Balance of Power - Part 1

The reality of her life surpassed any work of fiction she might have read. It was a reality that began eight years ago when she found her mother's letter in the family Bible. She snorted. Her mother had actually put it in the Bible.

What a joke! There she was trying to find some comfort during her time of grief, and what happened? She found the letter instead. The one answering the question she had been asking all her life. The one that identified her father.

The beautiful young woman sat calmly and stared through dark sunglasses out over the water. With the wind gently teasing her dark tresses, she was the picture of leisure.

Her serenity was an optical illusion. Her mind swirled with thoughts of the chaos she had undoubtedly caused with her absence. Vincent would be irritated, as usual. Her cousin resented her, but he was too smart to ever let it show. She was not worried. Vincent she could handle.

There would be no handling him , though.


"Where is she?"

"I don't know." Vincent would not look directly at the man standing before him.

"You don't know." Michael Corleone's voice was deceptively mild. "The one job I give you, you fail to do." He held up a finger to prevent Vincent's protestations. "I entrust you with my most valuable possession and you say 'You don't know'."

Vincent was not a fearful man. As second in command to the most powerful 'Don' of all the families, who did he have to fear?

Moments like these reminded him.

"I have called for a meeting with my children," Don Corleone recited, as if explaining to himself, "but I see only Vincenzo. Perhaps I did not make myself clear?"

"Uncle Michael, you know that you are the only one she listens to," Vincent explained earnestly. "I could not make her come, short of physical violence." He hastened to reassure him. "And I would never harm her, you know that."

"Is she trying to defy me?" Don Corleone wondered aloud. Inwardly, he had no doubt that she was. His daughter was like him in every way - stubborn, prideful, and unwilling to be ruled. By anyone.

"Give me your phone," Michael Corleone demanded of his 'adopted' son.

Silently Vincent handed him the cellular phone, then stood watching as the older man punched out a succession of numbers. On the third ring, someone answered.

"What is it, Papa?" The voice was resigned.

"I called a meeting."

"Did you? I don't recall you asking me to come."

"I sent Vincenzo for you," the 'Don' patiently replied.

"Why? To make sure I came?" she asked angrily. "I have told you before, Papa. Don't treat me like I'm some little child! I won't take that from Vincent, and I won't take it from you!"

Michael Corleone became still. "You talk to me about treating you like a child, then you throw a temper tantrum like this?" His voice became glacial. "Enough, little girl."

She flinched. The absolute fury in his voice could be felt through the phone.

"I will put Vincenzo on the phone. You will tell him where you are and he will come and get you." He did not wait for her reply. "Do not try me further, Sabrina."


Balance of Power, 2

With a spray of loose gravel, the sleek black Lamborghini screeched to a stop mere feet from where she sat. As the engine idled, Sabrina continued to stare out over the water. Finally the window lowered. "Get in the car," Vincent instructed her curtly.

"Go to hell!" was the equally curt response. Nonetheless, Sabrina arose from the bench and climbed angrily into the low sports car.

Vincent gunned the engine and sped back onto the highway. "Somebody oughta wash that mouth out for you."

"Yeah? Like who" Sabrina taunted. She was angry, and hell-bent to make someone suffer for it. "You're good at making threats, Vincenzo . Especially when the >Don' isn't around."

His hands tightened on the wheel. Sabrina knew just what to say to anger him. "Such disrespect towards your father. You don't deserve Uncle Michael's affection."

"I don't have to deserve his love , cousin dear. It's mine because I am his child." She had a bitter taste in her mouth from the statement she had just made. Admitting that she was the illegitimate offspring of Michael Corleone was not a pleasant thing for Sabrina. But it was worth saying just to hurt Vincent. "His child. You know, what you wish you could be?"

As the car sped along the viciously curved road, the sound of screaming tires and rushing wind surrounded them. Mindful of both the road before him and the woman beside him, Vincent's grip on the steering wheel was deathlike. Any lapse in concentration and they could well fail to make the upcoming turns safely. Vincent knew equally well that if he loosened his hold on the wheel any, he would strike Sabrina - something Uncle Michael would neither forgive nor forget.

The remainder of the ride was taken in silence. Sabrina regretted letting her frustration control her once more. Vincent didn't really deserve to be on the receiving end of her temper. He had been kind to her, despite the fact that she'd supplanted him in her father's affections.

Her father. Sabrina wasn't looking forward to what was to come. Michael Corleone's voice had fairly given off sparks. Even through the small phone, his words had crackled like unleashed lightning. "Do not try me, Sabrina."

Vincent eyed her surreptitiously. Despite her combative nature, even she was not above a healthy respect for her father's anger. "Don't be afraid, little girl," Vincent uttered softly. "He'll understand that you still don't know any better than to defy him."

If his words were meant as comfort, they had the opposite effect. Sabrina sat up ramrod straight and looked over at him, dark eyes flashing. "Let's get something straight, you patronizing jackass. I won't be led around like one of your meek little village women. So both you and Michael Corleone had better learn to accept that, or I am gone."

Vincent's mouth snapped shut. Once again he had tried to help her, only to be stung by that nasty little temper of hers. Well, so be it. If she really wanted to go against the head of the family, he would stand back and watch. And be there when she realized that her life was no longer just her own.