Back Into Darkness

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Chapter 5: Blue is his favorite color

An incredibly short blue skirt and a blue shirt to match, fitted perfectly to my body like a second skin. This is my uniform? He wants me to wear this? I don’t even want to know how he correctly guessed my 34D bra size and the blue lace panties he supplied me with also. This is demeaning, which I’m presuming is the point, but maybe he needs to realize that my spirit is already broken, there’s no need to do anything else.

“What’s your name?” I ask in a quiet voice to stoic man as he leads me out of my new room, comparatively luxury to my apartment’s bedroom. I can actually sleep on the mattress comfortably, there’s a wardrobe decked with items the master allows me to wear, and there are three books, perhaps as furnishings, but I am thankful for them. They’re in Italian, which I’m actually fluent in, although I know the master doesn’t know that. Every time he calls me ‘gattina’ I stare at him blankly, mainly because I’m confused as to why he thinks I’m a kitten.

“Ranger,” he deadpans, continuing to walk at a steady and consistent pace. He’s almost a mix between a bear and a robot. He’s grizzly and huge but also stiff and invariable. I nod to myself, because I know he’s looking at me from the corner of his eye to keep a watchful glare. “Belle.” My eyes flick to him as I raise my eyebrows in anticipation. But he’s just saying my name, nothing else. Silence as I watch him. I revert my gaze back in front of me, like he does, peering at him through the corner of my eye.

“Where are we going?” I question, pushing my luck to see if he’ll be honest and straight with me.

“To the kitchen. You’ll meet the rest of the staff,” he answers and I disguise my shocked expression with a blank unmoving one. He’s answering my questions.

“How many?”

“There are three cooks, two slaves, I guess you’re the third, a gardener, a butler, a groundskeeper, and a housekeeper, who is in charge of the staff.”

“What are you?” He looks over at me all of a sudden with narrowed eyes and furrowed brows. His tense features lighten as his eyes connect with mine and he then quickly looks ahead.

“Anyone else you don’t meet in the kitchen, they’re family or they work for the Calabrias. I work for the brothers. I show new people around though.” I nod, fiddling with my fingers. Do I keep pushing? He seems willing. There’s something I need to know.

“Family? What family live here?”

“His three younger brothers. That’s it,” he answers a little warily but drops it when he sees my curious expression. I hide my fear. Thank God Tony doesn’t live here.

Soon enough, we reach the kitchen which is big enough to feed three restaurants. The staff stand around, the cooks prepping their food for lunch, the others milling about and waiting. For me?

“Finally,” the leggy girl from before mutters, rolling her eyes as she looks at me.

“Bye,” Ranger mumbles before turning to leave. I give him a quick ‘thank you’ on his way out, for being so kind.

“Belle, is it?” an older woman questions with accusing narrowed eyes as she steps towards me. Her brown hair with specks of grey is tied back into a bun. She wears a floral vintage dress with an apron over the top. Her black thick-rimmed glasses create a cruel principal image as she stares down at me.

“Yes,” I answer, feeling out of place in this massive kitchen. The rest of the staff stand behind her, a few in outfits like mine.

“Go help Sofia with dish washing,” she orders, thus I’m assuming she’s the housemother, pointing towards the sink. I scurry over and the girl in a green short skirt and shirt meekly looks up to my face. She’s wearing the same outfit yet in a different color.

I just start to work on the stack of dishes piled high in the sink, scrubbing the hardened food with a sponge.

“What’s the housemother’s name?”

“Her name’s Marissa. You just call her ma’am,” Sofia replies. “Why are you wearing blue?” She asks in a small sweet voice. I notice the other waitress is wearing green like Sofia and wonder why I’m wearing blue also.

“It was given to me,” I reply.

“Matches your eyes,” she murmurs. My eyes? He keeps putting me in blue because of my eyes? He likes the color on me?

I watch huge arms snake around Sofia’s waist as her eyes widen and she drops the plates back into the soapy water. I look over to the man and he locks eyes with me. He’s one of the men from the restaurant. He smirks at me and his eyes move down my body, scrutinizing me with his gaze.

