Daddy, let’s kill
The bullet left my gun roaring through the air. It only took a second before being embedded in the target. My heart lurched.
I shot my husband.
A year back
My instructions were very clear. I was bred for this moment since long. Unlike other cartel women, I knew what I was being prepared for. I wasn't the scapegoat sent to the Los Zetas syndicate, I was the trump card.
Daddy's trump card.
"Are you ready?" Dad walked into my room. His eyes scanned my dress and a smile appeared on his face. His walk still hurt him, the pain danced on his face but he endured it with a smile. "You look good." Moving closer, he lend his hand, "Vamonos."
Dad's cartel days were numbered with him unable to help much. After mamá's death we were the only ones for each other. The consequence of not having a male heir was quite evident. The business would be taken over by the Moralez, the leading cartel family.
Before we entered dad's chambers, I squeezed his hand hard. He may have grown old and weary yet, there was determination lurking behind those milky eyes. Looking at me, his lips rose up, parting a smile. Although he would want to assure everything would turn out fine, his eyes conveyed the truth. He was as terrified as I.
Still, we Ramirez's' won't go down without a fight.
Facing the golden ornate double door, I felt my mouth turning sour. Being prepared for a day like this was different than having to face one. Every option from running away to jumping off a cliff looped in my mind. Dad's gentle hand squeeze pulled me back to reality. This was happening.
The help opened the doors. Draft flew my perfectly placed hair. Pulling them affront, I walked in, resting my hand over dad's. It didn't take long for us to spot them, the Moralez heirs.
Sitting among the middle of his family seating, I saw him. El Demonio.
His stoic eyes travelled up and down, evaluating his prey, me. The man didn't have a hint of an expression, yet intriguing enough to catch my attention. Neatly placed hair and hooded eyes reminded me of the last time I saw him. The other two men who sat on adjacent sides of him all had a striking resemblance to their father Carlos, the head of the syndicate.
Dad dragged a chair for me to sit before taking one himself. All this while, the demon and I had a staring match. His glance didn't waiver, so did mine. The help closed the doors behind. Thud, signaling us to begin. Dad broke the silent treaty.
"We all know the takeover is impending. But with the business gone, I would.. I mean.." his voice waivered and the happiness on his face was wiped clean with the next sentence. " I won't be able to fend for my daughter. She's my everything and..."
Another long deep silence filled the room. I ran my hand over his at which point he gave me a tight nod. I knew, holding his trembling hands, there was pain in his heart when he parted with those words. Staying silent, we let the Moralez take over.
Carlos Moralez was the first one to speak. His steps boomed across the room. The current head of The Los Zetas, one of the biggest Mexican cartel, he portrayed all demeanours of a leader.
Tall and slender as a grapevine, Carlos oozed charisma. Walking across the room, he smiled at his family as if taking their permission. His wife, Maria gave him her nodded affirmation.
"We know what it is like to maintain business, Ramon." Pulling a chair closer to us, Carlos sat. "And although I don't have a daughter, I know the sentiments you have towards protecting yours." his eyes travelled towards me. Maria walked close to him, facing dad.
The woman was an epitome of walking angel. Dewey face and kind eyes, she reminded me of my mamá.
"We would be happy to take Valentina as our own daughter" she smiled at me and then dad. I smiled back, knowing well to play along. "From today, she is as much your daughter as she is ours."
Walking back to her sons, all of whom sat in a perfect semicircle, she lend her hand to the eldest. Antonio Moralez didn't spare a second. He took her hand and walked back.
Such a sweet mama's boy. Nobody would ever know his dark side had he not revealed it. The dark, demented demon that he was. And look at him now, hiding away behind his mother's trail.
Maria closed our distance. I look away, portraying the blushing girl which I wasn't. She took my hand and placed it over his, pulling my attention back to his emotionless eyes.
The specks of green remained frigid as he stared at me for a second before pulling his hand away. The jerk reaction was felt by me and Maria. He immediately murmured an insincere apology before walking back, seated with his brothers.
Not that I was offended by his reaction. What caught my attention was the cringed he exhibited as if I burned him with my touch. Well, not my problem. At least I knew the demon would stay away.
As dad talked to Maria and Carlos, I sat beside them, bored. Maria gestured to her boys, one of whom walked towards me. In contrast to the demon's expressions and demeanor, his was much better. With a smiling face and a hand projected out, he introduced himself.
