3: Push my buttons

Pov: Andre

Never, in all my twenty eight years of existence, have I lost my shit the way I did just now. I prided myself on having a good head on my shoulder. I never reacted out of anger, spite, lust or envy. Every move I make is cold and calculated, every plan well thought out before execution. You don't gain the level of power and control I have by letting your emotions control you. Weaker men were slaves to their own emotions. Nothing good came out of acting irrationally.

But I have never met anyone that pushed my buttons the way my soon to be stepsister did in a few short minutes.

It wasn't my intention to choke the shit out of her but it had felt so fucking good having her rebellious ass smothered into submission.

She hadn't even tried to fight back. All her fierceness and feistiness had simply vanished in thin air.

"Don't do it again," my voice was only a deathly whisper that found its way home to her as she nodded slowly, losing what fight she had in her.

Satisfaction purred in my veins, the reward for winning this battle. The first of many, I could tell, from the way she clenched her fists angrily, her anger coming back in tiny spurts.

I found myself wondering how much she could take before she folded and submitted to my every whim for good.

The thought sent a bout of pleasure zapping through my spine and I relished the thought for a blessed moment but as I looked at her, every pleasant emotion I had originally felt took a hike on me.

There were angry welts around her neck, red marks my fingers had left, marring the gold lustre skin of her throat. An uncomfortable foreign feeling pooled in my lower abdomen at the sight.

"Come with me," I said gruffly.

She sniffed, "I'm not going anywhere with you."

"You can't go in there looking like that."

"I'm not going anywhere with you," she repeated in a broken whisper, hugging her arms around herself.

That uncomfortable emotion climbed higher into my throat. Something pulled at my chest.

Fuck. I don't need this shit right now.

The entire week had been problematic enough, what with finding the Polish mafia spreading their wings, intruding on my territory and trying to sell one commodity I will never condone.

Sex slaves.

I may be a cold criminal, a cruel godfather of the mafia but tearing children away from their lives and parents and forcing to work in whorehouses, or auctioning them off to work as sex slaves for senile men, was a line I would never cross.

And the Polish were trying to do it on MY territory.

A growl escaped my lips and my hands fisted into angry balls.

A small whimper sounded close to me and I snapped out of my thoughts only to see Bianca flinching into the wall, her features tight with apprehension.

It sparked a predatory glint in me and I stepped closer to her. She stepped back, pressing deeper into the wall.

A smile curved my lips at this game we were playing.

"Why are you running from me, micetta?"

Her eyes sparked with rage, probably at the term of endearment and it made my lips curve higher.

"In case it isn't obvious, you just choked the shit out of me."

"You aggravated me."

"And two seconds ago, you looked like you wanted to snap something in half. I was in your line of vision, so pardon me for wanting to run from you," she bit out sarcastically.

I frowned, her words ticking me off for some reason. I was starting to realize that this would probably happen frequently and I had to be in control of myself if I wanted to stay sane.

"I won't hurt you if you know your place." I said easily. " Don't disrespect me again. Don't speak out of turn and don't bring dishonor to the family by the things you do, what you wear and how you talk. And we will get along nicely."

She only scowled at me, making a disgruntled sound at the back of her throat.

The veins in my neck were pounding out of control. I took another step towards her, my chest brushing hers in the lightest of touches. Her soft and sweet scent suddenly enveloped my nostrils and I found myself struggling not to take a deep breath.

She smelled like something soft and sweet. Something to be taken care of and protected. But her eyes and body language told a different story. I almost chuckled at the contradiction. She looked like she could take adequate care of herself.

"You can agree with me," I said, my voice deceptively soft, my eyes darkening as my fingers brushed her neck again, "or we can keep playing this game where I force you to play by my rules."

I watched as my fingers flexed around her neck, her lips, dark red and vibrant, parted at the action and I found myself concentrating on them, wondering how it'd look with my dick between them.

