14 | at the breakfast table
I helped Mya lay the breakfast out before them. This time though, Antonio sat in the dining room with his three other brothers. Apparently, all of them were home and awake at 7:30 in the morning.
"Buongiorno, cognata," Dante had greeted when he walked in but his morning seemed anything but good. It was as if having breakfast together was a compulsory rule. Honestly, I was surprised. Father never cared for family time. (Good-morning, sister-in-law)
The brothers acted quite decent. They didn't spare me a bad glance or a look of longing that I had often received. Apparently, I was told that I was very alluring with the innocent aura around me. I didn't really think I was that innocent considering who I am. I lived with sinners and their sins never fazed me so I wasn't that naive. I never got them caught and I knew that I never would.
"Francesca." My eyes instantly snapped towards my husband who was staring at me with a hard look. "Sit down."
I controlled myself before I looked like a gaping fish. Father never allowed Mother to sit and eat with him. She ate his leftovers. I couldn't help but glance at the other males there but they didn't seem fazed. Dante was eating while reading the newspaper while Costanzo and Omero were bickering with each other. Well, Costanzo was. Omero was just shaking his head in a bored manner.
Antonio, with a tilt a his head, gestured for me to take a seat beside him. The dining table was long. My husband sat at the head, all his brothers sat beside each other on his right. I sat on his left.
I was still wary. I wasn't stupid. Father had played enough mind games with Mother for me to learn. He once put a plate in front of her and told her to eat. She did and received one hell of a beating. I still remembered her bloody face when she had cried herself to sleep outside the house. It had been cold that night. I shuddered at the memory but decided to keep my mouth shut and listen for the next order. I was no fool.
"Mya!" I quickly hid my flinch when Costanzo yelled out.
Mya quickly scurried in, wiping her wet hands in her apron. "Yes, Master Costanzo?" her voice wavered as she kept her head down. Her black and white maid clothes was dirty with flour.
"You seem to forget to give my cognata some breakfast," his harsh voice filled the quiet dinning room. My hand fidgeted as I tried to keep my mouth from making any sounds. I didn't want any more attention. (Sister-in-law)
Dante looked up from his newspaper. Omero continued eating but I knew he was listening in. As for Antonio, I refused to peek at him. Now he'll hit me for sure. His brother was mad. I made him mad. He'll find a way to blame it on me as Father would do to Mother.
"I-I'm sorry," she whimpered. I felt for her. This was all my fault.
No, it isn't.
Get out of my head!
I'm you. I can't, dumbo.
I inwardly groaned and because of my distracted brain I jerked back when a plate was placed in front of me before mumbling a quiet 'thank you.' Costanzo seemed nice but that could all be a facade. I could never let my guard down.
My eyes widened when I felt a hand on my thigh. I just knew it was my husband from his touch. His thumb rubbed circles on top of my dress, making me want to cross my legs and well, move away.
I gulped as I picked up my fork and started cutting a piece of my food before eating the way I was trained to—like a lady. Why did I have to be a woman? But I'd rather not die by being a man either.
The boys finished fairly quickly. Costanzo and Omero picked up the their bags for high-school as Dante and Antonio continued to discuss business.
"Fratello," Omero called as we all stood up. He hadn't spoken a word till now. "Parent-teacher interviews are coming and the new principal wants to meet our guardian—you. He's new around here and still needs to learn how things work," he told stiffly. It felt too distant. (Brother)
Antonio nodded. "Francesca will deal with that."
My eyes widened in panic. He didn't even look at me before he left, leaving me with the two boys. Dante left with him and I was perplexed whether I should go and hide or handle this like an adult.
Costanzo shrugged. "We have it next week. Apparently, we have been causing too much trouble and he's an idiot." He rolled his eyes before throwing his arm over his young brother and waving me goodbye. Omero left with a nod.
That was...odd. The Don was going crazy. If Father found out then he'd kill me. But I was now the Don's, right? Father couldn't do much.
I decided not to dwell on this any longer. Antonio was probably in a happy mood because he got laid and was impressed so he told me to do it.
The more I thought that the more I believed it. A sigh left my lips once I picked up the dirty plates and took them into the kitchen. Mya was already standing there, her dark hair up in a bun and her eyes blotchy. I knew she didn't want to talk to me so I let her be. She was terrified and I didn't need to make things worse.
"I'll be upstairs," I mumbled before turning on my heels and leaving.
I wasn't too keen on spending my time locked up so I did the one thing I wasn't denied or given permission to.
I called my sister.