Twisted Emotions

By: Cora Reilly

Fabiano looked between Remo and me. “Am I going or not? I’ll have to figure out a way to tell Leona about this without freaking her out.”

Remo shook his head. “I should go as Capo.”

“We’ll save that reunion   for the second meeting when Vitiello is convinced the benefits of a bond outweigh the joy of cutting off your head,” I said.

“I take it that means I’m going.” Fabiano got up. “I really hope this fucking ordeal allows me to kill my father, or you two will have a lot to make up to me.”

I still wasn’t convinced that Fabiano’s presence would improve our situation. He was Aria’s brother, true, but even that wouldn’t protect him forever. Taking Remo was out of the question. I’d have to make sure Luca and Fabiano would follow my reasoning and not let their unpredictable emotions run the show.


I stood off to the side as usual, far enough away from the dance floor so no one would feel obligated to ask me to a dance. My eyes followed Giulia as she danced with her husband, Cassio. Her eyes caught mine briefly, and she smiled. She had already moved out when I had to move in with Aunt Egidia and Uncle Felix six years ago, but she and I had become close friends nevertheless, closer than anyone else, especially my older brothers. They were allowed to stay in Atlanta after our father was killed by my cousin Luca. I shivered at the memory.

Giulia was one of the few who looked at me with kindness and not a superior sneer. I resisted the urge to rub my arms; it seemed like I was always cold. Even the music failed to set me at ease. I couldn’t wait to be back home and feel the keys of my piano under my fingertips.

My spine stiffened when Luca headed toward me. His wife, Aria, probably took pity on me and told him to ask me to a dance. I really wished he wouldn’t.

“Would you like to dance?” he asked, holding out his hand. Since I’d turned eighteen last year, I was expected to attend social events. Even Aunt Egidia and Uncle Felix couldn’t find excuses to keep me away anymore. I was still shunned by many, not openly, but I caught their looks when they thought I wasn’t paying attention.

“It’s an honor,” I said quietly and took his hand. My body revolted at the physical contact, but I forced it into submission and followed Luca toward the dance floor. He was my cousin and I’d known him all my life, not that I knew him very well. We had too many cousins in our family to allow a closer bond.

I tried to brace myself for the next step, for his hand on my waist, tried to prepare so I wouldn’t flinch, but the moment his palm touched my hip, my entire body seized. Luca regarded me but didn’t pull back. He was probably used to that kind of reaction from people. His reputation and size would have sent even a normal woman running. I tried to soften my body in his hold as we danced, but it was a losing battle and eventually I gave up.

“Your father was a traitor, Kiara. I had to kill him.”

I’d never held it against him. My father knew the consequences of betrayal, yet Luca seemed to think that was the reason I couldn’t stand his touch. I wished it were that. God, how I wished it were only that, wished it was only Luca’s touch that brought me close to panic. I swallowed the memories of the nights that had broken me.

“You had to,” I agreed. “And I don’t miss him. He wasn’t a good father. I miss my mother, but you didn’t kill her. That was my father.”

In my head I began playing the melody I’d been working on over the last few weeks, hoping it would calm me. It didn’t.

Luca nodded. “I talked to Aunt Egidia and Felix. They are concerned that you aren’t married yet.”

I was nineteen and hadn’t been promised to anyone yet. “Who wants to marry the daughter of a traitor?” I muttered. Deep down I was relieved. Marriage would reveal a secret I needed to hold on to, a secret that would turn me into a pariah in our circles.

“You did nothing wrong. Your father’s actions don’t define you.”

People were watching me. “Why don’t you tell them,” I spat, looking around at our audience. I cringed at my tone. “I’m sorry.” Luca was Capo. I needed to show respect.

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