Monte Vista Stories | 1.19. Odi et Amo

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There was a short drive to the centre of town and once there, everyone got out and Vittoria was once again thrown over a man’s shoulder and hauled away. They were quicker this time, for it would be best not to be seen carrying around a bound woman around, after all.

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Everyone piled inside, and Carlo ordered them to put her in a chair. All the others stood around him, looking on expectantly. He had dreaded this, because he knew they expected him to do something now. Something drastic that he couldn’t bring himself to do. Even Lucia, pale and sniffing as per usual, looked like she expected it. Her hand rested on his shoulder, and she said meekly:

“W-what are you going to do… my baby…?”

“Everyone, leave,” Carlo said, shoving her hand away.

Of course, Lucia broke into a wail that could have woken the dead. There was a confused murmur in the room, because besides Franco, the others weren’t used to Lucia’s particular brand of crazy. Carlo repeated:

“Leave.”

“What’s the plan now?” Giacomo asked. “What are you going to…?”

Leave. Go upstairs and leave us.”

They left reluctantly, and even when they did he suspected that they were listening in, so when he spoke, he kept his voice low enough that only she would hear.

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“You remember this place?” he asked softly.

For the first time since he had found her, she glanced up, but only for a second. She nodded. “This was your house.”

The gang had taken it again and someone else lived here now. Taking her to this house was spur-of-the-moment and maybe petty, but he wanted to remind her of the past. He wasn’t sure it would work. It was more bare-bones than it had been when he lived here, and less warm somehow. Or perhaps he only remembered it as such because things had been easy and pleasant. She had been just an innocent young woman he swore to protect and he had tried to stay away from her, for her sake. He couldn’t have known that he should have thought more of himself.

Right now, with her head bent and stray dark hair falling over her face, she looked a lot like he remembered from before all this mess started. The coldness that had been clear in her features back when she betrayed him was gone, replaced by a heart-rendering sadness. Fake, no doubt. A ploy to win his sympathy. He only wished it didn’t work.

“Don’t you have anything to say?” he asked. “After everything?”

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Vittoria let out a deep sigh. “We both know how this has to end, so please end it. Only… get rid of my mother as well. Don’t let her near the kids.”

“I haven’t,” he said.

At that, she finally looked up at him, something in her eyes he couldn’t read. She nodded. “No, of course not. You’re smart. I’d prefer it if you killed her, but I know you don’t like doing it, so as long as you keep her far away from you and don’t let her gain any influence, you’ll be fine.”

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“You sound so sure that I’m going to kill you,” he said.

Her face pale and she turned to look at him. “You have to.”

“I know that.”

Vittoria nodded. “So be it.”

The nonchalance in her words made him clench his fists at his side.

So be it? After all that time, you expect me to just kill you and dump you in a ditch?”

“We both agreed it’s the right course of action.”

Though still looking sad, she looked up at him in a way that suggested this wasn’t unusual. He had managed to forget that she always expected the worst. How many times had she looked at him in wonder when he was nice to her? She had always said he was a contradiction – a gang leader who would love and cherish his wife, who would be gentle with their kids, who treated others with respect. This was how deep she felt it: that even though he had only ever loved her, he would kill her just like that.

“I can’t,” he said to her then, meeting her eyes across the room.

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Vittoria started and stared. “You have to.”

“Yes, I told you – I know. But I can’t. I won’t.”

“But your men-.”

“To hell with them,” he said in a low growl, and her eyes grew big. “I’m not killing my wife. The mother of my children. How could I look them in the eyes if I did? How could I look myself in the eyes?”

“They’re still young. They’ll forget.”

“But I’ll know.” He walked towards her and stopped less than a metre away, looking down at her. “I couldn’t live with myself. As much as I hate you now, I love you. I always have and I always will.”

He thought he saw her blinking away tears, but that couldn’t be – Vittoria never cried. Regardless, her eyes shone in the pale light of the room as she said:

“Reconsider.”

“I’ll send you away from here,” he told her, turning his back on her. “Wherever you like, I’ll drop you off with some funds and you can do whatever you like, so long as you don’t come back here. If you do and one of my men decide to take you out, so be it. But I won’t.”

