27 | the rebel
"I didn't know you were bringing my daughter along," Father said, beaming up at my husband. His eyes fell on me and I didn't like his expression. I knew he wouldn't touch me like that (he wasn't that vile) but he wouldn't mind seeing me in pain either. He liked the fear and discomfort in my eyes.
My husband's expression didn't change as he watched the him with an emotionless look. "She has been good," he finally said, addressing Father with a curt nod. I didn't think my husband was capable of big emotions.
"If I had known of your arrival sooner I would've prepared something, Don."
In all honesty, it felt good to see Father trying to suck up to my husband. I felt superior and even though I knew that that was no where near the truth but a girl could dream.
My husband let go of my hand and I knew from the look he shared with me that he wanted me gone. I knew that men didn't involve their women in business. The sexism was high but I liked it that way. I didn't want to sin any more than I have by being apart of the Family and not helping the poor victims. I'd rather leave that to Antonio and the men or whoever else desire to commit crimes.
I quickly scurried away. I didn't miss the look of approval Father gave me for following orders. Father didn't hate me. I knew that. At least, I thought he didn't. He always favoured me more than Mother and my sister but I knew that was just to leave me perfect for my husband so I'd be dolled up enough for him to torture and break—mentally and physically. But I was already emotionally broken and had succumbed to my fate.
A bodyguard followed me as I picked my dress up a bit and ran upstairs as fast as I could. My heels clicked against the wooden stairs loudly and it made me wince. I liked to keep myself in the shadows. I didn't pay much attention to my new guard dog. I wasn't doing anything wrong so he didn't need to inform my husband.
Everything was the same. The walls were white and the furniture was mostly wooden and blue. A smile instantly formed on my face once I spotted my sister's room. Her door was closed and I was sure it was locked. She had a bad habit of defying every order and I knew that she got a good beating every time. But Arianna was smart and manipulative. To people she'd just met, she would seem like the perfect woman with her long dirty blonde hair and pretty hazel brown eyes like mine. Other than our eyes and pouty lips, we looked nothing alike.
I tentatively knocked her door, afraid I'd wake her up but I knew that she'd take great offence if I left without meeting her. She was dramatic that way.
"What?" she snapped but didn't open the door. I knew it would take a second for her to register who it was and when it did she practically threw open the door. It banged hard against the wall. "Franci!" she screamed.
We sisters had a knocking style that only the either of us could understand. It was a low knock twice because everyone in the house either didn't bother knocking or just banged on the doors as if their lives depended on it. Sometimes it did but that weren't our doors.
She instantly hugged me and I hugged her back. I felt like she'd disappear and it was only a weak. Arianna and I were as close as we can be in the mafia. Though we're about five years apart, we were like best friends.
"Come inside!" she yelled before glaring at my bodyguard. "You! Stay out!"
My eyes widened. How could she talk to a man like that? What if he hurt her? Even my gaurd's eyes widened before he stepped forward in fury. I immediately pushed Arianna inside her not so sweet room and locked the door. He banged on it from the other side before thinking better.
"What were you thinking, Anna?" I snapped furiously turning around.
She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms giving me one of those looks that told me how much of a coward I am. I wasn't a coward. I was just trying to survive.
"Oh, don't give me that look. Because of this do you know how much trouble I can get in?" I growled out as I tugged at my hair in frustration. The pain reminded me of my husband. He had some fetish with my hair.
She huffed before falling on her queen sized bed and laying down casually with her hands sprawled up. "I'm sorry. I just hate it when they think that they can dictate us because we are woman. I hate that they are forgetting that without us there'd be no them."
Now it was my turn to roll my eyes. "Sorry to break it to you but in this world men rule and we women have to suck up to them so we can stay alive or healthy enough to live. They won't understand the logic."
She glared at me as I sat beside her. "Wow. Breaking news. I didn't know that at all." She moved her hands behind her head. "Wait...what brings you here? How'd your husband let you come here? Did you see what was happening downstairs?"
"Woah, slow down, tiger! What's happening downstairs?" I asked.
She turned her head to look at me as if she said something she shouldn't have. "First you tell me what are you doing here?"
I huffed. Little sisters were so annoying sometimes. "I don't know."
She raised an eyebrow.
I rolled my eyes again. "I'm serious. The Don didn't tell me why he brought me here. I think he had business with Father but I don't care. I'm just glad that I got to see you. Where is Mother?"
