Your life appears to be glamorous, expensive clothes, the finest jewelry, a mansion overlooking your own private lake, and everything and anything you could ever desire. But the pictures posted on Instagram and what everyone sees on the outside is a facade. It’s all for show, a strategic plan to show a happy, normal, family in the eyes of a young woman. It's your own front, a contribution to your family's business. The public eye can never suspect anything is wrong or out of place. There is no room for a single mistake. With just one small misstep, your father and brothers can end up in prison, all your possessions swept away to the bank for a public auction. And for you? Probably left to the streets to figure it out on your own. But this is the only life you know, especially with your father being the Godfather of a very powerful Mafia group. Owning all of Miami and various outside territories. You can't even keep track of how many people report to your father and how many people are protected by your father’s watch. Let alone how many people observe your family, watching every move the public eye could see. That is why you grew up under constant protection, especially since you're the youngest and the only girl in the family.
A Russian family, The Petrov’s, run a similar organization bordering your outside territories of Miami. They might have slightly fewer men and less power but they are your family’s biggest threat. Compiled of the boss, Dmitriy Petrov, and his three sons as the underbosses, Ivan, Daniel, and Andrei. All of whom have been competing for the title of boss in recent years. This has made tensions between your family and theirs hot. Ivan is set on taking over the business while Daniel in his overly competitive attitude is set on giving Ivan a run for his money. Then there's Andrei, the youngest of the three who’s the vilest hot headed one of them all. He’s only a year older than you, and shows no interest in taking over just yet. Rather seems more interested in just expanding his family’s territory in the bloodiest way possible. You met him at one of the charity events your family has hosted. Physically speaking, he’s decent and you could see where people were drawn into him. But you've heard the rumors, seen some of his ex-lovers and they all said the same thing.
‘It’s not worth it’
‘Never make him mad. Just don’t upset him.’
Worst of all you’ve seen the way he’s looked at you, the comments he’s made, it's obvious he’s set on bedding with you. Completely ignoring the family feud and just doing as he pleases. Which doesn’t fully surprise you but still sets you off in being in an uncomfortable state every time he is in the same room or vicinity as you.
While you have once again found yourself knocking on your father’s office doors. Typically, when you have something important to say you would just go to one of your brothers. But enough is enough and your father needs to listen. It’s almost a curse for being as smart as you are and yet having little to no say in practically everything that goes on in the family business. You have so much to offer yet your full potential is never taken into consideration. It's tradition that the men provide and protect while the women just look pretty. You admit that the allowance given to you, the vacations and gifts provided are nice. But you would prefer to actually work for those things. It’s a sexiest issue you've argued your father over for practically all of your teenage years.
"It is what it is, Y/N. Just accept it. Be happy you have this life. It's more than what others could ever wish for!" Your father would argue.
Your mother used to offer you a sympathetic smile after every argument you presented. She was softer spoken and compliant compared to you. In your eyes, your mother was a saint for never arguing or sticking up for how she truly felt.
"He means well. Just wants to protect you, love. You're too young anyways to see everything that goes on behind closed doors." She used to say.
“Come in” your father shouted behind the office door.
You took a deep breath and opened the door showing your father your most confident face. Any sign of uncertainty or weakness and you would be tossed out immediately. When your father was inside his office, he was strict about not being disturbed by you unless it was an absolute emergency. You might be his little girl, and he might have a small soft spot for you, but that still does not mean he will give in to your way. It was his way of protecting you, keeping you in as much of the dark as possible. He only wanted for you to see the good, not the violence or horrors he’s had to commit to get to where he is today.
“Y/N?” He questioned looking up from his computer for a split second before going back and typing away.
You could tell that you took him slightly by surprise. Most likely he was expecting one of your brothers or both of them as they act like underbosses, learning the ways he runs things while he can still teach them.
“Hi Dad. I wanted to talk to you about Dmitriy Petrov stepping down” you began. “I think- ”
“Y/N I’m going to stop you right there sweetheart.” He sighed “You know that your responsibility is making our front look good. Which you do an excellent job of. But don’t worry about Dmitriy, its being handled.”