"Hi, Agustin... I mean I am Agustin Moralez.."
Taking his hand I continued, "Valentina Ramirez."
He smiled wider, still holding my hand. "Can we talk outside?"
I nodded letting him walk ahead of me. Before the door opened, I heard Maria's faint comment. "Accompany them Antonio."
I turned around to see if he was coming. His hand waved in the air dismissively while continuing talking to his other brother. The ball of fire inside of me raged up with his act. I could only calm myself with a reminder of why I was doing this.
Agustin and I crossed the foyer and walked into the garden. He yapped about his final year and girlfriend. All of it feel on deaf ears. My mind was still focused on the discussions happening inside.
How dad must be handling the entire let-off?
The Moralez were very persuasive. They knew that dad didn't have a foothold, thanks to the absence of a male heir. They ensured that he was pushed to an extend where he'd have no other option but to accept their demands. I feel sorry for him. If only, I was a boy to take over the business.
Agustin turned, asking me something which I clearly missed.
"Sorry, my mind was somewhere else." I stated the truth. Well, half the truth.
"Don't worry," He placed a hand on mine. "I know Antonio might look all angry and mad all the time, but he is a sweetheart."
Well, it's not him who was on my mind but I played along, smiling.
Agustin continued his talk, "It takes time to get used to him but once it happens, you would love him too. Even Elena did have the same reaction like..." Abruptly ending the statement, he scanned my face before looking away.
"Who is Elena?" I asked, sensing it was someone important in their lives. He nodded sideways, hanging his head low. Feeling sorry for him, I continued, "If you don't want to tell me, it's fine."
He looked up smiling, something which he does quite often. "She was Antonio's wife. I mean.."
Hmm. We have all heard the news before. She was killed by the rival cartel. But what I didn't know was her name or that she was Antonio's wife.
By now it must be very clear that the Moralez family isn't just rich. They control both the government and the press. So it was no surprise that they held back the news of their own daughter-in-law's death or the fact that she was next in line to be the crown king's wife.
All the power in the world, yet it couldn't save their own kind. I smiled on the inside, knowing the hurt it must have caused them, loosing their own. I wasn't impervious to other's grief, it was the Moralez whose pain and suffering gave me a sense of relief.
"We should go back. Dad must be missing me," I gestured at the door and Agustin happily walked back. On our return, he talked more about the emotionless Antonio, the levelheaded middle born, Alejandro and then being his talkative self, about him, the last-born Moralez.
Once the doors opened, dad's gaze landed on me. He leaned over and whispered words for my privileged. " I am signing."
I gave him a smile which was reluctant to appear on my face. The fake assurance that everything would be fine.
The Moralez always got their way around. You bend your knee to their rules or they break yours to make you bend. Either way, they win. Always.
After the signing formalities, flutes of champagne were circulated. Maria closed our distance, tugging a rogue hair behind my ear.
"Bienvenida a la Familia." (Welcome to the family) Smilingly I bit my lips as she kissed my forehead. "Although it will all be official soon, I want to tell you that from now on you are my daughter."
Not knowing how to express the required reaction, I continue fidgeting with the flute stem. Dad rescued me from the torture. "Maria," he stooped low, both in voice and tone. "Valentina may be a stubborn one, but I hope you would forgive her if.."
Holding dad's hand, she stopped him from speaking further. "She is my daughter now, Ramon. Don't you worry. She will be taken care of like a Moralez."
I wanted the façade to end as much as the next person. The torture of enduring their sugary gestures were merely beginning. They stayed back for lunch, talking and laughing. My jaws hurt with the smile I donned.
Blushing brides win hearts, I reminded myself.
The talks eventually died down and the elitist family bid adieu, leaving us behind.
Dad turned to me, holding my hands and tugging me closer. I smiled, wiping a rogue tear from the corner of his eye and falling into his warm embrace. "Don't worry.. It'll all work out, dad."
He nodded over my shoulders, letting off an unsatisfactory chuckle. "I know, I know.." Sighing, he pulled my face up. Kindness danced on his. "I am sad that my daughter will be married to a family where she would become a widow."
Looking at him, I straightened my back. "A widow, yes. But a queen, nonetheless."
Liked the chapter? Let me know in the comments.
First time writing a Cartel series on Inkitt.
Show me your love and support in the comment button