The weeks that followed the wedding were not what Carlo had imagined for his honeymoon. He tried, in vain, to coax Vittoria into going away on their planned trip, but in the end it was better to let it be. She had always been careful and borderline paranoid, but it amplified tenfold after Marta came.
Carlo became accustomed to waking and seeing his wife’s outline in the dark, poised on the edge of the bed with her dagger at the ready. More often than not, she was by the window, or slept by the door to the kids’ rooms; she even slept on the sofa by the front door and awoke to any and all sounds. It didn’t help to tell her that they already had protection.
The worst of it all was that nothing happened.
She kept looking over her shoulder and all but promised that anytime soon, Lucia would be on their doorstep, ready to murder them all in cold blood.
None of it came to be.
He started letting her sit in on meetings and have a say, to let her know that the situation was taken care of, but it didn’t seem to help. One beautiful summer morning, things finally turned around. While Franco and another guy arrived, she stayed sullenly in the pavilion, arms crossed. When anyone neared, she jumped, hand on her concealed weapon, until she was assured that it wasn’t her mother hiding in a bush.
She started like that, then immediately relaxed when she saw him, and her face even softened into a smile.
“And Giacomo. You probably remember him from the wedding.”
She nodded. The guy was a getaway driver for most their operations. Carlo wouldn’t ever trust him as much as he trusted Franco – because frankly, the only person he trusted more was his wife – but he was a decent enough fellow.
Even if he was almost as on edge as Vittoria when he appeared.
The meeting wasn’t anything special. Carlo was asking about the state of things around Monte Vista and the closest cities and towns to them. They had pulled off a few successful heists the next town over where goods and funds were to be divided, and there was the matter of a shipment of weapons they wanted for protection.
It wasn’t even supposed to be about Vittoria, but near the end of the meeting, Giacomo suddenly looked at her and mentioned that there was another matter entirely to think of.
Carlo, whose mind had been drifting off, snapped his gaze to his.
When Giacomo didn’t explain, Franco cleared his throat. “It’s some… unfortunate rumours that have caused a bit of unrest.”
“And why haven’t I heard about it before?”
No one spoke, until Vittoria cleared her throat and smiled sardonically. “Because none of them want to argue with you about your wife.”
Both Franco and Giacomo looked away so stubbornly, he could only conclude that she was right. He was about to ask what they were saying, but she got there before he could.
“Rumours about me, then,” she said. “What rumours?”
“Nothing substantial,” Franco said.
“Obviously.” Carlo’s voice was low.
“They’ve been circulating for years, by now.” Giacomo spoke, and he looked directly at Vittoria. “Everyone’s saying you’ve been fucking around with the boss to take over. Like you did back when your old man led the Family. Since it came out that you were under our protection, well…”
“Are you saying that all of you idiots think my wife is going to kill me to take the gang?”
Giacomo shrugged, and when he said no it wasn’t very convincing. He did it nonetheless though, and Carlo nodded and stood up.
“Good. Because I’d hate to have to shoot you.”
Franco took his orders to start squashing the rumours, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Vittoria walk back to the house. He caught her on the way.
“Darling, don’t mind any of it.”
Carlo sighed. “You’re a terrible liar.”
The tenseness crept out of her shoulders and as she took his head between her hands, her face softened into a smile.
“I’m not worried about rumours.” She kissed him softly. “The way I’m acting, it’s no wonder they think I’m up to something. I have to pull myself together. I’ll take the kids out somewhere, okay?”
Before he could say anything, she kissed him again. Pulling away, she stroked his cheek. “We’ll be back in a few hours.”
Carlo watched her walk away, wondering why he would be so afraid of her acting like a loving wife and mother should.
“Gina, honey, don’t eat that.”
She feared that pulling the leftover receipt out of her daughter’s mouth would result in one of her legendary tantrums, and get them thrown out of the library. Not that this seemed like the old fashioned kind of library with stern librarians who shushed you; it was just the atmosphere of the place – quiet, dusty, almost mystical; you didn’t want to disturb this kind of aura. Thankfully, Regina must have felt it, too, because she just nodded and went in search of a toy. Giuliano was unusually quiet as well.
“I’m not sure why you asked me to come,” a voice said behind her.
