Home > Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(17)

Bound By Honor (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #1)(17)
Author: Cora Reilly

Gianna took a seat beside me, then leaned over to whisper in my ear. “I’m glad he didn’t shove his tongue down your throat. I don’t think I could get any food down if I had to witness that.” I was glad too. I was already tense enough. If Luca actually tried to deepen a kiss in front of hundreds of guests, I might lose it altogether.

Matteo sat beside Luca and said something to him that made both of them laugh. I didn’t even want to know what kind of lewd joke that might have been. The rest of the seats at our table belonged to my parents, Fabiano and Lily, Luca’s father and step-mother, as well as Fiore Cavallaro and his wife and their son Dante. I knew I should be starving. The only thing I’d eaten all day were the few pieces of banana in the morning, but my stomach seemed content to live on fear alone.

Matteo rose from his chair after everyone had settled down and clinked his knife against the Champagne glass to silence the crowd. With a nod toward Luca and me, he began his toast. “Ladies and gentlemen, old and new friends, we’ve come here today to celebrate the wedding of my brother Luca and his stunningly beautiful wife Aria…”

Gianna reached for my hand under the table. I hated having the attention of everyone on me, but I mustered up a bright smile. Matteo soon made several inappropriate jokes that had almost everyone roaring and even Luca leaned back in his chair with a smirk, which seemed to be the only form of smile he allowed himself most of the time. After Matteo, it was my father’s turn; he praised the great collaboration of the New York mob and the Chicago Outfit, making it sound as if this was a business merger and not a wedding feast. Of course he also dropped a few hints that it was a wife’s duty to obey and please her husband.

Gianna clutched my hand so tightly by then that I was worried it would fall off.  At last, it was Luca’s father’s turn to toast us. Salvatore Vitiello wasn’t quite as impressive but whenever his eyes settled on me, I had to stifle a shiver. The only good thing about listening to the toast was that nobody could call ‘Bacio, Bacio’ and that Luca’s attention was focused elsewhere. That reprieve was short-lived however.

The servers began piling the tables with antipasti; everything from veal Carpaccio, Vitello Tonnato, Mozzarella di Bufala, an entire leg of parma ham, over a selection of Italian cheeses, octopus salad, marinated calamari as well as green salads and ciabiatta. Gianna grabbed a piece of bread and tore into it, then said, “I wanted to make a toast as your bridesmaid but Father forbade it. He seemed worried I would say something to embarrass our family.”

Luca and Matteo glanced our way. Gianna hadn’t bothered lowering her voice and pointedly ignored Father’s death glare. I tugged at her arm. I didn’t want her to get in trouble. With a huff, she filled her plate with antipasti and dug in. My plate was still empty. A server filled my glass with white wine and I took a sip. I’d already drunk a glass of Champagne; that combined with the fact that I hadn’t eaten much all day made me feel slightly foggy.

Luca put a hand on mine, preventing me from taking another gulp. “You should eat.” If I hadn’t felt the eyes of everyone at the table on me, I’d have ignored his warning and downed the wine. I grabbed a slice of bread, took a bite, then put the rest onto my plate. Luca’s lips tightened but he didn’t try to coax me into eating more, not even when soup was served and I let it go back untouched. They served lamb roast for the main course. The sight of the whole lambs made my stomach turn but it was traditional. The cook rolled a rotisserie table toward us, since we had to be served first. Luca as the husband got the first slice and before I could decline he told the cook to give me a slice as well. The center of the table was loaded with roasted rosemary potatoes, truffled mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and much more.

I forced a bite of lamb and potato into my mouth before I set down my cutlery. My throat was too tight for food. I washed it down with another gulp of wine. Luckily Luca was busy talking to the men at the table about a club the Russians had attacked in New York. Even Dante Cavallaro, the future Boss of the Outfit looked almost animated when he talked about business.

A band started playing when dinner was over, the signal that it was time for the obligatory dance. Luca stood, holding out his hand. I let him pull me to my feet, and at once ‘Bacio, Bacio’ rang out. Gianna narrowed her eyes and searched the guests, as if she was thinking of attacking the culprit who’d started the chanting.

When Luca tugged me toward him, I stumbled against his chest as dizziness caught up with me. Luckily, nobody noticed because Luca’s arms around me held me firm. His eyes pierced mine as he lowered his lips and brushed them against mine. The band played faster and faster, urging us to finally enter the dance floor; the tables had been set up in circles around it. Luca kept his arm around my waist as he led me toward the center. To everyone around us it looked like a loving embrace but it was the only thing keeping me upright.

Luca pulled me against his chest for the waltz and I had no choice but to rest my cheek against it. I could feel a gun under his vest. Even the groom couldn’t come to his wedding unarmed. For the first time I was glad for Luca’s strength. He had no trouble keeping me on my feet during the dance. When it ended, he leaned down. “Once we’re back at the table, you’ll eat. I don’t want you to pass out during our celebration and much less during our wedding night.”

I did as he asked and forced down a few more bites of now cold potato and meat. Luca’s alert gaze kept checking on me while he talked to Matteo. The dance floor was filled with other people now. Lily rose from her chair and asked Romero to dance. No surprise there. He couldn’t refuse her of course. Neither could I refuse when Luca’s father asked me for a dance. After that I was handed from one man to the next until I lost count of their names and faces. All through it Luca’s eyes followed my every move, even when he danced with the women of our families. Gianna, too, couldn’t escape the dance floor. I caught her dancing with Matteo at least three times and her face got more sullen by the minute.

“May I?”

I startled at the distantly familiar voice that sent a thrill of fear through my body. Dante Cavallaro took the place of whomever I’d danced with before. He was tall, albeit not as tall as Luca, and not as muscled. “You don’t look impressed with the festivities.”

“Everything’s perfect,” I said mechanically.

   
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