Chapter 14

1081 Words
Ricci did not say anything for a while, giving them time to properly sit down and face him. "I assume you are well," Ricci started. "Yes," Agostino replied. "I hope you are too." Ricci nodded. That was all the pleasantry he was ready to indulge in. They were here for business after all. "Your niece is very skilled," Ricci started. "Not only did she steal my money, but she was able to escape my men. But I blame my men." Agostino gave a brief nod before replying. Siena looked from face to face. They were conversing in Italian. She knew only a few words, otherwise she did not understand her mother tongue. "She has always been a prodigy as a child," Agostino replied back in Italian, further alienating his niece from the conversation. "I'm sure you can speak English. There must be a reason you are talking to me in Italian. Certainly, it is not to test my language skills after my exit for so long from the soil of my birth." "No," Ricci replied. "I wanted to talk to you first. I have had an encounter with your niece before and so I would like to reason with you first. Your niece is too difficult for her own good." Agostino nodded. Siena looked from Ricci to the men behind him, knowing they could understand him. She suspected that this was deliberate: Ricci must have found out somehow that she did not understand Italian. Ricci motioned to the man just behind him for Agostino to see. "This is my underboss," he said to Agostino. Motioning to the one on his left-"This is my consigliere. He has prepared a document that will seal the deal on our parts." "Excuse me?" "You know your niece has done wrong," Ricci said. "She stole from me and that is inexcusable." "I have talked to her," Agostino replied solemnly. "A heartfelt apology on her part should do." Ricci felt like laughing. What would he do with an apology? He wondered. His gaze drifted to Siena who looked like she would explode at any moment. Her eyes were thinned to slits as her gaze burned into Ricci as she sat at a loss of what was going on. She was being patient but even Ricci could see that she wouldn't be patient for long. She certainly did not look like she had come to apologize. It was just as well, because Ricci did not care about apologies. "Apologies do not hold water with me," Ricci informed Agostino, sliding his gaze from Siena to the older man. "In our line of work, as you very well know, we deal with far more tangible prospects. Your niece did me wrong; your family by extension have offended me. You threw the first punch. In order for me not to retaliate and throw the second, I want appeasement. I want compensation for the losses the DiAmbrossis have incurred. I want your niece. In marriage. Give me Siena and we will keep the peace." Agostino considered the idea thoughtfully as Ricci began to speak again. "I have simple terms that she is likely to agree to. She would have all she desires: money, power," Ricci started. "With our union, you will grant us access to New York and we will give you some of our territories in Italy. I am aware that over the years, our families have had some differences, but this is a new era. We can make modifications to that history as it affects our present. This is a mutually profitable idea." Agostino DiSuzzi cleared his throat. "I resonate with your ideas," he finally said. "Your father's era is gone and you are now boss. You want to make changes. Your terms for settlement are well and good. But as you know, I have been cursed or blessed with girls. I have another daughter- Siena's cousin- if you would like to consider her-" Ricci raised a hand. "I am not a fool, Agostino. I know what I want and what I want is Siena. She should pay for her mistake. Who best but the offender?" His eyes briefly touched on Siena and he knew she wondered what he was currently saying about her. "I have no qualms," Agostino replied. "But Siena, just in case you do not know can be very difficult." "You are her legal guardian, I presume?" Ricci answered. "The least of your powers over her is to be able to convince her at least." "She is headstrong when she wants to be," was the reply from Agostino."If marrying her is your resolve for appeasement, I am fine with the idea. Just tell her yourself." Ricci stood up then. He turned to look at Siena, making a motion for the patio doors. "I would like to talk to you outside," he said to Siena in English. Without waiting for a response, he headed for the doors, only stopping briefly to tell his underboss: "Get someone to get me a drink." Siena got up after he did and went to the patio doors. She reached the patio and swung the door close behind her. Just in front of her was the patio space, a paved floor with chairs and a table for relaxation. Presently, Ricci sat on one of the chairs facing the small table between the two chairs. A lawn of mown ornamental grass spread beyond that. Ricci's gaze followed Siena until she sat in front of him on the only other chair. He watched the hair freed from the knot on her head, from motion, flutter in the breeze, mildly mesmerized. He recognized her brown eyes and the simmering fire behind them. Her lips were as plump as he remembered it, deeply sensuous. It had a light coating of lip gloss and it was only the sunglasses perched on Siena's hair that kept her escaped hair at bay; kept them from blowing to her face. Just staring at her, he told himself that she looked like a masterpiece. That outfit though. Ricci frowned again. He did not like the simplicity, the utter casualness of it. Yet Siena had the body to make a casual outfit like that look like runway wear. A maid came in then and set two glasses and a bottle of wine down. Ricci poured himself a glass of wine and the maid left. No words passed between Siena and Ricci for a few seconds. He sipped his drink and then he spoke.
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