“I don’t think I’ll go today. I’ll give Leo a call later to let him know.”
“Has something happened?”
I pulled the pregnancy tests out of my bag.
Bibi’s eyes grew wide. “You’re pregnant?”
“I don’t know. That’s why I bought these. I wanted you to be there when I found out.”
“Wow. Does Dante suspect?”
I shook my head. “I want to know for sure before I tell him.”
“I understand. He’d only be disappointed if you told him and then it wasn’t true.” She took one of the pregnancy tests. “So do you want to do it now?”
I nodded, nerves fluttering in my stomach. Bibi led me to their guest bathroom. I walked in alone. I’d never mastered the talent to pee with other people in a room with me. Once I was done, I set both tests down on the edge of the washbasin and opened the door. Bibi wrapped her arm around my waist, as we both stared at the tests.
“I think it’s time,” she said after a few minutes.
“Okay.” I reached for the tests and with a deep breath, stared down at them. Both were positive. “I’m pregnant.”
Bibi hugged me tightly. “That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you. Dante will be so proud when he finds out. He’s waited long enough for children and you’re finally giving them to him. Will you tell him today?”
I considered that. “I think I should get confirmation from my gynecologist. As you said, I should be absolutely sure before I tell him.” And the other reason was that I needed some time to get used to the idea myself. I’d always wanted kids, and Dante and I had never taken countermeasures, but now that I knew I would be having a baby in less than one year, I was hit by nerves.
“I couldn’t keep it a secret. Especially since Tommaso is so desperate for me to get pregnant.”
“Maybe we’ll be pregnant together. That would be great.”
She smiled. “Go on, call your doc.”
“I will,” I said with a laugh. She looked more elated than I did.
As usual I got an appointment for the next day. My gynecologist was associated with the Outfit, so I never had to wait long.
That evening when Dante and I sat down for dinner together, the truth was on the tip of my tongue. I was still feeling nauseous and didn’t eat more than a few bites of Zita’s delicious lasagna. My glass of wine stayed untouched and I could manage only few gulps of water. Dante peered at me over his wine. “Are you alright? You’ve barely touched your food.”
“I don’t feel well. Maybe I caught the stomach flu.”
Dante’s brows crinkled. “Should I tell Zita to make you tea and chicken soup?”
I couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks, but I think I’ll just go to bed early.” I stood and had to grip the edge of the table as a wave of dizziness gripped me. Dante was beside me immediately. “Should I call the doc?”
I shook my head, then regretted the movement. “No. I’ll feel better once I lie down.” Dante didn’t budge from my side as he led me upstairs, his hand resting on my hip.
I changed into my pajamas as Dante watched me. Then I slipped under the covers. “Do you want me to join you?” he asked.
I hesitated. “I don’t think I’m well enough for sex.”
Dante perched on the bed. “Valentina, that’s not what I meant. I’m not that kind of bastard.”
“I just thought…” I trailed off. “You usually approach me only when you want to sleep with me.”
Dante exhaled, then shook his head. “Would you like me to keep you company until you fall asleep?”
I didn’t want to look needy but even more than that I wanted him to stay with me. His baby was growing in my body, and if my gyn confirmed what the tests had said, I’d tell him. “I don’t want to keep you away from work.”
Dante sat back against the headrest, his legs hanging over the edge so his shoes weren’t touching the sheets. I moved closer to him and rested my head on his stomach. When his fingers started massaging my scalp, my eyes fluttered shut. Maybe a baby would bring us closer together. It had worked for some couples in the Outfit.
The next day my gynecologist confirmed my pregnancy and that I was seven weeks along.
I could barely contain my excitement and nervousness when I came home afterwards. Dante wasn’t in his office. I called Bibi and grabbed a few pieces of plain toast from the kitchen before I stretched out on the sofa, hoping that way the toast would stay in. My gyn had said my nausea could last for several weeks, but I really hoped I was among the lucky ones who suffered from morning sickness for only a very short time.
I was woken by the sound of a door being slammed shut and sat up, disoriented. It took me a moment to realize I’d fallen asleep in the living room. Heavy steps passed the living room door, then retreated to the back of the lobby. I stood, and after I’d straightened my clothes and hair, I headed toward Dante’s office. The door was closed as always. I knocked and stepped in.
Dante sat behind his desk, a thunderous expression on his face. I leaned against the doorway. He glanced up, but didn’t say anything.
“What happened? Did the Russians give you trouble?” I didn’t mention Frank, not wanting to remind Dante of my mess-up.
Dante leaned back in his chair and shook his head. “No, the Russians aren’t the problem for once,” he said coldly. “Our own people have taken up the task.”
I frowned. “What do you mean? Did one of your men betray you?”
“It looks like there’s not going to be a wedding.”
“You mean between Gianna and Matteo? Why? Did they have another fight?”
“A fight wouldn’t have detained Matteo from making the Scuderi girl his wife. He’s obsessed with her. No, the girl ran away.”
I walked into the room and perched on the edge of the desk, stunned by the news. “Gianna ran away from home? But how did she manage to escape her bodyguards?” I doubted Scuderi would have let her out of sight for a second. She was way too volatile for that.