I didn’t see it coming. Not from a mile away and definitely not from a foot away. The betrayal of my most trusted ally...my friend… my brother. Yes, he was my brother now that I think about it. We have known each other far too long to be anything less. We were raised together, played on the same cobbled streets of our home town in Sicily. He once urged me to give a pretty girl a flower and years later I was to be the best man when he married the same pretty girl. He was there for me when She left me with nothing but a small child with little to no idea how to care for her. He once held my daughter in his arms, caressed her cheeks….kissed her head…. We used to always say our relationship was purely based on business, but during moments like that I wondered if it were true. After all, we were in the war together. We left all we knew to flee to America together. You were even there for me when the humanity we all take for granted was torn away from me. You sat with me as I shuddered trying not to be overcome by the beastly desires to rip out your throat and drain you of all your blood. I was already covered in so much blood, it was all I could see....I could have killed you…and because of you I had to pass this curse on to the same daughter you kissed and laughed with, the one you swore to protect. You failed to keep that promise, dear Antonio. You betrayed her. You betrayed me. I should have killed you that night all those years ago. I should have given into the beastly desires...I sincerely regret not doing away with you sooner. I should have drained you of your life source and left-
Giovanni’s attention was suddenly pulled from his journal writing as he heard the harsh hissing coming from beside him. He turned to see a shaky hand lifted to try and protect unfocused eyes from the harsh light of the small oil lamp. The elder vampire cursed quietly, dousing the flame completely to cast the room in darkness. His own eyes quickly adjusted and he rushed to the bedside of his daughter. Gently, Giovanni took hold of Adrianna’s seemingly frail hand as it continued the shake and shiver in his grasp. He leaned forward to brush the messy strands of hair from his daughter’s face and was stricken with horror by what he saw. Her skin was pale, almost as if all the warmth had gone from it. Her cheeks were sunken in along with her eye sockets, making her appear like a skeleton. Her eyes...her eyes were what frightened him most as they stared back at him, trying to focus on his features. Only just yesterday were they a beautiful golden brown but now an eerie scarlet hue was taking them over. They suddenly rolled back into her skull and her eyes fell shut to what would most likely be a fitful slumber. The sight of her nearly made him sob, as she looked dead...he supposed she was. Carefully he lifted the blanket that covered her to check on the wrapping around her waist. It seemed most of the bleeding had stopped as it did not seem the blood stains had spread further. Giovanni sighed quietly, bringing Adrianna’s hand closer to his face to kiss her knuckles.
“Oh my dear polpetta, mi patatina, “ he whispered between kisses, “Please make it through this...I don’t know what I would do without the luce dei miei occhi.”
God, he was selfish. He was so damn selfish. It was true, the vampire did save his daughter from certain death only to seal her to an eternity of what could only be described as hell on earth.
No! He suddenly yelled at himself, You did not do this to her. He forced your hand. He is the reason she nearly died! He is the reason she is now sealed to this fate!! If he had just dealt with his problems like a real man none of this would have happened!!!
Giovanni did not know when the tears had started to roll down his cheeks to fall into the palm of his daughter but they did and they cause her to shudder thanks to their cool touch. He wiped them away, kissed her hand once more before tucking it underneath the blanket with the rest of her. The vampire then stepped away from the bedside, no longer able to look at the seemingly dead face of his dearest Adrianna. He went back to the small desk that he was writing at, shutting the journal as he no longer felt like writing. His hands were to shaky with the rage that boiled inside him. Giovanni could still taste the bile flavor of that traitor's blood on his tongue. He sat down, clasped his hands together, and relived the events that had occurred only hours earlier.
Like he wrote, Giovanni did not see the betrayal coming from a mile away, let alone a foot away. The De Luca’s and Vincelli’s were some of the most powerful crime families in the whole Italian mafia that ruled the east coast. They were powerful and they were close, practically a large family of their own. Everyone knew not to cross either of the heads for the other would come for you and make sure you would never be heard from again. Antonio and Giovanni were allies. They were friends. They were brothers. And if you heard the story from the other side, Antonio was the one to betray him first. After being turned, fewer and fewer contracts were being made because the vampire would murder them and take all the had before discussions could even be made. Sure the Mafia was making a profit for now but Antonio knew that would soon dwindle if Giovanni did clean up his act. That was just bad business. Little did he know that the vampire couldn’t physically stop himself.
In the months that followed his painful transformation. Giovanni was overcome with a constant need to feed. It was all he could think of, all that he desired for. No longer did he long for money, alcohol, or warm comfort in bed. Now he craved that metallic liquor of human blood. Antonio never could understand it, no matter how many times Giovanni tried to explain to him. He believe it to be all an elaborate ruse so his friend could gain power and take out the competition. By the time Giovanni was able to take control of his life once more, Antonio had already gathered his forces including his two children and set the date to due away with the Vincelli crime family.
It was a calm afternoon with the end of the year drawing near. Giovanni sat in a plush chair in front of a large hearth that warmed the whole Vincelli manor. He had just sat down to get to some business when a new presence sat beside him on the arm of the chair.
