11 | a dark touch
He had a tight grip on my arm as he turned me around in the dimmed dining room. His suit was still pristine and proper. I, on the other hand, was tired and my dress was a bit crumpled up from the hours of cleaning the mess and hosting an unwanted party.
The Don's eyes were narrowed into warning, as if telling me not to test his patience right now. He brought me closer, close enough to see the minor flaws on his face. "You will go upstairs and not come down. Mya will handle all this."
His grip on my arm tightened. I quickly nodded my head. "Yes, Don."
His other hand rapidly held my chin between his two fingers and thumb. "What did I tell you, Francesca?"
My eyes widened as his grip tightened into a painful manner. His eyes darkened. "I'm sorry. I am not used to addressing you without respect."
I hadn't forgotten about calling him by his name. I just wasn't comfortable and it came out in reflex. He stared at me as if I was a burden he had to keep. And it hurt. A lot. More than I liked to admit.
"You will always respect me but saying my name is a privilege only a few have." His voice was like velvet. "The women are not to come down tonight. Whatever you need, call Mya."
I really wanted to ask why but I knew it was not my place. The Do—Antonio was already doing me a huge favour by telling me. I wasn't going to push my luck.
I nodded before verbally replying. "Yes, Antonio." Saying his name was much more difficult than I had imagined. It was like calling Father by his name.
I quickly scurried past him once he let go. On my way upstairs I caught sight of some women in skimpy clothes with the men. Strippers.
No wonder he wanted the wives away. The wives were always more respected than those women. It was all complicated. If the husband didn't mind his wife treated like those women then she could be treated like that but if he did mind then they were to be kept away from such women at all costs. They didn't need the bad influence.
No wonder the Godfather went to bed early. They were all staying the night, partying and the Godfather had hatred for such women.
I hadn't expected the two female figures gaurding my door when I walked to it. Gianna and Amalia gave me a smile, though Gianna's smile looked more like it was forced.
I smiled back out of courtesy though I was dying to know why they weren't in their guest rooms. "What are you guys doing here?" I asked. For some reason I didn't want them inside mine and his room. It felt too private.
"You can't trust anyone in the Mafia," Mother had told me and I always took her advice. She was a smart woman.
"Well," Gianna started. "The men are going to be down there till morning. It is the best if we all get to know you at this time."
I just wanted to sleep. "Yes, of course. Let's go to the living room here. It has an amazing view of the city."
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's go." Amalia grinned. I instantly figured she was genuine with getting to know me and not just my position. She had that kind of aura around her. The one where she wanted everyone to like her and vice-versa.
I led them to one of my favourite places. The outside walls were completely made with glass and showed the view of the forest. About four white couches with a glass table sat in the middle. The rugs were black, contrasting against the colour of the sofas. A TV was also present as well as few paintings. A photo of Antonio and his brothers was on the table.
I sat on the couch, gesturing the others to do so the same. Elegance was something women were taught since birth. Every gesture, every word, every single thing was to be done elegantly, especially by the women of greater rank.
"So," Amalia started, twirling a piece of her blonde hair in between her fingers. "How's your first day as a married woman?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "It's different."
"Trust me, I know. Our husbands are always out. The house is to myself. I can do whatever."
"Easy for you to say, Amalia," Gianna countered in with a roll of her eyes. "Your husband doesn't bring his mistresses every other day. She practically lives with us."
I swallowed. My heart bled for her. It wasn't her fault her husband was such a donkey. I could only hope that the same won't happen to me.
"Well, if you had only listened to me then maybe he wouldn't." Amalia huffed.
I raised my eyebrows in suspicion. "What do you mean?"
"Don't listen to her, Franci," Gianna told me. I flinched because of the nickname. Only my sister called me that. I hope she was okay. "Trust me, men aren't so stupid. They'll know wh—"
"No, they won't!" Amalia narrowed her eyes and her hands turned into fists. "All you need to do is try something new. You need to let them think that they have the advantage when you actually do. You get what I mean?"
I kind of did. "Somewhat. It's actually not a bad idea if it wouldn't have been so risky."
"That's exactly what I'm saying. I don't know about you but these men are vicious. Francesca, you're new to this. The Don is no fool. He'll beat you up till you are begging for mercy and even more after. Men in the Family find pleasure by inflicting pain, especially sexually," Gianna grounded out with a wince.
Amalia breathed in a sigh. "That's why you have to play smart. Men here think women are stupid but we are actually smarter than them. They try to keep their business away from us but we know more than they think. We're better at lying than them."
A moment of silence passed between us all before a question irked me. "Does this always happen? Like the strippers after family dinners with the Godfather?"
