An abused wife is forced back to her gilded prison. Entry for Sinister Kisses contest
|Her Gilded Prison
"I'm sure you understand the consequences, Love." The ugly threat hung in the air. The foulness of the words were in direct contrast to the luxurious surroundings. The thick carpets, custom chandeliers, antique tables, and designer furniture had once been home to Alessa. No matter what happened now, it never would be again.
"I'm sure you won't hesitate to use those pathetic markers against Frank," Alessa answered dryly. She tried to keep the panic out of her voice, not wanting to give Marco the satisfaction of hearing her beg.
"Nothing pathetic about a hundred grand ... at least not where your brother is concerned. I'm afraid it's way more than he's worth."
"But you could be convinced to help him out, isn't that right?" Alessa asked, the false syrupy sweetness of her voice as fake as Marco's concern.
She had known when Marco called her that there would be no way out. Returning to her gilded prison had been Alessa's only alternative if she wanted to keep Frank safe. Marco knew she'd do anything for her baby brother. He'd played on one of her few weaknesses and had conquered her brilliantly. It was no surprise, merely another round in a game they'd played endlessly over the last four years since they'd been married.
Marco was far different from the average street thug. His Versace shirts and hand-stitched shoes made him an entirely different beast. His MBA from Columbia made him more dangerous than any of the people you normally heard about on the news, at least as far as his wife was concerned.
He didn't get his hands dirty, didn't have to. As vice president of a powerful investment company he had access to more money and power than most people could envision. He also knew how to use it to his advantage. In their four-year marriage he'd brought her crawling back to him both times she'd tried to run.
The first time, she'd returned for Bianca's sake. Alessa felt, mistakenly, that her small daughter needed both parents. She had to forgive herself; she'd only been 23 and naive.
Now, two years later, it was her brother's gambling markers that pulled her back. Money meant nothing to Alessa. Her family had never had much and she could manage to make a living for herself and little Bianca. Frank, however, was another matter.
With Marco buying up Frankie's markers, he controlled him. Perhaps he'd make sure an accident happened and Frank was crippled for life. What if Marco forced Frank to do some of his criminal work and he just happened to get caught? Maybe Frank would just disappear for good. It was all implied, very civil, but Alessa knew Marco could make it happen.
"You belong to me ... as does your family. Bianca is asleep by now, happy to be back in her room with Maria watching over her like a hawk. No reason for us not to go make an appearance, like the nice happy couple we are."
"Yes, of course," Alessa replied numbly.
"Good girl. Now, you know better than to leave the house looking like this. You need to wear some jewelry and at least attempt to look the part."
He crossed his study to his safe, opened it easily, and began sorting through the boxes. When he returned he held two velvet boxes from Cartier; one holding her wedding rings and the other a lovely diamond necklace. Both were elegant and any woman would be insane not to love them. To Alessa it felt like she was being tagged and collared.
He moved her heavy fall of hair and draped the diamonds around her neck. Their sparkle was a perfect contrast to her dark coloring, golden eyes, and the perfect little black dress she already wore.
Though she'd prepared for it, the sting of his fingers tightening on her throat nearly made her wince. He was as calculated as he always was, her hair would cover any marks that showed up tomorrow.
"You've defied me for the last time. Don't think for a second you've gotten away with it. If you even think of taking my daughter away from me again, you won't live to regret it."
The party was elegant and well attended, as it would need to be to get Marco's attention. One of the senior partners at Arossco and Lambert was throwing a birthday party at one of the finest country clubs in Westchester and the elite were all in attendance to see and be seen.
The finest crystal and china were set at the table, looking as if Martha Stewart had done the job herself. No expense had been spared. The wait staff was overly attentive, serving the Dom Perignon, Cristal, or Krug champagne as if each bottle didn't cost more than $1500. It meant nothing to people with more money than sense.
It was a world Alessa normally felt comfortable in, but not tonight. Not ever again. Marco had introduced her into this social structure at twenty, when she'd been too young and foolish to realize what was happening. Now, she understood. These people accepted her, as they did most beautiful things, but she'd never be close to any of them.
There was no threat of their unholy domestic bliss coming to light, no one who would intrude on her behalf. Alessa was left on her own, with no one who actually cared about her well being. It was his world and he was damn sure to control every aspect.
No one saw anything unusual in her sudden reappearance. They saw only the attentive husband doting on his lovely wife. The smile never left Marco's face and Alessa made sure it didn't leave hers. If his fingers were harsh on her neck or wrist, she refused to acknowledge it. No one else did either.
Even Alessa had to admit, he still took her breath away. Something about him stirred her hormones, even if she did know what a bastard he was. He was tall, dark, and handsome. The suit jacket accented his wide shoulders and firm body he worked at four days a week in the private gym his company owned.
She remembered when his smile had meant something to her, how his wit and charm had swept her off her feet. He'd seemed so much more sophisticated than the boys she dated before. He had been a collage man, nearly ready to graduate, when she'd first seen him at the street fair in their small hometown. Now she just wished they'd never met.
