Twisted Minds

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Epilogue

- 8 Months Later -

Elaina.

I looked at myself in the mirror, amazed by how my body was able to do what it’s been doing for the past nine months. In my stomach there were two little humans and it was completely insane to even think of. My body had grown human lives and it was truly incredible.

Three months ago Val and I learned that we were having twins which came as a shock to both of us but Val was thrilled knowing it doubled the chances of me giving him a son. For so long I had feared discovering that I was pregnant with girls so when Dr. Franklin told me that baby A was a girl, my fear for baby B grew all that more stronger.

“And baby B is...” Val and I stared at Dr. Franklin impatiently, waiting for his answer, “A boy!”

I remember letting out a deep sigh of relief because Val had gotten what he wanted, a boy and someone to let his legacy live on which I am deeply opposed to.

Today was I well over my due date and it had been decided that I would get medically induced to caused labor considering the babies didn’t feel like moving at all. Perhaps they wanted to stay in their safe little cocoon instead of entering this fucked up world. I don’t blame them.

“Are my children ready to make their appearance?” Val asked as he entered the room with a large, devilish smile on his face. In some sense having children gave him more power, it would be the beginning of his own empire.

I placed my hands on my belly, “I guess they don’t really have a choice, do they?”

“Of course not,” He answered, walking over to me and kneeling in front of me to rub my belly, “My little Luca, you will be the strength of this family and be raised to be the man I expect you to be.”

Luca was the name Val decided on. He insisted on naming the boy and I couldn’t refuse whether I wanted to or not. He went on with this story about how Luca means ’Light.′ Needless to say, he expected our son to have that name, a name that represented all that he wanted him to become - the light in the family that gave the mafia a sense of hope for the future.

He showed little interest in the girl, not caring what I decided to name her or even talking to her in my belly. His only focus was Luca, the one who would run his empire, the baby he wanted.

“I decided on a name for our little girl,” I told him with a small smile.

“That’s good.” He stood up and motioned towards the door, “Dr. Franklin is waiting for you. We should head down and evacuate these kids.”

I thought about our daughter and how she would constantly need to be reassured by me, knowing that Val didn’t care the slightest bit in having a daughter, only a son. At the same time I pitied our son, knowing what he would go through with Val, I silently vowed to never let him feel less than but I knew Val would fight me on that.

There were rules to follow and I had no idea how much time I had with the babies before Val took over and began training them to be strong and invincible like the Acerbi’s were expected to be.

Val led me to a room on the main level of the house, known as the medicine room. Any time Dr. Franklin was needed, this was his room and once I walked in I realized that it was like a little personal hospital room. Shelves of medicine on the wall, a hospital bed in the center with machines around. If I had been brought here without knowing, I would have thought I were in a real hospital.

“Good afternoon, Elaina. How are the babies?” Dr. Franklin asked me.

I managed a small smile, “They’re very active.”

“Wonderful news,” Dr. Franklin responded as he patted the bed, “I’m going to induce you. I’m sure you’re familiar with what this does. First I’m going to give you a shot of epidural to relieve pain during labor.”

I nodded my head, taking a seat on the bed having already been dressed in my ‘hospital’ gown. I feared what was in store for these innocent children. In the past months Val has done a complete change in character. He was still the angered and demanding man he always have been but he haven’t laid a finger on me, let alone a hand. We’ve argued like every other couple, but it never went anywhere past being verbal. The development had been miraculous, truthfully. Even then I was worried for something to go wrong, a fear I would need to overcome.

It felt like hours had gone by since I came here to give birth, but once the contractions had finally started, everything began to move very quickly.

“You’re dilated six centimeters,” Dr. Franklin had told me, informing me that the time would be approaching soon.

It was Val who surprised me, though. The closer we came, the more he paced; not impatiently but in a nervous manner which was very unlike him but nice to see. He wore his usual suit but no jacket, his sleeves rolled to his elbows.

“Val?” I asked to get his attention.

He instantly looked at me, full attention on me, “Hm?”

I contemplated speaking but at the same time I knew it was necessary for my own sense of comfort, “You have your son... I know that’s what you’ve wanted, but our daughter.”

“Elaina...” He began but I wouldn’t let him push this aside again, I’ve been trying to speak to him about it for the past four months.

