Chapter 1 Wedding on Long Island
On the last Saturday in August, 1945, Miss Constanzia Corleone, daughter of Don Vito Corleone, married Carlo Rizzi. Her father had invited hundreds of people to the wedding at his huge house on Long Island, just outside New York. As the guests arrived, Don Corleone welcomed them all, rich and poor, with an equal show of love. Many of the guests had reason to be grateful to Don Corleone for their good luck in life, and they called him 'Godfather'1 to his face.
Standing next to him as he welcomed the guests were two of his three sons, Santino - or Sonny, as he was called — was the eldest. He was a tall, strong, good-looking man with thick brown hair. He looked uncomfortable in his white shirt and black suit. The second son, Fredo, was completely different. He was weak-looking and pale, with sad dark eyes and thin lips.
The youngest son, Michael, was sitting at a table in the corner of the garden with his girlfriend, Kay.
There was a gentle, innocent quality to him, with his soft dark eyes and full lips, but his army uniform suggested that this was not a weak man. Just a quiet one. He was embarrassed by all the singing and dancing, but he was quietly pleased that Kay was enjoying herself. This was the first time that she had met his family.
'Who's that funny little fat man over there?' she asked, her eyes shining with excitement. 'He looks about sixty years old but he's dancing like a teenager.'
'That's Pete Clemenza,' Michael said. 'He's an old friend of my father's.'
'And what about him?' Kay looked at a large, ugly man who was sitting alone outside the house, talking to himself. 'He's very frightening.'
'That's Luca Brasi,' Michael smiled at Kay. 'He's waiting to speak to my father in private.'
'Yes, but who is he?'
'He helps my father sometimes,' Michael replied quietly, looking at his food.
Suddenly, the big man stood up and Kay looked away quickly, afraid that he was coming over to talk to her. But another man came up to the table instead. He had thin fair hair and blue eyes. Michael stood up and the two men hugged each other warmly.