01 | a sweet reminder
I furrowed my brows in confusion. They never disturbed me at this time. I got up from bed and wrapped my robe around tighter, covering the most I could.
"Yes?" I questioned peeking through a small gap. I didn't dare open the door any wider.
Silvio had his eyes solemnly on my face though and they didn't dare stray down. He was the Don's man and he was quite decent for a mafiosi. It was no wonder he was chosen to protect me.
"Your father wishes for you," he said.
No, he never wishes for me. He wishes for a boy, not two girls. So no, I wasn't his wish and I'll never be his wish.
But I didn't dare say that. I nodded before shutting the door completely. I quickly wore the first pair of jeans I found and a long-sleeved t-shirt. I didn't need to be hit for showing too much skin. Father was unpredictable.
"Yes, Father," I spoke with my head down when I finally stood before him.
He sat hauntingly on his leather chair. The place reeked of cigars and after sex. Mother's face flashed before me but then I realized that she was still in the hospital after last week. Someone else must have been called in by Father. It was no surprise. These people were desperate. They just could not stick with one woman.
He gestured for me to come closer. A branded box scripted with beautiful cursive sat on his large oak desk. I looked up at him, careful not to meet his eyes. He nodded for me to open it.
And, so I did.
I couldn't keep my eyes away from the diamond necklace. It was beautiful, posh and expensive with a huge black crystal in the middle. It instantly brought a smile to my face.
"It is beautiful, Father. Thank you."
He didn't look up from his work but my smile didn't falter.
"It's from the Don," he said.
A shiver ran through my body even though it was not cold. My smile vanished for a brief moment before my lips titled up in respect once again. "Oh," I managed to let out.
From the lack of reply, I thought it was a sign of dismissal.
"Francesca." I stopped short before turning around. His glare made me hung my head in shame even though there was no need to be ashamed. "You are my daughter. Do not disappoint me by disappointing him."
"Yes, Father." I hated that my voice shook. It was a sign of weakness.
"Get out now." His tone was hard but I was glad that I was luckier than Mother and my younger sister. He was much, much harsher on them. I was an exception because I was chosen for the Don. I made him stronger and that was why he favoured me more. I wasn't blind to see that.
On my way out I bumped into Arianna. Her eyes fell on the classy box in my hands. A smile fell on her lips but I could see through it. It wasn't real. It was full of pity.
"It's from the Don...not Father." I felt the need to explain. I knew how she felt. Before I was betrothed to the Don, I wasn't anything special. Father had treated us both the same. Now, not so much.
"Oh. Good, I guess," she mumbled. "Father called. Do you know why?"
I shook my head. "You should hurry. Father would be upset otherwise."
She nodded before walking past me. My bodyguard was nowhere to be seen but I knew he still knew about my whereabouts. They always did.
The mansion was quiet as usual but I felt the presence of Mother missing. It wasn't the first time she had been sent to the hospital because of Father and I knew it wouldn't be the last and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
"Franci!" I felt someone shaking me awake. "Franci, wake up!" my sister cried.
"Arianna?" I rubbed my eyes groggily, surprised that my sister woke me up this late.
I was wide awake the moment I heard her sob. "What's wrong?" I sat up in bed and hugged her slumped figure next to mine.
"Father is getting me married." Tears were streaming down her face as she pulled back. "I don't want to get married. I'm only eighteen and I've heard that he's a beast. Franci, please help me."
"What? Arianna, I'm getting married myself. I'd be out of here in few days. I don't think I can do anything." Tears started to threaten to fall from my eyes too.
She held my hands tightly. "Please! Father loves you more. Tell him to let me complete my education first. I want to go to university! I've studied for this all my life! I'll do anything for it."
I couldn't handle her begging. "Arianna, you don't get it. Father doesn't love me. H-He's only using me like he's using you."
Arianna placed a hand on her mouth to muffle in her sobs. If Father found out then he'd torment her till she was begging for mercy. I didn't want that for her.
"I know. I'm sorry. The Don might be known for tormenting his victims but it's him who actually does the dirty work. I don't want to marry him. Haven't you heard the rumours?" She sobbed.
Just as I was about to reply the door slammed open making Arianna stand up in fright. Father stood there tall and furious. I could see Arianna shaking.
"F-Father," she stuttered.
"You bitch! How dare you try to brainwash your sister?" he snarled. I could smell the absurd stench of alcohol from where I sat.
It was normal for him to want to take out his wrath on either Mother or her. It had usually been Mother but today that was not the case. I felt my stomach churn. He wasn't going to hit me anywhere visible because I was getting married soon but Arianna was not. She was not safe.
"She wasn't." I heard the slap before I felt it. It would surely leave a bruise that I'd have to cover with makeup.
"See!" He grabbed my sister by her hair, dragging her out. "Look what you've done! You have turned my own daughter against me, bitch! You are useless just like your mother! I should've killed you the moment you were born!"
Her cries echoed in the halls as my door slammed shut, asking me whether I should go or stay.
And I chose to go, knowing very well that I should not.