Quick note: This is not a mistake – I’m putting this out early. Explanation is to come!
Carlo started wanting to kill Lucia himself. The whole time since he had come up here and sent Franco and the others away, she had been crying, and her voice only became more shrill for every minute.
Could it really be an act?
He searched her features for any hint of deception, but though he had always thought himself good at reading faces, he saw nothing there. He looked away swiftly, not wanting to draw her attention. If this were and act, it would be better if she didn’t know that he knew. Vittoria would come back after dealing with this and she would deal with her mother as well.
He felt insane for relying on her. Weak, as she had said. It didn’t help that he was just sitting here like a target, while everyone else was out there fighting. Dying. And the only thing he could do was sit here and listen to Lucia wailing away.
Her crying had no rhyme or reason now. She cried because of the noise, then she cried because surely her baby was dying. Now she looked up at Carlo, with tears streaming down her face and snot running out of her nose. It was incredible how unappealing she could look.
“You’re mad at me,” she cried.
Carlo got to his feet and leaned against a wall.
“It’ll be over soon,” he said, masking his anger. Or trying, at least.
Fuck, he hoped that it was over soon.
“I don’t know what to do. I don’t know… If something happens to my baby…”
“She’s fine, Lucia.”
His voice was more pointed than he had intended, and it made the blubbering woman perk up. Something changed in her face. It was subtle, but it was a second of her paying more attention to her surroundings than he had ever seen.
She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, and when she looked up at him, the transformation was complete. With the intelligence that glowed in her eyes and a small smile, she looked more like her daughter than he had ever seen.
“So, I take it Lisa blabbered,” she said.
Gallo had always liked cutting off people’s air supply. Maybe it was the panic in their eyes or the sounds as they struggled for breath. It had never meant much to him who he did it to, and he had done it to her many times, even back when she was his sort-of-girlfriend.
Whatever his reasons may be, Vittoria had already been sick of it when she was younger, so now she didn’t fight fair. She scratched and bit and eventually wrestled her arm free to punch him in the face. He had to let go of her throat and pin her other arm, but it was better than being suffocated.
“You little…” He slapped her across the face, so hard spots danced in front of her eyes. “I’m getting real sick of you always running off.”
“What?” she spat. “Did I hurt your feelings?”
She earned herself another slap for that comment. Gallo leaned close.
“Don’t flatter yourself, bitch. I just don’t like it when my whore runs off with another man.”
Vittoria laughed because she knew she hit a nerve, from the look on his face.
“Bullshit, Gallo,” she whispered. “If I was just a whore, you’d have killed me already. Actually, you’d have never let me back into the gang. You like me. Maybe you even love me. Well, it’s too bad, because you know what? I never cared for you. Not even a little.”
Her words had the desired effect. There was a storm in his eyes, unbridled rage that flashed as he drew back, readying a punch. It was the moment she had waited for, as she kicked him hard in the stomach and grasped the gun that had skidded from her hand.
He stumbled back and she fired. It took a while for shock to replace anger on his face, and then he stumbled back as a dark spot spread on his chest.
Vittoria watched him go down, watched him fall back and cough. He tried to say something – a final angry retort for his whore, perhaps – but blood bubbled in his mouth and he choked on it. He just glared through the blood that covered his face.
Bile rose in her throat.
She wasn’t sad. It was a relief to see his breathing slow, to see him turn out the white of his eyes and release a final breath with the promise of it all being over. At the same time, she felt heavy in her heart while she got to her feet.
No, not sad, but there was a small part of her, her younger self, who’d thought he was the best she could ever do, the best she deserved. That part of her died with him, and she did so with a pang of unexplained nostalgia.
It didn’t matter. She spun on her heel and ran back inside the house. Back to Carlo.
The silence was deafening, now that the shots had stopped. If he didn’t know better, Carlo would have thought Lucia did it, because there was something ethereal about her, the way she looked at him now.
Chaos was all around them, but she was serene and beautiful, with no hint of madness or tears on her face.
“Lisa’s always been dramatic,” she said.
“Seems to me she has good reason to be dramatic.” Carlo stared her down, but she didn’t even blink.
“Maybe.” Lucia shrugged. “So, what did she tell you? The long, sordid tale of her terrible childhood? That I’m super mean and forced her to do bad things?”
“Something like that.”
She shook her head. “Can’t believe she’s stabbing me in the back like this, after she promised.”
Even though Carlo knew he shouldn’t listen to a word she said, his breath caught in his throat at her words. He didn’t talk, because he was afraid his voice would betray the doubt.
“What, she pulled the whole ‘my mum manipulated me and I’m sad’ shtick? She’s really convincing, but it’s all bullshit, I hope you realise.” Lucia stood up, pacing the floor with her lithe, elegant movements. “Yes, I pretend to be simple, but how quickly do you think Alessandro would have killed both me and my daughter if he’d thought I was smart?”
“As far as I know,” Carlo said, voice low. “You’re not so concerned with her. Tried to have her killed, didn’t you?”
“Lisa is disturbed, so it was kill or be killed at that point,” Lucia said. “Alessandro did a number on her, and I know I should have stopped it, but what could I have done?”
“You could have left and come back here. My dad would have helped you.”
For the first time since she had changed, there was a flash of anger in her eyes and when she looked up at him, she couldn’t conceal it.
