I own nothing to do with Twilight. All characters belong to S.M.
This story will be loosely based on the Godfather, I'm a huge fan of the trilogy. Edward is the only son of powerful business person, Carlisle Cullen, and is fated to be the heir apparent after his father passes away. Edward originally grew up in Italy, but against his parent's wishes, flew to America to study at Dartmouth college. Now returning back home, he gets in deeper with the criminal lifestyle his father represents, and by his father's wishes, he must marry young Italian Isabella Swan.
Will they end up loving each other or will Edward's criminal lifestyle drag them in deeper to a life of anguish?
Please review and let me know if you're interested in more. Reviews encourage me so much, so if I get enough, I would be so eager to continue writing. :-)
The Arranged Marriage
The last time I ever attended a religious service, was at my youngest sister's christening. Alice, was now sixteen so you can imagine how out of the loop I was.
Yet, somehow, here I was in expensive and respectable church clothes, after having returned from what felt like a lifetime of touring the states of America and expanding my education, much to my father's dismay.
I hadn't even seen my father in a little over six-years.
Against my Pa's wishes, I had left the family home for a shared dorm at Dartmouth college, even though my Pa was flat-out against it and believed the education system was total bullshit. My father had always believed education not come from sitting in a room full of kids your age, enduring tedious lectures and scribbling down answers to essays. No, my Pa always believed education came from life experiences. And, if you wanted to focus on what life experiences my Pa had gone through as a young kid, he was none the wiser.
His mother died of cancer when he was sixteen, and his alcoholic father disowned him.
He spent his life out on the streets, making money for himself by stealing and whatever means he could, making a hard-earned name for himself. That was mainly why Pa was respected so much.
My Pa hadn't changed much in all these years. He is wearing a nice charcoal grey suit with a narrow dark green tie with a red bow tie clip, and his hair is short, thin and salt-and-pepper. He soaks up the priest's ear-catching Bible tellings like a sponge. I notice there is a middle-aged woman standing right next to him in the pew, and she is clinging onto his arm like a blind woman. Immediately, I recognize her as my mother.
She, too, hasn't changed much. She still has that youthful look about her, wearing a conservative black dress and a rope of pearl around her neck. Her long chestnut hair is tied back into a neat bun and she looks even more tanned than I remember; probably due to all the extra years she has spent outside tending to our olive and grape orchards in the blisteringly warm sun.
I didn't know how long I stood there, staring at my parent's like they were ghosts, but then I am suddenly aware that everything is quiet, the priest is stepping off the center of the stage- altar, whatever- to abandon his microphone.
Everyone around me stands and a low chatter starts around the room.
The priest approaches my Ma and Pa, and in turn my Ma looks very pleased.
He bows his head, takes her hand, and kisses it. He turns and does the same to my Pa, though let's his kiss of gratitude linger for a little longer, out of deep respect. My Pa gives a nod in approval and then the priest walks back up to the corner of the stage with a large cluster of young teenage boys in suits who most likely are new to religion, and they file out.
Then, a few other men in black suits slid out of their seats and they solemnly approach my parent's. They do the same as the priest in succession; first, kissing my Ma on the hand by bowing very slowly, then lingeringly, on my Pa's.
I catch a husband and wife a hair's length ahead of me share a bewildered glance at the exchange going between my Pa and his men. Of course, I could easily figure out why it must have appeared so weird to them. They weren't accustomed to it, like I was. Living in a house with my Pa for over twenty years, did it to you. Not a day went by where funny men in suits wouldn't march their way up the winding mahogany staircase and up to his study, like a pack of ants trailing the other, to show their respect or offer their phony displays of loyalty to gain my Pa's confidence. Lawyers, financial advisors, he knew them all.
After a while though, it bugged the life out of me. That was partly the reason why I had to get out and experience something different. Like college and all the normal shit young boys experienced, like making bets to see who would be the first to get laid and lose their virginities- that was me, obviously- and, fuck me, the girl I'd lost my virginity to, was standing right next to me.
