tagBDSMThe Twelve Vitali Ch. 21

The Twelve Vitali Ch. 21

byxelliebabex©

Authors note: Hello everyone. Thank you, everyone, for the positive feedback and comments they mean the world to me and have brightened my days. Thank you once again to Paul who continues to be my second set of eyes. ~ellie.

*****

Matteo stepped off the plane in Kuala Lumpur. He'd dozed on and off during the flight, his mind going over details of all the revelations he had over the last few months since Cat came into his life and turned it upside down. The fact that not only his mother, but Nik Donati, were alive and living an isolated existence haunting his dreams. Roberto had told him that only Joseph and Andreus had known that Nik's life had been saved at the last moment when the attempted escape had gone so wrong. The grief of losing so much had overwhelmed Joshua after the death of his family and the damage to so much property that it had been decided to keep the information from the new Donati table.

The more he thought about that, the more it bothered him. It bothered him even more that his fathers had kept his mother's survival a secret from him and his siblings as well. How could they not see the old wounds that continued to fester in him, if not his siblings? He rubbed the scar on his chest. "Would knowing have made any difference, or just made it worse?" he asked himself as he approached the waiting car.

"Can you take me straight to the hotel?" Matteo asked, looking at the watery grey sky of predawn.

"No can do, buddy," Phillipe Sergi said casually, making Matteo turn to look at him.

"Phil! What the hell are you doing here?" Matteo embraced his old friend. "I thought you were in Italy!"

"Moonlighting as a chauffeur, it seems. Get in, and all will be revealed," he chuckled, returning the embrace.

"All what?" Matteo was genuinely pleased to see his friend, but confused as to why he was here in Malaysia.

"It's five a.m. Matt. I barely know what country I'm in. Just let me be mysterious and leave it at that. You can ask Massimo when we get back to the house," Phil shook his head.

"Mo is here too?" he asked incredulously.

"Shit, I probably wasn't supposed to tell you that. Can we erase this whole conversation?" Phil grumbled. "You weren't supposed to be here until this afternoon, you realise. It's most inconvenient of you to change plans at the last moment."

"Change plans? I only made the plans yesterday!" Matteo was starting to think this was some elaborate scheme by his fathers' and couldn't get his brain to work out why. "So how was Roberto when you spoke to him?" Matteo asked.

"It wasn't Roberto, it was Stefano, and he sounded grouchy," Phil sighed. "Look, just roll with it, okay? It's not as bad as you think."

"Who else is coming?" Matteo asked.

"We all got here last night, you're the slowpoke," Phil shrugged, evading the question.

"I thought you said I was early? You realise I have work to do while I'm here, right?" Matteo tried not to smile. He would have liked to be pissed about his friends being here, but he wasn't, it had been too long since he had spent time with them. He'd spent years nursing his humiliation and broken heart, cutting himself off from love, even the love of close friendships. He'd been a fool, he admitted, not for the first time.

"Yeah, you can work, we'll come with you. I want to check out this building. Dante said you're advising on one Josh is building," Phil said.

"Dante's here?" Matteo asked even more incredulously. "Wow! How did anyone get him to leave Peri's side for more than a day?"

"Shit!" Phil spat. "How about we just don't talk for the rest of the ride?"

"How about you just tell me what's going on?" Matteo laughed.

"Here," Phil tossed him a phone. "Why don't you call home and ask Stefano? I'm sure he'd be happy to hear all your whining. You'd think a guy would be grateful to have an old friend pick him at sparrows fart in this weird ass country.

"You know who's not here and would have loved picking you up no matter the time?" Phil asked.

"'Lio Donati," Matteo nodded.

"Right. So now, for some reason, I've been nominated as the idiot who does this sort of shit. God, I miss that guy," Phil sighed heavily. "This won't be the same without him."

"And this is?" Matteo asked.

"Oh, for fuck's sake, give up or call your Daddy and tell him I'm being mean to you!" Phil grumbled. The Vitali fathers were legendary for their tough love stance, and Phil knew Matteo wouldn't make the call, and looked at him curiously as he punched numbers into the phone with a determined finger.

