tagBDSMThe Twelve Vitali Ch. 13

The Twelve Vitali Ch. 13

byxelliebabex©

Authors note: Hello everyone. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I hope you are enjoying the week of chapters as your gift. Please comment and vote it means a lot to me. Thank you, everyone, for the positive feedback and comments they have brightened my days. Thank you once again to Paul who continues to be my second set of eyes. ~ellie.

*****

Cat woke, slowly stretching and finding that her muscles protested only slightly, considering the punishment she had received last night. She smiled and rolled on the bed, humming happily at how relaxed she felt. It wasn't unusual for her to wake and find Matteo had already risen, but he had been waking her early lately, and she picked up her phone from the bedside table to check the time. It was late, and she frowned, listening for noise inside the apartment to let her know he was there somewhere close by.

She longed for the small loft they shared in Brisbane, as she realised even if he was here in the penthouse, it was so vast that she would never be able to hear him. She got out of bed and padded into the bathroom, thinking she would shower first and dress properly because his housekeeper was probably here and wouldn't appreciate a naked girl walking through the apartment.

Finding her clothes in the wardrobe, Cat sighed. She would have to go shopping for something to wear tonight. She certainly had her savings still, but she wasn't sure that she been paid yet, and she couldn't expect Matteo to foot the bill because she felt she didn't have anything appropriate to wear tonight to the family dinner. She hated dipping into her savings, but once the commission money came through, anything she spent would be replenished.

She showered and dressed, taking care of her bruised ass cheeks and tender breasts. Rather than being upset by the dull ache and small twinges of pain as she moved, she embraced them and how she had acquired the marks that proclaimed her as Matteo's kitten. She had asked for them and had wanted them. He'd been so careful about unmasking the dominant side of his personality, but she was beyond grateful to him for last night because she needed it and craved it. She loved him and trusted him more than anyone else in her life, and she wanted the fantasy life he offered, but it still hung tantalisingly just out of her reach in her mind.

Feeling the need to at least look the part of a woman who could marry into his family, she thought about going shopping again. She wouldn't have to get her hair cut, so that would save time, she thought. She liked the haircut she had received at the spa yesterday and fluffed her long fringe before scooping it partially to the side. The long layers of her dark hair sat naturally and gave her straight hair a bit more body with a small wave. She smiled as she applied a tinted moisturiser to her face. She felt good and, needing to see Matteo, she walked out of the bathroom in search of him.

"Good morning, Miss Catriona," Lisa greeted her. "Master Matteo is in his office working," she added as Cat looked around, seeming indecisive. "Can I get you some breakfast?"

"I can get something. I'm sure you have better things to do than waiting for me," Cat smiled in a friendly way.

"I'd like to do it, it's my job, after all," Lisa reassured her. "Coffee and French toast?" she offered. "Or pancakes maybe?"

"Coffee would be wonderful, I'm not one for sweet breakfast dishes. Could I have some toast and maybe an egg or small omelette?" Cat asked, feeling strange asking this woman to make her breakfast.

"Certainly, it will just take me a few minutes. If you would like to see Master Matteo, his office is down that way at the end of the hall," she said, indicating the way with her hand before disappearing back into the central kitchen area.

Cat thought about the fact that he was working and wondered if she should disturb him. Her need to see him this morning won out though, and she walked slowly in the direction Lisa had pointed. She could hear him on the phone as she drew closer, not what he was saying, but a low murmur, and once again she wondered if he would welcome the interruption. She would only stay a few minutes, she told herself, and then go eat the breakfast Lisa was making for her.

Tapping at the frame of the open door, Cat watched as he looked up and a broad smile appeared on his face as he waved her in. He began ending his phone call, and as soon as she got close enough to his desk, he pulled her onto his lap as he said his final goodbye and hung up before kissing her.

"Did you sleep well?" he asked.

"Like a contented kitten," she grinned at him, brushing her fingers over the side of his face. "Did you?" she asked.

"I did," he chuckled. "Have you had breakfast?" he took in the fact that Cat had showered and dressed already.

"Lisa is making me something now, I just wanted to see you and say good morning," Cat said softly, leaning in to kiss him again.

