“Do you know why I had you summoned?” Father asked and I shook my head immediately, silently praying it wasn’t going to end up being what I was already starting to think it was. Father picked up his whiskey filled glass and took a sip before returning it back to the table. My mother was seated beside him with a blank face as usual, her hair was pinned on her hair neatly and tightly, a single strand wouldn’t be able to slip out until she took out the pin herself.
“You’re eighteen years already, Sofia.” My father started to say and I felt my heart sink into my stomach with a drop, what he was about to say was already pretty obvious.
“You’re ripe for marriage already, which is why we’ve started your wedding preparations the moment you clocked eighteen. You’d be getting married in a week's time and all you have to do is to relax and do whatever your mum and her sisters ask you to do.”
“What?” I demanded urgently with my heart squeezing tight against the inside of my chest, blinking unbelievably and glancing from father’s face to my mother’s expressionless face.
I knew I was going to get married to one of the soldiers or generals' sons right since I was thirteen, I had been aware and had been brought up to be a good and obedient wife to whoever would end up getting picked out for me. It was tradition for fathers in our own world to marry their daughters to eligible men holding posts worthy enough to benefit them one way or the other.
“You’re getting married to Luca Ricci in a week's time.” Father stated and my mouth fell open immediately.
Mr Luca Ricci?
“Um, Mr Luca? The mafia lord?” I whispered out with my eyes blown wide and my heart beating wildly against my ribs, my hands were starting to shake due to how close I was to losing control of my emotions and I squeezed my hands together and dragged in deep breath as quietly as I could.
“Yes, Sofia. Mr Luca Ricci has requested your hand in marriage and everything has been in preparation ever since. You should be really honored that someone as powerful as him would want to marry from our family, despite the fact that there are higher generals with daughters in which he could pick from.” My mother finally said from the moment I got into the office and I blinked at her with tears stinging my eyes.
“But he’s really older than I am,” I tried reasoning with them in a strained whisper, my voice breaking unashamedly, feeling weak and powerless as ever. What could I do?
Wasn’t he like fifty?
“Age is just a number, and besides he’s just eighteen years older than you are.” My father dismissed my protest immediately as he took another sip of his whiskey.
“I don’t want to marry him, father.” I started to say, knowing that I was digging my own grave by voicing out my own thoughts but having no other choice left, “Anybody but him, father. He’s scary and ruthless, you’ve said so yourself countless times. I’ve heard so many rumors about him, scary details about him. Please father...”
“Sofia!” My father barked out and I jumped and swallowed emptily, shifting in my seat and staring pointedly at my quaking hands on my thighs.
Not him please.
“Those are just rumors, and when did you start believing whatever you hear without enough proof?” Father snapped and I swallowed again, trying my hardest to blink my tears away.
“He’s ruthless because he has to be as the mafia lord, and you’re going to learn to be fierce like him once you become his wife. Nothing’s going to happen to you if you do whatever he demands of you as fast as you can without questions. Luca hates stupid questions and you females are fond of that instead of obediently doing as you are told immediately.”
“So he wants a slave and not a wife? That’s it? I’m just going to become his slave?” I demanded before I could stop myself and father got to his feet immediately and threw his glass which was half filled with whiskey on the wall exactly where my head was positioned a second ago had I not ducked immediately with a panicked scream. I scrambled to my feet instantly and raced to the doorway with tears streaming down my cheeks, mother was on her feet as well, wringing her hands together but not interfering as usual.
“This is why you women need a husband with an iron fist, someone to discipline you until you learn how to obey whatever you’ve told to do without stupid, unnecessary questions.” Father shouted angrily at me with a finger pointed in my direction and I cried harder. “Knowing how Luca is, I’m sure he would be able to make you obey him without questions a day into the marriage unlike me, it took me years to train your mother into being an obedient wife, because she was just like you are now; stubborn, disrespectful and disobedient.”
I shook my head with tears still sliding down my cheeks, I didn’t want to end up being like mother, I didn’t want to have to live life the way she did, I didn’t want to have to agree with whatever my husband says without questions, I didn’t want to live like a slave in marriage the way my mother has been doing since the moment she got married to father.
I’ve never expected to marry because of love, nor have I thought that I’d be marrying someone of my own choice. But I’ve been hoping I’d marry someone in my own age range who’s already open minded and won’t want to live in the past the way the people in the past generations did.
But then I had to get given to someone almost two decades older than I am, it wasn’t even just anybody, it was Luca. Luca Ricci.
Everyone’s worst nightmare.
Everyone was scared of him, including my father.
“Get back into your room this instant and don’t leave there until you’re asked to.” He ordered before turning around and heading toward the bar hanging off the wall in his office to pour himself another drink. I remained in my current position, knowing it was stupid of me to still hope he’d change his mind. He turned back around with another glass of whiskey and I noticed the way his nose flared angrily the moment his eyes landed on me.
I glanced helplessly at my mother, hoping she’d back me up for once but she only shook her head and glanced away from my direction. With another wayward sob bubbling in my throat, I whirled around and fled his office when he started advancing towards me.
I flew up the stairs with tears streaming down my cheeks and past the rows of doors upstairs leading to my room. I didn’t stop to acknowledge my younger brother who was standing outside his bedroom door watching me silently and slammed my bedroom door shut the moment I got in.
I turned the keys and locked it despite the fact that I knew father has the rest of my door keys and could get the door open anytime he wants before sliding down against it and burying my face in my palms, more tears spilled out and I didn’t bother trying to stop it and instead allowed it to flow out quietly.
I was going to be identified as Mrs Ricci in a week's time...
The thought of that alone was enough to make me sob even harder, hating life and my parents with so much passion all over again.