Outtake: King in Waiting #Giovanni #Andino #FreeRead

Hey, loves.

Sorry I am soooooo freaking late getting this posted - my bad. I had a crazy day today. The 29th of every month is usually pretty busy for me for a number of reasons.

Do enjoy.

***

King in Waiting
A Giovanni Outtake
Gio POV

“Well?” Dante asked. “What do you have to say for yourself, then?”
Giovanni stayed quiet near the window of his brother’s office. His favorite place in any office or room, really. Unlike most men in his business who refused to put their back to a window or doorway, Giovanni was not quite the same. He figured he’d cheated death so many times in his life that it was not going to creep up on him from behind. Besides, like this, he could pretend to be distracted.
Even if he was anything but distracted.
Andino!” Dante barked.
Gio finally let his attention drift away from the window. His sixteen year old son stood in the middle of the room with a blank expression on his face even as he faced the wrath of his uncle. He was quite a sight, this son of his.
Built like a brick shithouse, and fully capable of proving he was as tough as one, too … Andino was something else.
Gio had seen bigger, older, and maybe even better men, cower at the sight of Dante’s rage when it turned on them. And yet, there Andino stood like he was facing a summer rain storm that was about to be a fucking nuisance to his evening and not his very pissed off uncle.
It amused Gio like nothing else. People kept saying this boy of his was more like his uncle than him, but Gio didn’t know if that was entirely true in all cases. Andino was just really good at being fucking sneaky.
God knew Gio and Kim tried as hard as they could to let this kid of theirs live his life how he wanted to, and without too much of their—or any outside—influence. Their lives had been so controlled, and strangled by rules. He didn’t want that for his son, too. How the hell was Andino supposed to learn who he was or who the fuck he wanted to be when too many other people were telling him who they wanted him to be?
Seemed simple enough to Gio.
Besides … Andino had enough people trying to keep him in line.
Like Dante.
Well?” Dante demanded yet again.
Andino sighed.
He was quite a fucking sight—busted mouth, bloodied knuckles, and an eye already starting to blacken. Kim was going to flip out about her son’s swollen lip, for sure, and probably the cuts on his hands from where he’d broken a few teeth on the other guy. He’d taken a good beating, but Gio knew for a fact his son had given the other guy an even worse run for his money.
It wasn’t the fighting that was the problem—sort of. Made men weren’t supposed to fight with one another, but Andino wasn’t technically made. He had a few more years yet to go for that. Still, Dante held these principes of their family to the same fucking standards as any other made man in their family.
After all, Andino—like John—was a fifth generation made Marcello man. Where else was his kid going to go but straight into the life like the rest of them?
They didn’t fucking know anything different.
This was their whole world.
No, the fighting wasn’t the problem. It was who Andino decided to lay a beating on that was the issue at hand.
“He’s a twenty-eight year old enforcer of the family, Andi,” Dante said. “A good made man who handles his business, and is looking at a Capo position in a couple of years if he plays his cards right.”
“How’s that Capo thing going to work out when he’s drinking his meals from a straw for the rest of his life, huh?” Andino asked.
Gio literally had to press his lips together to keep himself from laughing. Because fuck yeah, that was a smart ass response, but it was a damn good one, too. Credit where it was due, and all that shit.
Andino wasn’t lying, either.
The enforcer would be lucky to wake up.
Dante’s jaw clenched, and he acted like Andino hadn’t spoken out of turn at all. “And that alone means you know better than to be fighting with him. What were you thinking?”
“That he shoulda shut his fuckin’ mouth,” Andino said quietly.
Dante arched a brow at that statement. “I beg your pardon?”
“I said what I said.”
Gio tipped his chin up, and nodded to himself. Andino also had balls which was more than he could say for a lot of people. Gio didn’t really take credit for that because a lot of the Marcello men were arrogant fuckers that could drive a saint crazy.
