mafiosa - Page 19


‘I’m listening.’ I tilted my head and fluttered my lashes, preparing my lie before I even knew what I would have to say. ‘Ask away.’

Medina shifted forward, his elbows finding purchase on his knees. ‘Sophie, do you know where your father is?’

‘Huh?’ I scrunched my nose. ‘What are you talking about?’

‘Answer the question,’ he said.

‘That is my answer.’

Medina fell back on to his hunkers. He looked up at Comisky and another uneasy glance passed between them.

‘What’s going on? Where is my father?’

Medina stood up. ‘Sophie, your father was granted furlough from Stateville Correctional Center on Sunday morning for your mother’s remembrance ceremony.’

‘Yes.’ I could feel myself nodding, but all my immediate thoughts were wrapped up in what they were now attempting to tell me, and what I was praying wasn’t actually true. But I could feel it, sucking the ground out from underneath me, building and building, until it rolled back towards me like a tsunami.

‘And you were seen with him at the memorial service for your late mother,’ Comisky supplied.

Again, I said, ‘Yes.’

‘We know you two were in contact.’

‘The whole town knows. It’s not a secret.’

‘Do you know where he went after that ceremony?’ asked Medina.

‘Back to prison?’ I said. ‘Where he was supposed to go?’

Please say he went back to prison.

Please tell me this isn’t happening.

Medina’s lips disappeared, his mouth settling into a hard line. ‘No, Sophie. Your father didn’t go back to prison.’

‘He had an escort with him,’ I said, shaking my head. ‘I saw him. He was there the whole time. My father was being monitored. He had a guard,’ I repeated, as if I could convince them.

‘Had being the operative word,’ said Medina. ‘That guard is now in hospital recovering from a severe concussion …’ He trailed off, expelling all the air in one long sigh, before adding, ‘Your father’s tracking bracelet has been deactivated, and your father is nowhere to be found.’

I gaped at them.

This was a joke. This had to be a joke.

‘We’ve been searching for him for several days,’ Comisky added.

‘And you’re only telling me this now?’ I said, more shrilly than I meant to.

Another shared glance. ‘The situation is delicate,’ said Medina. ‘We didn’t want to alert you until …’ He trailed off.

I narrowed my eyes at him. ‘Until you definitely couldn’t find him and you started to suspect my involvement, right?’

He nodded. ‘Something like that.’

‘Sophie,’ interrupted Comisky, picking up the thread and being a lot more gruff about it than Medina was, ‘let’s speak plainly. We want to know if you’re hiding him.’

Where were the words? Why weren’t they coming out? They were all jammed in a revolving door, struggling, pushing and prodding. I opened my mouth, all the dread piling on my tongue, gathering and pooling, until eventually, a sound sprang from me.

And that sound was laughter.

Manic, terrified laughter.

‘Detectives,’ I half-choked out. I patted my jean pockets for good measure, pretending to check if he was inside them. ‘Where the hell would I be hiding him?’

‘You tell us,’ said Comisky. ‘That’s why we’re here.’

I flopped into the chair, my head lolling backwards until all I could see were the flecks of grey on the ceiling. ‘Oh my God,’ I muttered. ‘Oh my God.’

So the blood war raged on, and now my father was part of it too, standing across a trench of bloody history and relentless vendettas, right opposite me.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

BLACK FRIDAY

The news of my father’s escape greeted me again when I got home that afternoon. It had filtered out of the cracks of Chicago PD and crept all the way up to Evelina. Now it was wafting through the Falcone mansion like a bad smell.

Vince Marino walked free.

And what exactly did Sophie Marino know about it?

‘Nothing,’ I protested, over and over again. ‘I don’t know anything about it.’

It tipped the scales of my living conditions further from ‘free will’ towards ‘captivity’. With my loyalty balanced so precariously between two Mafia families, and my father running around between them, Saturday was now going to be more important than ever. Either Libero Marino was dead, or I was.

I kept my head down. I avoided Luca, and spent my evenings in the barn with Nic, shooting at everything I could pin a target to.

I was good. I was ready.

Inside, I was terrified.

By the time Friday rolled around, it felt like a family of pirates had taken up residence in my stomach and were stabbing me from the inside out.

‘Why are you so anxious today? It’s the weekend.’ Millie was appraising me. It was never a good thing when Millie appraised me. It made it infinitely more difficult to hide things from her.

‘I don’t know,’ I said, rubbing the dull ache in my stomach. ‘I don’t feel well.’

She hmm’ed under her breath. ‘No, that’s definitely not it. You’re up to something. I can sense it.’

I slammed my locker shut. My bag felt heavier than usual, like it was trying to drag me into the ground. All this homework to do, and a man to kill, in one weekend.

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