Chapter 4

*Trigger warning* *physical abuse, Adult content*

   "Why do you continue to challenge me Marianna!!? When will you learn that you belong to me and no one else! And you never will belong to anyone else!" He began to yell as he slapped me across the face, all I saw were stars, suddenly darkness began to fall over me as I fell to the floor. The world began to spin, as I tried to sit back up, all I could do was feel the floor as my head fell forward. I was praying I would just fall into unconsciousness, just so that I couldn't feel anymore...

   All I could do was scream for help, but no one ever came, he punched me in the face 1.. 2.. 3.. as each blow landed my voice got more and more quiet. I layed on the floor bleeding from my face, all I could do was cry in the dark alley of Italy. 

   "Pierre please, I promise you I didn't give that man any attention, all he did was ask me if I wanted some more wine, that is it, I promise!! Please!!" I began to beg, as he kicked me in my stomach I felt the air leave me, struggling to catch my breath, "you whore! You will learn your place one way or another" he stretched out his arm to grab me....

    I woke up screaming, drenched in sweat, touching every inch of my face and stomach. I struggled to compose myself and catch my breath. "God no, not again, the nightmares are coming back" I said out loud between my tears

  I managed to get myself out of bed and look over at the clock it was 3:32am. After the tears stopped flowing down I wrapped myself in a throw blanket and went into the kitchen, I started warming up some water to make myself a tea. My tea smelled of mint and lemon, just what I needed to relax my nerves. I looked around my apartment, although it wasn't much, I appreciated what I had. Growing up everything was "you must carry yourself with poise Marianna" "Marianna, ladies don't talk with profanity" "you must always keep yourself clean and elegant" all though my mother had always controlled what I did, where I went, I knew it was all because she loves me. Being famous came with a cost and my mother knew that all too well.

    I sat on my couch with my hot tea and throw blanket, as memories continued to flood my mind, my mom popped back into my head. I reached for my phone, while I dialed her number I was hoping she wasn't out shopping. Besides her love for her family, shopping was her second love. She always was presentable, never a hair out of place. I was lucky enough to get my green eyes from her. I remember her scent was always fresh, and inviting. My favorite thing about my mom was how she always decorated our home during the holidays, although we had maids, butlers and interior design people, my mother always insisted on being the one that decorated the house during the holidays. Oh how I missed her and the rest of my family...

   "Hi my love" my mom answered, the sound of her voice instantly calming me and my tense state evaporated 

   "Hi mom, I hope I'm not bothering your morning?" I said trying to cover up my uneasy tone 

    "Oh no! my dear you never bother me, but, why are you awake so early? Is everything ok?" I could hear the worry in her voice

    "Oh, no mom I just have a big case we are working on, and I got up early to get a head start, how's everyone over there?" I tried to change the subject 

   "Honey, you work way too hard! You need a vacation, maybe coming home! We haven't seen you since you left!" I let out a sigh at her words. "I know my dear, anyways, everyone is doing good, you know your dad he's off golfing with his friends, your sister is out eating breakfast with her husband and your brother is at school" she said. We spent 2 hours talking about everything that's been going on over there. She once again tried to convince me to come back home and pursue a job in my fathers business. She always wanted me to marry an Italian man and have kids, I just didn't have the heart to tell her my life was headed in another direction. My mother's innocence, and love for her family was what kept me going in life. She never knew what I had gone through, I just couldn't burden her with my fear and suffering.

   A long sigh left my lips as I hung up the phone, although I was grateful for calling my mother as it did the trick, it made me miss them even more. I was so relaxed I managed to get some more sleep, without anymore nightmares. 

    I got ready to run my errands. I really didn't want to leave my apartment this weekend but I needed food. As I locked my door I heard Jacob call my name, his voice sent a shiver down my spine. My breath got caught in my throat. I turned to look at him trying to hide my fear. Almost in a whisper I said " Jacob, please I don't want any problems, I have to go" I tried to walk past him. "I know, I just wanted to apologize for my behavior the other night. I was completely out of line, I honest to God have no idea what came over me, and I am so sorry Marianna!" He sounded sincere, I just couldn't help but feel bad for him. 


