“Catherine Morsta,” Gianna told me as I looked at the woman across the room, caressing Val’s chest, and him letting her.
Who was this Catherine woman and why was she as bold she she seemed to be by placing her hands all over Val? He never seemed to be the kind of man to stand for anything her wasn’t okay with, so he must be okay with this woman pawing at him.
“Who is she?” I asked Gianna, in other words, I was more subtly asking her who she was associated with in a criminal sense. Should I be worried for my life?
Gianna shrugged here shoulders slightly and looked at me, “No one important, she used to spend a lot of time at the house. Let’s just say when I seen her, she usually didn’t have as much clothes on.”
“You mean... Her and Val?” I asked Gianna.
She seemed to hesitant, looking at me for a moment, “I haven’t seen her since you and Val got married, not until now. But before? Yes... She was what some would refer to as a call girl.”
“Were they serious?” I persisted with the questions, becoming more curious about this Catherine woman.
She was a woman, unlike me.
This time Gianna laughed and responded quickly, “Hell no. Val hadn’t committed until this marriage, it was all sex. As you can tell, she’s obviously missing what Val was giving her. Is he really that good?”
“Excuse me?” My mouth gaped open and I couldn’t come up with the words to say, I was surprised someone would even ask such a question. Isn’t that private? However, Gianna has no filter whatsoever.
She seemed thrilled by how uncomfortable I became, giggling at my stuttering, “Oh, come on, Elaina. I can’t stand the guy, but tell me... Is he really that good or is Catherine just desperate?”
“I don’t know... I mean, I’ve only been with him. I don’t anything else to compare to,” I felt extremely uncomfortable, my intimate life with Val wasn’t even voluntary. It was all forced and without love.
I looked back to where Val had been standing with Catherine but they were no longer there.
My eyes scanned the room and although there were people everywhere, none of them was Val nor the temptress in red. Of course my mind instantly referred to what Gianna had told me and thought about the possibility that the two of them could have escaped to a private area to enjoy one another’s company.
The woman was the opposite of me; blonde, tall, confident and her eyes were a piercing green. Even though she weren’t visible to me now, I remembered everything clearly. The dress she wore was something of a girl on a mission. Short and seductive.
My waist being grasped caused me to jumped slightly and my thoughts instantly left me. Val was suddenly in front of me and Gianna was nowhere to be seen.
“You’re distracted,” He commented, “I assume you’ve met Brenda.”
Ugh, Brenda. That girl was something else. Clearly Val was aware of her obsession with him.
“Uh... Yeah. I was looking for you,” I admitted, inhaling a deep breath, “Everyone is strangers here.”
“I was catching up with a friend,” Val told me simply. He raised a glass to his lips but the liquid was clear, at the sight, I knew that it was water. God forbid the guy have some fun.
Giving that it was already half way through the evening and Val surprisingly hadn’t given me any restrictions on my beverages, I was on my fifth glass of wine.
The beauty of beverages at social gatherings was having something to do when you had nothing to say. Everything was awkward around these people so I was constantly drinking to seem preoccupied.
It didn’t work out in my favor now, however. I was beginning to feel the affect of the alcohol, and though it felt good the last thing I wanted was any repercussions.
“Are all of your friends that pretty?” I challenged Val, raising my glass back to my lips slowly when I realized how harsh my words had come off.
I refused to look at Val, but in the corner of my eye I noticed his body stiffen which usually indicated that he was unimpressed. Now that I knew that reaction was because of me, I felt I was better off still chatting with Brenda.
“So you did see where I was,” He gave an exasperated sigh, when I finally looked over at him his eyes were narrowed at me, “I didn’t take you for the jealous type, Elaina.”
Jealous? He had to have lost his mind to think I was jealous.
“Absolutely not. In fact, if any other woman will keep your hands off of me, then have at it,” I blurted out.
Truthfully, it was something I had been praying for since the moment we said I Do. I was quite possibly the only wife in the world who wanted her husband to cheat on her. Val could sleep with as many women as he wanted, as long as he left my body untouched.
I never knew if that was something he ever did, but giving his lifestyle I assumed that infidelity was a part of it.
My eyes were on alert as Val’s hand moved to my face, tracing the outline of my lips with his thumb, “I’ll have you know something about me. Despite what you may think or what you want, I have no intentions on committing adultery. I take marriage seriously, as I expect you to, also.”
“Don’t act clueless, sweetheart. You think I’m going to sleep around with various women and eventually show a lack of interest in you. You should be flattered that I find you appealing enough to sleep with and my mind isn’t swaying in the slightest,” His lips twitched into a smirk, and I felt like there had to be a reason he was so insistent. We weren’t in love, we both knew this was arranged. So why was he forcing this?
“I’m sorry if I made you feel that way,” I began, not knowing anything else I could do other than apologize. Val was clever, I couldn’t get anything past him.
His eyes averted away from me and he dropped his hand, “Your father was looking for you, I spoke with him earlier. Go say hi now because we’ll be leaving soon.”
