Chapter 24 - Old friends [Republished]
Enzo promised to take me to see Lucas but that didn’t happen yet.
Actually, he was hardly home during the past days and when he would finally come I was already sleeping, being too late at night or too early in the morning.
Sometimes I thought he was not even coming home.
Once I went in his room during the night, but his bed was neatly done, untouched.
I never asked about it, it was better this way.
It was strange enough to share the house with another man so soon when the only man I knew and wanted was Lucas.
My days were quiet, that kind of quiet I hadn’t had in years.
I was waking up whenever I wanted, Ms. Steward was always there to prepare me breakfast or lunch and dinner at any time I wanted to eat.
There was no lunch hour, no dinner hour. I was just asking what I wanted, when I wanted.
It was little, I know, almost nothing, but for once in my life I was demanding and controlling things concerning myself and it was exactly what I was in need for.
The rest of the day was for sleeping some more, chilling besides the pool, swimming or reading, interacting with nobody besides Ms. Steward.
I liked Enzo’s house, it had a modern architecture, with wide walls in the living room on which huge paintings were hanged, as big as three meters tall and three meters wide, not much furniture, though, but enough to have everything needed.
My favorite was the living room sofa and the puffer, both soft and welcoming when sitting on it.
It was my favorite place to lay down and read.
The library was the first thing Enzo showed me in his house, after my bedroom. He knew I was going to like it.
This morning, unlike other mornings, I woke up early and rolling on one side towards the windows my eyes fell on a cell phone on the night table next to my bed, with a note under it.
I took the note to read the message.
I’ve got you a phone so you can call anybody you need and maybe call me also. My number it’s saved already. I am really sorry I must be out of the house these days, but it won’t be long now, and I am going to be done here. And also, I didn’t forget my promise. I will fulfill it once I finish clearing things in the office.
I took the phone and dialed the only number saved. Enzo.
It rang a few times then took me to the voicemail.
I put the phone away and stretched my legs and arms, forcing my muscles to revive before I went to the shower.
I had in plan today some tanning besides the pool. The weather was warm although the summer was somehow over. I wanted to take advantage of it.
While I was putting on my bathing suit and a thin dress my mind, like every new day, ran to Lucas.
I knew which hospital he was in and I could have gone by myself but now I belonged to Enzo and I couldn’t go without him.
I was grateful enough he managed to keep me. I knew he was the nicest from Benito’s. And he made a huge sacrifice just to keep the promise he made, that he would do anything to keep me.
I still remembered Lucas’ number by heart, and I dialed it.
Enzo said I could call anybody I need.
Well, I needed to know about Lucas.
The call was taken directly to voicemail which meant his phone was off.
The next thing I had memorized was his parents landline number and I dialed it as well, but the call wasn’t answered and so I gave up and let it for Enzo to keep his word. I knew he would do it.
“Good morning, Ms. Rebecca. So early this morning. Are you feeling better?” Ms. Steward asked seeing me walking down the stairs.
“Good morning, Ms. Steward. I am feeling good, thank you,” I replied.
“Good. Breakfast in 20? Where would you like to have it?”
“No, just coffee and an orange juice. By the pool, please,” I said and went to the sliding doors taking me to the pool.
The sun was simply perfect today.
I remembered how much I hated my mornings not so long ago and now I was happily welcoming the sun’s rays.
There was definitely some change going on in me, for the better, I felt.
Ms. Steward brought me the coffee and the juice while I was taking off my dress before having a swim.
“Ma. Rebecca, there is a call for you,” she said and handed me the landline.
I looked at her surprised. Nobody calls me, nobody knows where I am.
My phone was lost together with my IDs during the shooting but later on Enzo brought back my documents and my belongings from my purse, except for the phone.
I didn’t miss it anyway. And the phone Enzo left for me this morning was laying nicely in my room on the nightstand.
I liked being free of all my past. I didn’t need anybody to find me, to know where I was.
