“You look gorgeous, my dear.” My father told me. It was my wedding night.
“Yes… I guess so…” I looked at myself in the mirror, and avoided looking him in the eyes.
“I know you’re nervous, dear. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be able to take care of myself. I wouldn’t want you to live in my shadow. Go make a name for yourself. Make me proud.” He turned the chair I was sitting in around, and forced me to look at him.
“This is hard. I’m glad you aren’t taking this so lightly. However, this is the best thing for you. Come on, we’d best get you to your husband-to-be.” His look of determination reminded me of why I agreed to this.
“Okay, Papa. I’m ready to go.” I took a deep breath, and put on a smile.
“Let’s go.” I took his arm, and he led me outside. Antonio was waiting for me, while standing next to the minister. He had a smile on his face. Smug asshole.
I let my mind wander as the wedding ceremony moved on. It didn’t really matter to me. We said our vows, we said I do, we kissed, and we took our seats. Antonio wanted a Catholic wedding, so we had one. I didn’t really believe in a god, so it didn’t make any difference to me.
“Veronica, dulzura, do enjoy yourself,” Antonio chided at me. He held my hand as if it were a prize he had won at the carnival.
I replied in a sing-song voice. “Of course, querido. I wouldn’t dream of wasting every girl’s dream.” He put his hand around my waist, pulled me into him, then kissed me. I returned the kiss, if only for his sake.
He pat my lower back, then let me go. He moved away from the party, and took out his phone to make a call. That wasn’t my problem.
Many guests past by me to congratulate me on my arrangement. I didn’t know any of them. I don’t think I really would ever know any of them. I accepted their congratulations, then shooed them along. It was my duty to greet all of the guests while Antonio did his business. Even on his wedding night, he still had to work.
At least thirty minutes passed before Antonio returned. “Veronica, corazon, I hope you aren’t angry at my tardiness. The guests didn’t give you any trouble, no?” His smile said he was being pleasant, but his eyes and eyebrows showed a greater sense of seriousness. He would likely kill anyone I asked. I didn’t like holding that kind of power.
“No, mi rey, everyone has been rather pleasant thus far.” Probably because they’re afraid you’ll murder them.
“Perfect. I wouldn’t want anything to soil tonight.” He laughed and took his seat next to me.
More guests poured by, before Antonio’s father came by. He hugged his son, but then motioned for me to follow him. I looked to Antonio, and he only nodded and said “Call him papa or padre.”
I stood up and followed Antonio’s father. My father-in-law.
After we entered a nearby and empty building, he turned to me and put his hand on my shoulder. “Hijastra, it good you marry my son. You are very beautiful, and he deserves best.” He spoke in rather broken english. I don’t know if he forgot with age, or if he just didn’t care to learn more.
“Tell you one thing,” he went on, “Antonio is very important. Don’t make him angry.” He pat my shoulder again, and walked out of the building. I waited for him to leave, and then sat down and thought for a moment myself.
Would it make Antonio angry if I asked? I’m his wife now. Wouldn’t that give me some rights?
I stood up, wiped off my dress, then went back outside. Antonio was likely waiting for me. He would probably want his wife back by his side as soon as possible. I don’t think this is what Papa wanted.
“Mi amor, I presume you and Papa had a good chat before he went home?” His face still held those same details as earlier. Maybe he got it from his father.
“Yes, it was very productive. He gave me sound advice, corazon.” Hearing that, Antonio smiled, and he looked like a cat who had just finished toying with a mouse.
“Well, I say we get a couple of drinks. Veronica, would be so kind to yell for one of the slaves?” I almost winced, and he just kept smiling.
I gulped, then opened my mouth. “SLAVE!” I could feel tears welling in my eyes, but I had to ignore them.
“Yes, senorita?” I looked to who had spoken.
I stared at him, and didn’t speak for a moment. I needed to collect my composure. After just a moment, I cleared my throat and spoke again. “Get us a couple of drinks.” My voice still wasn’t as strong as I had wanted it to be.
“Yes, right away.” He rushed toward the bar. I stared at his every step, and watched as he returned.
“Here you are, maestros.” He held out a tray with two cocktails on it. I took one, and Antonio smacked the tray out of Papa’s hand, and spilled the drink onto him. I didn’t cry, but maybe that was because I had seen it so many times.
“I want tequila!” Antonio roared. “You should know that by now! You!” He pointed to one of the many armed guards. “Deal with the slave!”
The guard walked over, picked up Papa, and started to drag him away.
“PAPA!” I stood up and tried to run toward him. Antonio grabbed my arm and kept me in place.
“TE AMO, MIJA! TE AMO! ERES LIBRE AHORA!” He shouted at me as he was pulled away. I watched in terror. He was going to die.
I turned to Antonio. “Antonio, please! Mi papa! Please! Let him go!” Antonio just smiled at me even more.
“Come now, querido, it’s only natural for a bride to cry on her wedding night.”