Otto pulled up across the street, and my Contessa got out before the Lincoln had even come to a full stop. She was my hope, that woman, standing so straight as she crossed the street. She could rule the world. She already ruled me.
We didn’t say anything to each other when I saw him in that ambulance. We didn’t need to. I sat next to him and held his hand. He waved Otto away. The EMT put bandages on him without a word, other than instructions on dressing his wound the next day. Then she left to take care of someone else.
“Those were nice pants,” I said.
“I have more.”
“Who did this? Paulie?”
He shook his head, leaning it on the side of the truck. “No. The Sicilians are watching him. This was the Bortolusis. I’m the last camorrista prince. If I’m gone, there’s no merger.”
“And you’re going to the wedding? I think I should forbid it.”
“It’ll be the safest place in the world on that day. Paulie’s been too quiet, and it’s you he wants.”
“That’s our last day on earth.”
He squeezed my hand. “Si.”
“When you leave, there’s going to be a power vacuum. Paulie’s going to try and fill it. I’m thinking I have a couple of days to plant a seed in Daniel’s head about him. Just put him on a trail. That’ll get my ex off of thinking about where our bodies went, and Paulie will be preoccupied with sworn statements and such.”
He huffed a short laugh. “My God. You have the heart of a capo, do you know that? You could have brought Sicily to its knees. No don would stand against you.”
“I’ll call Dan tomorrow.”
“No.” He squeezed my hand when he said it. “Make an appointment for the day after the wedding. Say you have something on Paulie. Say you’re checking it out.”
He seemed so melancholy, so much a swirling black pool of sadness, that I was drawn in with him.
“Can I take you home to the loft and feed you soup?”
“Ah, Contessa, I have to—”
I stood. “You have to nothing. Get the hell up, Capo.” I held my hand out, and he clasped my wrist.
“No don could stand against you.” He smiled as I hoisted him then grimaced when he leaned on the leg.
“You need to lean on me?”
“No. I’m all right.”
“Yes?” he said.
“Next time you do something like this, you need to tell me first. I was worried. I don’t want to panic like that again.”
He stopped and faced me, a smile playing on his lips. “Are you saying I blew up a Maserati? My favorite car? To what, set a pattern? To get the next one to look just as real? Come on, that car is a hundred thousand dollars.”
I crossed my arms. “All of Zo’s guys are gone. He always leaves one to sit with the tools. He eats lunch out the back of the truck, but not today”
“Contessa, even if I had done such a crazy thing, I wouldn’t have told you. You’d try and stop me and get yourself hurt.”
“One day, you’ll see me as a partner, not a responsibility.”
He put his arm around my shoulder, and we walked back to my car, his bloody pant leg flapping against his calf as he tried to hide the fact that he was limping.
I laid him out on my couch and fed him minestrone I’d poured from a can and heated in the microwave. He complained about the saltiness, demanding I try Zia Giovanna’s the next time I was there. “When she makes it, you can taste everything. This, I don’t even know what’s in it.” He took the bowl from me and put it on the side table then pulled me on top of him.
“What are you going to do about Zia Giovanna?”
“How do you mean?”
“Daniel’s taking those books, and I don’t know if I caught everything. He’s going to have your accountant. He won’t prosecute an old woman. That would be political suicide. But the restaurant?”
He pressed his lips together into a fine line. “Without me, she’ll go back to Napoli with her sister.”
“Come on, Antonio—”
“Not everything needs to be controlled. There are no formal charges against her. She can go any time. It’s like you. No charges in the thing with the Armenian. If I were gone, he’d drop it.”
He was dead wrong, about Zia Giovanna at least, and I didn’t know if he was lying to himself or just to me.
“I had a thought,” I said.
“Another one?” He stroked my hair.
“Greece,” I said.
“I don’t speak Greek.” He pulled my shirt up and slid his fingers under my bra, the tips bending my nipples.
“Weather’s nice. Government’s totally corrupt.” I groaned at the trilling sensation between my legs. I pushed myself down on his erection. “After we bounce around. When we’ve erased everything. We can settle there. Fuck on the beach every day.”
He got my shirt and bra off in one movement. “That would be nice.”
“Nice?” I unzipped him.
“That’s better, Capo.”
I stood up and wiggled out of my pants, naked before him in seconds. He held his hand out, and I took it, putting a knee beside him.
“Tu sei preziosa per me.”
“I have no idea what that means.”
“Io ti farò del male per proteggerti.”
I straddled him, putting his dick against my wetness. “Nothing. You get nothing until you translate.”
“You think this stupid wound will keep me from taking you?”
“Fammi tua,” I said into his ear.
“Your accent is terrible.”
I slid myself against him. “Fammi tua.”
“To save the world from your Italian, I’ll tell you what I said. It was, ‘I’m going to fuck you easy and slow, until your bones turn into jelly, and you forget how to beg me.’”
“When? I want you to fuck me. Please.”
He moved my hips and shifted until a sharp upward stroke was all that he needed to impale me. I gasped. He grabbed my ass cheeks and pushed deep into me until I felt the pressure inside.
“Is this what you want?”
He rocked against me, his body rubbing my clit, and I threw my head back.
“Like this?” he asked.