The love in the shadows of crime
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Giullia Santori, a shy and dedicated young music student with a passionate love for the piano, dreams of becoming a renowned musician. However, her peaceful life is turned upside down on a fateful night when she finds herself saving a stranger who is being brutally beaten in the dark streets of her city. What she doesn't realize is that the man she rescued is none other than Vittorio Cassini, one of the bosses of the Italian mafia. Vittorio's gratitude for Giullia grows rapidly, leading him to take on a protector's role in her life. As she is drawn into this mysterious world of crime, a deep bond forms between them. As the danger escalates, Giullia finds herself increasingly involved in a game of shadows and secrets that threaten not only her safety but also her heart. A story of forbidden and dangerous love, where the melodies of music intertwine with the plots of the Italian mafia, creating an intense and suspenseful romance that will challenge Giullia and Vittorio to make difficult choices and discover how far they are willing to go to protect their love.
1- Saving the Life of a Stranger
"Darn it, I'm running late!" I mutter.
I glanced at the bedside alarm clock, which showed seven in the morning. For some reason, it didn't go off at the expected time, causing me to start the day slightly annoyed.
I jump out of bed, hurriedly taking off my pajamas and rushing to the bathroom to do my morning routine and start my daily schedule. A warm shower, comfortable clothes, and then breakfast.
I stare at my reflection in the mirror, wearing jeans, a white blouse, and a black hoodie to protect against the current cold weather in Milan
I also to somewhat conceal my body's curves with the heavy coat, as I'm a bit shy in that regard. I finish with casual black sneakers. My hair is long and dark, so I tie it up in a neat ponytail. I apply a touch of blush to my pale cheeks, light mascara to gently emphasize my gaze, and clear lip gloss to enhance my lips, and I'm ready.
I grab the bag I use to carry my belongings and descend the wooden stairs that lead to the open-plan living room and kitchen. I live alone in a quiet residential neighborhood. The house isn't a mansion, but it's comfortable enough for a peaceful life.
Breakfast is rushed, as I'm running out of time. I quickly pour cereal into a bowl and milk, and as soon as I finish, I head out in hurried steps. Passing the small front yard, I observe the weather. It's cloudy today, and considering the time, the atmosphere is calm, with not much activity.
I need to catch the bus, which is five minutes away from my house. Its route includes Luigi University, where I study Music, and that's my final destination.
It doesn't take long for the bus to arrive, stopping for waiting passengers, and I get on.
"Good morning, Giulia!" the driver greets politely.
It's a daily routine, so the driver is already familiar with my presence there at this time on most days.
I gazed out of the bus's large window. Milan is entirely different from Bolzano, a small town a few kilometers away, where I was born and where my parents still live. Occasionally, I feel a bit lonely, but the university keeps me busy, helping to alleviate that feeling.
About forty minutes later, I arrived at the university. I quickly disembarked from the bus, thanking the driver named Antoine, and rushed so as not to miss the first class.
When I entered the classroom, the professor was beginning his daily lecture, and I silently thanked my luck for arriving in time to catch most of his explanation.
"Excuse me, teacher" I speak softly and timidly.
He grants permission, and I'm relieved. I immediately head to my usual seat, and a few people around me glance at me. My face feels warm from blushing. I hate being the center of attention.
The class continues smoothly; today, it's mostly theoretical. I absorb all the explanations attentively; I've always dedicated myself to being an exemplary student and giving my best.
"Congratulations, Giulia. Your grades were the best in the class," the professor praises.
From a young age, always shy and immersed in my world, I used music to uplift myself, feel more open, and soothe moments of sadness.
Today's class is full-time, which means it spans most of the day. Lunch is provided at the campus cafeteria, a cozy place where students can stay without needing to leave. I sit alone at one of the tables and have my meal.
"The usual?" the waitress asks, her smile ever-present.
"Yes, please... I'm famished," I affirm, returning her smile.
After finishing the meal, there's a leisure moment, and I choose to do one of my favorite things: play the piano. A room with instruments is available for students, and I take advantage of the empty slot to sit there and skillfully play the piano keys, immersing myself in the perfect sound I create.
