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Authors: S. W. Frank

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Anthologies

Aftermath (2 page)

BOOK: Aftermath
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T
he
y
proffered condolences
,
kisse
d
each flawless
cheek
and gave a peck to A
lberti’s
coffin,
and then
the
mafia men f
loated
away like dark clouds of smoke
into the morning air
.

Alfonzo
glanced
discreetly at his
Vacheron Constantin
timepiece
. The edge of his sensual
mouth
de
scended in displeasure. The plane carrying
invaluable
cargo sho
uld have
arrived hours ago
.
He would know, since he’d flown the
same
route
numerous
times over the years and
unless something unforeseen occurred, it should have
landed all ready
.
The pilot
Troy assured him everything was fine but the man
remained tight
-lipped.
T
roy
m
ade some fake-ass excuse about being in a holding pattern
. B
ull-shit!

The
outward
calm masked the
anxiety escalating
with
each passing hour.

The funeral was
due
to
start
at one o’clock
. He worried for his family and
c
ould not
relax
until they were at his
side.
The sky-blue eyes remained
level,
however his thoughts were elsewhere. The tension caused
the angular
jaw
to
clench
. T
o the casual observer
he was a handsome statute, yet
it’s his cousin Giuseppe who
sensed his discomfort
and
opined
in
jest, “
Relax, y
our woman will be here
, besides she cannot run away on a plane
.

Alfonzo
scowled and his
capped temper flared,
“The flight
isn’t
this long
Geo
.
It’s more than
three
hours behind schedule
.
I want to know
where my family is
!

 

 

 
                                             

                                                    
****

 

 

Bianca Luca
sat
close to Alberti’s
coffin until the funeral
. Under
Italian law
the funeral
must be held within
48 hours
of death but not before 24 hours elapsed.

Tradition was practiced
because
Alberti was a
n old-fashioned
man
. He was
the love of her life
. To
honor him in this
final stage
of grace
,
a
window
remained
open
for
his
soul
to
fly off to heaven when it
was
ready.
Her husband
was
rather
cynical about such things.
H
e
once said
his crimes
were certain to give him a seat in Satan’s home
and that’s where he’d make his bed
. Bianca disagreed
;
b
eneath the actions of the complicate
d man was
a caring soul with many
redeeming
qualities
.
Only a
good
man
show
s
kind
ness to others
. Alberti was
wrong, he was going to the highest tower with Semira
; Bianca was
certain of
this
.

A d
eath notice
had been
placed outside the family home and on special boards outside
the
churches.
She requested th
e
visitors abstain from
bring
ing
conzu
or
consolo.
Yet, many came with the
customary
food offering,
anyway. Some habits were difficult to break
, she supposed
.

She missed Alberti. She’d always smile at
his witticisms
. Men like him were few. Today’s breed lacked polished manners and chivalry.

‘Oh, my love. I
’ll
miss you
.
You were the best father and husband
and you
will always
be in
my heart.’

She touched the ebony coffin
and
lovingly
caressed the
shiny surface.
S
he ensured he received the best
; n
o money
was spared, it was pittance
compared
to what she’d lost.
She would trade
everything
to have him beside her –but wishes were for wells
. The coins
tossed in th
ose
fountains
were
sinking fantasies. He
r love
was gone and another chapter in her life
began.
It frightened her,
especially since she’d been
with Alberti
half her life.
Forty
was considered relatively
young, but at the moment she felt withered and tired without her man. She drew in a deep breath
for strength
and eyed
her
step-son
.

Nico
was handsome, like his father but far more intense. His dark eyes were solemn and troubled. Last night he sat with her and they talked long into the night.
They were about the same age
and she found the information amusing. Of course, Alberti would have other children. How could she have been so naïve to think otherwise? He was after-all more than twenty years her senior and a handsome virile man.

Nico
was divorced
and had two sons.
The
y
were twins like her daughters
,
Evangeline and Madeline
who
were ecstatic to learn they had an older brother
,
and a handsome one to boot
. Sixteen year-olds are bold and have no qualms about prying. Soon,
they had him
talking about his
sons
and their antics. Bianca saw the light return to his eyes
during the conversation, and
then it faded when the girls were sent to bed. It touched her heart when the girl’s hugged him
.

They
kissed his cheek
and
before
retiring,
Evangeline, the eldest by two minutes said to her new brother, “You must be what papa looked like when he was young.
Benvenuto
fratello
maggiore
.
Sono
felice
che
tu
sia
qui
. Papá
sent us a gift.
Buona
notte
, Nico.

Bianca wiped a tear away at the memory and when she looked up again, Nico approached. He knelt in front of her and took her hand, “You okay?”

She summoned her bravest smile, “
Sto bene, grazie.”

He caressed her fingers,

Sono qui, fare una pausa.”

Nico had a caring heart like his father. She
gripped his hands and raised them to her chin as she leaned forward. Her
clasp
was tight and motherly,
“Go to her Nico. Do not take love or life
for granted
and s
eize
every
blessing
.
I loved your father beyond words; it is that love which sustains me.
Promise
to love,
make your happiness, capisce?

Nico could
not
promise and looked away
.

Bianca
pat his
cheek
as if she spoke to a child
,
“I do not need rescuing from my grief
.
Vai
Nicolo
,
mi andrà bene
.”

Nico stood and returned to his seat
and observed
the woman for any sign of
distress.
The hushed conversation taking place nearby was not lost during his watch.

“Did the flowers get sent to the Peglesi’s?” Alfonzo asked Lou who stood over his shoulder.

“Done.”

“And Wax?”


H
i
s
sister
in
Trapani
is taken care of.


Good.” He
went silent when
a
quintet
of men
entered.
He recognized the Italian shipping magnate Bruno DeMarco and his sons.

Giuseppe s
nickered
, “DeMarco and his lot.”

The men neared the
trio
. T
hey all paid their respects to the Giacanti’s and traipsed to the
widow’s
side; all except their father.

Bruno
’s
haughty gaze settled on Nico, “
Le
mei
simpatie
.”


Grazie
.”

The dark eyes of the older gent traveled to the cousins, “
Stesso a ciascuno
di voi.”

Giuseppe nodded, “
Grazie
.”

Alfonzo
mumbled,
“Thanks
.

Bruno sized
him
up
, and
Alfonzo
did
the same.

“I knew your father
. He was a good friend.” Bruno said in fluent Spanish, taking the
American
by surprise. Bruno had not formerly met Alfonzo, yet in person the
resembl
ance
to
Luzo
was
uncanny. He even
possessed
the
cynical slanted eyebrow.
The
light
eyes didn’t flinch. They were
undoubtedly
probing for
insight
.
Bruno smirked, “Before you leave
,
we talk, yes?”


No
, we have
nothing to talk about.
Luzo’s dead and that's the end of the conversation.”

Bruno let
out a
derisive
snort
,

Humph!

Then he e
yed Alfonzo’s ring
. The
curt
man was given the highest honor in organized crime. From his countenance he was a lethal exactor, yet
some say was
a man of reason,
wh
ich Giuseppe
was not.  It is logic, which instilled respect rather than unnecessary
force.
Alfonzo
would need it in order to
deal with the many families.

Supremo
.
It
weighs
little but
its
burden
is heavy,
no
?”

BOOK: Aftermath
5.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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