What It Means to Love - Book cover

What It Means to Love

Gina Ferré

Journey to America


It had been almost a year since I moved to our U.S. headquarters. It was a big change, but a necessary one.

I’d had to get away from everything that reminded me of her: her smell, her skin, her false laughter, her empty promises full of lies, and her contempt.

She was the one who destroyed me, who turned me into the cold man I was now.

The phone rang, pulling me out of the thoughts that had consumed me inside since Gianna betrayed me. She is dead now.

How could I be so stupid as to love someone like that? I thought as I picked up the call.

“Hello,” I said coldly.

“Emiliano, aren’t you planning to come to Italy?” asked my mother.

“It’s not in my plans right now. Maybe later,” I answered in annoyance.

“Well, I don’t agree, son. Bianca and her family are coming next week, and I would like you to become friends. And who knows? In the future, it could lead to something else…”

If she thought I was going to give in, she was very wrong.

“Mom, since when do I let you meddle in my life?” I retorted louder than I wanted to.

“Son, you are 36 years old, you don’t have a girlfriend, you aren’t married, I don’t see any future plans.

“When you told us that you were in love and that soon you would introduce us to your wife, your father and I were very excited,” she sighed, and it was like I could see her shaking her head.

“Things weren’t what they seemed. She was playing with my feelings. She never had any intention of marrying or starting a family with me.

“Just like the others who only wanted my money,” I said, gritting my teeth.

“Maybe the problem is that you didn’t know how to look for love in the right person, and you only saw the superficial,” she said. If it wasn’t my mother talking, I would tell her off.

“Mom, I don’t want to disrespect you’’. I will only tell you that I will never believe in a woman again!

“They only use you for their convenience and then discard you. Is that clear to you, or shall I repeat it?!” I shouted, furious and full of resentment.

“I… I just wanted to…” Her voice made me feel bad.

“I know, Mom, and forgive me, but it’s a very delicate subject. And just as Dad respects me, I ask you to do the same. Don’t force me to stop answering your calls.”

I knew I was being hard on her, but I would not let myself be manipulated.

“You are our only son, and we want to see you happy and smiling like you were a year ago. We want grandchildren who can love and cherish you as you deserve.

“I cannot believe that just because of a bad experience you’ve decided to become a heartless dark being who only knows how to hate.

“Who no longer visits his parents, and who works to exhaustion, being relentless in destroying the competition without caring about the consequences of his actions.

“That’s not the son I raised,” she said, reproaching my new personality.

“This is who I am now. I’m sorry you can’t accept me this way, but there’s no turning back. I can assure you that I won’t be made a fool of again.

“And if you want a grandchild so badly, adopt one!” I spat sarcastically because I was fed up with her argument.

“I don’t know you, Emiliano.” I knew that she’d been left stunned, but I didn’t care in the least.

“I’m sorry, Mom, but I can’t talk anymore. In two months, I have to visit the Milan headquarters and I will come see you.

“I’m sorry to be so abrupt, but lately you’ve been bothering me too much about this, and you don’t understand that it’s over for me,” I said more calmly. I heard her sigh.

“I promise not to bother you anymore. If I’ve gone too far, it’s because I love you and I want the best for you, but I understand that you are not a child.

“Take care of yourself, my boy,” she said, and I felt terrible.

“I love you, Mom. Tell Dad I’ll see him in two months.”

At the thought of going back to Italy I started to feel uncomfortable. I knew my parents didn’t deserve this treatment. They weren’t to blame for anything.

The afternoon was quiet in the office, but the call from my mother put me in a terrible mood, so I decided to go to the club.

I needed to vent my frustration on some submissive, someone who would have to put up with my rudeness and domination.

Because that was me now. That was what Gianna had turned me into with her words. Never again would anyone say I was tender, romantic, or too much of a teddy bear.


While Emiliano was doing his thing in Chicago, Petra was doing her thing in Russia.

Her family no longer knew how to contain her. She had become a contentious and bitter woman.

She got into trouble whenever she could. More than once, she had ended up in the hospital with injuries caused by falls from extreme sports.

The last time she had ended up at the police station after a raid, when she was arrested for participating in street fights.

In her eagerness to live on the edge, she was destroying her family’s nerves. They didn’t know how to help her get her back to her old self.

It seemed that the more they tried, the worse it got.

She was out of control, and at the rate she was going, she would soon end up dead.

Her family knew they had to put the brakes on her feet, and the only way to do that was to get her away from everything she knew.

“Petra, I need to talk to you,” said Nikolay, entering the house she had shared with her husband.

“If you’ve come to lecture me, save your breath,” she answered haughtily.

“Enough! I’m done with your attitude! Tomorrow you’re going to Chicago to take over the position of general manager at Lombardo and Associates Construction!” he shouted, scaring his sister.

“I’m not going anywhere! You can’t boss me around! I’m of legal age and no one tells me what to do!” she shrieked in response.

“I don’t give a shit that you’re of age, do you hear me?! I’m still the one in charge and you, little sister, are not married anymore!” Nikolay sneered, making Petra tense up.

“What do you mean I’m not married anymore?” she asked cautiously.

“That either you are going to the American headquarters to take over as manager, or you are marrying one of our partners from Germany.

“There are two who asked me if I would accept you as part of a new alliance,” he answered calmly, and her blood ran cold.

“You wouldn’t dare!” she screamed, out of control.

“Test me and you’ll see.” His tone and the expression on his unperturbed face told her that he was not joking. He would be able to force her to marry some mobster.

“Please, Nikolay, don’t do that to me! Don’t destroy my life any more than it already is,” she said, starting to cry.

“Then go pursue your career. You are very good at business, and you have experience with the construction company and with your late husband’s oil company, the one you didn’t want to take over.”

His words made her sob harder.

“Please, I don’t want to leave here,” she said through her tears.

“It’s for your own good, honey. You’re falling apart. We can’t stand to see you sinking deeper every day.

“You need to turn your life around, stop doing crazy things, and fall in love again. Please, little sister, don’t close yourself off from love.

“You’re young. You’ve been through a major trauma, but risking your life won’t get you through it.

“Mom and Dad are on edge, thinking that at any moment they will get a call with the news of your death.”

This time, what Nikolay said touched her heart.

“All right. Tomorrow I will go to Chicago, but only because I don’t want to marry anyone. I am not closed off to love. It’s just not in my plans to fall in love right now.

“But if the right man came along, maybe I would give my heart again,” she answered with a sigh while wiping her tears.

“I’ll be happy if you try. And please stop getting into trouble. If I find out you’re back to your old ways, I’ll come after you and you’ll marry one of the Germans,” he concluded. Petra nodded.

I’ll be far away, little brother, and although it won’t be like what I do here…I won’t give up the clandestine races.

Or maybe I’ll change them for some stud who knows how to fuck hard and doesn’t remind me of Fiodor’s sweetness? she thought as she went upstairs to prepare her suitcase.

It would be a drastic change, but deep down she knew that if she didn’t change something, she would end up dead sooner or later.

And that would prove that she was a weak woman, not worthy of belonging to the Dmitriev clan.

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