“I don’t need to, we can just leave now.”
I didn’t want to see Vadim, he was far from a father to me. I wasn’t going to purposely approach him, if anything, I would be avoiding him.
“Go see your father, Elaina. It’s common courtesy,” Val told me and a more demanding tone, “I’m going with Gustavo to speak with a business partner, we’ll be a few minutes.”
I instinctively rolled my eyes, it was a bad move. A rule I had not learned until now.
Suddenly, my wrist was grabbed tightly and Val’s piercing eyes were gazing into mine, “Do not roll your eyes at me. Are we clear?”
I attempted to pull my hand away from his grip but he was holding me far too tight, “Val... Please let go.”
“You are impossible. I take you out and you still act like a little bitch,” He let go of my hand roughly, “Enjoy your time out, Elaina. It won’t be happening again anytime soon.”
He went away in a quick stride before I could object and I was left holding my wrist.
It was either he got angry too easily or he actually tried and I screwed up. It was impossible for anything to go right.
I took the moment I had to go to the ladies’ restroom, hoping that I wouldn’t bump into Vadim along the way. I at least needed a moment along to fix up my makeup and breathe.
The elegance even extended into the restrooms. Each stall was much larger than the usual stall.
When I stood in front of the mirror, I looked at myself and sighed softly. I would give up all of these luxurious things just to have my old life back. It was the same feelings and emotions that I went through every single day.
My hair was done beautifully, the dress was stunning, and the necklace Val gave me was breathtaking. But was any of this worth losing everything I’ve ever known? But I also didn’t have a choice in the matter.
“Téigh ar anois, beidh duine a fheiceann tú!” A strong, yet unfamiliar male accent approached the doorway of the restroom.
[Translation: Go on now, someone will see you.]
Something sounded rushed outside the door, the pattering of feet and two people arguing amongst each other. It was startling and their voices alone were intimidating. I panicked and opened a bathroom stall, closing it and locking it quickly.
“Calma síos, athair. A ligean ar labhairt i anseo.” The female spoke, her accent was just as thick as the man’s and suddenly the bathroom door was opened which made me grateful that I had hid.
[Translation: Calm down, father. Let’s talk in here.]
They began to speak English once the bathroom door was closed and the man spoke first, “Keela, do not back out on me now. You know how important this is.”
“I never said that I was backing out on you, father.” The girl seemed feisty, she snapped at the man who was he father so quickly that I was surprised he had actually stood for it.
Keela. Why does that name sound so familiar?
My mind was drawing a blank and as the man spoke again, I was distracted, “The Acerbi’s have various security everywhere they go, but there’s word going around that Marco and Valentino will be going out of town to collect unpaid debts. There always seems to be lack of security when they travel.”
I could hear the girl huff as though she thought the entire thing was ridiculous, “And what’s your plan? Shoot them? Kidnap them? How accurate is this inside man you’re speaking with, father? They could be setting you up.”
“Enough!” His voice raised, “You think I’m an idiot? I have far more experience than you ever will. I know what I’m doing, I’m making sure of accuracy before trusting them.”
I held my breath. This was all too much information. I was hearing so much dangerous information that I wasn’t supposed to hear and one wrong move could have me killed. My breath even seemed to be too loud in a moment like this and I fear the possibility of sneezing.
The entire thing made me nauseous. These people has a plot to attack, possibly kill Val and his father. What’s worse is that apparently someone from the inside was giving them this information.
Val always spoke about trust and how difficult it was to trust anyone, this was a perfect example why he refused to ever open up to anyone.
It could literally get you killed.
“When does this mystery person plan on revealing themselves?” Keela asked her father.
“Soon,” He answered before he was interrupted with the sound of a sneeze; but it wasn’t from me.
I covered my mouth as my eyes widened. Oh my god, no. This can’t be happening.
“How unfortunate,” Was all he said before chuckling and taking a few steps towards the bathroom stalls.
I could hear his footsteps approaching before a young, female voice surrendered, “I’m sorry... I’ll come out. But please don’t hurt me.”
“Well, come on out. It certainly would save me the time of breaking the door down...”
I couldn’t see anything, I was simply going my sound and praying that my feet wouldn’t give out.
A squeak of the bathroom stall beside mine opening sounded in the bathroom and I could hear a gun being prepared. It sounded so familiar, just like when Val shot those men in front of me. I remembered the sound vividly, it was in my nightmares frequently.
“Oh my god... Please don’t!” I heard the girl begging, she sounded terrified and her voice was quivering.
The man responded to her in a cold tone, “You heard things that you weren’t supposed to hear. There’s no way I can let you out of here alive.”
“I won’t say anything, I sw--”
I fought the urge to cry as I heard the girl’s body falling onto the floor. It only took a few seconds before her blood began to come under the bathroom stall.
“Fucking idiotic... Anyone else could be listening, Keela!” The man’s voice pulled me from my thoughts and his next words made me freeze, “Check the stalls!”