"Good morning," he whispered into the kiss, and curled his hand around her jaw and the back of her neck, pulling her into a deeper kiss.

"How are you feeling?" he asked as he slowly pulled away, looking at her carefully. They'd been through a lot as a couple the day before, and he didn't take anything that had happened between them lightly.

"I'm wonderfully green, really green!" she exclaimed and grinned at him. "You make me feel amazing," she stroked her fingers lightly over his neck, seemingly unable to help herself from touching him this morning.

"Good, because we have a lot to do today before dinner with the family tonight," he advised her.

"Oh," she said, trying not to let her disappointment show, but he was very attuned to every nuance of her now.

"Tell me, Kitten," he demanded, lifting her chin so he could look into her eyes. This name was the trigger for her where she knew he expected her to obey his commands.

"I was hoping I'd have time to shop for a dress for tonight. It's just that you only packed a bag for one night, and I'm not sure anything in there is suitable for the conversation I have to have with Roberto," she looked anxiously into his eyes.

"We can make time for that. While Andie has done wonders with your wardrobe, I have preferences of my own which you should start to know if you want to please me as much as you did last night," he let his hand smooth down her chest to cup her breasts. He smiled, noting her small gasp as his hand squeezed and knew she would be feeling the effects of last night most of today. He was pleased to find, however, that she wasn't wearing a bra.

"Mm," he groaned. "Go and have breakfast while I wrap up a few things here. Then we can start our day," he instructed.

"If that's what you want," she squirmed teasingly on his lap and pressed up against him, kissing him softly.

"It is," he smacked her ass lightly and was pleased with the yelp she emitted. He helped her slide from his lap and stand. With a chuckle he watched her leave his office, shaking his head. This newer more relaxed and cheeky version of Cat was going to challenge him in a whole new way, he realised.

*****

Hilary watched from a distance as her boss made his way through the new HQ offices toward her. She'd seen photos of the young woman her boss was infatuated with, but they hadn't done the young woman justice. She was tall for a woman, and slender, and in the casual but classy dress she wore she looked lovely. Her face shone with happiness each time she looked up at Matteo as he stopped to talk to the men and women who worked closely with him here.

She certainly wasn't like the women he was usually seen to date, and she revised her assumption that this was a mere infatuation as she took note, not of the girl herself, but the way Matteo looked at her. Hilary stood as they neared her desk and stepped forward, waiting for the introduction.

"This is the other woman I couldn't live without, Hilary," he introduced her without qualifying her position in his company like he had with the other members of his executive staff.

"I'm so glad to finally meet you, Hilary," Cat held out her hand in greeting. "I'm sorry I've kept him away from Melbourne for so long," she said contritely.

"I'm happy to meet you too," Hilary took the proffered hand and smiled; something the no-nonsense woman was not known for. "Your guests will be here shortly, lunch will be served in the small conference room." She said, turning her attention to Matteo. "If you have a few minutes I'd like to go over your schedule for the next few days?" she asked.

"Go in and make yourself at home," Matteo said softly to Cat and indicated the open door. "I'll just be a few moments."

"Since when do we go over schedules like this?" Matteo asked curiously.

"Since Roberto called to ask about your plans," Hilary said quietly. "I have the feeling he is less than impressed by the amount of time you are spending in Queensland, and he asked about future trips overseas to your projects there."

"I see, well, all will be cleared up with my father tonight. I will be home after the weekend and only do day trips and overnighters, so you won't have to worry about fending off my family anymore," he said, knowing that Roberto could be an intimidating man when he wanted to be. Very little shook Hilary's composure, but his fathers could fluster her every time.

"Good then," she said abruptly and went back to her desk.

"You'll be joining us for lunch," he said just as abruptly, falling into their usual pattern of business, and noted the slightly arched eyebrow as he walked into his office to find Cat. "Thank you," he said over his shoulder, "This morning was very productive."

"For you, maybe," she chided him and returned to her work, hearing him chuckle, a rare sound, even for her, who was possibly closer to him than anyone aside from his family.

