Chapter 26 -Goodbyes
“A father’s goodbye.”
I never thought it would lead to this.
I always pictured myself in a beautiful gown, walking down the aisle with my father and mother by my side. Everything would’ve been perfect, even the smallest of details that no one would care for would be flawless.
Yet that fantasy was only that, and it’s all my fault. I’ve ruined my own dreams. However, it was something that had to be done. When I told my father about what had happened in the movie room he lost all composure. Even Mr. Riccardo was taken aback by his reaction, though he completely understood considering his own daughter was in the same situation as me.
Fionn had also kept his word.
While my father was on the phone raging at his brother and the security on how anyone could possibly get in, a knock at the door interrupted. Of course I knew it was Fionn, and when he was let in, he simply approached my father’s desk and held out his phone. No doubt Alessio was on the other line awaiting, but my confirmation on that wasn’t known until later on that same day after my father had sent me off to my room with Levii acting as my own personal security.
Levii did little to console my worry, he was never really good at that anyways, instead he sulked out on the balcony muttering about how the Romanos' were incompetent.
Time flew by and when my mother returned from visiting her parents from another borough, she had came into my room to dismiss Levii, telling me that there was something serious she wanted to discuss. I vividly remember the sorrowful look on her face, a pitiful sadness that lingered in her eyes.
Priorities called for the Alessio and I to cancel the wedding ceremony and to just move on with the legalization of our marriage instead. We didn’t have time for a ceremony, as an extra precaution Alessio and my father had come to terms that it would be better to have me under the protections of both families. My mother wasn’t able to go into much detail but she did tell me that it had to do with that night that both Fionn and Harry were injured, that the families had gained another enemy.
Whatever that means.
With my father's connections, we were ready to fax over all the paperwork needed in order for Alessio and I to obtain our marriage certificate within the next few days. By midnight it was all done. In technicalities I was a married woman just waiting for the print out to arrive in the mail. I didn’t even need to go to the courthouse or have a judge officiate anything. That bit was disheartening as well, it all felt so rushed and uncared for.
I felt more like an object than a person.
At two in the morning I was able to go back into my room and all I did was curl up in my bed and cry.
Alessio was thousands of miles away and that only added to the confusion and hurt. I understand that in my world, fairytale weddings and endings don’t exist — but I really wanted it to.
Optimism felt so useless.
Sitting up, I remove the thin jacket draped over my form and place it in the seat beside me that’s unoccupied. I was using it as a blanket so I could sleep comfortably sleep but the turbulence has been annoyingly strong these past few hours.
“We’re here,” my father's states from the seat behind mine. My eyebrows raise, stretching my eyelids open then squinting to shake off the drowsiness. I already knew we landed from the way the plane’s wheels smoothly touched down on the runway, I guess I’m just not really excited about getting off for reasons I’m not ready to come to terms with yet.
Unbuckling the seatbelt, I stretch my poor legs that are borderline cramping from the tight jeans I’m wearing.
It was a bad idea on my end to choose denim jeans for traveling.
Feeling a bit jet lag and overwhelmed about stepping off, I take a moment to just quietly sit in my seat and gather my thoughts. My head falls forward a bit as I stare down at my hands in my lap.
My stomach hurts, turning with worry.
There’s an unsettling anticipation that crawling up my throat, like it could clog my airway at any moment.
You’re going to be okay, I tell myself, ignoring the turn in stomach.
However, my self-coaxing does little to ease the anxiety that’s bubbling on the inside.
My hands into fists before opening back up. I can hear shuffling, the others are moving and already getting off. I know I need to get up as well but my head is starting to feel light. Shutting my eyes, I squeeze my lids hard and breath slowly out of my mouth.
The sound of a ring here and there go off. I’m not really sure what it means, this is my first time on a plane. My father rented out a private jet, just for him and I and a few of our male relatives. He said he that he didn’t want to run into any troubles when heading to Sicily if we flew economy. It also apparently saved us having to catch a connecting flight.
We came to meet Alessio — but I don’t know if I’m ready for that now. The way we were going about it feels wrong to me, though I would never admit it aloud.
A familiar hand touches my shoulder and my eyes open up to see my father standing beside me, but my attention leaves him to look around us.
It’s empty, everyone already gone but us.
Were my eyes really closed for that long? It felt like just a few seconds.
“Cherry,” he gently speaks my name. Kneeling down on one knee, he gives me a serious look and says, “what’s happening today is for you, for your well being, for your future. And if it were up to me, none of this would be happening so soon.” The subtle wrinkles around his eyes suddenly stand out when his brows pull together. It’s an expression I’ve never seen before.
My lips tighten, shaping into a straight line that stops me from voicing the disapproval on his actions. It’s hard to settle on one emotion, I feel so many things right now that’s it’s impossible to just ignore them all.
My heart feels heavy with the burning sensation creeping up on my waterline. “What’s going to happen?” I whisper.
He keeps saying it’s for protection, but against what? I haven’t done anything to anyone.
I don’t know how long our goodbyes will last.
Saying goodbye to my mother almost two days ago wasn’t just for this trip. There was longing in her eyes that made me scared of how long it could be until I see them again.
“I did everything you asked.” I can barely get out the words. They come out broken and low. A warm tear falls down my cheek at the thought of not returning home to my family. My home is my home. It’s what I know. The comfort that it has brought me for eighteen years is being taken away without proper adjustment.
“Dad, I don’t think I can do this.” My reality hits hard. It becomes more than just a turn of the stomach. It’s the painstaking fear that stabs at my chest now, physically taking a toll.
But even now... I still try to keep myself from having a complete breakdown.
My father sadly shakes his head and I frown as more of my own tears fall onto my lap. “There’s no going back.” His other hand reaches for the one in my lap but I pull away.
A hard sob comes out. It’s nothing pretty. It’s raw and full of pain.
I want him to understand that even though what’s done is done, it doesn’t go without heartache. I need him to feel remorse for this. “I’m not ready.” My eyes feel puffy, I can barely see through the tears. I’ve done everything they ever asked of me, but this I will get my say even if it’s without words.
“Cherry, listen to me.” The grip on my shoulder tightens but not enough to hurt me. “If your husband chooses to tell you why it has to be this way, then you will understand my actions — but it’s out of my control now.”
I know. No doubt there’s a reason for this. There’s always a reason for everything they do. “Is this it for us?” I don't want to break, but it’s hard not to just cry from frustration.
Being kept in the dark for my well being was something I could always deal with. However, this time it’s more than different. It’s life changing for someone who doesn’t have enough life experience.
This is becoming more than I can bear and these secrets will be the death of me.
His hand reaches to wipe the tears that stain my cheeks as he quietly responds, “I hope not.”
There’s a moment of silence between us before I nod and stand to my feet. When I wipe my face with the back of my hand I feel like a young child who stubbornly doesn’t want to part from her parents. Emotionally and physically I’m drained, so acting this way is the least of my worries