Chapter Twenty... Now that Ben is gone, the loose ends need to be tied up.
An hour later the sisters sat at the poolside bar. It was large enough to have been placed inside of a hotel. Cali had showered and puton a nice summer dress. Angela had cleaned up and changed as well, but her face was still a mess. They were alone in the room.
“You shouldn’t have come here.” Angela spoke quietly while she poured two glasses of Jamaican Rum. “But, I have to admit. I’m glad that you are.” She handed a glass to Cali and they toasted the occasion and drank. “I’ve missed you.”
Cali let the rum slide down her throat. It was at least 30years old, and had a slight spice aftertaste. Ben had taught her how to discern the nuances of alcohol. The memory both gave her a feeling of satisfaction and of remorse. “When did you and Ben have your falling out?”
Angela drained her glass and went for a refill. “It started while we were still on the plane. Right after talking to you in the hospital.” She offered the decanter to Cali who turned it down. “He looked disappointed. I asked him about his mood, and he actually told me.” She took another large swallow of the rum and closed her eyes while she swallowed. “Did you know? He was going to kill you. Somehow the FBI Agent beat our man to the task. I was there and didn’t see it until he walked me through it on the plane. He saw the curtains move before you were shot, not after when Billy was shot and fell into them.” She put the glass down and lifted the decanter, but did not pour. Instead she turned to look at Cali. “He wanted you dead! How could he want that?”
“Do you really not understand Ang?” Cali had emptied her glass and set it on a side table. She had picked up a book and was using it to distract her hands. She didn’t want to get drunk, but it sounded good. Angela had still not answered her. She looked bewildered and at the same time she looked as if she wanted Cali to tell her something that would vindicate her father. “I was property. His property, and I had strayed from his path. I was amole working for the FBI. It didn’t matter that I would never do anything to harm either of you. I was still a threat to him… and you.”
“Oh don’t make it sound like he gave a damn about me!” She filled her glass to the top and didn’t bother to stopper the decanter. “You grew up with us, you are closer to me than anyone in the world, and you are my sister in every way that is important. How can he treat you like property?”
“To be fair, he did purchase me. I was his property. What he did to my father and stepmother and brother and sister… he did that to protect his own ass. But I walked away. I don’t know why he let me do that. But, somewhere along the line he decided that if I ever came back, he would tie up loose ends.”
“Good God, don’t you dare protect him! He didn’t have to try and kill you. He could have returned you to his bed. You would have taken him back… wouldn’t you?”
“Angela, Ben and I weren’t lovers. I was his sex slave. Nothing more. It amused him to think that he could parade me around his home, and feed me, and bed me, with his wife and children in the same house. But, I meant nothing to him. I fulfilled a sexual role for him. So long as I did my job and pleased him, I was safe. When I stopped doing that I was no longer safe. It took me a long time to realize that.” Her voice was soft and reassuring, but she had an iron grip on the book, and did not notice. “Besides, as an adult, I was no longer his type.” The look on Angela’s face told Cali to shut up. She need not inflict more damage. She need not tell Angela that her father had refused to use protection, and had also refused to let Cali off of the compound long enough to get proper medication to prevent pregnancy. His actions caused two pregnancies that resulted in two painful abortions. The hack Doctor that had been used was the reason why Cali could not get pregnant. It was a secret that she had shared only with Connie, and it looked like it would continue to be that way.
Angela was quickly draining her glass. “I didn’t want to face what my father really was.” She spoke in nearly a whisper. “Mother told me that he had brought you to be my playmate. So I could learn to be a girl.”
“Your mother was more gracious to me than I deserved.”
“Yes, she interrupted us on a few occasions, for business…Ben was needed. I was told not to go anywhere or change anything. Usually when he returned he was angry, and I wouldn’t be able to put on a bathing suit for a couple of weeks.”
“Oh, my God.” Angela had abandoned the drink and had sat down on the edge of a chair.
Cali continued. There was no need to hide the truth from Angela… well some of it, but not all of it. “He treated me better than most, and I liked being around you and your brother, and Clarissa.”
Angela stayed quiet for quite some time. She had lowered her head. Cali could see her fist clenching and unclenching. Angela was processing memories. All of the little things that didn’t quite ring true or make sense were now coming into focus for her.