Tanya was a great conquest in bed. She liked to be rode fast and put away extra wet.
I didn't really believe there was anything serious about where our relationship was heading and yet, here she was, having caught a twenty-four hour route back to Italy with me, so that I could introduce her officially to my parent's. I knew my parent's would disapprove the minute she shook hands with them.
Tanya was pure born-and-bred American, and my parent's had always insisted that I settle down with a nice pretty Italian girl.
Perhaps I was feeling extra rebellious, but I was literally itching for the moment I saw the disappointment painted on my dear Pa's face. Tanya was blonde- not natural, but peroxide- and very pale. She had bright blue eyes, curvy lips that she always kept smudged in deep red lipstick, and she also often wore short, thigh-length dresses that showed off her best assets: Her long, slender legs.
Speaking of which-
I look down at those legs, which are in show in the short black dress she's wearing for the service. She notices and, with an extra air of confidence, she plops back down into the chair and, of course making sure I was watching, she slides a leg over the other and purposely hitches the skirt piece of her dress higher up her thigh with a set of glistening red fingernails. My eyes widen. I'm pretty certain she's wearing a red thong underneath her dress.
Highly inappropriate for church. I like it. But just before I am able to illustrate just how much so I like it by whispering in her ear that we should get lost and find a hotel room, I find myself staring straight into the grey eyes of my father.
Carlisle Cullen. Most feared Sicilian man in Italy, the most enterprising business person.
I feel the color drain out of my face as he begins to stalk down the aisle, hands clenched in all sorts of repressed anger. He is breathing heavy and his bottom lip is curled over. For a moment, I think he is going to hit me but then... he stops.
My Ma appears behind him, and she clasps a hand around his arm. My mother always had a magical touch that soothed my father most. He turns to look at her and the intensity of their shared look is overwhelming. It's like Ma was saying to him, through telepathy, "Don't make a scene, Carlisle, you haven't seen your son in over six years!" Then, he nods curtly in understanding and turns slowly to me again.
"Son," he nods, and his voice trembles slightly. "Fancy seeing you here. Why aren't you studying in America, where you deserted us, your poor parent's who've done nothing but loved and supported you since you were a tiny fetus in your mother's womb?" His tone is mocking, yet it doesn't affect me in the slightest, like it should have.
Ma darts him a sharp look, and as her eyes meet mine again, she softens noticeably, enough to give me one of her warm, loving smiles. I realized then just how much I'd missed being in my mother's company. She was the most generous and selfless loving woman I'd ever met. Quickly, I return the smile.
"I know I've been away for a while, but I wanted to come back and visit home," I say calmly, feeling the need to explain. "I've missed you both. I know I probably hurt you both by leaving unexpectedly the way I did, but it's true. I really did."
My Ma stares at me, and her eyelids flicker. Before I know it, she's racing to embrace me, and a deep moan erupts from her mouth as she flings her arms around me. "Oh, Edward," she cries, and I feel deeply touched. My mother hadn't changed one bit; she was always the emotional one. "I'm so relieved to see you look safe and happy."
As I wrap my arms around her to tighten the hug, I catch sight my father's face behind her back. He looks as if he wants to strangle the life out of me, yet wants to hug me to death at the same time.
"All right, all right," he says, after a long moment of hugging. My father was hardly ever one for sentimental gestures in the middle of a crowded room full of church-goers. "Edward, come on with us to the family house. There is much to discuss."
After a clear moment of uncertainty, he clears his throat, then extends his hand for me to shake. Hesitating, I take it. He dives in to clasp me on the back, a half-hearted home-coming gesture.
"Sure, I'd love to, Pa. Of course."
The family home hadn't changed much and because of it, it left me with an aching head full of memories.
Playing chasing games in the backyard with my Pa and sisters, my Pa coming home one evening to show me his six-shooter gun, my Ma clapping and whooping, then flinging her arms around her face when I took a topple over on my bicycle... I felt ill with nostalgia.
As my father and I slowly settle into a set of modern dining room chairs with each our own tall glasses of red wine, he starts at me all incessantly, which I'd been expecting sooner or later.