The thought immediately sent a spike of blood rushing to my groin and I bit my lip against the throbbing feeling and the unwarranted image my thoughts conjured up. My fingers involuntarily flexed harder around her neck.

She swallowed, like before, losing what fight she had in her and her shoulders slumped. That tiny action made me grin a predatory grin that only stretched when she nodded, once, twice.

"Perfect," I patted her cheek, "and I didn't have to choke you this time."

She glared at me, barring her glittering white teeth so that I saw her sharp canines, but she held herself from biting my head off and I chuckled at that.

I held out an arm. "Now, hang on to me like the good little sister you're about to be, let's go back to dinner."

Again, she barred her teeth at me, swallowing back a few choice expletives I knew she wanted to lash at me. But she reigned her anger in and took the arm I offered, hanging on to it like she was holding on for dear life, her nails were painted a pitch dark color. And they were currently digging into my skin through the sleeves of my shirt.

I reined in my anger, knowing that she was just testing my patience.

We walked back into the dining room and I immediately picked up the tension in the atmosphere. I watched as my father zeroed in on the marks around Bianca's neck. The little fiend was wearing it like a proud collar, pushing her hair back so that everyone would see what I did to her.

"Andre," he said gruffly, pushing his chair back as he stood up. "A word?"

I cocked an eyebrow at him, every bone in my body wanted to refuse him. We had never had a reason to be at each other's throats. We had the same ethics, dark and twisted at we may be, there were certain lines we agreed to never cross. We always saw eye to eye and it was a shame that a female was about to drive a wedge between us.

He obviously wanted to talk about the bruises Bianca was sporting and I would hear what he had to say out of respect but that would be the only privilege I would allow. I was Don now and I didn't need him breathing down my neck over a rebellious airhead that dressed like a prostitute to an important family dinner and didn't know how to hold her tongue.

Still, I conceded, standing up and following him into his study.

"Mária is displeased," he said without preamble as soon as the doors closed behind us. He looked at me, his bushy eyebrows etching ridges into his skull. "You will not mishandle her daughter again."

"Is that an order, papa?" I asked, my voice deathly quiet, a daring gleam in my eyes.

My father had been a ruthless don of the Italian mafia himself, but I had done what he couldn't. I had stretched our roots farther than Italy and into America and all of the east coast and midwest belonged to me. It was only a matter of time before I drove out the Polish and Mexicans and pushed the borders of my territory father west, claiming the whole of America once and for all.

I had achieved so much in a few short years. More than my father or any mafia head had ever done. And I didn't get to this point by being a cowering, simpering son of the retired godfather, bowing to his every whim.

I respected my father but that was the best he was going to get from me.

He held my gaze, dark eyes piercing into mine.

The air between us crackled with the tension in the atmosphere.

"I am asking you," he gritted his teeth, his request hard on him and taking large chunks of his pride, "not to hurt your future stepsister."

"I won't," I nodded, conceding to his request, "if she learns to hold her tongue and know her place, especially around me."

It was obvious that she was a feral, feisty spitfire... A fighter with a lot of pride and fire. But I have broken more than just bones in my bloody climb to the top. The pride and ego of proud, resilient men and faithful soldiers of rival mafias was always the most fun to break.

Oh, I'll enjoy breaking her immensely.

"I know that look on your face, son," my father said warily, probably catching the delighted gleam in my eyes. " We don't harm women. We don't harm children. We don't harm the innocent. I thought that out of everyone, you would understand. Especially considering what happened to your mother."

His words brought my pleasant thoughts to a screeching halt.

"You will NOT bring up your failures as a man and as a husband to tell me how to control the insolence of a less deserving woman!" I hissed, anger curdling the blood in my veins. I was shaking with wrath. So much wrath, vivid images of my mother flashing in my head. Kidnapped. Tortured. Abused. Used.

I was shaking, my clenched fists trembling.

I have never lost control like this. Never like this. But that was because he had never brought up my mother.