   As I turned to look at him, he refused to look at me, his face was clearly embarrassed. I walked back over to him while giving him a gentle smile, " Jacob, it's ok, honestly I wasn't hurt, no one got horribly hurt, mistakes happen but, maybe you shouldn't drink like that again for your own good and apparently for other people around you..." raising my eyebrow.

    He got the courage to look at me, while running his fingers through his hair, " you are right, I will not be bothering you anymore, I promise, I would like to continue to be your friend." "I would like that, well Jacob I have to go now ok? Are you going to be ok?" I told him in my most gentle voice. "Yes" he exhaled, "but, can you please do me one favor? Could you please tell Emmanuel thank you for me?" 

    His name stopped me in my tracks 'why would he be telling my boss thank you?' I thought, "oh, for what?" is all I could say. "Has he not told you what happened after you know...  what happened the other night?" Embarrassment flashing over his face again. "No, he didn't what happened?" Now sounding urgent to know what is going on 

   Jacob looked into my eyes, noticing I truly didn't understand what was going on. "Maybe he should be the one to tell you, I'm sure he would appreciate to be the one to tell you anyways." He sighed " well goodbye Marianna, I'll see you around hopefully" as he waved me at me, I stood in place trying to wrap my head around how weird everything has been the last week. I had some time to think about everything as I entered a taxi. Thankfully the cab driver wasn't interested in talking, I was so lost in my thoughts that the smell of cigarettes and food didn't bother me for once. 

   I walked down the aisles while looking at my grocery list, as I turned the corner, as if the universe were trying to bring us together I ran straight into Emmanuel's cart. "Well hello, Ms. Milano, nice to see you here, how are you?" He said while flashing his bright smile, while looking down at me. I got lost for a second looking at him in a black tee shirt that showed his sculpted chest, his leather jacket that gave him a hint of bad boy. Before my mouth could drop open in awe I cleared my throat, "Oh, Mr. Jennings, umm I'm doing ok, just buying some groceries, how are you?" "Manny, please Marianna, outside of work you may call me Manny" he replied with a smirk forming on his soft looking lips. 

    I felt my face instantly go red, "ok... Manny" "thank you, and I'm good as well, what do you have there?" He said while looking over at my shopping list "just a list of what I need to buy, I'm surprised you don't have people getting your groceries for you?" I raised an eyebrow at him trying to change the subject. "Well I'm full of surprises Marianna!" Nearly sounding amused, I could see the dimples forming on his face as he gave me a small smile. My heart began to race again, "well Manny, it's been a pleasure, take care now" I tried to keep my tone calm but it came out fast and a little shaky, as I walked away he called out "oh and by the way Marianna, Rocky Road ice cream happens to be my choice as well." He gave her wink and walked away.

   What is happening to me, I felt my intimate areas become warm, as if it were pleading for attention from Manny, my mind went straight to ice cream and Manny and my bedroom. I quickly walked away trying to shake those thoughts from my head, yet it was clear Manny was starting to burn a desire in me, I just hope it's something I can control and not give in to my desire for him. 'He is your boss Marianna, so much could go wrong! All the progress you have made can all come crashing down!' 'Oh shit! I completely forgot to ask him about Jacob' I told myself, ashamed that I got lost in hot body and face again 

   Finally getting home, I began to put away my groceries, when my phone began to ring. My friend Rose's name popped up on the screen. "Hey there Rose! How's it going" excitement in my voice. "Hey love, it's going good, I haven't heard from you in a few days, how's everything going?" She asked with just as much excitement. " you know work home stress same old same old, what's up?" I asked "welllll, I wanted to catch lunch together because I have some things to catch you up on!" She sounded so mysteries, "ohh really, just tell me you now! I can't wait for things you know this hahah" I protested. "No, no, no, this is something I need to tell you in person" she giggled

   "fine, I'm available next Saturday morning, does that sound good? At our usual breakfast spot?" "Perfect!!! I'll see you there love! I'll text you later" Rose replied "great, talk to you later" I said as I hung up. 'Hmmm I wonder what's going on she was very excited, I wonder if Peter finally proposed' as thoughts of Rose faded my mind, I began to clean up my apartment and before I knew it, it was time to get ready for bed. 

