I had been living at Valentino’s home for a week now and most of my days consisted of reading outside. He continued to have sex with me every night, though he insisted that I kiss him back; so I did. Whenever he kissed me, I returned it. It was an order and I didn’t want to know what the repercussions would be if I didn’t obey him.
He had been on his best behavior so far and I hadn’t seen an extremely nasty side of him other than the night he took my virginity without my consent. He did his work during the day and even at home he disappeared into his office at times, but at least I wasn’t locked in the room. I could walked around the house and even go to the backyard.
Gianna wasn’t around today and I was unsure where she was, but I proceeded with my usual routine. I took the current book I was reading, Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone, and I began to head towards the back doors so I could enjoy the nice weather.
The moment I walked past Valentino’s office, I heard groaning. It sounded painful and as though someone were enduring something horrible, unable to simply pass by, I stopped abruptly.
The groaning continued and I was about to open the door but I stopped myself, I wasn’t allowed. I was specifically told to not go in there. Looking around quickly, there was no one around. I hurried to the kitchen to see if Anita were there but she was no where to be seen.
“Where is everyone?” I muttered to myself.
I had reached panic mode, I had never heard such a sound before. It sounded like complete misery - completely awful.
I returned to the office door and knocked gently but there was no response. Nothing was working out for me today, nothing. I’m not the kind of person who can just leave after hearing sounds of agony.
"Gahh,” the groans of pain returned and without thinking I pushed the door opened to come face to face with Valentino’s dark eyes as the blade of his knife cut deep into a young man’s torso.
“What are you doing!?” I gasped in horror at the sight before me. There was so much blood that my knees had become weak and my back had fallen against the wall.
“I could ask you the same thing, tesoro.” The sweet Italian words rolled off his tongue so easily.
[Translation: Tesoro ▪ Sweetheart]
The man who was on his knees with his hands tied behind his back and duct tape on his mouth had wide eyes as he watched Valentino grab the gun from atop of his desk. Without a word or even a hit of emotion, he swiftly held the gun to the man’s head and pulled the trigger.
A bitter scream escaped past my lips as his lifeless body fell to the ground and before I could react, Valentino’s palm smacked hard against my face.
“Did I not make myself clear about not coming in here?” He asked me through his teeth, clearly angry.
I held onto my cheek as the pain from his slap began to sting my skin, “I’m sorry...”
“You interrupted my business, do you realize that I have zero tolerance for that? NONE!” His voice got louder, which I didn’t know what possible and I looked at the man who lay in a puddle of his own blood, my eyes water. Valentino’s chuckle rang through my ears, “Get used to it, love. This is your life now.”
I shook my head, disgusted with the sight before me. I would never be okay with murder and how he did this so carelessly, regardless of what these people did to deserve it, they’re still human beings. Killing is a sin.
“This is your life, not mine,” I told him through my shaky tone, avoiding the side of the room which the body was on, “I will never accept this as my life.”
For the longest time, Valentino was silent. His dark eyes were like lasers through my skin as he clenched his jaw and stared at me like I just did something horrible. He was insane to think that I would just accept this lifestyle, absolutely insane.
Then finally, after a few minutes of saying nothing at all, he simply smirked, “Go read your book, tesoro. Try not to vomit on the way out.”
I hate him. I’ve never hated anyone as much as I hate the man whom I share the same last name. He’s filled with mind games and it terrifies me, I never know which move he will make next but I can only hope that there won’t be any more.
Who am I kidding, though?
A hand waved in front of my face while I sat at the table in the kitchen, I looked to see Gianna and she laughed softly when she finally received my attention.
“You were in another world,” She joked, “Are you okay?”
I honestly didn’t know. I kept seeing Valentino shooting that man and his body falling limp to the floor, it was scarring for me. I couldn’t even eat without thinking about it, let alone sleep.
“Uh... Yeah. I’m fine,” I forced a small smile.
Suddenly Gianna turned my face to the side and raised her eyebrow before letting out a soft sigh, “He hit you, huh?”
I touched my cheek, instantly feeling the swollen area where Valentino slapped my earlier, “It was my fault... I ran into his office to stop him from killing someone.”