“Ciao Papà,” Adrianna said with a smile and a kiss to his graying temple.
“Ciao mi patatina, what do you want?” he responded, not even chancing a glance at her.
“What? Can I not say hello to my dear father who likes to call me a potato without wanting something in return?”
In response, she laughed and rolled her eyes which caused her father to crack a small smile.
“Fine!” she began, leaning into hug him around the shoulders, “I was going to ask how you were and if you needed to have me stay with you tonight, otherwise I was then going to ask if I could go out with Catrina, Raoul, and Nico tonight. A new speakeasy opened it up and we wanted to make sure they paid their dues otherwise I would have Nico beat everyone up and then we all would burn the place to the ground.”
Giovanni’s smile grew with pride as it was obvious that his daughter had learned well from him, “That’s mi patatina. You will make a good head of the family some day, no doubt with Nico right by your side.”
Adrianna returned the smile, “Of course I will be. I am your daughter, am I not? The blood a Vincelli runs in these veins father, I can be the best of the best!”
“That you are,” he said with a chuckle, “To answer your question though, I’m feeling much better then I have in the past months. My head is much clearer now, I do not think you have to dote on me tonight. Go have fun with your friends tonight and wreak havoc for the mafia.”
The younger Vincelli nearly squealed with joy as she hugged her father tightly and kissed his temples once more, “Grazie papà, grazie mille!”
Adriana then jumped off of chair’s arm and sprinted out of the room and up the stairs all while shouting, “Nico! Nico! He said yes! Call Catrina and Raoul! We’re partying tonight!”
The elder Vincelli chuckled softly as his daughter’s antics and youthful joy. It was always so refreshing to be in her presence which allowed him to relax back in the chair to work some despite the subtle shake of his hands and the clawing desires at the back of his mind. So what? He did not tell the whole truth to his daughter. She was so young still and didn’t need to go gray at eighteen thanks to worrying over her cursed father. Adrianna should be allowed to enjoy her life while she could which mean late nights drinking illegal alcohol and most likely burning a building down. With a deep breath, Giovanni got to work on the finances regarding the Italian Mafia, trying to sort out the damage he had caused in recent months. As the hours passed, he grew consumed with his work. So much, in fact, he did not notice that the De Luca children never showed up at his door or the figure that came up behind him to strike the back of his head, knocking the elder Vincelli unconscious.
When he slowly stirred awake, he did not know where he was nor how long he hand been been unconscious. All he did know was that the world was spilling slowly, there was a great fire in his shoulders and joints, his feet weren’t touching the ground, and the back of his head dully ached and felt sticky. Giovanni groaned as he looked around, eyes struggling to focus on anything as he rotated. He followed his arms up to see them tied and hanging from a giant meathook. That explains the pain and motion sickness. The vampire then cranked his head around, trying to see his surroundings but all he could make out were strange shapes that kept moving and making rachet with their cruel voices that dripped with venom. One of the shapes stepped out from the crowd, walking over to his hanging body. The figure was shouting something. He couldn’t make out the words nor did he really want to. It was probably some member of the mexican mafia trying to seek out demands from either his family or the other Italian crime families. However, Giovanni noticed something, the way the figure walked. It was limping, its right leg completely unstable, yet still it was pacing back and forth.
He groaned once more, turning away from the figure to try and rub his eyes against his arms. There was a sharp pain behind them but everything else just felt fuzzy. Giovanni slowly breathed in and out of his nose, trying to refocus himself. Slowly the words became more clear, the tone grew shakingly recognizable. He shook his head, not wanting to believe his boggled mind. He breathed in once more and suddenly he became acutely aware of everything. Scarlet red eyes snapped open, flicking to the side with a snarl as his glare fell upon the man that had done this to mine. His best friend. His enemy. Antonio De Luca. The man now stood there pointing an accusing finger at him, but Giovanni’s eye darted away as he breathed in once more. The air was filled with a metallic taste, not of his own blood that sat sticky on the back of his head but that of his daughter’s. The vampire began to thrash about, feet brushing the floor below him as he tried to find where Adrianna was in the darkly lite warehouse. He recognized this place. It is always where he and Antonio brought bastards in to torture any information out of them only to kill them in the end. His heart dropped at the thought but then it completely plummeted when his eyes landed on his daughter, strapped to chair feet away from him. Like him, the back of her head was soaked in blood, causing her curls to loose their shine and become matted. Those scarlet eyes raked over what he could see of her. Adrianna’s hands were bound behind her, feet strapped to the legs of the chair. She sat up straight, head held high and Giovanni hand no doubt in his mind that she wasn’t shooting every single man in the room with her eyes. Her glare always had the strength to kill a man on sight.
“Mi patatina…” he quietly rasped out.
Immediately Adrianna reacted as her head whipped around to try and face him. There eyes met and for a moment all that matter was each others. His daughter’s eyes widen at the sight of her father as she was totally unaware that he was even there. She had thought that she was alone...she was so scared. Suddenly, her eyes were ripped from his view when someone took hold of his jaw and twisted him away from the one thing that gave him hope. The sudden jolt made his head explode in pain and the words screamed at him cut through him like razor blades.
