Draco simply shakes his head. "No, Gianna. I had too much respect for Lion to kill him. Despite him breaking his promises, I could never forget that night he took me in and even made sure I got home safely—or even the times before, when he helped my family when we had absolutely nothing. We owed him more than we gave." He swallows thickly. "Lion loved you more than words could explain. He wanted you happy, and he saw you were happy with that motherfucker. So he told me to lay off, but I kept telling him to watch out for Toni. Finally he'd had enough of me making threats at Trigger Toni, so he had some men sabotage my ability to get into the U.S. for two years, around the time you were planning your wedding—the wedding I didn’t know you were a part of. We knew the same people, had the same connections, but they respected him much more than they did me. He was older. Smarter. He had more leverage. It pissed me off, but it didn’t change anything. Toni traveled a lot. I knew I would get him one day. And I did." He pauses, pushing up on one elbow to face me.
"When I heard the news about Lion being murdered in his own bar, I instantly knew who it was. Without a doubt, I knew. But I didn't know why it was done until afterwards. I had no clue why Lion was making my life a living hell about it. I had no clue why he was cutting me off at the knees and telling me to leave Trigger Toni alone. I didn't get it, but when I saw it was you in the cells—when I saw that you were the Ricci wife . . . well, it all made sense. He wanted me to stay away because he didn't want you to get hurt. Lion didn't keep me in the loop about Toni or you. I knew nothing about the wedding back then or even the relationship. After he told me you were no longer promised to me, he never spoke of you again." He scoffs. "Big mistake on his part. It would have spared you the mess and me the drama."
I blink rapidly, batting the tears away.
"Did . . . Toni kill Daddy?" I ask feebly and Draco's eyes grow wide. He says nothing but his silence shouts it all.
"Why didn't you just tell me that from the beginning?" I demand.
"Because you didn't trust me, and you wouldn't have believed me, and I didn't trust you, which is why I did what I did to you. The punishments and the cruel things, it was to get you to forget about him. To make you see that by loving someone like him, you get treated like shit. To forget him, means you get treated like royalty.”
"I would have stopped loving him the very day you told me he killed my father, and you know it!" I hop out of bed, glaring at him. "Why? Why would he kill Daddy? Toni loved him! I know he did!”
"That's what he wanted you to believe, Gianna."
"No—he did! He said my dad was like a father to him!"
Draco sighs and looks away. "He was a liar. He was psychotic. He would say and do anything just to make you feel safe. It was a part of his plan. Take down Lion, marry his daughter, become the man in charge with a woman at his side that carries the Nicotera name—to gain more respect. He may have been crazy, but he was no fool. He had to win your heart in order to get what he wanted, and he had to worm his way in with Lion. All he wanted was power. Lion's power. Way too many people respected Lion. He wanted that. He envied it. He figured that by being close and marrying you, it would give him the throne. It almost did, but I ended that before it could even begin."
My bottom lip trembles. Draco pushes out of bed and walks around to grip my shoulders.
"I told you, you weren't ready to hear it, niñita."
He brings me back to the bed to lie down. I'm stiff as I climb under the sheets, but I do so, all with the knife in hand.
Draco returns to his side and rests his hands behind his head.
"How do I know you're telling the truth?" I ask after a brief silence.
He doesn't respond right away.
"Just let it sink in, Gianna. Let it marinate. Try and remember the stuff he used to tell you. His goals and dreams. Once you think about it, you'll know deep down it was him."
Draco shuts his eyes. We’re both so quiet. There’s not much more he can say. Several minutes pass and his breathing evens out. He's resting, but how can he after telling me this?