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“Please, reconsider,” she said. “It’s safer for you if I die. She’ll use me against you, the way she’s already tried it once.”

“It’s not up for debate. Franco will take you out of town.”

“Carlo, please. Please, you have to listen. It’s why I betrayed you, it’s why I had to do it. To keep you safe. Everyone can see that you act foolish when it comes to me and that’s why I needed to get away. To help you come to your senses and see that I’m hurting your position. I’ve always been your weakness and that’s why you have to eliminate me. You have to show strength now.”

He turned back to her. She still wasn’t crying, though this was as close as she had ever – would ever – be.

“Strength.” He ran a hand over his face, pressing the tips of his fingers into his eyelids, and said the word again as he opened his eyes: “Strength.”

Vittoria slowly nodded. He was reminded, more than anything, of a day more than four years ago, when he threw her out of this house. When she spun and stared and her eyes were like a dark void. Even though it had frightened him, it hadn’t hit him before now how deep the darkness reached.

“You truly believe that,” he said.

He walked over to her and she flinched when he reached a hand out to her. Perhaps she expected him to hurt her, but he put a hand on her cheek and turned her face up to meet his.

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“How many ways did they hurt you?” he asked gently. “To make you believe all the bullshit?”

She opened her mouth, but closed it again when she couldn’t find the words. As had always been the case, she didn’t look comfortable at his gentle touch, at his fingers that brushed the soft waves of her hair and returned to her cheek. Oh, but he wished she had never done this.

“I’m starting to understand,” he continued. “You think I’m weak.”

“Because of me,” she said. “I needed you to be angry with me, to show them that if you had to, you’d hunt me down. That even if you love me, you’re still strong.”

But Carlo shook his head and he never stopped caressing her cheek. Vittoria leaned into his hand, closing her eyes for a second, but then she looked up again.

“I’m not weak, Vittoria,” he said.

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“But-.”

He silenced her with a finger to her lips.

“I would never have survived this lifestyle if I wasn’t the way I am. Look at Alessandro and how he treated you. In the end, all it earned him was a knife in the back. My men are angry, yes, but at you, and for good reason. They want you dead, but if I tell them that I won’t allow it, I know they’ll be angry for a good long while. However, they’ll respect my decision in the end.”

“They’ll revolt. Kill you…”

“They won’t. So many of them come from other gangs with violent idiots for leaders, and they know that if I die, someone like them will take over. Nobody here in Monte Vista wants that. Think of that, think of all the other people who rely on me and the gang in town – the town council, the police, local businesses. No one dares to touch me.”

He thought he saw understanding in her eyes, but she still protested:

“But I worked with Franco. He agreed with me.”

That was how he had been there so quickly then. He already knew what was about to happen.

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She continued: “I asked him about those rumours and he said it was all true. He said we were in trouble if you didn’t shape up, so he went along with the plan.”

“What would make him worry so much? He knows as well as I do that it won’t happen.”

He felt a tremble in her body as she looked up at him.

“My mother. She’s the one who started the rumours and spread them everywhere. If she could make you appear weak, she could have all the gangs in the region trying to take you on. Then all she had to do was march Gallo in here and take the town.”

Carlo let his hand drop.

“You’re really scared.”

Vittoria nodded and she told him everything. How she had never really been in charge, but only a puppet for Lucia, how Marta had been the same thing – and an important piece in Lucia’s rumour mill. When Marta came and Vittoria panicked, it had been what Lucia expected. She had let the girl get away, let her think she escaped, hoping that she’d go exactly where she did.

He mulled it over, his head spinning with the information. He knew that Lucia wasn’t right, but to go then on to say that she was some manipulative mastermind was a leap. And yet… Vittoria was scared. She was never scared or at least she didn’t outwardly show it. There was the matter of Marta as well, who was almost as scared as her. Carlo started with a realisation.

“Where’s Marta?”

Vittoria sucked in a sharp breath. “I sent her back to you.”

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“When?” he demanded.