She was exhausted by the time they slid back into the Mercedes. Her feet ached from the punishing high heels she'd been forced to wear and her fake smile felt like it was ready to split her face in two. She was sure her nape was black and blue, but refused to give Marco the satisfaction of rubbing at the injury.
All she wanted was to raise her daughter in peace. When she thought of what this life would do to little Bianca it made her sick to her stomach. No matter how careful they were the little girl was beginning to sense things she shouldn't. She always seemed to see and hear more than was safe.
Even if she was doted on for now, and she didn't see her father's abuse of her mother, what hope was there for her future? A man who treated his wife like so much garbage wasn't likely to think much of his female child as she grew up. Maybe he'd even pick a nice husband for Bianca ... one just like her daddy.
The thought made her physically ill and she had to fight from vomiting in the perfectly kept car. Marco was too controlling to allow his daughter to grow up as anything other than a prisoner. Just how long would it be before he destroyed Bianca?
"And I can't believe how you embarrassed me tonight." Alessa blinked, fearful for a moment because she had tuned Marco out as she'd dealt with her own thoughts. Of course, there was no need to worry. It was another verse in a very familiar song.
"Sorry," she apologized automatically.
"You should be. You looked like shit." His words no longer really hurt her; they'd lost that power long ago. She didn't bother to mention that he'd chosen her outfit, shoes, and jewelry.
The dress was a designer piece she'd got before her pregnancy. She still wore it well, though the girls were displayed a bit more now than they had originally. It didn't matter; Marco would have found an issue with anything. She was well aware of what awaited her when they got home.
She crumbled against the bathroom door, where Marco threw her. The door handle dug into her spine and she couldn't avoid crying out. Tears squeezed out from under her eyelids and slipped down her cheeks.
"Can't you ever do anything right?" Marco howled angrily. He reached her just as she collapsed into the thick pile carpet, dragging her up by her hair. He outweighed her by 70 or 80 pounds and she knew by now that fighting was useless.
He smacked her over the ear hard and she heard a loud pop as she sunk back to the floor. Pain exploded inside her head and she could barely hear her own screams before he shoved a pillow over her face to stifle her.
"Shut up," he hissed. She could barely hear him as pinpricks of light flashed behind her eyelids and air returned to her lungs. She had to focus hard on making her lungs contract and expand, one breath at a time.
"Sorry," she apologized automatically. As if it was her fault for being too loud while being beaten.
She realized slowly that she must have hit the stand as she fell, because she could feel the sticky warm blood trickle from the side of her head. He prowled away from her and she prayed he was winding down. Maybe he was even sorry for causing her to bleed, he was normally much more careful.
She rolled onto her side, crying out at the pain that erupted from her rib area. Another cracked rib wasn't anything new. She hated calling attention to herself, but she also knew from experience that staying on the floor would focus his rage on her just as easily.
"I didn't fuckin' tell you to move!" He was so quick; she didn't manage to crawl away. He grabbed her again by her hair and dragged her to her feet. This time when he threw her, she landed on the bed. Even through her pain she felt the revulsion of ever returning to his bed. It certainly wasn't the haven it had once been, a long time ago in a galaxy far away.
Marco was over her before she could roll away. Alessa was trapped beneath him, arms pinned to her side. Her ribs and head screamed in pain as his weight settled over her. His sour breath was in her face, and then his mouth took hers with a force that made her jaws ache.
She gasped in pain as his weight settled on top of her. A million small pains amplified through her body demanding attention, but Alessa knew relief would be a long time coming. One of his bare thighs pushed between her own, forcing her legs apart. She gave way silently, simply wanting it over.
"That's it. Be a good girl and don't wake the nanny. You certainly don't want to wake Bianca." His voice was a menacing whisper, much more frightening than any yelling or screaming. She could handle the raised voices; it was the phony civility that drove her insane.
She felt the delicate silk of her cami top give way with an audible hiss. The cool air hit her bare skin, then Marco's smooth hands covering her. He pinched and groped hard enough that she nearly screamed, but she managed to stay silent and shut her eyes even more tightly.
He certainly wouldn't hurry his favorite torture. There was no one left to stop him and Alessa wasn't in a position to protest. Fear froze her on the bed, knowing the various bruises and marks would never be seen. No one would care if they did. This was her life and there was nothing she could do to change it. Trying to fight back only got more people hurt.
He shifted away to kick out of his silk boxers. She didn't have to open her eyes; she felt his bare skin and hard erection pressing against her. The violence had aroused Marco and he would demand his release. Resistance would just make him more determined.
Though she was forewarned, the pain made her catch her breath. Her body refused to respond to him as he forced himself in and out of her repeatedly. Unshed tears stung her eyes and she prayed for it to be over. If it weren't for Bianca, Alessa imagined she could end it forever ... one way or another.
