The house felt empty for some reason. After twelve days of having nothing more than a bed and disgusting rice, I took a long hot shower and changed into sweat pants and an oversized t-shirt.
I was comfortable but still on edge, not knowing when Val would arrive home.
No one else seemed to be around either. Rafe, Gianna, Anita, the house seemed literally empty. After I had left Stefano in the backyard I wasn’t sure where he had went, but with the silence I was feeling more on edge.
I came down the stairs just as the front door opened. I stood still as Val walked in with some men following behind him. Rafe, Gustavo, and Diego. All four of them wore their usual suits and walked into the house like they had not a care in the world. Lucky them, they didn’t give a damn about nothing.
It was Gustavo who noticed me first, “Diego and I will deal with clean up. Rafe, make sure the basement is ready.”
When Gustavo made orders, Val’s eyes looked over at me, instantly knowing that he wouldn’t have made orders if there wasn’t a reason. No one decides what gets done other than Val.
The three men left the room and Val stayed where he was, tucking his hands into his pockets, “I see you’ve cleaned up.”
I only nodded my head, not answering him verbally. I wasn’t even sure what he expected from me.
“I want to talk to you about what you’ve went through the past two weeks,” He began, taking a step towards me, “I can assure you that none of it was satisfying for me. I get no pleasure out of hurting you.”
“Could have fooled me,” I told him.
“It’s that.” He said in a stern tone, pointing his finger at me, “Your behavior is beyond control at times and you’re a part of an extremely important and powerful family. You can’t be acting like a misbehaving little girl, you need to learn lessons before you get someone killed.”
I looked away from him and frowned slightly. Even if he did make a little bit of sense, he didn’t have to hurt me to teach me a lesson.
I have a lot to learn about this lifestyle but Val wasn’t teaching me about it the right way. He knew this wasn’t the lifestyle was I was used to and he was dragging me through the mud, torturing me into getting used to this life.
“You’ve made me terrified of you, as if I weren’t scared enough before I came here...” I admitted to him in a soft tone, “I never feel safe, and --”
“You are safe. I will keep you safe. How many fucking times do I have to tell you that, Elaina?” His tone was sharp buy he didn’t seem angry, he sounded more authoritive than anything, “I am Valentino Acerbi and you are my wife. If anyone so much as looks at you, I will kill them.”
I looked at him to speak and as my mouth opened I remembered the feeling of his hand smacking across my face. It was painful, all because he didn’t like getting talked back to. I closed my mouth, knowing better than to say anything to get me into further trouble.
Val was quick to catch on, “What were you going to say?”
“Don’t make me ask twice,” He lifted my chin and forced me to stare at him.
His eyes stared down at me, his brows furrowed together and a look of confusion on his face rather than the usual anger.
Thank god he isn’t angry.
“I just... I don’t know how you expect me to think you’re going to keep me safe when you hurt me the way that you do,” Admitting it felt good, but I flinched slightly, preparing myself for a slap - but one never came.
“It’s teaching you.”
“It’s abuse.” I told him, teaching and abuse are two very different things, he really didn’t see how what he was doing was wrong, “Did your father do this to your mother?”
“Non portare mia madre in questo.” He snapped suddenly.
[Translation: Do not bring my mother into this]
What did he even say? I never understood him when he spoke Italian and it was frustrating. I needed to take some serious time and invest it into studying the language.
“I-I don’t understand...”
“This conversation is done, Elaina. My parent’s relationship is not your concern,” He told me, “I’m taking you to The Underground tonight, wear something nice. It’s a nightclub, dress appropriately.”
He had always said that I wasn’t allowed to go to The Underground, I wasn’t sure why he had suddenly changed his mind and now that he had I didn’t want to go. The thought of going to a club where the mafia handles their business was enough to make anyone hesitant to go.
“Okay, I uh... I’ll go upstairs.”
“Not so fast, love.” Val reached for me and held onto my wrist, pulling me against him, “Come into my office for a moment. My men are taking care of some business and I’d like to catch up with my wife.”
Not the office. I hate the office.
I had no other choice but to follow him into that horrible room that held far too many bad memories for me. Gunshots. Blood. Bodies. It was all too much.
Val closed the door behind us and I stared at the small walls that surrounded us. Val walked past me and took off his suit jacket, placing it on the back of the large chair behind his desk.
As he sat down he looked at me and motioned for me to come over, “Come here.”
I slowly walked around the desk and stood in front of him, looking down at his eyes as they stared up at me.
“I’m sorry that you disagree with my method of... ‘teaching.’ I know you feel as though I were far too hard on you, but this is they way I was raised, Elaina,” He placed his hands on my hips and pulled me onto his lap, “You need to feel safe with me, though. Trust that you’re safe with me because I will keep you safe.”
I looked down and took a deep breath. It was so much easier said than done. This was coming from a man who barely trusted a single person, now he expected me to trust him after he burned my skin.
