M A R C E L L A
“What did you do?” she whispered, tears welling in her eyes. Her lower lip was trembling uncontrollably, and her heart was pounding so loud that she could hear it in her head. She knew what he was telling her, but she just didn’t want to believe it. She would question him again and again until his answer changed, and she knew that would never happen.
“Princessa, I solved a problem.” Solved a problem? Killing a man was solving a problem? She could die right then and there. She was so furious she wanted to scream at the top of her lungs, but her throat was so dry that she could barely get anything out.
She felt the liquid rolling down her face and didn’t care how weak it looked in front of this murderer. How could Giuseppe even be acquainted with a man like that? How could he trust him? Manuel had killed the man who was like a father to her. For what? For her? Because he thought Giuseppe was controlling her?
His thumbs brushed away her tears and his brows furrowed like he couldn’t understand her distress. Perhaps he couldn’t. Perhaps he was that cold, that rotten, just like her father and the men that worked for him.
“He w-wasn’t a pr-problem.” She hiccuped in sorrow, trying to hold it together. She was completely frozen aside from her face, which she presumed was puffy, red and utterly distraught. She wanted to run from his touch, to escape from him, to deny any of this happened.
She figured that going to Giuseppe was a risk to him, but she hadn’t even considered this risk. She thought it could be her father to get to him, but, no, it was his friend, because of her. She was still the cause of this. She was still corrupting everything she touched. Danger had followed her, and she knew it, and even though the journey wasn’t quite how she feared, the destination was the same.
Giuseppe dead because of her.
“Why are you so upset?” he asked.
Finally gaining control of her body once more, she leapt up and shot away from him. She knew there were guards outside the door; she could hear them. She wouldn’t be so stupid as to try it. She wanted to confront this son of a bitch and she was going to give him a piece of her mind.
She had never blown up at anyone; she was taught the opposite. Mafia wives were made for a fuck, children and domestic duties. She wasn’t to talk back or raise her voice, but Mari had always been rebellious, and she wasn’t just going to roll over and take it.
“Why am I upset?!” she screamed, ignoring his taken aback expression. She was too blinded by her overwhelming rage and grief. “You killed my uncle! You murderous asshole! I fucking hate you! Why am I upset?! Why the fuck do you think I’m upset?!”
His gaze didn’t harden like she expected it too. She had just yelled like a mad woman at a man she knew had homicidal capabilities. He would easily kill her if he didn’t get what he wanted from her.
But why didn’t he look mad? Like when she had yelled at him as he first came into the room? He seemed furious then that she had the audacity to raise her voice at him, and yet, here he was now with an unreadable expression. Just… blank.
“I see your mad at me,” he stated in a monotone voice. Her heart was beating faster by the second and she was even more nervous than she was before when he was clearly furious. This quiet calculating demeanor was catching her off guard and she hated that. She was the one who surprised people. She was the underestimated one. She could read people and manipulate them. And she detested the change in dynamic at this second.
He stood, giving nothing away. Not even a sound. He conveyed nothing of his mood. He strode towards her, and she was as frozen as an ice sculpture, so she couldn’t even move away.
There was no way to escape that room. What had she been thinking lashing out like that without an escape plan? How fucking stupid? She had done several many stupid things in the past few weeks and was still suffering the consequences as she glanced down to her paining foot. She still wasn’t ill and through all the adrenaline rushing through her veins, she hadn’t even felt the effects from her jump onto her feet. But as he stood in front of her, the pain became all the more numbing.
She wanted to take a seat, but his piercing gaze prevented her from moving at all. He was like fucking Medusa, and he had turned her to stone.
“Sit down, Ella,” he commanded, grabbing onto her shoulders and placing her back on the bed like she was just some cushion for decoration. As domineering as his voice was, his expression remained blank. He crouched down to her level, grasped her hand and cast and their eyes met. “I understand you’re upset with me, hermosa. But in time, you’ll learn never to raise your voice at me like that again. Unless you’re looking for some serious punishment.” A devilish grin grew on his face and he squeezed her hands lightly.
Every venomous word was a trigger for her. She was not some submissive slave that would obey her master. Alessandro had wanted her to be like that, as did Dante, but she would bow down to no man. Of course, she was smarter than to enrage her father back when they were united, but now, as the stranger in front of her was forcing her to submit, an uncontrollable rage washed over her like a flood.
“I will never fucking learn,” she seethed, spitting in his face and pushing him away.
After what he had done, he wouldn’t have the power to control her. She wouldn’t give that to him. She would take whatever punishment came her way for her dignity.
“You’re a fucking animal and I’m not staying here! Find some other girl you think you can make your bitch because that’s never gonna happen with me!”
His fists clenched at his sides and his body tensed. But he did nothing. Nothing at all. She would have thought that deserved a slap, especially knowing how violent he could be. But no slap came. And that confused her even more. This was all a manipulation. She wasn’t falling for any of it.
Then, he just stormed out.
The doorframe was rattling upon his departure, but she was beyond relieved. She wondered why he hadn’t done anything when she knew he wanted to. His hands were inching to hurt her; she knew the signs. Yet, he hadn’t done a thing.
Over the years, Mari had received many slaps and punishments for barely anything at all, in hopes that it would turn her into an obedient housewife. But she had too much of her father in her for that. As much as they both wanted to deny it, they were very similar. She just wasn’t cruel and sadistic like him. But she definitely inherited his stubbornness. Her spirit wouldn’t be broken, and Manuel wouldn’t break her now.
She missed the time she spent with John in comparison to this. John was on her mind a lot. Just knowing that he was looking for her eased her slightly. She might not have an escape plan, but perhaps he could save her from this manic beast.
She knew the irony. She was now looking for her bounty hunter to be her savior, again. He had already done that job in the alleyway. Now she looked to him to be her knight in shining armor.
As much as she didn’t want to rely on others to get out of this, others were her only hope. This man wasn’t letting her go and until she was even in a fit state to run, she wasn’t going anywhere.
Whilst her injuries were a consequence to a previous escape, they happened to be the cause of her next capture. She hated how her life was one complete joke. The world was playing tricks with her, never wanting to see her free. Her fate was destined to be enclosed in a patriarchal world, whether it be with Alessandro, Dante or Manuel.
She heard yelling and swearing outside the room, which she couldn’t classify as too out of the ordinary. She picked out Manuel’s voice from the herd and figured he was still enraged by her. But she listened to his words to gage just how much.
“Who the fuck is he?” Manuel bellowed.
“We don’t know. He just said that he was here to see you,” another man argued, a slight tremor in his voice. They probably weren’t very grateful to her for putting their boss in such a foul mood.
“Catch a fucking name? What the fuck do I pay you for?”
“He only gave a first name. He said his name was John.”