I closed one eye while squinting the other, attempting the get a better view of my target. With my head tilted and arm stretched forward in an extremely awkward position, I felt more like a zombie from the Walking Dead than someone learning to shoot a gun.
I pulled the trigger, but I didn’t hit the target. Dropping my hand to the side, I stood up straight and furrowed my eyebrows in confusion.
“What the hell was that?” Val asked me, his tone clearly frustrated, “Why were you standing like that? You looked ridiculous!”
I turned to look at him, he was wearing his usual Armani suit, “I look ridiculous? Who wears a suit to a shooting range?”
I could tell that he was instantly enraged by me, he had a huge temper but he didn’t hit me this time. Instead he pointed his finger right at my face and raised his voice, “You need to stop acting like a fucking child! I’m fed up with your behavior.”
“Val, I tried, okay? I really did... I just get really shaky and nervous.” I explained to him. His yelling was becoming more of a regular thing so I wasn’t phased by him raising his voice yet again, “That was the first time I shot a gun. Could you please just work with me here?”
His chuckle caused me to cringe. I hated when he did that, it made me feel like he was laughing at my stupidity, “Is that what you’re going to say when someone is trying to murder you? ′I’m new to this, please work with me?′ I can assure you that they won’t give a damn.”
I sighed softly, he was so intense. Early this morning, around 5:30am he woke me up to get ready so we could go to this field and he could train me how to shoot. He spent the first hour going over fine details like parts of a gun and how to hold it, but as soon as the gun actually went in my hand I failed miserably.
He had multiple targets set up around the field, each had a dart board type design with a bullseye on it. I had no idea where the bullet went when I had shot the gun but I didn’t hit anywhere near the target.
“I just wish you understood me,” I said quietly, beginning to aim the gun for another try.
Quickly, Val grabbed the gun from my hands and looked at me with a stern look on his face, “I am not here to undertand you. This isn’t a fairytale, love. You need to try harder.”
He passed me the gun again and rested his hands on my shoulders, turning me to face one of the targets, “Focus, Elaina. Whatever you’re doing isn’t good enough.”
Val stood behind me adjusting the gun in my hands, “Hold it like this. Don’t lack the confidence because if you do, you’re not going to think you’re good enough to hit anything and you won’t.”
“I don’t want to hurt anyone...” I told him, imagining someone’s life on my hands. It would be the weight of the world and I couldn’t imagine.
“I know, but if someone is going to try and hurt you, you’ll have no other choice,” He explained to me.
I knew he was right, but it didn’t make this any easier for me. Having someone like Val teaching me was intimidating, he had no patience with me and he expected greatness instantly. The expectations he had of me were impossible.
“You need to be able to look quickly. If someone approaches suddenly, you need to be able to hit them. If you miss, it could change everything,” Before I could take it what he said he quickly turned my body to face another target, taking out his gun from the holster and aiming it at the new target.
As he shot it, a bullet hole was visible right in the center and my mouth gaped slightly.
“How... How did you do that so quickly?” I asked him, stunned.
“I was raised this way, Elaina. People don’t learn this overnight,” He told me, putting his gun back in the holster and taking his suit jacket off, setting it on the ground.
I noticed his rolling up the sleeves and I continued to speak, “When did you begin to learn?”
He didn’t hesitate to answer me, “When I was five I began the basics. My father would show me guns and tell me about them, let me hold them. He told me the importance of our family name and that I needed to be strong to carry on the family name.”
“When did you start...” I looked down at my feet, taking everything in. He was so young and he was thrown into this lifestyle without a choice, just because it was in his blood. No wonder he was so cold. “When did you begin to kill?”
“Curious, are we?” He smirked at me, tucking his hands into his pockets and I could see the look of his face as he reflected on the memory, “My first kill was at the age of eight. But my father made me watch his murders since I was seven...”
“Eight?!” I was taken off guard, so much that I raised my voice without intending to. I felt sick just imagining an eight year old murdering someone, “Val, I’m so sorry that you had to go through that.”
Val only laughed, “Don’t be apologetic, love. I’ve become practically invincible because of how my father raised me. And our boy will be the same.”
“Our... boy?” I knew exactly what he meant. He had intentions on raising his children the same way that he was raised, only because that was all he had even know. But Val’s children were going to be my children too and there was no way I would let my child turn into a monster.
“I can see it in your eyes, you’re already freaking out, but I’m sure he’ll still like you... I adore my mother very much,” He reassurance wasn’t anything but.
I looked up at Val, shaking my head, “No... I don’t want my kids to be involved with this.”
“You don’t have a choice,” His tone was cold, there was no sign of swaying him and I watched him putting new bullets into the gun, “You don’t think that my mother tried keeping Stefano and I from it? When you’re born into the mafia, you don’t escape it.”
Val spoke about this so casually while I stood in the field with my head spinning. Not only was my life being ruined but so was the lives of any children that I birthed, it was unfair to bring children into a lifestyle as dangerous and deadly as this.
My eyes didn’t leave Val’s face, watching him carefully and praying for any hint of emotion which he failed to show, “But what if we have girls?”
“Then you will keep spreading your legs for me until we get a boy,” He looked at me, giving me a challenging look as though he were daring me to say more.
Buy I didn’t speak. My brain didn’t react fast enough with words but it reacted far too quickly with movement and I slapped him across the face.
He could have caught my hand, I know that he would have been able to, but he took the slap which only worried me more for what was to come.
“Little bitch... You just don’t learn, do you?” He finally looked at me again and lifted his arm so his gun was pointing at me, “I’ve been so damn lenient with you, Elaina, but you’re long overdo for a punishment.”
I stepped back slowly, my eyes widened and as I stepped I tripped over a rock. Was he really going to shoot me because I slapped him?
"Don’t.” He stopped me, “Stand up. Let’s go to the SUV.”
He picked his jacket up from the ground, keeping his eyes and his gun on my the entire time. As we walked towards his SUV, I kept glancing over my shoulder to see that the gun was still aimed at me.
We reached the SUV and he opened the passenger’s side door for me, “Sit. Don’t move. I’ll be right back.”
I simply nodded my head, he had no idea that I was too afraid to move now. Just as I was beginning to feel slightly more comfortable around him, he managed to remind me why I was terrified of him in the first place.
I wasn’t sure where he went but I heard the back of the SUV open and he was moving things around in there. I kept my eyes on the field ahead of us, trying to keep my mind positive but it was impossible.
This was a perfect opportunity for him to murder me. He could easily bury me in the field, it isn’t like my mom would be looking for me - she gave me up to this monster.
I heard movement and I looked over my left shoulder to look at Val from the center of the seats but he wasn’t there anymore.
Just as the words escaped my lips, a cloth went over my mouth along with a masculine hand, holding it there. My eyes widened and I placed my hands over the large one.
As I began to struggle, I looked up to see that it was none other than Val who was holding me against him and suffocating me with this cloth.
I mumbled weakly against his hand and he pressed a kiss to my head, “Shhh... It’s just chloroform, sweetheart. You’ll be awake before you know it.”
Chloroform. He was using chloroform on me so I would pass out. I dug my nails into his hand, not wanting him to win but as I continued to struggle for the short moment that I did, I felt my body becoming weak quickly.
My eyelids began to flutter and the last thing I seen before passing out was the smirk on Val’s face.