13 | the aftermath
I groaned. It felt too dry down there and I didn't like it. With the numbing pain and the disgusting feeling of crust, I was surely not in a good mood. I wanted to just go back to sleep but like always, I had no choice.
To further disturb me, my phone rang. My fingers twitched as a groan of annoyance left my lips. I grabbed my phone from the glass table and picked up, not bothering looking at the caller.
"Hello," my raspy and tired voice answered.
"Oh my god! Thank God you're okay. Where are you? Are you okay? Why haven't you picked up?" a familiar voice rushed out. My eyes widened.
Why are you so stupid, Franci?! A side of my subconscious told me.
But she deserves an explanation. She hasn't been anything but good to you. My other side reasoned. Hence I gave in. I knew I was wrong but I didn't really have a choice.
"I'm fine, Sophia." I sighed, trying to sound mean but it didn't come out that way. I just sounded as if I was just tired and that I needed help. My back hit the headboard as I rapidly sat up. I had forgotten about my discomfort until I moved again. I groaned by pain in between my thighs.
"No, you're not! Tell me, what the fuck is going on?! You don't pick up my calls! I don't know if you're dead or living. Please, Francesca. I beg you, if you are in trouble tell me. My father is in the FBI. We can help you," she cried out. I could hear the desperation in her voice.
My heart warmed at her words. She was the only one who cared. "I'm fine, really, Sophia. My phone was just broken," I lied.
"I know that you are lying!" she screamed. "Your voice always raises an octave when you lie!" She took a deep breath as if to calm herself. "Okay fine. Prove it. Come have dinner at my house. If you don't then I'll tell my dad that something is wrong and he's in the police. He'll find out."
My heart rate spiked. "No!" I said, a little too loudly before glancing at the doors only to find them closed. I sighed in relief before I realized that I hadn't hung up yet. "Sophia, I can't. Please. I'm s-safe."
I swore at myself for stuttering. I was such an idiot. Now she'd know that I was lying. Sophia was someone who I couldn't lie to for long. She was like my sister. She cared about me more than my own family did. She was my family, whether she knew it or not.
"Francesca, just once. Please, just visit me once. Then I'll know you're okay and won't bother you a lot. Please," she begged.
I hesitated. "I'll think about it. Now please, please don't call me until I call you."
I wanted her to leave me alone just for her own sake. "No, I know that you are definitely in trouble. I'll tell my dad not to investigate about you if you come to dinner once. Just once. Let me see you just once to make sure you are okay. Please. I know something is wrong. I've known for years and I always had this feeling. I should've done something about it then."
"I'll think about it. I got to go. Bye." I quickly cut the call before she could reply. I didn't know my hands were shaking until then.
My breath came out shaky. Not wanting to dwell on it any further, I got up to march into the bathroom. "Owwww," I moaned as the bedsheets fell from my hand when I tried to grab the table beside me. I could barely walk. There was blood on the duvet.
My eyes widened as a soft gasp left my lips. I didn't bother to stare any longer. I pathetically walked to the bathroom. I was glad Antonio wasn't here with me. I didn't need him seeing me as a weak person—as someone who couldn't hold pain.
I glanced around the washroom before quickly turning on the shower. As the water flowed down my body it stung, especially down there. I cooled the water a bit. I didn't need to look in the mirror to know that my body was covered with bruises. I could see his hand prints on my arms.
An unwanted sob broke through me as my body shook. It was the disgusting feeling coming after the bliss. The sex was good but I wasn't so sure I liked the outcome. The feeling of his seed in my warmth was disgusting. Being touched like that for the first time due to obligations made me feel like a whore. I hated myself for not having a choice. But it wasn't his fault either. He was raised to believe that women didn't mean a thing and marriage was just a breeding facility.
I reached down and tried to clean it away without my fingers shaking every time. I could practically feel his presence in the house and I was too embarrassed to see him again. Maybe I was overreacting. I was probably just another lay for him.
Be glad that he fucked you and not some other chick that was brought.
I despised my subconscious sometimes because it was usually right. A moan left my lips as I decided to not see the bad and see the good. At least, I wasn't a virgin anymore and I didn't have to lose my virginity by force because at one point I did start wanting him to have me that way. This could have ended much worse for me than it did.
• • •
"What's wrong?" I asked her as I walked in. She was blowing at her finger as if she burned herself. "Are you okay, Mya?" It was a stupid question but it showed that I cared. I hoped someone asked me that once in a while. I wouldn't tell them the truth obviously but it would feel nice.
"Yes, of course!" she said a little too loudly but I could see the pain in her eyes.
I raised an eyebrow. "You should wash your finger with cold water. It helps."
Her eyes widened. "You're right. Sorry."
"Why are you apologizing?" I squinted my eyes at her before coming closer. I could see her eyeing the way I walked with a frown but she didn't question it. She wasn't allowed to but I think she knew the reason.
My cheeks burned when I went to the freezer and grabbed a pack of frozen peas. "Here. The cold would help."
She smiled and mumbled a quiet pleasantry. "So, where is everyone?" I knew I had woken up late but everyone should be here.
I could see her trying to hold back her grin. "The guests left but the Don and the brothers are still here."
I raised my eyebrows. "When would they come down?"
"At seven which means I should start breakfast." I could see how tired she was. She had dark spots under her eyes that she had covered with make up. It wasn't visible but I had a keen eye for make up. When I was younger, I was forced to master the art of makeup so I knew everything.
"What happened last night?" I couldn't help but ask. I watched as she flinched before putting the frozen packet back on her fingers.
She shrugged before a sad smile grazed her lips. "They're men. What would they want from women? But I haven't slept with your husband if you're asking me that. In fact, I was lucky. They brought them yesterday otherwise they'd mess with me. Well, not the Don but you know, others, like the older Don."
Her tone was harsh at first but then it turned sullen. I felt bad for opening her wounds agains. "I'm sorry, Mya," I said.
"Don't be." She smiled blankly. "I know it's hard for you too. I've heard the rumours of the wives."
"Here, let me help." We were bonding over cooking and for once I was glad that I was taught how to master my cooking skills as well. At least, we had something in common.