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   Chapter 12 The Truth Behind The Mask

Mr. Regnante By Serena B. Light Characters: 25341

Updated: 2018-09-30 11:00


(Trigger-warning! Proceed with caution)

A laugh tore through Rosalie as she ran behind the two little children who giggled hysterically, both of them scurrying away from her. Their footsteps and joy echoing off the walls of the barely inhabited estate.

Christmas was just a couple of days away and Arcangelo had given most - if not all - of his staff a holiday to go and enjoy the occasion with their families. She can remember the unease that had overcome every face as they were informed that the Boss wanted to meet with them in the gardens. It was frigid, everyone was bundled in jackets and scarves and mittens as their shuffled to keep warm, all of them amassed and standing shoulder to shoulder, reveling in the heat radiated by everyone.

She can even recall the shock and joy the men and women had when Arcangelo told them to go home and enjoy Christmas with their families. Instant murmuring had broken out as the Mafia Boss bid them a Merry Christmas and took his leave.

Before heading home, the people came and thanked him as he gave them a nonchalant wave, telling them to leave and get home before the weather got colder.

And now here they were, Rosalie, Arcangelo, Arsenio and Claudia with just a handful of men who had said that they did not have families to return to. It would later come to light that Arcangelo had insisted that they take the holiday regardless, but the men refused.

The only other time Rosalie had seen the estate so desolate and quiet was at 5 a.m. in the morning when she had run out of Arcangelo's bedroom.

Speaking of Arcangelo and her...

"Rosalie! Catch us!" Claudia yelled over her shoulder, jolting the older girl out of her reverie as she tried to get them, her ribs making it difficult for her to run at full speed and therefore giving the children an advantage.

They ran her across the ground floor of the south wing before running towards the east one, and up one flight of stairs then another. Heaving and out of breath, they giggled breathlessly as they ran down the hall, Rosalie close at their heel as she made a grab for them just as Arsenio was twisting open the door, sending all three of them toppling into the room with shrieks of surprise. All of them fell to the floor in an unceremonious heap, momentarily dazed before bursting into a fit of laughter at their antics.

Chuckling, all three looked up at the room, their mouths falling open with their eyes popping out of their heads. It looked rather comical with the three sprawled over one another, openly gawking with bulging eyes.

The room before them was drowned in wrapped gifts of various sizes, some wrappings repeated, but the multitude and abundance of colors were dizzying. Every single surface was covered in gifts; the room looked as if though it was devoid of furniture and only housed presents.

"Kids, get off the floor before you all catch a cold." Arcangelo's voice called from their right as they turned in the direction, seeing him standing in pinstriped black slacks and black button up whose sleeves he'd rolled up to expose his firm and muscled forearms, a couple of papers in his hands as his eyes darted over the contents.

Scurrying to their feet the two kids rushed to their uncle, clutching onto the fabric of his pants and tugging to grab his attention as he hummed in response, flipping the page but not tearing his gaze away from him.

"Uncle..." Claudia called out with wide doe eyes shimmering with excitement. "Are these all for us?" Arsenio nodding to her statement as he was in too much shock to say anything.

"No, baby, these gifts are for the people that work for me and their families." He informed gently, looking down at her with a soft smile. "You know, as a thank you for all that they have done for me."

Rosalie's heart melted in her chest as she took in this altruistic act. Pushing herself off the floor, she dusted off her woolen dress as she noticed the petulant expression on little Claudia's face as she stubbornly crossed her arms over her chest.

"But-!"

"Hey, " Arcangelo intervened gently, crouching down before her. "Baby, these gifts are for a lot more people than just you. But don't worry, I have gifts for you two as well."

Instantly their eyes lit up as their uncle chuckled at them.

"Would you like one now?" He asked Claudia in a secretive whisper as she gasped and nodded vigorously; looking like Christmas had come early. "Alright, "

"Hey there, peanut, " A new voice suddenly came from their right. All of them glancing up to take in the blonde haired, green-eyed and freckle-faced man standing in the doorway of the walk-in closet, wearing denim jeans with a white t-shirt under his black leather jacket. "Did you miss me?"

"Daddy!" Claudia squealed in joy as she flew towards her father who picked her up, throwing her in the air with an ecstatic laugh before holding her close to him, closing his eyes as he reveled in the familiarity of holding her tiny body again.

"Oh, I missed your angelic little face around the house." He admitted as he leaned back to look at the beautiful face of his daughter.

"Hello, uncle!" Arsenio waved from the feet of his surrogate father, holding his hand in his tiny one.

"Hey there, buddy, " Vincent exclaimed with a broad grin as he approached the two. "Hope you two had fun, she didn't bother you too much did she?"

"No! We played so much with Rosalie! We had a lot of fun!" The 6-year-old revealed.

"That's awesome, little man!" He enthused, resulting in a chuckle from Arcangelo.

"Okay, kids, can you two go and play in your rooms because the adults have to sort out these gifts now, " Arcangelo informed as Vincent was lowering Claudia to the floor.

"Alright, " The two youngsters spoke simultaneously, heading towards the door before Arsenio stopped, looking back at the two men after taking a quick glance in Rosalie's direction. "Does Rosalie have to stay as well?"

"Only if she wants to, buddy, " Arcangelo revealed as the little boy turned towards her expectantly.

"I think...I'll help them out with the sorting." She informed uncertainly, glancing up to catch Vincent giving her an appreciative grin as Arcangelo didn't turn towards her, his eyes fixated on the parchment in his hands.

