Pomegranate Seeds by Sem Thornwood

Chapter 1

 

Antonio

“You are getting married?” Salvatore asked. His green eyes were wide with shock. My brother next to him had the same expression. It was a common reaction to surprising situations. It always fascinated me to see how even different kinds of people were able to hold very similar facial expressions in certain situations.

I cleared my throat. “I didn’t say that.” I really didn’t say that. They were just too excited to jump to conclusions and twist my words. “I only said that I am considering marriage in order to perpetuate my lineage. I don’t have a date or even a bride yet.”

Salvatore’s eyes narrowed at me, but then he looked at my brother. “Alessio, am I stupid or something? He is saying that he is getting married.”

Alessio nodded. “He is saying that he is getting married.”

I took a deep breath. It was probably unnecessary to explain the whole situation again. They were stuck. “Yes, I am getting married. I just need a bride.”

“That shouldn’t be too hard,” Salvatore said, laughing, as he got comfortable in his chair. We were smoking cigars in his house. “Everybody is lining up their daughters in hopes that you would choose them.”

That was not the whole explanation of the situation. “They are lining up to engage their fourteen-year-old daughters to me. It is exactly half my age.”

Alessio shivered at the thought. “Nothing changes in Cosa Nostra. Great!”

“So, I am not being very lucky in finding a bride. The oldest girl I found that was not already promised was a sixteen-year-old. I am really not interested in that.” The reason I told my plans in the first place was this. I was hoping my brother and friend could help me in my conquest of finding a bride older than 18, for God's sake.

“Dad has been trying to find you a girl for years, Antonio. I am afraid you are just a little late for that.”

Alessio was right. Dad did offer me many girls from respectful families ever since I was seventeen. The only problem was that I was too young to think about marriage back then. If I had waited too long to have the wedding, that would have offended the family, and it also meant not knowing what kind of person my bride was going to be. If I were to marry a woman and spend the rest of my life with her, I would at least prefer to know her at a deeper level than a mere hello.

“Don’t I deserve to have a say in what type of woman I am going to marry?” I asked Alessio.

For some reason, both men found my question amusing. It bothered me because I was not able to understand the reason for their reaction.

Alessio shook his head like he still couldn’t get over how ridiculous my wish was. “And what type of qualities are you looking for in your future bride?”

That was an easy question to answer. “Of course, firstly, I want her to be from Cosa Nostra, older than eighteen and fertile, which turns out quite a hard combination to find in the first place.” I didn’t care about their chuckle and just kept going, “She should also be ready to have children and be a good mother. It won’t hurt if she is nice to look at since I have to sleep with her regularly for us to be able to conceive. I also prefer someone who is not very emotional. I don’t want her to expect things I cannot give. A logical marriage that is done for alliance and heritage is the best option for me.”

Salvatore snorted. “Well, I feel like, with a good amount of money, you can find an Italian robot with female reproductive parts.”

I was really getting frustrated with their reactions but contained it because it might be because of my lack of humor. “What is so funny about my preferences? Didn’t you have any while marrying?”

“Well, I was engaged to your sister for years, so I didn’t have a chance to determine my preferences,” Sal answered.

“My preference was that she had to be Bella,” Alessio added.

Both were true, so I had nothing to push them about. Still, I wanted to know if any of my choices were too unrealistic. To me, they were perfectly logical. “And what is wrong with mine? You must have known I was going to marry just to have heirs. Why is it wrong to have a few other preferences?”

Alessio brushed his black hair. His was short, while mine was long enough to put in a ponytail. “Okay, I guess we shouldn’t make fun. It is just funny to picture you married.”

“Are you going to help me find a wife, though?”

They exchanged a look, and Sal answered. “Yes, we will. Because if you wait any longer, you are going to have to marry someone who is third your age.”

My face twisted slightly with disgust. Even though I was not very expressive, this was enough to disturb me visibly.

Just as I was about to ask them about our upcoming meeting to change the topic, my sister Mia entered the room. Alessio smiled at our sister, and Salvatore’s face lit up impossibly. I was so fascinated by that look. I was not able to feel such a thing. Seeing love so visible in people’s eyes always left me mesmerized or confused.

“I am sorry, are you talking about something private?” Mia asked. She would typically not interrupt us, but I knew she sometimes felt bad and needed Salvatore’s closeness. Her stress was mostly due to Verona these days.

Salvatore opened his arms, inviting Mia to his lap. “No, Angel. Come.” If he would get too touchy, I was going to be uncomfortable. It was also different from other people. I could stand the sight of them being close, unlike Alessio. I just didn’t like it when concepts that should be separated were brought together in front of me. Sexuality and family were two of those.

Mia hopped onto his lap, and Salvatore’s eyes shone with amusement. “Did you know that Antonio is planning on getting married?”

I took a deep breath as my sister’s eyes widened in shock. Another same expression.

It was going to be a long night.