Her eyes clouded with sadness and I instantly knew something was wrong. She pushed herself on her elbows and looked around as if to make sure no one was eavesdropping. I sat up too, instantly alert.
Her room was a messy but tidy at the same time. Her purple curtains were pulled close and his cherry coloured floor's rug was messed up but thankfully without a stain. Her room was big but smaller than mine and Father's. But I personally liked this room better. It always made me feel like I was free even though I was no where near that.
No one was here so why was she so anxious?
"What's wrong?" I asked again.
She sighed. "I tried escaping. Father took his wrath out on Mother," she explained, unable to look me in the eye.
I couldn't hold back my gasp that could also be classified as a screech. "What the f—!" I instantly stopped myself. Swearing would make me a bad and a characterless woman. "Why would you try escaping? You knew Father would kill Mother if you did? And why hadn't he killed you yet?" I rushed out.
Her eyes formed with tears and I immediately felt bad. It wasn't her fault but it was her fault. Almost every women wanted to be free. I gave up on that hope long ago and I really hoped Arianna would too. Death was easy but it would ruin many lives with us and the authorities were no use. They wouldn't or just couldn't protect us.
"I can't stay here, Franci!" she cried out as tears streamed down her cheeks. Arianna wasn't the one to show emotions unless she was caught off guard. "They are marrying me to Scream. He's a classified serial killer! I can't ruin my life like that."
I grasped her face with my hands and wiped her tears away from her tan cheeks. "Arianna, Father would kill Mother if you run away. He'd blame her! It'll make everything worse. You have to understand that there is no way out, Anna. We didn't choose this life but we have to live it. At least, we are not on the streets."
She just stared at me as if I was stupid. "Being on the streets would be so much better." I didn't agree with that. Being on the streets or being a sex slave in the mafia, especially for a woman was as bad as this, was even worse.
"I know I would sound very selfish to you," she continued. "But Mother has already lived her life and I think me running away would persuade her enough to do the same or kill herself. I can't stay here and watch Mother get gang raped in front of me every time and not do anything. Dying is better."
I shook my head but I knew there was no point. She was right but I didn't want to lose her, as selfish as that would sound. "You already got caught once...why hasn't Father taught you a lesson yet?" She snorted before lifting up her shirt to her rib cage where I spoted visible big bruises. My eyes widened with surprise. "That's it. Thank god."
"That's because he decided to wed me off as soon as possible. Maybe that's why he called the Don. I heard Scream was a big guy around here and he is supposed to punish me after."
I looked at her skeptically. "How do you know?"
"People talk." She shrugged before coming closer and whispering, "I'm going to tell you a secret. You pinky promise not to tell anyone."
"Pink promise. What?" I didn't think anything could be more absurd than her escaping attempt.
I was wrong.
Arianna giggled. "I'm going to run away again." I opened my mouth to tell her how stupid she was being before she shushed me. I glared at her. "Don't you dare tell anyone. It's a sacred pinky promise."
I shook my head as if my head was on fire. "You are going to kill yourself and me. I cannot lie to the Don," I screeched.
She shushed me again. "Gosh, do you want to tell the whole world? And you won't be lying to the mighty boss. You'd just be hiding something he has no business in knowing. How does he treat you anyways? I'm guessing better than Father to Mother as you're still walking."
I opened my mouth to complain about him before shutting it again. It felt like I was sharing private moments that I wanted to cherish. They made me feel normal. "He's okay," I said finally.
"Right..." she drawled out. "By the way, I don't like him. He's a criminal."
"We are all criminals."
"No, we are the victims," she objected instantly.
"No..." I started. "I am a sinner because I know I would never give him away even if I had the chance. I know I'd never give away the Family."
My sister looked at me pitifully as if just realizing who she was talking to. "You are too loyal for your own good, Franci, and that's what makes you naive. It's a good thing and bad. Good because I know I can trust you and bad because, well, it makes you vulnerable."
"I'm not weak." That came out harsher than expected.
She chuckled. "Sometimes the people that are the strongest are the weakest at heart and the weakest are the strongest. I don't now the Don but I know the rumours and you are very strong for keeping up with him. You didn't give up yet and I can see that is clear as day in your eyes. You haven't lost hope in him yet and that is a very bad thing."
I didn't reply to her. I didn't have to because a knock sounded on the door. I was glad for once. I didn't know what to say to her.
"Yes?" I called out. I knew it was my bodyguard from the gruff voice he was bearing.
"The Don wants to see you."