“I think I could happily stay here forever,” I told him, on the drive to the hotel from the airport, taking in the beauty of the island through the windows of the taxicab.
He smiled at me, but only with his mouth, not with his beautiful whisky eyes. “We’ll see what happens.”
There was stress, the dark circles of unrest, and uncertainty all over his features, and it’d all been there since the day Tom Sr. died. And anger. He was definitely angry about being in this position, about his father putting him in the position where he was forced to choose between free will and Tom’s definition of loyalty.
He didn’t want to talk about it; he wanted to put my mind at ease when I asked questions. A few times, he got snippy, such as on the way to Aruba, when I was asking questions while we sat in the waiting lounge at the airport.
I’d pushed for information about our long-term plans.
“What? You don’t trust me to keep you safe?” He glared at me.
“What? No. That’s not what I’m—”
“Leave it all to me.”
“I don’t think it’s wrong of me to ask about our future, Tommy.”
“I’m tryin’ to fuckin’ figure out our future, Tia.”
“You don’t have to do that alone.” And he shouldn’t expect to do it alone. I should have input. I should be a part of the conversation --- that wasn’t a conversation, just inner dialogue I wasn’t participating in.
“Oh. My mistake. You know how to deal with wise-guy kingpins who’ll want you taken out if they suspect you killed your father? By all means, tell me what you think I should do about that. Help me. Whadaya got?”
The emotion and misery in his eyes whenever he referred to killing his father? It hurt me to see.
I knew he was wishing there had been another way. I knew it had to absolutely kill him to have to make that choice there in that moment, of whether or not to kill his father when there was a gun pointed at me.
I couldn’t imagine taking my own father’s life.
Of course I didn’t want to say that to him, to make him feel worse.
But, I belonged to a man who I knew had taken multiple lives. I didn’t know how many, wouldn’t ask, but I knew he would not hesitate to do it again to protect me.
He was who his upbringing coupled with circumstances and his personality had forced him to be. He took his father’s life out of love for me. Bottom line: he picked me over the man he had been groomed to be loyal to for 29 years.
And beyond that, I think he picked himself, too. My guess? He had spent his life trying to live up to and even to exceed his father’s expectations. He was drawing a line in the sand around the time Tom got shot and Tom’s reaction and subsequent actions backed Tommy into a corner. He had to stand his ground, exert himself as a dominant man who was not about to live under anyone’s thumb.
There was a point when Tommy realized that his father’s grooming of him was done and it was more about control. Tommy had control issues of his own, so was certainly going to buck against someone else trying to control him.
We were at our own private villa in a lush resort, and it was absolute paradise. This wasn’t a party resort; it was a place where you had your own beach, servants at your beck and call, blue skies above, blue water around you, picture-perfect weather, and privacy. This was a resort for people with money who wanted privacy and to be catered to.
I was going to be a person of means. After a lifetime of having no money, it was still a foreign concept to me. All we had to do was relax. That’s what this place was for.
But, he didn’t seem relaxed. I wanted to see the stress of the past few weeks melt away. Badly. He woke last night with a jolt and when I turned on the light, he looked disoriented.
“Are you okay?” I’d asked.
He was huffing and puffing with fists clenching and unclenching. A battle stance. It was kind of scary. He stepped outside and paced a minute, then did about a dozen laps in our pool.
I listened to the swish of the water and waited for him to come back to bed. When he finally did, I tried to initiate sex, to see if it’d help, but he just grabbed my hand to pull it away from his dick and held onto it. His heart was beating so fast.
He pulled me close and when his heartrate felt like it was returning to normal, I’d fallen back to sleep.