ADOPTED – Episode 13
© Happy William
The vineyard was bustling with activities as I parked my car at the garage and walked to my office, after answering a few greetings from some of the workers.
No sooner had I eased myself on the swivel leather chair than my phone beeped.
I peered at the screen.
A message from Cosima.
With a sigh and some sort of curiosity, I clicked to open it.
Good morning baby. Woke up to realize that you left already. Always the diligent.
Anyway, I’m returning home today at papà’s request. But I’m thinking of some alone time this weekend, just me and you.
And lots of kisses anywhere you can imagine.
With a scowl of displeasure on my face, I deleted the message from my phone and rubbed my temples.
Cosima was a headache. What part of ‘I already have a girl’ did she not understand?
I resolved to put an end to her nuisance when I saw her next.
A knock came on the door, and my foreman, Fillipe, came in.
“Hey boss. You look stressed,” he commented and dropped a file on my desk. “List of those to get a bonus this weekend. You’re one caring boss.”
“I do my best,” I murmured and shoved it into a drawer.
“It’s not good, ya know? This double thing. Kind boss in the day on the plantation, and one mean don in the dark hours. You’ll flip somewhere.”
I gave him a level stare.
“Don’t you have a vineyard to run?” I said in a low voice, which meant I was close to loosing my temper and hitting his face if he lingered.
Fillipe was a friend; also involved in both the wines and the mafia. And he was a helluva annoying guy. Being about a year older than me, he had an inclination to gossip. Until he was on the field, and he was as tough as a nail.
“Whoa, rein in your horses man,” he said and made a show of backing off.
Then he said, “I heard about the wife to be. Cosima?”
I almost puked at his suggestion. “Are you crazy? Not even in my dreams.”
“Sì. The girl’s b****y on the inside. But a,” he whistled low and long, “on the outside.”
I ignored him and moved over the table.
Vittorio had just texted me that the ammo trucks were nearing the boarders, and that customs were keening on them.
“So Emil my man. This wife of yours, is she… you know…” he began making the curvy shape of a woman with his hands, and I found myself picturing Anne’s skinny stature, probably because of all those years.
I frowned. “Your crazy Fillipe. Now get your game face on. We have work to do.”
“But you’ll introduce me later, Sì?”
“In YOUR dreams.”
If I was to stay in this house like this all day, I’ll die of boredom, I reasoned as I looked through my windows at the vast green fields and the vines. I knew that like Spain, Italy was another home of wines. I just didn’t imagine living right next to one.
With a sigh, I left the window and began to pace.
I didn’t want to run into either Portia, Cosima or Sergio. But I wasn’t going to stay in here forever.
I squared my shoulder and put on my toughest face, then walked out with my earphones in ear.
That way I wouldn’t have to mind them.
Sure enough, I saw them in the sitting room, the two women, deep in whatever they were talking about. I eyed them for a brief minute as Portia sent me a ‘Have a f****** morning on your way out’ look.
For someone as young as herself, she really took extra effort to be mean.
I shook my head.
“But aunt, I have to go. Dad wants me. And besides, Emilio had already gotten a wife. What’ll I be here for?” I asked Portia that morning as she rebuffed my information to return to Milan.
I was already tired of seeing the countless green grasses of Vernice, and I wanted to return to my eager, bustling life in Milan. Beside, Emilio made it clear he wanted nothing to do with me, especially since Miss Skin and Bones arrived.
“Don’t you dare say that,” Portia hissed. “I don’t want Emilio to marry, because I don’t want the Mafia for him. It should all be Sergio’s.”
“What, aunt. So you’d want me to marry him, be penniless, I don’t understand.”
“If Emilio marries the American, then his inheritance is assured. And she looks like a snitch. But if you are to marry him, you could delay him, and then the will will expire, thus leaving Sergio in control.”
“And then what, I’m broke?”
She scoffed and muttered, “Greedy little witch,” but I heard her and frowned.
“Sergio will marry you.”
“But I want Emilio!”
She stood up and I could see her calculating.
“OK. You’ll get half a share. And Emilio if you like. But Sergio has to be in power. You can focus on shaking up whatever relationship he has with the American, and let me focus on the Mafia.”
I thought through for a while. “So, the offer with Sergio, it still stands, right?”
I nodded and grinned.
“OK. I’ll go for now and be back in the weekend.”
I quickly texted Emilio, and picked my bag and a small fashionable box, and went out.
So, my day went well.
Outside was fun. The workers were I. the planting season. Although most of them kept giving me curious stares as I strolled about, watching them and smiling.
The way they tied the grape vines on stakes…wow. It was until later that Prudence came out and introduced me to them as Emilio’s fiancée, that they broke into smiles, hugging and congratulating me. I felt awfully shy, but happy. From there it stopped being awkward.
I was walking into the house when I spotted someone tending to the car.
“Festus?” I called unsure.
He turned around, then smiled. “Anne. It’s been long.”
I smiled too and hugged him, and he seemed a bit surprised.
“Wow, I seriously missed you.”
”Me, or the doughnuts? ” he asked with mischief.
“Aw come on,” I said but laughed.
“So it’s true. You and Emilio. I always knew you both were up to something.”
“What, no. It just happened I guess.”
“Sì,” he said thoughtfully. “Come by my place on a free day, I’d like to introduce you to my family,” he said.
”That would be lovely! I will. ”
“OK. Have to get back to work. Bye.”
I waved at him and got inside.
The quiet house.
I found out that Cosima had gone, phew! And Portia was out visiting someone.
Vittorio and Fillipe were crowded directly behind me, while the other men were seated behind as I opened and looked into the box filled with different weapons, mostly illegal.
That’s what made the business fun.
“This would be worth a thousand,” said Fillipe as I closed it.
“Sì, and it’ll be delivered into the ‘Market’ tonight,” I said and walked to the table.
“Great work guys,” I said to the inside guys who nodded.
As we walked together outside, Vittorio, Fillipe and I, Vittorio said, “Son, about the marriage?”
“He’s already gotten a bride,” Fillipe said, “We’re just waiting for the intro.”
Vittorio raised an eyebrow at me. “So, what’s keeping you?”
“Look Emilio, I hope you aren’t forgetting about the enemies out there?”
“I haven’t,” I replied and drove home.
To be continued