When you're the most feared and powerful Italian Mafia Boss, you cannot have the world know of your existence or of any personal ties you may have. Otherwise bad things tend to happen, and this man learnt that lesson the hard way. Now, he refuses to allow anyone close to him, much less get anywhere past his cold exterior. Their story wasn't meant to begin like it did. They weren't meant to meet the way they did. After all, she was only a university student and he was a ghost. Nonexistent, a rumor, a story you told your children at night. But when the most unforeseen circumstances causes their paths to cross, not once, not twice, but thrice--an encounter that ends with the vow of discretion and avoidance. They have no choice but to acknowledge they have to stay away before one of them gets hurt. Which is exactly what happens. This causes another encounter between the two, but this time with a promise of safety and security, because he owes her his life. *** "I say what I mean, and I do what I say." He assured in a low rumbling voice that had her transported back to older times. "And when I say I will keep you safe, believe me that not even a hair on your head will be touched." (COMPLETED)
The Tuscany sunlight streamed down on the walking pedestrians as they all went about their day. Some of them seated outside at the cafes, some of them chatting alongside one another, but all of them enjoying the weather.
Winter was settling in and the first snow hadn't fallen yet, giving people the time to enjoy the last of the pleasant weather before they considered centrally heated isolation. Taking advantage of that fact, people made the most of the time they had.
A girl, with light chestnut brown hair and a beautiful shade of sapphire eyes, grabbed her belongings before making her way to her car. She had just buckled in her seatbelt when her passenger's door burst open; resulting in a startled jump from her accompanied by a shriek when she saw a man sit down beside her.
"Drive!" The man groaned in pain as she stared at him in shock, her eyes wide as she took in his condition.
His dark hair was matted and sticking to his forehead with his cerulean blue eyes looking around rapidly. Both of his hands were smeared with blood, pressing down on a gunshot wound in his abdomen and holding a black gun.
"Fucking drive!" He bellowed again as she jumped into action. Pushing down on the accelerator, driving blindly like a mad woman whose life depended on it.
It just might because the man beside her did have a fully loaded gun with him.
"Highway. Now, " He moaned in pain, throwing back his head, his eyes shut tightly as she could see he was losing a lot of blood. It was seeping through his shirt and pooling onto his lap. Bile rose in the girl's throat and she knew she had to do something before he died in her passenger seat, and then having to explain the presence of a corpse in her car would be whole other matter.
"Let me help you." Her voice trembled as she drove in the direction of the highway, checking her mirrors to see a desolate stretch of road behind them.
"Just get...me-to the highways."
"The highway is thirty minutes away, even at this speed, and you will die of blood loss if you don't allow me to stem the blood flow." She explained as he squinted at her through his haze. "I'm a medical student, please let me help you."
"Why? For all I know...all I know...you might be one of them."
"You're the one with the gun, mister. You tell me who is at a disadvantage."
The stranger fell silent as he closed his eyes against the pain, a groan escaping his lips as she noticed the gun to be trembling.
"Fine! Fine!" He groaned.
Parking to the side of the road, she stepped out of her car and went towards the back where she retrieved a first aid kit. Holding up her hands, she displayed the kit before approaching and opening the door, finding the man to be trembling, on the verge of going into shock as he held the violently shaking gun at her.
"I'm not...not taking... any any chances."
"Okay." She nodded in understanding as she crouched before him, unbuttoning his stained white shirt. Apologizing when he winced in pain. Suddenly his trembling grew worse as she started to clean the wound to get a good look at it, her senses going into hyperdrive as she knew what this meant.
He was going into shock.
"I need you to talk to me to keep you from going into hyperactive shock." She explained as she inspected the wound. "What's your name? I'm Rosalie."
"Arcangelo, can you tell me if anyone is waiting for you at home? Family? Or friends?"
"A nephew and and niece...and my my my sister..."
"Okay, that's good, you have people that are waiting for you to get back to them. Can you tell me about them?"
