Lucia looked so much like a normal person, you wouldn’t have thought she’d had her husband killed and had attempted to do the same to her daughter. She didn’t look like someone who would control an entire gang from the shadows, she didn’t look like she could start gang wars and tear families apart. But that was her.
“Lisa, lighten the fuck up,” Lucia said. “You wanted to talk, so let’s talk.”
“Cool, let’s. I’d like to ask you to not stab me. When you get around to murdering me, get a fucking gun and get it over with quickly. I hate being stabbed.”
Lucia let out a heavy sigh and rolled her eyes.
“Okay, time for a lesson…” she strolled over to the dresser in the room and leaned nonchalantly against it. She didn’t even look at Vittoria while talking, opting rather to study her nails.
“If you want a guy to stick around, don’t kill his trophy girl. Let’s say I actually kill you – If Gallo comes back and sees that I’ll kill you, he’ll be pissed, and he’d probably kill me. That would be a bad move.”
She ran her fingers through the tangles on her head.
“Even if I didn’t want to piss off Gallo, I still wouldn’t kill you. I think we can strike a deal.” She laughed when Vittoria looked at her incredulously. “What? We’ve worked together before. That’s not weird.”
“I wouldn’t call it working together when one party doesn’t know about it.”
“We weren’t working against each other, at least,” she said. Lucia stretched her arms above her head and yawned. “And we were pretty good. I mean, the plans were mine, of course, but you did the stabbing pretty well.”
“Against my will.”
Lucia shook her head. “In my experience, I can’t make people do what they don’t want to do. I’m good, but not that good. That’s why I want to strike a deal.”
Vittoria snorted. “I’m not interested.”
“At least hear me out.” Lucia sighed. “Wouldn’t it be worth it if we can save that husband of yours?”
At that, she didn’t say anything, and her mother nodded.
“I knew that’d get you interested. See, I sent Gallo on a wild goose chase, because I’m crazy and all that. When he gets back, you stab him and take back the gang. Then we tell Mancini we’re super sorry for the whole treachery thing.” She raised an eyebrow. “Seriously, that part was stupid… and when he takes you back, we’ve got Monte Vista. I’ll even let you keep him.”
“You’re deluded if you think Carlo will take me back after all this.”
Her mother shook her head, unfazed. “See, that’s what you lack, Lisa: People skills. I’ve spent a few days around the guy and he’s mad at you, but I think if you just explain that, I don’t know… it was all a plan to kill Gallo, he’ll take you back. And we could work together again.”
“Until you don’t need me anymore and kill me off.”
Lucia stepped away from the dresser. “You keep focusing on that – it’s in the past. Look, you were really difficult and yes, I did try to kill you; I’m glad it didn’t work out. I forgot all my plans of having you killed once I saw how bad you got Mancini wrapped around your finger. I don’t think I could have even pulled that off. I admit: You’re good.”
“I’m not the one who lacks people skills,” Vittoria said with a sigh. “I didn’t manipulate Carlo to try and wrap him around my finger, as you say. I love him.”
Even now, it felt strange saying it. It felt stupid, saying it out loud to her mother of all people. It was so big in her mind, the words finally coming out, though from the way her mother looked at her, she might as well have been giving her a traffic update.
“Sure, sure, I get it. And like I said, you can keep…”
“No, you don’t get it,” Vittoria said. “I’m not going to help you control his gang behind his back, and I’d like to see you try and pull it off yourself. He’s not like Alessandro or Gallo. You can have me killed and kill Gallo and you may even convince Carlo to keep you around, but it won’t last. There’s a reason you only manipulate violent idiots, because that’s as all you can pull off. You wouldn’t last five days before Carlo saw through you.”
If she had hoped Lucia would get angry at that, she was disappointed. Her mother shrugged and looked out the window.
“I guess we’ll find out soon. I called him and said someone broke in and I’m so scared. Should be here any moment.”
Vittoria shot up in her seat. Her mouth went dry and her hands trembled a little… the little tremble got even worse when she heard car doors slam outside.
“If you hurt him…” she warned Lucia.
“Do you need another lesson?” her mother said, rolling her eyes. “Carlo Mancini is more influential than Gallo could ever hope to be. Why the fuck would I hurt him?”
Lucia made her way over to the door and leaned against the wall. When she spoke, it was barely above a whisper:
“I figure I’ll take your spot. Probably won’t marry him; though if he’s up for it, I guess it could work. There’s a lot of influence to gain in Monte Vista. Oh, and I have grandkids, don’t I?”