Gianna reached over and gently touched my hand. She was comforting which was something that I needed more than anything in the world right now, “Was it your first time? I mean, seeing someone die?”
She made it seem like she experienced it before and I began to feel like maybe I overreacted, but seeing someone lose their life without a second thought was extremely difficult for me to process.
“I can’t imagine seeing that again,” I admitted to her, “It was terrible and I just stood there unable to help...”
“Elaina, you can’t help, and don’t try because that will only make things worse,” Gianna warned me. She leaned her elbows on the table and stared at me, “Val doesn’t like people interfering with his business, that’s partly why he doesn’t like me. I stand up for myself and he can’t do anything about it because I’m with his brother, but you’re his wife, he can do whatever he wants to get his point across.”
I already knew that he was against anyone interfering, no one could stop him from laying his hands on me so it was in my best interest to stay out of it, but it was so hard to pass by and know what he was doing.
“Stefano has mentioned that Valentino almost had to marry an Irish woman, I assume for joining a union or whatever,” I said suddenly, “Do you know what happened?”
Gianna paused for a moment, looking around the empty kitchen before walking around the table and sitting at my side, beginning to speak, “He was supposed to marry the daughter if the Irish Mafia Capo, Coilin. Her name is Keela. The arrangement had been decided years ago and everything seemed to be going as planned until Marco discovered that Coilin was planning hits at the wedding ceremony.”
My eyes grew wide st the information Gianna told me, it seemed like a stupid move to go against Valentino and his family but the Irish apparently had planned to, “Oh my god... What happened?”
I assumed Valentino had killed them. He must have killed them, he wouldn’t tolerate that and surely his dad had the same perspective.
Gianna took a deep breath and continued speaking in a quiet tone, “It was around two months before the wedding when Marco found out and of course they plotted to get the Irish first, but they’re intelligent and saw what was coming. We don’t know when, but eventually it will be a full on war between the Irish and the Italians.”
“And the union we created between the Italians and the Russians will help...” I added.
Gianna nodded her head slowly, “Exactly.”
I tried to take this all in but it seemed insane, like an action movie that I didn’t want to be a part of. I didn’t want to be involved in the gun fights or mass murder. I could tell handle the sight of blood, I couldn’t bare the sound of people screaming in pain and agony.
This is a nightmare, a curse that was given to me on my birthday. In a way, it was a Disney movie with a twist. Like sleeping beauty but I was awake and watching the horror unraveling around me.
Footsteps emerged from the hallways and when I looked towards the doorway, Valentino was entering the kitchen. He always knew where I was and it terrified me. I could never get away from him.
“I see you’re getting quite cozy,” He motioned towards Gianna and I.
I nodded my head slowly, “It’s nice to have a friend.”
I noticed Gianna smiling in the corner of my eye, “We should go to the Underground sometime, Elaina. It would be fun.”
“Absolutely not.” Valentino answered for me before I could respond. The glare he gave Gianna sent chills down my spine but Gianna didn’t seem the least bit affected by his intimidation tactic.
“How long are you going to lock her up here, Val?” Gianna shot back, furrowing her eyebrows together.
I could feel the tension grow instantly, then Valentino’s voice became loud as he smacked his hand onto the island, “Devi rimanere il cazzo fuori della mia attività!”
[Translation: You need to stay the fuck out of my business!]
“Calma, Val. Forse se non fossi così ombroso, non mi sentiresti minacciato da me parlando a Elaina!” Gianna argued back in an almost as strong tone as Valentino, but not quite. No one could be as intimidating at him.
[Translation: Calm down, Val. Maybe if you weren’t so shady, you wouldn’t feel so threatened by me talking to Elaina!]
I heard my name but I was smart enough to know that they were talking in Italian so I didn’t understand what they were saying. His hatred for Gianna was clear, as was her hatred for Valentino, but I was left in the dark as I was with most things.
Suddenly, Valentino gripped tightly on my arm, “Come with me.”
My mouth gaped open slightly but I nodded as I slide off the chair and followed him as he left the room, looking at Gianna’s annoyed face as we left.
