Now that we were sitting in the restaurant I totally understood why I had been forced into the fancy outfit. It was a high end place. Although people did still give us odd looks when we entered which caused me to lower my head in an attempt to hide. Bottom line, there was a dress code and it was fancy. You could also note how almost every single woman was staring at Antonio, some even drooling, but he didn’t take his gaze off of the path ahead.
The waiters took us to a more VIP or secluded area of the restaurant so that probably meant our place was booked for us ahead. We sat in the booth so we faced one another. The seats were lined with padded black leather and there was a dull chandelier light hanging above us. It was very classy, I understood why Antonio took such a liking to it.
Several menus were pushed in front of me. I glanced at them all and then looked quizzically back up to Antonio who laughed at my confusion. Like I had said, I was not used to such fine dining. The places I went, everything was printed onto the same double-sided, paper menu unlike these which were bound in red leather with the golden imprint logo of the restaurant.
“We will order everything now, Drinks, Starters, Mains and Dessert. Choose whatever you want, this is my treat.”
I almost gasped at the prices. The cheapest thing on the menu I could find would be a stretch of what I would be willing to pay for an entire meal. Then I remembered who was paying, the dick who abducted me and suddenly spending atrocious amounts didn’t feel so bad.
We told the waiter our orders who wrote them down extremely fast and disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.
“So, Alice, what do you think?” Antonio spoke while gesturing around the area.
“It’s very....” I stumbled for the right word to describe it, “...you.”
My response won me a small chuckle of amusement from the undeniably sexy man who sat in front of me.
“You told me you would answer some of my questions.” I did not want to waste any time so got straight to the point.
“Yes I did.” He crossed his arms and leant back in his chair, letting out a puff of air as he did so.
I waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t so I cut into the silence again.
“So....were you lying to me?” My tone was accusative, one should always be careful when it came to trusting a man of the mafia world, kind of a no brainer.
“No I was not Alice. Believe me I will keep my word to you but...”
There it was. The ‘but’ how could I have believed he would give me something without a price?
“I want to ask questions of my own. So for every question I answer, you will give me answers also. Ok?”
I thought his notion through for a minute and then realized that he had access to most of my information anyway and that if he really wanted to find something out he could with ease so it wasn’t worth missing out on this opportunity.
Just in time to save us from yet another unwanted awkward silence, the waiter returned with our plates and drinks. I was excited to start my food and even more so my drink. I hadn’t had a glass of wine for a while and was in desperate need of the alcohol, especially at the moment. But to my distaste, I had been served water.
“Excuse me, this is not what I ordered.”
The waiter ignored me and looked straight to Antonio who shook his head and waved him off.
“You will not be drinking while with me.”
I let out a scoff. Who was he to think that he could dictate what I drank?
“And how long will that be? You are aware that you have taken me illegally. In fact I demand you release me tonight!”
He laughed, “To answer your first question, at the moment I am planning to keep you for a while.”
I shook my head and gripped my fork as I angrily ate, trying to settle my stomach.
“Now Darling, you remember our deal. So tell me, why did you become a psychologist?”
I pondered his question. I couldn’t really remember what drew me to the profession, only it always interested me and I wasn’t really very good at anything so settled for this. I told him this but he just shook his head at me.
“See, I think that you do it because you see yourself in some of your patients, weak and broken, so you treat them to blend in with the sane people of the world. What better way to convince yourself that you are ok than to be surrounded by those who definitely are not.”
How fucking dare he! He has known me for one day and thinks he can make assumptions about me. I felt my blood boil as rage bubbled up within me, and I couldn’t help but feel the reason for that anger was because deep down, I knew he was right.
“You don’t know shit about me.” I seethed.
His face still remained void of any emotions. He was so hard to read and it irritated me how he thought himself so superior to everyone else. Just because he had money, power and looks. He was just lucky in the lottery that was birth. Some of us were winners, receiving caring families that were privileged but others were at a disadvantage from the moment they came into this world.
He leant forward so his elbows rested on the table and then he took a swig of his wine, before opening his mouth.
“I know a lot more about you than you think.”
I frowned at him but didn’t want to come back with any quick comments because as much as I didn’t want to admit to it, he was in charge. Him answering my questions was a limited time offer and I wasn’t going to jeopardize my chances of not getting answers that I really needed. He had clearly just hired someone to do a very in-depth background check on me.
