Act 1: Queen's Rook - Chapter 6


Christian walks with me to Nico and Sylvana’s villa, which is on the same estate as this. I start telling him about Serena’s discovery, and when I conclude my story, he has an impassive look on his face.

“Allessio fucking Speranzini,” he says with disgust in his voice.

“I guess you know him, then?” I say sarcastically, knowing the reputation that bastard has and how they compare me to him in mafia circles.

“Know him? If I knew what the fucker did to you and your family back in New York, I would not have an accord with him right now.” He says.

I stop walking and look up at him. “You have an accord with my greatest enemy?”

He looks at me. “As I said, Sienna, if I knew he was the reason he caused you pain, I would not have met with him a year ago. You play your cards close to your chest; how was I supposed to know what you two meant to one another? I didn’t even know Serena was his daughter; in fact, no one I know is aware that he even has a daughter. He has a son he keeps close to him at all times since his eldest got killed.”

I don’t say anything to this, and Christian sighs. “If Allessio is behind Sylvana’s disappearance, I will find out. If you want, I can use our accord against him.”

I shake my head. “Allessio will have known you’re close to me by now and will use it against you instead. The man is cunning; he developed a bullet that shoots through bulletproof glass in one go. He did that just to get back at Dante.”

“Dante Dragonetti. If I knew you were his wife, I would never have imposed-”

“Wait, you didn’t know?”

Christian gives me an odd expression. “Sienna, no one in the underground families from Russia to Greece and even Japan, knew that Dante even had a wife or daughter. We have all assumed that you were the older sister who has decided to take over.”

I blanch at this. “What? But how can that be?”

“Dante was a very secretive man, Sienna. If he didn’t want you to know something, you would have been blind up until the truth was revealed. It did well in keeping you safe all this time.” He says and tilts my chin to look at him. “Is this the reason you’re so sad during winter?”

“Yes,” I say, not meeting his eye, but he seems to understand. “Alright, then I will no longer push the issue if it makes you uncomfortable.” He says, letting go of my chin, then following my lead as we walk.

No one knows I’m Dante’s wife; no one even knew he had one. I need to test this theory before I just blindly believe Christian. He’s sweet and all, but now that I know that he has ties to the man who ruined my life, I don’t trust him as much as I used to.

“This makes absolutely no sense; why wait ten years to turn traitor?” He asks, snapping me out of my thoughts. I shake my head. “That is exactly what I asked myself, but I have yet to come to an answer.”

Christian looks over at Nico’s villa, then glances towards me. “Give me a few days, and I’ll look into it. For now, let's hear what Nico has to say in all of this; perhaps we missed something.”

I nod, but before I can reply, Nico rushes outside, and when he sees Christian, a frown crosses his brow. “What is he doing here?” He asks.

“Christian was with me when you called, Nico. He might be able to help in all of this. Now, please tell me what happened here.” I say, walking towards him. He sighs and shakes his head.

“I’ve been out at Mestizo’s since noon and told her that I will be back before five. When I got home, I noticed the quiet and found this on the refrigerator door.” He says, handing over a small piece of paper.

/‘Don’t come looking for us - S’/

“It’s her handwriting; I would recognise it a mile away.”

“But why would she leave? Were you guys fighting a lot, arguing?” I ask, trying to make sense of this situation, but Nico shakes his head. “We argue as much as any couple, but never for more than an hour or so. We always make up in the end, but our fights aren’t anything serious. More about doing the dishes or taking out the trash, you know, normal stuff.”

I nod. “So, what could have made her run? Is there anything I should know, Nico?”

Nico narrows his eyes at me. “Is there anything you’re assuming, Sienna?” He asks with an edge to his voice, but I shake my head. “Not at all.”

“I think what Sienna means is has Sylvana been acting strange lately?” Christian steps in between us and places a hand on the small of my back.

Nico looks Christian up and down with a stony expression on his face, then he sighs. “No, not at all. We were planning on going to Paris over Christmastime with the kids and even went to a travel agent to plan an itinerary.” He says, shaking his head and scoffing.

So they were planning to go away at Christmas, then? And no one told me anything….

“So, Sylvana would have no reason to leave, then?” Christian says and looks towards me.

“What if someone took her? Made her leave after threatening her?”

Nico shakes his head. “Not my Sylvana, never,” he says.

It’s true; Sylvana used to be a mafia boss and always had her wits about her. She’s the toughest woman I know; so why would she leave the love of her life?

I place a hand on Nico’s shoulder. “We’ll find her, I promise,” I say, and Nico nods, but then he looks at Christian and scowls. “This is a family matter; he shouldn’t be here.”

“Nico,” I start and pinch the bridge of my nose. “Christian has people monitoring the ports as well as the airports and any exit from Italy. We need him right now,” I say, repeating what Christian had told me after he got off the phone in my office.

Nico’s mouth is a thin line, but he eventually nods and turns to walk back inside his empty home. “I suppose I should alert Dario and Serena,” I sigh, shaking my head. “This will push Serena over the edge.”

Christian takes my hand and leads me back inside the villa. “We need to think with a clear head, and I do not think it’s best to think about fifty things at once. Focus on the fact that Sylvana has suddenly gone missing after Serena found out she has been meeting with a person connected to Allessio Speranzini.”

I look up at Christian and frown. “What are you implying?”

He sighs. “Sienna, Sylvana might not be the same woman she was when she married Nico. I want to meet with Allessio, but I can’t exactly do that right after Sylvana disappears; it will send alarm bells ringing. Let me see what I can find out, okay?”

I nod as we get to the door of the villa but then Christian’s phone rings. He smiles at me apologetically and walks off to answer it; I don’t find this odd because I do the exact same thing when it comes to our work. I might be the woman Christian wants, but I am still a Mafioso.

I watch the sunset casting a hue over the garden and sigh; I don't remember the last time I even went into a garden, much less planted, potted or sketched. My life took a different turn in Italy, and it makes me realise that I have come a long way from being that bird in a golden cage.

“Honey,” Bamba walks towards me with a swagger in her step and twirls. “Notice anything different?” She asks with a smile on her face, but when I narrow my eyes to look at her, the smile drops. “You don’t.”

Her disappointment makes my heart crack, and I wrap my arms around her. “I’m sorry, Bamba. I just have a lot on my mind right now.” I say, letting go and placing my hands on her shoulders. She pouts but knows what I mean when I say this.

A whistle sounds behind us, and Christian saunters in. “Wow, Bamba, that is one beautiful dress; you should wear ones like that more often. It accentuates your curves well.” He says with that dreamy smile Bamba loves so much, and I can literally see her swooning.

“Thank you, Christian. At least someone noticed my change in dress type,” she says, raising her eyebrow at me, and I roll my eyes. She then kisses me on the cheek and saunters to her room upstairs.

I look at her walking away from me and sigh. “I just can’t please them all,” I murmured to myself, but I think Christian heard me because he came up from behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. “No, you can’t. So just start with one,”

Turning my head to look at him, I frown. “And who might that be?” I ask with a raised eyebrow.

Christian chuckles. “Yourself. If you’re not happy, everyone will feel it since you’re who they look to for strength.” He says and kisses my cheek before letting go of me and turning me around. “I have to leave for a bit, duty calls. Don’t forget about our date tomorrow - 1 PM, wait for me.”

“I’ll be waiting,” I say with a smile and Christian winks at me before walking out of the villa.

Happiness? I don’t think I know how to feel that anymore.

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