Dante leaned back on his desk, and rested his hands against the wood top. “I said, I beg your pardon, Andino. Try again.”
“And I said—he shoulda kept his fucking mouth shut. Popping off like that about John when his back is turned because he thinks he can get away with it. Nobody’s going to say shit about John whether he’s looking them in the face, or not. Not while I’m standing right there to listen to it, too. I warned him. If he could talk, you could ask him. I warned him, zio.”
Gio cleared his throat, and glanced away when Dante’s gaze slid in his direction. He was asked not to step in on this. Right now, that was taking a great deal of his patience, but fuck him if he wasn’t at least going to try.
But he couldn’t pretend like he didn’t know how goddamn protective Andino was over John. Especially now with John’s recent diagnosis. Andino was most sensitive to someone trying to hurt his cousin in some way. He’d always been like that even before they knew John was bipolar. He’d been inseparable from his cousin since the two were in diapers.
“What did he say, then?” Dante asked.
Andino’s jaw stiffened. “You don’t care. You care that I almost killed him.”
Dante nodded, and gave his nephew a look. “Yes, in your grandmother’s garden, Andino. You don’t see the problem there?”
“Next time I’ll lure them away from the house, then.”
Gio’s brother sighed so loudly that he couldn’t help but snort. He had to look away to avoid Dante’s glare that was surely coming his fucking way. Dante was predictable like that.
“I do care,” Dante murmured, “now tell me what he said.”
“Called him crazy. More than once, too.”
The shift in atmosphere was palpable. It took a beat in time, and then two before Dante said, “All right, go on, then. Go clean that fucking face of yours and your hands before your mother lays eyes on you, Andi. Get.”
Gio turned in just enough time to see his son’s back disappearing out the office doorway. He glanced his brother’s way to find Dante was staring at the floor, and a hell of a lot calmer than Gio expected him to be.
He almost looked … contemplative.
Gio wasn’t sure he liked that.
“You’d have done it, too,” Gio was quick to say, “had that been me or Lucian someone was slandering, you would have—”
His brother had done things exactly like that growing up, too. They all had. Gio didn’t think he needed to bring all those events and times to the conversation, though. He was sure Dante remembered them without Gio pointing them out.
“I know what I would have done,” Dante uttered, “so don’t bother.”
“Then, what—”
“I think I want to move Andino to mentor under Lucian, if you wouldn’t mind.”
Gio’s brow furrowed. “He’s mentored under me since he could walk, Dante.”
“I think he would be a better fit for Lucian.”
“Because why ex—”
“And then under me, by-proxy, and without directly saying so,” Dante added quieter.
Gio’s eyes widened, and he made a noise under his breath. “Mentor to … take over?”
Dante passed him a look. “It took me an hour, Gio, to get that kid to even admit he’d beat the shit out of that enforcer. A whole fucking hour of him standing there looking like he needed to go to the emergency room. i think the only reason he did decide to talk was because he was fucking bored of ignoring me.”
That was … fair.
“I don’t know what that had anything to do with changing mentors for him, though.”
“Don’t you?”
Well, maybe he did. But maybe he also wanted Dante to say it.
“I mean, if you’re going to change his whole life,” Gio said, “and be the man who does that to him, then at least be the man who can look at his father and tell him that same thing, Dante. Look at me and tell me it.”
“I don’t want to change his life, or what he’s doing,” Dante countered fast. “I know what it feels like to grow up knowing every single day this is the seat waiting for me, and what that does to someone, Gio. I know it’s not easy. But he is the best fit—in the end, he’s going to be the one making the right choices when it comes to this family’s legacy. This was John today. Imagine when it is our name he’s standing in front of like a brick wall that won’t be moved.”
“Then, what are you planning on doing?”
“When it’s time for him to know he’ll take over after me, then it’s time. And I will tell him.”
That … sounded messy as hell.
Gio wasn’t the boss, though.
He was just Andino’s fucking father.
Gio had never been a king in waiting.
Apparently, he was going to raise one. 

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