Don Vittorio: VOLUME II
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Six years have passed since Ellis Barker made the difficult decision to leave Vittorio Amorielle's life behind. After facing a series of tumultuous events, she chose to start anew in Seattle, carrying with her the secrets that Don Vittorio so eagerly yearned to unravel. What could have driven Ellis to distance herself from Vittorio, leaving behind everything they had experienced together? Why did she choose to depart at that moment? And now, what has brought her back to New York, after so many years of absence? The answers, laden with mystery and significance, are on the verge of being unveiled.
The bedroom door creaked open, and a six-year-old girl with black hair entered silently. Her curious eyes landed on her parents, peacefully asleep in bed. A tender smile formed on her lips as she approached, her small feet barely making a sound on the floor. She watched them for a moment, a mixture of love and adoration warming her heart.
Her attention turned to her mother, whose brown hair spread across the pillow, framing her serene face. With gentle determination, the girl moved to her mother's side. Leaning in, she lightly touched her mother's cheek, causing her to stir.
Her mother's eyes slowly opened, adjusting to the soft morning light filtering through the curtains. As her vision cleared, she met her daughter's deep black eyes and couldn't help but smile broadly. Sitting up slowly, she let out a soft yawn and stretched.
"Good morning, my love," the mother murmured, her voice still laden with sleep.
The girl's smile deepened. "Good morning, Mom."
Glancing at the clock on the bedside table, the mother's eyes widened as she realized the time. They had overslept. With a touch of urgency, she gently shook her husband, calling out softly, "John."
John shifted, his sleepy eyes meeting his wife's gaze. "Hmm? What time is it?"
Ellis, the wife, answered with a touch of panic, "We're running very late."
Suddenly fully awake, John sat up and rubbed his eyes. Reality hit him, and he quickly swung his legs over the side of the bed. "Right, I'll get ready. Ellis, take care of our little one."
As John hurried to the bathroom to get ready, Ellis embraced her daughter gently. "Let's go, sweetheart, we need to get you ready for school."
The girl nodded, her excitement evident. "Okay, Mom."
Ellis sat in front of the mirror, delicately combing her daughter Donna's long black hair for her first day of school. Morning sunlight streamed through the window, casting a soft glow in the room. Donna watched her mother curiously through the mirror's reflection, full of questions in her mind.
"Why do I have to go to school, Mom?" Donna asked, her voice filled with childlike curiosity.
Ellis smiled as she secured a strand of Donna's hair behind her ear. "Today is your first day of school, dear. You need to go and meet your new little friends and learn many new things."
Donna looked at her mother, her dark eyes filled with doubt. She wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea of leaving Seattle for New York, and she had her reservations.
"But what if I don't like school, Mom?" she asked, her expression reflecting her apprehension.
Ellis turned Donna's chair to face her directly. "I'm sure you'll make lots of new friends, sweetheart. School is an amazing place to learn and make special memories."
Donna sighed, her small shoulders slightly slumping. She wasn't sure she wanted to leave her old life in Seattle behind. With a serious look, she gazed at her mother and asked, "And will you be there with me, Mom?"
Ellis smiled affectionately, caressing Donna's face. "Of course, my sweet girl. I'll always be around to support you, no matter what."
With that, she helped Donna down from the stool, and the two of them headed to the kitchen. There, John Smith, Donna's father and Ellis' husband was focused on making pancakes, clearly trying not to soil his new suit as he prepared breakfast. It was also his first day as a district attorney in New York.
Ellis gave a subtle smile at the sight of John, admiring his dedication. He looked up and returned the smile, flipping a pancake in the skillet.
"How's our future Dalton School student?" John asked playfully.
Donna looked at him, somewhat skeptically, but her expression softened when she saw the smile on her father's lips.
"I'm not so sure I'm going to like school, Dad," she replied timidly.
John approached Donna and gave her a sideways hug. "I'm sure you will, princess. And you'll make plenty of little friends there."
As the conversation flowed between father and daughter, Ellis picked up the clean plates and set them on the table, carefully arranging everything for the family breakfast. John served pancakes onto each plate, and Ellis made sure every detail was perfect. He placed Donna's plate in front of her, a bit lower so the little one could reach it better.
Donna smiled as she received her plate, eager to dig into the pancakes. Ellis then approached with a coffee pot for John and a glass of milk for Donna. Donna started enjoying her pancakes with enthusiasm, while John took a sip of his coffee, expressing gratitude for Ellis' gesture.
Ellis turned her attention back to John and asked affectionately, "How are you feeling today, John?"
John sighed, a mixture of nervousness and excitement in his expression. "Anxious, I guess. Today's a big day, starting as the new district attorney in New York."
Ellis nodded understandingly. She knew that the first day in the new role was a significant responsibility and a moment of significant change. He smiled, then asked, "And what's your plan for the day?"
Ellis smiled back, taking a generous sip of her coffee before responding. "Well, after dropping Donna off at school, I'll come back home and finish unpacking the things we brought from Seattle. I need to put everything in its proper place."
John nodded, acknowledging the work that needed to be done after the move. "Sounds like you have a full day ahead."