“It’s a shame we’ve been told to stay away from you, otherwise I’d fuck you over this sink right now,” he says crassly. My whole body tenses at his statement. Why has he been told to stay away from me? Not that I’m not grateful. I would not want to be taken over this sink. “Forza, scopiamo (come on, let’s fuck),” he whispers to Sofia and she obediently is led away from the kitchens by this man. Is this what we’re expected to do here? But they’re not allowed to do that to me? Who said that? Why? Sofia reminds me of my past life, being led to do something I was ultimately disgusted with but forced to do. Is that going to happen again? Am I going back to that?

“You!” Marissa yells, pointing at me and storming over. She shoves a tray to my chest and I clutch hold of it from her hands. “Go serve lunch to the boss. He’s in his office. He requested you.” She raises her eyebrows, expecting me to move but I have no clue where his office is.

“Where is his office?” I ask, hoping not to poke the lion.

“Move!” she commands and I scurry off, still not knowing where to go. I try to peer in every room downstairs but what if it’s upstairs.

I fall into Ranger in the hall and he steadies my tray, taking it from me and putting it on the cabinet. He takes hold of my hands and raises his eyebrows at me.

“Where you off to, Belle?” Ranger asks, glancing over at the tray and then back at me.

“I have to take this tray to the boss. I don’t know where his office is,” I answer. He just stares intensely into my eyes. Then he places the tray back in my hands.

“Follow me,” he says and we reach a dark black office door at the end of a hall in this gigantic mansion. Ranger leaves me, his stare lingering a little before he is out of my sight. I raise my hand to the door, scrunch it up into a fist and hesitate. I watch my hand tremble.

“In!” a familiar voice orders through the door and I just hurry in, placing the plate and drink down beside his laptop and he watches me. I move towards the door again but his voice stops me. “Gattina.” I face him once again, avoiding his eyes and he gestures for me to walk towards him. “Steven Philips.” My eyes instantly shoot to his at the name. Creepy Steve. His full name. Why does he know that?

He pulls my hand so I’m close to him and he grabs my jaw in is hand.

“He’s dealt with,” Enzo tells me. Oh no. What does that mean?

“What?” I breathe out, anxiety again taking hold of me. Yes, Steve planned to rape me, but he didn’t get the chance. Did Enzo kill him? He doesn’t answer, silence filling the air. “H-he didn’t...”

“It doesn’t matter,” he states, a harsh and dangerous look on his face.

“Why?”

“No one touches what’s mine,” he growls, his hands moving to my legs and squeezing. “And you are mine.” His hands start trailing upwards, his eyes fixated on mine. “Tell me.”

“T-tell you...?” I breathe out, my chest rising and falling uncontrollably. His hands trail up more to my ass.

“Whose are you?” He squeezes a little and I mute my squeal, biting down on my lip. He raises his eyebrows in impatience and squeezes harder.

“Yours, I’m y-yours,” I reply swiftly.

“Good girl,” he coos. Before he can say anything else, his phone rings. He lets out an irritated growl and releases his hold on me. I try to make a move to leave but his hand grips to mine and he keeps me in front of him. “Cosa? (What?)” he huffs, leaning back in his chair. “Ti ho dato un semplice, chiaro comando, (I gave you a clear, simple command,)” he seethes, running his hand down his face in frustration. “Lo voglio uccidere con le mie mani. (I want to kill him myself.)” Kill him? I shouldn’t be this surprised. I know he’s a bad man, that he’s the mafia, that he took over from his father, Tony Calabria, and said to be even more ruthless. But I don’t feel that way around him. Somehow, underneath his malice, I don’t believe he’s a monster. Which must be me losing my mind. Forget it, I lost it years ago. How is my life so fucked up and I’ve barely lived any of it? “Non è solo una ragazza. (she’s not just a girl.)” His grip on me tightens and I wonder what he’s talking about. What girl? He thinks I can’t understand him, which is why he’ll never filter their conversations. Is that a good thing? ”Lei è mia. (She's mine.)"

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