The gray-haired gentleman with green eyes opened the door and found his son standing in front of the mirror fixing his bow tie while being watched by his escort, a beautiful blond-haired woman dressed in a glamorous red dress.
"Oh, forgive me," Marco let out clumsily at the scene of his son with his girlfriend, "I didn't know Eleonora was here.
"Don't worry, father-in-law.", Said the young woman smiling towards the sixty-year-old gentleman. She turned away from her boyfriend. "I was just helping this little boy get dressed."
"Little boy? That's not what you called me a few minutes ago. ", Teased the boy with a mischievous grin.
"Fewer details, young man, please.", Marco asked as he gestured with his hand. He smiled at his daughter-in-law and asked, " May I have a moment alone with the birthday boy?"
"Father-in-law.", Eleonora said walking towards Marco. She held her father-in-law's hand and kissed the golden ring, with the initials of the Amorielle family, arranged on Marco's little finger, after all, he was none other than the Head of the entire Italian-American Mafia. " Don Marco."
He nodded toward the young woman who left the premises leaving father and son alone. Marco approached his son who was still struggling with his bow tie which was slightly crooked, quite different from the one his father wore, perfect.
"Let me help you," asked the father, who was already putting his hands on his son's tie and untying it, "I bet this is all just nerves. After all, it's not every day we turn thirty..."
"And even less so at your parents' pearl wedding celebration.", Completed Vittorio staring at his father who didn't show as exciting as he should have been about the memory, "Is everything okay, Dad?"
"Yes, why the question?", Marco replied with another question while struggling with his son's tie.
"I thought you would be more cheerful about your wedding anniversary... Thirty years of marriage is not for everyone."
"It is...it isn't. ", Agreed Marco smiling briefly at Vittorio who knew very well that fake smile of when something is bothering his father.
"What is it, Don Marco?", Vittorio asked seriously. He placed his hand over his father's stopping him from continuing to fix his tie.
Marco Amorielle stared at his son, no matter how hard he tried he couldn't pretend that everything was fine, for Vittorio knew him too well. He could only tell the truth.
"You mean you two are here!", Antonietta Amorielle said entering the room, annoyed. She approached the two, holding up the tail of her moss green dress, and then noticed that her son's tie was still undone, further increasing her irritation, "Why is your tie still like that?"
"Hi, Mama," Vittorio greeted his mother with a huge smile. He shrugged his shoulders as he went on to justify himself, "My tie insisted on being crooked and so Dad decided to help me."
"Your father?", Antonietta questioned as she stared at Marco. She turned to her son smiling and then said, "Don Marco Amorielle may be great at business, but when it comes to a bow tie it's me, Antonietta Amorielle, who he has always turned to. "
"That's right and look how I look," Marco let out pointing to his tie.
"Come, dear. Let me do that," Antonietta asked, putting herself in the place of her husband who stepped aside and then straightened her son's tie with her nimble hands as she said, "I hope this is the last time I fix your tie and that the next one will be done by your wife..."
"Here comes the lady with that subject. Eleonora and I are not yet at that degree in our relationship," Vittorio explained seriously, "We just celebrated one year of dating, Mama."
"Still, I think that's long enough. Your father and I got married in a month," Antonietta argued as she finished fixing her son's tie which was now perfect just like Marco's, "And look where we are..."
"Thirty years of marriage.", Marco finished before taking a deep breath, a gesture that did not go unnoticed by his wife who shot him a look with her green eyes.
There was something in the air between the couple that even Vittorio noticed. Knowing his parents, he bet that his mother must have exaggerated at some point about today's event and displeased his father, or the other way around. After all, the two had always sinned by excess and ended up scolding each other. Vittorio had already witnessed that cold war between them, that although they didn't argue in front of their son, they could never disguise that something was going on.
"We are here in the room of our only much-loved son," Antonietta continued as she lightly tapped her son's breastplate, "And future Head of this family."
"It's time to go...," Interrupted Don Marco as he watched his watch, " Eleonora must be turning into a statue out there by now."
