tagBDSMThe Twelve Vitali Ch. 15

The Twelve Vitali Ch. 15


Authors note: Happy 2018, everyone. Thank you, everyone, for the positive feedback and comments they mean the world to me and have brightened my days. I'm back at work so the writing is slower but hopefully, I will continue to have one chapter a week for you this year as well. Thank you once again to Paul who continues to be my second set of eyes. ~ellie.

Cat arrived at the hospital building of the compound that made up the Battaglia family headquarters in the middle of the night. Marcus had taken her to meet Bruno Battaglia in a small admissions office near the open foyer area. Confused, she sat quietly as she was introduced and the giant leader of the family surveyed her silently for long minutes before his deep rumbling voice sounded to fill the small room.

"Good evening, Catriona, I trust your flight was smooth?" he asked cordially.

"Yes, thank you," she responded politely, aware of Marcus hovering slightly behind the chair in which she sat.

"Sit down, Marcus, you are bothering our guest hovering behind her like the angel of doom," Bruno grumbled before turning his attention back to the young woman. "When a table sends us a young woman, for whatever reason, they are usually fairly specific about the trial they would like them to endure. In your case, however, your trial has been set by the thirteenth Table. Do you understand who that is and why that may have occurred?"

"No, not really, but I understand that the Vitali have many family laws and traditions that I need to learn more about before they will give their blessing to my accepting Matteo's proposal," she said honestly.

"It is rare that an outsider is in a position such as yours, there has been only one other case in recent years, and she, too, came here to undergo a trial. That trial was interrupted prematurely, and we have put several precautions in place to ensure your safety with us. Having said that, this is not a prison, and while Marcus and his brothers will shadow your movements you will be free to leave at any time if you feel the trial is beyond your capabilities," he explained. "The shadows are a necessary evil for a woman in your position, I am afraid."

"What do you mean, a woman in my position?" Cat tilted her head.

"Each of the twelve tables is populated by twelve men directly descended from an original member of the thirteenth table, which is made up of the leaders of each of the twelve," he paused to make sure she was following him and saw her nod. "The twelve men protect and enable their families to flourish financially, socially, and privately, but the real power behind each table is the mother of the family who binds them all together. It is not only a position of great power, but also honour and respect. I believe you know Theresa Vitali and Peri Donati?" he asked.

"I know Peri Donati quite well, but I have only met Theresa twice and have not spent any quality time with her," she admitted. "Peri was an outsider and sent here. I know she almost died at the hands of Josh's sister here. I am not concerned that will happen to me, I am not in the same league as Peri Donati."

"The Vitali's believe you might be," Bruno smiled as she registered his words. "And as there is a high possibility that Matteo will sit in the chair of the next Vitali table, which would mean that should you marry him you will become a mother to a vast family and private empire, that is why the thirteenth are involved in the requirements of your trial."

"I didn't know, in all the different things I have been told about the tables that was not one of them!" Cat gasped.

"It is not well known, even amongst the members of the family who see only women stuck in the more traditional role of raising children and supporting their husbands. This is quite far from the truth, and the expectation on the wives of the men of the table grows every year, but none more so than the mother. It is rarely spoken about or even understood that it is she who holds the most power within the family."

"I see, and the thirteenth has dictated the trial I will undergo?" she asked.

"They have," he confirmed. "Given your past, it was agreed that you would come in as a recruited girl who has no links to any family. You will begin your stay with us by undergoing a thorough medical and mental examination. From there it will be decided what form your trial will take, as it is with any recruited girl who is escaping an unsavoury past. You will have the option of choosing an alias for yourself, or we can assign you one."

"If I choose to leave rather than complete the trial decided for me?" she asked, thinking about what he was saying.

"Then Matteo will be forced to make a choice, you or his family," Bruno said without pulling any punches.

"I thought you said I wouldn't be a prisoner?" she gasped, dismayed by the answer.

"There are no locks on the doors, you can leave whenever you like," he spread his hands as if that was plain to see, but he knew what she meant. "It is what it is, and, since you came willingly, I am assuming this makes little difference to your reasons for being here in the first place. Now, would you like to choose a name before Marcus shows you to the room assigned to you while you undergo the health and well-being elements of your trial?"

