Home > Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(13)

Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(13)
Author: Cora Reilly

“Today’s the day!” Mother said with fake cheer.

I dragged myself out of bed. Gianna pulled the blankets over her head, grumbling something about it being too early.

Mother sighed. “I can’t believe you shared a room like five year olds.”

“Someone had to make sure Luca didn’t sneak in,” Gianna said from beneath the blanket.

“Umberto patrolled the corridor.”

“As if he would protect Aria from Luca,” Gianna muttered, finally sitting up. Her red hair was a mess.

Mother pursed her lips. “Your sister doesn’t need protection from her husband.”

Gianna snorted, but Mother ignored her and ushered me into the bathroom. “We have to get you ready. The Beautician will be here any second. Grab a quick shower.”

As the hot water poured down on me, realization set in. This was it, the day I’d been dreading for so long. Tonight I’d be Aria Vitiello, wife to the future Capo dei Capi, and former virgin. I leaned against the shower cabin. I wished I were like other brides. I wished I could enjoy this day. I wished I didn’t have to look forward to my wedding night with trepidation, but I’d learned a long time ago that wishing didn’t change a thing.

When I stepped out of the shower, I felt cold. Even my fluffy bathrobe couldn’t stop my shivering. Someone knocked and Gianna entered with a cup and a bowl in her hand. “Coffee and fruit salad. Apparently you aren’t allowed to have pancakes because it could cause bloating. What bullshit.”

I took the coffee but shook my head at the food. “I’m not hungry.”

“You can’t go all day without eating or you’ll faint when you walk down the aisle.” She paused. “Though, on second thought, I’d love to see Luca’s face when you do.”

I sipped at the coffee, then took the bowl from Gianna and ate a few pieces of banana. I really didn’t want to faint. Father would be furious, and Luca probably wouldn’t be too happy about it either.

“The beautician has arrived with her entourage. You could think they need to prettify an army of fishwives.”

I smiled weakly. “Let’s not make them wait.”

Gianna’s worried gaze followed me as I walked into the bedroom, where Lily and my mother were already waiting with the three beauticians. They began their work at once, waxing our legs and armpits. When I thought the torture was over, the Beautician asked. “Bikini zone? Do you know what your husband prefers?”

My cheeks exploded with heat. Mother actually looked at me for an answer. As if I knew the first thing about Luca and his preferences, especially concerning body hair.

“Maybe we could call one of his whores,” Gianna suggested.

Mother gasped. “Gianna!”

Lily looked clueless about the whole situation. She might have been the queen of flirting but that was all.

“I’ll remove everything except for a small triangle, okay?” The beautician said in a gentle voice and I nodded, giving her a grateful smile. It took hours to get us ready. When our make-up was in place and my hair was pinned up in an elaborate updo that would later hold the veil and the diamond headpiece, my aunts Livia and Ornatella came in carrying my wedding dress as well as the bridesmaid dresses for Lily and Gianna. There was only one hour left until the wedding ceremony.

***

I stared at my reflection. The dress was gorgeous; the chapel train fanned out behind me, the platinum embroidery glittering wherever the sunlight hit it, and the empire waist was accentuated by a white satin ribbon.

“I love the sweetheart neckline. It gives you a breathtaking cleavage,” Aunt Livia gushed. She was Valentina’s mother.

“Luca will surely appreciate it,” Aunt Ornatella said.

Something on my face must have made my mother realize I was close to having a nervous breakdown, so she ushered my aunts out. “Let the three girls have a moment.”

Gianna stepped into view beside me. Her red hair contrasted beautifully with the mint dress. She opened the box with the necklace. Diamonds and pearls surrounded by intricate white gold threads. “Luca doesn’t spare any costs, does he? That necklace and your headpiece probably cost more than most people pay for their house.”

The conversation and laughter of the gathered guests carried up from the gardens through the open window into the room. Every now and then a clunk could be heard.

“What’s that noise?” I asked, trying to distract myself. Gianna walked over to the window and peered out. “The men are taking off their guns and putting them into plastic boxes.”

“How many?”

Gianna cocked an eyebrow.

“How many guns does each man put away?”

“One.” She frowned, then it dawned on her, and I nodded grimly. “Only a fool would leave the house with less than two guns.”

“Then why the show?”

“It’s symbolic,” I said. Like this horrid wedding.

“But if they all want peace, why not attend unarmed? It’s a wedding, after all.”

“There have been red weddings before. I saw pictures from a wedding where you couldn’t tell the color of the bride’s dress anymore. It was soaked in blood.”

Lily shuddered. “That won’t happen today, right?”

Anything was possible. “No, Chicago and New York need each other too much. They can’t risk spilling blood among each other as long as the Bratva and the Taiwanese pose a threat.”

Gianna snorted. “Oh great, that’s comforting.”

“It is,” I said firmly. “At least we know nobody will come to harm today.” My stomach twisted into a knot. Except for me, maybe. Probably.

Gianna wrapped her arms around me from behind and rested her chin on my bare shoulder. “We could still run. We could get you out of your dress and sneak out. They’re all busy. Nobody would notice.”

Lily nodded her head vigorously and got up from where she’d perched on the bed.

Luca would notice. I forced a brave smile. “No. It’s too late.”

“It’s not,” Gianna hissed. “Don’t give up.”

“There would be blood on my hands if I broke the agreement. They would kill each other in retribution.”

“They all have blood on their hands. Every single fucking person in the garden.”

“Don’t curse.”

   
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