Vittoria sits in the back while I drive the SUV, Amadeo in the passenger seat. She’s strapped into the middle seat, and every time her eyes meet mine in the rearview mirror, she quickly narrows hers to slits and glares at me. She won’t look away. She’s even flipped me off once. I’m glad for all of it. She’ll take some time to learn, and we will enjoy teaching her.
“How was the talk with Sonny?” I ask Amadeo. He met with our uncle prior to the dinner. Personally, I’m on Bruno’s side. I think we should off the fucker and set the family straight. I doubt anyone else would stand against us once that example is made.
“As expected. He denied any contact with Lucien Russo. Had no idea how the papers got the story but of course offered his assistance with the authorities since they’re in his pocket.”
“I’m telling you, brother. We need to get rid of him. He won’t stop until we’re out and he’s in.”
“You know we can’t do that.”
He means Mom. Sonny is her brother, and of all people, she has clung to her relationship with him. We didn’t know she’d reached out to him after what happened with Hannah. Not that it mattered much then since it was already too late. But he’s been clever, keeping in touch with her even when Grandfather wouldn’t have anything to do with her. Sending money when Dad went on his binges.
“I know.” I slow the SUV as we near the entrance of the Naples house. The gates begin to open, the lights of the house warm in the distance. “Ready, Dandelion?” I ask, taunting her.
“I want to go to bed,” she said, speaking to Amadeo.
“We can accommodate that,” I offer.
I hand the keys off to one of the men, and Amadeo opens her door. I hear her protest, but a moment later, the three of us enter the house with the girl between us. Amadeo has hold of her.
His phone buzzes in his pocket, and he hands Vittoria to me as he checks the message. He types something back, then tucks it away. “Drink?”
We need to talk. Alone. “I’ll put Dandelion to bed and meet you in the study.”
He nods and turns to walk away, but Vittoria calls after him, so he stops and looks at her.
“You said I’d have to be convincing. I was.”
“You were,” he agrees.
“Emma. You promised.”
“I gave you my word. I won’t go back on it.”
“Soon. Like I said. Go to bed, Dandelion.”
I tug her toward the stairs, and Amadeo resumes his walk to the study.
“How? She’ll be scared. I need to talk to her. I need to be there. Amadeo!”
He stops and walks back to her. “I promised you I’d bring her to you. I will do that. Period.”
“You don’t understand. She—”
“Go to bed, Dandelion. My brother and I need to take care of some things.”
“Let’s go,” I say, tugging her toward the stairs. Amadeo ignores her calls, and she struggles the whole way up to her room. “Relax, Dandelion. Take it easy.”
“You don’t understand,” she tells me once we’re inside her room and I’ve released her. “Emma’s different. She’ll be scared. Please.”
“She’s five. I assume she’ll be scared, yes, but the result is what matters. You’ll have her out of your brother’s house. Isn’t that what you want?”
“Nuh-uh. No but. Go wash your face. I’ll wait.”