Graduation Day: The day all seniors get fancied up, grab their diplomas, and start their 20 year journey to optimal success. Most of them end up going to another school just to get another diploma, but not I. Mother’s plan for me was already in place, and I was exactly what she had in mind: An above-average student with qualifications like a working woman and no social circle, whatsoever. Sure, I talked to people here and there, but I never really had a Mary-Kate to my Ashley. Or even a Cory to my Topanga…
My mother worked as the head sheriff in the city, which the Mason family has found to serve a huge advantage to what my parents really do, outside of owning a company for technological engineering.
Then there was my father; a man of many actions and few words, who worked in a box office, ordering his employees around when he wasn’t doing dirty business on the side. He cared for me because I was his “little mafia princess”, and did every part of his bidding without hesitation. I’m not going to lie, I love being spoiled by my father.
Laurent, my older brother, has just graduated from college and was opening his own tattoo parlor after discovering his newfound love for art and ink on his body. His twin, Larry, decided the only way he could get away from our parents for good was to throw himself to the wolves and join the militia, where his life is threatened every second he breathes.
Lastly, there’s me; I just graduated from high school two hours ago, which was supposed to be one of the most exciting times of my life, but I feel no different. It was like the same thing over again, with my mother prepping up my face and my father in another room yelling through a phone. Nothing’s changed. I couldn’t help to wonder how much happier I could be on my own, thousands of miles away from here and living another life. All the graduates were celebrating at a party I had hoped to go to, but instead I was preparing to meet a family I had no interest in getting to know. But you know, the things you do for the sake of the family business.
“Remember now, fille,” Mother’s soft tone spoke into my ear, her chocolate eyes seeing into my hazel ones, “We’ve rehearsed for this, non? You will come down the stairs with a smile on your face, greet the guests that come in-” “-And introduce myself as the heiress of Mason Corporations,” I finish, bored of the conversation, “and explain in that sickeningly angelic voice just how important it is for this family to come under a contract with us. I get it, Mother, I’m your little puppet. Relax.”
“I don’t remember asking you to get smart with me, le fils,” Mother spoke up, pulling on a piece of my hair as a warning and tucking it in, “This night is important to your father and I so it’s imperative that there are no mishaps.”
“Je jure que je vais étrangler la prochaine personne qui dit que,” I muttered under my breath, looking at my freshly painted black nails. Hey, I think one of the maids said something similar while putting on my dress.
Mother tugs on my bun again, as an indication for me to silence myself. I roll my eyes but oblige, trying my hardest to avoid any conflict. I couldn’t wish for any more than for this night to be over quickly.
Mother used me like a pawn relentlessly, which Father was too hard at work to notice; I helped attract the younger businessmen that were recently promoted. From there came the suitors, the constant sexual harassment from the business partners my father brought in, then being locked in my room for the rest of the night as punishment for having to use my favorite knife again men’s throats for daring to touch me so inappropriately.
And of course, I’m always in the wrong. Never the men who attempt the rape me, never my mother who puts me in these situations and never my father, who only pays attention to me when it’s convenient for him. Believe me, most of those men could’ve been face-down in a ditch somewhere with their throats slit open if I got upset enough.
A knock at the door pauses my mother’s movements and my door opens to reveal my father. I smile at him through the mirror and he shoots my mother a glare, which let’s me know he wants to speak with me alone. She stands up, kissing him on the cheek before proceeding out of the room.
“Hey, citrouille,” He leans over to kiss my temple. He’s always called me the funniest things, but pumpkin had to be one of the cringiest.
“Bonjour pere,” I say softly, touching up on some of my makeup. I hesitate as I think of what to say without disrespecting him. I guess it’s hard because I’m naturally...sassy, “Was this meeting really that important that it had to happen right after my graduation?”
He frowns before sitting in my mother’s chair, “This meeting was your mother’s idea, fille,” he explains, “I would’ve changed the date, but by the time I had found out, it was already set. Je suis desole.”