“If you touch them, he’ll kill you.”
“The offer still stands, Lisa. You can have him back and we’ll work together in happy mother-daughter harmony.”
Vittoria dug her nails into her palms, glared at her mother, and said: “Fuck you.”
As if she had pressed a button, Lucia’s eyes glazed over. There wasn’t a hint of the person she had been a second ago. Tears filled her eyes and she was once again the pathetic womanchild Vittoria had known all her life.
Carlo entered the room not thirty seconds later.
Carlo heard the wails of Lucia in the bedroom as he moved up, Franco and two others trailing behind with their weapons drawn. The sight that greeted him in there wasn’t what he had expected. Throughout the time she had been here, Lucia had called him for ‘emergencies’ at various times, and they had turned out to be duds.
He had stopped going himself. And yet, this time he went – if only because she mentioned her baby. It was a vain hope that she would be found at this point, in the safehouse he had set up himself, but there she was.
Her hair was dyed a deeper shade of brown and she wasn’t wearing glasses, but it was indisputably her. She didn’t look up at first, but as soon as her eyes fell on him, some sort of emotion – fear? He thought it likely – flashed there, and she turned her gaze down.
The mash-up of emotions he felt himself were impossible to sort. She was tied up, and though she didn’t look hurt, he wanted to rush over and make certain that she wasn’t. At the same time, he remembered the last time he saw her, and he hated her. And yet he loved her. Even the past weeks, stewing in misery and hatred, hadn’t changed that. He hated her and he loved her so badly, his heart ached.
Looking at her hurt, so he turned his eyes to Lucia, who was still bawling in the corner.
“What happened?” he asked her, trying to stay calm and pretend that Vittoria’s presence wasn’t discomforting.
Lucia looked up, rubbing her eyes with a hand. “G-Gallo came, and he hurt my baby.”
“Fucking hell, make her shut up,” Vittoria said. “She’s the reason Gallo is here. She’s been helping him all along, and now she’s-.”
“Shut up,” Carlo said.
She lowered her gaze again. He had to look away from her again, because he couldn’t stand the look in her eyes. For fucks sake – she had betrayed him, so why did she look like it was her heart breaking, her life falling apart?
“Franco, have someone search town for this Gallo person. We’re not going to stay here, just in case.” He turned to one of his men and pointed at Vittoria. “Grab her. Lucia, you come as well.”
He turned, because though it was his own order, he hated seeing her being flung over a guy’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He wished, at least, that she would protest, but he heard only a faint groan as she was hauled out of there.
While they herded everyone into the car they had arrived in, he was forced to finally think of all the things he had refused to think about: Like what to do when he found her.
He knew what everyone expected of him, and he knew what he should do. But when he actually imagined doing it, his brain refused to go any further. He thought instead of the smell of her hair and the little snorts she made at his bad jokes. He thought of the concentrated look on her face when she sculpted. Her careful, weary smile as she held their firstborn for the first time.
“What’s the plan?” Giacomo asked from the backseat.
Carlo didn’t answer because he truly didn’t know. He only knew that killing his wife wasn’t an option.
Feeling lost? If you’ve forgotten previous chapters and need a recap you can find my recap page here. Be aware that it contains spoilers for the story.
Author’s note: Hi guyssssssss, I’m back! Posting this kind of late in the day because it’s a huge challenge just posting for me right now. I’m still under severe pressure in my math course and it’s digging up some personal troubles that I’ve been managing since August of last year. I’ve been a lot better for a long time, but the stress is really bringing out the anxiety, the self-loathing, and the self-doubt. It’s an incredible chore getting out AMVS right now because I know the story isn’t perfect. The plot is ALL over the place. I accept it, and I force myself to put it out, but whereas normally I can ignore how much it bothers me, it’s really hard right now. I do not like this chapter, or any of the others – I really, really dislike them right now. I dislike this less than what I wrote before – though it’s still not feeling great. But I’m keeping up the posting just to kick my brain’s ass. I can do this. This will pass, and some day soon, I think I’ll come to see the positives, even of this first draft, again. I don’t know why I’m telling you guys this – maybe it’s more for myself.
So, yeah, thanks for reading if you made it this far. It means a lot to have this community at the moment. Your stories, blog tags, beautiful pictures, and general loveliness bring a lot of light into my life. I’ll see you for the next post – hopefully, it’ll be on schedule 🙂
Edit: It seems I’m ending up in some spam filtres lately, so if you guys note that I’m not commenting on your new chapters as usual, it might be that’s what happened.