“You look stunning, Ms. Vasiliev.” The maid told me as I stood in front of the mirror wearing a wedding gown. No matter how many times I told her, she didn’t stop calling me Ms. Vasiliev. I would never be a Vasiliev, and after today, I would be an Acerbi.
I’d been dragged to the venue unwillingly so I can say vows and give myself to a man in don’t even know. The past week had went so fast I’ve barely had a chance to come to grips with the situation. I had no access to phones or Internet, and I was wondering what my mom had told Kira.
Someone had to realize I was missing. There’s no way the girl who wasn’t even allowed to leave Ohio suddenly disappeared on purpose.
I hadn’t seen Valentino since the day at Vadim’s home, that I was grateful for. I didn’t want to seem him but now I would see him every single day. After the wedding I would be going home with him which could be significantly worse than living with Vadim this past week.
The dress I wore was long and fell to the ground. The entire dress was lace, while the top was tighter to my body it fell more naturally at the bottom. My hair was held in a nice updo with a few curls hanging down the side and I was ready, but I wanted something else to do. Anything to procrastinate.
The door to the room I was getting ready in opened and Viktor stood there, holding up his cell phone, “Your mother is on the line.”
My eyes grew wide, not hesitating to take the phone from him and press it to my ear, “Mom?”
“Elaina, honey it’s so good to hear your voice...” I heard my mom on the other line and I suddenly felt at home again. I felt like of was taken from this miserable reality and I was back in Ohio again.
My eyes had instantly filled with tears, missing my mom and wishing that I could just go back to how things were before this, “He’s making me get married, mom. What am I going to do? You’re coming to get me, right?”
I was overwhelmed, sick to my stomach and devastated. Vulnerability was not my strong suit but that was all I had at this point in time. I couldn’t defend myself against these people, it was impossible.
The sound of my mom’s sigh echoed through the phone line and I listened to her speak, “You have to do it, honey. He’s dangerous and... you need to listen, okay? Stay safe.”
It sounded like she was about about to hang up and I panicked, “When are you coming to get me?”
“Elaina, I... I can’t.” She stuttered and I couldn’t hear the pain in her voice, “I’m sorry, baby girl...”
My mouth gaped opened and I felt the phone get snatched from my hand. As I looked up I noticed Viktor hovering above me, “Chat time is over. The wedding is about to start and you’re the guest of honor.”
Viktor had an extremely evil personality, then again, they all did. But Viktor showed his menacing personality more freely. His smirk was one of a serial killer, someone who had fun while watching someone suffer and currently, I was suffering under his gaze.
I followed Viktor out of the room and he led me in the direction of where the ceremony was to take place. This wasn’t a regular wedding. I didn’t have bridesmaids, I wasn’t being walked down the aisle by a loving parent, this was a modern day shotgun wedding.
It was like a horror movie, everyone celebrating with smiles on their faces and then me; the girl they used to make all of this possible.
The wedding music started and I had forgotten myself for a moment, forgetting that there was no wedding party and only me to walk out. I had been so lost in my own disturbing thoughts that I wasn’t focused on what was actually happening around me.
I felt something press against my back and froze in place, knowing exactly what it was.
“Do not make me force you to move, Elaina,” Viktor threatened, his gun pressed against my spine which caused my breathing to hitch.
I gulped, my chest tightening before I nodded my head quickly and began to take steps around the corner. The alter came into view and everyone visible was clearly part of the mafia, or in some type of relations. Everyone seemed so stern or strong, then there was me, the scared little girl who to them, seemed like a piece of meat.
Everything felt so slow, the more I walked towards Valentino the further away I felt but I knew it was due to the dizzy feelings inside of me.
I reached the end of the alter, joining hands with Valentino and I looked at his face, his expression was serious and eyes unreadable while he listened to the minister. He had a strong jawline, something that wasn’t difficult to notice - his traits were very dominant.
Valentino’s hands were warm which seemed surprising for someone with such a cold soul, and I noticed that while the minister spoke Valentino’s thumb moved to the engagement ring on my finger.
The next time I see you, I expect to see that ring on your finger.
I wasn’t going to test how serious he was when he said that, it seemed to me like the mafia liked their women to be obedient.
