ADOPTED – Episode 20
© Happy William
Anne’s POV continues…
“Hell no!” I said a bit out loud, then caught myself. “No,” I said more quietly this time. ” There’s nothing to be jealous about, right? I mean, he married her without being forced. It was in the will. I knew all along that I could never fit in his world. Finding out about his dealing in the illegal confirmed my suspicions. ” @ wave of emotion shook me, and a teardrop escaped my eye and I swiped it off in annoyance. “He’d lied to me from the start. And he treats me like I don’t exist. He even went as far as kissing Cosima in my presence. It’s obvious he loves her,” I said.
Prudence held my shoulder. “No Anne. What’s obvious is that you love him. And him you.”
I laughed, but even to my ear it sounded fake. “Prudence, you’re only believing in the abstract. Emilio is the last person on earth I could love. He’s a bloody lair. And a cheat.”
I pushed my food away. “Thanks for breakfast, but I just lost my appetite.”
“So the fruits and the grapes should be well fermented by the weekend, and then we’ll be ready for the pounding and processing,” Felipe said as we walked towards the house.
“Dios. This week is pretty tight for me. I feel stressed,” I said and rubbed at my temples.
He chuckles under his breath. “And you’re complaining to me? Well, can I give you my humble opinion?”
I shook my head. “Felipe, your opinions are anything but humble. Either way, shoot.”
“You’re stupido,” he said plainly.
I stopped in my tracks and spun around on him.
“What did you just say?”
“Whoa, chill. It’s my opinion I’m giving. About the will reading, the marriage to Cosima, it’s draining you. I can see. Sure, you were absent most times from the dark deals, and the plantation, but when you were with Anne, you were happy. And you kind of had focus. But with Cosima, you seem to be pushing yourself to the edge. Working long hours, drinking excessively. You’ve even developed a short temper.”
“Shut the **** up and get straight to the point, blabber, else I could punch you for insulting me.”
He gave me a look that said, ‘See, I told you you had a short temper.’
Instead, he continued, “The earlier will said you’ll inherit everything after you married, right? It didn’t specify who. And if I recall correctly, your father developed a recent hatred for Deriongo Rufelli, Cosima’s father after his attempt to dupe him when they partnered. Why then, would he say you should wed Cosima, and in a second will? Something doesn’t add up bro,” he ended, shaking his head.
I thought for a while.
He had a point.
I was so impatient to handle all dealings that I didn’t even pause to see the loopholes.
“Felipe, so help me, you’ve made sense for once in your life.”
He acted offended by the hidden insult. Didn’t mean it.
“I feel suffocated you know, living in a house full of suspects. There’s Portia, who’s rarely home, and who had brought the idea to wed Cosima first, before the second will reading. And Sergio, who’s obsessed with trying to be better than me behind my back. And Cosima.”
I turned to him.
“Felipe, I need you to organize a PI for those three people. I want to be in on everything they do and — Felipe?”
I followed his gaze. It landed on Sophia. I shook my head and tapped him.
”You can ogle later, OK. Right now I want you to —”
“Ugh, yes, I heard you. Now go and leave me alone,” he snapped.
I’d have chuckled at that, but my mind was too preoccupied as I walked to the house.
Why didn’t I think that there was something strange about the turn of things?
I broke out of my thought when I heard sniffs.
I looked up.
Cosima was on a cushion. She was crying, and dabbing at her eyes with a flowered hand towel.
I ignored her and was going upstairs.
“Emilio!” she shrieked when she noticed that I didn’t pay her any attention, and she grabbed my hand.
“Emilio I’m hurt!”
“You don’t ‘so’ me. You ask me who hurt me! You’re my husband.”
I dragged my hand away. “Only in your dreams. You’re just a means to an end.”
“Emilio if you take one more step, I’m going to tell daddy. He’ll take me from you, as well as the donship. Do you hear me!?”
I scoffed and turned. ”What do you want, Cosima? Huh?”
She resumed her sobs. “Emilio that Miss Skin and Bones, she hit me. Tortured me just because you kissed me last night.”
I raised my eyebrows at her.
Seriously? Was this the best act she could come up with for her lies?
I gave her an acid smile. “Try again later.”
I hurried up to the room.
Dios, I can’t even stand that girl.
She came barging in. She looked sorrowful.
“Emilio, what does it take for you to love me?” she asked.
“I once loved you, Cosima. As a sister. As I loved Emilia. But you’ve changed so much that I hardly recognize you. Because of greed and money, you’re now a monster.”
She crawled onto the bed. “But I love you.”
I shook my head at her. “You’re crazy.”
Then she frowned.
”It’s Miss Skin and Bones, isn’t it!?”
“Stop bringing Anne into this, OK?”
“Emilio you can’t be serious. But you’ll love me. I swear! And you’ll regret treating me like trash.”
“Cosima, I’m hungry. And I’m going down for breakfast. When I’ve eaten to my fill, we’ll continue.”
I threw on a polo and knickers and went for a late breakfast.
As I opened the door of my room to step out, another door opened ahead.
I looked up to see Anne.
She was walking slowly along the hallway, head bent with her earphones in her ears as usual. She didn’t see me.
Dios, I’ve just realized how much I’ve missed her. And how right Felipe was.
And how much I’ve hurt her.
