Chapter 30

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I stood infront of his casket. Staring at his paled face. He looked so peaceful, like he did every time he slept. His hair was neatly styled and dressed impeccably in a black suit.

I wanted to throw myself in there with him. I wanted to slap him across his perfect face, yell at him to wake up. I wanted him to tell me that this was all a sick joke. I wanted to curse him for leaving me, for leaving us. I wanted to not feel this pain, this consuming guilt.

My interior screaming bloody murder as my insides were set on fire with a burning pain, but my exterior only shedding silent tears. Sophia was watching me, I couldn't lose control infront of her.

"I'll miss you until we meet again, cariño."

I pressed a kiss to my index and middle fingers and laid them against Giovanni's cold lips.

I turned around to a couple dozen mourning faces blurred in a sea of black fabric as I went to take my seat in between Niklaus and Aiden

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I turned around to a couple dozen mourning faces blurred in a sea of black fabric as I went to take my seat in between Niklaus and Aiden. Sophia sat snuggled up in Matteo's lap.

We sat in silence as a priest began the ceremony. I just stared at the casket, not registering a word he said. Once he was done, I saw Matteo rise, handing Sophia over to Victoria and walking infront of Giovanni's body, turning his attention to the crowd. He cleared his throat before beginning.

"When Giovanni's parents passed away 12 years ago, he was a broken man. He always felt more than the average person and he took their death hard. Victoria and I watched as his world crumbled around him, getting consumed by the drugs he swore made his pain go away, helplessly. I waited by the phone every night for the call that'd tell me he had finally put too much crap in his veins." Matteo clenched his jaw as he remembered the unpleasant era. "That call came 2 years after his parent's death. It was a turning point for Giovanni as he slowly transformed into the man I'm so proud to call my son."

He had to stop to choke back a sob.

"Giovanni's soul was never corrupted by the mafia's lifestyle. He wasn't arrogant or trigger happy, he wasn't a man whore or a selfish friend, he wasn't power hungry or manipulative. He treated everyone with respect, leading by example. His loyalty to his family, his friends, his mafia was unwavering. He was a good man... Better than I ever was."

Matteo turned to the casket and pressed his forehead to Giovanni's. "Thank you for letting me be a father to you, I love you, son."

He straightened his back, fixing his suit jacket before returning to his seat. Victoria rubbed his back for a moment, whispering encouraging words in his ear, before passing Sophia back to him and rising to make her speech.

"I wish I was anywhere but here, doing anything but this." Her lips quivering as she tried not to cry. "I've always thought that it'd be my sons speaking at my funeral, never did I imagine having to speak at my son's funeral. They were supposed to bury me, not the other way around. I was supposed to go first."

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