by sarAdora ~~~~~~~~~~
It was a nervous man who leaned against the limo the next morning, waiting for his boss to arrive. Giancarlo dismissed his driver's anxiety with a slight shrug and a firm "Tutto è bene All is well. Take me home."
He had left Francesca asleep in her bed, the night a hard one for both of them. Francesca had been certain he would assault her further and even though he had only held her in his arms, her reputation was in shreds; overnight, she had become a kept woman. No one would believe she was as pure as the driven snow and no one would gainsay the Godfather. If he said she belonged to him, she did; no one would question his word.
For Giancarlo, the night had been torturous. The woman is his arms was warm and soft and delicious. He wanted her with more than rising passion. He adored her spirit and knew they would grow to love each other. She was strong and temperamental and had a mind of her own. They would have beautiful children and he would have the joy of taming her to his hand. His mother had been right; she was what he needed. And even though he knew the outcome, he would court her for a while, woo her, and wait until she showed him that she loved him. From experience he knew that women were like that. Show them a little attention - some quality time - gifts, dinner out, some dancing. She'll be pushing me to get married.
When it comes to women - the right woman - some men are just naturally sciocco fools.
Mama Batali was an astute woman and knew better than to question where her son had spent the night. In the past, her Gianni had always sent his paramours home with his driver, preferring to sleep in his own bed and not once had he ever insulted her by bringing one of those women into their home to spend the night. She had been thrilled when Gianni took Francesca home and assumed her son would think seriously about courting the lovely girl. Then his driver came back to the compound alone... and she laughed! Her Gianni was his father's son and then some!
"Yes!" she chortled. "He will *have* to marry her!"
Surprised to see her son sitting at the breakfast table when she arrived, she bent to kiss his cheek and couldn't help chuckling at his disheveled look.
"Restless night, mio bambino?" she asked with glee.
He arched a brow and buried his nose in the morning newspaper. When he absently reached for his coffee cup, she slipped it into his hand.
"So? When is the wedding?" the older woman asked quietly, wondering if he would answer her.
"Tell the priest to announce the banns," her son replied calmly. "And pass the rolls and butter, please."
Mama Batali smiled and stopped while she was ahead.
"Are you alright, bambina?" Angelina asked as she rushed into Francesca's bedroom.
"Hmm," the younger woman replied, burying further down into the warm covers.
"Did it hurt badly?" she asked, stroking Francesca's cheek.
"Did what hurt badly?" Francesca asked, sitting up in bed and rubbing her eyes.
"Francesca!" Angelina stared at her adopted daughter. "You're still wearing..."
"My bra? Yes, and my slip, too. Why?" And then she remembered the night that had passed and blushed a deep shade of red.
"He didn't touch you," Angelina sighed in amazement. "He didn't touch you but he made you untouchable by any man. Why...? He wants to marry you!" she exclaimed. "That can be the only reason! Tell me! What happened between you and Giancarlo Batali?"
Angelina couldn't help herself; she giggled and then pulled Francesca into her arms. "You're going to be the Godfather's wife. His wife, bambina! Such a lucky girl!" she laughed.
Francesca wasn't sure she was lucky to have caught the Godfather's eye in the first place but she kept her thoughts to herself. It was possible he would tire of her. It was possible his mother would frown on her background; Francesca was a bastard as far as she knew, her mother had left her on the steps at the local police precinct when she was born. She had moved from one foster home into another most of her childhood. The only real home she knew was Angelina's.
"Do you think the Godfather's mother will accept me?" she asked Angelina when they sat down to breakfast.
"Why shouldn't she?" Angelina snorted. "The woman came from humble beginnings - not like yours," she amended. "But poor ones, very poor."
"How did she meet her husband?" Francesca's curiosity stirred her on. She really didn't want to show enthusiasm for the woman but the more she knew, the better equipped she would be to handle Giancarlo. The pig!
Angelina warmed to the subject, relating all she knew about Giancarlo's parents. Legend had it that his mother had been caught stealing fruit from a portable produce stand that belonged to her future husband. He caught her, upended her right there on the street and blistered her bottom. They were married a scant few weeks later.
Ahhh... so that's where Giancarlo learned to do that! she mused, her bottom still warm from last night's spankings.
"He did well, expanded his produce business, and when he died, Giancarlo and his mother were self-sufficient. Later," Angelina continued, "Giancarlo started his own businesses and you know the rest."
"His father was murdered, wasn't he?" Francesca remembered.
"Yes, but avenged by his son. You're getting a fierce but loyal husband, bambina."
"Hmmm. He hasn't asked me, yet," she lied, not willing to tell Angelina that the Godfather Pig! had assumed she would marry him just because he said she would.
"Should I invite your future wife for dinner?" Mama Batali asked when her son came home at the end of the day.
"I think I should meet her," his mother pressed.
"Time enough for that," he commented, pouring a glass of wine for his mother and another for himself.
"I want to meet her formally," his mother insisted, her voice soft but firm, a trait she had passed on to her only son.
He arched a brow.
His mother arched one in return, making him laugh.
"She's a handful," he told her.
Excellent! "I think we'll get along," Mama Batali smiled.
"Ask her over for biscotti and caffè. She likes gelato ice cream," he added.
"I'll remember," his mother replied, pleased that her son knew these small details.
"When will you have her over? I'll have my driver pick her up and make arrangements to be here."
"I don't want you here," his mother said quietly. "I'll call Angelina today to extend the invitation. Have your driver pick her up tomorrow afternoon and you stay away."
"Woman talk," his mother smiled.
"What kind of woman talk?" he asked with a piercing glare in her direction.
"I'm going to give her some advice," she chuckled.
"What kind of advice?" his arms crossed over his chest.
"I'm going to tell her how to be very nice to you," she demurred.
"Oh, that's alright," her tall muscular son nodded. "That will be fine," he smiled and left her to go about his business.
"And," she continued softly to his retreating back and certain that he was out of earshot, "I'll let her know your favorite foods and how to make you crazy. I'll tell her how to ensure that you give her many gifts and how to make you insane with desire. I'll teach her how to cry at will and drive you out of your mind with need for her. I'll show her how to dress so that you have eyes only for her and cannot wait to rush her into bed. And you will have many bambinos for me to love. And," she smiled to herself in the empty room. "I know I'm going to love her as my own."