"Jane Bennet," she said after some thought.

"A classic, nice," Bruno accepted the name and wrote it on the file in his hands. "Your backstory is a woman who was pimped out to her abusive boyfriend's friends. The other girls and the trainers will accept that and encourage you to do well here." He nodded and closed the file, handing it to Marcus.

"Only Marcus and Nero will know who you are and your relationship to the Vitali Family. Everybody else you come across will treat you as if you are a recruit here for training. Marcus will show you to your room and introduce you to Nero in the morning," he said in a commanding tone. "Welcome, and good luck, Miss Bennet."


After being raced to the hospital in a police car, Matteo and Ricco stepped into the intensive care room where Stefano lay looking wide awake, but his skin was ashy, and he seemed to be labouring to breathe. He reached out and gripped their hands as the two younger men went to stand on either side of his bed.

"Catriona has accepted her trial?" Stefano asked in a raspy voice.

"Yes, she left for the Battaglia facility tonight with Marcus," Matteo answered.

"That is good, she will do well, she has spirit, that one," Stefano coughed as he strained to catch his breath, and the doctor came forward to check his vitals. "You will both swear to undergo a trial of your own while she is away. Swear on my life and I will let this butcher carve me up," he looked directly at the surgeon who stood ready to take him as soon as he agreed to the surgery.

"I don't want to swear on your life about anything!" Matteo almost shouted at his father.

"Papa, why would you say that? Just have the surgery and you'll be back on your feet and able to make us jump through any hoops you like, but you have to agree without all of this," Ricco said with a frown.

"You will swear, or I will lie here and fade away," he threatened. "The trial will not be onerous for either of you, and you will be able to live your lives during the time allotment."

"My life hasn't been my own since the New Year anyway," Ricco shrugged as he spoke to Matteo, letting him make a choice for both of them.

"Fine, we swear," Matteo shook his head.

"Good. Go and get Cosimo," he ordered with a barking cough.

Frowning, Matteo moved toward the door and signalled his uncle before returning to his father's bedside.

"These watches are waterproof, shockproof and tamper proof. They will also inform us if you stray more than twenty-five meters from each other's side," Cosimo presented the two younger men with the watches. "You will wear them for the entirety of your trial," he added.

"That's it? That's the trial?" Matteo asked incredulously.

"That's it," Stefano nodded, his breath rasping and a hand on his chest.

"Fine with me," Ricco took the watch, looking anxiously at Stefano before looking at Matteo, who had already picked up the watch.

"Alright, the butcher can take me now," Stefano decreed. "Go home and live your lives; just do it together."

They left the room as the doctors began preparing him for surgery. They sat in chairs in the waiting room and considered what had just happened. Matteo's mind raced with the problems these watches would cause them. They'd have to live at his place, there was no way he was moving into the house Ricco and Jacobi shared. Ricco would have to move his office again up to his; it was his building and his company, after all. Jacobi would probably throw a fit as his twin was distanced from him.

"I guess there's no use asking if you want to stay at my place with Jacobi and Maryanne due back tonight," Ricco said as if reading Matteo's mind.

"There's not much chance of me wanting to move offices either," Matteo admitted. "Everything else is negotiable."

"You've just nailed home and work. What else is there?" Ricco asked. The truth was he was quite happy to stay at Matteo's penthouse and move up to the executive suite in HQ. He wasn't really arguing, merely pointing out the facts so he had some bargaining power with the smaller issues later on when he needed it.

"There'll be stuff, trust me," Matteo grumbled, thinking of Cat's return and wondering how long both trials would last and considering how they would negotiate that relationship. "When do you want to deal with Jacobi? He'll be back tomorrow."

"Fuck!" Ricco hissed and ran his fingers through his hair. "We've got a few hours before anything happens here, let's go grab my stuff. It will make telling him easier if I'm already moved."

"Yeah, alright," Matteo agreed, although he was looking forward to being there with Ricco when that confrontation took place. The three older brothers were close, and while Matteo was usually on the outer of the three, this time he would be right in the middle of any conversation that had to happen. The usually authoritative Jacobi would have to listen instead of telling them what to do in regards to the family for a change.


