My sense of smell comes back to me first.
The heavy stench of burning tobacco fills my nostrils. My eyes water, as I bat them open. A grunt escapes my mouth, and I move my aching body from its uncomfortable state. Feeling extremely drowsy, I hear some low voices against a continuous humming noise in the background.
I see a familiar evil face. He’s dressed like a gentleman in a fancy suit. I watch him sit across from me, as he’s being served a glass of sparkling wine... It’s the same man that kidnapped me. Rick...
He looks back at me with a smug smile. My dreary eyes dart everywhere, figuring out my surroundings. We’re flying in a private jet.
I tug my arms, which are stuck in cuffs behind the armchair. I look out the small round window, staring at the clouds in terror. After hyperventilating, I try to process what’s going on.
“Wh-what are you doing? Where are you taking me?” I tug.
Rick only drinks, though he stares at me from above the rim of his glass.
“There are some things in life that you just take...” he says, swirling his wine. “And there are others that you destroy.”
I frown, feeling a full-fledged headache coming on. I realize that my ears are half blocked.
“You’re wasting your time!” I shout, “Let me go!”
“Judah and I used to be allies, you know. But then he made a big mistake,” Rick chuckles, as if recounting good memories. “And you know how the saying goes. An eye for an eye.”
I gulp, wondering when this nightmare will end.
“I have nothing to do with your feud,” I mumble under my breath, hurting my wrists from pulling the handcuffs too hard.
“I know, I know. You’re as innocent as your name suggests,” he sings with a sadistic grin. He then straightens himself in his seat and speaks slowly. “But you’re the only thing that’ll make Judah move.”
I grip my hands into fists and grit my teeth together. My hatred for Judah only gets bigger. It becomes hard to breathe with my severe headache.
“You’re wrong,” I add, closing my eyes. “Judah is done with me. He’s left me for... for some other girl.”
I tried my best to be convincing, but Rick only nods his head side to side. I think of how I’m supposed to get out of this.
“I’d beg...” he starts, reaching into his inner suit pocket. He pulls out my ultrasound picture. “To differ.”
My breath gets caught up in my throat, and I painfully bite my lips. No! This can’t happen!
Rick waves the picture around, taunting me with it. I feel helpless more than anything. Anxiety takes over my whole body, and sweat forms over my brow. I break under his gaze, as tears build up in my eyes. Pain strikes my heart. My life is only going to get worse.
“In fact, I think Judah will move...” he smiles wickedly, “Very quickly.”
The plane lands on ground. I’m forced to stay quiet. Rick’s men escort me out. They drag me around, following Rick across the porter runway and into the backseat of a black SUV.
The sunset smokes, too. I look around and see hills on the horizon.
I watch Rick put on his sunglasses through his rear-view mirror. He watches me too, and smiles.
“Welcome to Italy,” he slickly tells me, as if we’re on good terms.
I pause after hearing his words. What?! Italy?
The trunk suddenly opens and his men pack it to the top with duffel bags and... guns. Some men stuff guns in their jackets after loading them. My heart pounds fast, feeling like a rock is in my chest.
We hit a highway, and my gut begins to trouble me. I stare out the window and watch farmland pass us by. Wherever we’re headed... no one can save me easily.
After a while, a traditional ivory mansion comes into view from a cluster of sculpted trees. The view is hard to admire, when I’m shaking away to death.
My eyes climb up the tall columns, as I’m dragged out the vehicle. Rick lights a new cigar.
“Ugh! Don’t touch me!” I protest, even though they won’t listen.
They bring me inside and throw me in a lavish guest room. I know it won’t end well.
“Why don’t you just kill me now?” I spit.
“And miss Judah’s expression?” his sinister voice relays, shaking his head like it’s obvious.
I give him a death stare, but he simply chuckles with his brown cigar between his lips.
He disappears out the door and locks me in. The sudden silence pushes down on me, sending a chill down my spine. I fight with the door, beyond frustrated.
Am I going to die here? I scream out to the top of my lungs, letting the tears flow their own way.
My eyes act like broken faucets. My nails scratch my palms, because I’m a nervous wreck.
I don’t know how long I’ve been stuck in here, but it’s been a couple of hours. I dozed off a few times, because my head hurt.
I smell like vomit. I’m suffering from cramps. I’m out of touch with the world.
It doesn’t feel good to know that I’m trapped again in the middle of Judah’s mess.
