Ricci had just finished his meeting with Angelo Bortolini when a call came in from his second-in-command and underboss.
"Yes, Donato," Ricci said as soon as he picked up the call.
"Sir," Donato said. "There has been a problem."
Ricci rolled his eyes into his sockets, a soft sigh leaving his lips- a serious understatement of his annoyance.
"What is it?" He asked.
"Do you want the bad news first or the good news?" Donato asked.
There's good news? Ricci wanted to ask in mock-surprise. It seemed that his men were at their incompetent worst these past two days. Good news was going to be shocking.
"Out with the good news," Ricci replied.
"We found out information about the woman who stole your money," Donato said. "We have concrete information on the woman. She's the daughter of the late Alessio DiSuzzi-Siena DiSuzzi."
She's what? Ricci blinked as his finger perused the length of the sofa arm.
"DiSuzzi," he said thoughtfully- the only response Donato had from him.
"Since Alessio died, his brother had ascended as Boss and his daughter now works for the family as underboss. It seems like the uncle acts in the capacity of regent or seat warmer. It is likely that Siena will ascend as Boss of the DiSuzzi family. Her uncle's daughter- an only child too like Siena- is not cut out for the business, neither is she involved. Siena is the likely option. She is already known by many among the New York families."
Ricci would never have imagined that that woman- Siena now- could possibly be as Donato said. Sure she had determination and guts that was uncommon for many women, but he attributed that to her ignorance- she probably wasn't aware of who Ricci was beyond the tales.
"The girls- Siena included-cannot ascend to the place of Boss for the DiSuzzi family," Ricci replied. "The likely option for Agostino DiSuzzi would be to marry the women to a powerful family and thereby consolidate power. None of those women can take the reins of such a family as the DiSuzzis."
Yes, Ricci could admit to himself. His family and the DiSuzzi family have never seen eye to eye, the result of some rivalry in the past between Ricci's father- Cosimo- and Alessio- Siena's father. They never quite made up their differences and now both men were gone. And it seems that Siena had taken up the rivalry, given that all of this information points to the fact that Siena's action was deliberate. She had taken the money in full cognizance of the fact that she was dealing with the DiAmbrossis.
In response to Ricci's words, Donato spoke. "Erm, she escaped, sir."
"Siena," Donato replied."That is the bad news: that she had escaped."
Donato could only hear Ricci's soft breaths as he continued to speak.
"I and one of the men had gone to meet one of our contacts in New York as regards the identity of Siena. The Internet had only brought pictures and names and appearances at events with nothing expressly linking to the mafia, so I had to ask someone in the business who knew the ins and outs of the American families. He was the one who revealed her identity. While we were gone, Siena escaped."
"She made a fool of how many men?" Ricci asked.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"How many incompetent men were placed to guard her?" Ricci asked sharply, loudly.
Hesitating, like he did not know how to answer the question, Donato said: "Three. I went with Franco."
"Ask the pliot to get ready. We're going back to Sicily," Ricci replied. "They will meet me there- all three of them."
"Yes sir," Donato said. "Anything else?"
"Get me the contact details of Agostino DiSuzzi. I would like to drop a message for him." Ricci said.
Six hours later, Ricci DiAmbrossi was at his palatial mansion in Sicily looking out to the coast. He had this place just for himself and some of his most trusted men who might want to stay close so as to be able to do their jobs well. There were a lot of rooms- empty and occupied. He had no idea how many- or just did not care. They were about thirty or so. The residence had well-kept lawns, a wide pool, and beautiful architectural structures- architectural goals common place in Italy given the various architectural influences of artists like Raphael and Bernini long gone now. Their works still lived to inspire.
Ricci stepped away from the desk in his study and walked to the long glass doors that looked out to the patio.
His family- blood family- lived in another mansion not at too much of a distance from here. But it had been his decison to not live together with them. He did not like to bring business too close to home. If gang wars were to break out, his family would be targets. He had a mother he cherished, a delicate sister who was married to an accountant and a cousin who had gotten married earlier to a lawyer who now worked as consigliere for the family. His sister had a five year old now.
They were all precious to him. Despite his vices, Ricci loved his family. Family was everything afterall.
Ricci had arrived Sicily hours ago and had gone straight to freshening up and then having a meeting with a few of his Caporegimes. He should have seen his mother- she had insisted when she found out he was arriving- but he was not in any mood to see her. He was annoyed by the turn of events. It turns out, it was hardly about the money for Ricci. It was that his family and he by extension was made a fool of. Right under their nose, a DiSuzzi was able to steal millions from them and escape even.
A very unsettling thought had crossed Ricci's mind a few times between his flight to Italy and while he had his meeting with his capos. It was possible that Siena had planned all of this, Ricci had surmised.
He himself was a masterful schemer and intelligent too; he knew when he was being played, and at this point in time, the bruise to his ego hurt like a gash to his skin.
His theory was: it was very possible that because of the residue of animosity that existed between the two families, Siena had taken the money as an act of defiance and contempt. If not, why else?
Another troubling thought was that Siena had let herself be captured just to see him- see who had ascended as the Don of the DiAmbrossi family.
See him, to spite him.
It had struck him how a hacker of such skills as to have been able to hack one of the most secure accounts in Italy had easily been traced. It had occurred to him, but his anger and ego had been stronger than his caution.
They would know, he told himself, how destructive that anger was when unleashed without restraint on a hapless opponent. The DiSuzzis had dared to mess with him. He was going to deal so squarely with them.
He walked to his phone as he heard it buzz on the oak table. He saw the message from Donato bearing the contact details of Agostino DiSuzzi.
He typed the message to the current Boss of the DiSuzzi family.
This is Ricci DiAmbrossi. You must know me. Your niece stole from me. If you know me, you must know I do not forgive, I get even. I am giving you a week from today to come to Sicily. Come to Sicily let's talk or blood will flow.
Agostino would have to see him. With his level of influence, a message from him would not go unheaded. He would give them one week like he had said. And if they stayed headstrong, he would go to New York himself.
But Agostino was sensible. Ricci could admit that based on the successes of the DiSuzzi family in recent times. The DiSuzzis and the DiAmbrossis for a long time had been parallel lines that did not touch or meet- did not support or mess with each other. Siena had changed that. They would have to meet.
But Ricci could hardly wait for a confirmation. His anger tethered on exploding. He was in this mess because of the incompetence of their resident computer expert, so to say.
He picked up a phone on his table. "Call me Gallozzi...and my consigliere."
Whenever he wanted to make a decision out of anger, he usually wanted his consigliere there, to try to convince him otherwise.
That was the job of a consigliere: to advise the don, to help him make good decisions, to give unbiased judgement on the profitability or lack of, of an action.
For Ricci, his consigliere was his own personal gauge on those days when his anger needed satiation.