“Last night, before I went to Monte Vista. She should be here by now.”

“She isn’t.”

“We need to find her. Gallo must have caught her when she left. If he-.”

Her voice was drowned out by a gunshot. So loud he thought it must be in the house, but she immediately searched for the windows and Carlo realised she was right. It had come from outside. More followed. The target of the shooting became clear when one of the kitchen windows shattered and glass sprayed over the floor. Somewhere upstairs, another window shattered right after and he could hear Franco shouting up there.

“Gallo!” Vittoria shouted. “He said my mother would lead her straight to you. He followed us.”

Carlo cursed and grabbed for his gun as the small glass panes of the doors followed suit and exploded over them. He caught his wife around the waist and dragged her to a solid wall that they wouldn’t be able to shoot through.

“Let’s say I believe everything about your crazy genius mother,” Carlo said. “What do I do?”

“Release me,” she said.

He set his jaw. “I don’t think I believe you that much.”

She grabbed his hands and held his gaze.

“I love you. I risked my life to get you out of jail once, and I’m going to risk my life to save you now because I love you stupidly much. Maybe you’re weak for loving me, but I’m no better.”

He let out a sigh that wasn’t audible because of the shots that still pelted the house and sailed through the windows. Her eyes were pleading and beautiful and he hadn’t realised how much he wanted to hear her say that.

“I’m definitely weak,” Carlo said, and he untied her wrists.

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Feeling lost? If you’ve forgotten previous chapters and need a recap you can find my recap page here. Be aware that it contains spoilers for the story.

Author’s note: Hi guyssss, welcome back to Monte Vista – in which Vittoria yet again asks someone to just kill her already and gets a no.

Normally, I don’t like to ramble about my chapter titles, but dangit – if I can get a chance to talk about Roman poetry, I’m taking it. Odi et amo are the first words of Catullus 85, which is a short, sweet, extremely awesome poem that goes like this:

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.”

 

Translation:
“I hate and I love. Why do I do this, perhaps you ask.
I do not know, but I feel it happening and I am tortured.”

 

Source

So basically the chapter title means ‘I hate and I love’. It’s a bit on the nose, but it’s in Latin and that means it’s cool. Roman poetry is basically the best. I generally always preferred ancient Greek (because the definite article) and I will always love me a good Greek tragedy. But their poems never did it for me. Give me Ovid, Martial, Catullus… *sigh* so good. It’s not relevant to anything at all – I just really like Roman poetry.

Anywayyyy, I think I’m out of my writing funk, as least as far as this story is concerned. My dislike of it from last chapter has pretty much faded because this chapter was extremely fun to write. I was even inspired to spontaneously make a pose! (The one where Carlo touches her cheek) – I won’t release it, because it’s shitty and rushed, but it still felt pretty great to be so enthusiastic about this again 🙂

Well, that was it for now. Thanks for making it this far and I’ll see you in two weeks for the next chapter… in which Vittoria won’t be tied up for the first time in a while… wooo! 😀

Cheers,
~Louise/NotJustaBook

26 Comments on “Monte Vista Stories | 1.19. Odi et Amo

  1. Ah, this is so romantic. They are messed up and anchored in this life of crime, but they’re also anchored in their love for each other. *sniff, sniff* Oh my, that sounded so stupid! But I had to, you know.
    Wow, Vittoria really believed he would kill her. It was clear all along that he wouldn’t. And she wouldn’t, too, actually, even if she keeps on acting as she would. I don’t think she’s able to.
    I wonder who is right – if the people would really start a rebellion or agree with Carlo’s decisions? Sometimes it’s hard to predict. But woot, another firefight now! 😀
    I actually googled the chapter title as soon as I saw it in my reader and thought it was perfect for Vittoria and Carlo’s relationship. Everything sounds classy in Latin! And I’m so glad you’re done with hating over your story for now. I really fight not to remove the scheduled stuff from my blog posts. In fact i just edited today’s one and nope, still don’t like it. Hopefully, I can be done with this phase soon, too.
    And gasp! Marta!

