Vittoria enjoyed the quiet life. For a while at least. She spent less than a week chiselling away at clay and wood, before somebody took pity on her and bought one of her clay monstrosities. Around the time she had someone seriously consider one of her works because of aesthetics, was when she started getting bored.
That was also around the time she noticed that Carlo Mancini seemed to avoid her.
He came home in the middle of the night, as was the norm for his ‘profession’, and went straight for doing push-ups and then to bed. By the time she was up and doing her work, he stayed out of the house or did his exercise. After their conversation in the rain, she had assumed he was fine with her being around, and it bothered her more than she had expected that he wasn’t.
When she asked Camillo about it, he assured her it was nothing personal.
“It’s been like that for years,” he said. “He has to work hard for us to have enough money. I don’t make much.”
She didn’t say that it didn’t really make sense to her. They had a decently sized place, and Carlo’s suits were definitely at the expensive end.
“I still don’t think he likes me.”
“He does, don’t worry. Look, if you’re bored, we have a day off soon. We’ll show you around town and talk. Get to know each other.”
The days passed even more achingly slow after that.
It was slow enough that she joined the brothers by the tv on one of their rare, work-free evenings. She couldn’t help but smile when she looked at the two. Camillo was enthralled by his book, while Carlo was equally enchanted by the tv. Some sort of romantic melodrama played, and his face was soft with emotion. He cocked his head, and she heard something like a sigh. It was more entertaining than watching the tv.
“He doesn’t know that he does it,” Camillo whispered to her. “Don’t tell him.”
Carlo stirred on the other side of him. “Don’t tell me what?”
“Seriously, what was it you weren’t supposed to tell me?” Carlo said, leaning over to look at Vittoria.
“That this movie is weird. I’m pretty sure that’s not how bodies work.”
Carlo put a hand to his chest in mock horror. “This movie is a modern classic. How dare you.”
“It’s weird. Is that his arm, or…?”
“You guys need me to move out of the way so you can talk?” Camillo asked.
His older brother’s face froze, and he looked away with a shake of his head. A few minutes after, he muttered something about working out some more and headed upstairs. Vittoria was beginning to think he would never warm up to her.
And then he was arrested.
The first sign that something was wrong was when she came downstairs, and Camillo paced around in his sleepwear. Usually he got dressed right after getting up. The next sign was that he didn’t say good morning or hi. He simply looked her in the eye and said:
“It’s bad. It’s really, really bad.”
He ran his hands through his hair. “Carlo, he was arrested.”
“It’s… an occupational hazard, isn’t it? If you don’t mind my saying it.”
“It is, but he was arrested by Marcello Stefani.”
“Oh,” she said.
The name was familiar.
“Yeah, that’s the guy who got us kicked out of the villa. Most officers around here are pretty lenient with Good Guys Inc. but not him. I’ve tried calling Carlo’s bosses, but they said there’s nothing they can do.”
“No, he works with a rival gang…” Vittoria said, adding a string of curses under her breath.
Camillo raised an eyebrow. “How do you know that?”
“Research.” She pulled up her phone and looked through the numbers. Calling in a favour now would be risky, but… “I’m going to get him out.”
Before she could leave, he caught her arm. “I don’t think he’d like that.”
“He also wouldn’t like to end up in a cell with a member from this gang. Trust me.”
She stormed through town, phone pressed to her ear. The voice on the other end was more surprised than annoyed to hear from her, and after seconds of hesitation, they helped her out. By the time she made it to the police station, Carlo stood outside.
His eyes were vacant, and he looked at her like he didn’t recognise her.
“Vittoria?” he finally managed. “What…?”
“You look like you haven’t slept in days,” she said.
“Not too far off,” he said.
He wobbled on the spot, but he moved away before she could offer a hand to steady him.
“They didn’t let you sleep in there?”
Carlo put a hand to his head. “I could have slept, if I wanted to be shanked. Especially when that asshole Stefani put me in a cell with an even bigger asshole.”
“We’d better get you home.”
Even now, when he looked like he was about to pass out, he swatted away her attempts at helping him.
“I’m fine. You shouldn’t even be here… I’m just…”
He took one step, and then he actually passed out. She watched in horror as his head collided with the concrete, when she didn’t have time to catch him.
“Oh for fucks…” Vittoria muttered angrily.
As if called from the depths of hell, a pale cop came storming out of the station, screaming at Carlo to get off the sidewalk or go back to the cell. Vittoria didn’t have to actually know the guy to realise who he was.
“Could you help me out here?” she said, annoyed.
The officer’s eyes snapped up to her, and something shifted in his face. She shuddered as his eyes scanned her body as subtly as a bat to the head, then drifted to her eyes.
“Of course, ma’am, always at your service.”
“Help me get him home.”
Stefani’s face fell. “Um, actually, he’s a criminal…”
“And I’m not, so fucking help me. Grab his arm.”
The cop started, but he did as ordered after having another glance at her body. She had to order him around and keep him on track:
“Hoist his arm over your shoulder.” “No, don’t dislocate it.” “Stop that.” “Pull yourself together…”
But they made it back, and Camillo took over, helping his brother into bed.
It was stupid of her, she knew. Later that day, her contact called her back, then more calls came, and in the end she had to kill her phone. She would have to get a new number.
For once, she was happy to get back to the boring, quiet life and the big block of clay that had just started to reveal its secrets to her. She grabbed her hammer and chisel and was about to continue her work, when Carlo’s voice interrupted:
She turned to him with a smile. He had dark shadows under his eyes, and he didn’t look as neat as usual, though he was dressed and looking slightly better.
“It’s an alligator, Carlo. Snakes don’t have arms.”
He cocked his head. “Alligators don’t wear top hats.”
“But snakes do? And besides, you should probably still be sleeping.”
He nodded. “I should. But I wanted to talk to you.”
She bit her tongue to prevent herself from saying something stupid. Something like about damn time. Instead, she nodded.
“I wanted to say thank you. Camillo told me you… somehow got me out of there.”
“Called in a favour. It’s no problem,” she said, glancing at her dead phone on the nightstand. “Anytime.”
“A favour from whom?” he said, and then when she didn’t answer: “You don’t have to tell, but I’m starting to see what’s at play here. You managed to pull a favour with one of our rival gangs, and it sounds to me like you know a little bit too much about organised crime. Your dad…?”
“Was involved in crime,” she said. “He’s dead.”
But he didn’t. He didn’t have to say a word for her to know that the conclusions he drew right now were dead wrong. She didn’t correct him.
“Well, thank you,” Carlo said. “And good luck with the snake.”
He patted her on the shoulder and left her alone, but he smiled.
Hi again, guys! Here I am with yet another chapter 🙂
When I played the game, I thought it could be cool to incorporate Carlo being arrested, and then that very night it happened. And then I sent Vittoria out to “get him”, and one of his mortal enemies, Stefani, happened to show up as a cop. Strictly speaking, I don’t think he was the one to arrest him, but artistic license and all that. I also think it provides a pretty good excuse for why poor Carlo didn’t get a wink of sleep. It . Marcello Stefani also happened to find Vittoria very attractive, and that’s how he became an ass AND a total creeper. Yay.
Anywho, I’m well ahead with both writing, taking pictures, and playing at this point, so there should be a steady stream of updates coming. I’m thinking once a week (Saturday) or when I feel like it 🙂 Hopefully, I’ll be able to create a good backlog for when university starts back up on Tuesday.