It was as if I disappeared for everybody I knew and that felt just great.
I wanted it that way, far from everybody I knew, far from my past life, far from the pain and suffering and at the same time far from the love I carried for Lucas.
It was consuming me. That love I have for him drains life out of me.
I left him, I had to, so the only healing I knew now was to shut off everything from my past.
I reached my hand and took the phone.
“Becks, hi. How are you? Everything good?” I hear the only voice I wanted to hear from all the voices I knew.
“Yes, Enzo. Everything is fine.”
“I am sorry I didn’t answer your call earlier. I was on a meeting.”
“That’s okay. I only want to thank you for the phone, but I am sure I don’t need one. Actually, I don’t want one.”
“I wanted to have a way to find you anytime I felt to talk to you, that’s all. Nobody knows that number. There is no one to call you but me.”
“Then it’s fine. Thank you, Enzo.”
His voice was warm, like always.
It was comforting and making me feel safe.
Mine, it felt cold and distant. I couldn’t find another way to talk.
I was distancing myself from everything around and my old life just to dive into a world of my own where it existed only me and from time to time, Enzo.
I felt bad for being this way with him. He deserved so much more for the care and protection he gave me. I wished I could give them back to him one day.
“Becks, I will be done today with everything and I hope to get home earlier tonight. There are some things I want to talk to you about,” he said after a few seconds of awkward silence.
“Okay. I’ll see you tonight then.”
“Bye, Becks,” he said, and I hung up.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t care what he had to talk to me.
I was just drifting through my new life without a target and anything would come in my way, I would gladly take it, not caring a bit.
The night we came here after he took me back home from his father’s house was the first time I realized the loss of my baby.
I never found the time to grief and when I was with Enzo I felt all of the sudden buried in the reality of having the life in my womb pulled out, dead.
I don’t know for how long I cried in his arms that night, but he never weakened his grip around me for one second.
I didn’t tell him the story and he never asked anything. This was what I liked most about Enzo.
He only kept whispering soothing words in my ears, encouraging me that it would all be fine.
He kept promising me that and the more he was promising, deeper in the dark I felt. I mean, what made him so sure that everything will be fine? How come he was adamant to promise me something I didn’t believe in anymore?
My day past like any other, tan, swim, reading and sleeping out, in fresh air.
I skipped lunch thinking of the dinner with Enzo. It was already 7pm and Enzo was not home yet.
Ms. Steward made sure to leave dinner in the oven for us and I told her she can leave. I would be taking care of it, I told her.
Another hour passed and I was still alone. I went to the bedroom to take my phone and call Enzo. It was getting late.
I dialed his number a few times more but still there was no answer. I thought to myself he should be fine but worry built up with every passing minute.
I laid in bed holding the phone in my hand, planning to wait but slowly falling asleep and I didn’t fight it. I would definitely hear the phone if it rang.
But suddenly some strong sounds coming from downstairs make me jumped from my sleep in the middle of the night, darkness still reigning my room. I kept quiet, waiting and hoping it was Enzo although I was sure it wasn’t him.
It wouldn’t be the first time he came home this late, but he never woke me up this way.
I heard footsteps coming closer to my room and I stopped breathing for a second. I reached my hand to the drawer of the nights stand next to my bed where I kept the gun that Enzo gave me but before I had the chance to take it out, the footsteps got further and there was silence again.
I stood up and, tiptoeing to the door and dressing up my silk robe on the way, carefully opening it, without any sound.
There were lights on down in the living and someone was walking nervously, a shadow moving around, stretching along the walls and floor.
I was holding the phone in my hand and dialed Enzo’s number, still hoping he was the one pacing around but the call got no answer, and I couldn’t hear a ring either.
Cold shivers of fear were running down my spine, but I still decided to see who it was.
