29. Another World
Armando stood up and walked around the front of his desk. He offered me his hand.
“Lets sit down.”
He gestured toward the sofa.
I took his hand, and he lead me over to the place where I had first talked to him.
Vincent followed us over, and sat down too. I was now sandwiched between the two men.
Armando took a deep breath.
“I thought after everything that had happened it would be best for Vincent to keep his distance,” he hesitated, “I told him you weren’t to be touched until you turned eighteen.”
I frowned. Then I felt angry.
All through school I had kept myself pure, despite Patrick’s many advances.
I folded my arms across my chest, angrily.
“So you think I lack restraint. You think I’m...cheap. Some sort of...” I hesitated.
Then it all began to make sense. The word that I heard so many times in Italian. From the man in the villa who had tried it on, to the woman in the kitchen, who Vincent had called Mama. Even Gianna had used the word. Puttana,
“Some sort of whore. Isn’t what everyone thinks when they call me a puttana?”
“I never thought of you like that Rosie, no once. The moment I saw you in the villa, I knew there was something special about you,” he smiled, “you looked just like her, just like Amelia.”
I narrowed my eyes, and glanced between the two men, finally focussing my gaze on Vincent.
“You knew my mother? How?”
Vincent exhaled a long sigh.
“We all knew your mother, My father, myself and Daniel.”
I swallowed nervously.
“Is that why you had me kidnapped...because of my mother?”
Vincent quickly shook his head.
“Tell her Vincent,” Armando interjected, “Tell her or I will.”
Vincent turned to me on the sofa, and took my hands in his. I looked at his face. Normally I could read him. Lust. Anger. Frustration. It was none of those. The only word I could use to describe it was haunted.
“You already know that my father helped your mother with her music fees. That was how I...We, myself and Daniel met her. We went with my father to one of her performances. Afterwards we went back stage. A few days later I offered to take her out for dinner, after that we began to see each other.”
I stared at him.
“You dated my mother?”
I just stared at him and shook my head. I wanted to yell at him. Tell him what a complete bastard, but I needed to know the rest.
“Things were going well,” Vincent continued, “but my brother, Daniel, he was obsessed with her. He would attend every performance, send flowers. She wasn’t really interested in him, she was interested in me. That was until he told her untruths about the family. How we were involved in organised crime, drug and human trafficking. He told her I was heavily involved. He told her he was done with all that. Told her he was leaving the family. She never waited to hear my side of the story. She believed my brother. He thought she would run to him, but she didn’t. She ran to your father.”
I pulled my hands from Vincent’s. He could have stopped me if he’d wanted to, but he didn’t. I shook my head. I couldn’t believe this.
“So you thought as you couldn’t keep my mother, you’d keep me instead,” I screamed.
I stood up and stared at them both.
“I don’t fucking believe you. It was never about me was it? It was about my fucking mother!”
Armando glared at me.
“I don’t approve of that type of language. It’s not how a young lady should behave,” he scolded.
I spat out a laugh.
“I’m not a young lady,” I scoffed, “I’m the daughter of a murderer, in case you forgot. At least I’m honest though. At least I don’t try and manipulate people. Not like you people, you throw your money around and think it makes everything ok, well it doesn’t. I don’t belong here, I never did. I’m done with you...all of you! Go throw your money at someone else!”
I stormed to the door and opened it.
“Rosie, come back here right now,” Armando demanded.
I turned to look at him.
“Fuck you, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, I’m still a prisoner!”
I slammed the door shut and ran towards my cabin.
Tears began to stream down my face.
I should have known. I should have realised. People like Armando, like Vincent. All they wanted to do was control you. Give you just enough information to make it seem like they were doing you a favour. Gianna was no better. Trying to throw me and Vincent together.
When I reached the cabin, I locked the door behind me and threw myself on the bed.
Tears streamed down my face. I’d thought Vincent wanted me for me, not because I was a look-a-like for my mother. I was stupid and naive, but not anymore.
I was still a prisoner, albeit treated like a princess, I was a prisoner none the less. It didn’t mean I had to play nice. Didn’t I had to pretend I was happy. Now more than ever, all I wanted to do was go home.
I hadn’t been laying there long when I heard a gentle knock on the door.
“Go away,” I yelled, trying to stop my voice from cracking.
I heard the door handle turn, but whoever was on the other side would be out of luck.
“Rosie, please open the door. I want to talk to you.”
I heard Gianna’s faint voice plead.
“I’ve got nothing to say to you,” I hissed, “and I’m not going to your wedding either, so you better find another bridesmaid that looks like my mother for Vincent to fuck.”
There was silence from the other side of the door. Then I heard the sound of Gianna’s footsteps retreating.
I got up from the bed, and headed into the bathroom. I quickly discarded the bikini and stepped in the shower. I blasted hot water over my body, trying to sear away the memory of Vincent’s hands. Maybe all those people had been right. I was Vincent’s whore, all bought and paid for.
Which ever way you looked at it, if it hadn’t been for their money, I would have never found myself here. They wouldn’t have go the clutches on my mother. Maybe my life would have been different.
Once I was done, I stepped out and wrapped a towel around me.
