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Bound by Duty(9)

By:Cora Reilly







CHAPTER THREE





Bibiana came over the next afternoon, her eyes red from crying. I ushered her into the library and made her settle down on the leather sofa. “What happened?”

“Tommaso is angry that I’m not pregnant yet. He wants me to go to a doctor to see what’s wrong.”

They’d been married for almost four years now, but Bibiana had been taking contraceptives in secret. “Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to get pregnant. If you have a baby, you’d have someone to love and who loves you back.” I wrapped my arm around her. The last few years of seeing Bibiana growing more and more depressed because of her marriage to Tommaso had been heartbreaking. I wished there was something I could do for her.

“Maybe you’re right. And maybe Tommaso won’t touch me if I have a big belly.” She shook her head. “Let’s not talk about this. I want to forget about my troubles for a bit. So what about you? How are the wedding preparations going?”

I shrugged. “My mother booked a ballroom in a hotel. The only thing I need to do is buy a wedding gown.”

“Will you get a white dress again?”

“I don’t think so. My mother doesn’t think it’s appropriate. Maybe cream colored. That should be fine.”

Bibiana huffed. “I think it’s ridiculous that you can’t wear a white dress only because you’ve been married before. It’s not like it was a real marriage.”

“Shhh,” I hissed, my eyes darting to the closed door of the library. I’d told Bibiana about the true nature of my marriage to Antonio a while ago. “You know nobody can know.”

“I don’t understand why you’re trying to protect him. He’s dead. And he used you as a means to an end. You should look out for yourself now.”

“I am looking out for myself. I’ve helped Antonio betray the Outfit. Being gay is a crime, you know that.”

“It’s ridiculous.”

“I know, but the mob won’t change any time soon, no matter how much we want it to.”

“If you don’t want to tell Dante about it, then what are you going to do about your wedding night? Aren’t you worried he’s going to realize you never consummated your marriage with Antonio?”

“Maybe he won’t notice.”

“If it’s anything like my first time, then he will notice.”

“Tommasio treated you horribly. You didn’t want it, so of course you bled. I’m still so mad when I think about it.”

Bibiana swallowed. “What’s done is done. I really wish I’d have been married to a gay man.” She laughed bitterly. I took her hand. “Maybe you’re lucky and Tommasio has a heart attack or gets shot down by the Russians.” It wasn’t even a joke. I wanted Bibiana to be free of that man.

Bibiana grinned. “How sad is it that I’m actually hoping for that to happen?”

“Of course you want him gone. I get it. Everyone would.”

She scanned my face. “So what about you? You want to sleep with Dante?”

“Definitely. I can’t wait.” My cheeks grew warm, but it was the truth and I did see nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with your soon-to-be husband. Dante was an attractive man after all.

“Then maybe you should take preparations that ensure Dante doesn’t realize your first marriage was for show.”

“What? Find a guy to sleep with? I won’t cheat on Dante. I think sex belongs in marriage.” Despite my best intentions not to take everything my mother taught me by heart and not to let the strict words of my catholic teachers worm their way into my brain, I couldn’t imagine being close to someone I wasn’t committed to.

Bibiana let out a choked laugh. “That’s not what I meant.” She lowered her voice, her skin turning red. “I thought you could use a dildo.”

For a moment I didn’t know what to say. I’d never considered something like that. “Where would I get a dildo? I can hardly ask my father’s bodyguards to take me to a sex shop. My mother would die of embarrassment if she found out.” And I would most likely die from embarrassment when I entered said shop.

“I wish I could get it for you, but if Tommaso found out, he’d be furious.” The bruises on Bibiana’s cheekbones from Tommaso’s last outburst hadn’t quite faded yet.

“It’s probably for the best. I don’t like the idea of having sex with an inanimate object anyway. I’ll figure it out.”

“Dante will probably be too wrapped up in his own needs to notice anyway. Men are like that.”

That wasn’t much of a comfort. I hoped Dante would be concerned about my needs too.

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