Antonio paused and sipping more wine concentrated for a while, then continued,
“Two years after the war was over, in Montelepre, a young man shot and killed one Carabiniere. It was a great mistake. Whenever someone kills a cop, trouble starts, doesn’t matter where you are. The Force always vindicates their men.”
“That young man, at that time, wasn’t yet twenty. His name was Salvatore Giuliano and within a few years became popular for steeling the rich and the gifts he gave to his people. He soon became known with the name of King of Montelepre, and his popularity spread around the world.
Reporters came on this part of Sicily to interview him and his photo was published in the world’s largest magazines, increasing in this way his popularity. But he never was a Mafioso, as many believed in those days.
“The local Mafia, since this story began, took advantage and supported him. They thought that while Giuliano had the army and the police force looking for him, they were free to operate their dirty business.
In those hard years of misery many local lads volunteered to join Giulano’s band with the blessing and help of the mafia. The large band of desperados forced the Carabinieri to abandon the searches over this hard terrain, and made them wait, and of course the Mafioso men benefited more freedom in their territory.
“Giuliano and his gang took their quarter in the old mill creating his headquarter there. The mill, with its dominating position, was the right place to observe the Carabinieri’s arrival from either direction, and giving them enough time to vanish up the mountain and disappear into secret caves.
“Our three sons also joined the Giuliano’s band, together with other young lads that lived in the district. Our two elder sons, Turiddu and Beppinu soon became Giuliano’s bodyguards, and they were always moving with him. For years their life went on normally until the day Giuliano committed a mistake costing him his life.
“He had a girlfriend, who lived in Palermo. Giuliano’s infatuation for her made him take risks. At night, alone so as not to raise suspicion, he used to visits and stay with his lover till dawn. On those occasions, he thought he was not attracting people’s attention, but someone became aware of Giuliano and slipped the information to the force. The Carabinieri kept an eye on the location, until one early morning, an ambush was set up, and when Giuliano came from his lover’s place, a dozen machine guns started to spit-fire and Giuliano’s body fell on the ground, bathed in his own blood.
“After Giuliano’s death, the band dispersed rapidly. The police came in force over to Montelepre and gun battles raged for a few days and some of the Giuliano’s men were killed and others arrested. It was over those days that our younger son Felice was killed.
“Turiddu and Beppinu had time to escape into the mountains and hid in some caves. Months after the Mafia helped them and arranged fake documents and sent them on a merchant ship to New York. From that day, we never had direct communication with them. We have been told confidentially that they had become part of the family members in the Gambino family in New York.
“For several years money was delivered regularly by a courier to us, but inside the yellow envelope we never found a written message. We don’t really know if they are still alive, or where they are. We don’t have anyone to ask. We can only pray for their souls to rest in peace.”
That was old Antonio’s amazing story. He had been emotionless narrating the facts. His face, through the time he spoke had remained hard and fierce. He had been tempered over the centuries of hardship sustained by the hard people who live in this wild country. Marietta, had listened to him sitting in her corner, silently wept bitter tears for her lost sons. But even if she had shown her weakness, was at the same time, hard as the granite boulders forming the valley.
At the end of the narration, Angelina’s emotion was evident. She felt compassion and went over to Marietta and said to her,
“You still have a doughtier in me: Don’t despair Auntie, the Accana’s would never die, they live again with me, in generation after generations to come. You will hear of them and you will be happy.”
Then reverently she stepped over to her uncle and without words, took his hand and kissed it. In that way and in the atavistic way of the past she acknowledged her respect to him as the head of the Accana’s.
Angelina informed Franco at their usual weekly meeting,
“I’m packing up, I’ll return to Miami next week. My mission is completed in Palermo and there is no other business for me.”
“Well it could be, and it depends on you.” Franco answered “Let me explain. This is the reason I came tonight. I want to talk to you about an important matter…Please don’t interrupt and don’t ask why I waited so long.”
Angelina exclaimed, “I haven’t forgotten about the fees I owe for your work, but how could I, if you never presented the bill to me?”
Franco interrupted her “No, it’s not that. Something more important for me and …, I mean for us, for our future, for the life I want you to share with me… I mean … Angelina would you marry me? Yes honestly… it’s not a joke…I’m really in love with you and want you to be my wife. Say only one word and know, that I will accept only one answer from you … Just say YES, would you?”
Angelina jumped from her armchair, and threw her arms around Franco, kissing him and crying with happiness,
“Yes Franco, I have always wanted you. I want to be your wife and you will never regret it. I’ll promise, you will have the most loving wife you can dream of for ever.”
On that special occasion the chapel was adorned with orange flowers, with the bells sending silvery notes down the valley. It was an intimate function with only a few friends present at the marriage of Angelina and Franco.
The reception was under the pergola of their villa looking down the Conca d’Oro and all turned out to be perfect.
Even the Gypsy’s prophecy, made to Angelina years earlier had finally proved to be true.
On the morning after their wedding, the bed sheets were hanged out of the bedroom window, to satisfy the old Sicilian tradition and showed the blood’s stain, as a proof of Angelina virginity. Once more, in this way, the old Sicilian tradition was saved.
The tradition said that when the bride honored the trust of her new family with her virginity, the marriage would last forever.