I sat up on my bed the moment I heard a key turn in my keyhole with my heart pounding in my chest, a part of me thought it was father and that thought was enough to send a chilling fear sliding down my spine. It was currently some minutes after ten in the night and I had no idea who it could be.
The door cracked open and I felt the breath I’ve been nervously holding in my throat whoosh out a relived sigh on seeing my younger brother standing at the doorway with a proud grin spread across his face.
“Come in fast and shut the door.” I urged and he quietly got in and closed the door before turning my keys until the door was locked again.
“Did you just pick my lock?” I asked once he got to my bedside, he shrugged with a sly grin before hopping on my bed and waving a tiny nail in my face.
“New skill unlocked, yes I did.” He gushed out and I cracked a small smile at his proud facial expression.
“Where did you learn that? I thought you weren’t going to start trailing until next year?” I asked because he was only fifteen and training for boys in the mafia officially starts once they clock sixteen.
“I figured it out myself, I’ve been trying it on my door for a while now until I perfected the skill, how cool is that?” He gushed again and I shrugged, learning how to pick locks wasn’t something people were supposed to be proud of, but it was a huge deal for boys in the mafia since they were going to be needing all the sly skills they can lay their hands on to become someone big in the mafia, and for someone to master that skill on their own was a pretty big deal since they were still going to officially taught this particular skill once training officially starts for them.
“That’s really amazing,” I praised him because it really was and he smiled shyly, his dimples peaking out cutely, that was one of the few features we shared as siblings.
“I brought you a few snacks to eat since father ordered food to not be brought up to you so you could reflect on your disrespectful act which you carried out in his office,” He rolled his eyes towards the end of his sentence and dug out the said snacks from his pockets before pushing them into my hands. I grabbed his wrist before he could pull away, “Won’t you get into trouble for this?” I asked warily, my stomach picked that moment to growl loudly and I flushed red when he gave my a sidelong look, picked one of the cookies on my thighs, tore it open before pressing it into my hands again.
I accepted it and took a bite, the milky taste melting against my tongue almost immediately. “Thank you so much, Angelo.” I said to my younger brother and he only smiled at me before reaching up patting my cheeks lightly.
I sometimes wonder how my brother was already this matured at such a young age, when I was fifteen, I sure as hell wasn’t this smart and matured... I guess it was a guys thing?
“How do you feel about getting married?” He asked and I paused the piece of cookie I was about to insert in my mouth at the last second and breathed out a sigh before returning the cookie back into its bag.
“I feel scared, nauseated, creeped out and hurt as hell.” I replied honestly, my heart feeling sad and heavy in my chest. I ran my fingers against the cookie bag half heartedly, trying to imagine how it was going to feel like to be married to Luca Ricci.
All I could think of was him slapping and hitting me if I dare question any of his decisions and that thought alone was enough to make me shiver slightly, feeling tiny goosebumps cover my arms.
“I’m sorry father is such a selfish man, it’s not your fault he had to stupidly lose mr Luca’s money, then why the hell did he had to purpose to give you to him in replacement for the debt he owed.” Angelo snapped out angrily and I blinked at him shockingly, my heart finding it hard to grasp unto what he was saying.
“What?” I asked, a loud ringing noise echoing in my ears. Angelo’s mouth fell open for a few seconds, “Oh, he didn’t tell you?”
I shook my head slowly, feeling my eyes bite with the telling signs of incoming tears.
“I heard him talking about it with a few of his men a few weeks ago while I was eavesdropping, I didn’t think he’d actually give you to Mr Luca since he himself was extremely scared of him. I had thought he was already looking for the money in which he could use to pay off his debt.”
“Oh,” I mumbled, not knowing how best to respond to this new piece of information.
I felt numb.
There was nothing I could do, it wasn’t like I could refuse to marry Luca.
Was I even given a choice?
“Yeah, I’m so sorry, Sofia.” He whispered quietly and I sniffed quietly before digging out a piece of cookie and threw it into my mouth.
“It’s fine, it’s not your fault and there was nothing you could have done.”
“You could have run away assuming I had told you this immediately I heard about it...” Angelo started to say and I shook my head vehemently, stopping him almost instantly.
“Run away to where? You’re speaking like you’ve suddenly forgotten how father is, he’d find me immediately and only God knows what he’d do to me then. And besides, now that I’m Luca’s property, he could have the whole mafia looking for me and they’d find me in a few minutes... knowing who mr Luca is, he could blow my head off out of irritation.”
“No, Mr Luca wouldn’t be involved since you’re not married to him yet, it’s going to be just father. I think running away is way better than getting married to the mafia lord.” Angelo argued but I only shook my head with a small, resigned sigh.
I wasn’t as courageous as he was neither was it as easy as he was making it sound, I couldn’t bring myself to run away into a world I knew nothing about. I’ve been shielded all my life and never go anywhere without the guards for my own safety, I didn’t know any place nor anyone, nor do I have any money I could use without my father’s awareness since he always get notified each time we make use of the atm card which was directly connected to his bank. My friends were totally useless as well since they were just like me, powerless in a world like ours.
