ADOPTED – Episode 22
© Happy William
I got into my Chevrolet, and drove to The House, that’s a nickname for the Mafia dealings.
I got news that the American Mafia were threatening us, to uncover our affairs and sue. While the Salvatore ran the Italian Mafia, the American Mafia was like a group of widely known bucks makers who thought they could seat in a seat, claim power and make laws. Theirs performed duties to their country.
As usual, the men had already sabotaged good loots; guns, diamonds, and black powder.
Emilio wasn’t here, I’m sure because of the crises at his little ‘winepress Gala’. My poor, little brother.
But he’d sent Felipe.
Ugh, Felipe. As loyal to Emilio as a slave is to his master, and there isn’t even complete loyalty there.
I’ll have to get rid of those two if I was wanted to get anywhere.
“The American Mafia have set their sights on us,” I began as soon as I stepped in, “And what’s our ‘don’ doing about it? Fighting over two women!”
“Emilio already knew about the Americans,” Vittorio’s gruff voice came up. “That’s why we’ve begun gathering weapons and the sort.”
I frowned. How did he know?
As usual, he’s one step ahead of me.
“You know you have no right to be here,” Felipe spoke.
“Of course I do! I’m as true a Salvatore as Emilio is! The elder at that!”
Vittorio chuckled. “You sure don’t look like one to me,” he said.
“And why should you judge, Vittorio? Everyone here knows your just defending Salvatore!” Ignatius shot out.
Vittorio pulled out his gun and cocked it at Ignatius.
“You watch your words, or I won’t hesitate to blow your brains out,” Vittorio threatened.
Ignatius pulled his gun out too, and they both stood like that.
*Oh pu leeze, old men. Put the guns away. I’m out of here. ”
I stopped at the door.
“But just know that I’ll be back. Every time.”.
I hardly slept last night.
I’d like to lie that I was angry at Cosima for the nonsense she did, but in real essence I was thinking about that moment.
Did Emilio really kiss me?
Or was I imagining’
I could recall each moment of the dance, the way my hand felt in his, the weight of his hand on the small of my back.
I shouldn’t be thinking this, because despite what he said about not liking Cosima, they were still married.
And I knew how I’d feel if my husband danced with someone else in public!
I got out of bed and groomed myself, then dressed.
As I opened the door, I saw Emilio behind, poised to knock.
”Oh…uh…good morning,” said I.
He offered me a slight smile that just involved the upturning of a side of his lip.
“About yesterday. Sorry about Cosima’s behavior. I don’t know what got into her.”
“Oh,” was all I could say. I thought maybe he was going to talk about the kiss.
Aw gawd Anne! Married! Married!
“It’s OK,” I finally said. “I’ve forgotten about it already.”
Ho ho. Big joke.
“Alright then. I’m going to be really busy this period, what with the winepress being ready and all that meeting stuff. You won’t get bored, will you?”
“What!?” I exclaimed when I understood him. “You’re not my boredom killer, Emilio,” I said laughingly.
He chuckled. “When you miss me, we’ll know. Only, don’t miss me too much.”
I decided to join Prudence in making breakfast. But as I approached the kitchen, I heard hushed whispers.
Curiosity got the better of me, and I eavesdropped.
I could make out Prudence’s voice:
“I’m telling you that I’m tired of your schemes! You’re getting more dangerous and greedy!”
“So what!? I’m doing it for my son”
I made out Portia’s voice.
“You mean ‘sons’. Two.”
“Non importanta (Not important). I’m warning you Prudence. Keep your mouth shut and don’t you dare say anything about Leonetti. Because if I go down, you’re coming with me!”
After that, when Portia walked out, I went in. Prudence was looking shaken and pale.
“Hi, good morning,” I greeted as cheerfully as could.
“Oh, pass me the pepper shaker,” she muttered and began sprinkling a lot onto the food.
I watched her, and minutes later she returned to her normal self.
But personally, I tried to make sense of what I’ve heard.
“I think I’m being followed,” I muttered to Dante as soon as I stepped in.
“Seen anyone?” he asked as he puffed on his cigar.
“Not really. There’s just this creepy feeling, you know? And this black car too. It makes me uncomfortable.”
Dante snapped his fingers, and one of his hefty huge men came over.
“Pay a visit to whoever sits in a suspicious black car. And drag his limping self down here.”
I smiled to Dante. “You’re a daaarling,” I purred and threw my arms around his neck.
“Anything for you baby,” he replied, and then we sat.
“Emilio’s done with the processing at the winepress. Soon it’ll be time for board meetings and prospective investors.”
“Trust me, I’m all set.”
We heard crying and whimpering noises, and looked up to see the hefty man dragging a skinny man whom he’d shot on the leg.
“Who do you work for?” Dante asked immediately.
“Sir…sir have mercy….I’m a poor peasant farmer struggling to feed my wife and kids—”
“Who do you work for!?” Dante thundered loudly and cocked his gun.
“I swear… I am a poor—”
The man never completed his statement.
Dante shot him in the forehead.
“Take this trash away,” he said to Hefty.
He smiled to me with wide opened arms.
“Come on here mia amante (my lover). He’s gone now.”
I went into his embrace hesitantly.
Something told me the man was telling the truth.
I made a mental note to stop by his family on my way home.
Although they were devastated when I told them that I accidentally ran over the man.