I walked softly, barefoot and as I was getting closer to the iron railing I could see from up a man in a fashionable black suit, with perfectly slick hair, sitting on the sofa with his head bent back on the backrest and arms spread wide, left and right.
I walked down the stairs and didn’t stop till I was standing in front of him, recognizing Marciano Benito, looking devilishly handsome, showing no trace of his age but some very thin wrinkles outside corners of his eyes. Men in this family really have golden genes.
Sensing my presence, his eyes snapped opened and pierced me for a few long seconds, staring at me with those black coal irises and moving no muscle of his face, keeping a hard and cold look, as if I was the core of his whatever troubled him at this moment.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him to show brave on outside but inside... shaking like a leaf in the wind.
“Rebecca, I see you are still here,” Marciano says, looking at me with a haughty face keeping his posture unmoved.
“Why are you here? Does Enzo know you are here?” I ask ignoring his attitude.
I keep trying to relax but my breath starts racing and I felt my heart beats in my temples, my anxiety growing which became quite obvious to him.
“You can relax, Rebecca. I am not coming for you. I’ve got what I wanted, from Enzo. Actually, I gave you back to him so he would give me what I needed. So, you can calm down. My deal is sealed,” he spoke and his cold, harsh tone grew my anxiety even higher.
I didn’t reply. I just stood there and watched him, but soon enough my curiosity exceeded the fear I felt.
By the satisfaction in his voice, it must have been really important, but something was going on since he was here. It was either that or he was just a greedy idiot, thinking he can get more of Enzo. Or me.
“What was my price?” I finally asked.
Marciano smirked and stood up walking towards the bar where he fixed myself a glass of whiskey, delaying the answer or just ignoring my question.
“I’ve known your father for many years. I used to visit your parents’ house quite often. Once, I think you were only 6 or 7 years old... God, you looked like an angel. I remember that when I entered the house you came from the back door where you were playing, holding some small white flowers in your hand and lifted your little arm to me saying ‘this is for you, mister’,” he said and turned around to face me, holding a faded smile which didn’t seem hard anymore. Somehow the memories seemed to have a sort of effect on him that was surprisingly melting the coldness in his eyes.
I don’t remember that. I thought I never met Marciano Benito before.
And I never liked talking about my childhood. As much as I remember of it, it has never been a happy one.
Marciano paused a few seconds as if he was reliving the moment, drifted in the memories.
“Now, I am witnessing my only two sons hating each other because of that little angel giving me flowers,” he said, and I almost sensed sadness in his voice, sadness he tried to hide with a swift move of his hand throwing the booze down his throat.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I am talking about my sons! My only sons being rivals for the same woman! You, Rebecca! That’s you!” he shouted back at me but before he had the chance to complete his words the entrance door banged opened and a furious Salvatore showed up.
Marciano jumped from his place and rushed to the door to stop his son who was menacing walking towards me, looking all ravished and furious.
I run to the kitchen, out of their way and pull my phone trying to hide behind the separating wall of the kitchen. I dial Enzo’s number and again, I get no answer.
“Come on, Enzo. Come on! Pick it up, Enzo!” I whisper nervously, dialing his number again and again.
I try to listen to what Marciano talks to Salvatore, but they speak only in Italian, shouting at each other, his father hardly managing to hold Salvatore still.
Even though I don’t understand a word, I can tell there is a strong fight between them.
Salvatore seems angry and he shouts insanely and before I can run to the sliding doors of the patio he shows up in front of me, grabbing my left arm and forcing me to follow him.
“You’re coming with me!” he hissed and tried to pull me with me, but I jerk my arm from his grip, stepping back.
My legs stumble and losing my balance I fall behind, hitting the back of my head to the kitchen island counter on the way down.
An excruciating pain breaks through my head and I almost felt throwing up. The last thing I saw in front of my eyes was Salvatore’s frightened face, bending over me and repeatedly calling my name, trying to lift me up but soon everything became black and I lost all my senses.
"Don't just exist! Live!"