A Legacy of Secrets(7)

By: Carol Marinelli

He went to climb out and Ella, who’d assumed that she’d be sitting for half an hour, or however long it took to bail someone out, was surprised when Santo turned around and asked if she would come in with him.

‘Me?’ Ella checked.

‘You might sweeten up the polizia.’

‘I find that really offensive, Santo.’

‘Ah, but you find so many things really offensive, Ella,’ he drawled.

Ella collected Allesandro’s coffee and walked towards the police station with Santo. She knew exactly what that little dig had been about—Ella was the first PA he hadn’t slept with. She had made it clear, to his obvious surprise, that this was business only. To his credit he had backed off completely, but now and then there was a little dig, a tiny reference to the fact she was resistant to his charms.

Not completely, of course.

No woman could be. He was stunning to look at and incredibly sexy, but completely incorrigible. Yes, a night with the boss might be tempting at times, especially when he smiled, especially when he looked as impossibly beautiful as he did today. But it was the thought of the morning after that, for Ella, was enough to ensure she resisted.

They stepped into the station and there was a lot of talking, a lot of hand waving and the handing over of an awful lot of cash, but, surprisingly quickly, a very dishevelled Alessandro appeared. He had his share of bruises too and there were grazes over his knuckles and that oh-so-immaculate bridegroom suit was covered in dust and torn.

‘Here.’ Ella handed him his coffee, which was no doubt cold by now, but Alessandro drained it in one go as they walked back out of the police station. He winced at the far-too-bright morning sunlight that seemed to be magnified by the ocean, and Ella handed him a pair of sunglasses too—she always carried spares.

Ella wasn’t Santo’s PA for nothing!

‘Thank you,’ Alessandro said. Putting them on he looked at his brother, taking in the bruises and thick lip and the nasty graze on Santo’s cheek. ‘What happened to your face?’

Ella held her breath.

She was dying to know, but the answer served only to surprise and further confuse her.

‘You did,’ came Santo’s wry response.


‘YOU DON’T REMEMBER?’ Santo asked, once they were in the car and Alessandro had asked Ella to drive him to his home.

‘I am trying not to.’

They were speaking in Italian, but Ella could pretty much make out all that was being said.

‘I spent the whole night trying to contact you,’ Santo said.

‘Clearly, not the whole night,’ came Alessandro’s terse response. ‘Who the hell did you let loose on your neck?’

Santo just laughed and offered no explanation. ‘I must have rung you fifty times.’

‘And forty-nine times I chose not to answer.’ Alessandro withdrew into silence and Ella didn’t blame him. Santo, it would seem, had not a care in the world. He just scrolled through the endless ream of texts on his phone as they talked, ignoring the constant buzzes to alert him to a call.

Ella drove them to the Corretti Media tower, where Alessandro had a luxurious penthouse, but the paparazzi were still clamouring for their shot of the jilted groom.

‘Lie down in the back if you want,’ Ella suggested. ‘I brought a coat for you. I’ll try to get in the back way.’ But Alessandro refused her suggestion to lie down, told her to just drop him at the front and sat there stony faced as the cameras flashed and reporters shouted their questions.

‘I’ll come in with you,’ Santo said.

‘I don’t need a handhold,’ came Alessandro’s terse response, but Santo ignored him and when she stopped the car both the brothers got out.

The gathered press went into a frenzy. Both were, Ella knew, more than used to dealing with them. There were always questions and scandal where this family was concerned. But though there were questions that would certainly need to be answered, interviews that would have to be given and the press to be faced, clearly, for Alessandro, it was all just a little too soon. Ella watched as a rather personal question was asked and Alessandro’s shoulders stiffened, his hands balling into two fists. Perhaps Santo realised that his brother was very close to losing his temper again, because for once, Santo made a very sensible choice and turned his brother back towards the vehicle. Ella reached out and opened the door and Santo shoved his fuming brother into the back of the car before climbing into the front.

‘Drive on,’ Santo said. ‘Get around the corner, and then I will drive.’ He was clearly impatient by Ella’s rather tentative speed and once around the corner Santo reminded her that he had asked her to pull over.