I sigh, closing my eyes, “I would say it’s okay, but I’m sick of saying that when it isn’t true. This was supposed to be my night, pere - to be a real fucking teenage girl for just one night...that’s all I ask for.” I hadn’t realized I used vulgar language until he checked me,
“Watch it, jeune. What you fail to realize is that I am the Mafia Don of one of the largest cartels in the world. Nothing’s just a cake walk and sometimes things must be sacrificed. I try my hardest and do everything in my power to ensure not only your safety, but your sanity. As for your mother...well, you know how she can be sometimes.”
“Will Laurent and Larry be here tonight at least?”
He frowns once more, “Laurent has just opened his fourth shop in California, so I’m sure he’s off celebrating somewhere. Larry has just been transferred to Greece, where most of the violence is. They’ll be home in a few weeks. Je promets, bebe.”
“Yeah, well, your promises haven’t meant shit lately,” I stand up, turning to smile sarcastically at him, “Just so you know.”
This time, he doesn’t give me backlash for being disrespectful, but instead his face holds a pained look, “I will really try harder, Asia. To do for you what I should’ve been doing your entire life.”
I’m quick to respond, “Mhm...what’s this meeting for anyway?”
“That’s for me and you mother to know,” he answers simply, one of his eyebrows raising, “Dinner will be served when our guests arrive. S’il te plait calme toi. If not for your mother, then at least for me.” He offers a smile and I sigh, giving in,
“I’ll think about it.” I can already tell this is going to be the longest night of my life. No one had to say anything. Everyone’s attitude gave it away. I notice my shadow in my bedroom window and wonder if it’s too late to open it and jump out,
“Asia, they’re here!” My mother yells down the hall. Well, there’s that answer…
My father kisses me again before heading out of the room. With the remaining time, I fix the straps of my burgundy dress and look for a pair of black heels to match with it. Before heading out the door, I remember the black weapon’s strap I had hiding under my dress. I go to the drawers in the corner of my room and look for the sharpest dagger I can find, fidgeting to get it into the pouch.
“Let the hell begin,” I mumble to myself, strutting outside my room and closing the door behind me. On one end of the hall, my mother and father were discussing enthusiastically with someone and I slowed my movements to a halt. They’re all laughing and giggling about nothing more than killing people. How funny.
“Nervous?” A deep voice asks from behind me and I’m quick to turn, my hand flying to the strap on my thigh.
“I’ve been in worse situations...who the hell are you?” I couldn’t make out his face in the dim lighting of the hall. I take a step back in caution and he mirrors me by stepping forward into a soft candlelight. My eyes narrow at him and I can see his lips twitch into a smirk.
“Adonis Channing,” He reaches for my left hand, pressing his lips to it, “What are you wandering the halls for, princesse?”
“I could ask you the same thing,” I slowly pulled my hand away from his, deciding to play nice, “And last time I remembered, this is my home and I may do as I please. Shouldn’t you be with my mother and father?” I motion behind me to their seemingly entertaining exchange.
“Their conversation bores me,” he says simply, taking a lean against the wall and slipping his hands into his pockets, “Unless you have fun talking about money and death.”
I shrug, not having much to say. I’m too busy scanning him from head to toe. He seems to be left vulnerable, defenseless. He’s wearing a silky baby blue button-up, which is tucked into his tan slacks and a tan sports jacket. If I wasn’t so keen on him being a predator, I would say he looks kind of...attirant. The jacket is tight around his biceps and looks as if it might bust.
Past the arch of his eyebrow, to the stronger crease in his left eyelid and even the faint scar on his forehead that made him that much more intimidating.
“Do you know why you’re here?” I ask, not sure of the answer myself. My hands still skims over the dagger I’m hiding.
“Definitely not to be stabbed by one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met in my life,” He catches me off guard with his compliment and my hand falls. Before I could fully process what he had said, he had my front against the wall, his hand trailing up my dress to my dagger and pulling it out.
“My, my, what a beautiful weapon,” He’s holding the dagger in the air with one hand, observing it and is somehow able to keep me pinned to the wall with the other, “I must admit, I didn’t notice it until you fingers started fidgeting. Quite an interesting thing to keep under your dress, princesse, hm?”
“What I keep under my dress is none of your concern,” I say simply, seizing the opportunity to kick his knee. He lets out a huff and releases me which enables me to catch the falling dagger by the hilt and put it back where it belongs.