“I do,” I heard him say and I looked up from my trance in time to hear the minister reciting what terms I had to agree to.
Just as he finished, I nodded my head slowly and spoke in a soft tone, “I do.”
Valentino turned to receive a ring from his father while Vadim passed one to me for this union, Valentino was the first to slide my ring on while I slid his on right after.
“By the power vested in me, by the state of Illinois. I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride.”
He leaned in. Valentino leaned in, his dark eyes on me until they finally closed so our lips connected in a surprisingly gentle kiss. It was quick but when our lips parted, he didn’t pull away, not completely.
His lips moved to my ear and he whispered low for only me to hear, ”My bride.”
That was it, it was all set in stone. I was his now, legally. He claimed me as his own because that’s what I was now, his wife. Elaina Acerbi.
The entire night was spent at Valentino’s side, his arm holding me close to him like a position he wanted to hold, and trophy of some sort. He mingled with the guest, a lot being said in Italian and some words were said while looking at me which put a slight edge on the comfort I was feeling.
“To think you were almost stuck with one of the bloody Irish, brother.” A man, slightly shorter than Valentino said as he approached with a drink in his hand.
“This is why we keep our eyes open,” He responded simply.
The handsome man looked at me and extended his hand, “Elaina, more stunning in person.”
I managed a small smile, it was the most genuine contact I’ve felt in over a week. As I shook his hand I could feel my side being gripped upon and I let go of the man’s hand.
“This is my younger brother Stefano.” Valentino explained to me, “He isn’t quiet as level headed as I.”
Before Stefano could respond, a girl with black hair joined him and held onto his arm. There was no doubt in my mind that she was Italian also, but she seemed happy. Maybe I could be happy someday, too.
“Congratulations, Val. I never thought a monster like you could find love,” She commented.
My stomach dropped as she said monster. She confirmed everything inside of me.
“As you know, Gianna, this was an arranged affair,” His cold gaze met hers and something was different. It was clear he didn’t like her but it was also clear that she didn’t back down to him, but why would she be crazy enough to challenge him that way?
Gianna looked at me, her smile staying on her lips, “Where are you going on your honeymoon?”
“No honeymoon.” Valentino answered, “I have business to attend to, as does your boyfriend. Try staying out of the way this time.”
He pulled me in another direction, cussing in Italian. The last thing I needed was him angry on our first night as a married couple, especially when I don’t know him but I’m well away of what he’s capable of.
“Is that your only sibling?” I asked as he dragged me along the floor, through to the main entrance without answering me.
He turned to face the guest who immediately looked at him with full attention, “Grazie! My wife and I are heading home for the evening, but we appreciate your presence today.”
[Translation: Grazie ▪ Thank you]
The guests clapped their hands and Valentino led me out of the venue. From that moment, I had no idea where I was going. I didn’t know where Valentino or if her resided in Chicago as well as Vadim.
He led me to a black SUV and unlocked it, opening the passenger’s side door for me. I got in and looked around, noting how large it was. The windows were tinted which made it very dark.
Valentino made his way to the driver’s side, getting in and turning the SUV on without saying a word.
The silence was deafening.
My eyes focused out the window, imagining being anywhere but here. Everyone was supposed to have a happy place but after my mom left me to these people I didn’t even have that anymore.
“We need to go over some ground rules,” I heard Valentino speak up as he drove and I looked over at him, seeing that his eyes were focused on the road.
“You don’t touch another man or let another man touch you,” There was a hint of bitterness in his tone, “That incident in there with my brother, next time, you’ll lose a finger.”
“I was being polite...” I attempted to defense myself.
I was suddenly grabbed by the chin roughly, his eyes left the road and his piercing eyes met mine, “And don’t you ever talk back to me. You will respect me, understood?”
My chest was heaving rapidly as I nodded my head rapidly in agreement just so he would let me go.
He let go of my chin, turning his focus completely back to the road and I stared down at my lap for the rest of the drive. It was a relatively long drive, silent and awkward.
Although I was uncomfortable with the silence, Val seemed oddly content. He was, however, the person who caused the discomfort.