“I just need to know that you’re going to care for her. She deserves the love from a father, too. She may not be your heir but she’s your child and I don’t want her growing up wondering why her father loves her brother but not her,” I explained to him in the most gentle way possible, “I know the love that you’re capable of, Val. I know how deeply you love something when you’re all in so please give her that affection.”

Val was silent which could be either a good thing or a bad thing, I wasn’t too sure at this point. He didn’t bother to answer me right away, instead he made his way to the bed where I was sitting and sat at the bottom near my feet. His eyes seemed distant but even then I could see the contemplation.

Finally, he spoke, “What is the name you decided on?”

It may have seemed small to anyone else, but him asking that showed that he had interest, which has never come up during my pregnancy at all. He finally showed the slightest bit of care and it made me happier than he would ever know or even intend.

“Ariella,” I told him.

Something inside of me just loved that name from the moment I had read it in a baby book, it sounded like innocence and strength all in one and I could see my daughter being called Ariella, a gorgeous yet courageous name.

“It’s beautiful,” Val nodded his head and reached for my hand as he exhaled, “I know that my focus has been on Luca, and I understand your concern because a boy is what every man in the family has to have in order to keep their legacy, but our daughter will be something special to me. She will be my personal strength and reason for fighting hard for our family, I will protect her with my life and so will her brother.”

I couldn’t do anything more than squeeze Val’s hand and once he moved closer to me I hugged him. He had given me all of the reassurance that I needed and I knew how he valued family, that’s why it was so important for me.

The epidural had kicked in well, during what turned out to be a ten hour labour I was comfortable for the most part and the pain was minimal. Val stood with me the entire time, holding my hand through every scream and every push, after what seemed to be a lifetime we were blessed with two small babies that were delivered healthy.

Most of it seemed like a blur but when our daughter was passed to me and Val held our son, I woke up from the daze I had been in staring at my newborn children and trying to take everything in at once. Both babies had a head full of dark hair and weight each a little over six pounds.

“You did wonderful,” Val commented and I managed a smile, “I will never be able to give you such a beautiful gift but I will show you daily just how much you and our children mean to me.”

It seemed unlike him but seeing how petite Luca was in his arms gave me a sense of belief, seeing the way Val held him so gentle as though he were a fragile piece of glass.

I knew that this wouldn’t last forever, by the time our boy could talk Val would be teaching him everything it would take to become a murderous monster such as himself. It was in Luca’s blood and Val would make sure that he grew up to be strong and ruthless, enough to lead one day and enough to react without thinking.

By the time our son could stand he would be holding a gun in his hand.

“How long does he have?” I asked quietly and Val knew exactly what I was talking about but he acted as if he didn’t.

“For?”

“To be normal, until he’s trained and...”

“He’s never going to be normal, Elaina. He’s living under the roof of the mafia, he and Ariella will both grow up seeing guns and blood - it’s normal for their life, it may seem messed up to you but this is somewhat like our religion, the way we are raised and we know nothing else.”

I held Ariella in my arms and looked at her with her eyes closed, surely she wouldn’t have it easy either but Luca would be forced into much, much more. I had no control over the situation as badly as I wanted to protect him for it. Going up against Val was like going against the president of the United States, he would always win because he had the power.

All I could hope for is compromise and I would try my best to make their lives as normal as possible.

“We love differently,” Val commented, “You love with your heart and I love with my head. I want my children to grow to be strong because they need to be, if not, they could get killed. You, however, that heart of yours keeps getting us in trouble. If you let your heart lead you, our children will not be independent and it could potentially cost them their lives. I mean nothing by it, I just need you to understand the importance of our children being able to protect themselves.”

He was right, of course he was - he’s always right.

He fought to make me understand and I did, our children wouldn’t be growing up in a regular life setting. They wouldn’t be spending their weekends at the park, they would be spending it running from the enemies, fighting them and killing. Having Acerbi blood just meant that their lifestyle was going to be different and if they weren’t informed or raised properly, it could kill them.

I knew that Val would protect our kids with his life, I trusted him to do that much and as hard as it would be I would have to stand on the sidelines while watching my kids become murderers, unable to say anything about it because it was for their own safety.

We were far from a regular family, we were a family that would be feared by everyone and my children had to live with that.

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