Typical of your father to just shoot you down immediately. It frustrated you as you were fully aware if this was either of your brothers, Julian or Salvatore, they would never be immediately shut down. That they would be able to get their full thoughts out before being shut down or dismissed. Which was rare as he took every stupid idea either son came up with as a learning curve.
“But dad hear me out-”
“I don’t need to. I know you don’t know the full story or what exactly is going on. Now get out while I finish up sweetheart. I have to be somewhere soon anyways.”
You let out a frustrated groan as you turned around and slammed the door shut on your way out. It hurts every time you’re dismissed just because you’re a woman. There is so much more to you than the makeup and outfits. Then pictures posted on Instagram and how artistic you can be. Your grades in primary school proved it. Top of your class and valedictorian. It’s not your fault you’re forced into having an allowance because you cannot get a regular job. Coming out of your father’s office you had your heart set on your next stop your oldest brother, Julian. The difference between your father and Julian was that Julian wasn’t so set in the sexist ways of running an organization. He would hear you out, he would be proactive and protect the family from the dangers fast approaching.
“Julian” you called as you approached his office.
“What’s up?” He stated.
Practically a mirror image to your father, just younger. Sitting at his desk on his computer typing away. Not even fully acknowledging you walking into his office. Both tend to be so focused on their tasks ahead. So easy for them both to just tune out whatever environment they’re thrown in.
“I want to talk about Dmitriy Petrov stepping down. Dad didn’t listen but we need to be prepared for an attack. It’s only a matter of time before Daniel or Andrei start poking at our borders. And Ivan sure as hell won’t stop them. They all want more territory and to eventually take over Miami.”
“Funny you mention that because we’re about to meet with Dmitriy- oh shit I’m actually running late.” Julian hissed as he finally checked the time. “But he’s losing control and losing control fast. We need to revisit our agreements anyways as the sons have broken just a few small rules.”
A few small rules? For fucks sake no one sees what’s right in front of them.
Julian stood up from his desk quickly gathering his things. Locking away his laptop in the desk drawer as he grabbed his handgun and tucked it away on the backside of his pants.
“Bring extra protection. More men these people can’t be trusted.” You pleaded. “You need to take this shit seriously! This is most likely a trap anyways!”
You had a gut feeling something bad was going to happen and you wanted every step taken to ensure your gut would be wrong. After all, it was rare your gut feelings ever turned out to be wrong.
“Don’t worry Y/N. Just sit tight, we should be back no later than 10. We got this handled.”
“Will you update me? Sure, as hell Dad won't. Even a quick text. Just anything to let me know everything’s okay after the meeting.”
“As long as you don’t say anything. You know how dad can get.” Julian rolled his eyes just at the thought of how your father would react knowing you had the slightest piece of information to what was going on.
And with a quick hug, he was out the door and on his way.
You paced around the foyer feeling the nerves starting to sink in. Forty-Five minutes passed on at a painstakingly slow rate. They were supposed to be back if everything went according to whatever plan they formulated. But a lot can happen in the sweet time they’re taking. Your stomach swirled in nausea as you pictured all the wrong things that could have happened. Just about a year ago you lost your mother in the hands of the Petrov’s. Did they take out the rest of your family? They could have easily jumped your family. A single bullet is all it takes. And you know Julian didn’t heed your warning as most of the guards are still patrolling the mansion and majority of the men are doing their business as usual.
On your phone, you desperately checked for any answers or the tiniest piece of information. The news, any texts, even a single phone call. Anything letting you know your family was okay. And that they were on their way home.
Where are they? They weren’t ambushed, were they? Any normal meeting with another boss never takes this long. They have to be okay. God, please let them be okay.
“Albert!” you called out desperately.
Albert, the butler was highly entrusted by your family and father. He had to know something.
“Did you hear anything from my father or brothers?”