I return to class after that, and there are more lessons in the afternoon. Different professors teach each class, but I'm familiar with all of them, as I've been here for a little over a year.
Then, at the usual time, as the day winds down, the last class ends, and I can finally head back home. I follow the same route to the bus stop of the same line, which will take me close to my house.
"How was your day, Giulia?" Antoine smiles, always helpful.
"Same as always, Antoine. And yours?" I politely inquire.
"Nothing out of the ordinary so far," he chuckles.
I head to one of the empty seats, and the same return route begins. I close my eyes, resting my head on the bus seat. I feel tired because today was a demanding day in terms of classes.
The sun had already set, giving way to the night. The bus stops at the corner a few minutes from my house. I got off, bid the driver farewell, and returned home calmly. There's little activity on the street that day, which is expected in such a quiet neighborhood.
But at that moment, something caught my attention. Just ahead, there's an odd commotion. It's confusing to figure out what's happening, but I notice someone running across the street—likely a man, given his tall stature and muscular build. Behind him, four more men follow the same path, and it's at that moment I understand that it's a pursuit.
I'm very close to my house. My eyes widen in shock at the scene before me. The first man falls, and the others brutally pounce on him, raining down violent kicks and punches, spewing obscenities that I can't distinguish from this distance.
Finding this act utterly cowardly, knowing that the lone man won't survive this onslaught, it's unjust as he has no means of defense. I don't know what came over me, but I sprinted towards them, shouting as loudly as I could, attempting to save a life, even if it was a stranger's.
"The police are here!" I shout as loudly as possible.
At that moment, the men stop, exchanging incomprehensible words among themselves. One of them glances in my direction, but then they flee, heading in the opposite direction until they vanish from sight.
I look at the man on the ground, writhing and groaning in pain. My heart is racing as I approach him. He needs help. I drop my bag to the ground and kneel beside him, not knowing what to do.
"Oh my God, let me... help you," I'm utterly confused.
The man places a hand on his likely injured ribs. He looks up at my face, and even though it's covered in blood, I can see his gaze fixed on mine. We lock eyes for a few seconds.
My attention shifts from his gaze when I notice more people approaching, and I become alarmed. I fear it might be the same men who attacked him, and in that case, we'd both be in danger.
"Vittorio... Vittorio, damn it!" one of them shouts.
As they come closer, I realize they're not the same men as before. They're acquaintances of the man, whose now injured on the ground. One of them helps him up with difficulty, and I take a few steps back, still stunned by the situation.
"He was being attacked, and I... I yelled. They ran that way," I nervously pointed to the direction they fled.
"Are you alone?" He asks me, looking at me suspiciously.
"Yes," I reply, my voice trembling.
They look at me with confusion, as if they can't believe I managed that on my own. I look at the man once more; now that he's standing, despite his injuries and blood-soaked appearance, I can see he's handsome with a beard and Italian features, an athletic body dressed in black formal attire.
"Thank you for saving him. We need to tend to these wounds... let's go!"
One of them expresses gratitude, gesturing to the others who help the man, apparently named Vittorio, into a luxurious dark car parked a few meters away.
I stood still for a few minutes, watching the car drive away. I place my hand over my chest, heart racing, still struggling to believe what just happened. I pick up my bag from the ground and walk towards my house, trying to calm down and forget about that terrifying incident.
2- An Unusual Day
It took me a long time to fall asleep, replaying the scene over and over in my mind, even dreaming about it. This caused me to wake up the next day looking tired.
I go through the same morning ritual before heading to the university, wearing my usual clothes and having breakfast more calmly this time. I leave for the bus stop, noticing a black Audi circling slowly. I started feeling frightened, quickening my pace until I reached the bus stop.
"Good morning, Giulia," Antoine greets once again.
I offer a half-smile, still shaken, and take a seat on the bus, breathing a sigh of relief for being in a safe place. Lost in thought, I try to imagine what I've gotten myself into after saving that man the previous night. I remember his face, his clear eyes locked onto mine, and I shake my head to push the thoughts away.
When I got off the bus at the university entrance, I noticed the same car parked right behind me. Growing even more nervous, I hastened
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