Home > Luca Vitiello (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #0)(2)

Luca Vitiello (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #0)(2)
Author: Cora Reilly

My brain stumbled over what he’d said. “New wife?”

Father narrowed his gray eyes. Gray like mine. “Change clothes and act like a goddamn man, not a boy.” He paused. “And get Matteo. He needs to see what kind of cowardly whore his mother was.”

“No,” I said.

Father stared at me. “What did you say?”

“No,” I repeated in a small voice. Matteo loved our Mother. It would hurt him.

Father glanced at the hand still on my shoulder, then up at his bodyguard. “One, beat some sense into him.”

One pulled his hand away and, with a short glance at my face, he began beating me. I fell to my knees, back to crouching in Mother’s blood. I barely felt the hits, only stared at the red on the white marble.

“Stop,” Father ordered, and the blows did stop. I looked back up at him, my head ringing, my back and stomach burning. He looked into my eyes for a long time, and I stared back. No. No. No. I wouldn’t get Matteo. I wouldn’t whether One kept beating me or not. I was used to pain.

His mouth thinned. “Two!” Bodyguard Two came in. “Get Matteo. Luca will only get blood on the expensive Persian rugs.”

I almost smiled because I had won. I tried to jump to my feet to stop Two, but One gripped my arm hard. I fought and almost freed myself, but then Matteo appeared in the doorway and I went slack.

Matteo’s brown eyes became huge when he saw our mother and the blood, then his knife next to the tub. Father motioned at Mother. “Your mother abandoned you. She killed herself.”

Matteo only looked.

“Get your knife,” Father ordered.

Matteo stumbled inside, and One’s grip on my arm tightened. Father glanced at me, then back at my brother, who picked up the knife with shaking hands.

I hated Father. I hated him so much.

And I hated Mother for doing this, for leaving us with him.

“Now clean up, the both of you.”

Matteo stood stock-still, staring at his bloody knife. I gripped his arm and pulled him out, stumbling after me. I led him into my bedroom, then into the bathroom. He still looked at his knife. I ripped it from his hand and held it under the faucet, cleaning it with hot water to get rid of the dried blood. My eyes prickled, but I swallowed.

No tears. Not ever again.

“Why did she use my knife?” Matteo asked quietly.

I turned off the water and dried it with a towel, then held it out to him. After a moment, he shook his head, backing away until he bumped against the wall, before he sank down on his butt. “Why?” he muttered, eyes filling with tears.

“Don’t cry,” I hissed, quickly closing the bathroom door in case Father came into my bedroom.

Matteo jutted his chin out, narrowing his eyes even as he began bawling. I tensed and gripped a clean towel before I knelt in front of my brother. “Stop crying, Matteo. Stop it,” I said quietly. I shoved the towel into his face. “Dry your face. Father will punish you.”

“I don’t care,” Matteo choked out. “I don’t care what he does.” His words were proven wrong by the shaky note of terror in his voice.

I glanced at the door, worried I’d heard footsteps. It was silent unless Father was spying on us, but he was probably busy taking care of Mother’s body. Maybe he’d tell his Consigliere Bardoni to drop her in the Hudson River. I shuddered.

“Take the towel,” I ordered.

Matteo finally did and wiped it roughly over his red eyes. I held the knife out to him. He eyed it critically. “Take it.”

He pressed his lips together.

“Matteo, you have to take it.” Father wouldn’t allow him to get rid of it. My little brother finally reached for the knife and curled his fingers around the handle.

“It’s only a knife,” I said, but I, too, could only see the blood it had been covered with.

He nodded and pushed it into his pocket. We stared at each other. “Now we’re alone.”

“You have me,” I said.

A knock sounded and I quickly pulled Matteo to his feet. The door swung open and Marianna stepped inside. Her eyes crinkled as she looked at us. Her brown hair, which she usually wore in a bun, was all over the place as if she’d ripped the hairnet out of it. “The Master sent me to see if you were getting ready. Soon his Consigliere will be here.” Her voice held a strange note I didn’t recognize, and her lips trembled as her eyes darted between Matteo and me.

I nodded. She came closer and touched my shoulder. “I’m so sorry.” I stepped back, away from the touch. I glared, because it made not crying easier.

“I’m not,” I muttered. “She was weak.”

Marianna took a step back, glancing between Matteo and me, her expression falling. “Hurry,” she said before she left.

Matteo slipped his hand in mine. “I’ll miss her.”

I looked down at my feet, at my blood-covered socks, not saying anything because it would have been weak to do so. I wasn’t allowed to be weak. Not ever.

 

 

Cesare landed a hard hit in my stomach. Gasping, I dropped to my knees. Marianna put down her knitting needles with a sharp intake of breath. Before he could land a hit on my head, I rolled away and pushed to my feet, then raised my balled fists.

Cesare nodded. “Don’t get distracted again.”

I gritted my teeth and attacked, feigning an upper cut, then smashed my fist into his side. He grunted then jumped back. Cesare had been giving me fighting lessons since I was three years old.

Cesare stepped back from me. “You’ll be unbeatable when you’re older.”

I wanted to be unbeatable now so I could stop Father from hurting us. I was already much taller and stronger than the other kids in school, but I needed to be even stronger. I began to pull off my gloves.

Cesare turned to Matteo, who sat on the edge of the boxing ring, his legs pulled up to his chest, a deep frown on his forehead. “It’s your turn.”

My brother didn’t react, staring off into space. I threw my boxing glove at him. He gasped, rubbing the side of his head, messing up his brown hair, then scowled. “Your turn,” I said.

He got to his feet, but I could tell that he was in a sour mood. I knew why, but I really hoped he would keep it to himself.

“Why aren’t we at Mom’s funeral?”

Marianna was heading our way. I threw my second glove at him. “Shut up.”

He stomped his foot. “No!” He jumped off the boxing ring and stalked toward the door of the gym. What was he doing?

“Matteo!” I shouted, chasing after him.

“I want to say goodbye to her! It’s not fair that she’s alone.”

No, no, no! Why did he have to say something like that when others were around? I didn’t look back at Cesare and Marianna, but I knew they’d heard every word.

I grabbed Matteo’s arm shortly before the exit and jerked him back. He tried to shake me off, but I was stronger than him. He glared up at me with teary eyes. “Stop crying,” I whispered harshly.

“Don’t you want to say goodbye?” he rasped.

My chest tightened. “She didn’t say goodbye to us either.” I released Matteo, and he began crying again.

Marianna put her hand on his shoulder but not on mine. She’d learned. Every time she’d tried to console me in the last few days, I’d shaken her off. “It’s okay to be sad.”

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