[ Don Salvatore Renzella ]
Giovanni and Benjamino were desolate - their father had died very suddenly on a business trip to China.
Once they were sure it was an accident and not foul play, they asked his widow Aria, had there been anything wrong with him? Any illness he had not told them about? Their father had always been very fit and in robust health.
She explained to them he had become a vampire, just before setting off on that trip. That made sense to them, in an evil way. They had brought with their father from the Old Country a fearful respect for vampires, and of course they knew the vulnerabilities of the creatures of the night. He had not had time for the older vampire to teach him how to live as a vampire, she thought, as he had been in a hurry to get the trip over before their planned honeymoon.
"I think he was tired from his business affairs there and simply didn't get enough to eat... well, drink... and it was morning, outdoors... there is a lot of sunshine in Shang Simla," she told them. She, of course, as next of kin, had been contacted by the Shang Simla authorities.
Benjamin and Giovanni decided to move out.
"It's not fitting for us to live here with you, though you will always be special to us. You were, after all, beloved of our father. Our honorary mother; if there is anything we can do for you, our new Mamma, you have only to ask."
Aria was secretly quite relieved. She found these strapping young men quite intimidating. And she had no need of the kind of favours they might be able to offer, knowing now what business they were in. Her future was secure, with the orchestra, doing what she most loved, performing fine music for the glitterati of Bridgeport.
Benjamino at the graveyard. This was not the grave of Don Renzella, but of a work-mate shot by police as he left a bank robbery; Don Renzella's ashes must still be in Shang Simla. But Benjamino was surprisingly soft-hearted, for a guy employed as a thug.
He and Giovanni moved into a tiny house called Mint Julia.
This photo was taken after an unsuccessful foray into the Mausoleum - successful in that they brought out a lump of platinum. But neither would talk about the Mausoleum, or even go near it, for weeks.
Benjamino said to Giovanni one morning, "With Pappa gone - we are not getting any younger. If we are to continue the Family, as I know he would have expected, we need to work hard on their careers, AND we need to find some bella donnae of our own! Pappa would want us to have some granchildren for him."
Giovanni agreed. Currently employed as a thug, and Benjamino as a getaway driver, they really would have to work hard. And in between that, to find some ladies would not be easy - long hours at work meant little time for socialising.
"But you like that Morgan? Morrigan? at work, Benjamino? Che bella fica."
"Si - she is indeed bella. But she is married already - to the little thief, Wogan. And there is a teenage daughter."
Giovanni nodded. From what he heard, that teenager, Belisama, was already wreaking havoc among her schoolmates, and when she reached maturity, would be a ripe pomegranate for anyone bold enough to pluck... though they would have to be willing to deal with the bitter seeds. Just the sort of woman he liked. Maybe he would wait for Belisama. And if Benjamino were to marry meanwhile that would take the pressure off him.
There was the small issue of her father, of course. Wogan was also in the Criminal career, and a getaway driver, like Benjamino. And married to Morrigan... Wheels turning in his head, he turned back to his brother, who saw the look on his face and read his mind.
"I don't know. I'm not sure I want to do that to Wogan. Is there anyone you might... ?"
"You do know she is a vampire, Benjamino?"
"Oh. OHH!" Benjamino cursed all vampires roundly. Not the most iogical of people, he held vampires per se as guilty of his father's death.
"Yes... and from what I've heard she has NO moral scruples. If you SHOULD - well, let's say if something were to happen to Wogan.... she would make a fine addition to the family, if you can get her out of the vampire thing. And with hips like those - well, she would make lovely bambini."
Morrigan was at THAT point in a Sim's life. Still young, and she thought looking in the mirror, looking as good as she had ever looked. A little bored with her vampire life, early ambitions achieved - home, career, husband and daughter. She did not get on at all well with her teenage daughter, but she heard similar problems from her friends. She saw more of her husband at work than at home, when their shifts rarely overlapped, and though they were still good friends, she felt no spark with him any more. So where was she going? What was her future? More of the same? Or... something more interesting?
When she saw Benjamino at the gym, chatting to Matt Hamming, the movie star, she decided to go for broke. Was it his Italian charm? His beautiful thick, wavy hair? That toned, athletic shape under the fitting jogging pants? Yes, that definitely had something to do with it. There was also a sadness that showed in his eyes when he spoke of his father. Somehow she loved to see that. His sadness made her heart flutter.
"I was so sorry to hear of Don Renzella's death, Benjamino. We will all miss him, at work. But you really were very fond of your father, weren't you? You and your brother?"
"I was - he was so happy, Morrigan. He had just got married. If only he had not had to go on that business trip. But you know how it is, you cannot turn that sort of thing down."
"But - it wasn't any of his associates that killed him, if I understand correctly?"
"No. From what we could find out, he had asked Elvira to bite him, here in Bridgeport. I think he had some idea that as a vampire he would get to the top of the Empire a little more quickly, and - live longer...."
"Yes, people tend to think that. But it's not that simple. There are lots of drawbacks too. I'm actually wondering about changing back. I could tell you all about it, if you fancy an espresso? "
They went to the cafe to chat, and Benjamino learned a great deal about vampires. Morrigan, in turn, had been thinking for some time that she might turn back. But she didn't have the money for the cure. Teenage daughters were an expensive pastime.
On impulse, Benjamino went to the labs and bought the cure. He spent the last of his and Giovanni's inheritance on it.
When Giovanni found out, he punched Benjamino on the jaw.
Standing up, Benjamino said "I suppose I deserved that. But money comes easy to us, in our line of work."
"You idiot. I was planning to go and get Pappa's ashes, that was what that money was for!"
After they had a fight, there were no hard feelings.
Morrigan was so delighted to be free of vampirism that she left her husband Wogan and moved to an apartment in town, and invited Benjamino, now completely enraptured, to move in with her, leaving Giovanni alone in the small house.
She was glad Giovanni did not want to join them. She was a little afraid of Giovanni. There was something of his father about him, something independent and focussed and truly evil; while Benjamin, she knew she could twist around her little finger.
Never one to burn the horse and the cart, she rang Wogan regularly, and texted her daughter every day, though she rarely heard back. Wogan was not surprised at her moving out, but refused to divorce her.
"I can't afford it, and you are not going to get married again. I know you, Morrigan, always looking out for Number One. Sooner or later, you'll be back."
Giovanni, meanwhile, was puzzling over a scheme to go to China and see if he could obtain his father's remains.