by sarAdora ~~~~~~~~~~
A night of pleasure always rejuvenated Giancarlo. A bottle of wine, good food and a particularly beautiful woman was the perfect prescription. It was just what he needed to forget about Francesca Minucci for a few hours. The beautiful woman was a new addition to his brothels... very talented he was told... so talented that she would make him forget all his troubles and beg for more.
She drank his wine, ate his food and smiled a lot.
And that was all she did.
When they were finally in her well-established room and stroking each other, he looked at her and found her wanting. She was lovely but no cigar. Francesca is lovelier. She smelled like sensuous musk; Francesca smells like jasmine and fresh air. And she was soft in all the right places. Francesca is silk and satin and warm sunshine and hot wine and...
"Christ Jesus!" he growled. "Basta! Enough! Put your clothes on!"
His driver was smart enough not to comment when the Godfather stormed into the limo before he could open the door for him. "Where to, Sporgenza Boss?" he asked.
"Drive!" Giancarlo barked, flabbergasted that he hadn't been able to perform.
Slumped into an easy chair in his bedroom, he didn't notice that he had spilled wine onto his shirt, the glass in his hand the fifth or sixth he had drunk that night. He felt ill... and put upon... and empty.
"Francesca, bambina," he moaned as he tipped his head back and drained the contents of his glass. "You are driving me crazy. Sto andando... I am going to..." The rest of the thought disappeared as he eyed his empty wineglass, wondering who had drunk his good wine... and moments later, he was asleep, his clothing askew as he sank down into the cushions.
Morning came too early, the sun lighting his room with its bright rays. Giancarlo stood to close the drapes and fell back into the chair, his head the size of a watermelon, the combination of pain and nausea causing him to moan... and curse royally... in English and Italian...
His mother paused outside his bedroom door and chuckled when she heard him. She moved past his room satisfied that her son had spent a miserable night. "Oh yes, Francesca will be perfect for you, mio bambino."
At mid-morning, he still hadn't come out of his bedroom.
"Sporgenza," Antonio, his manservant, knocked on the door. "Would you like something to eat?"
Hearing a particularly vituperative response regarding the flea population of Venice and his anatomy, the man arched a brow and moved on, taking the full breakfast tray away with him. He returned later with a carafe of extra strong coffee, knocked again, and informed his boss that it was there if he wanted it. When he returned an hour later, the coffee was gone.
Mid-afternoon, Giancarlo emerged. Freshly showered, shaved and reasonably dressed, he made his way to the dining room where he ordered food to be served. "Pasta with butter and Parmesan," he said and caffè, nero. coffee, black."
When his mother joined him and asked how he felt, he scowled and told her it was not polite to shout.
She laughed and left him to his misery.
He ate more pasta for dinner and retired early, his thoughts on Francesca and the events of the past few days.
In the morning, he was fit, awake and alert and loaded for bear. It was time to bring his future wife home, but first...
The Godfather's driver took the scenic route to Petey Petrale's house. He had noticed that his boss had entered the limo with that brisk step he took when he had an unpleasant task that needed his personal attention. Whoever would be on the receiving end would have a rough time of it and he knew that it was going to be Francesca Minucci, the pretty woman the Godfather had chosen to be his wife. His boss needed time to calm down so when he found the old house where the Petrale's lived, he circled the block a few times until Giancarlo finally yelled at him to park.
"Sporgenza..." the man argued. "Go easy, per piacere please. La bella donna... the beautiful woman... She's young."
"Si, and she's going to learn while she's young."
Petey Petrale was so shocked to see the Godfather's limousine, he forgot to invite the man into his house. "Don Batali?" he asked as if he didn't know the man. "W... welcome to my home," he stammered when his wits returned.
"Where is she?"
"She is in the children's room. She's..."
She was rocking the baby in her arms, humming a soft tune, and didn't hear him enter the room.
He stood stock-still, the sweet scene tugging at his heartstrings and whatever anger he had, disappeared when he saw her. Petey's wife nudged her husband away from the door. The ragazza girl was going to be all right; there was nothing to worry about.
Francesca finally noticed him standing in the doorway watching her and smiled at him. The smile caught him off-guard and he smiled back.
"Bambina," he said softly. "I've been worried about you."
"I know," she answered.
"And I missed you," he admitted.
"I know," she smiled. "I thought you would."
His brow arched and she laughed softly, proving once again that she was part child, part sensuous woman. Instantly, he was hard pressed not to scoop her up into his arms, kiss her until she begged him to love her, spank the living daylights out of her for worrying him and kiss her again! He headed toward her.
The infant she was rocking gurgled as he approached and thrust a fist in his direction that made Francesca laugh again. Giancarlo kneeled by their side, took the babe's tiny fist in his hand and with the other, tickled the child's belly. The baby continued to make those satisfied baby sounds, kicking its little legs in the air, and causing both of them to smile.
"I am eager to repeat this over and over again... with our own bambinos," the big man murmured as he gazed at the child. "Siete tutto ildi destra? Are you all right? Did you come to any harm?" he asked with a calmness he didn't feel. "Tell me, bambina."
"I am well," she replied, placing a reassuring hand on his arm. "Petey saved me from that unpleasantness. I... I tried to gouge his eyes out," she shuddered suddenly, remembering the total fear that ran through her when the man had grabbed her, the adrenaline surge that had made her nauseous. "But Petey... he was there and..."
"Calmo, bambina," he murmured putting an arm around her shoulder. "It is over and I will take care of the matter." Petey had told him how brave she had been, how she had fought against the unexpected attack, how she had shown no fear when she had been in danger. It had been like that when she had saved his life four years earlier.
"You will reward him, si?" she asked.
"Richly," he assured her. "I am in the man's debt."
"Thank you," she smiled at him and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek, melting him on the spot.
He held her close to him while they drove away, his need to hold her overwhelming him and Francesca surprisingly happy to be in his arms.
The driver watched them surreptitiously as he drove, wondering what had occurred in the house and knowing his boss well, made a bet with himself as to how long it would be before the ragazza felt the weight of the Godfather's hand on her natiche dolce sweet butt.
"We have much to discuss," Giancarlo murmured as he pulled her onto his lap, his lips seeking her throat while his arms tightened around her.
"You are angry that I didn't tell you where I was going?" she asked as she cupped his cheek. She didn't notice that she kissed his brow as she spoke to him, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
"You regret your actions?" he asked as he raised his head to look at her.
"No," she answered truthfully.
A brow arched.
"I mean..." she shivered delicately, the arched brow making her squirm. "I needed to get away, think... put some space between us so I could think clearly... I didn't mean to... I didn't know I was... I... It wasn't *my* fault those men came after me," she finished indignantly. "You cannot blame me for that. Who were they? Petey wouldn't tell me. I think..."
"I think you've said enough, bella," he murmured. "Siete mia guerriera piccola donna. You are my little woman warrior. And it's time you learned that *I* will fight the battles in our lives. Lo obbedirete. Capite? You will obey me. Do you understand?"
"I stand up for myself," she said in a huff, trying to move off his lap. "Angelina always told me... I am very capable of... Just because I am a woman does not mean... Let me go! Take your hands off of me!"
That brow of his arched again...