Being a girl in this world was one of the worst things that can ever happen to a person.
“There’s nothing I can do and you know it,” I said quietly after a while and Angelo reached out and took my hand in his warm ones.
“What was mother’s reaction?” He asked and I let out a quiet snort, “The usual; expressionless, unbothered.”
“I hate that woman so much, y’know?” Angelo continued with a frown and I nodded my head, agreeing with him instantly, “I hate her so much as well.”
“Sometimes I wonder if she’s our real mother. I mean, aren’t mothers supposed to be extremely in love with their children and would almost never stand by and watch their children suffer unnecessarily?” Angelo continued and I breathed out another small sigh, not knowing what to think anymore.
I’ve made up a thousand excuse for her in my head while growing up as to why she was the way she was. I’ve watched my friends talking about their mother with so much love and gratitude dripping off their voice, about how they could ask to their mum to help them convince their fathers on an issue... my own case was quiet different from theirs. Mother never bothers trying to convince father on anything, whatever father said was final and that’s that.
I’ve always tried to understand the fact that she also doesn’t have any power when it comes to decisions making in the household... but what about being a mother? Being there when we needed her the most? Being there emotionally?
“I don’t know, Angelo,”
“I seriously don’t think she’s out real mother, I think our mother died or something and this is just our stepmom.” Angelo continued and I smiled sadly before reaching up with my free hand and brushing his blond away from his face, he ducked away from my touch almost immediately and mock glared at me, silently reminding me that he wasn’t the kid he used to be before.
“Don’t be ridiculous, y’know we both got our hairs and dimples from her, that’s proof enough that her blood definitely runs in our veins.” I admonished him because it was the truth. I knew when mother got pregnant with Angelo, I was barely three but I remembered it faintly so she was definitely our mother.
“I don’t know, all I know is that I hate her and father so much.” He finally muttered and I sighed.
I think I hated them more than he did at this point.
“You know once you get married, we won’t be able to see ourselves a lot again.” Angelo muttered quietly, reminding me again about how matured he was now.
“Yeah, I know. But I won’t stop loving you and having your back, you know that, right?”
“I do... it’s just wouldn’t be the same here without you.” He continued as he slightly squeezed my hand in his, making my eyes prickle with tears once again.
“It wouldn’t be the same without you in my life physically anymore,” I whispered, sniffing back tears and blinking away the teardrop clinging to my eyelashes.
“We’d still communicate through the phone and would try to meet up anytime we can, I promise.”
I whispered, my voice breaking at the last two words with a small sob, leaving my brother behind was heart wrenching than I used to think it would be while growing up. Now it was actually happening so fast and there was nothing I could about it than to hope Luca wouldn’t be against me meeting up with my brother.
Angelo tugged my hand forward and wrapped his arms around my shoulders, I slipped my hand around his waist and silently cried against his broad chest in the quiet room. Out of nowhere, my younger brother was all grown up and acting like the elder sibling I never had.
We remained in that position for a long while with me crying silently and him patting my hair and squeezing my shoulders tight, offering me more emotional strength than I’ve ever received from anyone else throughout my whole life, the opened bag of cookies long forgotten.
Sofia’s POV The housekeeper brought me breakfast the next morning which made me assume father wasn’t as angry with me as he was last night. I told her I wasn’t hungry and she returned the breakfast tray back downstairs, leaving me to myself once again. I wasn’t hungry since I ate a bit of the snacks Angelo left me last night, the rest was currently in my closet since I wasn’t feeling hungry one bit.I closed the book I’ve been trying to read to no avail out of frustration and sat up on my bed, staring at the rack of gold and silver medals which I had won throughout high school in the far end of my room. Father thought medals were not as important as award cups, which means the medals I won while growing up stayed in my room, while the award cups I won got placed in his office. I let my mind wander aimlessly like it has been wanting to do since the moment I woke up from the thirty minutes sleep I managed to catch after staying up and talking with my brother from ten pm to two
Sofia’s POV “Remember to smile once he unveils your face, hm?” Father said as he handed me a bunch of blue flowers which were as big as the dress I was currently in.“Yes, father.” I replied with my heart racing uncontrollably, I was going to be walking down the aisle in a few minutes time with my father and I was about to have a panic attack to my utmost horror.“I am going to miss you so much, Sofia.” Father continued as he pulled my veil over my face, I would have quietly snorted at his words had I not been silently trying to fight the panic attack back.Father stepped out of the car and held his hand out for me but I hesitated, afraid my legs was going to give out on me if I dare stand up.“What are you doing, Sofia? We’re going to be called in a minute.” Father demanded impatiently and I tried really hard to push the dizzy feeling back but it was only getting more intense and threatening to pull me under its waves.“Can you get me water please?” I whispered and father cursed