Ellis agreed, determination shining in her eyes. "Yes, but there's one more thing I'll be doing. Abigail, my former college classmate—you remember I mentioned her, right?"
John raised an eyebrow, curious. "Of course, I remember."
Ellis smiled and explained, "She called me yesterday and mentioned there's an open architect position at her company. She's coming over later to discuss it further."
John seemed a bit surprised. "But do you need to work right now? My salary as a district attorney is enough to take care of us."
Ellis nodded, knowing that John was being considerate, but she also had her reasons. "I know, John. But remember the agreement we made. Donna's already six years old, and we agreed that I would return to work. Plus, it's an interesting opportunity."
John looked at Ellis seriously, his eyes reflecting his concern and hesitation. He took a deep breath, trying to choose his words carefully to convey his feelings.
"If that's truly what you want, then it's fine, Ellis," he finally said, his voice filled with sincerity. "But honestly, I don't see the need for it."
Ellis looked directly into John's eyes, sensing there was more to his words than just financial concern. She couldn't help but ask the question that had been on her mind for some time.
"John, you don't see the need because you feel that way, or is it because you don't want me in touch with my past?" She asked cautiously, her concerns seeping into her words.
John sighed and ran his hand through his hair, thinking for a moment before responding. He glanced at the clock, realizing he was running late.
"I'm running late now, but we'll talk about this later, alright?"
He approached Donna, leaning down to give her a fond kiss on the forehead. "Have a great day at school, my princess. I'll miss you already."
Donna smiled and hugged her father quickly. "Bye, Dad!"
Then, John turned to Ellis and gave her a quick peck on the forehead. "See you later," he said, before hurrying out.
Ellis nodded, understanding John's characteristic way of dealing with certain situations. She was used to his hesitations and knew he would never touch on the subject again. For now, she turned to her daughter with an excited smile.
"Ready for a day full of adventures at school, Donna?" She asked, trying to push aside the tense moments and focus on her daughter's excitement.
Donna nodded eagerly, her eyes shining. "Yes, Mom!"
Ellis drove through the bustling city streets, with Donna seated in the back, eagerly clutching her school backpack. As the car made its way through the streets, mother and daughter sang Donna's favorite songs with gusto, filling the car with laughter and joy. It was a way to distract the girl from the nerves that were consuming her.
Finally, the car arrived at Dalton School, a private mixed-gender school located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Donna observed the children getting out of cars and entering the school, her face reflecting a mix of excitement and nervousness. Ellis turned off the car and quickly made her way to the backseat, helping Donna out and holding her hand.
Donna looked around, her big eyes seeing other kids getting dropped off and entering the school. Ellis sensed the fear in her daughter's eyes and knelt to be at eye level, holding her hands.
"I understand that you're scared, Donna," Ellis said gently, offering a reassuring smile. "It's all new and might seem scary, but know I'm here with you. If at any point you want to go home, just call out to me, and I'll be here running to get you."
Donna looked at her mother, her eyes filled with gratitude and trust. "Really, Mom?"
Ellis nodded with a smile, hugging Donna gently. "Really. You'll never be alone, alright?"
Donna hugged her mother back, feeling a bit more reassured. As they hugged, one of the teachers approached them. The young woman, dressed professionally, smiled warmly.
"Hello," she said, looking at Donna. "You must be Donna Smith. I'm Miss Madison Brown, but you can call me Madison. We're going to have a lot of fun here at school."
Donna looked at Madison with curiosity, her concerns temporarily forgotten. She then looked at her mother, seeking approval.
Ellis smiled and nodded at Donna. "Go ahead, sweetheart. Have fun and make lots of little friends."
Madison thanked Ellis with a smile and knelt down to be at Donna's height. "Shall we, Donna? I'm sure we're going to get along great."
Donna looked at Madison, then at her mother, and finally back at Madison. With a shy smile, she nodded. "Okay."
Madison stood up and offered her hand to Donna, who took it hesitantly.
Madison smiled genuine joy in her eyes. She turned to Ellis and said, "Thank you, Mrs. Smith."
Ellis smiled back, but a small pang of discomfort hit her chest. "You're welcome."
As Ellis watched Donna walk away with the group, she realized that Madison had called her "Mrs. Smith," which brought up feelings of discomfort she had felt all these years.
"Mrs. Smith? Until a few years ago, I called you Mrs. Amorielle."
Ellis turned quickly, her heart racing as her eyes met Vittorio Amorielle's intense, dark gaze.
Six years ago...
The elegant conference room was thick with the tension of a high-stakes negotiation. Vittorio Amorielle sat at the long table, his dark eyes fixed on the open contract before him. On the other side of the table, Ellis Barker should have been seated, but she had left, leaving her own lawyers to advocate on her behalf.
The legal discussions continued a back-and-forth of legal jargon that eluded Vittorio's thoughts. His focus shifted from the words on the paper to the solitary engagement ring with a black diamond resting on the table. A diamond as dark as the shadows that now enveloped his life.
His fingers reached out, almost as if compelled by a magnetic force. He picked up the ring, the weight of memories flooding over him as the cold metal settled into his palm. He absentmindedly twirled it on his finger, reliving that fateful night when he had proposed to Ellis in the bank parking lot. A memory full of vulnerability and
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