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Act 1: Queen's Rook - Chapter 7

Sienna

I wake up the following morning with a body pressed up against me, and when I open my eyes, I see Daniella’s sleepy face. Smiling, I decided to savour the moment instead of sprinting out of bed like I usually do.

Christian’s words about making myself happy first are still ringing in my head. I don’t know the first thing about keeping myself happy, much less keeping this family happy. But if they are continually looking to me for guidance and support, should I really continue as I have? God knows that I’ve had enough of stewing in this pit of despair, and ten years is a long time…

Even though Dante’s body was not recovered in the flames, I never gave up on finding him. Everyone thought I was crazy, following up on leads when someone would spot a person bearing his resemblance, but I loved him so much that I would have moved mountains to see him again.

It is only recently I am realising that he might be gone forever. I saw him go down in a haze of bullets, and I saw the blood. So why did I think he might still be alive, and if he were alive, who would have taken him and for what purpose?

These were my continuous thoughts over the last ten years, and I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t made me grow bitter.

“Mamma, stop mumbling like that. I want to sleep!” Daniella complains and pulls the blankets over her head again. I laugh at this and remove the blankets from her. “It’s time to get up now anyway, sleepyhead!” I say, and she groans. “Nooooooooooo….”

“How can you still be sleeping anyway? It’s been more than twelve hours since your sweet coma!” I exclaimed, getting out of bed and wrapping my nightgown around my waist.

I hear Daniella huffing behind me. “I woke up early! I still heard Christian’s car outside, too!” she says with a pout and crosses her arms. Frowning, I turn to face her. “You heard Christian’s car? What time was this?” I ask.

She shrugs. “The sky was pink when I heard his car drive away.”

So Christian left before dawn? This makes me slightly uneasy, given the fact that he’s connected to the man I loathed above all. I can’t allow myself to get distracted by him after finding this out.

But… then again, he could have hidden the fact that he had an accord with Allessio, but instead, he told me. What is his game exactly? Do I trust him or not?

“Are you going to get ready for your date with Christian?” Daniella suddenly asks me, and I chuckle. “Excuse me, how exactly do you know about that?” I ask with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, he obviously asked me first if he can take you,” she replies and rolls her eyes as if that was the most obvious answer.

“Oh, and since when do I need your permission to do things?” I say, crossing my arms and looking at her. She sighs. “Listen, mamma, Christian really likes you, and I won’t allow anyone else to kiss you but him.”

I burst out laughing at her little innocent mind and walked over to her side of the bed. “Thank you for thinking about my happiness, donnina,” I say and ruffle her hair. “Now, get your butt out of bed and get yourself ready for the day!”

She groans again but gets out of bed and shuffles out of my room. I need to tell Christian to stop feeding her so many sweets; it's not good for her in the end. I think the main reason I do it is that I want her to have a male figure in her life, one she can look up to and spoil her. Is it so wrong of me to think that way?

Sighing, I head to the bathroom to get myself ready for the day that lay ahead.

***

“I fucking knew it!” Serena paces the office floor and shakes her head.

“We can’t jump to conclusions right now, Serena,” I say, leaning over the desk with both my hands and looking at her and Dario.

“Don’t just jump to conclusions? Sienna, she ran away after we found out what she had been doing all this time! If that doesn’t prove that she’s a traitor, then you’re blind.” She says.

I can’t fault her, I really can’t, but giving in to her ideas right now would mean me giving up on Sylvana. “She won’t betray us, not after all this time.”

“Listen to yourself, Sienna! You need to stop living in the past and see what’s happening. Sylvana has betrayed us-!”

“Not quite, Serena,”

Our heads snap towards the office door to see Christian standing there with one hand in his pocket and the other holding a brown envelope. He nods at Dario and Serena, then walks towards my desk, perching on the edge.

“What do you mean by that, Christian?” I ask, standing up and crossing my arms. He looks at me and hands over the envelope. “Look for yourself,” he says.

My eyes go to Serena as I open it and pull out pictures. “Oh… Oh, no,” I say, shaking my head and handing the pictures over to Serena, whose expression matches mine.

“She’s been having an affair?” Dario asks, paging through the pictures of a happy looking Sylvana with another man, watching her boys running in an estate, embracing, kissing.

Christian shrugs. “That is what it looks like. These were taken in Saint-Tropez a few hours ago; my contact caught her IDs which I had red-flagged.”

I shake my head and put my hand to my mouth. “This is going to kill Nico,” I murmur, looking at Dario, who is wearing a dangerous expression. “We saved her, and this is how she repays us? I would say she is a traitor.” He then punches the wall next to the office door and storms out.

Serena looks towards the space her husband just occupied and let out a sigh before following him out. “After ten years,” she says, then walks out.

I sit down in my chair and hang my head in my hands. “This is a mess,” I say, shaking my head. Sylvana and Nico were supposed to be End Game; they loved one another fiercely and nearly died to be together. This will surely kill Nico; if it doesn’t, then I don’t know.

“Not quite,” Christian repeats again, and my head whips up to stare at him. He gives me a smile.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Christian walks over to me and pulls me to my feet. “Because I wasn’t completely honest with them; there’s more.” He says, pulling out his phone and handing it over to me. “Something Nico said last night got me thinking. Why would they argue about doing dishes or taking out the trash when they literally have live-in housekeeping?”

“You have a point,” I say and look down at the phone he's given to me. What I see in the photo gallery makes me even more disgusted than before.

Sylvana, Nico and the same man from those pictures are in compromising positions.

“Nico lied to us?” I ask, astounded at what I was seeing.

Christian nods. “Either that, or he truly doesn’t know that Sylvana has run off with this guy.” He says, sighing. “I propose not telling Nico just yet and seeing how far this goes. For all we know, Nico has been keeping more from you than just this little menage.”

If it's not one thing, it's something else.

“Okay,” I say. “But I need to think about this and go over everything before I decide what to do. I’m not Dante; I can’t kill first and ask questions later - this is something I have to think about.”

“I agree; however, for now, I need you to forget about everything else.” He says with a grin on his face, and I frown.

“Are you mad? There’s too much to think about right now, Christian. My family might be hiding something-!”

Christian places a hand over my mouth and puts a finger to his lips. “No. You have a date with me right now, and I forbid you to think about anything. From now until about five, it's only you and me.” He says.

I feel the heat rise into my cheeks, and he moves his hand away from my mouth. Oh, I had forgotten about our date.

Nodding, I allow Christian to lead me out of my office and for the first time in years, I feel butterflies in my stomach.

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