*****

Cat rolled on the bed and stared at the empty space beside her. The indentation in the pillow showed where Ricco had slept, at least for a small amount of time. She wondered at his dual nature. He was good and kind, he was patient and loving, she knew how sweet and tender he could be first hand. He never judged or showed his temper, as she knew his brothers did, and he had treated her as if she were precious and valuable when they had dated so long ago. He wasn't a control freak like Matteo, he was laid back in comparison, and laughed in situations that would frustrate and anger others. She never would have guessed at the darkness that lay beneath it all. She doubted anyone would have guessed that beneath the reliable, trustworthy and loving family orientated man lurked a Master. A Prince of Darkness, as he called himself.

Ricco stood in the doorway and watched her as she woke, a cup of coffee in his hand. She was even more than he had hoped from reading her file from the Battaglia. He watched her stretch her limbs and grimace slightly. He smiled knowing she would be reminded of him and their first night together all day. He stepped into the room and greeted her.

"Good morning, Beautiful," Ricco said cheerily. "I brought you some coffee. You're meeting Aria at the penthouse this morning at nine, right?"

"Gosh, yes," she sat up, blinking away the last vestiges of sleep and her dreams of the night before. "What's the time?" she asked before accepting the mug of coffee and a gentle kiss from him.

"It's only seven thirty, you have plenty of time to dress and have breakfast before you leave. We can drive in together if you like," Ricco offered. Cat tilted her head and looked at him. This was the Ricco she had always known, kind and sweet, looking after her in his non-authoritative way.

"I'd like to drive myself; I have a lot of appointments today. Pulling a wedding together this quickly is hard work, I don't know how Theresa does it all, especially with the gathering starting this weekend," she admitted.

"She has good people around her, and she knows how to delegate and ask for help. Something you're finally learning. It's nice that you asked Aria to help you with the artwork. I think, as the youngest girl, she often feels like Vanessa is asked about that arty stuff more than she is, and that's her thing," he said.

"Her thing?" Cat asked with a smile.

"We all have a thing," he shrugged. "Mia is an events manager and has been handling most of the Gathering issues with Mama and our Aunts. Matt is all eco-friendly buildings and materials. He built his business up from nothing to become a global entity, but I imagine he will allow subsidiaries to run with the overseas stuff now. Cobi and I are lawyers, the same as our fathers, but I stayed in criminal law, and Cobi specialised in corporate contracts, though we can cross over, we have our own specialities. He's a troubleshooter, and I am a protector, of sorts, so they amount to the same thing, it just depends on which side of trouble you find yourself on," he grinned. "Vanessa is interior design, as you know."

"And the others?" Cat asked.

"Lucca is an engineer, like Matt, and has been taking over a lot of the running of the company while Matt has been distracted by love," Ricco chuckled. "Zion has degrees in economics and international relations, I think he is heading towards a political career once Aria gets married and moves away. They've been pretty much inseparable their whole lives. She has an arts degree and probably the best knowledge of our family history than even the older members of the family. She and Zion have been working with Peri to compile an accurate history. Art and the old Masters are her first love and where, way back in history, our family's original wealth and fame came from. We are loosely related to the Borgia family, but we don't advertise that as much as the direct links to the great master, Raphael."

"Wow!" Cat said blinking.

"Trista wants to be in fashion design, and I think she is starting to take your suggestion about doing a men's line seriously, if this wedding is anything to go by," he chuckled. "The babies are virtual geniuses and could do anything they wanted. Before Matt and I found out about the table, I would have bet they would have become lawyers, but now," he paused to consider. "I wouldn't be surprised if Leonardo becomes a vet, and Raphael, well, he could become the next Pulitzer prize winner if he was brave enough to show people his writing. It's probably more likely he will blog or become the king of social media somehow." Ricco chuckled talking about the youngest brothers of all his siblings, because they brought him the most laughter and fun.

"I probably know the youngest brothers the least. I should make more of an effort where they are concerned if I plan to be part of this family," she admitted. "Not today though, I have a lot to do," she sighed and pulled back the covers, unconcerned about her nudity in front of Ricco anymore. She swung her legs to the floor and stood up.

"Beautiful," Ricco murmured, admiring her curves and remembering the night before. "Even without any trace of the marks you wore for me last night."

"I'm sorry I passed out in the end," she said quietly. "I don't think I'd felt anything quite like that. The tremors and waves, well, they just kept coming." She blushed, a soft pink hue colouring her cheeks.