Val placed his hand on my cheek and moved his face to mine, ”Elaina... This lifestyle is tough, but I assure you if someone else were to get their hands one you, hot wax would be the least of your problems.”
I placed my hand on my stomach and felt my eyes watering as I remembered how badly it hurt, I had begged him not to do it but he did it anyway, “It hurt so badly... I asked you not to, Val. I begged you.”
“I know, begging gets you nowhere, sweetheart. It’s my job as the future Capo to keep you in line.”
His eyes were on mine and his thumb wiped a tear as it rolled down my cheek. When Val leaned close, his lips pressed against mine and he held onto my face into a possessive manner.
I learned early to kiss back, Val wasn’t okay with rejection and I wasn’t about to spend another two weeks in captivity.
Our lips moved together and it was Val who deepened the kiss, making it rougher. He pulled me up, making me sit onto his desk in front of him. Val moved moved my legs apart slightly and I froze while his fingers played with the string of my sweat pants.
“It’s amazing how you can look so womanly and breathtaking even in sweatpants,” He spoke to me in a low tone, “No makeup or anything like that. You don’t even try for me, Elaina. You don’t have to because you’re simple, you’re beautiful without that nonsense.”
Was he being serious? I could never tell with him. If he was, I couldn’t help but be flattered, though the reason I didn’t dress up was because he had taken away any drive I had. I had no energy to move because of him.
My breathing hitched slightly when he lifted my shirt and he seemed to noticed my reaction. To my surprise, Val blew it off and focused on my stomach, “You’re right. Perhaps I was too hard on you...”
“It’s all I know, I hurt people because that’s how they learn right from wrong,” He stated clearly, glancing up at me, “But, I need to have more patience with you and I know that now. That doesn’t mean that I won’t get angry or aggressive, but burning you was much more extreme than I intended.”
I blinked, yet I kept my eyes closed and took in his words. It was all about the words with him but in a moment he could switch and get me at his mercy.
Val’s head moved between the nape of my neck and he pressed soft kissed on my skin. His hands wandered up my shirt and massaged my breasts through my bra, “Go get ready for tonight, sweetheart. Wear something sexy for me, it’s my night to show you off.”
And suddenly I was back to being a trophy. But now I had marks on my skin and scars that were skin deep, scars that no one could see but I would feel forever.
As Val pulled away, I slid off of the desk and stood up, adjusting my shirt, “I’ll see you later then...”
“Give me a kiss before you go,” He told me, leaning back on his chair comfortable and smirking at me.
Val was devilishly handsome. As cruel as he was, he could look charming and sweet which was extremely deceiving. He was masculine, even when I couldn’t see his muscles he held the features of a strong, dominate man.
I leaned down to give him what he wanted, aiming for a simple kiss on the lips but with Val, nothing was simple.
It was a full, open mouthed kiss with his tongue entering my mouth and while I was leaned down, I felt his hand on my behind, moving between my legs slowly.
Just as he rubbed between my legs, I stood back up and almost lost my balance, hearing Val stiffle a chuckle.
I hurried out of the room, feeling as though I had been mauled enough for the time being.
Val and I never had mutual intimacy. Val wanted to me intimate and it was my duty as his wife to return any kisses or sexual favors that he gave me. At first it was difficult since I wasn’t even used to sleeping next to someone, let alone having intercourse, but each time we were together it was easier.
In a way I hated having that special connection with someone who didn’t love or respect me but I was becoming used to the idea of it.
As I closed the door to his office, I leaned against the door and leaned against it, taking a deep breath.
My head turned towards the living room when I heard voices and I recognized Gianna’s instantly, she sounded annoyed and when the male voice responded I knew that it was Stefano who she was arguing with.
“You can’t just tell me where I can and cannot go, Stefano!” I noticed that her accent became more thick when she was angry, her Italian made her sound all the more feisty.
Gianna was an independent woman who could stand up for herself. Stefano had his hands full and I respected their relationship, the could talk to each other without Stefano making demands or rules.
“Gianna, I’m not telling you. I’m asking that you do the sensible thing and--”
“Sensible? Oh, well jeez.” As I walked past the living room to go to the to the stairs I could see Gianna flailing her arms in frustration, “I always go to The Underground with you. I know there’s thirsty bitches there, Stefano. I’ll be damned if I let you go alone.”
I reached the top of the stairs fairly quickly, the last thing I heard was Stefano sighing and responding to Gianna, “But you’re pregnant now. It’s safer here.”
His words made me wonder how dangerous this nightclub was. Val owned it and did business there so I assumed he would have control over if, however, Stefano just made me worried for my life like any other day of the week.
Based on Gianna and Stefano’s conversation, I learned two new things about The Underground; it wasn’t very safe and there were ‘thirsty bitches.’
If I had a choice, I wouldn’t even go. But I never had a choice in anything at all and I would be going to The Underground tonight.