Broken Queen

Page 40

“You want an inventory? Are you afraid my brother stole something that belonged to us before he left?”
“Just asking, Dandelion. What did you put in your bag?”
She rolls her eyes, then reaches into her tote to show me a photo of herself and her father. It’s fairly recent, and she’s got her head on his shoulder as he snaps a selfie.
“Oh, also this.” She takes out a second of her and her mother. She’s young in this one. Maybe twelve. “Is that okay, or do you think I’ll somehow turn them into weapons?”
“It’s fine.”
“Unless you want to search me, I’m ready to leave.”
A dozen of Benedetti’s men will accompany Bruno and her to the airport, and two of our own will be on the flight with them.
She turns to go, but Bastian, who is standing at the door, closes it. She turns back to me.
“I’m doing this for you, Vittoria. I want you safe.”
She meets my eyes. “Are you stopping construction on all the sites to keep me safe too?”
“No. That has nothing to do with you.”
“Of course it does. It’s my legacy.”
“Your father’s legacy.”
She shakes her head. “If I hadn’t come to Italy, if I hadn’t accompanied my father’s body, how would you have done it?”
“Doesn’t matter anymore, does it?”
“I just want to know how much of this is on me. Because me being there, you raiding the church and kidnapping me, then forcing me to marry you, it was all for this. Exactly this. I made it easy for you by showing up like that, didn’t I?”
I sigh. “Don’t think of it like that, Vittoria.”
“Your talk of my safety is bullshit, Amadeo. I’m your prisoner. Let’s call it what it is.”
“You’re hardly a prisoner.”
“You may not lock me in a room for now, but I’m still your prisoner. Both of yours.”
“For fuck’s sake, are we back to this?” I’m growing impatient.
Bastian steps in, takes her, and turns her to face him. She looks up at him. He takes her hands, and I see his fingers move to the empty ring finger of her right one. I wonder if that’s conscious.
I step back and watch. She doesn’t pull away. She’s angry with me, not him. Or at least she knows she needs an ally, and he seems to be her choice for that. Same as last time when we took her to the barn with us.
“You’re not a prisoner. Not anymore. No one will lock you in any room. Understand?” he says.
She shrugs a shoulder and shifts her gaze away. He tilts her face up to his.
“Give us two days. We’ll talk again once we’re in Italy.”
“Why do you need to stay? What are you going to do?”
“Need to look into a few things,” I say. She turns to me, eyes narrowed. “Dandelion, don’t look at me like that.” She doesn’t respond to me but to Bastian.
“Two days,” she says.
“You’re cute when you’re angry,” he says.