It seemed that the assault went on forever, yet in reality it had been only 20 or 25 minutes from the first slap to when Marco finally rolled off her. She heard his snoring as he fell asleep almost instantly. A clear conscience could do that, she thought wryly. It would be a long time before she would find the same respite.
"Where is Bianca?" Alessa asked anxiously, her eyes roaming around the desolate office where the detectives had chosen to interrogate her. She would have thought agents for the FBI's Organized Crime Task Force would have better accommodations, but apparently not. Welcome to life in the 21st century where everyone was on a shoestring budget ... everyone legal, anyway.
"Your daughter is fine Mrs. Fellicci. She's with another agent in the next room. We thought she should be spared some of the boring chatter we have to go through," the female agent named Anderson assured her.
She was pretty, in that cool blonde way men seemed to like. Quite young for an agent too, but her eyes were icy, as if she'd seen more than you would expect. In spite of her age, she was not naïve.
"I'd feel better if she were here." Alessa tried to keep the frantic tone from her voice, but was failing terribly. Marco was in lock up, or so they said. She had no doubt he'd turn up very soon and Heaven help everyone when he did. She wasn't about to let Bianca become a casualty, Hell no. They were getting out of town as soon as they could leave the building.
"We'll get her soon. First, we would like to hear from you what you know about Arossco And Lambert."
"What a laugh. Nothing, Marco isn't stupid enough to bring work home."
"We didn't ask what he talked about. That isn't allowed in court. I asked what you know."
"I don't know anything about his business."
"Alessa, it will go better for you and Bianca if you just tell us what Marco's into." Tori Anderson hated playing the hard ass with the wife, but she had no options. It would take everything they had to put Fellicci and the other players in prison where they belonged.
It was obvious from the start that Alessa Fellicci was not the beloved spouse like they'd been told. Tori had seen that weariness and anxiety in too many abuse victims to miss it. The wife was hard wired and ready to scatter, that was certain. If they took a closer exam Tori was sure they'd find bruises and other injuries. She was as much a punching bag as any other abuse victim; her husband just had enough money to hide it well.
"Forget this! She can talk to the judge when she gets sentenced for conspiracy, tax evasion, fraud, and accessory to murder." Anderson's partner Newsome finally spoke. He was older; with salt and pepper hair and a body that seemed as broad as a barn. He was solid, no middle age spread on him, and probably taller than Marco.
"What the ... I have nothing to give you so I think you know what you can do with this whole good cop bad cop thing."
"You don't seem very scared for a woman who's never seen the inside of a prison cell."
"Ah, but I know Marco. I just happen to be a hell of a lot more scared of him than you. I want my daughter now! Charge me or get me out of here." It had only been a month since her return to Marco's home and she had relearned her lessons quite easily.
"We can hold you for 24 hours."
"Cut it out Tom. You know what she is as well as I do. She doesn't know anything," Tori interrupted.
"I appreciate all the effort ... really I do. Right now though, I just want my daughter so we can get the hell out of here."
"I'll get Bianca for you right now."
One Year Later
A soft wind whispered through the palm trees. Exotic birds that Alessa had no name for chattered to each other as they began to wake up. It was morning in Miami and it seemed the whole world was alight. Life was much more low key in the south and that was why she'd finally chose to stop running here, after three moves and as many name changes.
She'd packed up just what she could carry for herself and Bianca and left New York the day Marco had been picked up. She'd taken just enough money to get a fresh start, but it had been chump change for Marco. That was okay ... she'd make due without it. Besides, there was no reason to really piss Marco off.
Now they were living in a nice Miami neighborhood in a rented duplex. There was a decent job for Alessa, who had managed to finish her schooling under a new name and get her teaching certificate. It was a simple life, which suited them much better than their life with Marco ever had.
If Bianca missed her dad, she never said much about it. Her nightmares were now few and far between. She liked their neighbor, Mrs. Snyder, who babysat for her during the day while Alessa went to work. It made for hassle free mornings and short workdays. Summer was coming, so they would have all the time together they needed.
Alessa rushed outside to her Impala that waited in the drive. If she didn't hurry she'd be late. Traffic could be tricky even when it wasn't season. Florida roads were nothing if not unpredictable. She pushed her briefcase and lap top computer into the passenger seat. She turned the ignition, and it was the last sound she heard.
A fireball exploded from the year old Chevy, debris flying for yards in every direction. Twisted metal slammed into other cars and nearby houses. The heat and smoke caused the air to shimmer, giving the scene an eerie dream like effect. Somewhere, a child screamed.
Marco Fellicci sat in the large conference room sipping on his morning orange juice. The other partners and a hand full of clients sat in on the meeting and none were disturbed when his cell phone rang.
"It's done," the voice announced. Marco didn't know his name and didn't want to. He hung up without saying a word, slipping the phone back into his pocket. There was no connection between the man and Marco, never would be. He'd won the game, and though he hadn't been there to see the finish it was enough.
Word Count 3300