their father makes his deals in the front pews of the old, crumbling church on the little street corner barely two blocks from the family mansion. he is sixteen when his father hits it big - when the last old man dies and his dad takes over, he is home for the summer from that remote new england boarding school, and his sister is fourteen. she is already beautiful, eyes already sly.
cesare, she has taken to asking when strange men with cigars in hand file into their father’s office, and the door closes. they say daddy had three men killed in the harbour. they say we’re shipping drugs from south america. they say -
he is twenty before he kills a man for his father’s business. loud mouthed, drunk, perpetually drugged up with eyes that look where they shouldn’t; juan had been threatening to go to the police. in and of itself, it wasn’t a big deal; all the men in the city are in cesare’s back pocket, but when he sent a sample to the feds, well -
the men at the harbour, the men in the streets, the cops buying coffee at the cafe opposite the station; they all start to whisper. he lets them, he likes the slight taint of their apprehension in the air; like the promise of blood. they call him il principe, says in hushed tones that there is nothing a man cannot do, when he has murdered his own brother.
this is what no one knows: lucrezia, waiting at the kitchen aisle when he brought the body back. lucrezia pouring hydrochloric acid into the bathtub. lucrezia, lips red and smiling slightly and still spotless afterwards, and the only trace of what had happened is the red stain on the lapel of her plain shirt, from where juan’s blood still coated his fingers.
well, that’s done. she had said afterwards, she wears white to church the next day, hands clasped quietly beneath her chin, the light behind her throwing her profile into hazy gold. ave lucrezia, he thinks.