"I know. I was there, remember?" Ricco laughed and stood to gather her in his arms and kiss her properly.

"Do you wonder what might have happened if I'd told you the truth when we were dating?" she asked, softly returning his embrace.

"I would have still been an asshole and honoured my commitment to my brother, and I probably would have tried to push you even harder into being a Kept. It's better this way for all of us, not just the three of us, the whole family. You gave us back Matt, who had isolated himself from everything and everyone except work," Ricco explained. "Never second guess the reasons you dumped me, I deserved it, and it led us to this place, and we, the three of us, are going to do amazing things together."

*****

Matteo could tell there was more going on here in Kuala Lumpur than anyone was saying. Ricco had been no help at all in figuring out why his closest childhood friends had shown up in Malaysia, though he didn't seem surprised by the fact. Ricco had quickly changed the subject to Cat, who had been sleeping off the effects of what Matteo could only assume was a long, hard night after having moved past the final hurdle of their relationship.

Surprisingly he wasn't jealous. He couldn't stand the thought of Pete Donati using her in that way, but with Ricco, he just wanted to see it for himself. Watch her the way Ricco watched them. He had allowed himself that fantasy on the plane, imagining the way her body would move within the rope coiled around her and her face as she came, not just for Ricco, but for him too. If he were there, it would be for both of them. It wouldn't matter who was touching her, fucking her, manipulating her body, it would be for both of them.

The idea that the three of them could finally move into their new home as equals in the relationship had made him want to rush through the inspections he had to make and the handing over ceremonies. Then there was this. He entered the luxurious mansion and was immediately welcomed by the staff and his friends. The giant Massimo scooped him up in a massive bear hug, threatening to break his ribs.

"Fuck, man, you got skinny!" Massimo grinned.

"You got bigger, more likely," Matteo said, standing toe to toe with him. While almost as tall, Massimo had the huge solid build particular to his family.

"More than likely," he laughed loudly. "I'm an old married man now. I don't have to look fabulous anymore. She likes more of me to love."

"Lucky Connie," Matteo agreed. "Where's everyone else?" he looked curiously past the giant man.

"Sleeping, mostly, we got a bit rowdy last night," Massimo shrugged as if he hadn't been affected by the amount of alcohol they had consumed.

"How drunk were you when you nominated Phil the designated driver for today?" he asked as if they were all crazy.

"We drew straws!" Massimo defended the choice.

"I feel so special," Matteo drawled and followed the big man through the house to the room he'd been assigned.

"Which room's D. in?" Matteo asked.

"How'd you know he was here?" Massimo frowned.

"You sent Phil to pick me up," Matteo chuckled as if that was all the explanation he needed. He tried the knob of the door his friend indicated. "He locked it?"

"He knew you were coming in early," Massimo shrugged but jangled a master key from his hand and proceeded to unlock the door. Matteo walked in and climbed onto the bed, stretching out next to his oldest and closest friend.

"You are not the woman I was dreaming about," Dante grumbled, coming instantly awake.

"I certainly hope not! Put that weapon away, would you? You're worse than Ricco in the mornings!" Matteo said disgustedly.

"Hey, you walked into my room unannounced, you get what you deserve. Jealous?" He chuckled.

"Sure, if it helps your ego, but Massimo is standing right there. So, it's a bit hard to take you seriously," Matteo said casually.

"It's his wife who deserves our amazement. Can you imagine seeing that on the wedding night and not running away screaming?" Dante grimaced. "I never know whether to congratulate her or pity her."

"She's quite happy, I assure you," Massimo said drolly.

"Congratulations it is then," Dante sat up. "I'm guessing you woke me up for something important?"

"Matt's here," Massimo said with a straight face. "Thought you'd want to know."

"You're coming to work with me," Matt informed him. "So, get up and get dressed, you ass. You could have had the decency to warn me about this."

"Why would I do that?" Dante frowned. "It's much better this way. Better go wake up Xman then, he wants a look at your building."

"Xavier is here as well?" Matteo was surprised. It was difficult to get him away from his family at the best of times.

"Where else would he be?" Dante chuckled, "In the desert racing camels?"