"What have you been doing with yourself? Why haven't you settled down yet? What took you so long to return back to your parents?" And, finally, "Why haven't you found yourself a nice, beautiful girl to settle down with and take care of? Are you attracted to men or something?"
I reach out for my glass and tilt my head back, taking in three big urgent gulps. This conversation was going to take some time.
I'm starting to lose my all ready thin patience by that time, so I decide to hit him with all it's worth. "Pa, I have a girlfriend."
Now at last, I have his complete and undivided fucking attention.
"To who? Who would want to be your girlfriend? Who would want to date a selfish boy like you, who puts education before his family?" he says, a matter-of-factly, as if it was exactly his intention to insult me.
I knew then, that I had disgraced him by spending all those years out of Italy. He still was holding a severe case of sour grapes over it, to say the least.
I lean back in my chair and jab a finger over at Tanya, who is trying her very hardest to offer her assistance in helping my Ma make Gnocchi in the kitchen. Her hands keep fumbling and she keeps screwing it up, and sometimes she even giggles hysterically at herself like a hyena, but my Ma was too kind to ever bring something like that to light. My Ma simply smiles back at her, forcing down a few laughs of her own. Besides, it was the thought that counts and Tanya was clearly trying to make an impression. It was nice to have a woman who actually cared and made an effort with all of that shit.
My Pa studies her very carefully like she's a creature from another planet, his grey eyes raking down the entire length of her body. From her tight short black church dress which finishes just an inch or so above her slim milky thighs, to her tan suede ankle boots. I'm sure I hear him give out a disgruntled sigh.
"Her name is Tanya. I met her while studying at Dartmouth."
"Well, she is pretty," he allows, very grudgingly. "But she is your typical American." It took everything in me not to roll my eyes. My father always felt Italian's were superior, but that didn't mean I held the same sentiment. "Her clothes don't fit her body, they're too small. She lacks the grace our Italian women possess. Now, what happened to finding a pretty Italian girl, like we arranged before you decided to skip off halfway across the country out of some childish whim?"
I hate admitting it to him, but I have to. Back then, I was angry at him for not letting me go off and do my own thing as a young boy. But now, I suppose I could realize he only had my best interests at heart.
"Pa, I know this isn't the life you planned out for me. But... I like Tanya, and she likes me, too." Pa sets his wineglass onto the table and, even then, I can read the look on his face. I've disgraced him. Dishonoured him. "I know you only wanted what was best for me but I had to go off and experience things on my own. I had to make my own experiences and mistakes, and learn from them."
His face contorts at my words and for a moment I begin to wonder if he is about to cry. Only, realistically I should have known my Pa does not cry often. He holds a finger up to his lips, deep in thought. He is silent for almost a long, uncomfortable minute.
"Edward, my dear boy." He leans forward in his chair and holds out his hand for me to take. His hand is trembling and, as I go to take it without hesitation, I'm struck by how dry his skin is. "At the time, I blasted you from my existence. I... despised you to hell and back for going against me, your poor old father, in that way."
I lean forward, and give his hand a firm squeeze. "I know, Pa. And I'm sorry. I just... needed to break away from all of this family stuff. I needed to do my own thing."
"Yet you disown your family like this for six years," he says, almost to the point of yelling. "Your dear mother, Esme, comes into your room to say good-morning and she finds your bed empty and a note by it, telling us you're very sorry but you've left to study in America." He takes in an unsteady inhale, struggling to keep hold of his temper. It makes me feel incredibly guilty, and I lower my eyes. "Your poor mother, she came to me crying and crying. She wept days after you left. And now... here you sit."
I still don't look up at him. I can't bring myself to. All the pain I've caused is there in his shaking voice.
"I... I thought you and Ma would have been happy to see me again?" I ask, managing only a pitiful whisper.
He sits up very slowly and with all his strength, his other hand closes over mine tightly. "Edward, my second child and only son," he says gently, "Of course, your mother and I are very happy to see you and that you chose to come visit us, the way you did. For your mother and I to see you, like this, so well and happy and young-spirited... is a breath of fresh air."
