The heavens pour as if the angels themselves are shedding tears for the forsaken.
Lightning strikes with a thunderous roar, a sound that threatens to shatter the night sky with its screams of fury.
However, despite the uproar that Mother Nature is unleashing upon her domain, I stand against the violence, unaffected by it all.
The detonating explosions sounding off against my eardrums mean nothing, the water droplets that stream down my cold skin can’t be felt.
I’m numb because I’m scared,
but I can’t let him know that, I can’t let him see the weakness, the fear that coils my insides and makes my stomach slightly heave.
I can taste the acidic vomit on the tip of my tongue, it burns my throat but I force the contents back down.
My vulnerability is worst enemy.
A hostage of my faults, the flaws that anyone could
use for their advantage, for their manipulation.
Anyone but Alessio Romano —
the man who determines fate.
The rough hand that is spread over the base of my spine presses me further into him — into Alessio.
My breasts push flat against the side of his torso and I can’t help but tighten my arms around his waist, enticing him to tuck me further into the crook of his arm.
It’s all instinctual, a protective manner.
The shipyard’s containers conceal the severity of the situation. The salt of the ocean and the smell iron fills my nostrils.
The scent of the combination makes me so nauseous that I ask god for strength.
I don’t know if I can do this.
It’s all too much.
A middle age man lays semi-unconscious a few feet away from where I stand. Batter with bruises down the length of his face. His lips bleed and the skin of cheekbones are torn. He’s trying to move, the raggedness of his breath is low and harsh as he attempts to lift his head.
The fight for life is strong.
Footsteps near, they echo loudly over the sound of the destructionist storm.
Polished black shoes move towards the victim, walking around the man who’s being scrutinize underneath powerful eyes.
Will his death be swift? Or will the suffering continue?
In a flash, one of those shoes lift high in the air and stomp onto the fingers of the man whose face is unrecognizably swollen.
Painful screams emit. Agony from the torturous weight of the foot that is crushing his bones forces him to plea even louder.
Just like I was when I told him to stop.
“Resisti,” Alessio shouts to the soldier who immediately cooperates when told. The command from the underboss has the other capos stiffening, awaiting for their next move.
Alessio doesn’t let me go as he speaks, I can feel the vibrations of his heavy voice against my body as he yells out, “bring him.”
Rossi and Vince are the ones to grab the man by his arms and haul him to his feet, dragging his limp body and throwing him before us.
The man stumbles before his knees hit the ground, the sound of another crack makes me cringe and I can’t help but scrunch my face.
Fingertips dig into the jean material on my hips, not deep enough to hurt me but deep enough to stay in place.
Alessio is composed, but I know he’s fuming on the inside. It’s a dangerous thing when Alessio holds a certain look in his eyes, and I don’t even have to look at his face to know that he’s holding it right now.
I already know.
With alert eyes, I see Alessio reach into his coat pocket, ruffling the fabric before pulling out something sleek that catches the reflection of the storm.
My heart begins to beat wildly.
A pristine black handgun is held securely between the fingers of my betrothed. Gasping in shock I try to pull away but he locks me in place.
Will he make me watch this?
Lips seal shut, I have to remind myself that this is my reality. A merciless life. Silently I continue to watch just like the others, waiting.
The handgun raises and the barrel presses dead center against the kneeling man’s forehead. His shoulders tremble as he begins to cry and rock back and forth, whimpering out his apologies that seem too little too late.
“I’m s-sorry, p-p-please. Please d-don’t do this. I-I’m w-won’t ever”, his words are cut short when Alessio uses the grip of the gun and runs it repeatedly against the temple of the man’s head.
It doesn’t kill him, but it robs him of his speech.
“sta ’zitto,” pressing the gun back to his face, “today you live, that is promised... but tomorrow holds no certainty. Everyday you will fear for your life just like you made my fidanzata fear for hers.”
“P-Please-“, but Alessio doesn’t care to hear him out anymore because he starts to ram the gun against his head again.
It’s hard enough to knock him out this time.
Red floods out onto the concrete.
Mortification fills me, but I remain stoic.
“Gio! Get this shit out of my sight before I do much worse than ruin his face.” Alessio’s arms squeezes me closer to his chest and I accept it by placing my cheek against his wet coat.
I seek comfort in the man that can inflict suffering on anyone but me, I’m his prize, his light as he likes to call.
The soaking hair that sticks to my face brushes aside as Alessio places his thumb underneath my chin and raises my face to meet his. His warm breath that smells of mint fans over my skin when he rubs his index finger over my bottom lip.
His green eyes stare into my brown ones.
I say nothing but I’m caught off guard as the hand on the base of my lower back leaves and trails upwards until it’s tangled in my hair, lightly gripping and pulling my head back so he could see my face in its entirety.
Our foreheads press together.
“No one can touch you but me.” The tone of his voice makes my thighs clench in response. I’m embarrassed. I know this isn’t the time or place for that, so I look away, unable to meet those hungry lustful eyes with onlookers still nearby.
He doesn’t take that, he places his hand against my cheek to give him my sole attention but before he can say anything I hear an engine roar.
It brings me out of my thoughts. Turning to see the commotion, I watch as the black SUV pulls out of the lot and away from the shipping containers.
They’ve taken the unconscious man to dump him where they found him. Who knows how long he’ll survive under the stalking of the Romano’s. It’s only a matter of time.
All this because he was trying to touch what wasn’t his; he wasn’t able to anyways. Alessio was there to intervene when he heard my screams.
Alessio was upset to say the least when he found out.