Romero stood in front of his floor-length mirror in his hotel suite, checking out his appearance before meeting his father. They were in New York to attend a party at Leonardo Conte’s home, a small-time mafia boss. It was common knowledge that he wanted the two families to merge together, becoming one instead of being rivals. There was a knock at the door and he heard someone enter; knowing it was his father he picked up his gun and putting it in his holster went to greet him.
“Pour us a shot son,” his father said, sitting down he looked around the room. “This is a very classy hotel, I might even consider buying it.”
Romero looked over at his father and walked over to the bar that was by the window. He had always looked up to him, Xiomara at his age, fifty-two was still in great shape, tall, fit and was still able to get any woman he fancied. He was also one tough bastard and no one dared to cross him. His father had been grooming him since birth to one day take over as head of the family, he was only allowed to call him Xiomara. Pouring them both a glass of bourbon he hands one to him.
“Must we really go to Conte’s party? He is such a small time criminal who wants to become a big shot and by getting you to join him in partnership he thinks people will fear and respect him.”
Xiomara crossed his right knee over his left, holding the glass up he admired the bourbon that Leonardo had sent to him and Romero. “You have to admit the man is being quite generous, sending us both a bottle of the finest Bourbon around. Michter’s, a twenty-year-old bottle, it has a nice dark amber color mixed with red tones and the taste is delightful. The old fool probably paid over a thousand dollars per bottle.”
Romero ran his hand over the back of his neck in frustration, unlike his father he didn’t have the patience waiting for an answer. “I hope you aren’t considering joining our families, he is small time and can’t possibly contribute to our organization.”
“That’s where you are wrong, even the small can be beneficial in one way or another. I could possibly use him, he is not a man without some influence. I will listen to what he has to say, we’ll see if he has something worthwhile to offer us.”
Romero finished his drink and got to his feet. “I doubt he has anything worthwhile to offer us in exchange for becoming partners.” He checked the time on his Rolex. “We should go now and get this over with.”
They sat in the back seat, two of Xiomara’s men were in the front seat.
“Nice place Conte has, much smaller than mine but still nice,” he said, getting out when his driver opened the door for him and Romero. “Son, try and keep it in your pants tonight, we don’t need to cause trouble.”
“I’ll try but can’t promise,” Romero said as they walked up to the mansion.
They were shown into the main room where others were gathered. Between twenty and thirty people were standing around, talking with drinks in their hands. Leonardo saw them when they walked in and went over to them, shaking their hands.
“Mr. D’Angelo, I am greatly honoured that you and your son could make it tonight. I hope your rooms at the Plaza are satisfactory.
Xiomara shook his hand. “Yes, very nice and thank you for the lovely bottle of Bourbon.”
“Come, let me introduce you to everyone and get you a drink.” He snapped his fingers and a waiter came over and was told what to get the visitors to drink.
Romero followed them, his eyes kept wandering around the room, checking out all the women who were also checking him out. As he shook hands with the men he would occasionally flash a smile at the women who were eyeing him up and down. He knew he could have any one of them if he wanted, but he wasn’t about to embarrass his father by getting caught doing the nasty in their host’s home.
He was starting to get bored so he decided to go exploring. He excused himself from Leonardo’s wife and headed towards the front entrance. Instead of going out the door he made a right turn and found himself outside the kitchen. He peeked his head inside, no staff were around but there was a young girl standing by the counter. He quietly slipped inside and leaning his back against the wall he watched her. He could tell she was very young, maybe sixteen. She opened a bottle of beer and he watched as she took a drink, she was slender, had beautiful long brown hair. It was then that he knew she would be his wife, but he also realized he would have to wait until she was at least twenty.
When she turned her head and saw him he gave her a smile and walked towards her. Getting up close he took the bottle from her hand, lifting the bottle to his lips he tilted his head back and drank it all in one gulp. Placing the empty bottle on the counter he ran his thumb over her bottom lip, he heard a faint gasp escape her mouth and felt her body trembling. “What is your name?” he asked, staring into her big blue eyes.
“Serena Conte,” she answered shyly.
“When you turn twenty I will make you my wife,” he said and started walking out. “Save your virginity for me to take on our wedding night,” he said before he disappeared from sight. She was a beauty and he knew that she would be even more beautiful in a few years.