"Well, yeah," Matteo chuckled with him. "So, there's you, Phil, Mo, X-man. What about Zach, Nate and Solly?" he questioned, leaving off the one name Phil had mentioned in the car... Lio.

"All present and accounted for," Dante said. "Why don't you go an annoy them while I have a shower and try to look as good as you do for someone who just flew through the night."

*****

Aria hadn't just come to look and advise in a casual friendly way. When Cat had gone up to meet her, Aria had already spread out several catalogues on the table and bookmarked several recommendations for Cat to choose from. She was professional and business-like in every sense of the word, so much so that when Vanessa finally walked in the two other women were already making decisions about the artworks statues, and even decorative antiquities that would look perfect in the space.

Vanessa tried to make a few minor suggestions, and even when suggesting something for a particular spot, Aria would go back to her catalogues and find exactly what she wanted. Cat was amazed at the depth of knowledge the woman had for such a large collection. She could name the artist, date and where each piece came from, and in some cases even its providence. Vanessa was eventually stunned into silence. She hated the dark and dusty depository, preferring to purchase what she needed, but seeing the catalogues that Aria and Zion had worked on so tirelessly over the years, she had to admit, Aria was an asset to the family and their businesses.

While Aria loved the pieces themselves for their sheer beauty and history, she had told Cat that Zion was the one behind the cataloguing system and albums she had bought. He loves the investment potential on a worldwide stage of antiquities, particularly European during the renaissance period. His focus was squarely on providence and profit, while she loved the beauty of classic pieces. Their great uncle had managed the auction house until they had taken it over after their gap year, he had since retired, grateful to finally rest knowing it was in good hands.

"Aria, you're amazing!" Cat gushed. "I can't believe we got this done so quickly. Thank you!"

"Thank you for asking me," Aria grinned delightedly at the success the morning had been. She even thought she had impressed her older sister.

"Do you need a lift home? I'm going there to meet Theresa again this afternoon," Cat said. "Maybe we could grab some lunch on the way."

"Lunch sounds great! I'm starving," Ricco said, walking into the penthouse closely followed by Lucca, and passed his phone to Cat.

"You're always starving," Aria rolled her eyes at her brother.

"Hello?" Cat said, frowning at the phone.

"Hello, Kitten. Care to tell me why you're not answering your phone?" Matteo's voice rumbled.

"Matt! I didn't hear it! Gosh, I'm so sorry!" she walked away from the others to talk to him. "I miss you so much!"

"Yeah, Ricco said the same," he chuckled. "I get the feeling, though, that you worked through that issue."

"Yes," she admitted. "Without all the baggage we both had it's very different," she said uncertainly. She didn't want to have this conversation over the phone.

"Good different?" Matteo asked.

"Amazingly different," she said honestly.

"That's great, and makes what I'm about to say easier. I'm being held up in KL for an extra day. Some old friends are here at Papa's request, and I haven't worked out what that request is yet," he chuckled.

"Old friends, just before you get married? I'm thinking bachelor party," she laughed as he swore, wondering how the idea hadn't occurred to him. "That was nice of your fathers, just don't let your friends put you on a plane to Timbuktu or wherever, I miss you too much already."

"I have work to do here, so no chance of that, I have to be back by Friday the latest," he laughed with her. "The wedding seems so far away still, but I guess with the Gathering I wouldn't have had a chance to catch up with my friends in this way."

"Does that mean you'll have another bachelor party with your brothers and cousins?" she asked.

"I guess that's up to Ricco, he's the best man," Matteo said noncommittally. "I have to go, but don't have too much fun without me. Remember, it's me you're marrying," he chuckled. "I love you."

"How could I forget. I love you too," Cat grinned and turned back to face her soon to be family as Matteo ended the call.

"Oh, sorry, did you need to talk to him again?" she asked as she handed back Ricco's phone.

"That's the second call I have gotten today," Ricco laughed. "You were still asleep when he called early this morning."

"I only had the one. I guess I'm not the favourite little brother anymore!" Lucca lamented in an exaggerated way.

"You could never be my favourite little brother," Aria said helpfully. "But the competition for the older brother is pretty tough and changes with my mood. At the moment Matt's got it, but be on my team for the hunt and I guarantee you favouritism rights."

"They're not letting me help this year with teams or anything. Seems Papa is determined to do everything himself," Lucca said unhappily.

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