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Sold to the Hitman: A Bad Boy Mafia Romance Novel(4)

By:Alexis Abbott

Especially if I am to be someone’s wife!

I lean closer and scrutinize my smooth, pale skin, looking for any imperfections. But luckily, I have been blessed with exceptionally clear skin. My mother says it’s because I am so faithful to my God, but I personally, secretly believe it has more to do with genetics — something I read in a science book before my father confiscated it. Of course, I would never admit that, though.

My cheeks are tinged rosy pink, and my full lips part in a perfectly symmetrical, straight smile, dimples appearing on both cheeks. I have long lashes framing my large, pale blue eyes, but I have never worn mascara on them. In fact, I’ve never worn any kind of makeup. It is forbidden in my household. Sometimes, at the supermarket, I have sneaked away from my mother to look at the makeup aisles, in complete awe of the multitudes of colors and textures. I know nothing about how makeup is supposed to be worn, but the colorful shades of lipstick have always intrigued me.

I wonder if I will be allowed to wear colors like that on my wedding day. I assume not, as the husband my parents choose for me will probably be a likeminded individual, carefully selected from our tight-knit, closed-off social group. My parents have a lot of friends, all from the congregation at church. Most of them are also parents who homeschool their children. At church I have stolen glances at these other young people, some of them around my age. I wonder if they are just as restricted as me. I think they must be. Children are meant to be seen and not heard, though, so I don’t have many opportunities to speak with them.

During the last church service we attended, I surveyed the crowded pews, looking for male faces. I wanted to see what the pool of potential husbands looked like. I was dismayed to see how dull and plain they all were. I know that men don’t need to be handsome to serve God. But women must be beautiful, because the best way that a woman can serve God is by serving her husband. Therefore, a woman must be both beautiful and pure.

At least, that’s what my father and mother have told me.

Perched in front of the mirror, I comb my waist-length, silvery blonde hair over my shoulder, working the tangles out of my soft curls. Then I plait it down my back in a simple, no-nonsense braid that keeps my hair out of my face. I get up and stand in front of my armoire, trying to decide what I should wear today.

Finally, I settle on an ankle-length light pink skirt, beige button-up blouse, and a chocolate brown cardigan. The pink skirt is the brightest article of clothing I own, and I hope that my eighteenth birthday is a fitting occasion to wear it. My parents usually only buy me muted neutral tones, like gray and brown. A woman is not meant to be flashy for anyone but her husband and her God. I think about the little red and brown birds outside on the branches. The lady bird is brown and the male is bright red. My father says this is proof that women are meant to be modest and men are to be powerful.

After I smooth down my skirt and make sure that most of my flesh is covered up, I go down the hall to tap on my little brother’s door and wake him up. Isaiah is seven years old and the sweetest child in the world, I’m convinced. He is rowdy sometimes, of course, but Father says that is acceptable for little boys. Girls are supposed to be soft and quiet, but boys can be loud and messy. It’s just the way things are.

“It’s time to get up, Isaiah,” I say through the door.

I hear him groan and roll out of bed, and I smile to myself as I walk down the stairs and into the kitchen. My mother is already there, wearing a long brown dress and white apron. Her blonde hair is tied back into a perfectly round bun, as usual. She radiates a kind of demure, sophisticated beauty that I aspire to. She takes me on a lot of outings to have tea or coffee with other mother-daughter pairs from church. I think she wants to let me see a little bit of the world, even if it is only a sliver.

“Good morning, Mother,” I greet her, taking my place beside her at the kitchen island. She is rolling out dough for homemade biscuits, and there’s a frying pan of bacon and eggs on the stove across from us.

“Happy birthday,” she replies. “Could you take over these biscuits so I can tend the stove?”

“Of course!” I say, taking an apron from a peg on the wall and tying it around my neck and waist. It certainly wouldn’t do to have my clean outfit covered in flour.

“And hurry, please. Your father is in quite a rush this morning. He has a meeting with some, uh, business partners in a couple hours.”

“Yes, Mother.” I quickly and efficiently form the biscuits, arranging them on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven. Then I gather a stack of cloth napkins and four sets of silverware to set the table. My brother and father both take a lot longer to come down in the morning, but that’s okay. My mother and I are made to serve, and we do it happily.