“I had a meeting with Rocco but I don’t know all the details yet.”
“New York won’t be happy about it. Do you think it’ll lead to war between them and us again?”
Dante’s lips twisted into a wry smile. “I doubt it. Gianna ran off while she was visiting her sister Aria, so it’s as much Vitiello’s fault as ours.”
“It’s on them then. How can it be our fault if she was in their territory?”
“People are going to say Scuderi didn’t raise his girls right. Some will start to wonder how a Consigliere can control his soldiers if he can’t even control his own daughter. Few might even say it reflects badly on me that I’m taking advice from someone who lets his daughter go rampant.”
“That’s ridiculous. Gianna has always been boisterous. Her siblings are perfectly well behaved, so nobody can blame Scuderi or you.” I remembered what Gianna had said about escape when I’d talked to her. Should I have taken that more seriously? I’d thought she was only letting off steam.
“I’m not so sure. And who says that Aria didn’t help her sister escape?”
My eyes grew wide. “But Gianna’s supposed to marry Aria’s brother-in-law. She would have betrayed her own husband if she’d helped her sister run away.”
Dante nodded, that same cold smile still on his face. “Things are going to get very unpleasant.”
I rubbed my belly absentmindedly. “What will you do? Has Matteo cancelled the wedding yet?”
“Oh no. Matteo has no intention to cancel the wedding. He’s determined to find Gianna. He already started searching for her.” He sighed. “Scuderi is sending two of his soldiers with Matteo. The three of them should be able to track down the girl. They are professionals and she’s a sheltered girl who doesn’t know anything about the real world.”
I could feel a new wave of sickness rising up in me, but I fought it. “Don’t underestimate Gianna. If there’s anyone who could do it, then it’s her.”
“Perhaps. But she’s also hot-headed, and that will eventually lead her to making mistakes.”
I sucked in a deep breath through my teeth as my stomach churned again. Dante searched my face. “You look pale. Are you still not feeling well? Maybe you should talk to the doc.”
“No, I…” I didn’t get to finish the sentence when another wave of nausea washed over me. I rushed out of Dante’s office and toward the guest bathroom. I wouldn’t make it to the master bathroom on the second floor. The moment I was bent over the toilet, I emptied what little I had eaten that morning. Bile burned in my throat. I closed my eyes for a moment as I clung to the bowl. It didn’t help with the dizziness, if possible it made things even worse. My eyes popped open when I heard steps behind me and Dante’s black Budapest shoes appeared in my peripheral vision. I quickly flushed the toilet and staggered to my feet. Dante gripped my arm to steady me as I swayed. “Valentina?” His voice conveyed confusion.
I rinsed my mouth over the washbasin and washed my face. I could feel Dante’s eyes on me the entire time. I faced him, smiling shakily. “I’m fine.”
Dante didn’t look convinced. He followed me into the lobby and then upstairs into our bedroom. I wanted to change my shirt. I couldn’t help but think it smelled of vomit. I knew Dante was suspicious, but I didn’t want to tell him about our baby when he was in such a bad mood because of Gianna. I’d rather keep it a secret a bit longer.
Dante touched my waist. “You know I hate it when you’re keeping secrets. Don’t make it a habit.”
I met his gaze, and pressed my palm against my stomach. Dante followed the movement, his body turning tense.
“I’m pregnant,” I said quietly, hopefully. I wasn’t sure what I’d expected. I knew Dante wasn’t the overly emotional type but I’d hoped for some flicker of joy at least. But there was only suspicion on his face. He took a step back, eyes hard and calculating. “Pregnant?”
“Yes. We never used protection, so I don’t know why you’re acting so shocked. Wasn’t a heir one of the reasons why you married me?”
“That was the reason why my father wanted me to marry again.”
“So you don’t want kids?”
Dante’s mouth was set in a tight line. “Is it mine?”
Now it was my turn to stumble away from him, shock and hurt slamming into me. I couldn’t even say anything. Had he really just asked what I think he had? I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
“Answer my question,” Dante said in a low voice.
“Of course it is your child. You’re the only man I’ve ever slept with. How can you even ask such a question? How dare you?”
“I’m not keeping track of everything you do, and there are many men who frequent the casino where you work that wouldn’t say no to a night with you. You’ve made a habit out of keeping things from me. Do I have to remind you of Frank?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t want to believe it. Tears of disappointment and fury burned in my eyes. Being pregnant hadn’t exactly helped with my temper and emotionality. “How can you even say something like that? I’ve never given you any reason to doubt me like that. I’m loyal to this marriage. There’s a difference between not telling you about Frank and between cheating on you.”
Dante still didn’t look convinced. “My first wife and I tried for years to get pregnant. It never worked. You and I have been married for less than four months and you’re already pregnant.”
“I don’t know why you act as if that’s impossible. If your first wife was infertile, then that’s your explanation. Have you never consulted with a doctor? Or did you think it was you who was infertile?”
“We never went to a doctor to find out why we couldn’t conceive. Not that it is any of your business. I won’t discuss my first marriage with you.”