We reached a long driveway that was gated all around. The gate doors were high and had a fancy A atop of it which indicated that we had arrived at my own personal hell.
Val pulled the SUV up near the gate where there was a security system, he began to key in a code and the gates opened. After he drove through the gates instantly closed behind the vehicle.
“Will I be able to go outside?” I asked him.
Surprisingly, he nodded his head, “Of course. We have a very large backyard, I’m sure you’ll find it quite delightful.”
That wasn’t exactly what I had meant and a part of me knew that Val knew that also, “I meant outside of that gate...”
“Not anytime soon,” He answered truthfully.
Val parked his SUV in the driveway and I noticed someone had come out from the house to put the SUV on the garage. We both exited the vehicle and I looked at the house in front of me, house was an understatement.
It was lit up which meant it was occupied, obviously more than just Val lived here and hopefully whoever did was the welcoming type; but I wouldn’t hold my breath on it.
“Your father told me about the arrangement with your mother and that your move here was sudden so I have some clothes coming for you tomorrow,” He explained as he walked into the house, “Let me show you to our bedroom.”
All I could do was nod and even that movement was difficult. Was it possible to throw up from nerves on the spot? And if I did, would he slap me for that?
The walk up the large staircase was endless along with the walk through the long hallway. This hallway wasn’t nearly as creepy as Vadim’s, but I wouldn’t be so quick to judge. These people were all the same.
Valentino stopped at a door and pushed it open for me, waiting for me to enter before him. I never felt one hundred percent safe with him standing behind me, I never knew what he was going to do.
I took a step into the currently dark room, waiting for Val to turn on the light but he didn’t, instead I heard the door close behind me and his hands rested on my hips from behind. I felt him lean into the nape of my neck, planting a soft kiss on my skin and I knew instantly where this was going.
As Val turned my body to face him, I watched him as he tugged off his tie then began to work at the buttons on his shirt. He was an extremely attractive person - physically. But physical attraction can only go so far. Mentally, he was aggressive and a psychopath.
He placed his hand on my cheek, leaning down and forcing his lips on mine roughly. I could feel the dominance he possessed as his tongue pushed it’s way against my lips. His hands snaked around my body, tugging at the zipper on my dress and causing it to pool around my feet. I was wearing only undergarments and I felt bare, uncomfortable even. I’d never been so exposed to a man before and I wasn’t nearly ready for it.
I pulled away the moment I had a chance, my heart racing from everything happening suddenly. I looked at Val, shaking my head slowly, “No... I-I’m not... I can’t...”
His index finger covered my lips, the warning eyes returning as he stared at me, “Don’t say no to me.”
I felt him pick me up in his arms and he was quick to toss my body recklessly on the mattress like I was a toy, not a human being. He pulled his shirt off of his shoulders before unzipping his pants and pushing them off. Everything was moving so fast and I no longer felt like the eighteen year old girl, I was thrown into a life with so many responsibilities and burdens that my teenage years were gone two years too soon.
"Lo Gesù, sei sexy,” He groaned while his eyes wandered my body, lingering on my sacred areas longer than the others.
[Translation: Lo Gesù, sei sexy ▪ Jesus, you’re sexy]
The mattress moved as he hovered over me, looping his fingers on the waistband of my panties and ripping them off of my body which caused a yelp to escape my lips.
His boxers were the next to be removed before he moved his lips along my jaw again, making his was between my cleavage and reaching around my back to unclasp my bra. As he tugged off the fabric that held my breasts, his lips mauled my skin, letting his tongue slide around my nipple.
I felt my legs roughly being pulled apart and nothing could prepare me for what happened next. My first time. The aggression as Valentino entered my fragile and once innocent body.
He thrusted quickly and viciously, causing pain to fill my body. While moans of pleasure escaped his lips I had to struggle to keep myself from crying. A moment that I had saved for someone special was taken due to pure selfishness.
Italian curses rolled off of his tongue and though I didn’t understand the language I could somehow tell that they were words of content and pleasure.
The entire time while he had his way with me, I held onto the blankets tightly in attempt to suppress some of the pain until eventually the barrier had broken and the pain was replaced with a slightly more satisfying feeling, but that didn’t change the pain I felt emotionally.