Along our next courses I had asked Antonio questions about our whereabouts. He said that he wouldn’t tell me because he wasn’t an idiot and that so our ‘game’ was fair I could have an extra turn. And I did.
I asked questions about his career. I wanted to learn the details of what he was in charge of and so on. But the man was very clever. All his answers were strategic, so that I couldn’t demand any more. But I had learnt that he was indeed the Don of the Italian mafia. When I asked what that meant he listed murder, drugs and blood money as if he were reading out items from a shopping list. It really was disturbing what this life could do to someone’s mentality.
I imagined his childhood was just constant training for him. Lessons of the trait were likely always weaved into every activity of everyday life. He would have been bought up aware of his legacy and had no problem taking over when his time came. I took the leap and asked when he first killed someone. 15. He said that number as if it was weightless. But when I was 15 I was going shopping with friends, going to school and the occasional party. He was learning to be a killer.
In return I had given away the story of my parents, how my mother died and I didn’t know or care of my father’s whereabouts. I wasn’t interested about what had happened to his parents, just assuming they were dead because he was now the Don and probably inherited that role. I also told him basic things about me, none of which were of a great matter to me to keep hidden. Just things about my childhood, current affairs etc. It seemed like he was trying to get to know me, or even understand me. I thought that was my job as a psychologist.
During dessert Antonio looked slightly hesitant to ask his final question. He was quiet and just eyed his food while obviously contemplating if he should speak - as if he was uncomfortable. Then finally he spoke.
“Tell me about Ryan.”
I dropped my fork as my head shot up so my eyes met him. Of course he knew about the court case. Why was I so stupid to ignore the fact that if he had done a background check he would find that too.
Subconsciously I shook slightly and my vision blurred with tears. I looked away from him.
“Come on Ally, if you want to ask your last question you know you have to answer.”
He was right. Was it really worth spilling my secrets about my tormentor though? Telling the truth to Antonio would not only reveal my weaknesses but would also might give him some tips on how to get to me in the future, should he ever need or want to do so. Above all I hated the pain I felt whenever the stories left my lips, retelling all the things he had done to me. It wasn’t worth it.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Deep down I knew, with some work, he could find out most of the information that police had. But there were some things I hadn’t told anyone. Things only I knew and I hated myself for ever thinking that one day I would be rescued and suddenly everything would be ok.
“Alice, tell me now.”
He was getting angry now. For the first time tonight I saw, once again, the man who I had met in the basement. And it terrified me.
“No. I just won’t have a question, those are the rules.”
He shot up from his chair quick as a lighting flash and yelled out so everyone in the God damned place could here him, “I make the fucking rules Alice!”
Suddenly realizing his boldness, he grabbed my wrist and after tossing money on the table pulled me out of the restaurant. I let loose the tears I was trying to hold in. I was dragged to the limo and then thrown into it in such a violent way that I landed on my hands and knees right on the floor, earning vicious carpet burns from doing so.
Antonio was already seated and pulled me up onto his lap. We sat there for a moment while the car began to start the journey home, in silence. Then he warned me again.
“You will tell me or else I will worsen your punishment when we get home. And trust me what you saw the other day was nothing.”
He spoke in such a calm manner that sent chills down my spine. I was sobbing and shaking all the while being held in my kidnapper’s arms as he brushed wet hair strands out of my tear sodden face. I didn’t utter a word until his grip on me tightened, a clear warning issuing me to speak now.
“H-he was my boyfriend.”
Antonio didn’t pause any of his actions.
“He, he hurt me.”
I let out a sound that held so much pain and heartbreak that I didn’t even recognize it as my own. I had never really fully opened up, at the police station most of the evidence was photographic and when I did testify it was monotonous as the events were still fresh. But now they have festered. I’d had the time to think over the abuse, in the day and in my nightmares. It all finally sunk in. I felt another squeeze on my waste letting me know Antonio wanted more information.
“He, he would b-beat me. Say mean things to, to me. He hurt me so much. FUCK!”
I let out a cry so loud that I imagined even people outside the vehicle could have heard me. It broke me. I was so exhausted from the pain and it seemed like Antonio understood I was done because he continued to stroke me while in his lap.
“You did good, baby, now sleep.”
I followed his command and as I cried myself into a long slumber the last thing I felt was his gentle kiss on my forehead.