I walked out a couple of hours later, after laughing and crying with them, knowing I’d take my own advice to heart.
I felt as if I was studying for a test. We drilled, day in and out, in the shower, in the bed. He fucked me, and wouldn’t let me come until I got all the answers right. I called Jonathan from Antonio’s phone to see how he was, and he invariably growled at me. The Antonio began again, as soon as I hung up, a rough taskmaster, demanding perfection.
How is it going to go, Contessa? Say it again.
First thing, I deliver the earpieces to the bathroom attendant. I come back. During the cocktail hour, before they introduce the bride and groom, I go outside.
I’m meeting you for a fuck. There’s a florist’s truck in the parking space over the grate. The florists are setting up the ballroom. I go in. The florist is owned by a business associate. You made the truck and sold it to them. I go in the false bottom. You have left a brick of C4 and a handheld crowbar under the chassis.
What am I doing then?
Asking Donna Maria permission to marry her granddaughter.
I wait for you.
Wait for me, Contessa, no matter what you think you hear. No matter how long you think it’s taking. I’ll be there. We’ll run across the street and blow up the truck.
And there will be two explosions, because C4 explodes twice.
In the chaos, we come from the grate in the street and get in the car.
What kind of car is it?
Perfect. No one would believe it was you.
Do you have it?
I have it.
It wasn’t my wedding. I wasn’t wearing white. I didn’t have bridesmaids or an excited family. I hadn’t chosen the venue or the catering, but in a way, I was coming out of the event a woman entangled with a man to the death. We were committed, tied in ropes of lies and deceit, each able to destroy the other if we escaped the net.
I wore a short grey dress with matte silver-bugle beads. The looseness of the skirt made it easy to move in, with heels that were more comfortable than they looked. In my bag I had lipstick, credit cards that I needed to leave in the car, and an obscene wad of cash. I’d memorized my account numbers, passwords, and overseas banks.
I heard Antonio come into the loft, downstairs.
We’d never discussed getting married. It was too soon, but with the intensity of our commitment, I wondered if we’d both been too busy with practicalities to bring it up or if we were simply scared of making it official.
He came behind me in a black tux that fit him without an errant crease or curve, brushing his fingertips on my arms. His touch was still perfect, still arousing, designed to bring my skin to life. He dropped my phone on the vanity.
“It’s done,” he said.
“I press the home key?”
“Yes. Three seconds. But wait for me. We can both detonate. If we’re not together, one has a good chance of blowing the other up.”
He kissed my bare shoulder and looked at me in the mirror. “You look like a queen.”
“How do I taste?”
“Like a woman.”
I shuddered, arching my neck until the back of my head was on his shoulder. “You didn’t have this power over me three months ago.”
“And you? You were just a figurine on television,” he said.
I turned, put my arms around his neck, and pulled him to me. “A miserable one.”
He cast his eyes down. “So many things could go wrong today.”
“Nothing will go wrong.”
“Wait for me. You have to wait for me.”
“I’ll wait in the storm drain under the car, I promise,” I said.
“You don’t come out until I’m there. Then we exit the tunnel together. I checked. It’s open on the other side.”
“Yes, boss,” I whispered.
“Ti amo, Theresa. Please don’t ever doubt that.”
I kissed him because the doubt he forbade me was all over his voice. I knew he loved me, at that moment. I knew I had his heart and owned his soul. Today.
But maybe he was wondering about tomorrow. Something was off.
I didn’t want to doubt our plans. I wanted to be on a plane to Greece as Persephone, goddess of the underworld, with my Adonis next to me.
“You have to know,” he said, “I’ll always take care of you. I’ll always think of you first. You’re precious to me.”
“Can you get that suit off and show me?” I hiked my dress up to show him the terribly impractical garters I wore.
He looked at them with a ruefulness I didn’t understand, drawing his finger around one of the legs and yanking it.
“Do you want to be late?”
“I don’t see that it matters. Come on, Capo. I’m wet. You’re hard. Give me that cock one last time before we die.”
With a quick stroke, he ripped them, reducing them to tatters in seconds. He threw me onto the bed. “Open your legs,” he said, undoing his belt. “Show me your pussy.”
I bent my knees and spread them apart. My pussy cooled when the air hit it. I kept my eyes on Antonio and then on his cock as he pulled it out. “I love you, Capo.”
He kneeled on the bed then licked his hand and pressed it between my legs, entering me with three fingers. “Wet to the death, my love.”
He didn’t make me beg but fucked me without preamble. I thought, as he drove into me, growling my name, wrinkling our good clothes, that this was the man I was fucking forever. I dug my fingers in his hair and said his name over and over until I could no longer form words.
I was a bad man. I knew that when I met her and when I stood at her door the night she called me Capo the first time. And I knew that when I came inside her on the day she planned to disappear with me.
She didn’t know she wasn’t going anywhere with me.
She was going to live. She was going to get over me and find herself a lawful man to take care of her and fuck her gently. She was going to have children who lived as citizens of decency, and I’d twist in hell, knowing that she’d mourn for a little while and then find happiness.
The club was not its usual self. A line of long black cars backed down the block as each driver and passenger was identified, cross-checked and let through. Or not.
Why was I nervous about going through? I felt as though I was about to star in a musical production where there would be no encore, no repeat performance, no ovation. And under those nerves was a lightness I could only describe as elation. I was leaving everything behind and starting fresh. The possibilities were endless and had been barely scraped by my imagination.