I run my fingers against the soft cotton dress folded neatly in a stack the man had brought in. I have five minutes. Until what? Five minutes. I have to change and compose myself by then. Suddenly having a countdown makes my heart race even faster, the dull ache in my head increasing as I change out of my waitress dress and into this new blue one. It conforms perfectly to my body, molding to my curves but letting my skin breathe. And my heart rate increases. What are they going to do with me? Why are they giving me this dress to wear? Five minutes until what? Now it would be three of course, and that thought only makes me begin to pant a little breathlessly. I feel a panic attack emerge, the inability to breathe taking over and the clench in my stomach.
"Chocolate," I breathe out through my puffs of air that I attempt to slow and deepen. "Rain in summer... cats yawning... snow falling on my hair... smell of fresh cut grass..." I begin to hum to myself as I feel my heart beat lowering, my breaths steadying and a small wave of calmness rush through me. "High up above, the angel sleeps, soon she will come, to rescue me. Be patient and wait, for she won't be long, hold on 'til then, and sing this song."
The door is once again flung open and the same man raises his eyebrows at me with his arms crossed over his chest. He expects me to come out myself. At least that's kinder than being manhandled. I follow him out, my eyes scanning my surroundings outside the vacant dank room. Dark grey walls enclose us, spotlights on the ceiling giving off a warm but threatening glow. We're in a hall, a narrow width squeezing the man and me together. He wears a completely blank expression, hard and stern. His posture is held as if he has a metal rod up his ass. He doesn't even look over to me as I continue to stare at him with wide crazy eyes. I revert my gaze back in front of me, doors lined up against both walls.
As we reach the end of the hall, we turn and it opens out onto a grand foyer much brighter than the death hall. I'm led into a small room with a square candlelit table.
"Sit," the stoic man orders in a gravelly voice and I scurry to the two person table. Who else is sitting at the table? The man leaves without another word, also leaving a haunting silence in the petite room. I look down into my hands, my nails scratching against each other in growing anxiety.
"Gattina," a voice calls out and I jump in my seat, shooting up out of it with wide terrified eyes. I'm met with suit man, incredibly handsome yet completely dangerous and malicious. He chuckles as he watches me closely, before taking the other seat and raising an eyebrow at me to sit.
"My name's Belle," I tell him, somehow finding a very stupid confidence in this situation. I soon lose it when he smirks devilishly at me, leaning back in his seat and sipping the wine set on the table. "Why am I h-here?" I stutter out, unable to look him in the eyes so darting them at every object in the room. There are warm yellow lamps creating a cosy and unsettling atmosphere and then I notice the gun he placed on the side table as he walked in. He probably has another weapon on him as well, but he wants to intimidate me further than he already has.
"You're here because I own you," he states plainly. He doesn't elaborate any further which makes my stomach clench even more in anxiety. But why the hell does his voice wet my panties? Maybe in my nervousness, I've wet myself a little.
I attempt to find more words to say but my lips just forms different shapes, no sound projecting through them. He raises his eyebrows at my speechlessness and grins slyly. "W-what do you w-want from me?"
"Because I own you, you'll be my waitress, along with whatever I want you to do. You'll obey my every word," he tells me.
"You don't own me," I blurt out, immediately shrinking in my chair as I watch him glare at me. The flash of rage that passes his face twists into a sick humorless chuckle.
"Bambina, you're mine," he growls in a threatening voice, his eyes darkening and body tensing. "You fail to obey me, you'll be punished. Understand me?" He cocks his head at me as he stares me down with a forceful look. I nod my head frantically and he relaxes fully, returning his malicious smirk. My chest is furiously rising and falling and I hadn't realized I'd been panting in anxiety and fear. "How old are you?"
"Twenty," I mutter, chewing on the insides of my cheeks to lessen the pressure I'm placing from my right hand nails into my left forearm. It's beginning to draw blood and a very sharp but numbing ache to my arm. "What's your name?" I ask in a small voice.
"Lorenzo Calabria." Calabria? Oh, God. No. No, no, no. How can that be possible? Shit. Stay calm. He doesn't know who you are. He never met me before. Just act normal. Well, as normal as I should act in front of my mafia kidnapper. "But you, gattina, will call me sir or master or boss?"