Since they kissed, neither one of them had been able to confront the other, either avoiding each other and steering clear of any occasions that would force them to interact, or simply holing up to avoid any awkward encounters. Maybe due to that very reason Rosalie opted to help, knowing that they would have to talk sooner or later, or maybe she just wanted to see how long this little game of avoidance could last.

"Thank you for helping us, Rosalie, " Vincent stated as he removed his jacket, letting it fall at their feet as there was no other place to put it.

"Okay, so what we have to do is very simple, " Arcangelo spoke up before she could respond, not addressing anyone in particular as he skimmed through the text. "We just separate the gifts which have identical wrappings, since those are of one particular family, and if you find one which is solo, then keep that separate as well since it's for one of the men downstairs. Sound good?"

"Sound good to me, boss." The other man stated with a shrug as Rosalie nodded.

"I'm not your boss anymore, Vinnie." Arcangelo scoffed as he folded the pages.

"That's right, you're my annoying best friend, Ango." He grinned as he ruffled Arcangelo's hair, forcing a disgruntled sound out of him as he pushed away his hand.

"Fuck you, man.

bably should not have heard all that you just said, but now I know, and neither one of us can forget that. And it's alright, I'm not going to force into anything if you want me to leave I'll leave and send Vincent to you. Do you want me to leave?"

"No, stay, "

"I'll stay for you then."

A silence washed over the two as Rosalie interlaced her fingers with his, bringing his hand up to her face as she placed a kiss on his knuckles, gently caressing the skin as she turned his hand, noticing years old scars on his wrist, thin and pale against his olive complexion, a permanent reminder. Looking back at him, she noticed the sadness in his eyes as she placed a kiss on his cheek, letting him know that she was right here if he needed her.

"You know..." Arcangelo trailed. "I was never meant to be a Mafia boss. Sure I was born into a Mafia family, but I wasn't the heir. I wasn't the heir, it was my elder brother. He was supposed to take over."

"But...but you see, he was...a little weak hearted for the mafia. But...he was determined...determined to do good, and he couldn't wait to take over to prove everyone wrong, show them all that he was a Regnante...but he-he-he couldn't..." Arcangelo chuckled humorlessly as he shook his head. Rosalie pulled him towards her, hugging him to her chest as he inhaled deeply, trying to calm himself. "He died. He died with everyone. Mom, Ellie...they all died...they all left us...left me...to look after a 2-year-old baby...I was forced to become a father at 24...and I-I-I..."

"Shh..." Rosalie shushed him, placing a kiss on the back of his head. "It's alright, you don't have to speak anymore."

They fell silent as Arcangelo rested his head on her lap, Rosalie stroking his hair, both of them not saying anything and reveling in the comfort of the other's presence. She had no idea how long she sat with his head in her lap, and on more than one occasion she thought he had fallen asleep, however, proven wrong by the blinking of his eyes. But when she finally mustered the strength to check the time, it was 1:30 a.m.

"Let's get you to bed, " Rosalie spoke softly, helping him get up as he stumbled unsteadily on his feet. His face paled as he stumbled back, the alcohol intoxicating his system as he was about to fall. All of a sudden Rosalie steadied him by wrapping her arm around his waist, the other one on his chest as he shuffled, trying to regain his senses. "You okay?"

He slurred nodded, blinking to rid himself of the blurriness before him which he wasn't sure was due to the exhaustion weighing on him or the alcohol or both. Wrapping an arm around Rosalie's shoulder, he allowed her to help him get to his bedroom.

The entire estate was absolutely desolate and dimly lit by the lamps; it felt rather eerie to view it at this time when just a few hours ago it had been bursting with life and colors. They had a little trouble getting up the stairs as Arcangelo couldn't distinguish his left from his right in his haze, but after a little of help, they finally made it up.

Rosalie helped him to his bedroom, before he untangled himself from her, momentarily swaying before making his way to his walk-in closet.

She stood there uncertainly, not sure if she was meant to stay or leave. Having been so lost in her thoughts, she let out a shriek of surprise when she felt his hands at her back; Rosalie's heart jumping in her chest as she felt him pull down the zip; her cheeks flushing a deep red.

"You looked ravishing today." He spoke slowly as he placed a kiss on her nape as the dress pooled at her feet, exposing the undergarments she had on below. "I love how red looks on you." He continued as he placed a kiss on her shoulders, his hands caressing her sides and going lower.

"You should sleep." Rosalie managed out finally between her racing heart and her laboring breathing, excitement, and arousal flowing over her.

Arcangelo hummed in response as he buried his face in her neck, momentarily holding her against him as she stood silently, feeling the way his chest felt at her back, or the warmth of his skin against her stomach, his stubble gently grazing the skin of her shoulder.

"Arms up, " He instructed, pulling away from her.

Uncertain, she lifted her arms followed by the sensation of a soft fabric rubbing against her skin and being pulled down over her. Glancing, she noticed herself to be drowned in one of his shirts which reached just a little after mid-thigh. Before she could say something, Arcangelo grabbed her hand and walked towards his bed, turning off the lights before effortlessly guiding her in the dark.

Slowly she got onto the bed, hearing him fumble with the covers before resting with a sigh. Swallowing, Rosalie got under the covers, making her way towards him as she lay on her side, facing him while he stared up at the ceiling. Uncertainly, she moved closer, resting her head beneath his chin and he instantly wrapped her in his arms, both of them allowing the silence and the other's presence to lull them to sleep.

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