Sold To Mr. Milano - Daniella Wright Page 0,1

could hear Alberto’s deep booming voice as he answered, feigning niceties for now. But it didn’t take long for their talk to escalate. Alberto hated my father, and he hated anyone who went snooping around in his business.

But as I looked around the land we were investigating, the weight from earlier lifted. It was obviously well cared for and had been in use for a very long time. It was typical for this kind of thing. Argentinians depended on their land for farming and their livelihood. They were honest and hardworking people, never wanting more than what they had, which wasn’t a lot but was rich with history and meaning. Then heartless men like Alberto who are the exact opposite in every way came blazing in to steal it right out from under them.

Each step I took across the rich, tended soil made me hate Alberto more. Men like him built their family businesses on breaking the rules, and innocent people were always the ones who were left to pay the price. Without people like my father, men like the Milanos would run everything without apology or repercussion. They would sweep in and take over every last square inch of beautiful lands like this. Everyone else be damned.

As my father continued with his questioning, and Alberto continued fighting him on every word, I ventured out further. Thankfully his men were on high alert with their altercation, staying near the house in case anything should get out of hand. Nobody seemed to notice me poking around, but I made sure to look naively curious anyway.

Suddenly, I heard something rustling a few feet away. I whipped around, expecting to see a rabbit or a deer scurrying off, but instead caught sight of a small boy. He was young - too young to be safely snooping around here. He seemed frantic as he ran back and forth, staring intently at the ground. He was talking to himself in a panicked whimper as he searched through bushes and patches of grass.

“Hey,” I called out quietly, taking care not to bring any attention to us from Alberto’s guards. “You there. What are you doing here?”

He froze when he saw me with a sharp gasp. I could tell he was thinking of taking off running as I walked closer to him.

“You don’t have to be afraid of me,” I offered gently. “But it isn’t safe here. This is Alberto Milano’s property now. Why are you here?”

“My sister’s doll,” he replied, on the verge of sobbing. “She won’t stop crying without it. Our grandmother made it for her. She never goes anywhere without it, but...we had to leave so quickly. Our parents snatched us up, barely giving us time to pack.”

My heart broke as he told me his story. I knew this was about something much deeper than a doll. These poor children had been suddenly ripped away from the only homes they knew, without warning or explanation. The parents likely couldn’t bring themselves to make up any kind of reason for their move. The real reasons behind it were too shameful and scary for children to understand. This doll was his only way to comfort his sister. The only way for either of them to cling to what they once knew.

I straightened with resolve, feeling much less cautious than before. This little boy could tell my father what he told me. It’d help him prove the land was acquisitioned through force. Don Martino would see to it that the previous owners’ rights were restored, and he’d make sure they were protected. I didn’t feel like I needed to be afraid anymore. We weren’t standing on Alberto’s property. This land belonged to this little boy.

“I will help you,” I assured the boy. “Will you wait here? I have someone I want you to talk to. My father. He is a good man. He can help you and your family. Then we can make sure we find your sister’s doll. Okay?”

He looked terrified but nodded anyway. I am sure, if nothing else, his parents warned him of what could happen if he ever came back here. I squeezed his hand and looked him in the eyes, trying my best to make him understand that I wouldn’t let anything happen to him. Then, I started off back towards the house.

“Father!” I boldly yelled out once I was within a few feet of Alberto’s door. He turned around looking very alarmed, cross, and confused. I had disobeyed him by marching