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Italians, Irishmen and A Lady
Mutiny on the Bounty
Tue May 24, 2005 22:21

Lucy had fretted in silence the entire time she sat next to her grandfather. It was exceedingly unusual for someone to just swoop down out of nowhere and claim relations. At least, it had never happened to her before, with the sole exception of Sean and him she’d known since forever. Even so, it was still hard to view him as a sibling; hell, it was hard to imagine that this kindly old gentleman was both her grandfather and the member of a powerful family. Note the use of the lowercase ‘f’, too.

Therefore, the prudent thing to do had been exactly what she did – lean against Matteo’s side and think. Little he could do if she outright refused to talk without offending him. To top it all off, Caleb’s crazy behavior was still very much a puzzle. Shifting against the seat, she slipped the ring from its resting place inside her purse and studied the item. So cold, so beautiful … Lucy found herself blinking back tears.

Crying in front of a Don would not be a smart thing to do. Doubly so when you were related to him.

“You are far too quiet, Luciana.”

The voice of her second biggest worry broke through muddle thoughts, an engaging smile on his face. Just like a teddy bear, she thought, until you realized it was really a grizzly. Somehow, though, the idea of all that power at her disposal was incredibly tempting. Hey, she was human. Mortal folk were allowed to dream and wonder what things would be like if things had turned out different. And that led to a horrid thought concerning Devon, which in turn led to moist eyes.

But she would not cry in front of the Don.

“Forgive me, grandfather. Things have been hectic.” Stalling? Were we stalling? Heaven forbid that ever happen. She knew he was too smart to accept so little explanation, but honestly, things had to be set to rights with Caleb. Should she beg and grovel and plead? No, because there was no reason for forgiveness. It was he who should do some apologizing.

As if. The former spy was too clever, too masculine for that. Maybe.

“Tell me, grandchild, when is the wedding to take place?”

Another bid for conversation. This one was easy to fall into, for it gave her a chance to pretend everything was alright. “October the Thirty-First, grandfather. Halloween. It .. fits us.” The elderly gentleman’s eyebrows shot up at the date. All Hallow’s Eve was surely not the most auspicious day for a wedding. Come to think of it, the ghostly day was far better suited to a funeral. This did not please Matteo de Medici at all.

Silence descended onto the moving car like a falling curtain, prompting Lucy to flash a tight, but hopefully sympathetic smile towards John, who was stuck in the front seat with her newly revealed uncle. He’d hardly said one word since the meeting had begun, and that was over an hour ago. Was he now wondering how far to flee from this insane family he’d been stuck with? She hoped not, he was a fine man. Even without the added complication of her brother’s affections.

Sean. Now there was a person she could use a hug from. Somehow, snuggled up against him had made a lot of problems fade away during her youth. To attempt that with Caleb would produce an entirely different scenario, and with all the problems they had on their plates at the moment, Lucy wasn’t entirely sure that sex was a good way to go. She sighed quietly. The bastard had turned her into something of a sex fiend when it came to him.

Idiot. Stupid, beautiful, stubborn idiot. The most perfect man on the planet, flaws and all.

“Do you love him?” There was no need to ask the identity of whom her grandfather now spoke of. “Yes, I do. Very much. Even when he’s being a pain in the as—in the butt.” He nodded thoughtfully, and then continued. “And if you had to give up everything? Your name, your heritage, everything?” What was this, twenty questions? But that produced an easy answer as well. “I already did, Grandfather, when I entered the WPP. My love for him has already been tested.” Several times.

“I see.” He made no other comments for the rest of the ride there, Pietro making splendid time across the bridge and into Manhattan itself. Traffic was fairly heavy for the day, but apparently someone had consulted a local on the best way to get around, because it took just under forty-five minutes to get back home.

Sean’s truck was in the driveway. And there were clothes littering the porch, but she didn’t recognize any of them. Okay …

John beat her out of the car by seconds, though he went completely male at that point and wouldn’t let her go past. Together, with Matteo and Pietro bringing up the rear, the odd ensemble moved as one up the lawn and into the house.

Where they found “Caleb?” (John was such a master of the obvious, wasn’t he) holding a gun on his future brother in law. Lucy’s eyebrows shot up; this was not a scene she had expected to see. Hell, after the exhausting events of the meeting, her expectations were pretty mellow for the rest of the week, if not her entire life.

“He wanted to go after Devon,” Caleb managed quietly by way of explanation for his fiancée.


Looking at her half-sibling in a whole new light, complete with an imaginary ‘super brother’ pin on his shirt, she stepped forward and very carefully eased the gun out of Sean’s grasp, clicking the safety on before sticking the new ‘safe’ weapon into the waistband of his pants. “You look very nice. By the way, we’re eating at Scalo’s tonight.”

The blond was still breathing hard, but he nodded towards his sister before walking out to his truck and pacing around it, visibly muttering to himself and apparently trying to get rid of some nervous energy. She couldn’t blame one bit. Men weren’t supposed to sit on the sidelines and blithely accept strange and unusual events in their lives.

