Mafia Puppet

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42 | the consequences

MY HEAD BANGED against the wall at the impact and I whimpered, but he wasn't ready to let me go just yet. "Are you betraying me, Francesca?" he asked, his eyes narrowing down to slits.

I couldn't look him in the eyes but I shook my head stiffly. "No," I whispered.

He stalked forward and trapped me between him and the wall. His body pushed against mine roughly as he tilted his head down, making his forehead touch mine softly, before he swiftly turned my body around and slammed me against the wall again. I strained by head to stop my face from banging on the wall. He twisted my arm behind me and the bracelet on my arm broke. I felt liquid trailing down my hand. It was mine and his blood, I realized.

"Lying is not the only form of deceit, bambola, so let me ask you again, are you betraying me?" His hand played softly with my hair. "And don't you dare fucking lie." His voice was quiet like a whisper. It was soothing, but I knew I couldn't fall for it.

I glanced away, just unable to see him anymore in fear of what he would do. He brought his hand away from my hair and against my throat. If I tried to push him away then I'd be choking myself. It was a clear warning.

He caged his own puppet with his own hands, just like Father caged Mother.

I gulped. If I said no then I'd be no doubt be lying and I didn't want him turning against me because ultimately lying to him would be a clear sign of betrayal. Right now, the line was blurred but if I said no I would be in the wrong because I would be lying fully in my senses. Then, nothing could save me.

"I didn't know she was a cop," I started to exaplin. There was no point in hiding it now. He loosened his grip enough for me to turn around and look him in the eyes that were flaring with rage. It sent tingles down my spine and not the romantic kind. I could barely stop my body from trembling.

He didn't comment but I knew he wanted me to continue. He was giving me a chance to explain and I couldn't be more than grateful.

"She followed me into the change-room. I swear, I didn't know. She just asked me to find the tag of her dress and that was what I was doing. Helping someone like a normal person would but on the tag she had glued the note where it said she's FBI but I didn't call her. I didn't call anyone. The note meant nothing. It was just a moment of weakness because of those murders I saw and the harassment from that man. It was all just building up that made me take the note," I explained, desperation vivid in my voice.

"And where is that note now?" he asked quietly.

"I-I threw it a-away. I'm not lying," I stuttered unable to comprehend what was going on.

He let go of my neck. Finally, he spoke. "I was talking about Arianna, Doll."

I leaned back as if he burned me. A bundle of lies and excuses built up in my head. What should I say? What should I say? "What?" I whispered instead. The pain in my head was nothing compared to the fear coursing through my body. "What about Arianna?"

"I do know," he replied, stepping back and completely removing his hold on me. "Every single thing, Francesca."

"Know what?" I suddenly felt cold. He was angry at me. He thought I betrayed him. I didn't want him to think that. I didn't betrayed him. Did I? I didn't tell Arianna. I didn't call the cops. I didn't do anything!

I told him I was contacted by the cops! He didn't know. I just dug a bigger grave for myself.

Arianna was my sister and he was my husband. I knew he would sabotage my sister's already miserable life if I told her so I didn't tell her.

"Every phone call made in this manor is heard. Even the call you made to Arianna on your first day here," he said emotionlessly. He was closing me off again. I just ruined the progress we made.

"What about that phone call?" I didn't understand what was going on. Did Arianna try anything? I told her not to!

He stepped back. "And she confirmed it by running away." I was frozen in shock. I couldn't speak. "Did you help her?" He asked me

I gulped. I couldn't breathe. "I didn't, Antonio. I swear on my life I didn't. In fact, I told her not to."

"And you didn't think it was important to tell me?" he asked.

"But she was caught the first time. I didn't think it was necessary and you would've killed her! I was scared you would've killed me!"

He chuckled darkly, running a hand through his hair. "You think I didn't know. I knew she was trying to run away. And guess what, Doll, I helped her. She fell for the bait. She made everything worse for herself. She just sped up the process."

"What process?" My voice was hoarse and I didn't bother to hind my worry and fear.

A smirk fell on his face as he took few steps back. "The same process you are in. Trafficking of marriage, of course."

"She was going to be in that anyways. What's the difference?" I asked. I didn't like where this was going.

Antonio had a dark glint in his eyes, and it was the one that yelled murder. "Romeo doesn't like things simple, Francesca. She just fell into his trap. He's going to play her bad, and all you can do is sit back and enjoy the show."

• • •

Antonio stormed out of the room soon after. It gave me time to think and I soon realized that his anger was justified, but my reasoning was as well. I needed to talk to him but I wasn't going to be a bigger mundane than I already was by going now. I would practically be poking an angry lion with a stick and then mulling over getting eaten. I'd wait for him to cool off first.

I was worried about Arianna, however, I soon came to the conclusion that there was literally nothing I could do. I didn't have any contact with her so how was I supposed to help her. And I refused to allow my relationship with Antonio suffer. I needed him.

I never faced his anger before. I never faced his hatred and his grudges. I didn't know what to expect and I was honestly very scared.

