Next week. The wedding that was forced upon me was next week and this after crying myself to sleep since I’ve gotten here, it didn’t seem to make me feel the slightest bit better. Only being here for three days, the plans and the wedding all together was rushed, not because people were eager but because they wanted this alliance sealed once and for all.
I hadn’t chosen a single thing, every girl dreams of their wedding; the dress, the location, the music, and most importantly... the person they’re marrying. Nothing about this wedding had been my choice, but I’m following orders.
Vadim had the maids he had working for him bring several dresses to my room and each dress I tried on, I hated. They weren’t terrible but seeing myself in a wedding dress made it feel more real and I wasn’t ready to face it just yet.
“I need a moment,” I asked the women and they nodded their head, leaving me with the dresses as I stood in front of the mirror wearing a strapless dress that was tight around the torso but fell beautifully to the floor.
I sighed softly, it was gorgeous. But I shouldn’t be wearing it, things weren’t meant to be this way. I was supposed to fall in love and get married to the man of my dreams, I would plan the wedding with my mom and things were supposed to be perfect.
I closed my eyes tightly, shaking my head. He could be lying. How do I know my mom is even okay?
Quickly, I stood from the bed and rushed through the hallway, knowing exactly where Vadim would be. He always seemed to retreat in his office for business and perhaps this was a business matter to him.
I knocked on the door furiously, tears streaming down my face. I hadn’t even realized how emotional I had become until I sniffled.
“вступать.” I heard Vadim say, but I had no idea what it meant. Maybe he was angry that I had come to his office.
[Translation: вступать ▪ Come in]
I stood at the door, unsure what to do at the point and a few seconds later the door quickly opened. Vadim was in front of me with his gun aimed right at my forehead.
I jumped back, falling against the wall and covering my face, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
“Иисус Христос, дорогая. Did you not hear me tell you to come in?!” He raised his voice at me before lowering his gun.
[Translation: Иисус Христос, дорогая. ▪ Jesus Christ, my dear.]
“I don’t know Russian,” I answered, stuttered before slowly removing my hands and looking at him.
He looked irritated, folding.his arms over his chest as he raised an eyebrow, “What do you need, Elaina?”
Other than to go home?
“I...” I paused momentarily before looking down at the floor, “I want my mom to come to the wedding.”
If I were being forced into this mess, the least he could do is allow me to have someone I know there. I felt like a gun would be held at my back and having my mom there would provide some sense of comfort.
Vadim released a low chuckle, shaking his head in response, “That isn’t how this works, my dear. Your mother had her eighteen years, that is said and done. Now, I have no intentions on letting Fiona interfere with my business.”
“Just the wedding,” I begged.
“I’m unsure why you feel like you have a say in this. We have limited time and my workers are waiting, go and be assisted,” He told me before closing the office door in my face.
Of course I didn’t have a say because the day I turned eighteen I became a prisoner. This wasn’t a wedding for me, it was a wedding for the Russians and Italians to gain ties.
I returned back to the room where the maids were waiting with more dresses and I had managed to wipe my dried tears.
“Ms. Vasiliev, ther--”
I stopped her from continuing, shaking my hea, “My name is Duval. Elaina Duval.”
She seemed confused and unsure how to approach the situation but simply nodded her head, “Oh... Uh, well... Ms. Elaina, a package arrived for you.”
The maid wouldn’t even call me by my real surname. Everyone was under the spell of Vadim, everyone except me, but eventually I would have to follow, or I would just end up in danger. Everyone around him, such as these woman, walked around with great fear in their eyes.
“A package?” I asked.
She nodded her head, “Yes. I believe it’s from Mr. Acerbi.”
Mr. Acerbi as in Valentino. The maid passed me a small box and all I could do was wonder what was inside. I didn’t want whatever it was, surely it was something bought from blood money.
“Well... Thank you,” I told her, taking a second to open the box and looking at the elegant ring inside. It seemed far more expensive than anything I would ever be able to afford.
“Oh my, what a beautiful engagement ring,” The maid gushed as she looked over my shoulder.
I, however, felt sick to my stomach. This was all becoming far too real. Until three days ago I had so much to look forward to - University, falling in love, but now I had no idea what was to come.
I had nothing to look forward to now, nothing else for the rest of my life with the stranger I was promised to.