    • You’re spot on 😀 They’re messed up, but they love each other very much. You’re right – he could never do it. She’d have to do something seriously bad before he would hurt her. Neither would she hurt him.
      I thought the chapter title was pretty apt for the whole thing, yeah 🙂 At one point I wasn’t sure, but the other title I came up with didn’t work, so I went for it anyway. If nothing else, I got to recommend a great little poem 🙂
      I’m so sorry you’re in a funk yourself. I really enjoy your current gen so far ❤ I know that won't make you like yours, of course, but just so you know. I think it's really good 🙂 Hope you'll feel better about your stuff again soon.
      Thank you for your comment ❤

      • Ah, thank you so much. That did make me feel better ♥ I always admire you for your knowledge of English despite it not being your first language and I try to follow your suit as well as I can 🙂 I just don’t like how slow the pacing is in this gen and I also have to rush some things, because I wouldn’t manage to contain everything. Most likely my chapters limit is too short.

      • Thank you for your kind words ❤ I think it's really admirable that you keep on going, writing in English, even though you find it really difficult. That's admirable and pays off – I can see the improvement over the course of your story 🙂
        I see what you mean that maybe the chapter limit is short – I've never limited myself, though I generally end up with something that's 20-24 chapters anyway XD

      • It’s not difficult for me, but I often feel like you’re better in this than me, probably because you’ve been in the English community for much longer, I wrote in Polish for the most part. Writing in English is natural for me, but it wasn’t quite this way in the beginning as it’s my first story in this English. I had tried awkward translations before, but you know 😛 I love English, I really do and I think a story is a great way to improve, though it’s not a struggle anymore for me as it used to be. The hardest thing about it was the transition from language A to language B after all.
        Yeah, mine, too. But I wonder what I would do with so much freedom.

      • I don’t know how long you’ve been writing in English. I have since maybe… 2012 or 2011, so maybe it is longer 🙂 I’ve also read novels in English since I was fifteen, so that’s taught me a lot!
        I definitely think you’re getting better by the day 🙂 It can be a little hard to transition between languages, for sure – I still catch my self using Oxford commas in Danish by accident…

      • As I’ve said, this is my first ever story written in English and it started in May 2016, before then I used to write with people on the net, in 2015 or so. All my previous stories from 2012 and later were in Polish. I tried to translate them, but I sucked at English and it didn’t really work out. I also didn’t have English-speaking friends I could share them with. My transition was hard because I wasn’t used to writing such long texts in English.

      • I don’t think translating didn’t work out because you sucked at English – translating is really, really, really hard. I remember in school, teachers would always discourage first writing in Danish and then translating. I don’t think I could translate my Danish stuff, either.

      • I translated all my stuff from English to Polish up to the last Hailey bonus. It was for my Polish friends. It always took me a lot of time and they weren’t able to ever send me a short reply about the story. It bothered me so much I decided I no longer wanted to do the job.

      • Oh, and my first few chapters were all translated from their earlier, Polish version, so it probably is why they sound a bit strange. I like translating, though, because I’m fascinated by languages and coming up with different words to express everything as well as I can is a good challenge.

      • Translating is super fun, true! If it wasn’t really hard to get a job I would have liked to be an English translator 🙂

  2. Oh, this was one of the most romantic and sentimental chapters I’ve read in a while! ❤ Well done..! Who knew that this could be possible when one of them is tied to a chair? Lol!
    Seems like they both admitted to be desperately in love with each other and now they're ready to join forces once again against mad Lucia and who knows whom else..!
    I hope Marta will be safe! 😥
    You know, I haven't read much poetry in my life but I totally get what you're saying. Maybe this is why Italy is the queen of operas – and it's funny, cause in the last scene I imagined Carlo and Vittoria fleding through a window in slow motion with an opera playing at the background… don't ask why, lol! (Although the opera I had in mind is french)
    I wonder what will happen now, the suspense is killing me! Great chapter! ❤ ❤

    • Thank you so much ❤ Ha, ha, I don't even know how I managed to pull that off, but I'm glad you think so.
      Oh yes 🙂 trust might not be completely restored, but they're in it together.
      Maybe! Admittedly, I've never seen an opera at all, so I can't say, but I do know that Latin is wonderful for poetry.
      Thank you so much 😀 ❤ I'm glad you liked it!

