Heart Ache

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XXXIII.

Heart Ache

It was raining as they processed into the church three days later. Grace was vaguely aware that it was cold out despite the cold air that curled around her face with every shaky breath she took. Quite frankly, she wasn't really aware of anything other than the casket Luca's body now lay dead in.

The procession was a rather large one, and it drew even larger crowds. Everyone from neighbors to reporters wanted to see if it was true that one of the sons of the famed Valentino Venzetto was really dead. Mourners threw roses onto the path. A few landed atop the shiny black box carried by Russo, Vincent and two of Luca's childhood friends.

The church bells tolled their somber song in perfect harmony with the pattering of raindrops on umbrellas.

Memories of that night flashed in her head. The kiss he'd given her, the gunshots, holding his body and Peter.

 Grace felt betrayed in the worst possible way. Peter had always been her friend growing up. She didn't understand how he could have ruined her life the way he did. He took the one thing that mattered most to her.

She faintly heard the cries of Gia and Nina behind her. It was enough for the heavy hand of grief to strangle her heart for what felt like the hundredth time.


She did not cry. There were no more tears left in her, only an empty shell of nothingness.

A sick feeling dropped into the pit of her stomach as she passed the threshold into the same building not two months prior she had said her wedding vows in. There was no happiness or excitement to be had on this day like there had been before. There was nothing left to be had but goodbyes.

Once they were finally in the church, Valentino led her to her seat in the pews. She followed him automatically. There was no thought behind her movements. It was as though they had died along with Luca. Perhaps they had, perhaps she had. She certainly felt like she may be dead, that life suddenly seemed cheap.

The rest of the procession filed in and took their seats before the priest began the ceremony.

It was not that Grace had no intention of listening to what was being said about her husband, but that she simply couldn't. Her mind was refusing to work, to accept. There was no noise inside her head; it was as blank as a new sheet of paper but one that no ink could penetrate.

She suddenly felt hot. Her skin was on fire. She could not be in that room anymore. She felt like she would burn to death sitting in the pews listening to the priest.

Grace stood from her seat, ignoring the infinite amount of eyes on her. As quickly as she could make her heavy muscles go she walked from the church.

Outside the rain cooled her blazing skin. There were reporters across the way, eyeing her like a piece of meat as they flipped their notepads and gathered their cameras.

Grace made a sharp turn heading behind the church where a small cemetery resided.

There was a crunch of dead leaves. She whipped her head around to see Russo standing there, hands in pockets looking very much like his younger brother.

Grace couldn't help it anymore. She began to cry. Her face twisted as the sobs rocked her to the core. Russo moved quickly to her side and lowering her steadily to the ground when her knees buckled.

She cried in his arms.

Russo tried to comfort her, but he knew the words were meaningless, hopeless. Luca was gone, and there was nothing they could do to bring him back.

"I-I never told him that I loved him," Grace confessed. It was the first words she had said in two days.

Russo shushed her, pulling her wet head back into his chest.

"He knew, Grace. He knew."

"What am I going to do?"

"You don't have to do anything, Grace. I am going to avenge him for both of us." Despite his grief, Russo spoke with conviction.

Grace pulled away, wiping her tears only for new ones to take their place.

"I want to help you."

"And how do you plan on doing that?"

"I'm going to kill Peter."

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