"My nephew...nephew..." he stammered out as Rosalie gauzed his wound, "I-is 6-years-old...doesn't doesn't have anyone...."
She listened in silence as she looked over the gauze, seeing as she had managed to stem the blood flow for now as Arcangelo's breathing calmed down. "Okay, Arcangelo? I need you tell me where I need to take you."
"Along...along the road...you'll know."
"Alright, " Rosalie nodded at his cryptic speech before she took her shawl from the back and draped it over him. Helping him get settled back in the seat, she reclined it slightly before going back to the wheel and resuming their journey.
They pulled away from the curb before driving in silence as Rosalie glanced at Arcangelo's figure. Watching him seated silently, the gun loosely gripped in his hand and his gaze turned towards the passing scenery.
"Why did you help me?" He spoke hoarsely as Rosalie looked at him for a moment before turning back to the road. "You could have left me to die; after all, I'm threatening you with a gun."
"I know." She affirmed. "But that would mean you would have died in my car, and I don't need something like that on my conscience."
"I still don't think you should have helped me."
"But then I couldn't have left you to die either. I don't want to live with the reality of having the chance to save someone and instead decide to act selfishly and let him die."
Arcangelo didn't respond as Rosalie approached two large black SUVs standing in the middle of the road, men in suits standing with guns clasped in their hands. And that was when she knew this was the end of the line for her.
Stopping her car, she held her hands up as two men walked toward her and more went towards Arcangelo who was attempting to get out before one of them opened the door and the others helped him out.
"Be careful. The gauze won't hold for long." Rosalie called out to the men as she was pulled out of the car. They held her at gunpoint as her knees buckled. Swallowing thickly, she closed her eyes as she heard the unambiguous click of the safety.
"Leave her, " Arcangelo spoke over his shoulder while they were taking him towards the cars.
"Yes, boss." The men nodded, stepping away from her, causing Rosalie's eyes to snap open while she watched them. Arcangelo making eye contact with her once more, conveying his message loud and clear.
'Speak and you're dead.'
She watched as the cars drove away, leaving a trail of smoke in their wake.
Rosalie watched the black vehicles get smaller as her entire being trembled violently, forcing her to collapse to her knees as a terrified sob wracked through her. She stared at her hands, caked with blood and tried to calm down her breathing.
She had no idea how long she sat on the gravel road, but one thing was for certain, her knees were bruised due to the rough surface.
With dried tears on her face and dried blood on her hands, she stumbled to her feet before collapsing into her car seat.
Settling down, she turned on the radio to calm her fraying nerves, decidi
ng to take a shower when she gets back home. The drive was a long one, and it felt even longer with her impatience to get back. The moment she parked her car, she grabbed her belongings, hiding her hands in the folds of her books before rushing inside with her head ducked low.
Accidentally bumping into a person, she hastily apologized before scurrying away from him and into the elevator, pressing the sixth button. She just wanted to go home, take a shower and cry in bed.
Her day's agenda was very simple: study for the upcoming exams. Nowhere in her schedule did she plan on having a wounded stranger hold her at gunpoint.
The fear engulfed her senses once more at the memory of the day's events, her eyes dilating and her breathing become shallow. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she calmed herself down.
The ding of the elevator pulled her out of her breathing exercises. Heaving a breath of relief, she fished out her keys while walking down the hallway.
Unlocking door, she almost collapsed in and dropped all her belongings to the floor. Turning back towards the door, she quickly locked it, even putting the chain into place before leaning her head against the wooden surface, letting out a relieved sigh to be back in the confines of familiarity and certainty.
"Bath." She murmured to herself as she wiped away the tears. "I need a bath."
Letting out a shaky breath, she turned around, ready to pick up her books when a hand roughly grabbed her shoulder, resulting in a frightened scream from her. Rosalie was shoved into her wall, a pained whimper escaping her as one hand wrapped around her neck and the other clasped over her mouth to prevent any sound from escaping.
A pair of apple green eyes stared her down as she struggled against his hold, the resistance resulting in his grip tightening around her neck.