Gianna smirked. "They're not strippers. They're prostitutes. They are always brought in after such gatherings. You're new to this. Just wait for a few months."
My eyes widened even though I wasn't surprised. Sex trafficking was very common and with Antonio being the boss, I shouldn't have expected anything different. But then again, I barely knew him.
"Are these women from trafficking, like the Giordano Mafia trafficking?" I silently asked.
Amalia looked at me in sympathy as if this was all new to me. "Yeah. They are a gift from the Don's father, I think. He's always interested in trafficking. This is clearly disrespectful to us but since the former Don, no men really care anymore."
Gianna shushed her but Amalia just rolled her eyes.
"Oh." I didn't want to know if Antonio engaged in such activities. He probably did. I felt bad for the young girls. They didn't deserve this.
"Why is your face so bruised?" Gianna gasped. My hand instantly fell to my jaw where Antonio had grabbed me before.
I had no words. I couldn't even form a lie. But they got it because Gianna instantly changed the topic. Was I that sensitive that a simple touch could bruise me? I wouldn't know. I've never paid much attention to them as Father never hit me anywhere that was visible.
We talked for hours. They seemed fun but I was still wary. By the time I went back to my room, it was already four in the morning. I was a fool for staying up so late but I was desperate to make some allies of my own. Gianna and Amalia became good friends of mine. Despite Gianna silently warning me to stay away from Pietro, she was a cool girl and I didn't take offence to her. She was just paranoid and didn't deserve this. No one did.
My steps faltered when I neared the door to my room. The halls were dark but the lights were on in the room. I was scared of who was in there. Had he brought another woman in our bed? Would I have to walk in? But there was no sound coming out of there. Or, the walls could just be sound proof.
I twisted the door knob with my quivering fingers. I blinked as the dimmed light shadowed in the room. A sigh of relief left my lips when I noticed the bed was untouched. He hadn't brought anyone onto our bed...yet.
I was so engrossed in my relief that I didn't notice his looming figure on the single couch at the side until it was too late. I turned to go into the closet and change out of the uncomfortable dress when I jumped back. A shadow illuminated on his face, making it difficult for me to see his expression.
A gasp left my lips. "I'm sorry. I hadn't known you were here."
Why had I stayed so long? I had thought that like the other men he would also bring a girl to the guest room downstairs. He did say not to come down.
He silently leaned against the black single sofa, his arms resting on the arm rests and his leg crossed on top of his other. His left index finger made patterns on the armrest. It was as if I was testing his patience and he was trying to calm down.
"I expected you to be in the room waiting for me, Francesca," he spoke, his voice hard yet careless at the same time; an odd combination.
My head bowed down. I couldn't help but notice the bold gold signet on his right hand. Beside it was another ring that was a watch. It was big and odd but it suited him. A watch ring.
"I'm sorry." Why am I always saying sorry?
He stood up. His height towered over my average frame and now that I had taken my heels off, I felt shorter than ever. I wasn't that short, was I?
As silent as the whispers of a ghost, he stalked towards me. I could see his pristine black shoes in my line of vision but I made no move to back up, not wanting to anger him.
His long fingers titled my chin up and I couldn't help but flinch. Those were the same fingers that had grabbed me before and it still hurt. "I also expect you to look at me when I am talking to you."
His hair was messy. Few of his bangs had fell over his forehead giving him a younger look. His black eyes looked too interesting and his lips were plump and inviting. He didn't hold a beard and he was still in his snug suit. My mouth watered in an unholy way.
Technically, I'm not doing anything wrong by checking him out. He is mine.
I had forgotten what he had said other than the fact that he wanted me to agree. "Yes," I just said.
His head dipped down as his breath fanned my lips. I wasn't surprised when they touched me because I knew what was to come. It wasn't until then that the panic started to appear again. Checking him out from far was different than getting touched by him.
I wasn't ready for the pain but I wanted to get over it. I didn't want to not look forward to every night thinking it'll be my first. I didn't want to live in fear. Maybe after this he would forget me and I could go on with my life, giving him a few heirs in the middle. That was what he wanted anyways. Someone to run the legacy after him. The wives were for the heirs and their mistresses were there for their pleasure. It was so weird. The wives got their name and honour. The mistress got their love and affection.
And so I gave in. His soft lips molded into mine perfectly. His hand was tangled in my hair as he pulled me closer, his teeth biting my lips once in a while. His other hand reached in between my thighs and parted them. He pushed me onto the soft bed and I didn't even make a sound of protest.
Why did this feel so wrong when it felt so good?