M A R C E L L A
Ice fucking cold. He was ice cold.
She had given him her virginity and he treated her like she was nothing. She wanted to burst into tears, but she wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.
What a mistake she made.
She didn’t intend on sleeping with him. She took it to a whole other level based on impulsivity. It was a plan. And the plan backfired.
The plan was to fake being drunk, flirt with him a little. She didn’t even think she would go as far as kissing him. And then she found herself falling under his spell, like they were the only two in the world that mattered, like he understood her. He wanted her and she wanted him. And she wanted to lose her innocence to someone she wanted, even if he took her back.
But she didn’t think that he would take her back. And now he was. He was so cold and distant, and she hated being treated this way. What had she done? Why was he acting like this?
She made a massive mistake and couldn’t take it back. Or perhaps it wasn’t. It probably would be better than with Dante. He would rape her whenever he wanted and wouldn’t care about her in the slightest. John had doubts, he wanted to stop, he tried to hold himself back. She admired that, and it was a sign that he had a conscience that attempted to push him to do good. But he didn’t care, clearly.
“You’re very quiet,” she commented, hoping to find out what his problem was. He got up in the middle of the night and didn’t come back to bed. When she woke, he was just staring at her with a blank expression. She caught hints of aggression in his tone though.
“Mari, shut up,” he hissed, making her gulp.
She didn’t know what to do. Her eyes were welling up, threatening to overflow at any second and flood down her face. She wasn’t a crybaby. She was strong. Stronger than he thought she was. But this was breaking her. Why was he so furious with her?
She wanted to confront him. She wanted to just have it out. She thought she was confident enough to do that. But she couldn’t find the words and she couldn’t find her voice. It got stuck in her throat. Her anxiety rose to tremendous heights in the deafening silence. All she could hear was the scraping of John’s grip on the wheel tightening and loosening.
The second she felt a single tear rolling down her cheek, she turned to look out the window immediately, shielding her face from his sight. She had given him everything and he was being a complete asshole. Was he one of those guys who sleeps with a girl and then walks? Would he really do that? She assumed she was a good judge of character but perhaps it was just sex to him.
How foolish she was. To believe that a man like John could actually want her for anything more than sex. That was it. She had been flirting with him and the sexual tension between them grew too much until they released it. And to her, it was everything. It was her first. To him, she was just another girl, another notch on his belt.
Soon enough, her eyes looked like a fucking water foundation, practically spraying her tears out in a rush of fury. Her legs ached, her confidence was smashed to smithereens and all dignity she possessed had been stripped from her. She thought she was using him. And he used her. He had won.
Congratulations, John Keller.
He kept underestimating her, and perhaps she overestimated him. She thought he was different. She thought he wasn’t like the men she knew, the criminals who worked for her father. She thought she had met a man she could actually trust. But she had misjudged him and overestimated just how good he was.
Now he would take her home. That was her last attempt and it had failed. She had gained and lost so much that she didn’t know whether she would have been better off just dealing with her situation rather than running from it. There was no escaping fate.
He had defeated her and now she had given up. She had officially given up. There were no moves left to play, nowhere else she could go. She had nothing. She just… she felt so close.
The flashing lights and gigantic billboards that are plastered all over the place told her they were in New York City now. It wouldn’t be long for John to drive them to the club. Maybe thirty minutes. She had thirty minutes to say goodbye to the world. She would rarely see it, particularly not as free as she was.
She sighted families at lunch, toasting each other and laughing. That was what a normal family looked like. Instead, she had a dysfunctional, partially dead one. Her mother was dead. Giuseppe was dead. Alessandro and his men never cared. She was alone. And then she would soon have a husband who didn’t care either.
Perhaps it wasn’t freedom she was solely searching for after all. Freedom was all well and good, but with no one to share it with, that idea now felt empty. This had something to do with John. He had confused her feelings and disorientated her goals. She felt more dependent than she had before. But who was there that she could depend on?
They entered a part of the city that was all too familiar to her. And she knew she was home. Her eyes were glued at every passing building, dreading the moment when she would see her father’s club. They passed plenty of the restaurants he owned or invested in. The many businesses and projects he had been a silent partner in. The man held great influence in the city. And was very rich.
The moment her eyes laid on the neon sign ‘Impero’, her heart crumbled like a cookie in a child’s aggressive hand. This was it. It had been months since she was home. What had her father thought of her escape? Was he impressed that she made it so long without the human hound capturing her? Was that outweighed by his rage? She was an investment that he couldn’t yet collect on. She was needed to insure the alliance with Dante Marciano. She was the key to her father gaining ultimate power in the city. And that was all Alessandro ever cared about. Power and money. And she could give him both.
She would be punished greatly; she knew that. There was no avoiding it. And once Alessandro was done torturing the small girl, it would be Dante’s turn. She had halted both men’s plans for months, far too long for their impatient ways. They didn’t wait for anything. They were men who just took and didn’t have to ask for permission. No one kept them waiting, especially not their property, which was what she was.
The car began to slow, and she held her breath in anticipation.
Then the car sped up again and passed the club.
Her head snapped to look at John who was looking straight ahead, hands still clutching the wheel. What was he doing? Did he know that they had passed it? She wanted to question it, but he looked incredibly terrifying.
They just drove. Only he knew where they were going. Wasn’t she going home today? Wasn’t she getting married this week? This day even?
After another hour, having driven right back out of the city, she finally worked up some courage to speak.
“I’m confused. Where are we going?” He didn’t answer. He didn’t even act like he heard her. She wondered whether she should repeat it. But he was most likely ignoring her.
Strangely enough, they were out in the countryside with fields on either side of the road. They were in between cities. Was he taking her out there to kill her?
The car soon slowed and came to a grounding halt. She waited for his instructions, completely nervous.
“You know,” John began in a deep tone, terrifying her to her core. “I underestimated you, little girl. When I first met you, your father warned me beforehand about your intelligence, but I was still stunned. I underestimated you again and again. And finally, I thought I knew who you were, what you could do, what you were willing to do. But… I guess I underestimated you again. And this time, you got me. You won. Your plan worked.”
“I-I-I…” She couldn’t get any words out. She was confused, but it was all becoming clearer to her now. She knew why he was acting this way. He was hurt. She wanted to say something, but she was stunned into silence.
“Get the fuck out of this car,” he hissed, dead eyeing her. Mari’s eyes were still fixed on his, her lower lip trembling. She could feel her heart cracking. “Get out! Get the fuck out!” he growled, roaring like a wild animal.
She scrambled out at rapid speed and the second her car door was shut, he sped off. And she was left alone in the middle of nowhere. She supposed it was better than being at home.
Now what was she supposed to do?