I am running nimbly through a narrow corridor without ending. I am running to escape. I turn to look back and see only darkness. In front of me, there is a light. I should reach the light! I run with all my forces. Dark should not engulf me. I am close to the light. Someone is standing there. I approach him. It’s Angelo di Ambrosio. No! No! He grabs me and places his muscled arms around me. I fight valiantly to escape, but he is holding me tight.
“Bella donna mia!”, I hear him saying.
“No!”, I hysterically scream fighting unsuccessfully to escape from him. He leans over me and passionately kisses me. He sucks my lips making me shaking from the electricity released between us. I kiss him back. Why? Light envelops us. No, he is not the light; he is the dark!
I open frightened my eyes and sit on the bed. What the hell? I was dreaming. It was only a dream! “Ouf!”, I make a sound of release. I look around and see I am in a different room. Where am I? I get up and look better at the space. It has a grey carpet and a luxurious modern design. There are three round windows on one side and three to the other. I go in front of one and look outside. There are only seas around and a balustrade. I am on a boat! Fucking bastard! This is the trip which he was talking about?
Hell! Will he throw me out of the boat and let me drown? Oh, my God! What am I going to do? I feel dizzy again. I go to the other side of the room and see my luggage on a small table and my handbag. On top of them, there is a piece of paper written something.
“Bella donna mia, I took the liberty to bring your affairs from the Hotel and make a check out for you. I thought you would need them. You can take a shower, refresh yourself, change clothes and come and join me outside on the terrace for lunch. A.D.A.”.
I am left with an open mouth. Who the hell he thinks he is? Checking out for me? Take my stuff from the hotel? How did they allow him to do this? Seriously?
I open my luggage and feel raped. Thinking of him touching my clothes, my underwear… Oh, God! I undress and enter the bathroom. There is a huge marbled shower in the middle of the bathroom. I quickly take a shower. I absolutely need one. After the dreadful shock of learning with who I had met, being locked in a room, drugged and finally waking up on a boat in the middle of the sea, after dreaming of a horrible nightmare, the hot water on my face and body relaxes me somehow. When I finish, I get out and wear a white bathrobe. I dry my hair and walk into the room.
I look carefully at my clothes. They are folded with care. I really doubt a man could have done that. They are better placed in my luggage than before. I choose to wear a long beige linen trouser and a flowered patterned cotton shirt with short sleeves. When I am ready, I open the door. It is unlocked. Of course. Where can I go? There is only a sea around us. I walk through the corridor and arrive in a salon-dining area. There are beige, black and white couches and armchairs disposed on the sides of the room. In the middle, there is an oval dining table with twelve chairs around. The room is empty, but the window doors are open. I walk through and arrive on the terrace. A wooden rectangular dining table and twelve chairs are placed in front of the entrance. Just behind there are placed grey couches and armchairs under a huge white tent. Di Ambrosio is sitting on a couch reading a newspaper, devilishly handsome and dangerous.
I cough to let him know of my presence. He lifts his head in my direction. He smiles at me, letting down on the table in front of him the newspaper. He gets up. “How do you feel? I hope the anesthetic was not very strong for you”.
“I am fine”, I merely reply without smiling at all.
“Please have a seat. I waited for you to have lunch together. You must be hungry. You should eat”, he pulls one chair on the side for me to sit.
To be honest, I am hungry. I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday’s lunch. I sit, and he sits on the head of the table, next to me.
He calls with a walkie-talkie someone in Italian. Then, he says apologetically to me “I am sorry for drugging you, Allyson. I was persuaded that you will cause trouble arriving in the Marina, so I preferred not learning it. I am a very precautious person”.
I do not comment. I prefer not to because I am not a precautious person and will say something that I might regret later. So, I stay quiet, watching the sea in front of me.
At that moment, two waiters arrive placing dishes with salads and fishes in front of us.
“Buon appetito” (Enjoy your meal!), di Ambrosio wishes politely. I do not reply. We start eating in silence. Until di Ambrosio talks to me.
“Look Allyson, I understand you are angry with me for kind kidnapping you, but believe me I did it for your safety”.
“Really?”, I ask him without believing what I am listening to.
“Yes, Allyson. You might not believe me, but after I put you in the room and searched your bag, I saw your name on your ID card. Do you really think you can walk in Naples or in Brooklyn making questions about the Mafia and stay a secret? Or do you think that all this time you haven’t been followed everywhere you were going? Let me also tell you that every single person related to the Mafia, knew when you were coming and where you were going to stay. They were watching you and your friend Ciara”. I am left with an open mouth.
Holy crap! Is he telling me the truth? I stare at him and look at his serious face. I really see the concern in his eyes. I close my mouth and bend my eyes to the table.
“Asking for the mafia is one thing. Asking if they know I am the head of the mafia is another”. He continues angrily “Whole week, I had received calls from everyone complaining about you. I came that day to the hotel to talk with you, but I didn’t know it was you who were waiting outside of the hotel. Otherwise, I would have a chat with you and clear some things”. Di Ambrodio continues eating.
Why the hell I feel awful and embarrassed? I shouldn’t be. I was only doing my job. I am a journalist of investigation. What did I suppose to do? Sit behind my desk as everyone else does in the journal? This is not journalism. I look at him and say nothing. I start eating again silently. But I do not stay silent for a long time. I can’t stand holding it inside of me.
“Alright, let’s clear the things and then go back to Naples”, I fiercely say.
“No, Allyson. That doesn’t work like that anymore. We will have ample time to talk about everything and set straight the lines. Don’t worry”, he drinks some wine and continues his lunch.