I heaved out a sigh. If I ever had the chance to go back and change things, would I?

No.

Yes, you would.

I cursed my inner subconscious because it was always right. I knew I was being selfish but I loved myself too much to let me live a miserable life. Antonio had been nothing but good to me so far. He wasn't the best but he wasn't the worse either. If I ruined things with him then I was ruining my whole future. I couldn't afford to have him angry with me because there were a lot of people willing to sabotage our relationship. He was a don and who didn't want to be in a don's favour.

I was an idiot. I gave myself away. How could I possibly not figure out that he was talking about my sister? I literally told him I was thinking to betray him.

I was walking on a thin line. I didn't know what was going to happen to me next. I didn't know whether he was going to kill me or not. I didn't know what my punishment would be. I didn't know anything and that scared me.

I knew his siblings probably figured something was wrong with the way he left mid-breakfast and slammed the door while leaving. It was embarrassing. I didn't have the courage to go down.

Don't cry. Don't cry.

Cry, Franci. Just let it all out.

I couldn't help but sniffle. My nose itched as I felt the myself close to breaking. I needed to distract myself. Walking into the walk in closet, I got the first suitcase I found. I didn't know how much to pack or how long we'd even be going to Italy but I knew that it wouldn't be more than a week. As far as I knew, it was only us travelling and the Don wouldn't leave his family unguarded for a long time.

Were we even still going? I didn't know what to feel about that.

I packed a few pairs of dresses, jeans, shirts and sweaters with my toiletries. My hand caught on the red dress. A sob finally raked threw my body as I threw the piece of fabric away. Why did I help that woman? He would've forgave me if I was only talking about Arianna. Things wouldn't have gone this far.

At first he was venting his anger out but then he just left. He didn't say anything. He just left! And that was much, much worse. I needed a reaction out of him. Anything. Even a hit.

I tried to stop crying but I just couldn't. I had to let it all out. Sliding down the wall, I pushed my knees to my chest and hugged them as my body convulsed with sobs.

I was just so alone. No one could understand my pain. No one could help me. The Don knew about my sister. The Don knew about my mixed loyalty.

Sophia was gone too. I had finally blocked her. Staying in touch with her was a mistake and may be if I hadn't she wouldn't have been in danger. After all, my husband was a crime leader. He wasn't going to spare her life for being too nosy and if he did he would just make it miserable.

I needed to think of myself right now. My sister could wait. She needed to figure things out on her own because all I was doing was making things worse. I couldn't help her and I couldn't help myself.

The Don didn't trust me anymore. I had saw it in his eyes. They were even more guarded than before. He saw me just like the others. A traitor. A lower. It would've been better if he had at least took out his frustration, verbally or physically because I didn't want to be scared of him—not when I was finally starting to get to know him. We were back to square one because of me.

Mafia men held grudges, especially the ones with big ranks and I seriously wasn't in a state to afford that. Without him I was vulnerable. I needed Antonio to trust me again. Not because he was the Don or because he was my husband but because I was safe around him. I needed to have him by my side because he was the only thing that made me comfortable being around others. And now he was not. I was all alone. More so than ever. Being alone meant danger.

I knew the difference between being Father's daughter, the Don's betrothed and the Donna, and I liked being the Donna the best because I felt powerful.

Using my palms to wipe my tears, I try to stop crying like a lunatic but I just couldn't stop. Flashes of the man burning and Jasmine looking at me with hope filled eyes clouded my head. Images of drugged women and a picture of dying Arianna made me want to kill myself. This was all my fault.

I needed to stay strong. I couldn't break. I had to fight back my fears and help myself in any way I can.

The next few moments passed by a blur. A knock sounded on the door. Our new maid, Carina Ricco, stood on the other side when I opened it. With her black hair thrown in a low bun and her typical uniform of a black and white dress, she resembled a professional maid, and she was okay. A bit bossy but okay.

I really didn't like her either.

"The Don has sent me to help you pack your clothes," she said in a thick Italian accent.

I nodded. I knew she could tell that I had been crying and right now I honestly didn't care because I was too depressed to mind her thoughts. Had it been before, I would have cared deeply because I knew I would've gotten hurt by Father but he wasn't here and everything worked by my husband. From the past weeks, I trusted him enough not to believe that he'd march back in here just to beat me bloody.

I brought the maid into the closet. She started taking out my husbands suits and placing them as well in the suitcase. I raised my brows in question. How could she know what the Don took on his travels?

Carina answered my unasked questions with a chuckle. "Darling, I have worked under many families here. I know what your husband likes."

Okay... "Do you need help?"

She shook her head. "I'll finish this in a minute. You take some rest," she said glancing briefly at my face.

I gave her a small smile. "Thank you." And I meant what I had said. I just wanted to sleep after the cry.

I didn't need to be told twice. As soon as I fell on the bed, exhaustion took over even though it was very early in the morning. I wanted to forget it all. But despite the exhaustion I laid awake, Antonio's furious face never leaving my mind.

If I was in his position, would I have forgiven me?
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