Page 29 of Running

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“What is going on? Bosco who is this bitch?” Shrieks Ravinia.

Elena tenses. I’m sure she is biting her tongue so hard it’s bleeding. I grab her hand. Lending her my strength. Or letting her take out her aggression.

Damn! She has my hand in a death grip. It’s so tight her nails are digging into my skin. Thank god she doesn't have sharp, acrylic nails like Milan.

“Elena is my daughter.” Bosco says proudly.

“What?!” Ravinia’s jaw is dropped open.

“And my fiancé.” I add.

“No!” She screams.

“Mom, what's going on?” Milan asks as she climbs down the stairs. It’s two am and she has a tight dress and sky high heels on already. At least her makeup isn't as extravagant as it usually is. I’m guessing she rushed to throw an outfit on that was worthy of pleasing her mother before racing downstairs when she heard yelling. God forbid she was seen looking anything less than a plastic doll.

Milan takes notice of my hand in Elena's. “Luca? Who is this?”

I see Elena give me glance sideways before releasing my hand with a small nod. As though telling me to go to Milan and let her down easy. “Milan, why don’t we talk in the library?” She smiles brightly and gives a glare to Elena. Her attitude change has me internally cringing. She thinks I am abandoning Elena in favor of her.

As we walk in silence, I mull over how to tell Milan that our arranged marriage is off. She has been looking forward to it for years. She has told all her friends. It’s is going to crush her. I may not have wanted to marry her, but I never wanted to hurt her.

We settle onto one of the sofas. I try to keep a few feet between us. She quickly scoots closer. Her thigh pressed tightly against mine. Her hands grasping my forearm. I want to pull myself free. The unfamiliar feeling of betraying Elena crawls along my skin. I try to shake the thought. Elena has a heart. She will know that Milan needs this. Needs me. Her world is about to be turned upside down. I’m not usually one to show emotion or comfort another. Elena is the first to have seen it. The first to experience it. For her it comes naturally to me.

Damn. What is happening to me?

I need to grow my balls back after this. I’m going to be Don. We are at war with the Cartel. This sappy crap needs to be kept under wraps. Except for my Elena. I will soak her in affection as I ravage her body in our bed. She will be what I fight to come home to each night. Not that she will be waiting for me. I’m sure my little hellcat will be stepping into the house with me. She isn’t one to sit back and let others take charge. She will want to be in on the action and I will be powerless to stop her. Not that I will want to. Elena has already proven herself capable of holding her own in a fight. Besides, with her by my side I can keep an eye on her better than trusting her to stay at home.

I’m going to have my hands full keeping her in line. Teaching her to work with others. Work with me. Beside me.

I look forward to the challenge.

I have to be cautious not to let the smile I feel tingle my cheeks show. This conversation with Milan is serious. Smiling as I destroy all that she has believed to be true is a dick move even for me.

Turning to her. I separate our legs and take her hands into my own. I need her focus on the words coming out of my mouth. Not on her hands creeping up my bicep.

“Milan.” I take a deep breath. Making sure I have her attention. “Things around here are going to be changing. A lot of things actually.”

A smile crosses her face. She leans in closer with her chest. “You mean me and you? I’m ready Luca. I’ve been ready. I know you wanted to wait until I turn eighteen. You don’t have to.” I see the hope and desire in her eyes and realize I’ve already screwed this conversation up. “I mean legally I need to be sixteen to marry and my mom and dad will need to sign off…”

I shake my head. “Milan, that’s not what I’m talking about.”

“You’re not?” The disappointment flashes across her face before she is able to hide it. She plasters on the smile Ravinia taught her.

“This is difficult for me to tell you. I want you to know though, this changes nothing with Bosco. You understand?”

“Luca. Whatever it is I can handle it. I am the daughter of the Don.” If she only knew. Well, soon she will.

“Before your father married your mom, he had another wife.” Her eyes widen. “When he was eighteen they married. A few weeks later she disappeared. He was told she died.”

Her hand covers her mouth. Gone is the mask her mom has ingrained in her to wear. “Oh my god. That’s horrible.”

“It was. Until a few days ago.” Her hand slowly lowers back to her lap. “Her name is Violet. And she’s alive.”

“That’s wonderful!” There is genuine excitement in her voice.

“And she has a daughter.” I wait to see if Milan understands. She doesn’t. “Bosco’s daughter. She was pregnant when she was forced to flee the city.”

Her eyes stray away from me. The brightness in them not yet diminished like I feared. “I have a sister?”

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