Matteo stepped inside the door and watched Cat as she explored his office. He'd been authoritative this morning as they met with a personal shopper and he outlined his preferences in style and colour to her, saying that he would be open-minded but he would rather her figure was accentuated using lingerie rather than with gathered waists and skirts that hid her obviously lovely legs. His hand had glided over her ass as he said it, making sure his meaning was known.

For her part, Cat accepted what he said and seemed pleased by the look that was created with a more straight-line wardrobe accentuated by slimline cuts and seams as well as wide belts. The dress she wore now was one of his favourites from their morning excursion, and his eyes followed the way the soft material caressed her legs and ass as she walked slowly around the room before turning and seeing him standing there.

"This is huge," she indicated the office. "Do you use all this space?" she asked as Matteo walked toward her.

"Sometimes, if I have whole sections of the executive in here for a meeting," he explained. "It can fill up pretty quickly with so many adults all in here together."

"The view is spectacular," she turned back toward the large windows behind his desk, and he moved behind her, wrapping his arms around her.

"You realise I've only just gotten back into Martyn's good books again when you summoned me here?" Cat heard David's voice behind them and found Matteo's arms tighten around her, shielding her from his view and stopping her from turning around to see him. "You can't just pull me off-site whenever you and Cat have a tiff. What did she do this time, or what did you do? Or shouldn't I ask?"

"I haven't done anything!" Matteo protested with a laugh. "I just thought you might like to see your sister, it has been a few months," Matteo stepped away from Cat so David could see her.

"I haven't done anything!" Cat protested as well. "Is that seriously how you talk to your boss?" Cat looked at David in surprise.

"Technically he's my boss's boss," David shrugged. "I wouldn't talk to Martyn like that." He reassured her. "Besides, Matt and I have bonded over football, so he's more of a mate now," he tried to explain further. The reality was that he didn't really understand their relationship himself, only that he liked the guy and thought of him as more of a friend than the owner of the company he worked for. "It's great to see you," he smiled widely and went to hug his sister.

"Technically there are a few more bosses between us than just Martyn," Matteo chuckled, "But I still have the authority to pull him off-site and mess up their schedule a bit. You'll be back there in time for the inspection; I checked it with Martyn this time." He rolled his eyes heavenward. "Arguing with the two of you is going to drive me insane, you know that, right?"

"That's something I've been trying to do for years, I'll have to get some tips," Ricco said, easily walking into the room and seeing both Cat and David there. He felt a pang of regret and jealousy, but he kept his voice light. For his brother's sake, he wanted no hard feelings or weirdness between himself and Cat.

"Don't look at me," Cat said, looking at him innocently. "I think David might be getting fired though," she giggled girlishly.

"I guess he could come work with me in exchange for those tips on how to drive Matteo crazy. The man is usually so unflappable, even in a crisis," Ricco said, his eyes falling back on Cat. She looked truly happy, happier than he'd ever seen her, if he was honest with himself. She was relaxed, he realised, and he turned his eyes on Matteo and saw that he too was happy and relaxed. Ricco knew this was coming, but he hadn't been prepared for them to be so in love that it shone from the way it did this afternoon.

"So, lunch?" he asked, distracting both them and himself. "I'm starving," he grinned, promising himself that he would be happy for them both.

"Yes, lunch," David nodded and looked at Matteo, who led the way into a small conference room.

"You seem so relaxed and happy now," Ricco pointed out the obvious to Cat as he forced his feet to work and moved closer to where she stood to kiss her cheek before they both followed Matteo and David to the conference room. "You're looking amazing because of it."

"Thank you," she said quietly. "You're looking good too," she returned the compliment. "I'm sorry, Ricco, I know this is probably awkward seeing me with Matteo," she grimaced and apologised.

"At least I know you picked a good guy this time," he acknowledged. "I'm not sure how I'd feel if you picked someone like Ned again."

"Yeah, that's not happening ever!" David bit into their conversation tersely. "She deserves better, and she knows it. Don't you?" He prompted Cat.

"I have better," she said, quietly ripping the band-aid off what could turn out to be a hurtful moment for herself and the three men in the room with her. "Matteo asked me to marry him, and, although it's not official until he proposes properly, I have tentatively said yes," she watched Ricco's reaction as she spoke and saw the momentary pang in his expression and felt it herself. She didn't feel like she could express how she felt about that look and let herself get swept up in David surprised congratulations.