“Sorry if I caused trouble, but it is my job investigating. I am an investigator journalist. How will I learn about the truth if I do not search it?”, I defend my actions.
“Allyson, you are not searching the truth. You have an idea in your beautiful, but mindless head of yours and try to find something to support it”, he insults me.
“You are insulting me. I haven’t insulted you”.
“Really, you haven’t? Calling me a Mafioso, isn’t an insult?”, he bitterly asks me.
Well, he is right. But only if he is not. And he is. “But you are. How should I call you?”.
“Madonna mia!” (My Virgin Mary!), he exasperatingly exclaims staring on top of his head. “I am a businessman. That’s all”.
“A businessman doesn’t make business with Mafia. A businessman doesn’t have any relation with people working with the mafia. Why the hell Belluca had documents of your cosmetic laboratory in his apartment? Documents of goods coming from Italy with the logo of your company? He was not working in cosmetics. He had a chain of grocery shops in New York”, I ask him angrily and instantly regret it. Dung! I shouldn’t have mentioned Belluca and what I had found in his place.
Di Ambrosio looks at me with great interest and then he asks “Who is Belluca?”.
I bite my bottom lip. I should keep my mouth shut when I get angry. Otherwise, I say things I shouldn’t have. I stay silent. He takes his phone and calls someone. Oh, double shit! He speaks with someone in Italian mentioning Belluca and the cosmetic laboratory in Manhattan. Then, he closes the line. “If you don’t want to tell me, it doesn’t matter. I will find out anyway”, he informs me with a smile.
For the rest of the lunch, we stayed silent. When we finish, di Ambrosio proposes “Dessert, fruits or gelato?”.
“Thank you, but I am fine”, I decline as politely as I can.
“Gelato? Come on!”, he insists.
“No, really, thank you”, I decline. He orders a gelato and an espresso in the walkie-talkie.
“Come, let’s sit on the couches”, he proposes and gets up. I get up and follow him to the couches near the edge of the yacht. I sit on the opposite couch of him. The waiter comes with a big ice-cream bowl and an espresso. He places them on the table in front of us.
Di Ambrosio takes out a cigarette from his pocket and a silver lighter. He lights a cigarette, being careful the smoke doesn’t come on me. “The gelato is for you. Eat a little. Don’t think of getting fat. You are too thin. Have some pleasure in your life, times to times”. I stare at him with open eyes. How he dares! “Don’t get angry. Relax and enjoy!”, he says sitting more comfortably on the pillows. I look at him and then the ice cream. Well, Italian ice creams are amazing. I take it and taste a little of all the flavors. Chocolate, vanilla, peanut, strawberry, melon and stracciatella. The last one is my favorite, and I eat it all. I let the rest on the table.
“How was it?”, he typically asks me.
“Good”, I only say and he laughs.
“Allyson, you are funny!”. I wish I could say the same for him, I am thinking silently.
“Where are we going?”, I curiously ask him.
“To Paradise!”, he replies with a smile. He is joking now!
“Please Mister di Ambrosio, tell me. Where are we going?”.
“I told you. To Paradise, my private island. And my name is Angelo”, he replies reminding me of his first name. Does he have a private island? Seriously? In fact, I am his prisoner! I can’t believe how bad luck I have!
“For how long?”, I want to know for how long he is counting to keep me isolated on an island as a prisoner.
“As far as it takes. I should be 100% sure that you will be safe before I let you go”.
“Why bother yourself for me? I am sure you have more important things to do”, I curiously ask him.
“I don’t know. Maybe because I do not want that anyone else is killed by the mafia”.
“May I have my phone and my bag you confiscated yesterday?”, I ask him.
“Your bag with all its content is in your handbag. I will give you your phone the day you will leave from here”, Angelo inhales his cigarette.
“And how will I contact the journal? Ciara? She will be dead from inquietude. She hasn’t had any sign of life from me since yesterday night. And there is Tom. He will wait for a call”, I explain to him.
“Ciara will do nothing. I talked to her. As for your work and Tom, it is better not to call them. Mafia will follow their phone calls”, he adds lamely.
“I am your prisoner! Isolated in a desert island without means of escape and communication with the outside world!”, I say out loud my thoughts. He laughs uproariously. I am amusing him. What a bastard!
“You are not my prisoner. You are my guest, Allyson. I am protecting you and if this takes to isolate you from the outside world, yes it is precisely what I am doing”, he explains with an amusing tone in his voice. I sit angrily and silent. He is finishing his cigarette.
“You haven’t offered me a cigarette to smoke”.
He laughs and replies jokingly “You don’t smoke. Are you going to start it now, prisoner?”.
He is making me furious! “How you know if I am smoking or not?”.
“You’ve asked for a non-smoking room at the hotel, so I assume you don’t like smoking”, Angelo accurately explains. Damn him! He is right. Indeed, I do not smoke. I hate the smell of cigarettes.
“It’s bad for the health”, I wisely say.
“I know”, he willingly admits.
“Why you smoke then?”, I ask him, surprised by his answer.
“Many things are bad for the health, Allyson, but if we cut them all, then what’s left to enjoy life?”, he explains stoically. I stare at him amazed at his answer. As he is seeing on me my bewilderedness, he continues “Alcohol is bad for the health, wine too. Same is sugar”. Well, we don’t have time to elaborate more on this conversation, as the yacht switches off its engine.
“What happened?” I instantly ask.
He gets up and walks to the side of the boat looking at the horizon. Then, he turns to me and announces triumphantly with a smile “We arrived!”.