Salvatore:A Dark Mafia Romance(6)By: Natasha Knight
“We’re getting some attention. Come on, Paps. Let’s go.”
I met Dominic’s gaze, and I would have sworn he was enjoying the spectacle.
“Apologize.” Salvatore’s grip tightened around my arm.
I cocked my head to the side. “I’m sorry I missed,” I said, a grin spreading across my face.
Dominic’s eyebrows shot up, and Salvatore muttered a curse under his breath.
“Let’s go,” Dominic said just when I thought his father would explode.
“In.” Salvatore’s other hand gripped my waist as he pushed me into the sedan.
“Get your hands off me,” I said, trying to force him off.
He climbed in beside me and pulled the car door shut. The driver started the engine. Salvatore transferred his grip to my knee, his eyes burning a hole through me. “That was a very stupid thing to do.” His fingers bit into my flesh.
I had nothing to say. In fact, all I could do was shake violently. I wrapped my arms around myself.
“Turn down the air conditioning,” he told the driver, his gaze still locked on mine.
I wished it were the cold that had me shivering.
“Yes, sir,” the driver said.
Being so close, seeing him again, it was too much, too intense. It brought too many memories back and foretold a future I did not want.
“You’re hurting me.”
Salvatore blinked, as if processing each word I spoke one at a time. He shifted his gaze to where his hand gripped my knee. I held my breath, feeling powerless, knowing I was entirely at his mercy.
Knowing this was only the beginning of my hell.
I looked down to where I held her, how hard my fingers were squeezing her. It took some effort, but I released her and sat back in the seat, my gaze still on her, on this rebellious, courageous stranger.
Courageous. Lucia was courageous.
She was also a stranger.
I knew nothing about her. Only her name and her face. Her signature on a stupid piece of paper.
I had never seen a woman stand up to my father like that. I’d never seen a man do it either—or, I should say, when I had, it had been the last time I’d seen that man alive.
I looked out the front window. “Don’t antagonize my father. He always wins.”
“Everyone loses sometime.” She turned away and folded her arms across her chest, watching the streets pass by as we drove to the cemetery.
The black veil of her hat had shielded her face from me in the church, but her whiskey-colored eyes had shone through, bright, strong, angry. Very angry. I refused to let the image of how those eyes had looked at me the last time occupy my mind. I would know only this new, angry Lucia.
The one I needed to control.
Her interaction with her sister had been stiff. I’d seen it even from the distance in the courtyard. I knew she hadn’t seen either her sister or her father—even once—in the last five years. The day she’d signed the contract, she’d been sent away to finish her schooling. A year-round, all-girls Catholic school chosen by my father. A small institution hidden away in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where she’d lived comfortably but was under strict supervision. Her movements had been monitored, and at least one bodyguard had accompanied her wherever she went. I had monthly updates on her comings and goings, and not once had her family come to visit her. Well, her father had tried, but she’d refused to see him. She’d chosen to spend the holidays at school.
I glanced at her, wondering if she regretted that now.
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
Her body stiffened, and the only sign that she might be crying was when she moved her hand toward her face, pretending to scratch her cheek after swiping it under her eye.
“Are you?” she asked, her voice strained, her face still turned toward the window.
“I know what it’s like to lose someone you’re close to.” I knew firsthand, in fact. My brother, Sergio, had been my best friend. It had never once, not even in the world we lived in, occurred to me that he could die. My mother had died soon after him. Her death, thankfully, not as violent as Sergio’s. Although cancer brought its own sort of violence, snuffing out a human life as efficiently as a bullet did.
She turned to me and lifted her veil, tucking it behind the small hat fitted on top of her head. She was stunning. When I’d first met her in person, she’d been sixteen. She’d been pretty, but now, five years later, she was no longer a child. Her features had sharpened, her lips fuller, her cheekbones even more prominent. Her eyes…even more accusing.
She studied me, a slow, steady perusal from head to toe. When her gaze met mine, I swallowed, uncertain. Uncertainty was not new to me. I lived with it daily. But this? This was new, this was something—someone—I knew not at all.