In the silence that followed Helena’s statement Terrence’s wife, Julia, stepped forward and slapped the other woman’s face. “You are no longer welcome in my home. Leave. Now.”
“How dare you!” Helena’s hand had gone to her cheek. “Who do you think you are? Have you forgotten who I am?”
“You’re my husband’s widowed sister-in-law.” Julia had both hands on her hips. “You’re the daughter of the great Benito Fraccelli, not that the Fraccellii have had much to do with you these last few years. You’re an unwarranted drain on this family’s resources. You’re the cow who just said my daughter is worthless. You might have intimidated my husband’s brothers but he’s not scared of you and neither am I. Now take your handbag and get out of my house.”
“I’ll just go make coffee, shall I?” said Boscailo quietly.
“Send the man at the front door in on your way to the kitchen, will you Bosacilo?” His father-in-law had an implacable look on his face.
“Certainly, Count Terrance.” Boscailo quietly closed the dining room door behind him. A conversation on the way home with his own boss, Don Matteo was now unavoidable.
When the foot soldier, Ignazio Contadino by name, entered the dining room on the Count’s command after he’d knocked it seemed to him that the shouting must have just stopped. Countess Helena, as she liked to be called, had unevenly flushed cheeks and was clutching her handbag to her chest. The Countess proper had heightened colour and was standing with her arms akimbo. Contadino was very glad that he was not responsible for the expression on the Count’s face.
“Ignazio,” Count Terrance called all the foot soldiers by their given names, as he so truly said there were no longer enough of them for duplicates to be a problem, “Please drive the Dowager Countess back to the town house. Take a scenic route. The coast road is very fine this time of year.”
“Yes, Count Terrance,” Contadino walked over to the Dowager Countess, his face expressionless although internally his was cringing at the unpleasantness that was going to ensue from this sometime in the near future. He clamped his hand firmly around the Dowager Countess’ upper arm. “You need to come back to the car now, Dowager Countess. This way please.” She hated to be touched without permission. She hated being called Dowager Countess almost as much, it hadn’t been a problem straight after Count Amato had died because the two Counts between him and Count Terrance had not been married, but now...
She was obviously reluctant but Helena allowed herself to be led from the room without further fuss.
“Excuse me,” said Terrence quietly, “I need to make a phone call from the other room.”