I was so angry, I didn’t even want to wear any of the clothes that Armando had bought me. But what choice did I have.
Then I had an idea. I looked in the dirty laundry hamper. Right at the bottom were the clothes that Roberto had brought for me. The maids uniform. I put it on.
It was more of a protest than anything else. Hopefully it would make a point.
I pulled my hair into a ponytail, mostly because I knew Vincent didn’t like it. Then I unlocked the door and peered into the corridor. It was empty.
I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I headed out, hoping to avoid any of the Marchesi’s.
As I wandered around the yacht, I came across a small sitting room with a TV. I flicked it on. I flicked to the news channel. Hoping that there might be something on about Daniel or my father, although now it was probably old news.
As I stared at the screen, I zoned out slightly, until I heard a gruff voice, I didn’t recognise.
“Hey, cosa pensi di fare?”
The man was dressed in a stewards uniform, he was older than some of the others.
“S...Sorry,” I stuttered, I only speak English.”
He rolled his eyes.
“What do you think your doing? You dont get paid to sit around. Attend to your duties,” he snarled.
I suddenly realised. He didnt know who I was. He thought I was a member of staff.
“I haven’t been told what to do,” I countered.
He huffed angrily and grabbed me by the arm.
The steward dragged me down the several flights of stairs, until we reached the kitchen. He grabbed an apron off of a peg, and threw it at me. Then he pointed to a large container of vegatables.
“You can start by peeling those, then when you have done that, ask Chef what he wants you to do next. If I catch you slacking again I will report you to Signor Roberto.”
When he turned and left, I couldnt help but smirk to myself. The man thought I was a maid. Good, I could hide myself down here. Armando and Vincent would never find me. I doubted they even knew where the Kitchen was.
Shortly after the grumpy steward left, another man came into the kitchen. He glared at me.
“Who the hell are you, and what are doing in my kitchen?”
I swallowed nervously. He was very tall, and dressed in white. I guessed that this guy was the chef. He spoke English, but with a very heavy French accent.
I hesitated, what should I tell him. That I’m hiding from Armando and Vincent. He’d never believe me.
“I’m new,” I blurted.
He peered down at the vegetables I had peeled, and huffed.
“Leave that, and wash up,” he sneered, as he pointed to a pile of pans.
I walked over to the sink. I rolled my eyes. I guessed this was lowest job that no one else wanted to do. Still beggars couldnt be choosers, and I was nothing if not that.
As soon as I thought I might be finished, another pile of pans arrived. I was surprised they didnt have a dishwasher, but the state of some of the pans, I doubted a dishwasher would have got them clean, or maybe the just used the dishwasher for the crockery and cutlery. Who knew. This was a whole new world to me.
I had no idea how long I had been washing up for, All I knew was my skin on my hands had gone wrinkly from being in the hot water.
I was so engrossed in doing this new job, that I didnt hear the footsteps behind me, until I felt my shoulder being shaken.
I looked up to see the chef.
He stared at me and rolled his eyes.
“Stupid girl, you should wear gloves,” he hissed, as he pointed to some rubber gloves.
I felt like giving him some sarcastic retort, but decided against it. Instead I reached for the gloves.
He let out an exasperated sigh.
“Not now. You are finished. Now you eat.”
I wiped my hands on the apron, and followed him.
He lead me through to another room. Bench tables were set out, and there were loads of people sitting down. There were plates of food set out, and everyone was eating and chatting. All of them dressed like me. I quickly looked around to see if I could see Roberto. I breathed a sigh of relief when I didnt see him. I did however see the girl who had collected me from Armando’s office. Lily I think her name was. Worse than that though, she saw me. She stared at me wide eyed, then quickly looked away. I focussed on the plate in front of me and started to eat. It must have been leftovers from what the Marchesi’s hadnt eaten. I wondered if they were frantically looking for me. I some how doubted it, after what I had said to them.
Once the meal was finished, they all started to leave. I guessed they were heading back to their cabins, where ever they were.
I watched as Lily spoke to the grumpy old steward that had found me. Maybe he was the second in command to Roberto. They both glanced at me, then Lily walked over.
She narrowed her eyes.
“I know who you are,” she whispered, her Italian accent strong.
I sighed. If she told them I would be back to square one. I was just grateful that she could speak English.
“Are you going to tell them?”
“No. I don’t know why, but No. I have told Mario, that you’re sharing a cabin with me.”
I stood up and followed Lily out of the dining room.
She lead me through a warren of corridors, until we reached a door.
The room was tiny. Two small single beds and a side table between them. A chest was in the far corner.
“The bathroom is at the end of the corridor,” she stated.
Then she rummaged around in the chest of drawers.
“Here, you need something to sleep in.”
She tossed me a nightdress.
“Thanks,” I mumbled.
She opened the door and left.
While she was gone, I quickly undressed, and changed before sliding into the bed.
It wasnt as comfy as the bed in the other cabin, but at least I felt some sort of freedom. Even if it was an illusion.
I had no idea what would happen once we reached our destination. If I could hide away for that long. I didn't doubt that Armando or Vincent would look for me. I just had to avoid being found.