Siena stabbed her fork into her food with vengeance as the thought crossed her mind.
Dale looked across to her in slight alarm and Siena smiled back at him and continued eating.
Siena sighed then. Something that was supposed to be her own little act of revenge was fast becoming something else. How could she even contemplate it? A rival of her family for years! She had been known to do crazy things in the past, but never harbour feelings of attraction for the enemies of her own father.
Siena had always known the DiAmbrossis and the DiSuzzis to have been rivals; enemies ever since she was old enough to understand the word. Her late father and the don of the DiAmbrossis had been enemies, always wanting to rival each other. That was until the DiAmbrossis kicked the DiSuzzis out of Sicily and claimed power. They made the DiSuzzis go bankrupt, and while Siena's father picked up the pieces, the DiAmbrossis claimed Sicily as their territory and overshadowed the other smaller, less powerful families. The DiSuzzis ran to New York where the mafia culture was second to only that of Italy. There, they rebuilt. And in close to twenty-five years that Siena's father had come to New York and brought his family with him; in that amount of years, the DiSuzzis had come far. Far enough that longer established families like the Trebeschis saw their rise as a formidable threat; enough that every now and then, the top dogs of the DiSuzzis had to face a confrontation with those of the Trebeschis.
The DiSuzzis had risen in New York, but they did not forget. Siena certainly did not. The DiAmbrossis had been instrumental in their downfall in Italy- bombarding them with lawsuits from paid people, setting them up, leading the cops to their warehouses, until the DiSuzzis were neck-deep in litigation and debt. Their own goods were stolen, others destroyed, millions worth of it. They left Italy, but the DiAmbrossis rose even higher.
Siena sighed as she recounted the memories of when she was told her family's little history.It is true that at that time, it was Ricci's father- Cosimo DiAmbrossi- that had been responsible for all of it, but Siena did not care. They were all DiAmbrossis, no less. She wasn't going to be sympathetic to any one of them.
Even more jarring is the suspicion that not only her, but her uncle harbored: that her father had been killed by Ricci's father- Cosimo DiAmbrossi.
Cosimo was gone now, but the suspicion remained.
When her father had died, Siena was too young to have known who had sent the assassin that she had shot when he reached for her while she sat weeping over her father's limp body. Then she had been too young to have even made any assumptions, oblivious to the politics and power play that wove her existence. But if Cosimo had lived till this moment, Siena would have been the one responsible for his death.
There was no actual proof that Cosimo DiAmbrossi was responsible, but Siena knew deep within her veins that he was and it annoyed her that she was not the one that had ended him.
The hate she had toward the DiAmbrossis still burned brightly.
"You've been distracted," Dale said, breaking into Siena's thoughts. "Is everything okay?" Siena gave him a slight smile. "Fine," she said. "Just work-related stress."
"Just try to relax," Dale told her as the worried expression that had previously been on his face diffused. "Take it easy," he continued, "work never finishes."
"No," Siena responded. "It doesn't."
But he had no idea what work she was referring to.
"So," Dale said brightly."Will I be meeting your family this weekend?"
More like the family, Siena thought, as a deep sigh escaped from her lips.
All the other times he had asked, she had said no. It was too early.They were only three months into what she would like to call a 'normal relationship,' he should give it time. But here he was, bringing it up again.
The truth was two-fold. First, Siena did not want Dale to meet her immediate family- which mostly included her uncle and cousin, Chiara- because she had a feeling that if she brought Dale to their house, he would guess immediately what she was.
Also, Siena did not like his tone whenever he said he wanted to meet her family. At least she had met his parents once and she had done it dispassionately, like it was a formal meeting. Whenever he said he wanted to meet her family, he said it with emotion, like he wanted to take things to the next level.
Siena did not want next level. It was far from her plans. If she was going to rise to become boss like Drusa Trebeschi-no, better than Drusa- she did not want the burden of marriage holding her down. Not to talk of the fact that marriage espoused a level of generosity where nothing practically belonged to any one person in the union- yours is mine, mine is yours- no property, no personal space, no title. Even power was shared. No. Siena wanted to rule and rule absolutely. Sharing power was not a goal.
Siena blew air from her lips in annoyance. Just when her mood was improving after this morning's incident, Dale had to become all sentimental.
He had called her that afternoon, just after she had escaped the DiAmbrossi men and reached the House. He was happy; he had just bagged a very important contract and he wanted to celebrate.
Dinner had gone from fine to not fine, ever since Siena noticed Drusa. From then, it continued to go downhill.
"My uncle would not approve of you," Siena informed Dale.
She liked Dale, but she had to disabuse his mind from any grand plans he had. At the rate he was going, he may just propose to her in front of her uncle if she took Dale to meet him. Next thing, her uncle would be asking her what nonsense that was. Plus, Siena herself was also averse to said nonsense.
"Why do you say so?" Dale asked, worry creasing his handsome face. He seemed liked an innocent baby, compared to her, underboss of a mafia crime family.
"My uncle has a negative attitude towards very wealthy and influential men like you are," Siena said. "I come from a very simple family, Dale. We live simple lives and my uncle is pretty old school. He would just conclude that you are an arrogant and snobby wealthy son of a business mogul."
Dale paused, thinking hard, obviously. His eyes did not study the trench coat that Siena wore whose expensiveness was subtly hid in dull colours.
Siena had gone with the persona of a middle- class woman in her relationship with Dale, which meant she usually appeared in simple- yet expensive- clothes with no expensive jewellery in sight. An expensive T-shirt and jeans combo for example would hardly look expensive as opposed to a formal dress bought at the same price.
It was true: certain clothing was associated with certain classes of individuals.
"Let me meet him," Dale finally said. "I know when he talks to me, he will break the stereotype."
Siena sighed. "He doesn't think that way. He might just think you're just pretending because you are meeting with him. I'll tell him about you, and when the time is right, he will invite you himself."
Dale's tone softened as he dropped his fork and faced Siena. "Siena," he said. "Are you sure you're not the reason I've not met your family? Don't you want me to meet them?"
"No. It's none of that."
"I would like to meet your uncle: Let him know who's courting his niece," Dale announced.
Courting. Siena repeated the word in her head. As in courting for marriage. It wasn't even a relationship anymore, Siena realized...It was a courtship. Siena wanted to stab her fork down her throat. But not just because of what Dale had said. It was also because Drusa Trebeschi had got off her seat and was heading towards her and Dale.
Siena read Drusa's eyes. Drusa wanted to talk to her and it would be a problem with Dale around. Now, Drusa was screwing whatever decorum and was going to interrupt the lovers' date.
Siena trained her eyes on Drusa. A message: Don't come here. But Drusa gave a half smile and continued to come closer.
Siena wanted to crash her fist into something.