I gave them huge amount of money in cash and hurried out.
The smell of the slum was killing.
I made sure to hide myself properly as I saw the poor man being dragged away because he was folding my car suspiciously.
I could have saved him, but that would jeopardize my mission.
They entered a shack.
I wondered who living there.
I’ll have to come up with a good plan. But first, call Emilio.
Sighing deeply, I reread the modelling email sent to me from my agent Rozelle:
Get your flashy butt up to Milan, baby. There’s a contract at hand.
Could earn you millions.
I shook my head and typed a reply:
†Re: Could earn you millions
Sorry Rozelle. Married now, and have ‘matrimonial’ problems to take care of. Chat you up later. †
Just then her call came in.
“Dio mio! Cosima married? How? When? Why? Who? You better tell me every detail!”
I narrated it to her, including the part about Miss Skin and Bones.
“Roz can you believe that he’s cheating on me with that bag of bones? You should see the girl!”
Roz laughed from the other end. “And you’re frustrated? Cosy, you can’t be serious. You should teach this babe a lesson, instead of lamenting.”
“Oh I will. I’m just waiting for the perfect opportunity.”
“OK babe. Gotta go. And happy married life.”
Arriving at the company building, I stretched forth my hand to my secretary, and she placed a file in my hand.
”That’s the list of members of the board for this producing year. And the meeting with our investor, Dante Castillo, will still hold as scheduled. Only, he asked to be part of the board meeting today. He’s waiting for your reply sir.”
I took a second to skim the papers.
“No. This is formative meeting. Schedule a private one with him by two.”
“Yes sir. Buongorio.”
I nodded as she placed the receiver to her ear.
“And Glen, make sure there’s enough coffee to go around.”
“Already taken cared of.” She replied with a smile.
She was so competent.
The board room was filled with about a dozen of people — big men that had most of the say with the company’s decision just because of the shares.
I got in and took my seat at the head (I have this fondness for sitting at the head), and Glen came in right about that time with a tray of steaming hot coffee.
I took a look around the room.
”It doesn’t need saying that were into another tough part of running this company. The production. As we all know, the Salvatore vineyards and plantations have been rated one of the best grape rearing yard. Well this year, as the major shareholder with the most percent of the shares, I’ve decided that we’re going to be the best, and I’ve come up with a strategy. But before that, does anyone have a say?”
They exchanged glances as they went through the papers that were handed down.
Just as I was about to switch off the lights and on the projector, the door flew open and Dante Castillo stepped in, a golden walking staff in his hand which was for fancy because he could walk perfectly. My secretary, Glen, was behind him looking as if she’d run a mile.
“Well well, a board meeting. I’m just in time then,” he said as he strode casually and took a seat. I waved Glen away.
“Castillo, it’s still good you could join us. We just began,” I said.
I pressed a button on a remote and the lights went out.
The projector shone, and I began a slide show of the year’s plans…..
“Now that’s that,” I said afterwards, “and the rest is left in the hands of the campaign manager. Castillo,” I shook his hand as we walked together out, “‘Twas ñíçê of you to join us. Although in the future, if I say I’m meeting with you later, I mean later. Because you’re an investor doesn’t make you dio (god).”
His smile caught me off guard, but his eyes were hard. “You said it yourself, Salvatore. I’m a shareholder. What would you do without my money?”
“Money, isn’t it?” I chuckled. “Let’s not go down the power tussle road, Castillo. See you next time.”
The boy is so full of himself.
As proud and arrogant as his father was.
I watched him walk away.
You might not need my money now, but I swear you’ll come begging for it on your knees when I’m done with you.
The whole family was having dinner. Except Emilio of course. He was right about when he said I’ll miss him because he’d be so busy with work. But I won’t admit it to him.
I found myself smiling as I toyed with the food.
I looked up to Portia’s burning gaze. Then she smiled. Fake.
“What’s the matter?” she asked.
“Hmm…ou, nothing. I just recalled something,” I said, and immediately Cosima faced me with a death glare.
She dropped her spoon and got up.
“I’m going out, mom.”
Portia sighed. “Another ruined dinner. Guess I’ll go to bed now too. Good night.”
She also got up.
It was left me and Sergio now.
I cleared my throat, and helped Prudence clear the table. I still wanted to ask her about what I heard, but maybe I misunderstood.
I bid her good night and climbed the stairs to my room.
Just as I was about to close the door, a foot was wedged between the post.
Sergio stood there, staring at me.
“Oh, Sergio, what are you doing here?” I asked.
He entered and closed—locked— the door behind him.
I was very uncomfortable.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“You are wrong, amante. Dios, you don’t know how I’ve longed to feel you under me.”
My eyes widened as I realized what he was talking about.
I ran to the door and turned the knob, but he slammed it back, grabbed my hands and threw me to the bed.
“Help! Let go of me monster!” I kicked against him, but he knocked a hit to my head.
“Shut up! Nobody will hear you!” he roared, pinning my hand above me while fumbling with his belt.
I kicked and screamed, and even bit his hand, but his grip did not weaken.
Instead, he hit my stomach with his fist clenched and that forced the air out of me.
He was going to rape me.
I could see the dark malice in his eyes.
“Emilio thinks he can have all the good things, eh!? Just watch as I taint his precious little darl…..”
To be continued