“You will look at me when I’m talking to you, bastardo.”
Giovanni painfully laughed in the man’s face then responded, “You are no less a bastard then I. Do not act all high and mighty, Annie.”
Antonio seethed at the use of his childhood nickname, “Funny you should be saying that considering where you are.”
“Huh?” the elder Vincelli looked confused as his gaze went from left to right to take in his surroundings, “ I did not notice that. I seem to hanging from a meat hook surrounded by backstabbing traitors.”
He spoke with such a casual calm that his tone of voice further enraged Antonio. The vampire was never one to give away how he truly felt even though his panic and fears was slowly consuming. The man suddenly threw Giovanni for a rapid spin, showing off the power he so obviously held over the other.
“You think we are the backstabbing traitors, Vincelli??” he questioned, rage burning his voice, “You are Giovanni, you betrayed us! You betrayed every single one of us. First by becoming one of them, then you go and turn your back on family doing all you could to destroy us! You’ve cost us millions, Vincelli!! Millions!!! And all because you couldn’t control yourself like a real man because you aren’t. Not any more. You are a monster and you will pay for what you have done.”
Once he had calmed down from the rapid spinning, Giovanni pressed his forehead to his arms to try and stop the headache that was growing worse and worse. His eyes, however, were trained on Antonio the whole time as he took in his cruel words.
“Then what are you waiting for?” the vampire challenged, baring his teeth even, “Kill me. Slaughter me for the rabid beast I have become.”
Antonio chuckled darkly as he pulled out a silver pistol from a hip holster as his side, “Oh I will soon, but first you must suffer as you have made the Mafia suffer.”
Wood scraping against concrete caught Giovanni’s attention. He thrashed about to once again be met with the face of his daughter. However, there was no emotion despite rage and even though it was not pointed at him, it still made him shudder. She was past the point of fear now and only wanted to rip of the face of the man that she once called Uncle.
“Who was it that you always said was your luce dei miei occhi, Giovanni?” Antonio asked while stepping over to where she sat, bond to a chair, “Oh, that is right, your dear Adrianna. Oh my, how she has grown. She certainly has her mother’s looks wouldn’t you agree, Giovanni?”
“You bastard!!” the vampire screamed, thrashing hard the before trying to release himself, “You promised! You promised me you would never hurt her!!”
“And you expected there to be honor amongst thieves, murderers, and crime lords? You truly are naive, mio amico.”
Antonio then turned away from the enraged vampire to face his daughter who was looking right at him. Her eyes pierced through his very soul and he had to hold back a shudder. The man stepped toward her, hearing the rattling of a chain behind him which also cause him to worry.
“Getting cold feet. Traditore,” Adrianna challenged.
That snapped him back to the present as he cocked the pistol back and aimed it at her forehead, “No, la mia bella nipote. Any last words?”
“See you in hell.”
Antonio was about to pull the trigger but someone screamed, “No!!!” and pulled his arm.
The gun went off and Giovanni suddenly the scent of gunpowder and crimson blood filled the air. His pupils grew to consume the scarlet irises as his eyes snapped to the figure of Antonio. With rage, a inhuman sound erupted from the vampire as he ripped through the bonds and hit the ground. What happened next, no one could really tell as Giovanni seemed to move like lightning. Antonio was breathing one moment and the next he wasn’t. He was there crippled on the ground with the beast at his neck drinking him dry of his blood. Everyone in the warehouse stood in shock at the scene, for many it was the first time they had seen the elder Vincelli in such a state and it would be the last for them. The only sound that could be heard were quite sobs but once the vampire began to stand, suddenly everyone snapped to attention in rage and fear. A nasty combination that always ended in death.
“Catrina, let’s go! We have to go! Leave her!”
“Kill the beast!!”
It was a flurry of shouts and scream. A flurry of gushing blood and torn flesh. All Giovanni saw was red until there was nothing more for him to tear through. When he came back to reality, he was breathing heavily and he felt sick to his stomach. All of his senses were overwhelmed by the sickly stench of blood and guts. It was quiet...too quiet. The vampire looked around frantically, trying to see past the blood stained walls to try and find his one light.
“Adrianna!!” He called out, voice strained and painful, “Adrianna, mi polpetta, mi patatina!”
There was silence. He tried to focus his senses but his mind was to frantic and he soon started to tear through the bodies trying to find her.
“Adrianna! Please come back to me!!” He continued to scream and when all seemed to be for naught he fell to his knees amidst the destruction he caused, sobbing so loud he was nearly wailing.
Between the wails of pain and shuddering gasps for air Giovanni suddenly heard a very small voice, “Papà…”
He turned to see his daughter reaching for him from the bed she was currently recovering in. The vampire stood there dumbfounded for a moment, glancing around the room he was standing in.
“Papà…” Adrianna quietly rasped once more.
He snapped back to attention and rushed to be bedside once more, taking hold of her hand tightly. When she winced, he eased on is hold.
“I’m here Adrianna, I’m here.”
“Am I dead?” she asked, unfocused eyes blinking up at him.
“No…” he looked down, unable to face her, “You are much worse….I’m sorry”