“Who are you?” Matteo had taken the initiative, stepping around the others to watch Caleb and his attempts to calm down. Thousand Yard Stare … at fifty paces. A chill screamed down Lucy’s spine at that point, realizing that the Italian and the American had been cut from the same mold. Stubborn, following orders only when they were in subordinate positions. Stubborn. Did we mention stubborn yet? Both jaws could have been cut from granite.

“Caleb Holmes. Luciana’s fiancée.”

Her lover’s voice was still raw, a deep contrast to Medici’s quiet tone, and it washed across them like a wild tidal wave. Ok, fine. It washed across her that way. It took a moment of clarity, but Matteo began to chuckle. He stepped further into the house, idly surveying the damage strewn between living room and kitchen before glancing towards the tall spy once more.

“I think, cara mia, that this wedding business must be handled by a professional. It is painfully obvious that you are in way over your head. A bride should not have the stress of planning a wedding put fully on her shoulders. Two weeks, Luciana, and you will wed your spy.” He paused, something glinting deep within his gaze. “If you will still have him.”

OH, that did it. She could see Caleb’s shoulders tense, the entire demeanor of his frame shifting into a fighting stance. None of them could quite make out the better part of what he muttered under his breathe, which was surely a blessing in disguise. The general tone of his comments was made clear, however. Matteo, it seemed, was interfering where he did not belong.

And that offended the Italian visitor. “Did you really think I would stand by and see my granddaughter shamed? If this had been a proper courtship with none of the problems that you have dealt with, I would have simply come to the wedding to give gifts and a blessing. She deserves to walk down that aisle looking like a fairy tale princess to marry her prince. Why she chose you is beyond me, but she did choose. Therefore, as the grandfather of the bride, I will spare nothing to make sure she is happy.” There was no mistaking the steel in his still quiet voice.

Caleb, however, couldn’t take a hint. “Oh HELL NO! She had to run because of YOUR MEN, Medici! You should have kept the leash tighter than you have been! Lucy deserves the best in life, not her grandfather's associates attempt to kill her! Indirectly, it is because of YOU that we've lost everything, that
SHE'S lost everything! I place the blame for the last year of hell at your feet!”

It was the wrong thing to blame him for. Italian men could only take so much. “MY men? The people who work for me have been living in Italy. I swore to that son-of-a-bitch who fathered the man who took my daughter from me that I would not interfere at all in their lives. I swore this oath on the steps of the Cathedral where they married. I have NOT been back to the New England area since then, Mister Holmes. The ... leash, as you put it, was not mine to hold. It was Bernardo's! And HE failed MY family.” With that, Matteo turned around and strode out of the house before he made a terrible, and possibly fatal decision.

Lucy had had enough. Spearing her lover with a look, she spoke in a low tone. “You will apologize to my grandfather for that. And mean it! He is doing his family duty the only way he knows how, and I love him for it. Please don’t make me choose between my love and my family a second time. Please.” Pivoting about, she followed the elderly gentleman out onto the lawn and spent several minutes talking to him in his native language. Whatever she said must have worked, for Pietro was soon galvanizing people to get ready for dinner.

“Show me to your room, my dear. We will have you packed in no time.” At Caleb’s suddenly enraged look, Lucy was forced to explain the traditions of her culture. “You referred to me as your betrothed. I cannot, in good faith, stay here until we are wed, Caleb. Grandfather wants to hold the wedding in two weeks. That is … if you still want me.” Her voice cracked, prompting Lucy up the stairs to hide in her room.

Pietro wisely chose to stay where he was at a glare from the groom in question.

“This is very nice.”

Lucy’s tears had dried in the car on the way, and she had abandoned Caleb inside the restaurant to go repair her face. Heat still infused her cheeks, the shame of having to admit her transgression with his brother burning brightly in her soul. Her lover had insisted that he drive her to dinner, since she would be leaving with her grandfather and camping out in his penthouse for thirteen days. The suitcase she had packed was probably already now sitting in the Mercedes.

Matteo had ordered a dozen reservations. When they all arrived at the private booth, Caleb’s father and siblings were waiting for them, looking stiff and ill at ease. There was also a stranger sitting at the table with him; a handsome Italian with long, dark hair kept in a ponytail. On seeing Matteo and his party escorted over, the man rose and dipped his head respectfully.

“Signore Medici, honored per essere denominato.”(1)

Matteo clapped the man on the shoulder, then caught Lucy on her way to a chair near the Holmes clan. “Andrea, questo è il mio grande figlia Luciana.”(2) Andrea automatically caught her hand gently, and placed a kiss against the back very respectfully. “Signora Medici, non ci sono parole per descrivere la vostra bellezza. Sarà un honor per servirlo, poichè era un honor da servire indossa Matteo.”(3)


Matteo hastened to explain, still in Italian. John, having arrived in time to witness this, was very quietly translating for an irate Caleb. “Luciana, questo è Andrea Turino. È il figlio del mio cugino Francesco da Chicago ed ha accosentito per diventare il vostro bodyguard. Quello è lo stato finale del nostro accordo.”(4)

And now Caleb was back to glaring at her. Peachy. Lucy glared right back at him, then allowed her fiancee to hold her chair so she could sit down. He also immediately claimed the chair to her left, leaving Andrew to take the chair on her right. Boy. Didn’t she feel protected?

Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do!

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Sean blinked rapidly, wrenching himself out of a pleasant doze and off the futon he used as both bed and couch when the pounding began on his door. Who the f*ck would bother him at the insane hour of .. uh … er … ten in the morning. Ok, fine. Not all that insane, but he’d been out drinking the evening before with some Broadway gypsie friends. Wasn’t a guy entitled to a hangover?

Stumbling across the floor, and managing not to trip over the clothing he’d just let drop where he took them off, the wiry Irishman wrench open the door and greeted an annoyed looking John in nothing but a smile and his boxers. The former spy was nattily dressed, as always, a fact that made Sean’s lip curl in sleepy amusement.

“Caleb is driving me NUTS!” His visitor announced, then waited patiently until the host realized theyw ere still standing in the doorway and waved him into the apartment. Quick tour: It was a studio. The entertainment system consisted of a tv and dvd player on top of Sean’s dresser, across from which resided the futon-cum-bed. There was a kitchette against the back wall, next to the bathroom, glimpsed easily through an open door.

Unlike Caleb and Lucy, Sean was not a neat freak. His apartment was clean but it was also cluttered with stacks of old newspapers, books that had not quite made it to the two bookcases already overflowing with novels. Several piles of folded clothes sat on top of a table that had been bought as a breakfast nook and then used for other things.

“Sit, make yourself comfortable. Can I get you anything? A beer?”

At ten am? Well, he was trying to be hospitable, considering the guy he had a crush on was now viewing his naked chest, naked legs … and boxers. Or maybe that hadn’t quite dawned on him yet.

(1) “Lord Medici, I am honored to have been called.”
(2) “Andrea, this is my grand daughter Luciana.”
(3) “Lady Medici, there are no words to describe your beauty. It will be an honor to serve you, as it was an honor to serve Don Matteo.”
(4) “Luciana, this is Andrea Turino. He is the son of my cousin Francesco from Chicago and has agreed to become your bodyguard. That is the final condition of our agreement.”

  • Disbelief AboundCaleb Holmes, Sat May 21 01:41
    He looked like a kindly old grandfather! John couldn’t believe it when the older man walked into the room, saving his collective hide. And Lucy’s to boot! He did not shuffle along, but still radiated ... more
    • Mutiny on the Bounty — Italians, Irishmen and A Lady, Tue May 24 22:21
      • Uncomfortable MealsCaleb Holmes, Thu May 26 21:51
        He… chuckled. Caleb’s gaze narrowed as the man stepped further into the house. This really couldn’t be anyone other than the infamous Medici. After all, what man would walk in with his own Italian... more
        • Frustrated FedsCaleb Holmes, Thu May 26 21:52
          Caleb couldn’t believe it! Seated there on the edge of the bed, he listened to the sounds of Italians working downstairs. Once already he had shouted at them to leave, moved them toward the... more
          • Nothin' Like a DameLucy and Penny, Thu Jun 2 10:51
            “Ciao, innamorato…” The first sight of the hulking agent just about did Lucy in. Sure, it had been exactly two days since she had agreed to all this fuss, and let me tell you, the wait was killing... more
            • Helping the NeedyCaleb Holmes, Fri Jun 3 06:26
              “So its some production about war and all the nonsense it entails on a more humanistic level, coupled with everyday prejudices that all people must overcome?” Caleb paused, pulling a drag off the... more
              • Surprising DiscoveriesJohn Slepchoski, Fri Jun 3 06:27
                How the hell did he get here ? It had all began so innocently just a few days ago. Finding comfort with Sean on the morning that Caleb began his rampage, which led to obtaining sanctuary for the... more
                • Flashing StalkersCaleb Holmes, Fri Jun 3 06:27
                  He was going to go nuts! It had been nearly a week without seeing Lucy, and there was only so much he could do to occupy his time. The theater was running as smoothly as it could at current, the... more
                  • Pantaloons and tunics!Medicis, Sun Jun 5 16:05
                    One week from today, I will go to sleep a married woman. Lucy stared at herself in the bathroom mirror, suddenly wishing she looked older than sixteen. Sure, she could appear in her early twenties... more
                    • Courtesans and eunuchs!Sean Cafferty/Penny Alexander, Sun Jun 5 16:09
                      Thunk! “That makes three in a row, Legs.” Arms shot forward to catch the orange ball as it rebounded off the garage door, then cradled it against a curvy chest. “Yeah. And?” Penny had been mouthier... more
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