Broken Queen

Page 53

“The sedative I gave her is strong,” the doctor says, moving away as we approach the bed where Mom opens her eyes and reaches out a hand. I take it.
“Mom.” I brush her hair back from her face. She looks up at me, then at Amadeo and takes his hand too.
“They didn’t get you,” she says, drawing us closer. “They didn’t get you.”
“No, we’re okay, Mom. You go to sleep now. We’ll talk about it when you wake up.”
“Francesca,” she says, and tears roll down her face.
“Shh. Close your eyes, Mom. Go to sleep.” She does because of the sedative, and we turn to the doctor.
“She’s physically all right.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Amadeo says. “We’re moving her. You and the nurse will go with her?” Although he asks it as a question, it’s not.
The doctor glances at the woman who nods. “Of course.”
“Your cell phones, Doctor.”
He raises his eyebrows.
“For her safety.”
He hands over his phone and turns to the nurse who does the same.
“Thank you,” I say.
Bruno is waiting for us in the doorway. “Naples?”
“No. Sicily. Stefan Sabbioni will house her until this is done,” Amadeo says.
“I’ll arrange transport.”
“Where’s Francesca’s body?”
“In the kitchen. She and Hyacinth are both there. They were surprised, I think. It would have been quick.”
I nod because I don’t trust myself to speak.
He shakes his head. “He was in the library.”
Amadeo mutters a curse under his breath.
“And Vittoria and Emma aren’t here,” I say. It’s not a question.
“You’re sure? You searched everywhere?” Amadeo asks.
“Everywhere. I got here about an hour ago to find the carnage. Called in men. We searched the house and the grounds. No trace of them.”
“Find out where my uncle is,” Amadeo says as he and I walk into Emma’s bedroom to find it torn apart, like the rest of the house. No bullets here, though. No one was killed in here. I set the little well-loved pig on the bed. The closet door is open, and I see the tea party they must have been having. Someone kicked the tiny cups over and the icing from the cake is embedded in the carpet. I crouch down to see the heavy tread of the boot’s imprint.
I stand, look over the stuffed animals. There are dozens in various sizes along with baby and Barbie dolls strewn in. I turn to go when my gaze lands on Emma’s torn-apart little shoes. She always put them on the minute she got out of bed.
Amadeo lays a hand on my shoulder “We’ll get them back,” he says. “He took them. He wants something in exchange, or he’d have killed them and left them for us to find.”
I nod. I know that.