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December 1924

The next few days passed without ceremony. Luca had returned to work, and more often than not, Grace was left to her thoughts. A curse in her opinion. It was only recently that she had begun to dwell on the fact that there would be no one in attendance at her wedding that was solely there for her. She was especially weighed down by the fact her own father had refused to attend.                                          

Grace decided to keep this to herself, knowing that Valentino still hated her father and with good reason. Luca had become suspicious that something was bothering her, but with her unwilling to voice what it truly was, he dismissed it as wedding nerves that would pass as soon as they said “I do” tomorrow afternoon.                                                                                                                                                                           

“Are you alright, Cara?” Gia asked her son’s fiancée, standing over the stove, stirring scrambled eggs. “You seem bothered this morning.”                              

“It’s nothing. I suppose I am just caught up in my thoughts about tomorrow.” This was not a total lie, she was thinking about tomorrow.                                            

“You have nothing to worry about, darling. Everything is in order. And, you will be the most beautiful bride New York’s ever seen. The New York Times will be there to see to it everyone knows it too!” Gia was losing herself in wedding talk again, as she often did.   

“Yes, madre, we get it. It will be a sight not soon forgotten.”

Grace and Gia turned to see Russo taking his seat at the table. Grace eyed him with an annoyed gaze as he buttered his toast.

“I didn’t realize you were so interested in the wedding all of the sudden,” Grace jabbed.

“Don’t be fooled,” he quipped.                                                

Gia threw her hands upon her hips.

“Honestly, are the two of you ever going to learn to get along?” she huffed.                      

Grace hung her head in mock shame meant only to appease her flustered mother-in-law.                          

“Of course, Gia. Acutally,” Grace said turning to face Russo, “I was hoping you would accompany me into the city for one last thing I need to see to before tomorrow. It would give us a chance to set aside our differences once and for all. After all, after tomorrow, I will be your sister.”

Gia beamed, obviously approving of the idea.   

Russo rolled his eyes. “Grab your coat. I will wait in the car.”       

Grace pulled her wool coat closer to her figure. It certainly was brisk outside. Winter would be nasty this year, she had no doubt.

She watched out her window as Russo drove past quiet little neighborhoods on his way into the big city.

“Where are we going?” he asked. The forceful agitation in his tone made Grace jump as she came out of her thoughts.

She cleared her throat. “It is of no importance to you.”

Russo turned his head to stare at Grace, losing most attention for the road.

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