The truth was, I didn’t want her to go. I wanted to keep on seeing her face everyday, even if it’s just a glance. And to hear her voice as she sang alone to her favourite song. Or as she complained to Prudence about how the food kept floating in a plate.
Although, I could risk loosing her completely if she discovered the whole truth.
She looked up suddenly, paused, frowned, and returned to her room, shutting the door loudly behind her.
I leaned on the wall and bit my lower lip.
Funny how you find the importance of something after you loose it.
It’s been long since I called anyone from home.
Pushing myself away from the door, I laid on my bed with a heavy sigh, twirling my phone in my hand.
I decided to call mom.
“Hello?” her voice came on the line. It was late morning here, so it was probably after dawn there, and her voice was sleepy.
“Hi mom,” I replied. “Good morning.”
“Yeah…who is it?”
“Mom, it’s Anne! Surprise!”
“Oh, Anne. How are you?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine. How are you?”
“Sleepy, but I’m fine. I missed you. How’s Italy, and your husband?”
“Italy’s fine. He’s not my husband though.”
I proceeded to tell her about the second will and his betrothal.
“Oh my God, Anne, are you OK?”
“I’m fine,” I replied again, not so sure this time.
The emotions were choking my throat that I couldn’t speak again.
“Mom say hi to dad for me. I gotta go.”
I hung up before she could reply.
Taking deep steadying breaths helped to calm me down, and I wiped a single tear from my face.
Mary’s (Anne’s mom) POV
I tapped my husband awake, although he’d heard my phone call.
“Who was it?”
“Anne. She said Emilio Salvatore was already betrothed.”
“What? He wasn’t. He made it very Clear that he wanted to wed Anne.”
“I don’t know what’s going on. But I love that girl too much to let him hurt her!” I said in anger and was about getting up from bed, when he held me back.
“Don’t do anything stupid honey. Remember, this is all to be a secret we’ll carry to out grave.”
I sighed and sat back.
He was right.
It all happened three years ago. Peter and I got mixed with the wrong crowd. Black Bull, a Spanish gang, happened to be one of the rivals of the Italian Mafia, which in order words meant enemies of Leonetti Salvatore, who happened to be the most ruthless don ever.
Unfortunately, nobody knew his son inherited his ruthlessness.
Leonetti had started a band of raids on the Black Bull. We were strong, but not strong enough to over power the mafia. Leonetti killed Magna, our drug lord, as proof of his supremacy, and took everyone captive. He died though, surprising, and his son took over. That was when Emilio released Peter and I only, giving us the assignment to act as Anne’s parents, in exchange for our freedom. And if we ever spilled, he’ll kill us, after making our lives miserable that is.
Everyone knew Emilio Salvatore. He never went back on his words.
I sighed and got back into bed.
I just hope Anne’s safe.
Mother keeps dawdling.
“Look mother, I’m already getting the trust of the men at the table. Just a few more, and they’ll consider me fit in place of Emilio. Why in the world did you change the will. He’s married now. There’s no chance!”
I threw the glass of Bourbon I held to the wall, and it crashed.
Mother didn’t even flinch.
“Trust me, Sergio. Your father and I will take care of things. We’ll have to go one step at a time to douche suspicion. Emilio loves Anne. He might not know it, but I do. Not being with her is a big enough distraction. She knows about the Mafia now, and she hates him. So, while with Cosima, she’ll distract him enough to keep him confused. Emilio might be strong and all, but he’s still young. This things will take a toll on him. So while you’re handling the Mafia, Dante will handle the wine business. And before he knows it, he’ll loose every thing. Just be patient.”
She picked her purse up, and walked out.
I punched the wall of my room. Mother is making plans. But what do we need plans for when I could put a bullet in my dear brother’s brain?
The door barged open, and Cosima stepped in.
“What do you want!?” I spat.
She staggered slightly. She was drunk, that much was obvious.
“Sergio… oh baby, I’ve missed you!” she slurred her words.
I scoffed. “Cosima when will you understand that I’m done with you! It was just a one night .”
“My husband won’t touch me, Sergio. I want to feel like a woman!”
She grabbed the front of my shirt.
“Kiss me Sergio! Kiss me hard or I’ll die!”
She brushed her lips roughly against mine. Her breath smelled smoky.
I’d grown hard.
She was always good at turning me on.
She fumbled with my zipper. “I want you Sergio!”
I hissed and pushed her against the wall…
Cosima pulled up her dress, and I buttoned up my trouser.
She gave me a wink, and went out.
The man pulled his glasses down on his face as soon as Portia stepped out of the house.
She wore a huge grey cloak, and he wondered why she was hiding
She looked back once, and continued walking till she got out of the estate, and hailed a cab.
The man followed her at a distance.
The cool evening breeze blew my hair from my face.
I got up and walked towards the house.
I opened the door.
“Look Emilio, I don’t wanna talk to you. You made it clear you didn’t want to either.”
“I don’t want to talk.”
I turned to him.
So proud! He called me and he doesn’t wanna talk!?
Arrogant and devastatingly handsome.
But I won’t notice that. I’m angry with him. It’s hard to remember if I’m looking at him.
I turned away.
“OK fine,” he said finally after like five minutes of silence. “I want to talk.”
To be continued