Ricci stared outside the window as the car sped off to the hotel he had checked in. He had assumed that with the thief caught, his stay in New York would be done with, but it seemed he wasn't leaving just yet.
He checked the time on his watch. It was just a little after ten o' clock. He sighed.
When he stared outside through the window again, he still saw her- brown eyes piercing his, the most contemptuous of looks on her face. The face angered him- the contempt was not something he was used to or condoned at all even- but the face drew him and refused to leave him.
Ricci sighed again.
He had assumed a logical reason why the thief's face had refused to leave him ever since he boarded the car: that it was because he just left the area where she had been and so residue memory was still clouding his sights. After looking at his watch and then staring outside again, he had confirmed to himself that it was more than just that.
There was something about that woman.
He just couldn't place it. She was a whole mystery box he was waiting to unravel. And the fire that burned in her eyes held a certain sort of appeal. It bothered on hate and high defences waiting to be broken. It bothered on the idea of a predatory animal waiting to be tamed. Waiting, because he assumed he was the one that was going to tame that beast.
He was going to see her again, but first he had to have his men find out about her. He knew she was more than she let on, and in order for them not to make a mistake that they would regret, they had to have basic knowledge about her, at least.
Ricci crashed his fist on the soft leather next to him as her face flashed across his view again.
"I am not impressed," she had said. She had said that in such a comfortably condescending manner of someone watching a talent show and telling themselves that the act they were seeing at that moment wasn't so good and so they weren't so impressed.
Ricci swallowed a curse deep inside his throat. Did she even know who she was talking to? He was Ricci DiAmbrossi. He was as merciless as they come. He had much of Sicily in his pocket. The sort of money his family had would make many shudder. The influence he wielded was not something to be taken with a pinch of salt.
How dare she?
The car rambled on and finally they got to the five star hotel Ricci had checked in just yesterday.
He got out of the car as soon as it paused in front of the entrance and then he walked in, Carlo following behind as the other guard parked the car amongst the others in the parking lot.
"Sir," Carlo told him, catching up to him. "You still have that meeting by eleven today. I have scheduled with the director of Coda Estates an online meeting seeing as you cannot be physically at the formerly agreed venue."
"Coda Estates?" Ricci asked, just remembering the meeting. Carlo nodded.
Ricci walked on. The meeting with the director of Coda Estates was towards buying half the ruling shares of the company. The company was in financial straits and the action was more like a sympathetic buy-out while still letting the company be run by the previous executives. So the director was more than grateful that Ricci was even considering having the meeting with him.
But it was hardly charity, Ricci knew. The company held promise, but was involved in a capital intensive project that banks were too afraid to tie their money on and so they approached the rich businessman, Ricci DiAmbrossi. After all, did the DiAmbrossis not own so many flourishing restaurants and hotels on the coast of Sicily as well as other select places in Italy? The prosperous family's head seemed the right person to call in this quagmire.
Carlo accompanied his boss to the elevator where they waited with three other people to ascend. Ricci watched the occupants with a bored expression on his face, yet his face had a cloud of thoughts covering it. He hardly gave himself to thoughts- not like he had these past few days, the major cause of which was the woman they held captive.
The elevator dinged and the doors opened as the three people that were inside with Ricci and Carlo got out.
The elevator was ascending again.
Ricci looked at the time on his watch. A distraction- any distraction- from his thoughts was welcome.
In another few seconds, the elevator dinged and he and Carlo got out. Ricci headed for his suite. By the door, Carlo spoke: "Do you need anything sir? Should I get room service to get you something? Should I send a message to Donato for you?"
Ricci's eyes flashed anger. He knew why Carlo was asking all of this, especially with such a worried face. This sort of nonsense nauseated him. One thing he hated more than annoying arrogant women such as their captive was this unbridled display of worry for him as Carlo was doing. This only meant he had showed vulnerability; had shown how all that had happened had affected him; how that woman had affected him. That was an error on his part...One which he needed to correct.
"Tell Donato that information on that woman must reach me by noon today," Ricci answered brusquely.
Carlo gave a short nod as Ricci entered the suite.
Inside, Ricci pulled off his jacket and loosened his tie. Then he sat down on a sofa and ran his hands through his curly hair as they fell across his forehead. He raised his head up to clear his thoughts. How could one woman affect him so much? He wondered.
He strolled to his bedroom and reached for his laptop. He had work to do; business to attend to.
Something just beneath the laptop caught his eye. It was a small sheet of paper folded neatly under the laptop.
I would like to see you again. If you would like to see me again, just call me, read the note.
And then, at the edge of the square paper was an American line.
Ricci examined the paper, amused.
He had told the waitress to leave, but she had had the guts to leave him a note.
He played with the idea in his mind; whether to see her again. He would not. He knew what she wanted and he could not give it to her. She wanted commitment. If he entertained her for much longer, she would just waste his time. She did not strike him. To him she was just another woman who had pleasured him. She was just a random girl. He could be brutally honest most times and he was sure she wouldn't like the label of 'just another random girl.' But what did he care? That was the truth. She did not captivate him...not like the thief did.
Ricci brushed thoughts of the brown-eyed woman out of his mind. He left the note on the table, picked up his laptop and headed for the living room.
There, he sat as he went through the accounts of his businesses. The DiAmbrossis had many other businesses- legal businesses- he had to take care of. They needed a font to justify where all their massive cash flow was coming from, afterall. The hotels and restaurants and boutiques-his mother's idea- Ricci owned did not bring in as much money as the family business, but it was enough to divert suspicion.
His phone rang soon after: Carlo calling to inform him that it was time for the meeting with the director of Coda Estates.
Ricci prepared for the online meeting- getting a bottle of wine on the sidetable as he joined the other man on the video call app.
"Good day sir," the director said as his face appeared on Ricci's laptop screen.
"Hello Mr. Angelo," Ricci replied the man."I trust you're well?"
"Yes sir," the man replied."Thank you for seeing me in respect to what we had discussed earlier."
Ricci suppressed a sigh. Out with it already, he thought. He did not care about this man's thanks or appreciation. This was purely budiness.
"Mr. Angelo, I have decided to invest in your company because of the performance in recent years and the company's promise. I would like to be a silent partner- I will not interfere with how you and your executives want to run your business or be required to vote in your meetings- but I would like to know about your plans to help the company profit from this large-scale investment. Give me the outline and if I like it, the money is yours. I will only ask for profit at the end of the year in tandem with the amount of shares in monetary value that I have bought."
Mr. Angelo looked prepared to give a speech in front of a board of managers. He even brought out a folder to detail the plans by the company. It was mostly business jargon and specialized mumbo-gumbo but the director and whoever he had working under him seemed like they knew what they were doing.
Ricci stared at the man as the boredom planned to envelope him. This would be a really long one hour, Ricci thought. Enough distraction.