“You will go with Lorenzo,” my father, Giuseppe Morabito, says as he looks across the room at the only man I’ve ever loved.
My dad pauses, staring down Lorenzo who is unflinching. I’ve never seen someone return my fathers gaze the way Lorenzo does. I only wish he would do the same in return for the lusty looks I’ve been giving him for years.
“He’s a little rough around the edges,” my dad announces so the whole room can hear. “But he knows not to be rough with you…or I will get rough with him until the last bit of oxygen passes from his lips.”
The room is silent as it always is when my dad speaks. Usually I’m not privy to these kinds of conversations, let alone present, but tonight is different.
The Italian police have been all over our family, the 'Ndrangheta. My dad knows they’re close and he needs to go away for a while.
Not away as in prison, as my dad is a fighter and at eighty-four years old the last thing he wants to see is the inside of a cell as he takes his final breath in this lifetime.
Not away as in on the run either. My dad refuses to back down from anyone. He never has and never will, but at this point he knows he needs to lie low for a while, and he can’t do that in Calabria, Italy.
Where he will go is anyone’s guess. As the boss of our family I only expect his consigliere and underboss to know.
But with him out of the picture he can no longer be the boss of me, and it’s any guess as to where things will go with Lorenzo now that I’m under his watchful eye.
At twenty-two years old my father has always kept a close watch over me, as has Lorenzo.
I see the way he looks at me, knowing he wants the same thing I want, but also knowing he’s not about to step over that line and risk his life, and mine.
Lorenzo was only around a few times a year. All I knew was that he lived “in the mountains” as my dad would say. I never asked more, fearing that my father might interpret my questions for interest and then Lorenzo’s days would be numbered.
As it stands, the only person’s days who are numbered are mine…as in eight thousand and thirty days, that’s how many days a woman’s had in her life when she turns twenty-two. One thousand four hundred and sixty days the number of days since I became legal, turning eighteen.
Nearly fifteen hundred nights since my eighteenth birthday…fifteen hundred chances for Lorenzo to take me to his bed and make me a woman for the first time.
I was saving myself for him and only him, and as far as I could tell he was saving himself in some way for me.
I don’t know about his past before he began working with the family as an associate, but I’ve never once seen him so much as look at another woman.
Sometimes after a big job the guys would all go to a strip club. The captains of the family loved treating their soldiers and associates from time to time after a big score, but Lorenzo never went with them. He simply did what he agreed to do and each and every time that was done he disappeared back into the mountains.
I wondered what he did up there. Wondered if he had a woman and a family. Wondered if he ever thought about me.
Now I was finally going to find out.