“She’s pretty… your girl.” Angela changed the subject.
Cali smiled and blushed.
“It seems odd though, did… you know… all the men… did they turn you, or did you always like women?” It was a standard question asked of a woman that had been used or raped. Did the mistreatment from men make you gay? It was a stupid question, but only the woman being asked realized it.
“Well… it’s not about gender. Not with her.” The smile faded from her lips. A spark grew in her eyes. “She was my anchor for so long. Through it all. She was the one thing that remained constant. Without her to…be there… to be that single spot of light that never moved… never dimmed, I don’t know, I think I would be dead. From my own hand, or forced another to do the deed.”
“So, that’s why then, that you’re with her. She saved you?”
Cali looked up. She needed to look at her sister. She needed to use her eyes to help Angela to understand. “No, I think that I loved her from the start. But, I couldn’t admit such a thing. Love was such an odd thing to me, and a girl, loving another girl, well that was blasphemy, it was wrong and evil… an abomination.” Her lip curled and her eyes flashed red at the memories.
“Right, an abomination… wrong.” Angela had been raised in the Catholic Church. She understood the stigma.
“Exactly… wrong.” She found her own meaning in the word. “No-one has ever held me, like she holds me. No-one has ever recovered my mind like she has.” Cali’s mind was lost in memories. Angela, watched her, mesmerized in place. “No-one ever chased away the Demons or calmed my fears like she does.” Cali lifted her head again, and found Angela’s eyes. “If that’s wrong, then we will be wrong together.”
Angela smiled. “I don’t think it’s wrong. Not at all. I’m glad that you had someone… to help you through it.” She sounded happy and melancholy at the same time.
Cali picked up on the mood. Angela felt left out. “I had you too, and your mother and brother. All of you helped me.” She guffawed. “Even Ben helped me, but now that I think back on that day, I think it was your mother that convinced him to help me. I think it was she who let me go.”
Angela nodded and leaned back. “Speaking of which, have you found all that you wanted to find, here I mean, in Italy?” Sadness entered her demeanor. Cali could see that Angela didn’t want her to go.
She sighed. “I’ve one stop to make. I promised…” She considered telling Angela. Why not? “I promised my mother that I would look.”
Angela got up and poured more rum into her glass and added some to Cali’s as well. She was thinking. “I had heard rumor that you talked to ghosts.” Cali must have looked quizzical. “The people of the villa. They told me. They fear you.” She graced Cali with another lopsided smile. “They call you ghost witch. Is it true, do you talk to ghosts?”
Cali didn’t need to consider her answer. “Yes, it’s true.” She took a sip of her rum and closed her eyes while it ran down her throat. “My mother, is an Angel. She has given me a power, to see ghosts and to talk to them.”
“Like Ghost Hunters?”
“No, I don’t need gadgets, or recorders, and I don’t see shadows that I can’t explain or identify. I see them as if they were as solid as you or me.”
“Wow” She was nodding. “That’s an incredible responsibility. What does your mother want you to do with such a gift?”
Cali couldn’t help but smile. She should have known that Angela would believe her and not think she was insane. “She wants me to help them move on if I can, and in return they help me when they can.”
“That’s why you’re such a great cop, isn’t it?”
“Well… I like to think that I have some skills of my own…but yah, sometimes they help, and sometimes they can’t.”
Angela laughed out loud. But, stopped abruptly when her lips pulled too hard. “Owe! Damn it!” She grabbed an ice cube and put it to her lips.
Cali shook her head. “That shit is going to hurt for a while sis.”
“I know” She mumbled.
“Did you kill the bastard that did it?”
Angela looked at Cali with dark eyes. “Yes” She breathed. “And he died screaming.” Her voice held a hard edge.
“Good, never let a wound sit and fester. It will only hurt you in the end. Your father left me and you both, to fester. Look where that got him.”
“Yes, and they will never find him. He went the way of Jimmy Hoffa.”
“Good, what of my new knife? I would like to keep it if I can.”
Angela picked up a small box from the bar. “I thought that you might.” She handed it to Cali.