"You are right, Papa.", Agreed on Vittorio who walked towards his closet and then opened one of his drawers, attracting his mother's attention, "I am not getting an engagement ring, just my watch, Madame Amorielle."
"It doesn't hurt to dream.", Antonietta mumbled as she moved her shoulders, briefly.
The guests were chatting excitedly when the presence of the Amorielle family was announced, who now appeared at the top of the marble staircase: Eleonora held her father-in-law's arm while Vittorio conceded his arm to Antonietta.
At that moment they were seen as royalty among all the families present.
Marco bowed his head in the direction of his clerk who clapped his hands twice, causing the guests to fall silent:
"Welcome, my friends. Welcome everyone to another Amorielle celebration. Today we have the joy of celebrating the birthday of my son, Vittorio Amorielle," Marco began, smiling at his son who was staring at him happily. Don Marco took his cup handed to him by the waiter who continued to hand it to his family members and then continued his speech, " So, a round of applause for Vittorio Amorielle because today it is him we will celebrate!"
The guests applauded the boy who now faced his mother who smiled at him as she applauded him. He brought his face close to his mother's ear as if kissing her cheek and asked:
- What is going on between you?
"My son, I promise that later you will know," assured his mother who kept a smile on her lips, but tears at the corners of her eyes.
The party was lively, but Vittorio longed for it to end. He could only think about his mother's words. Marco's heir remained seated at the table as he watched his parents, who despite the interaction between them, he had noticed that they did not touch each other even by force of habit. They had also not even danced, something quite unusual for the couple who loved a dance floor. I mean, they had not even danced with each other, but both Don Marco and Antonietta had fallen in with other people on the dance floor. Antonietta chose Giuseppe, Marco's Consigliere, as her dance partner, while Eleonora took it upon herself to be Marco's partner. As much as Vittorio didn't want to think about it, the only hypothesis that came to his mind was that his parents were getting divorced. But this was impossible in the Mafia, especially when it came to the Capo di tutti capi and his wife. Not that there was a law about divorce, but they all followed what the Catholic Church determined: until death do us part. Your father wouldn't be able to go against it, would he?
"Vittorio.", Called his father from the middle of the lane, "Come, it's time to deliver your present."
Vittorio stood up and walked towards his father who was laughing with Eleonora. Don Marco led the young woman's hand towards his son and then said:
- Take it.
"This gift I have already earned," Vittorio joked holding Eleonora by the waist.
"I know. I give the beautiful lady to go outside with the rest of the guests," Marco explained.
"In the garden?", Vittorio asked, surprised. He raised his eyebrows and then asked, "What have you done this time, Don Marco?
"Go outside and find out," his father replied before walking in the opposite direction.
All the guests, including Vittorio, were outside, curious about the surprise promised by Don Marco. However, the boy was even more curious about his mother's absence at such an important moment. Vittorio looked for Antonietta's face in the crowd but did not find her. He then turned to his girlfriend and asked:
- Baby, have you seen my mother?
"No, dear. However, I'll bet my chips that your mother must have been indisposed and retired early."
"We are talking about my mother, Eleonora. The only person capable of making her unwell is my father. By the way, have you noticed anything strange between them?"
"No...," Eleonora said without understanding her boyfriend's question, "Why?
"I feel that the two of them fought...," Vittorio replied.
"Ah, darling...," Eleonora began laughing at her boyfriend, " When Don Marco and Dona Antonietta don't fight? The two of them are hot-blooded Italians. I bet it has to do with the family business. And everyone knows that your mother meddles in your father's business and Don Marco doesn't like that..."
"I know, but it's weird... ", Vittorio began.
"Honey, relax.", Eleonora asked rubbing her boyfriend's arm, " Believe me, when we're married, if there's one thing I won't care about, it's business."
"And you see this as a good thing?", Vittorio asked, surprised by his girlfriend's speech.
"Absolutely, not least because I'm going to worry about my business. You will be the boss and I will be your trophy wife. I'll be involved with clothes and parties... They say that's the recipe for a lasting marriage.", replied Eleonora smiling at her boyfriend.