Sofia’s POV The crowd cheered loudly as Luca and I got called to the dance floor for our first couple’s dance. He took my hand and led me into the middle of the dance floor. My veil and tiara had been taken away from me by the designer the moment we arrived at the reception hall, leaving my shoulders and upper back completely bare. Luca placed my hand on his shoulder and slid his left hand around my waist before clasping my left hand in his right one and proceeded to lead me in a slow dance.My head was barely reaching his sharp looking jawline despite the fact that I was in tall heels, our eyes locked for the fourth time today as we moved from side to side. He moved his hand over my waist ever so lightly and I puffed out a flustered breath and ducked my head immediately. I felt another shiver slid down my spine when he pulled me closer to him, our clothes brushing against each other’s.“Look at me.” He rumbled quietly, his vibrating, deep voice eliciting goosebumps over my bare a
Sofia’s POV My heart was hammering hard against the insides of my chest and my rib cages, my pulse rate has spiked high up to the level of me feeling it vibrating fast on my throat. I shivered slightly as fear started to crept into my veins once again and stubbly leaned back when Luca’s fingers started to slow trail over my robe covered arm. To my surprise– and in the very next second, horror, Luca pulled his fingers away from my arm almost immediately. My eyes widened in horror as I realized what I just did and I held my breath fearfully, my whole body going numb as I waited on the slap that was surely going to hit me any second from now.A few seconds passed, and… nothing.I blinked a few times and turned my head around and– locked eyes with Luca. He was staring at me the same way he had been staring at me since the start of my wedding, there was nothing standing out about his facial expression. I silently prayed he wasn’t already thinking up different ways in which he cou
Sofia’s POV Luca had asked me to sleep which my over analyzing mind had broken down into multiple meanings even though it only had one actual meaning. I had hoped he wouldn’t find me attractive, so he wouldn’t have to take me against my will because there was no way I’d ever consent to…Was the word ‘consent’ even available in the vocabularies of the men in the mafia?There was no way my mind could even be relaxed enough to the point of me falling asleep, that fact was sparkling clear in my head. I puffed out a slow breath, not wanting to make unnecessary sound since I was supposed to be sleeping like an obedient wife like I was asked to.The lights suddenly got turned off and i sucked in a harsh, audible breath before widening my eyes and slapping my hand over my mouth in the next second. The feeling of the bed dipping made my heart pound even harder and faster against my chest and I inched towards the edge of the bed until I was lying on the very tip, any further and I’d find mysel
Sofia’s POV I slowly ascended the row of stairs and paused three stairs to the final landing on seeing two men standing there. I stared confusingly at them, wondering what it was that they were looking for. My eyes zeroed in on their weapons strapped on their similar attire as I brushed my hair out of my face. Oh, Luca’s guards. But Luca wasn’t home… or was he?“Good morning, ma’am.” They both echoed at the same time and in sync, bowed their heads down a little. My mouth widened and I shook my head immediately with a wave of my hand.“No, no… are you sure I am the one you actually want to speak with?” I asked in confusion.“Yes, Ma’am. We were ordered here by Mr Ricci and starting from this moment, the both of us are officially your two bodyguards.” One of the two men responded immediately and I breathed out a small sigh, of course I was going to be assigned body guards immediately who were going to monitor every bit of my life starting from this moment, like they said.“Don’t ad
Sofia’s POV “Matilda, Mrs Ricci has been waiting on you for a while now.” Sarah, the housekeeper admonished the young woman who just walked into the kitchen. The said woman footsteps slowed down as soon as she spotted me sitting by the counter.“Oh it’s fine, Sarah. I don’t mind.” I quickly added once Sarah was done admonishing the Chef, Matilda. And also because I didn’t mind waiting here in the kitchen for the chef to arrive since for one, I didn’t have any else to do and forcing down a cup of coffee while exchanging a few, polite words with Sarah was way better than me sitting on my own, doing nothing.“Hello, Mrs Ricci. I’m so sorry I took so long, the laundry wasn’t dried off yet so I thought I could wait there until it dries off finish, because I thought you’d still be in bed, tired from all the stress from the wedding ceremony, and your wedding night–” Matilda choose the moment to mention my wedding night when I was about to force down another mouthful of coffee, which ma
Sofia’s POV I slowly ran my comb through my long, dark hair. My hair was a midnight black color and it stood out pointedly against my skin. It was also unreasonably long, but I wasn’t complaining. I wasn’t too keen about it either because combing it was so stressful. Other than that, I love my hair so much and wouldn’t trade it for anything.I got the hair for my mother’s mother, a woman whom I had only been opportuned to meet once, while I was five years, before she passed away. She was a really beautiful woman who had lost her whole hair due to cancer, leaving her bald at the time I had met with her. I could vividly remember her feeding Angelo his bottle while telling me different stories of her childhood days. That particular day was extremely special to me because that was the first time I had met with any of my grandparents, and the last time -till date. The rest of my grandparents were all late as well.I combed the remaining untouched part of my hair as fast as possible bef