It was a small cardboard box. Inside was a jewelry box that usually held a bracelet. Cali lifted the lid. Inside was the tiny knife. It was held in place with the two little elastic bands that were usually used to hold a bracelet in place. Ben’s blood still encrusted the blade. A bit of meat had stuck to an edge. Cali smiled. She glanced at the band aid on her own hand, covering a cut, where the blade had slipped in her hand after the first fountain of blood had caused her grip to falter. Her blood and Ben’s were mixed together on that blade. “No more Bella.” She whispered to the blade. “Never a whore again.” She took a deep breath and felt the weight of one of her biggest Demons leave, as a tear of joy streaked down her cheek. She snapped the box shut and put it back into the cardboard box.
Angela had watched in silence. She had never known just how tortured her friend, her sister really was. Now she knew why, and she now knew more of her story than she ever thought she would know.
Cali handed the box back to Angela. “I need it sent to me somehow. We both know that the FBI and half a dozen other agencies were watching the demise of Ben.”
“Yes, but I do believe that the umbrella over the table helped us more than you think.”
“Good point. Still, that little puppy is pretty damning evidence.” She nodded at the box.
“Don’t worry, I’ll find a way to get it to you, as well as anything else you want.”
“Oh really… in that case, Connie would love some olive oil, and some of those vinegar packed olives with garlic or almonds in them.”
Angela was laughing and cussing again. Cali joined her.
Later they were joined for dinner by Connie, who was ecstatic to see Cali and honored to finally meet Angela, and Bobbie who was just as excited to be meeting the new mob boss, and Nonna was there as well. Nickola stood off to one side. He was still a bodyguard and did not forget his place.
“Where’s Pooky?” Cali asked when everyone was seated. She had not tried to be overheard but, everyone heard anyway.
“Are you kidding?” Angela asked. “Do you have any idea how many hoops you have to jump through to get an animal into Italy?”
Cali stopped to think about what Angela had asked. “No… she had her shots. She was just in Panama…” Her thoughts were broken when everyone started to laugh.
“Yup, that’s my girl. Just in from a fight for her life and wants to know where the cat is.” Connie prodded. “Never mind your girlfriend, sitting right next to you.”
“I know where you are… where’s the cat?” Cali sounded exasperated.
“Well she is consistent.” Bobby pointed out and Nonna readily agreed.
Cali was shaking her head. “I’m relentless too. Where’s my Pooky? Did you leave her in boarding at home?”
They all laughed, and when Angela cursed and grabbed an ice cube, they laughed harder. Cali was hard pressed not to join in. Nickola left the room somewhere in the middle and returned with the animal in question cradled in his arms. He deposited the cat into Cali’s lap.
Pooky immediately began purring. Neither she nor Cali responded to the laughter of the others. Which made everyone laugh all the harder. “Don’t mind them Pooky dear. They don’t understand.”
Cali pulled a butter plate and made dinner for Pooky on the table. No-one argued with her.
Dinner conversation remained light. Nobody wanted to ask about the events of the day. What they didn’t know, couldn’t hurt them, they hoped. Angela and Cali didn’t share any details and didn’t want to. Angela was not the boss. That’s all anyone needed to know. The news was being spread by her people and probably the FBI and other agencies around the world.Speculation would abound. Satellite pictures would pop up for everyone to look at, and maybe even a video would surface. But, it had all happened so fast, and Cali’s knife had been so small, and her movements had been so smooth, anyone would be hard pressed to determine what had happened, especially without the body, or the blade.
I know that my hero takes this murder a bit for granted. Please understand that her life has been filled with horrible things. She has found a way to cope with them by shutting down her emotions, becoming a sociopath. Ben represented the last of those horrible things to her. She did not enjoy killing him, and she did not regret it. It simply needed to be done. That is how she deals with unpleasant things in her life. I do not advocate or suggest to anyone that murder for any reason is alright. This is just a story. I follow the direction that the story flows. When I began this book, I had no intention of killing Ben. In fact, Cali was not even going to see him. But, after the villa, it seemed like a logical course of action. It seemed logical that the reason that only Angela was handling Cali's trip was because of a rift in the family. Angela was trying to keep Cali away from it all. Unfortunately she was a little shy on all the particulars.
I'm not going to follow Angela's progress as she takes the reigns of the family business. Although, it might be an interesting side line book for another year.
There are two more chapters to this book. I hope that they tie the story up for you as well as they did for me.
Live well and be good to each other.