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By Frenzy I Ruin: Chapter 45


“How is she?” I asked Diego as I followed him upstairs to Carlotta’s room. I didn’t believe her insistence that she was fine.

“Her heart is giving us reason to worry. She probably needs another transplant.”

I nodded slowly. I’d feared that was the case. Maybe telling her about Nevio and me wasn’t the best idea, but she was my best friend, and I wanted her to know.

I knocked on her door and stepped inside. She sat at her desk, probably studying for her college classes. She looked pale, even her usually pink lips were pale as if the color had been washed from them.

I went over to her. “How do you feel?”

She sent Diego a scowl. “I hope he didn’t exaggerate. I’m fine.” She turned to me with the same scowl. “Don’t look so worried.”

I tried to relax my facial muscles but it was difficult. When Diego closed the door, I said, “I came here to tell you something, but now I’m not sure I should.”

She shoved my leg. “Stop it.” She scanned my face. “You and Nevio, right?”

I nodded. “We’re dating. I know you don’t like him…”

Carlotta pushed to her feet and put her hands on my shoulders. “I don’t like how he treated you.”

“He’s changed, Lotta. He really showed me that he wants to be with me.”

“If he keeps treating you like you deserve, then I’m fine with him.”

I grinned and hugged her. “Now I just have to tell my parents…”

Carlotta chuckled. “Good luck. Your dad’s the toughest nut to crack.”

“No, that was you.”

We both laughed.

“Can I talk to you?” I asked as I stepped into the kitchen with Battista on my hip where Mom, Dad, and Davide waited for me to have breakfast. Two weeks had passed since Nevio admitted his feelings for me, and since then, he’d snuck inside my bedroom almost every night. Nobody knew anything. They thought we only spent time together during the day with Battista.

Davide leaned back, arms crossed over his chest. For the first time, I realized how much he’d grown, and how much he looked like Dad. If only he weren’t such a pain in my ass. “This is going to be fun. She looks fucking guilty.”

“Language,” Mom admonished as she took Battista from me and put him into his high chair. I sank down beside him. I wanted Mom and Dad’s approval, but I doubted I’d get it, especially from Dad.

Dad sipped at his coffee and raised one blond brow. “Yes?”

Mom gave me an encouraging smile. Maybe I should have started with her and told her about my relationship with Nevio.

“Coffee?” Mom asked as she lifted the thermos.

I gave a terse nod. “You know I love you, and I still feel guilty for having gone behind your back—”

“So you chose to go behind our backs again?” Dad asked with narrowed eyes.

I stared. “No! I mean… I didn’t really go behind your backs.” Did they know about Nevio’s nightly visits? I couldn’t imagine Dad being so calm if that were the case.

“Your dad and I know you’re dating Nevio,” Mom said.

Dad grimaced. “My worst nightmare come true.”

Davide laughed, obviously delighted.

“How?” I asked.

“Davide saw you kissing Nevio in the garden a few days ago.”

I glared at my brother. “And you had nothing better to do than to tell on me?”

“I could have kicked Nevio’s ass for touching you, but I like him. And I went to Mom first. If I wanted to cause you trouble, I would have gone to Dad. Then Mom couldn’t have held him him in check.”

Dad scowled. “Your mom doesn’t hold me in check.”

Davide and I exchanged a look, because she definitely did. Mom cleared her throat, trying to hide a smile. “We know you’re seeing Nevio, but we would have wished you’d told us right away this time.”

“Nevio and I needed to figure out things first,” I said. “Are you going to be okay with it? I really need your support.”

“You always have our support,” Mom said.

I glanced at Dad. He was the one I really worried about.

He nodded and took my hand. “I’ll always support you, even if I’m not exactly happy about your decision.”

“But you like Nevio, right?”

“I liked him better before he started something with you.”

I laughed. “He’s been really trying very hard to make me happy since he returned from Italy.”

“I’ll be impressed if he keeps it up a year from now. I seriously hope he’s serious about you.”

I smiled. “He is. He asked me to live together so we can become a family for Battista.”

Mom and Dad looked at each other with obvious surprise. “You’re moving out?” Mom asked. “Back to the apartment?”

I shook my head. “Nevio and I agreed that it would be best to live with our families. We’re both young and need all the help we can get with Battista, and we want him to experience the same big family support and craziness we had.”


I went in search of my parents and found them both in Giulio’s room, doing homework with him. If they both joined forces, then Giulio was in serious trouble. Nobody could play good cop/bad cop better than Mom and Dad. When it came to schoolwork, Mom was usually the bad cop. Dad probably didn’t see the value of calculus once Giulio became a Made Man.

They looked up when I entered. Giulio’s face flashed with relief.

“I need to talk to you,” I said. I’d already told Greta about my relationship with Aurora, and she had been happy for me. She probably thought it was fate. Since she knew Amo, believing in fate was her most annoying character trait. Though part of me had to admit that Aurora felt like my fated mate. Fuck.

Giulio jumped up from his desk chair. “I’ll give you privacy.”

Dad grabbed his shoulder and pushed him back down. “You stay where you are. Another suspension and we’ll have no choice but to homeschool you, and trust me when I say that no one in this house wants that.”

Giulio pouted but didn’t protest again. Mom and Dad followed me outside and closed the door.

Once we were in the hallway, I said, “I’m dating Aurora and I want everyone to know.”

“That’s wonderful,” Mom exclaimed, hugging me as if I’d won a Nobel Prize. Rory was worth so much more than the Swedish trophy.

Dad clapped my shoulder, his expression hard. “Don’t fuck this up. Finding a good woman is like winning the lottery, especially for men like us.”

“I know, Dad, don’t worry. Which is why I want to show Aurora that I’m 100 percent invested. We decided to move in together with Battista.”