Vittorio even opened his lips ready to say something to his wife when the sound of the engine of the golden Lamborghini Aventador attracted his attention. That car was his dream of consumption and now it was standing in front of him. The doors of the vehicle opened and then Marco Amorielle emerged from inside it and asked:
— Shall we take a ride in your new car, my son?
The road near the Amorielle home in New York seemed short before the speed at which Vittorio was driving. Don Marco just smiled proudly in his son's direction. Despite his happiness over his gift, the boy could not leave behind what was going through his mind:
"Dad, can we talk?", Vittorio asked as he stopped the car on the shoulder.
"What? Isn't this the car you wanted?", Marco asked, curious. He twisted his lips: "It was the color, wasn't it? Is that gold plated too flashy?"
"No, Dad the car is perfect...", Vittorio denied, " It was something I noticed during the party..."
"What was it? The ten-story cake, right? It's too wedding-y, I told your mother...", Marco let out, irritated.
"Dad, it's about you and Mom," Vittorio revealed as he stared at his father, "What's going on between you two?"
"Nothing ... Nothing is going on," Marco replied shrugging his arms.
"Don Marco, don't lie to me."
"Okay," Marco said as he took a deep, surrendered breath, " Vittorio... Your mother and I had a heated argument these days...We said things we shouldn't have said to each other... Too heavy things that now there's no going back."
"Are you two going to separate?", Vittorio asked, worried.
"Oh, God no!", Vittorio declined, quickly, "What your mother and I need is... to let time heal our wounds. When it comes to a family like ours, we can only hope for the forgiving power of time to move on."
"Got it.", Vittorio said straightening himself in the seat, " I hope everything works out for the best."
"Me too, my son...me too. Anyway, just the onus of being the mob boss.", Marco admitted thoughtfully. He smiled at his son and continued, " May I give you some advice?"
"Sure, Dad. All the ones you have.", Vittorio replied, excitedly. His father was not much for giving him advice, even more so if it was about the family business.
"When you choose your wife..." Marco began while touching the left side of Vittorio's chest with his forefinger, "And things get difficult between you, don't be guided by your heart, but by your head... Because the moment may come when you have to give up on your life, and the heart will never accept it, but the head will know that the best way is the end... "She finished by touching her finger lightly with her head.
"Okay... Even though you love the person?"
" Well, my other advice is to marry someone loyal and not one who loves you, regardless of what your heart will say. Whether it's your heart or hers.", Marco continued, "A loyal person, is worth much more than a person who loves you. Because love ends, my son. Understand this. And a marriage that loses love, becomes dangerous and unstable... It lasts a short time. But loyalty can go on forever. Loyalty will bring far more benefits to the business, the family, and to you."
"Do you mean to say that you and Mama don't love each other anymore?", Vittorio asked with wide eyes.
"I loved your mother from the first time I saw her. Now if she felt the same way... Only she can say. However, I will repeat it to you: Don't make the same mistake I did. Before love, loyalty.
"What are you talking about, father," Vittorio questioned, shaking his head, "I don't need to look for a wife, I have Eleonora..."
"Eleonora Gattone is not the woman for you," Marco revealed seriously.
"Why do you say that, Father? Don't you like her?"
"I like it, she seems like a good future wife, but not for an Amorielle. However, the ideal woman for you, who will be the next boss, needs to be willing to do anything and at the same time question whether that decision you make is the best for everyone and not just for you. Understand, my son, when you are a mafia boss, the capo di tutti capi, you have to act for all the families before yourself... And your wife has to be better than your consigliere because this is the person you will trust to sleep next to you every day. And you will not want a woman who is not capable of everything to defend her family... The ideal woman is the one who can challenge you, without being afraid of you or of who you are, she will show you that you are capable of doing better... Be better, Capisce? "
"Understood, Don Marco. I will do everything to find this woman and if I don't find her naturally, I promise I will buy one.", Vittorio joked with his father.
"Can I give you one more piece of advice?", His father asked, seriously.
"Of course, you can."
"Speed up, because we've fallen into an ambush," Don Marco revealed before the car was machine-gunned.