    4 days had passed since I saw Emmanuel at the grocery store, work was busy as usual, Emmanuel's attitude once again changed to acting cold towards me. Lately he seemed as if he was troubled, the look on his face radiated problems. Although he did have the case in his mind, his eyes said something more was going on, they looked sad, troubled even. Although I kept telling myself it was not my problem, I couldn't help but want to go and comfort him. 

    I was invited to his fathers birthday party on Saturday by his dad, but, I was still unsure I would attend. I use to always attend grand parties like this one would be, however with everything that's been going on with Emmanuel I didn't trust us to be at a party together. I would use the opportunity of seeing Rose Saturday morning to get her advice. More than ever I needed a friend. I didn't want to refuse his fathers invitation, he was very fond of me, always treated me with respect and affection. 

   Saturday morning came along, I met up with my friend Rose. As I watched her run towards me with excitement, I couldn't help but notice how happy she was, how happy I use to be. As we sipped our coffee she was basically jumping out of her seat with her news. "Ok so, girl tell me! What's happening that you had to tell me in person?" She cleared her throat and wiggled her ring finger, on it was a beautiful diamond ring! With a gold rose on top, this ring fit Rose exactly!!! I let out a scream "oh my God Rose!!!! He proposed!!??" Excitement filled my face! "Yessss!!!! In front of a waterfall while we were on vacation!!" I grabbed her hand and began to inspect the ring "girl! He has great taste! He knows you so well!" I smiled at her "yes, and you already know you are my maid of honor, sooooo start getting ready " she said through her giggles 

   As we finished up our breakfast I completely forgot to ask her for advice on my problem, today was about her and I didn't want to burden her with my problems. I was so happy for her and Peter. They met in high school, attended college together, she is now a pediatrician and he's a police officer. They are perfect for each other. I couldn't help but think what my life would have been like if I found the right guy before I was broken....

    I made the decision to go to the party for a few hours just for Mr. Jennings Sr. I put on a dark blue body forming dress, that showed my hourglass figure, I didn't want to wear jewelry so I didn't appear flashy. I didn't really need makeup as my skin was already near perfect, so I put on light eye makeup and straightened my long hair. I knew I was a very attractive young lady but, I hated having attention on me. I always felt weird about it, it truly gave me anxiety, I couldn't make eye contact with people. My mother hated that, she would always tell me it's bad manners not to look at people in the eyes. 

   I flagged down my cab, looking down at the time on my phone I realized I was already an hour late. I made it to their mansion, I hadn't even made it to the top of stairs when I was already thinking I couldn't wait to go home. I made my way up the stairs, there were some men smoking outside off the side, I could sense their eyes on me as I made it up the stairs, 'I hate this' I told myself.

   Emmanuel was standing on his balcony with a  glass of whisky in his right hand while his elbows were learning on the railing. He watched a cab pull up in front of the stairs, his eyes widen with the view of Marianna's beauty making her way of the cab. 'She came!' He practically yelled in his mind 'I can't believe she came, wow! She looks so beautiful!' He thought as he couldn't tear his eyes from her. 'Control yourself Manny, you are a gentleman, you know this can't happen!' He grimaced. He looked down at her one more time and noticed she was talking to the security guard. Her face looked frustrated, just then she turned around and began to walk back down the stairs almost as if she was throwing a tantrum. Before Manny could even blink he was running down the hall to catch her before she left. He ran out the front door and stopped the cab door from closing.

     I looked up scared from the sudden tug of the door "Mr. Jennings? I was just leaving" I said as I watched him trying to catch his breath in the most elegant way. "Leaving already Marianna?" He said, trying to hide that he was just running. "Yes, your security guard says that my name is not on the list, but honestly it is fine I am tired anyways Mr. Jennings" he raised an eyebrow at me and said " how many times do I need to tell you it's Manny, and nonsense, come in to at least say hi to my father, and if you are still tired and insist on going home afterwards, I will take you home myself" he said in an almost pleading tone, he stretched out his hand, and is if he was magnet I took his hand, my body acted on its own, I walked with him back up the steps where many eyes were set on us. 'I shouldn't be here' I told myself 




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