I opened my mouth, and he started to come into it, leaving a bitter trail on my tongue. He pulled out and moved against my face, coming on my nose, my forehead, groaning into it, until he looked down at me and smiled.
“Oh, Dio, Contessa.”
“You like it?”
He chuckled and kneeled with me. I smiled, and semen dripped in my mouth. I laughed. I couldn’t help it.
“You look like a wedding cake.” He wiped his thumbs across my cheeks.
“It doesn’t really come off.” I licked my lips and wrinkled my nose. “And it doesn’t taste like cake.”
He laughed, rubbing the moisture down my forehead and across. “I anoint you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy moley.”
I laughed so hard I nearly choked, and he laughed too, even as he tried to wipe my face with his undershirt. I put my face up against his chest and wiped it all over him and laughed so hard tears rolled down my cheeks.
“Woman!” He pretended to be angry but wasn’t. Who could be angry while laughing and wearing a shirt covered in cum?
He picked me up and threw me over his shoulder, singing some Italian song on the way to the bathroom, while I pretended I didn’t love it.
He put me on a pink-tile vanity built in the 1950s and ran hot water over a washcloth.
“What happened before church?” I asked. He opened my legs and settled between them. “You didn’t just barge in because you had a bad dream.”
He wiped my face tenderly with the hot cloth. “I had a meeting with Paulie and the head of the Sicilian family that runs the east side.”
“What was it about?”
“Splitting territory. That’s how it started.” He kissed my damp cheeks, one and then the other, then gathered my shirt at the hem and pulled it up. “Arms up.”
I put my arms up, and he peeled the shirt off.
“Did it go okay?” I asked.
“It went fine. I’m not worried about territory. I only have to make it look like I’m worried.” He unhooked my bra, and I wiggled out of it. “I have to be at full attention. I have to rebuild the shop, take care of my men, and make good decisions.”
“I sense there’s a ‘but.’”
“But I’m preparing to leave. I’m thinking about it every day. Then Paulie announces you’re sitting with your ex, in a room.”
He put his finger to my lips. “Basta, woman. I know you’re not going back to him. I own you, remember?”
“No one trusts you. They think you’re going to sell me out, and then they’ll be next. So, we hear you’re with him—”
“Gerry,” I said. “He made the call. He’s got contacts with the city council in your neighborhood. I have a feeling you know the politicians pretty well, too.”
He smiled. There was a world of knowledge in the way his face fell into it. “Yes, of course.”
“Well, Gerry doesn’t trust me for the same reasons Paulie doesn’t. He made sure you heard all about it.” I put my hands on his chest. “I know I didn’t grow up with what you did. But you have to know I can keep my mouth shut. I will never betray you.”
“You betrayed me already by being there. By not telling me.” He put his hands under my knees and squeezed them against the sides of his waist. “I know it was done with a pure heart. But don’t do anything like that again.”
I bristled at being told what not to do, and he must have sensed my discomfort because he drew his face close and kissed me with those satin lips, flicking his tongue across mine.
“You realize that you just told me stuff,” I said. “Real stuff about your business.”
“I can’t do this without you. I can’t even protect you unless I put you by my side. It’s the only way.”
I didn’t know how to answer that because I didn’t know what it meant in a practical way, but from his face and his voice, I knew what it meant to him, as a man, as a leader, and as my lover.
“Come vuoi tu,” I whispered.
We spent the night in the heavenly expanse of his bed and woke up with the songbirds. The first thing I felt was pain between my legs. How many times had he taken me? Just thinking of it, I felt a familiar ache, and I reached for him, but he wasn’t in the bed.
“Buon giorno,” he said from the side of the room. He was already dressed in slacks and jacket and was pulling his cuffs from under his sleeves.
“How can you be up?”
“I have a lot to do.”
“Such as?” I said.
He sat on the side of the bed. “My shop is a wreck. Zo needs to rebuild it. I need to make sure my territory is secure. And I need to prepare a way for us to leave.” He slid the sheet off me, exposing my nudity to the morning sun.
“Where will we go?”
“Where do you want to go?” He smirked, running his hands along the length of my thigh.
“With you,” I groaned.
“Men die trying to leave because they make it public. So this is our secret, even from your sisters and your friends. Do you understand? It’s a matter of life or death.”
“Yes,” I said.
“You’re with me. You’re in the life. You are mine for everyone to see. One day, we’ll be gone.”
“I have a family, Antonio. I can’t disappear.”
“I know. For now, you’re beside me. No one will hurt you.”
“You keep saying that.”
“I mean it,” he said.
“Good. I want to go to Zia Giovanna’s. I want to look at the books.”
“No.” He cut the air with the flat of his hand. “Assolutamente, no.”
I sat up straight, naked from the waist up and not caring a damn. “You say you want me to be integrated. You say you know you can’t keep me locked up. You say you want to share with me.”
“Not in the business. If you do something you can be accused of, your consequence is on me.”
“I know Daniel’s been looking at Zia Giovanna’s. He told me it’s part of a fraud investigation. And I know you lost your accountant to that motherfucker in the Ferrari.” His eyes widened in shock. I was a little surprised at my language, as well.
“The books are clean,” he said.
I got down on my knees, letting the sheet fall from me. “You have no idea what Daniel’s people look for. You have no idea what they miss, and you don’t know what they catch. I know it inside and out. It’s wasteful to not use me.” I got up and stomped to the bathroom, turning before I got to the door. “I can fuck a felon, but I cannot fuck a fool.”