I swallowed and looked at him, fighting with the anger and madness clouding my senses. "I love you, papa and I respect you. But the next time you bring up mama, I won't be held responsible for my actions."

That was no way to speak to a retired don of the Cosa Nostra but I was losing my shit right now.

He heaved a tired sigh and waved a hand at me, dismissing me but I was already turning around and leaving the study.

Walking back to the dining room, the atmosphere was tense with fear and dread and I took my seat beside Bianca who chanced a glance at my knuckled fists that were trembling violently on the table.

I felt her gaze on me and knowing that she was going to be smiling smugly, probably pleased that somehow my father had gotten to me without even knowing the details of our fallout, my eyes snapped to hers angrily but the look on her face stopped me in my tracks.

Concern.

Something squeezed painfully in my chest and for the first time since I found out about my father wanting to get married again, I looked at her. Really looked at her.

She was beautiful. Devastatingly so. And it was something I knew from the moment my consigliere and confidant, Leon Vitello, handed me indepth files I had requested of my soon to be stepsister.

I knew the basics. She recently turned twenty one. Five feet four inches. Barely a hundred and seventy pounds. Her birthday was February sixteenth and her blood group was O+. She dated a Justin Forbes three years prior to today and attended a community university here in Chicago studying criminal law with excellent grades and was hoping to transfer to an Ivy league school on merit. She lived in a rundown apartment she could barely afford in a sketchy part of town, far from her campus and she danced, worked out and practiced kickboxing in her spare time.

Like I said, I knew the basics, I knew she was beautiful, but now, it seemed like I was only just seeing her for the first time.

She had an elegant, regal bone structure. Sharp cheekbones, oval face, vibrant green eyes and silky black hair I suddenly wanted to feel between my fingers. A silver nose stud glistened on her long slender nose. Her lips were dark red and pouty and currently twisted into a worried frown, her elegant eyebrows furrowing into her skull.

Her skin was a soft, golden tan complexion and once again, sighting the bruises around her neck, marring the gold of her skin, made me uncomfortable. A weird feeling tugged at my chest. One that I wasn't familiar with.

Despite her fire and fury, she couldn't defend herself as well as I'd like and with enemies and rival mafias crawling out of their hiding places as news of my father's engagement and wedding spread, I knew I needed to extend my protection to her too, sooner than later.

A rapid beat canted in my chest at the sight of the bruises I had inflicted, knowing that an enemy would do worse. Much worse. I shifted in my seat, scowling at the overbearing anxiety flooding my veins, the weird racing of my heartbeat. But before I could put a finger on it, my father strolled into the dining room, a hardened expression on his face.

Mária looked at him worriedly and he smiled a tight reassuring smile at her, taking her hand and kissing her knuckles.

That uncomfortable tugging feeling again.

My father had only ever been this touchy-feely with my mother. He was the type of man that honoured the bonds of marriage and never had any affair scandal. He genuinely loved my mother and after she died, a version of him died with her. He stopped being the proud, powerful man I had known all my life and became a shell of himself. He would have let the mafia be overrun with greedy, traitorous, less deserving men if I hadn't stepped up in his place and taken back what was rightfully mine.

The fact that he could love again made me relieved and I guess I should thank Mária for bringing some purpose into his life.

Speaking of the devil, Mária caught my eyes and I saw the afflicted look in them. She had the same luscious green that her daughter had, the same elegant bone structure and slender frame, but she lacked Bianca's fire and confidence. She was demure and submissive in a way most women in the mafia were. Which wasn't a bad thing in retrospect. In our world, women who were demure and docile were safer than those who fought against the system.

The food arrived and my father held out his hands to say the grace.

Everybody held hands to share the grace. Bianca took my hand and a zap of... Something shot through my nerves, frying my synapses at the feel of her hand in mine.

I looked at her again, her regal profile, her beautiful face and felt my heart beating out of control.

What the hell was that?

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