“No miss, but I’m sure they’re okay. This past week they’ve taken up many late-night meetings and have come home later than usual. I'm sure by 12 they'll be back.”
They've been out late this whole week? What the hell is going on? And no one told me?
"Thank you, Albert."
You gave a weak smile and proceeded down the hall towards your father’s office after Albert left your sight. You needed answers, and more information and you needed them now. There was no time to waste as your worst thoughts swirled around your mind.
Unfortunately, your father’s office, Julian’s, and Salvatore’s gave you zero answers and no clarity. So, you waited in the foyer scrolling through your phone awaiting a single text. The clicking sound of your front door unlocking had a weight sink off your shoulders. You jolted up from the rosewood bench you had found comfort in. As air trapped in your lungs awaiting to see if all three men would enter through those doors.
“What happened?” you gasped as soon as you finally saw them.
All of them were badly bruised, with cuts and gashes decorating their exposed flesh. Their clothes were ripped, hair disheveled and they all clearly looked exhausted. Your father had a few cuts and bruises, which shocked you. As he always was so well put together. Even during the worst fights, he was still looking sharp.
“We were ambushed…lucky to make it out alive.” Your brother Sal stated avoiding any eye contact with you.
“Follow me, sweetheart, we need to talk to you.” Your father stated not allowing for any further questions as he beelined towards his office. "In private."
You looked over to your brothers for any extra information, but both acted so weird refusing to even look at you.
Could it be the shame of what they went through? Will I finally be accepted into the business as something more than just a pretty face? Or is this something bad? Very bad. I mean last time I was even invited into the office was to break the news to me that mom died.
Everything was just a mountain of red flags. The physical damage, the avoidance, the invitation to step into your father’s office. Something major was going on. Something life-changing. But they made it out alive and you know for a fact your father would seek vengeance. But what sort of vengeance would he seek and receive?
“What’s going on?” You finally asked as you made yourself comfortable on the pale-yellow armchair.
Sal took a seat a few feet away from you on the matching loveseat as Julian sat across from Sal. Both still looking everywhere but at you. Shame smeared across both their faces but you couldn’t piece together why. Your father took a seat across from you after he poured himself a glass of whiskey.
“So many men died tonight. The Petrov’s ambushed us and we weren’t fully prepared. The three of us barely made it out.” Usual for your father to just state facts with little to no emotion. “But once we escaped, we went straight towards the new organization, CNCO. You’ve heard of them, right?”
You shook your head no as you clung on to every word. Waiting patiently to see why you were finally called into his office and why he was giving you so much information.
CNCO? What the hell does that even stand for? Why are they even relevant right now?
He let out a tired sigh and continued.
“Well, we struck a deal with them. They’re thirsty to grow and expand and clearly need allies. Between the two of us, it’s been decided the Petrov’s need to be taken care of. After tonight, I don’t have the power to take care of them on my own. So, they offered up their men and seventy-five percent of the Petrov territory. Plus, a safe house for a few of my men and their families as we recover what we lost.” Your father paused as the next part was clearly difficult for him to admit. “As you know everything comes at a cost. So, in exchange, I had to give up half of Miami and a promise I wouldn’t betray them. We went back and forth on how to prove our loyalties to this new alliance and we came down to one answer. A marriage. We create a bond between us and CNCO and we gain their trust.”
A marriage proposal? Whose he giving away? It can’t be me. Defiantly not me. With all the little boyfriends I’ve brought home over the years it has always been the same reaction. Pulling out a gun, pointing it to the poor boy’s head, and threatening to blow the kid's brains out if he dared to break my heart. Then throwing a fit as to why I need a boyfriend and why I think any man is good enough for me. Maybe it's Elizabeth. Lorenzo is the underboss and he was looking to force Elizabeth to settle down. Poor Elizabeth is going to be crushed when she hears the news. I should probably pack a bag after this and go straight to her. She’s going to need the support. Especially for an arranged marriage with God knows who.
“So, you want me to pack an overnight bag and head over to Elizabeth? She’s going to need the support after she hears the news.”