"What do you know?" He growled lowly at her as tears streamed down her face, her attempts at a struggle being futile.
"Nothing, " She choked out in panic. "I don't know anything."
"Don't lie to me, puttana."
"P-please...I don't know anything!" She sobbed through his hold.
"Lies!" He growled as he increased the pressure around her neck, blocking her airway, her feet dangling off the floor as she struggled to pry his hands off her neck. He watched her with cold, unwavering eyes as she could feel her grip on consciousness slip out from beneath her.
The hold around her neck suddenly disappeared, allowing her to collapse to the floor in a coughing heap as the man above her reached for the door, walking out and shutting it behind him with a bang.
Rosalie lay on the floor, a hand around her neck as she coughed to regain her breathing, hunched over and dry heaving as sobs wracked through her.
She tried deep breaths in an attempt to recollect herself, but in her efforts to regain her composure, her eyes closed and her entire body relaxed against the wooden floor. Her body, shut off for the night and was trying to recover from the day's event.
Rosalie awoke to the sound of her phone ringing. Groaning against the hardwood, she pushed herself up and rubbed at her eyes before rummaging in her bag for the device. Turning off her alarm, she glanced around her as the yesterday's events resurfaced once more.
Swallowing, she winced at the pain that shot through her, before stumbling to her feet.
Disoriented and dazed, Rosalie stepped into her shower, avoiding looking in the mirror. Once she stepped out, she wiped her hand on the slightly fogged mirror. A cry of despair lodged in her throat.
Her neck was black and blue and purple all over. The flesh was tender to the touch and it ached whenever she attempted to speak or make a sound. Her eyes were bloodshot and her face blotched.
At that moment, Rosalie decided to skip out on the day's classes and call in sick at work.
She did not want to go through yesterday's events ever again.
Getting changed into some comfortable clothes, she tried to eat but ended throwing up. Eventually, she decided on just taking a painkiller and going to sleep.
Rosalie could have slept through the whole day but was awoken by the buzzing of her phone. 36 missed calls. All from various people. After responding to the messages with an excuse of the flu, she collapsed back to sleep. Her eyes almost instantly closing, with sleep drifted over her again; the effects of the medication still lingering in her system.
"You idiot!" She heard someone hiss in her dream, a deep, dark and velvety voice speaking over her. "Look at what you've done!"
The gentlest of touches to her neck followed that hissed whisper.
"I couldn't have been sure!" A new voice whispered back.
"I should kill you, Vincent." The first voice retorted with an eerie calmness. "She saved my life and then you try and kill her? The girl has been through enough traumas already. And if she's smart enough, she knows not to open her mouth. Not only because she doesn't know the wrong people, but also because no one would believe her. I'm a ghost, remember? I don't exist in the exterior world. I'm nothing but a rumor."
In her dream, Rosalie shuffled around to find the source of the voices but seeing nothing more than darkness.
"Let's go." The voice spoke over her as she frantically searched, wanting to know why they put her through this and what she could have done to have this trauma bestowed upon her.
She needed to know why her.
She wanted to scream, but her throat hurt too much to even form a coherent word. The pain suddenly intensified and jolted her out of her sleep as she choked out a cough, curled on her bed as she tried to ease the pain.
Once her coughing fit died down, she stared up at her ceiling, tears leaking down her eyes as she never wanted something like this to happen. Her fingers trembling as she brought them up to her neck, having sworn for the touch to be real, but being only a figment of her imagination regarding the man she saved yesterday.
Antacio? Antonio? Angelo?
She couldn't even remember his name right and here she was dreaming of him.
Rosalie reached towards her side table to grab her phone, but something crumpled beneath her palm.
Surprised, she turned in the direction to find a page. She doesn't remember leaving herself a note. Lifting it above her face, she instantly knew it wasn't her writing since the words were far too elegant and perfectly cursive to be her's.
"Hot soup helps when you've been choked. It should open up your airway enough to make breathing bearable. Also, you should buy Arnica Ointment for the bruises.