“It is when it’s the weapon you were going to attack me with,” He’s bent over his knee, groaning from the pain, “That was a cute little trick you had there, fille.”
My voice is harsh, “I’m no girl. Do girls carry around fire-forged weapons close to their ass? I didn’t think so…” Before he can respond, I make my way down the staircase and to the dining room, but not before I mumble “L’idiot”.
I can hear Adonis’ raspy chuckle as he follows close behind me. I spot a group of adults, gossipping and sipping on their scotch like posh fools. I wander to the farthest wall and lean on it, having nothing more to do than to observe them. Their fake laughter and lookalike grandeur made me cringe. I can’t imagine the day I would sit down with enemies and suck up to them for the sake of my security. I see Adonis making his way toward me again from a group of people and roll my eyes.
“How often do you do business meetings like this?” He shakes his jacket off before folding it over a chair. I can’t help but glance at his bulging muscles, like damn. His arm brushes mine and he folds them,
“Not too often,” he responds, cuffing his sleeves to his elbows, “However, your mother told me it was essential that I be here tonight. Something to do with the alliance she’s been so persistent about the past two years.”
I purse my lips, watching as my father gives my mother a kiss. I smile at the grin that grows on both of their faces, resting my head on the wall. Despite my mother being stupid uptight and my father damn-near absent, there were days that they made me happy. Seeing them in love made me happy.
My father’s face is beaming until he catches a glance in Adonis’ direction. I notice his face change from one of endearment to a scowl. I smile and shake my head at his overprotectiveness. His attention moves to something else when someone calls his name.
“What is your significance in this, princesse?” I realize now that Adonis was hovering over me and his arm behind me protectively.
“Asia is fine,” I turn to face him. I honestly hate stupid nicknames. “Despite the fact that my mother wants to control my every move, I am heiress to this company and the business my father currently runs. My older brothers were first in line, but both of them packed up and left as soon as they found out what the life entailed. It’s a responsibility and power that I never minded having.”
Adonis hums, “And when exactly are you taking over this business?”
I shrug nonchalantly, “Sometime soon. My father talks about how my brothers were supposed to take over at 21, so I would think that-”
“Asia!” My mother excitedly calls over, waving her hands for me to come over, “Come here, cherie.”
I sigh, fixing myself and strutting to the center of the room. It’s a bit weird that everyone stopped what they were doing and followed me with their eyes. I find an empty sofa and take a seat, crossing my legs politely.
“We have an important announcement to make,” My father spoke this time, walking toward me with an open hand. I take it and rise, scanning the room filled with all of his closest business partners. I smile and lean into his ear, whispering,
“What is this about?” He completely ignores my question and continues,
“As all of you know, my daughter Asia has been the biggest help to the family business since she was fourteen years old,” The grin on his face tells me he’s happy to call me his daughter, “She’s the one to deal with the people I couldn’t, when I was busy with other inquiries. Alone, she’s set up about 100 shipments this year,” I hear a few ooo’s and ahh’s like this is an award show, “And I have trained her to become the most beautiful assassin you see here before you. I know some of you have had first-hand experiences,” The room fills with laughter as a few younger men raise their hands and I immediately recognize them. They’re the ones who were almost face-down in a ditch somewhere.
“The point is...my daughter’s been by my side my entire life, even when my other children left me and when my wife couldn’t be. I’m proud to say that she’s probably done more work than me in the last two years and continues to make me the proudest father I’ve ever been,” I didn’t notice the tear that fell from my face until it hit my chin and I quickly swept it away, “This is why I’m excited to announce…” This is where I got lost. From out of this air, I see a gun - a pistol, to be exact. My father pulls it out of his coat and hands it to me. I hesitantly take it, cocking it back and releasing all the bullets from the chamber. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to use one, it’s just that I didn’t know what him giving one to me meant. It took me a while to realize the engravings on the back of the handle. Initials, of both my grandfather and my father. Shit, I knew exactly what this meant.
“After tonight, Margaux Asia Mason will be your new Don -- she is your mafia queen. If you have any quarrel with my decision, you may take it up with your queen. I’m sure she’ll make your death swift.”
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