Ricci turned to the woman now.
She stared back defiant, unrepentant.
Ricci knew that look all too well.
"Do you have any idea who you stole from?" Ricci asked her.
He was applying caution, he knew. Personally, he had a soft spot for women. Not because of their bodies and the sort of pleasure that could be derived from it or any more carnal instincts. It was far from that. He could have anyone he wanted. All he need do is ask.
He had the manpower, he had the resources and he had the unwavering determination and orientation that whatever he wanted was his; he would have it.
No, it was not that. It was the understanding of the vulnerability of these women that spurred the empathy, so to say.
His father had not treated his mother well. And he had learned from his father how not to treat women; how to respect them... Recognize them as the weak vessels they were, because they were weak no matter what they told themselves. Nature had not favoured them biologically over and above men, he believed. The very things that made women women were those vulnerabilities. They were special in that sense, Ricci thought wryly.
The tied woman stared at him, a small smile on her face.
"I don't know who," she replied. "You tell me."
The guard next to her stared at the captive and then his boss. He wanted to hit her; how dare she disrespect his boss? But even he knew his boss's reservations about children... and women.
Ricci shook his head as he caught the eye of his guard.
No...The look said.No.
"Are you familiar with the Italian families?" The underboss asked the woman."Some families lay at the bottom rung. The elite few stay at the top. We are one of the elite few. We are the DiAmbrossi family, and you had the guts to steal from Don Ricci Draco DiAmbrossi. Ignorance, then."
The woman did not look impressed. The non-challant look on her face spoke volumes to Ricci. Ricci was known to display anger on an inferno-level many times, but Ricci was deeply perceptive regardless.
He had a feeling this woman knew who he was even before she tried hacking his account and relieving it of twelve million US dollars. It seemed to him that she had targeted him. She knew who he was and so she had done it.
Or she might have been asked to do it. After all, like his father, Ricci had a lot of enemies: the enemies of the family, his personal enemies, enemies he inherited from his father after his death.
This woman could have been sent by one of those enemies.
The woman was replying now, replying his underboss's speech as Ricci stood back and watched them.
"I must be very lucky to be in the presence of 'the prince' then," she said. But it was a mocking tone.
Proof that this was a knowledgeable foe, Ricci told himself, was that she was knowledgeable enough to know that kind of information she just gave off-handedly.
Ricci in his just six years of reign as the Don of the DiSuzzi family, was quite popular. So popular that enemies and friends alike began to call him the prince of Italy. The webs of influence he had in not just the Island of Sicily, but the Italian region itself was great. Hence: Ricci "the prince" DiAmbrossi, as he was known as.
"I am actually not impressed," the woman continued. "I have heard so much about your boss. He falls short of the power and the intellect he is known for. I am not impressed."
A surge of anger made the veins on Ricci's temples tick. His eyes darkened like it usually did when he was angry.
"Mercy," Ricci said. "We are having mercy, that is why you are still talking. Else-"
"-Sure," The woman replied, a laugh in her voice. "I am surprised that the DiAmbrossi family is now benevolent. It seems like the family is getting weak after all."
Ricci rolled his fingers into fists.
That tongue, he swore to himself. He might just cut it off.
He might have reservations. He might be empathetic towards women, but at the end of the day, he was still human...humans broke promises and vows. Also he was Ricci DiAmbrossi. That last consideration seemed to trump over the first. At the end of the day, he would choose what to do and his choice would be law.
He strode closer to the woman and reached out a hand to grab her neck in a choking hold.
One hand tightened around her neck as Ricci spoke now.
"You have a mouth you cannot handle. I have an anger that I have been struggling to handle for years. But the difference between us is that I am the one holding the gun to your head. The ball is in my court. I have the upper hand...You don't want to make me angry."
Ricci released her neck and strode outside. Donato and his right-hand man followed him to the porch.
Ricci faced Donato and Carlo as they reached him. He gave a sigh and then said:
"Who is she?"
Carlo was grinning."Bet you would like to find out."
Ricci gave him a glare, not liking the joke at all.
The smile disappeared from Carlo's face instantly.
"I apologize, signore."
His right-hand man was insinuating that he was interested in the identity of the woman because he had romantic interests. It was hardly that. There was a problem that needed solving- for God's sake, she stole his money. And he was sure that the woman was more than she seemed.
"She seems to know too much about the families than she let's on," Ricci told them. "Is she affiliated with any families that we might have had dealings or altercations with?"
"We don't know for sure," the underboss said."Even then, your observations must be true. She has links with the mafia."
Ricci looked at his underboss like he did not even expect him to say all this. He should have found out all information pertaining to the woman even before he got here.
"Why have you not found out about her yet?"Ricci asked testily.
"We're on it," Donato said. "We have the best hands on it."
Ricci stopped himself from saying anything. They had the 'best hand' securing their accounts as their resident computer expert and yet a woman had managed to cart off millions from their accounts...And she could have been sent by their enemies.
Ricci strode towards the car as his right hand followed dutifully behind him. "Detain her. I want all information relating to her before noon today."
Ricci reached the car and took a swig from the bottle of whiskey that was in the bottle holder compartment. He had only just noticed the bottle then. Well, right timing. The day had just got interesting and like all interesting days, he needed more than his wits to deal.