I wait cautiously for him to continue. "But...?" There was always a catch whenever it came to my father.
"But... I want you to get rid of the girl." He gives my hand another final, weak squeeze. "And, we will find you a nice Italian girl to settle down with. In fact, the man who lives next-door, his daughter Isabella is such a sweetheart." His voice is final; there is no arguing with him, no discussing on the matter.
"Pa, I don't think so..."
"Oh, my son doesn't think so?" He chortles, and there is a hard edge to the sound. I peer up at him through my eyelids; his face glows with both sentimental feelings and disbelief for his son. "My son dares to go against my word?"
Before I know it, he sends his hand, palm open, against the side of my face roughly, smacking me out of it.
My eyes widen in shock and I grind my teeth together, as the sharp blow stings almost painfully.
I stare into his eyes a moment longer.
I feel an urge to hit him back, see how he likes it. But naturally, I don't. He is my father afterall, a very powerful man to the community. His eyes are hard and full of warning, daring me to push him to breaking point. But I was wise enough not to.
"Now," he breathes, snapping up to his feet. "I will go next door and I will return with this pretty Isabella girl and you will sit there and talk, like two young kids in love."
Fully alert and coiled like a spring, my eyes follow his retreating form as he marches out of the room, like a man on a mission. I consider following right after him, then realize it was better to keep him happy and his temper unprovoked.
Sixteen long minutes pass by and I still don't know where the fuck my father is.
I peer down at my gold wrist-watch, I tap my polished shoes against the hardwood floor, I gaze up at the crystal chandelier, I make eyes with my Pa's consigliere, Aro, who I see is still hanging around my Pa like a shadow, who hovers by the front entrance in the dining room, looking all sorts of misplaced and useless. He gives me a stiff, home-welcoming smile. I return it, deliberately just as stiffly and nod in greeting.
Then finally, my father returns into the room and, just as he said, he isn't alone. He pulls a young girl into the room by wrenching her forward by the elbow and instantly I am left feeling breathless, like never before. I hadn't ever felt such a strong pull to an unfamiliar young woman before.
She is wearing a wine-colored dress (with not an ounce of thigh in sight) and is absolutely beautiful, surprisingly. For once, my father was right.
It's a struggle to even take my eyes off her, as my Pa pulls out a chair for her swiftly, then takes his seat. She sits, very cautiously and very quietly, crossing a leg over the other. Her skin is very creamy, milky, with a nice amount of redness dotting her cheeks.
Long dark hair falls midway below her shoulders in waves, and a small amount of freckles dot and scatter along the bridge of her narrow nose. I immediately realize the reason I am unable to stop peering into those eyes of hers; they're a very dark brown, bright, deep, and depthless.
"See, would you look at this?" My Pa chuckles and leans over in his chair to pat me on the shoulder, "I told you. What you need is a good Italian girl. You can't even take your eyes off Isabella, can you?"
At my father's words, a small smile curls her lips, and she immediately looks down into her lap demurely. Her cheeks redden, like blood in a saucer full of milk.
"I think the best thing to do here, is for you both to get married," my father announces and that immediately snaps me out of my fascination for her.
"What?" My voice is a deep, stunned croak.
"Let's make it an arrangement," my father continues as if he hasn't heard me speak, then takes one of the girl's hands tenderly in his own. "The joining of two pure Italian's. Afterall, Edward, you'll be in charge of business very soon and will need a woman of your own to take care of and give you the precious gift of children."
Through his words, our eyes meet. She stares back at me, and the pair of us observe each other, both completely foreign strangers to the point of alieness. I notice we both must have the same expressions mirroring our features: fear, surprise, and lack of want.
My father rises very quickly from his chair, then leans down to me with a wink. "As for now, I'll leave you two alone." He raises a hand to grip my shoulder, "Get to know one another, while I go deal with her father and make the arrangements." He turns to the girl and sends another wink her way, this time. "Have fun, children."