Nice going, Rosalie. Why did you have to get involved with a criminal? This is all your fault.
I miss the simple days where Judah and I would just lie together and stare at each other for hours. The memories are tinted, nonetheless.
Fitting into his lifestyle was never going to work.
I lose my sanity for a minute, when I remind myself of the baby inside of me.
Tears drip out of my eyes all over again. My shoulders shake, because I can never control the pain he caused.
Suddenly, the door turns open. I lift my head. My limp body is yanked off the ground. I’ve grown accustomed to Rick’s guards throwing me around.
They deliver me inside a large bathroom. A woman stands by the lit-up vanity, perched with cosmetic products. She applies a bright red lipstick on. Her hair is curled to perfection and she wears a fitted black dress. I watch her carefully, as she walks over to me. She moves like one of Rick’s bed girls.
“Rick says to take a bath and get dressed,” she walks out, basically telling me it’s my turn.
I sigh, knowing that there’s no escaping. My joints take some time to function again. The bath is already filled with warm water. A variety of scented soaps rest on the counter.
There’s no window for me to jump out of.
I glance back at the door. There’s no way that I’ll get anywhere. I slip out of my putrid clothes, dropping them on the marble tiles. I resemble a zombie in the mirror, as I stare at my bruises... and bump.
Looking down, I see spotting on my underwear.
“What?” I ask out loud, breathless.
My hand covers my mouth. I try not to think too much of it. It’s not like I can find a gynaecologist anytime soon.
I take the opportunity to wash my pale skin. I sit in the water until my fingertips wrinkle.
Thankfully, there’s a shapeless black dress hanging by the door for me to wear. It’s when I struggle to put on the bralette that I notice my weight gain.
I put on the dress, which doesn’t show my shape or anything else. My hands tuck my hair behind my ear.
My body still shakes from head to toe.
Suddenly, Rick walks right in, intruding my thoughts. He looks me over.
“Do you know what we do to women that have this kind of... accident?” he asks me. There’s a long pause in the air, before he answers his own question. “We kill them.”
“You’re a monster...” I snap.
“Harsh words,” he pretends to be in pain, clutching his heart and squeezing his eyes shut. He then grins and opens them back, laying them on me. “What makes you think Judah would disagree? We work for the same boss. We follow the same rules.”
He lights a cigarette.
“Just kill me,” I stare back into the mirror, shaking my head.
Rick latches his guns into his hidden pockets. I swallow hard, when he motions for me to follow him.
“We must first,” he starts, blowing smoke in my face, “Go to the dinner.”
I’m not free. Rick’s two guards still have their grip on me. We walk slowly towards a rooftop veranda. Whoever had the idea to give me a long black dress is an idiot, because I keep stepping on it and tripping over myself.
The sky turns orange and blue.
Everybody I see is dressed in suits and silver wristwatches. A long table comes into view, with many prominent gangsters sitting around it. They haven’t eaten yet, though the caterers are not too far away from serving. So why am I here?
Sitting at the power seat, I see a bigger, older man. I recognize him as the ‘boss’, because his menacing authoritarian face is hard to forget. The man looks my way and pierces me with his glare.
“Forgive my tardiness,” Rick interrupts their assembly. They all turn their heads towards our entrance. “But I brought with me a special guest.”
Suddenly, one of the men stands up swiftly, knocking his chair backwards to the ground.
The head of tousled hair and grey eyes...
“Judah,” I gasp.
My heart burns. It feels as if the world moved in slow motion.
In that instant, a cold gun presses against my head and Rick’s arm grips me in a chokehold. I scream, but he tightens his arm.
“Yes, Judah!” he exclaims, “I’d hate to ruin your appetite tonight. But revenge is best served cold.”
“Please! Please!” I beg, feeling like I’ll explode from fear.
“Don’t!” Judah’s voice springs up.
“Move, and I shoot the fucking girl,” Rick threatens, digging the gun in my head.
I cry out for help, but everyone seems stuck in time. As soon as Judah pulls out his gun, seven other guys do the same, yet all pointing in different directions and at different heads. The only one staying seated is the boss.
I can no longer move a muscle. I feel like vomiting again. I feel the acid in my stomach rising slowly. If I don’t get air in my lungs, I’ll pass out.
“I’ll fucking kill you, Rick.”
But Rick can’t contain his laughter. Anyone with eyes can see the sweat on Judah’s forehead.
“How deep do you want this to go, Judah?”
“How deep is hell?”