When Xiomara saw Romero he went over to him. “Where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you. I hope you weren’t banging one of these women.”
“No, I wasn’t, but I have just found the one I plan on marrying.”
“You’ve been telling me it’s time I married and settled down.”
“Who is this woman you want to marry, do I know her?”
“No, I just met her, she is Serena Conte.”
“Leonardo’s daughter, but I hear she is only sixteen. Do you not think she is a little young? I think you better find someone closer to your own age.”
“She’s the one I want and I plan on waiting until she is older. So if you want to merge with the old man make her part of the deal.” He stared his father down, knowing he would give in as he has never denied him anything before.
“Are you sure about this and won’t change your mind later on? Once we arrange the marriage there will be no backing out.”
“Trust me, I won’t back out.”
“Alright, let’s go have a private meeting with Leonardo.”
They were all seated in his office along with Xiomara’s two men who stood behind Romero and his father. Leonardo sat across from them behind his desk, his own two men stood behind them, keeping watch.
“Have you come to a decision on us joining forces? I really think that together we can accomplish so much more than we already have,” Leonardo added, looking from father to son.
“My son and I have discussed it and we might be willing, but there are a couple of conditions before we agree.”
Leonardo started to smile, he couldn’t believe his luck. To join them would give him more power and respect than ever before and he would do anything to get what he wanted. “Whatever you wish but please, tell me the conditions.”
“First, we will both keep what we have now without stepping into each other’s territory. Any new ventures we do together I get the final say and under no condition do you make a decision without talking to me first and I’ll do the same for you.”
“I can live with those terms, but what is the other condition?”
Xiomara looked over at Romero then back to Leonardo. “An arranged marriage between my son and your daughter.”
Slamming his fists on his desk which caused Xiomara’s men to reach for their guns as did Leonardo’s men until both men raised their hands, motioning for them to put their guns away.
“My daughter is only sixteen.”
“Calm down my friend, we’re not talking about right away. I am sending my son to Italy for a few years to set up a project, which is not going to be part of our deal. When he comes back then the marriage will take place. This is the deal, take it or leave it.”
Leonardo sat back, rubbing his chin and thinking over what was being said. His daughter would be twenty by then so he nodded, agreeing to the terms. “Alright, we have a deal,” he said, getting up he shook both of their hands.
Xiomara smiled as they shook hands. “I will have all the necessary papers drawn up and sent to you. I trust you will make sure your daughter goes along with the marriage and won’t try to get out of it.”
“Don’t worry, she will do as she is told.”
An hour later they left the mansion and went back to their hotel, they would be heading back to Chicago first thing in the morning.
Earlier: Serena was bored sitting in her room, whenever her father had people over she was made to stay hidden in her room. She was well aware of who and what her father was, but having grown up in that life she thought nothing strange about it. In her world the men were boss and the women had to obey them, that’s just the way it was. Her mother had passed away from cancer when she was only six and her father remarried two years later to a woman she despised, and vice versa. Knowing that no one would be in the kitchen she snuck downstairs through the back way and took out a bottle of beer from the fridge. She had taken a sip when she saw him, he was the most gorgeous man she had ever laid eyes on. He had to be in his early twenties she guessed.
She backed up, her back hitting the edge of the counter when he got close, taking the bottle from her. She watched as he tilted his head back and emptied the beer down his throat, her eyes glued to his face. Her breath hitched in her throat when he placed his thumb over her bottom lip and she could barely answer when he asked her what her name was. Her knees felt like they were about to buckle, his scent was pleasant and she was mesmerized by his blue eyes that sparkled as he stared into her own eyes. The light touch of his skin on her lips sent a weird sensation coursing through her body, one she was unfamiliar with.
His words to her when he walked away sent a cold chill down her spine. The words he spoke to her would haunt her for the next few years. (Save your virginity for me to take on our wedding night.) Grabbing another bottle of beer she took it with her as she went back to her room, the stranger’s face was imprinted on her brain. Crawling into bed she laughed to herself thinking about what he had said, she was only sixteen so she wouldn’t be getting married to him or anyone. When she did marry she was determined it wouldn’t be to some mobster, nope, she wanted to marry someone normal and live a quiet and safe life, away from crime and danger. Little did she know that at that very moment her father was arranging a marriage between her and Chicago’s mob boss, Xiomara D’Angelo’s son.