Balance of Power, 16
… Concepcion Isabel DeCosta …
… Sabrina DuMonde…
… Josef Dzechnovik …
Sabrina returned to her seat and dropped the newly received diploma onto her lap as though it burned her fingers. As she sat there, the excited chatter of the other graduates surrounding her faded into a dull hum. Despite her resolution to try and enjoy the commencement she had worked so diligently to be a part of, Sabrina found her mind drifting to the troubling subject she could not escape – Michael Corleone.
She did not need to scan the crowd to know that he was there somewhere among the throng of family and friends. Sabrina imagined that she could feel the intensity of his dark eyes fixed upon her. That Michael Corleone was even a part of her life stymied Sabrina. Everything she had read about his ‘old world' Sicilian heritage suggested that a child of Sabrina's racial makeup was a source of deep embarrassment to its progenitor. Yet instead of using his power and resources to erase any connection to Sabrina, Michael Corleone had made several emphatic overtures her way.
A gentle nudge by the grinning young man seated next to her jolted Sabrina from her thoughts. With a sense of shock the young woman realized that the commencement ceremony was over. The singular event she had spent four years anticipating had come and gone virtually unobserved.
Sabrina did not bother to leave her seat. Absently she sat and watched as happy graduates laughed and celebrated with proud parents and friends. All too soon a shadow fell across Sabrina and she looked up. Just as expected, Michael Corleone stood before her. The young woman knew that an encounter with him was inevitable.
His softly spoken praise stoked the resentment Sabrina fought to control. She could not erase President Campbell's snide insinuation from her mind, and the diploma she had received felt tainted as a result.
‘I couldn't have done it without you.' The sarcastic response teetered just on the edge of Sabrina's tongue. But as she looked into the eyes of the man who had fathered her, some buried instinct warned the young woman to keep the words unsaid. “Thank you,” she replied instead.Michael Corleone extended a hand. “Come,” he directed Sabrina from her seat. “There are people for you to meet.”
Balance of Power, 17
With every step she took, Sabrina wondered just when she had become a docile lamb to the dark stranger's commands. Michael Corleone had no claim on her other than that of DNA. And he definitely was not entitled to the obedience he seemed to automatically assume from her. Still, she followed him the sixty feet to where two equally unrevealing gentlemen stood.
“These are your uncles,” Michael Corleone announced without preamble. “Thomas Hagen and Santino Corleone.”
The young woman politely offered her hand. With a curt nod of his head, Tom Hagen pumped her hand once briefly. Sabrina stared back as he regarded her with all the clinical interest of a scientist dissecting a specimen. She had the feeling, at the conclusion of her uncle's examination, that everything about her had been taken apart, matched against what he knew and then put back together again.
Santino Corleone, on the other hand, met her eyes with complete disinterest. His curt nod was neither rude nor polite, but merely an acknowledgment of Sabrina's presence before him.
“You go to Tom or Sonny when there's something you need, “ Michael Corleone instructed his daughter. “You go to them when there is trouble,” he continued. “And when either one speaks, you listen.”
“Oo-kay, “ Sabrina drawled uncertainly. She was not sure exactly what response to Michael Corleone's instructions she was expected to give. The older man spoke as though her relationship with her newly introduced uncles would be of some duration. Sabrina had no intention of seeing any of them again if she could possibly help it. She intended to disappear for a few weeks somewhere in the belly of some nameless little town where she could think about all that had happened within the last few days.
A long pause ensued. “Well, it was… nice to meet you both,” Sabrina said. “Thank you for attending my graduation.” The young woman turned to her father. “And you as well. I hope that you will all have a safe trip back to your homes.”
Santino grunted softly. Sabrina's head pivoted toward him, curious about the meaning of the sound.
“Ride with us.” Michael gestured toward the emptying parking lot. “Your car will be taken care of,” he reassured Sabrina in anticipation of her protests.
Sabrina started for the parking lot. She was filled with a kind of resigned curiosity about just what was going to happen next. Michael Corleone did not strike her as the type to act capriciously. His intention to escort Sabrina home no doubt included a deeper reason; one that she would shortly discover.