand plus employees including his own family’s livelihood all depended on him. If being a terror made sure the companies remained successful then the rest was inconsequential.
“It’s aah—it’s not as grande as you are used to.”
Rafe raised an intolerant eyebrow in response.
“But I can find a replacement by the time you wake up.” He added quickly.
Rafe sighed, closed his eyes and rubbed his right brow with his right thumb, “Quanto è piccolo?”
“Not too small.”
Rafe opened his eyes, sat straight and glare at him.
“It’s no DeLuca.”
The DeLuca yacht was an Azzam that his family owned. They did more party hosting on it than anything else. They’d never taken it out on a family trip. In fact, Rafe couldn’t remember ever taking a family trip in all his thirty five years of life. The short trips they took around the world as vacation never included his father. When he did come, it was because he had business in that country or city. His mother worked hard to make them act like a family. Rafe applauded her efforts, but he wished she would stop trying anymore. It was heart breaking to watch and quite frankly, he didn’t have the time nor the energy to spare for the charade.
“What is it?” Rafe asked with an edge in his voice.
Enzo quickly raised his phone that was forever stuck in his hand and browsed through it. “Absolute Nevetta 58.” He rapped out.
Rafe nodded. He owned a good part of the Absolute series, the 58 too but the 73 was his favorite. “It will do.”
Enzo sighed his relief, his entire body deflating as the tension left him. Rafe snorted at that over reaction. Enzo was new to his pool of assistance and the only one without a workload to oversee, hence free to travel with Rafe. He would have preferred taking one of those he’s worked a long time with but, this trip was unexpected so unfortunately, he was stuck with this easy spooked man. He needed to learn how to master his emotions and monitor his reactions if he had any chance of lasting longer than he already had. This trip would be good for him to start learning.
When the plane came to a complete stop Rafe stood, “You can go to the hotel with whomever they sent, just have a car send me to the harbor.”
“Si Singore,” he responded, standing up and heading to the cockpit.
His day of freedom was here, Rafe smiled to himself, with no one to bug him. He couldn’t wait.