Franco looked at her over the rim of his sunglasses. The reason she had actually decided to come here.
“I need a word is all.”
“If this comes out, the rumours will have a lot more weight to them. I would rather not be a part of it.”
“But you do want to help Carlo.” She turned to look at him, and he was nodding. “Let’s talk, then.”
She waved for him to follow. Once she was sure the kids were playing quietly and safely, she turned her attention to Franco. Usually, he always talked to Carlo, and while he was polite towards her, he paid her little attention. Except out of the corner of his eye. Any criminal worth his salt would pay attention to his surroundings like that, but it was more than that on his part. He always made sure to know where she was, and he never turned his back completely. A smart man, this Franco Bianchi.
“Did you ever try and warn Carlo about me?” she asked him now, leaning against a desk.
“It’s not my place,” Franco said, sitting down across from her. “Besides, I could have told him to hold himself back around you, and it would have been pointless. He values my advice, but when it comes to you, he wouldn’t care.”
“Every choice he’s made since meeting me has been idiotic.”
“You said that, not me.”
Vittoria smirked. “My own decisions haven’t been much better. There are many things I could have done to prevent the situation I’m in now, but here we are. Tell me a little more about those rumours.”
Franco leaned forward and rested his head on his hand.
“The part about you?”
She crossed her arms. “No, the part you didn’t tell him.”
He grimaced. “We are trying to keep those contained.”
Franco ran a hand through his hair and for the first time since she had met him, he looked worried. “When everyone’s convinced you’re bad news, and Carl refuses to do anything…”
“They think he’s getting soft.” His silence told her everything she needed to know. “Add to that me acting paranoid and him catering to my every whim, and you’ve got one terrible gang leader. That’s pretty much what’s going on, right?”
Franco nodded. “Unless he shapes up, we’re in trouble.”
Vittoria nodded and went over to the window. She saw this whole thing clearer now, her mother’s plans, her own role in it. How beautifully she had done everything Lucia expected of her.
“I have a few ideas for how to sort this out,” she told Franco.
He made a sound to indicate he was listening, and she started outlining the plan that was only half-formed in her brain. When she had finished, Franco sighed.
“I don’t see why you’re telling me.”
“I need an ally, preferably someone who’s loyal to Carlo. So?”
He stood up from the chair. “If it works, it would solve our problem, but temporarily. More likely, it’ll get you killed.”
“Either way, I buy us some time.” Even if Carlo would never talk to her again. “So, will you help me? If you tell me now that it’s insane and that it’ll never work, I’ll abandon this and find some other way.”
Part of her wished that Franco would do just that, but he stayed quiet for a long time. The only sounds in the library were the gurgling and squeals of delight from her children.
“I’m willing to help you, for Carl.”
And that was that.
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 guys! Welcome to the last chapter of the year for A Monte Vista Story. There’s just time for one more Champion of Moonlight, but as for this one, next time you see an update, it’ll be 2018. Crazy!
From this chapter on, you might see subtle differences in how my sims look. I’ve been sorting and redownloading most of my CC, and with it came some new CC as well (oops :D). The ladies might have lovely luscious lashes, and I use replacement eyelashes for all other sims. I wasn’t going to start using the new CC yet, because I couldn’t find everything, but it’s quite nice to have gotten rid of some CC that was funky or looked bad. Besides, my CAS runs smoother (that might change as I download more, but still) and that’s just nice. Even more so – I HAD TO MOD MY GAME. All I did was remove the lip overlay that EA for some reason thought was necessary for female sims (if your sim is black, it makes them look like they stole and played with mummy’s lipstick), but still – after all my re-downloading and then that, I thought whatever – I’ll compensate for the lost CC. I also got new default eyes, ’cause I can. All that rambling to say: things might look slightly different.
In other news, you might have read my previous post, which was basically just me saying that I’m slacking on the schedule for AMVS after this one. This doesn’t mean I won’t post. It means I might post every other Saturday – other times it’ll be Sundays, Mondays, Fridays – whatever. I’ll try and have one every other week, but other than that, I won’t stick to any kind of rigid schedule. That said, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and next time I see you, Christmas will be well over. Merry Christmas to everyone, and hope you have a lovely time with your loved ones. I’ll see you soon!