"You okay?" Matteo asked his brother quietly.

"Yeah, it's not hard to see how happy you make each other. Congrats, man," Ricco stood, pulling Matteo up to give him the usual one-armed hug, bumping their shoulders together. "You're a lucky guy. Cat, on the other hand, well, you have to live with your choices," he teased but laughed, showing he was okay with the situation, even though it felt like a vice gripped his heart.

"I dunno, he's the one who has to live with the Hellcat. Have you ever seen her when she gets angry?" David asked.

"Yes, but I have found she is usually a sweet and lovable kitten rather than a hellcat," he chuckled. "Except that one time when I borrowed one of Lorenzo's supercars and she thought I was trying to kill her. More of a wildcat than a hellcat though," he chuckled.

"You probably were trying to kill her with the way you drive," Ricco laughed. "Thank God you have the sense to use Knox here in Melbourne."

With David encouraging him with quips of his own it was easy, Ricco felt, to keep up the teasing banter through their lunch. He appreciated that he had been told of the forthcoming engagement before the rest of his family so he could show them nothing but support at the family dinner tonight instead of the sadness he held trapped inside.

Hilary joined then for lunch and was equally surprised by the announcement, as they were all sworn to secrecy until they had spoken with Roberto and Stefano.

*****

"Stefano is waiting for you upstairs," Roberto told Matteo as soon as he had greeted the young couple. "Don't worry, I will take good care of Catriona. We have much to discuss, don't we, dear?" he smiled benevolently.

"Are you sure about this?" Matteo asked her.

"Yes, I need to do this. I will be fine," Cat said reassuringly.

"I'll be just upstairs if you need me," he bent to kiss her lightly before turning and walking from the library.

"Come and have a seat, Catriona. Can I get you a drink?" Roberto offered solicitously.

"No, thank you," she smiled nervously.

"Current issues are such that I am hoping we can speak frankly," Roberto said. "I have always been a fan of your honesty and candour and would hate to think that had changed at all."

"I would like that, I'm not very good at being subtle or tactful," she admitted. "So here goes," she swallowed before rushing on. "I know we have not known each other very long, but I have fallen in love with Matteo, and I believe he loves me," she blurted out the reason she was here. "If he proposes formally, I will accept, unless you give me a reason not to," she admitted. "I don't want to come between Matteo and his family. I know what family means to you all, to him, and I won't be that woman who caused a rift between him and his siblings or yourselves."

"I can see you have thought about this a great deal," Roberto said. "I believe that, given time and training, you could be everything Stefano and I hope you will be and part of our family. Time, however, is not on our side, it seems. So, I am going to be blunt and tell you what would be required of you should you accept his formal proposal."

"I understand I would have to undergo a trial, and I have some idea of what that may entail," she said, surprising him.

"Tell me what else you know about our family," he asked. Through talking with Bianca, he knew Cat had been asking many questions while she was with the Donatis' and had become particularly close to quite a few members of their inner circle.

Cat spoke candidly about her knowledge of the Tables and how they were set up, as well as the importance of the relationship between the two men who sat at the head of that table, which included the woman they loved. She spoke of her understanding of the staff employed by the family and the loyalty gained through training and lucrative contracts for each position from maid to Kept to gardeners. Lastly, she spoke about her limited understanding of the trial and that she knew that she might have to be sent to a facility to undergo the training involved in being a part of this family as a wife to Matteo. Through it all, Roberto had sat back in his chair, tapping his fingers together and considering the young woman sitting across from him.

"You are well informed. Knowing all of this, you would still consent to marry Matteo?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes," she said with certainty.

"There is something, though, that you would like the answer to before you fully commit to him?" Roberto asked knowingly. "That is why you have put him off one last time, before accepting his proposal."

"Yes," she nodded. "Is it Matteo's destiny to lead this family? He says no, but I can see that it would be a possibility. He is," Cat spread her hands. "An amazing man." She finished lamely as she became lost in how to express how she felt.

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