Broken Queen

Page 73

“Evening everyone,” he says, going to Amadeo. “Good to see you in one piece, my friend.” He hugs Amadeo and Amadeo hugs him back.
“It’s good to be in one piece,” Amadeo says. “I owe that to you.”
Bruno brushes that off and turns to us. “Bastian, Vittoria,” he says, setting his briefcase down on the desk and opening it. “Everyone is well?”
I nod as Bastian says something I don’t hear because I’m watching him unpack a folder and arrange official-looking papers.
Once he’s done, he closes his briefcase and sets it aside.
“I have everything here ready to sign,” he says with a glance at me but directing his words to Amadeo.
I look at the brothers. “What are we signing?”
Amadeo steps forward while Bastian remains where he is, watching as he sips whiskey.
“Since Brady no longer works for Russo Properties & Holdings, Bruno took over temporarily just to do what needed to be done,” Amadeo explains.
I stare up at him, glancing at Bastian for a clue but getting nothing.
Amadeo touches my cheek to call my attention to himself. His gaze is intent on me like he’s still searching for whatever it was he was looking for before Bruno entered.
“I’m signing it all back to you, Vittoria.”
He smiles, takes the pen from Bruno and, before answering, signs where the older man tells him to sign. He then turns to me. “I no longer have control of your shares or your finances. I have no stake in Russo Properties & Holdings.”
“I… don’t understand.”
“It’s back to you.” He holds the pen out to me. “As it should be.”
I take the pen, numb, and let him guide me toward the desk where Bruno points out where I should sign then explains that Lucien’s shares also revert to me since his death. If I want to put anything aside for Emma, I can do that. He’ll arrange it all.
I sign where he says for me to sign, glancing at Amadeo, at Bastian. He’s still silent, and Amadeo has a strange look on his face. One I can’t read. Regret? I’m not sure.
“That’s everything,” Bruno says, taking the pen from my hand and gathering up the paperwork. “I’ll leave this one,” he says to Amadeo who nods. I glance at the desk to the sealed envelope but wait to speak until Bruno is gone and the door is closed behind him.
“I don’t understand,” I say.
“What don’t you understand? It was yours all along. Not mine. We got what we wanted.” He gestures to Bastian, and my gaze follows his.
“Lucien dead, you mean,” I say, my heart falling a little.
Amadeo just stares at me.
“What about us?” I look from one to the other. “Me?” I’m aware that the fingers of one hand inadvertently move to the wedding band on the other.
Amadeo’s smile is forced now as he moves to pick up the envelope Bruno left. He breaks the seal and takes out the folded sheets of paper. He holds them out to me.
“What is it? Just tell me what it is,” I hear myself snap as I take a step away as if the sheets of paper might burn me.
I look at the sheets in his hand then up at him. “You can’t annul the marriage. It’s iron-clad. You made sure.”
“I pulled some strings. You can be free, Dandelion. This can be erased.”’
“Erased?” My eyes burn, my forehead furrows. “Like a year of my life was erased? What’s a few more weeks?”