2- Leaving the Heart Behind
And not the nice kind of people with all those things.
These people were not nice in any way. They did not even look like people. In fact, they looked like the incarnation of Satan but with nice clothes and branded watches.
I got scared.
And then I decided to become stupid.
I stayed silent and watched as trade deals of illegal guns were finalized with my husband doing everything to please the buyer.
One year passed by and I stayed silent. I watched as the attacks on rival gangs were planned and blood was spilled from the informers’ body.
Three years passed by as I silently acted like a trophy wife beside my husband while he flirted and fucked girls behind my back, assuming I was too stupid to notice anything.
What he did not understand was that I was not stupid.
I was a love- struck twenty three years old girl who was scared of the people that she had chosen to become her family.
Who was scared of the man that she was sleeping with every fucking night.
Years passed by and I acted dumb to the things that he did. I became blind and silent and deaf to the cries of my own soul while I watched him trample all over the love that I had in my heart for him.
It was the fifth year of our marriage four days ago. I had invited my best friend since school, Stella, to my home so that I could have a bit of company while the rest of my family became busy with the people that they did business with.
At first, I was hesitant of inviting her because I had seen the lust in Ethan’s eyes whenever he looked at her. I had seen him flirt shamelessly with her while she shrugged him off and gave him warnings of not being creepy to her just for my sake.
I should have gone with my gut. But instead, I chose to believe that my husband would not do something bad to my best friend while I was present at home. While I was under the same roof as him. I thought my husband had more respect for me than that.
Well, turns out my husband was too petty for humane niceties.
The party was almost over. I had brought Stella to my room so that we could chat while my family bid goodbyes to the last remaining guests.
I asked her if she needed a drink. She said yes. I left to get her a drink.
And when I came back, I watched from the door frame of the room as my husband grabbed Stella’s hand, pulled her harshly into his arms and said,
“What the fuck are you so worried about, Stella? I know you want me too. I know you think about how hard I can fuck you while you scream out my name.”
Stella was struggling in his arms to get free. Her face was scrunched up in disgust.
“Get the fuck off me!” She snapped angrily.
“Hope will not know anything. You just have to come to me.” Ethan said.
Then he smashed his lips on hers forcefully.
And that is when I had had enough.
I was not angry that he thought he could fool around with my best friend and I would not know. I was not angry that he wanted to fuck my best friend while I was under the same roof as him. I was not angry that he tried to kiss someone else while I was five feet away from him.
I was angry because he tried to steal the only precious person that I had left in my life.
I crossed the distance between Ethan and me, grabbed his shoulder from behind, and pulled him off Stella’s body.
Stella stumbled back on her feet from the impact but caught herself from falling.
“Hope I am…” she started saying.
But before she could continue, I lifted my palm to her face to indicate that she should stop talking.
“Hope, I do not want this girl in my house ever again.” Ethan said while pulling himself off my hold and trying to manage his clothing. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and continued talking,
“Stella tried to kiss me! She does not have enough shame to even think about you.”
I did not reply to his words. As soon as Ethan had freed himself off from my hold, I walked forward to Stella.
I grabbed her hand, pulled her close to me, looked her in the eyes and whispered,
“Can you please help me pack?”
And that is when I realized that my voice was trembling. I was not crying but my hands were shaking.
Stella’s fingers immediately tightened around my hand. Taking that as her approval I pulled her towards the closet.
I grabbed the suitcase that was on the top of it, pulled it down, opened the top and started throwing my things inside without caring about folding them. Stella also got into action and started putting them in random folds so that I could have more space.
I grabbed my purse that had my identification documents, a nice sum of cash and my credit card that I had since I was in college and threw it along.
I did not hear Ethan walking to me. He came and grabbed my elbow while turning me around to face me,
“What the fuck are you doing?”
I looked up at him then. No, actually, really looked up at his face.
His caramel skin was turning a bit pink, probably because of the drinks that he had in the party and probably because he was angry right now. His unusual green eyes stared back at my face. Questioning expressions and confused gaze.
Did he really not realize what he had done to me?
“What would have you done if you had seen me kissing your best friend?” I asked back.
I saw him gulp visibly. It was not apparent and flashy but I saw it clear as day. If anyone else were in my place, they would not have noticed it, but I did.
My husband was the son of a mafia leader. He was used to not showing his weakness, his expressions. Not showing his feelings on his face was an art that was embedded in his soul since he had stepped inside the business with his father.
But I had loved him since I had come to know the meaning of word love. I had given my youth to him. I had seen him walk through hell and heaven when he had come to me with a beaten up face without any explanation. I had tended to his wounds that were not visible to the eyes.
How could I not see when he was standing in front of me being so confused about his own feelings?
I did not wait to hear his response. I turned around again to see Stella pulling the zip close of the suitcase. I grabbed her hand and the handle of the suitcase, and started walking out of the room.
Ethan did not even pretend to stop me. He watched me walk out of the room and down the stairs.
All the guests were gone and Ethan’s dad, Richard Romano and mom, Lena were also nowhere in the sight as I had walked out of the hall. They also had left probably.
I grabbed the keys of Ethan’s Porche that were on the dining table and continued walking. I heard a heavy set of footsteps behind me and did not need to turn around to see who it was.
“You know that the members of Romano family are not allowed to part their ways.” I heard Ethan’s voice from behind me,
“You will have to come back to me.”
I did not reply to him. I knew of this tradition. I had watched it get embedded into the minds of children of our cousins and their children and so on.
This was about the reputation of family. ‘If you can not keep the members of your own family in control, you are not strong enough to handle a gang that falls under your protection’, I had heard them say the quote a thousand times.
But in that humiliating moment when I was not even sure if I was going to have to spend my nights on street or if I was going to be brought back in this house with their hands clutched tight into my hairs, I wanted to get out of this place that my husband was standing in with no sight of any remorse on his face.
Like he was daring me to walk out on him.
I did not turn around or answer back after hearing his words. But while I was crossing the threshold of the house, I saw Stella turn back to look at Ethan, lift her hand up in the air, and then flip him the bird up high.
And in that moment I did not know why or how, my mouth curved up in a grin at her action.