  3. This is so romantic, in a very twisted, about to be murdered sort of way.
    I am so happy that Carlo listened to Vittoria. Yes, Lucia is bat sh*** crazy!!!
    but I do have to say that I don’t agree with Vittoria. Love does not make you weak. Carlo is not weak for loving his wife and being a good boss to his men. That, in fact, is what makes him strong. The sooner Vittoria realizes that she will finally be able to let her guard down.

    • He, he, thank you. I’m glad you think so 🙂 Indeed, they’re pretty twisted, but they love each other a lot.
      Lucia really is crazy and even though Carlo’s not sure, he did sense something off about her.
      I don’t agree with Vittoria either and neither does Carlo 🙂 Most people vastly prefer being treated well, and I think she’s starting to realise that as well.
      Thank you for commenting ❤

      • Love does make you do some pretty stupid stuff, so that might be considered as a weakness. But abuse is all that Vittoria knows. So when someone is actually nice to her, she didn’t understand it. Now she is finally starting to see the truth. 😃

  4. I love the title! It being in latin does make it cool. And look, I’m all caught up! I don’t know why you hate the chapters so much because I meant to stop after five and, oops, here I am. And of course I catch up to find a cliffhanger! >.>
    I love Carlo a lot. He’s such a patient man but he’s made of steel. I’m glad he’s starting to understand what really happened, though I don’t blame him for being a little dubious!
    I’m so worried about Marta :/ I hope Gallo hasn’t done something horrible to her!

    • I’m glad you like the title 😀 I wasn’t sure whether to go for it, but I’m glad I did. Latin is always cool!
      I’m also glad you liked the story as a whole 🙂 I’m my own harshest critic. I know there’s good stuff in the story, but because I’ve read it over and over again I see the flaws very clearly, ha ha… Cliffhangers are kind of common in my stories – sorry about that 😛
      Carlo is my personal favourite character in this ❤ I think he's a good mixture of strong, manly man and sweet and affectionate 🙂
      Marta is in a bit of a pickle. Hopefully, she'll be safe!
      Thank you for reading all of that. I'm so glad you enjoyed it enough to get through it 🙂 ❤

  5. Agreeing with the others- what a wonderfully romantic and heartwrenching chapter.
    To be honest, I cheered when Carlo said ‘I’m not weak’. Vittoria has believed for so long that she is going to be his downfall, but Carlo seems too smart and levelheaded. I hope he will be able to convince her of that. He’s such a great man (and character), really, and I want to see these two back together 😀
    I love the title and that poem! And I’m glad you are feeling better about your story, and that you are enjoying it as much as we do again.
    Great chapter ❤

    • Thank you Lila ❤
      Vittoria's shitty ubringing has really influenced how she sees power and relationships and everything and Carlo is slowly – but very slowly, perhaps – changing that 🙂 I want them back together too, aaaaaa. Writing these I was all 'noooow, kiss'… but then it didn't seem appropriate in the moment with the missing child and shooting and whatnot 😛
      It's really great being back in a better mindset 🙂 I'm writing more than I have in a while.
      Thank you for commenting and for your kind words ❤

  6. This was such a beautiful chapter (which I read the other day but didn’t have time to comment because life was crazy).

    It was so romantic, i’m still sighing. LOL I love how sentimental it was and how the title tied in to the events.

    ❤ ❤

    • Thank you Kymber ❤ I know the feeling of how crazy things can get and I don't always have time to comment right away. I'm glad you found a moment to drop a comment 🙂

      I really liked writing this chapter because of how romantic it was. You wouldn't think it would turn out as sweet as it was after everything that happened, but that's just how it ended up when I wrote it 🙂

      • I love writing chapters like that! When you have an idea in mind and then it takes a different direction. This turned out amazingly well. I can’t tell you enough how I enjoyed it. You are very talented, my friend. ❤

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