“What?” Your father frowned, completely thrown off.
Now you were confused. Your face scrunched up as you adjusted yourself in your seat.
“What?’ You responded trying to get some sort of clarity as it was definitely not you who was about to be shipped away to a strange man’s house for some marriage arrangement.
“Elizabeth isn’t the one who's getting married, sweetheart.” He stated.
“Then who is?” You questioned.
“You are.” Sal finally blurted out as he rested his head into his hand. Elbow propped up on the armrest, blocking any ability to look at you.
They had to be doing some sort of sick joke. It couldn't be you. There was just no way.
“Tomorrow at noon we leave here and head over to their mansion” Your father continued “There was a serious discussion as to who you would marry…and it was decided that the oldest, the boss, Christopher would be the best fit for this situation. He is the oldest and even though he was reluctant, he agreed. And we will see you again a week from tomorrow for the wedding. You’ll be safe there sweetheart and even though this isn’t what I wanted to do I had no choice.”
No choice? He literally gave up half of your mother’s favorite city and you all in one night and he had no choice?
A mixture of hurt, anger, betrayal and fear piled up inside you.
“I’m going to bed” you stated, matching the lack of emotion your father portrayed as you walked straight to your room.
You phoned, buzzed and buzzed so much it fell off of your nightstand hitting the hardwood floor and jolting you awake. Groaning tiredly, you inched your way to the edge of the bed and stretched out to pick up your phone.
(5) missed calls from Elizabeth you read on your notifications.
Might as well call her back and tell her the news
And with just one ring Elizabeth picked up.
“Oh, good you're awake because I'm walking up the stairs now.”
“Three…Two…. One” and Elizabeth hung up the phone before you could respond and barged into your bedroom.
“You really think I wouldn’t be here for you? My dad told me everything this morning and I just had to rush over. But you didn’t pick up any of my calls so I stalled for a little bit but it’s already almost ten and I imagined you needed help packing. Plus, I wanted to see you before they send you away.”
Elizabeth placed your favorite Starbucks drink on your night stand and took a seat at the edge of your bed and sighed out.
“I am so sorry this happened to you. Do you at least know anything of your husband to be?”
“Literally all I know is his name is Christopher, he’s the boss and I’m just hoping he’s not my dad’s age.”
Elizabeth couldn’t help but make a face at the thought of you marrying a man whose more than double your age.
“Well, you know you can always call me. And if he is your dads age maybe he won’t mind you taking up a side piece closer to your age.”
“I’m definitely taking you up on that.”
The two of you are just like sisters, sharing practically everything. You know she feels your pain and worry.
“Well let’s get you all ready. I see you barely packed or…did anything for that matter. You just made a mess and probably went to bed.”
“Did not” you pouted as you grabbed your comforter and pulled in over your head.
Elizabeth patiently waited in your room rummaging in your closet to help pick out your outfit while you finished up in the shower. You both agreed the least you could do is try to get off on the right foot. Afterall, you would be forced to be in close quarters with him. So, it would be nice to be at least civil in this arranged marriage.
“You need help doing your hair? Or you want me to help you finish up packing?” Elizabeth offered.
“Do you mind adding last minute things to my bag? I can do my hair and makeup.”
She nodded as she shifted through the mounds of remaining clothes and picked a few things out. You grabbed your brushes and beauty blender and started doing your simple beauty routine. There was no need to put in an over-the-top amount of effort. But just something to make you feel confident enough to get through this. As for your outfit, you once again chose something simple. Your favorite maxi dress that complimented all your curves and accentuated your cleavage. Paired with a dainty gold choker and matching earrings. Over your dress you threw on a dark jean jacket. A soft knock tapped on your door three times.
"Okay sweetheart it's time." Your father called from behind the door.
Albert followed behind grabbing the two suitcases and singular duffel bag as Elizabeth quickly shoved in a few last-minute items. Sorting through clothes and your accessories you honestly had no idea what you would need. Definitely all your makeup, skincare, perfumes, and nail polishes. As for clothes, you sorted out a little bit of everything as the summer was coming to an end, and even packing one of your favorite ball gowns just in case.