"Like I'm your slave," I mutter a little too loudly. Why can't I stop myself? My anxiety usually leaves me speechless but in this situation, I'm finding this insane and unsuitable confidence. I await his reaction which is surprisingly amused.
"Nice to know you're starting to understand," he teases. "I gave you the smallest respect of calling it a waitress plus everything else I ask of you. But well, you said it." A leggy slender flirty woman swans into the room with a tray in her hand, shooting me a deadly glare before finding every way to touch Mr Calabria.
"Boss," she whispers seductively. "Come to my room later." He glances blankly over to her before rolling his eyes and waving her away as she puts down food in front of him and a small portion for me. She sends him one last smirk before hurrying out.
"The rules here are simple," he declares. "One: you answer to me, only to me. The other guys want something from you, you tell me. Two: you only call me what I allow you to call me. Three: you'll respect me, fear works too. Either way, choose to disrespect me and you'll seriously regret it. Final rule: you don't let the other guys touch you. Break these rules, you'll be punished, however I choose." He smirks at me sadistically but somehow, the way he says 'you'll be punished' makes my stomach flip and wetness pool in my panties. Why is my body reacting to this cruel man? My kidnapper? He took me, claims he owns me, sets rules that I have to follow to not get punished and I'm attracted to him. Maybe I'm experiencing Stockholm syndrome. I always thought that was the most ridiculous notion I had ever heard but now, I’m starting to rethink it entirely. I should be disgusted by him, with every free moment, I should want to look away from him, get away from him. It’s been the feeling I’ve had predominantly with other men who used me. But I don’t know what I’m feeling now.
Can I blame this man for kidnapping me when he took me from such a shit life? I can’t imagine my life getting worse, or better. Maybe I’m fated for this dark abusive world. It keeps catching up with me.
No, I can’t let this happen. I hate him. I’ll force myself too if I have to. I may have been broken down so many times that I’ll never rebuild myself again, I’ll stay broken but strong. I’m strong. I need to find a way out and not be stupid about it. If Tony Calabria sees me here, I’m sure as hell not leaving. I need to escape, fast. Follow orders, be obedient and wait for an ample opportunity.
“You live alone,” he states and although I wonder how he knows that, I also wonder why he’s just pointing that fact out to me. All I do is nod. “What about your parents?”
“They died,” I answer in a gentle voice, still affected by the domineering tone of his voice.
“You have no one? What about the guy from the diner? He seemed incredibly distressed when he saw you.” Enzo raises an eyebrow at me in a cuirous way.
“He’s a friend,” I reply curtly, not wanting anything further to happen to J than it probably already had. Enzo said they were going to rough them up a bit, as a warning. I wonder if J is okay. Maybe I shouldn’t, seeing as I might not be okay. That thought swirls my mind, suddenly becoming more prominent and creating a dull compression to the side of my head. As if someone hooked a head brace to me and started to squeeze on both sides.
“No,” he grits, making my eyes snap to his. “It’s disrespectful to lie to me. You want to be punished?”
“No...” I tremble, my gut clenching as the anxiety feels overwhelming. Um... think... calming things... puppies playing in the park... candy floss and bubbles at the fair... clouds against the perfect blue sky... full moon in a pitch black sky... anything but this life...
“Tell me your relationship with him and don’t lie to me,” he commands, raising his voice only slightly but every word is laced with a threat.
“H-he...” I stammer, partly due to my attempt to calm myself down. “He gave me a job when I had nothing. He asked me out yesterday a-and he kissed me. This morning, I was attacked and I couldn’t return to my apartment and so he offered for me to stay with him.”
“Attacked?” he questions, his honey eyes darkening to pitch black in almost an instance.
“My n-neighbor,” I reply, not really feeling as if I need to say more. He knows what I mean by attacked, although not all of the details. I’m not sure it matters what level of attack he thinks, I’ve been attacked on every level, scarred emotionally for life. Why’s he so mad? He’s exactly the same as the rest of them. He sees me as an object to use. I’m not sure if it’s worth fighting it, worth escaping. Fate will only find a way to trap me again. This life is just a cruel one.
“Leave,” he growls for some reason but I have no complaints, discreetly sprinting to the door and being met with the stoic man once again stoic.
“Fucking trouble,” he mutters. What does he mean?