“Se non fosse con mio fratello, avrei tagliato la gola,” He muttered under his breath as he began to drag me up the stairs of the house.
[Translation: If she weren’t with my brother, I’d slice her throat.]
Italian sounded like such a beautiful language, but I was almost certain that no beautiful words came out of his mouth no matter how charming he made it sound. I could only imagine the spiteful words he said about Gianna now.
“You are so much better than her,” Valentino said to me, not only did he speak on English but he gave me praises but surely it would come with a price.
I just stared at him. Why would he say this? I hadn’t done anything.
Valentino pushed open the door to our bedroom and waited for me to walk in before he followed behind me. I heard the sound of the door close behind us, followed by the clicking sound of the lock.
“Say my name,” He said to me suddenly.
I turned to look at him with furrowed eyebrows, “Huh? I...”
“I never hear you say my name,” He pointed out, ”Say it.”
It was a simple request, “Valentino.”
“Mm...” A smirk tugged at his lips as he moved his hand to my cheek, “That’s my business name, tesoro. In our home you call me Val, va bene?”
[Translation: tesoro ▪ sweetheart ☆ va bene? ▪ okay?]
I nodded my head slowly, “Oh... Okay.”
Suddenly, he took my hand. Val took my hand and placed it on his chest while looking down at me, “I want you to unbutton my shirt...”
“Valen-- I mean, Val... I-I...”
“Ah, ah.” He stopped me instantly, “This isn’t a one way street, love. I want my wife to show affection and after a long day, I need my girl to put effort into our intimate moments.”
I could feel my heart racing, this was different than out past moments. When he had sex with me, it was simply that, him doing the work and me giving my body to him. I didn’t move my hands on him or make the effort to pleasure him, though he seemed to be satisfied anyway.
“Unbutton the shirt, Elaina.” He demanded.
My hands shook as I reached to the top button on his shirt, I felt my face flush and the first button came loose. I attempted to focus on unbuttoning the shirt but Val’s lips captured mine and my my body fell limp, his hands on my butt kept me stable. My weak knees were not from feelings but nerves, I was afraid of what he could do to me.
“Keep going,” He muttered against my lips before moving his lips across my jawline.
In a way I felt like I was now giving him permission to have sex with me, like I was telling him that I wanted it, but I didn’t. I either don't listen to him which led to me getting slapped and him having sex with me anyway, or I obeyed. I chose the latter now that I knew better.
I couldn’t fight forever.
I finished the buttons on his shirt and Val turned me around quickly, lifting me slightly as he tossed me onto the bed. I landed on my stomach, groaning slightly from the sudden interaction. Instinctively, I attempted to lean up on my elbows but was shoved back down when Val pushed my head against the pillow.
Looking to the side I could see him pull something from his pocket and it wasn’t until he ejected the blade that I realized it was a pocket knife.
“Oh my god. No! Please don--”
“Shhh...” I moved the blade under my shirt and before I knew it he had the fabric cut off entirely.
I was waiting for him to do something with that knife that would draw blood from my body by the moment never came, all he used it for was to removed my clothes it a quick, aggressive manner.
He rolled me over onto my back so he was hovering over me and his eyes wandered my chest, “It’s a shame you can’t follow rules. I really wish you would because then I wouldn’t be forced to punish you.”
“P-Punish?” I stammered, becoming more uncomfortable under his gaze.
He continued to look at me calmly, “You can’t expect me to let you off with that behavior today, can you?”
He has a knife. That blade was all I could think about and it terrified me, “I’m sorry... I am. I shouldn’t have...”
His hand covered my mouth to keep me from talking and he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “Don’t worry, it isn’t happening now... But it will. Eventually.”
This was torture. He was going to do something when I least expected it. I had no warning or than knowing something was coming eventually. Eventually could be anytime at all.
I didn’t know what he was going to do to me, if he would hit me or tie me up. He was impossible to read and he liked it that way.
Why he waited this long to tell me? I have no idea. Now I had to wait for the dreaded moment that he decided that my punishment was due.