Elizabeth even joined in as you all packed into the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. She was keen on supporting you until the very end. Afterall in this sort of life there is not a lot of people you can trust. And losing someone as close as Elizabeth was a heartbreak on both ends. Looking out the window, your heart broke a little seeing the place you grew up in slowly fade away in the distance. Sure, you wanted to move out and gain your own separate independence but you wanted to do so on your terms. When you had found your perfect little getaway. When you were officially ready. The drive over was so silent you could hear a pin drop. No one said a word up until the Van reached huge iron gates spelling out “CNCO”.
“Listen sweetheart if any of these men try anything on you, call me immediately.”
“I’m sure I’ll be fine dad” you sighed out.
Your new home was absolutely beautiful. A manor surrounded by four gorgeous outer buildings all seamlessly connected by little hallways. The front yard was a sight to see on its own, with a little garden perfectly spread out. Four men stood infront of the big doors to the manor and waited as your van slowly approached. Your heart sped up as you got a better view of the four men. They were all young, around your age and attractive. But only one really captured your eyes. Everyone jumped out of the van as your father began the introductions. Zabdiel was the tallest of the group and seemed to be the quietest and most reserved. Richard flashed a smile that had to be worth a million dollars when your father said his name. Erick had gorgeous eyes and gave you the impression he was probably the youngest. Then came the last one. The one that had caught your eye. Christopher. He wore a simple black t shirt and jeans. Colorful tattoos poked out of both his arms, that you could spend an eternity admiring. His shaggy brown hair had scattered blond highlights that made his big brown eyes pop. But his facial expression had anger and annoyance written all over it. He didn’t even fully acknowledge you when your father introduced the two of you. Which really set you off. But now was not the time to say anything as it was time for the goodbyes.
“See you in a week sweetheart. Be brave. I know you can.” Your father whispered in your ear as he hugged you for the last time.
It was painful for him to let you go, but he knew the part he had to play. Put on an emotionless face and just let you go.
“Call me tonight and let me know everything. And bonus he’s cute so maybe this isn’t so bad. Right?” Elizabeth held back tears before letting you go “I’m gonna miss you so much” she whispered and got back into the van.
You individually hugged your brothers and said goodbye before being left alone with the four of them. Looking at all of them, Richard had a smile plastered across his face as Erick giggled and Zabdiel stayed emotionless.
“You got this Chris?” Richard smirked looking at his friend’s face and turned towards you, “Nice meeting you Y/N I’d stick around but there’s some work we gotta do.”
Zabdiel and Erick, both acknowledged you saying their goodbyes as Richard walked back into the manor with the two following close behind. Your heart sped up a little as you were now officially alone with Chris.
“Yea” Chris mumbled.
After watching his friends disappear, he turned around and went to follow. As if you weren’t standing there already feeling so lost and confused. Slight anger washed over you but you were still in the spirits of keeping things civil. Especially with a million questions were swirling around your mind. And no chance of getting any answers if you start any issues.
“So where am staying?” you asked Chris making him stop in his tracks.
“Master wing. In the spare room.” He said with so much annoyance it made you take a deep breath trying to simmer down any temptation to do something you would probably regret.
Luckily his back was still facing you so he couldn’t see any facial expressions you may or may not have made at him.
“Wher-” you started to ask as some more information or a small tour would be of help.
“Listen Y/N, I don’t care. I don’t want to get to know you, I don’t want to deal with you. I only agreed to doing this for CNCO. So, make things easy and mind your business. And figure the rest out on your own.” He huffed and left you outside.
You were left in shock, but refused to show it. Rather giving the back of his head a deadly look as you grabbed your bags and proceeded through the front door. If he wasn’t going to help you or point you in any direction you might as well just wonder around until you found your spot. Sure, as hell he didn’t care where you ended up or in which way you found your new room. So, you might as well take your time and explore. Maybe even see who else is housed inside this place.