Twisted Roses

Page 121

Salvatore and I are mid-kiss when the next race is called. The Channel Nine field reporter appears on screen to announce that Dad is moments away from taking the stage with his first speech as city mayor. Because Bernstein dropped out after the pedophile ring allegations, Dad’s win is uncontested.
I escape from under Salvatore and sit up to watch the moment live.
“He did it,” I say. “He’s city mayor.”
“His heart doesn’t look in it.”
It’s true—Dad waltzes across the stage with the occasional wave to the cheering, adoring crowd, but his expression is stilted and forced. He almost looks as if he would rather be stranded on a desert island than standing in front of a crowd of twenty thousand people waving campaign flags and posters at him.
A strange pang hits my heart. We haven’t spoken since the night I confronted him. He’s certainly tried, leaving a string of voice mails and emails. I’ve read and listened to them all. On them, he begs for forgiveness and swears I’m misunderstanding the situation. He pleads with me to see the truth, and to resist Salvatore’s manipulation.
I delete them afterward.
When I told Dad he lost me forever, I meant it. There’s nothing he can do to erase the pain and trauma he’s caused. The lies ran too deep and the deceit too soul-crushing.
“You still okay?” Salvatore asks after a moment.
The celebrations have continued on screen. Balloons and confetti have been released onto the stage and into the crowd. People cheer as Dad gives a final wave and then walks off the stage.
I inhale a steadying breath and then reach for the remote to turn off the TV. “It’s hard moving on from what happened, but I’ll get there. I just need time.”
“It’ll be interesting to see what kind of mayor he plans to be.”
“He’ll probably be coming after you…”
Salvatore shrugs. “Let him. Your father has never intimidated me before, Phi. He won’t now.”
“I hear you’re in need of a personal defense attorney.” I nudge my shoulder with his, barely holding in the laugh rising up my throat to the surface.
He grins. “Yeah, I am. Mayor Adams is probably going to open a shit load of investigations on me. Know any?”
“One. The best in the city. You couldn’t afford her, though.”
Salvatore laughs and draws me into a heated kiss, telling me how sexy it is when I play hard to get.
It may be election night, but for us, it’s another moment of happiness together.
Moments like this where I’m sure. I’m hopeful for what’s to come. For the first time in my life, the mask is off. I’m no longer pretending. I’m in control and I’m becoming the Delphine I’m truly meant to be.
32. salvatore
I murderHector Belini in cold blood in the privacy of his own home. No backup. No cover. Nobody around to stop me. I do it at night—I pull up to his five-million-dollar estate and break into his house. Not an easy feat, but I’ve taken a page out of Delphine’s book.
I’ve spent weeks watching Hector, learning all about his estate and overnight security. He’s asleep when I slip into the shadows of his room and come up to his bed. Peaceful as a baby as he dozes, though ugly as a beast with his scarred flesh. Half of his face was melted off as a result of the car bomb I had my men plant in his engine.
He snores like a beast, too.
I grab the glass of water on the side of his bed and dump it on him. “Wake up, Hector.”
He jerks, snorting out of his sleep. Confusion and drowsiness fill out his ugly face. His eyes bulge when he blinks a few times and realizes he’s not dreaming.
He’s really sitting up in his bed, staring at his worst nightmare.
“Mancino!” he starts, but he never gets to finish.
I lodge my knife into his throat, just like I did his baby brother Giorgio so many months ago. He sputters and claws at me, blood squirting everywhere. In the sheets. On his satin pajamas. On the front of my shirt and even my face.
Nowthisis the type of blood I like. The blood of my enemies. The sound of their helpless grunts of pain as they bleed out.