I walked down the stairs of the large home, for the size of it, it seemed to be fairly empty. The home only had maids and Vadim, along with a few of his men.
In the few days that I’ve been here I’ve already noticed that every man carried a gun but I hadn’t seen them use it, and I never wanted to. I’ve only heard about these types of things in books or on movies.
My eyes focused on the doorknob, it wasn’t like a door in a regular home and I couldn’t leave. In order to get out, a key was needed to unlock from the inside. I’ve also learned that all windows were locked securely.
“Already looking for an escape?” I heard a light chuckle from behind me but it was an unfamiliar voice, not Russian.
I turned to see Valentino standing with his hands in the pockets of his suit, staring at me with the same dark stare he had three nights before. It was intimidating to say the least, I had no idea why he was here or the personality of the man I was forced to wed in a few days.
His eyes looked at my left hand as he arched a thick, dark brown, “Did you receive your ring?”
“I... Well, yeah. I did.” I nodded my head slowly, holding onto my fingers and looking anywhere but his eyes, “It didn’t quite fit.”
That was a lie. I didn’t put it on because I wasn’t ready to put on a ring for a stranger, I wasn’t ready to commit myself to a man in the crime world. As soon as I put that ring on my finger I was accepting all of this and I was far from accepting.
“You’re a size 6,” He said, not as a question. He didn’t ask me, he stated it as a known fact. He knew the size of my ring and he knew that the ring he had give me would fit.
He knew that I was lying to him.
As he stepped forward he came closer to me, “I don’t appreciate lying, Elaina. And once you become my wife, I certainly won’t tolerate it either. Perhaps you should get used to telling the truth now so you won’t have to deal with the repercussions later, yes?”
All I could do was nod my head. He was pure evil, talking to me like I was some obedient dog and not a human being. What would the repercussions be if I didn’t listen to Valentino, anyway? Though I was curious, I never wanted to find out.
“How old are you?” I asked him suddenly.
He seemed young, but not childlike young. He was a man in all aspects of the word.
“Twenty-four.” He told me, but he didn’t ask me a question in return.
“Aren’t you going to ask how old I am?” I questioned.
“You’re eighteen,” He responded, “You just turned eighteen a few days ago. I don’t need to ask you anything because I know everything about you, Elaina Vasiliev. Your mother is Fiona Duval, you grew up in Ohio as Elaina Duval. Your best friend is Kira Gures and you worked at Duval’s Cakes. Your ring finger is size 6, shoes are size 7 and blood type is A Positive.”
I was nauseous. He seemed to know everything about me, even the most assured and pointless things, all the way up to important things such as my blood type. My fucking blood type! How does he even know those things? I had no freedom or personal space whatsoever and being a part of this place, being related to Vadim Vasiliev has put everyone I loved in danger.
Valentino was someone who seemed to have an extremely dark personality and knowing that he was the one I was forced to marry terrified me. I doubted that life with him would be anything but a fairytale.
I heard a ring tone and as Valentino looked at his phone, his brows furrowed together momentarily before shoving the phone back into his pocket.
His attention turned back to me and his voice stayed at the same, rough tone as it was before, “The next time I see you, I expect the ring to be on your finger.”
Valentino turned his back to me and left the room, I assumed her was here to meet with Vadim about something.
I waited for him to leave the room before making my way into the currently empty family room. My eyes tool in the area, hoping to find something that would get me out of here but I fell up short. There were not landlines, everyone seemed to use cellphones here.
I was completely trapped.
The same night as I sat on my bed, I looked at the ring that Valentino had sent over and insisted that I wear. An engagement ring for this forced engagement, for a sickening type of marriage that I didn’t want and I wasn’t even sure he wanted.
The ring was stunning but it represented all types of wrong. Any time I would look at my finger I would be reminded of the life I was now forced to live and the life that was taken from me.
I took the ring out of the box and observed the stunning diamonds. The last time I looked at the ring I hadn’t even bothered to take it out of the box.
Sliding it carefully onto my ring finger, I closed my eyes and sighed softly. He was right, the ring fit me like a glove. Then again, of course he was right, the man knew everything about me and I knew nothing about him.
I opened my eyes to look at the ring shining on my finger. It was the beginning of the end and before I knew it there would be a wedding ring on there as well.