“Where?” Mom asked. She was probably worried about losing her grandchild and son at once.

“Adamo’s part of the house is empty. That’s enough room for Aurora, Battista, and me.”

“And even more kids in the future,” Mom added.

“Let’s try to keep Giulio in check before we plan more offspring with my blood.”

“That’s not your decision, Dad.” I chuckled. “So can we have Adamo’s old rooms?”

“Of course!” Mom smiled.


Dad released a sigh. “I rule over the West, but apparently, my ruling doesn’t extend to my own home.”

Mom touched Dad’s arm with a grin.

My phone beeped with a message from Aurora. I immediately clicked on it and released a sigh of relief when I read that her parents were okay with us.

“I can’t believe you’re going all domestic on us,” Alessio said when we painted one of the rooms in light blue and cream. It would become Battista’s nursery. Carlotta who was good at painting helped Nino draw balloons, clouds and animals on one wall as decoration. Massimo hovered around them half of the time instead of helping us.

“I’m a father, and I want to be with Aurora so this is the logical choice.” Massimo glanced my way upon hearing one of his favorite phrases. He tilted his head in agreement.

“I couldn’t imagine being a father right now.”

“It wasn’t my plan but I want Battista to have a father he can look up to.”

Alessio gave me an approving look. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

“Don’t worry. I’m still the same fuck up when it comes to our raids at night. I won’t give them up completely.”

“I didn’t think you would,” Massimo said when he joined us.

Aurora came in with Battista on her hand. His eyes lit up when he saw the drawings on the wall. “It’s beautiful!” Aurora said.

“Not my doing. You got Carlotta and Nino to thank for that.”

Battista raced toward me, and I picked him up, then carried him over to the wall art. “This is your new room.”

Aurora came up to me with a pleased smile. “This is so exciting.”

Two days later, Aurora and I spent our first night in our bedroom. Battista was in his crib beside the bed because Aurora was worried the paint in his room was still too fresh. I wouldn’t have minded having sex once he was asleep, but Aurora wasn’t having it, so she was cuddled up to my side, her head on my shoulder.

“I can’t believe we’re having our own place.” She paused. “Well, kind of. It feels like we have our own place.”

“Minus any kitchen duties because Kiara and Gemma love to do that.”

Aurora laughed. “We should help them more.”

“I doubt anyone wants to taste what I cook.”

“You could clean the dishes.”

I groaned. “If I’d known this was part of the deal, I would have declined.”

Aurora slapped my chest hard. I rolled us over until I was on top of her. “People have lost their lives for less than hitting me.”

She rolled her eyes. Then she became serious. “Are you worried about this? About us living together?”

“No,” I said, and it was the absolute truth. “I know you, and you know me.”

“We know each other as friends, and we’ve gotten to know each other as a couple, but being a family is a new challenge.”

“I like a challenge, and I know we’ll master it.”

Aurora smiled. “We will.” She ran her hand along my shoulder blade then down my back in a very distracting way. “The conservatives will definitely gossip about our new living arrangements.”

“Let them talk. Nobody will dare say anything to your face, trust me.” I searched her eyes. Things between us were still fresh but in my mind, there was no doubt that Aurora and I would grow old together, if I didn’t get myself killed before then. Maybe she wanted me to pop the question? I didn’t really see the necessity of marriage. It had always seemed like such a superfluous arrangement. Why did anyone need a marriage certificate to be happy? But if Aurora wanted us to make it official in that way. “We could marry if that would make you feel better.”

Her face twisted with shock, but not the good kind. “I don’t want to marry because of societal pressure or because you think I want it. I want us to marry because we both want it.”

“Then we might never marry because I just don’t see a reason for marriage.”

Aurora swallowed, but the stubborn gleam remained in her eyes. “Then I’ll be okay with that. I want us to marry for the right reasons, and I want a real proposal!”

I chuckled. “Promise, if I ever find a good reason to marry, then I’ll knock you off your socks with my proposal.”

I arrived for our weekly business meeting ten minutes early. The surprise on Dad’s, Fabiano’s, and Nino’s faces, who were already there, made it clear that they still hadn’t gotten used to my responsible side. It wasn’t only Rory who needed to see that I was more than a crazy killer. Dad needed to realize that I’d one day make a good Capo and not cause the Camorra to implode with my craziness.

I sank into the armchair across from Fabiano. He and I had a sort of truce, but he definitely liked me a little less since I started dating his daughter. “I should probably give you fair warning that I might one day ask Rory for her hand.”

The words slipped out before I could think them through. I still wasn’t sure about marriage.

Fabiano’s expression twisted with confusion, not the shock I’d expected. “And you’re telling me now?”

“So you can make peace with the idea,” I said with a grin.

Dad and Nino exchanged a look that showed they were more shocked than Fabiano.

“If I hadn’t made peace with you and my daughter, you would know by now. And I always expected you to be serious about her, so why would I need to get used to the idea of marriage?”

“I’m serious about her. But that doesn’t mean it has to end in marriage. People can love each other without being married.”

Fabiano narrowed his eyes. “Not in my world.”

I chuckled. “I don’t see why we should marry without a good reason.”

“Then find a reason.”

Dad rolled his eyes. “You took a while to find a reason to ask Leona for her hand.”

“But I did find one, so it’s irrelevant.”

Nino opened his mouth. He was as skeptical about marriage as I was. Fabiano raised his palm. “Don’t bother. I’ve heard all of your logical arguments, and I’m over them. Nevio will find a reason to marry Aurora.”

I stifled a laugh. Fabiano’s scare tactics were directed at the wrong person, but I had no doubt that Rory would make me want to marry someday.


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