The Mafia Princess

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My new favorite song came on satellite radio as I drove

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My new favorite song came on satellite radio as I drove. Cranking the volume, I sang along while debating shoe choices for my engagement party.

Satin heels or white Chuck Taylors? If I wore sneakers under my floor-length ball gown, maybe no one would notice. I'd be way more comfortable, and it would be easier to dance.

I snorted out loud and practically retch at the thought of what's about to happen. Engagement party, my ass.

Gah. Was I really going through with this? An arranged marriage to my father's business associate? Was this really my life? 

As the day loomed like the bruise-colored sky overhead, the less sure I was of the one thing I've been groomed for my entire twenty-one years. Fucking patriarchal society bullshit.

That was when I hit a patch of wet leaves on Cemetery Road. I zagged left when I should have zigged right and woosh.

The silver Mercedes SUV slid off the asphalt. I shrieked, braked, and somehow landed with a hard stop on an angle of the steep embankment. The car, and I, were sideways in the steep ditch.

I slowly turned my head to the right. Crap. Climbing out of the passenger side was impossible; there wasn't much room and only about two feet from the dirt. Plus, what if the car rolled on top of me? I'd be crushed to death.

With slow, precise moves, I gingerly opened the driver's side latch and pushed the door open. Okay, so far so good. But the hard part was still to come: getting out of the car.

Poking my head out the door, the steady rain hit my face. Everything was wet and slick and muddy, which made me dread what I was about to do even more. 

Okay, here goes...

I'd intended to delicately ease out, one cute, black ballet flat, then another, but instead I panicked and hurled myself onto the wet grass, hands and face first, like a particularly uncoordinated swimmer.

I landed with a grunt. Or maybe more of a squeak. Crawling up the embankment in the rain, I made it to level ground and rose to standing. Dirt covered my leather shoes, mud sprayed across the front of my jean skirt and white t-shirt. Ugh, but I was alive.

My palms were pink and pockmarked with dirt, and I brushed them against one another, the rain washing them clean. Then I gathered my long, black hair in my hands and twisted it into a loose, damp bun. Letting out a groan, I turned to stare at my SUV, and it looked even more precarious now that I was out.

Oh, shit.

The cream-colored vinyl dress cover, with the gown inside, fluttered behind the rain-streaked back window. It was an apt metaphor for my future.

Trapped.

Trapped in a life I didn't want, marrying a man I didn't know.

Daddy was going to kill me. Not because I'd probably totaled the car. He wouldn't care about that. No, it's the dress, the symbol of his little princess' virginity. 

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