“Your dad wouldn’t have moved a finger to help me. He never did.”
Carlo felt his own anger flare up. “He did everything for you! He absolutely spoiled you rotten. Treated you like a daughter and you repaid him by running off with a criminal.”
“He kept refusing me!” Lucia’s calm was stripped away and her face contorted in anger. “I wanted him and he wouldn’t listen.”
The silence became even more deafening. Carlo had a bad taste in his mouth.
“Of course he wouldn’t. You were a child.”
He could see her struggling to maintain control of her face, so much so her hands were curled into fists, shaking at her side. When she spoke again, she was almost there:
“I see I’m making no headway with you.”
She drew a dagger, and Carlo took a step back, meeting the wall.
“Do you know how annoying it is?” Lucia said, drawing a deep breath, obviously to try and gain her composure. “I tried for years to get your dad to notice me? I begged him and begged him and he kept saying no, because I was ‘just a girl’. And then years later, that little idiot blindly blunders in here and wraps you around her finger without even trying. It’s like she’s mocking me.”
Carlo shook his head. “Jealous, are you? The best you could do was Alessandro.”
But Lucia’s face changed back, the anger purged and a sweet, serene smile returned. “I guess I’m jealous, yes, but… well, no matter. I’ll have Gallo take care of her, after we’re done here.”
She took a step forward, and then she stopped dead when a voice sounded in the room.
Vittoria was back with his gun aimed at her mother’s back. Lucia whirled on her, but it was too late. Her daughter pulled the trigger. There was a look of surprise on her face, and she maintained it as she collapsed into a heap. Vittoria placed the gun down.
“Do you believe me?” she asked.
Carlo hesitated for a little longer than he should have and she turned away. He ignored her question and asked instead:
“Why Monte Vista? Why did you come to me?”
“She told me about your dad. It always annoyed her that he wouldn’t be with her but I thought it sounded… good. Like the right thing to do. I was only fifteen and I flirted with Gallo and the other guys, whoever I could get to pay attention. I wish they’d said no. Since your dad wasn’t so bad, I figured staying with you would be safe.”
Carlo crossed the room and gathered her into an embrace. He brushed her hair with a hand.
“When you kicked me out,” she whispered, fingers caressing his chest. “I think it made me love you more. I was angry, but at least you tried to do what you thought was right. I like that about you.”
He kissed her forehead and drew her in again and even then she kept talking.
“You’re the only good person I’ve ever known. To everyone else I was always a thing. Mum’s puppet, Alessandro’s bodyguard, Gallo’s plaything… When I realised what she was doing, I knew I had to do something, because you can’t die. I have to know you’re alive and well. I have to know there’s one good man left in the world.”
He tipped her head up so he could look her in the eyes.
“There are many more in the world, and they’re better than me.” He stopped her protests with a finger to her lips. “You succeeded, darling. It’s over.”
“But I can’t stay here,” she said.
There were footsteps downstairs, but to his relief it was Franco’s voice that called out. He asked his old friend to come up. Franco stood to the side, awaiting orders with no question on his face. Good old Franco.
“I want you to go with Franco. He’ll set you up somewhere safe.” He brushed a lock of dark hair from her face.
Her eyes went for a moment to her mother’s lifeless form. Lucia’s eyes were twisted upwards, the whites showing as if she were still watching from beyond.
“What about…?” she said.
“The resemblance is strong. I think with a little dye, we can convince everyone that you didn’t make it today.”
She nodded. “Marta is in the library. I promised her that she could stay with you.”
“She can. I’ll take care of her.”
Vittoria smiled and nodded, then she stood up and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, Carlo.”
“Thank you,” he said, and when she frowned, he chuckled. “Thank you for protecting me. Your methods were dubious, but you meant well.”
He closed his eyes and rested his forehead against hers, wishing not for the first time she hadn’t done it. He wanted to hold her and keep her here, his gang be damned. But it would be a slap in the face to them when they had been nothing but loyal. And he couldn’t leave with her either.
“We should probably leave town,” Franco said.
Carlo gave her a final, lingering kiss and said: “Go, darling.”
Vittoria smiled and left. By the next morning, when he had gotten Marta back and cleaned up the mess, she was no longer in Monte Vista.
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: Bye Lucia and Gallo! And hello bittersweet ending. There’s one chapter left after this, and I think it’ll be a good one 🙂 Be aware that from that one on, I decided to just say fuck it and add ReShade effects. I’ve been avoiding them for the other chapters because I didn’t want the screenshots to suddenly change drastically, but I was tired of not using it – I have these amazing toys and I don’t get to use them. It’s not fair! So, next one will look somewhat different (good different, I hope!)
And yeah, I put this out early – it wasn’t supposed to come until next week. Truthfully, I couldn’t come up with anything else to post today, so I thought – what the hell! It’s already done, so why not? I’ve spent the past few days shooting for gen 2 which I’m excited about so that might also have something to do with me wanting this done, eheheh 😛 Depending on how impatient/panicky I am next week (weekend before my exam screeee!), who knows, maybe you’ll get the last one right away.
A friendly reminder that I sometimes dump pictures on my Tumblr. I’ve been doing interiors for gen 2 so if you’re into looking at that, you can!
That was it for now. I hope everyone’s having a great time and I’ll see you for the next post! 🙂