Cat woke to the alarm that piped into the small hospital room through high speakers and groaned. She knew by now that it was far easier to get up than be forced out of bed and into a cold shower by the nurse who tended to the girls in this wing of the hospital. He could be cruel and demeaning when alone with the girls, and she had no wish to incur his wrath. She'd been here four days now and had found the constant attention exhausting. She rolled out of bed and headed for the shower. Hot water was only available for the first fifteen minutes after the alarm, and she needed to wash her hair before the nurse arrived to strap her into the torture device they made her wear. At least he had stopped holding her up from taking a shower so that she missed the hot water, because he came to her room last now to strap her into the torturous brace.

In all of the testing she had been subjected to, the most pressing issue had been her posture and a slight bend in her spine that could have been scoliosis. To remedy her bad posture, she had been given a rigid body brace that kept her ramrod straight and lifted her head with a neck brace to keep her head centred. It looked old fashioned and was particularly uncomfortable for a girl used to slouching to disguise her height.

Cat luxuriated in hot water. She wasn't a morning person, and she hated rising early unless it was with Matteo, and even then she took some time to get her bearings. The water turned cold too soon for her and she turned off the faucet, believing that this was cruel and unusual punishment for the patients of her wing of the hospital. It may not have been a prison, but each morning it certainly felt like one.

"Good morning, Jane," Nurse James said as he entered her room. "This should be your last day wearing this brace," he said regrettably as he picked up the device of torture and helped her into it, doing the straps up tightly.

"Poor you," Cat quipped. "I know how much you love torturing me with this every morning."

"I think I'll survive," he smirked, helping her pull the loose, gauzy slave dress into place over the brace. "I believe they will be moving you to the training wing today. I will miss that sassy attitude, but you will have to leave that here, along with the brace. The Masters in the facility will demand manners and respect from you," he said in a warning tone. "Then again, a sassy slut like you would probably enjoy being punished, wouldn't you?" He ran his hands over her, lingering over her breasts as he feigned smoothing the material of her dress.

"They're moving me?" she was surprised. The other women here had been here for weeks, or at least ten days.

"You are far healthier than most of the girls that come through here, and aside from your disgusting posture, you won't be passing on any STD's," he said casually as he opened the door for her. "I wouldn't mention that to the other girls at breakfast, just in case plans change."

Cat nodded thoughtfully. The women who shared this wing with her were always referred to as girl, regardless of their age, which ranged between twenty and fifty. She enjoyed their mealtimes together, and they had all formed a small bond of friendship as women undergoing the same treatment for a range of reasons. A few quite openly spoke about their pasts, others seemed to hide theirs behind haunted looks, and Cat could only imagine what had happened to them.

None of the women in her wing were drug addicts, which meant that they moved through the hospital facility faster than the women who sat across the dining room from them looking frail and pale. The women in her wing had other addictions, gambling, sex, adrenaline, crime, porn, anything to give them the endorphin rush they craved. There were a lot of reasons she found for women to take up the offer of a safe and controlled life in the service of one of the twelve families.

Her backstory fell into the sex and dangerous men categories, and using her experience with Ned it wasn't hard to talk earnestly about the life she had led before coming to the facility, even if she had left out the last six months of it. She tried to divorce herself from the fact that she was in love with one man and planned to marry him if he still wanted her after this. She had been informed that she was on the pathway of a Kept, because that is where she could engage in classes and training for deportment, elocution and etiquette, as well as the usual protocol instruction that the household staff received.

She had been immediately befriended by a sweet-seeming young woman they called Nymph. She claimed to be a nymphomaniac with Daddy issues. She hooked up with an older man on the Sugar Babies website, and when he was done with her he had dumped her barely recognisable body in an emergency room and left. Cat had liked her honesty and enthusiasm for the program they were on, and on days when she missed Matteo and the life they had only just started together, Nymph made her smile and live in the moment rather than becoming blue. She was here, and she had to make this work, not just for herself, but for Matteo.

"Jane, Jane! Come sit with me!" Nymph called out as she entered the cafeteria section of the floor they lived on.

"Let me get some breakfast first," Cat laughed.

"I got you some already, come and sit with me," Nymph said excitedly. Cat looked at the tray beside Nymph filed with the things Cat would normally have chosen for herself and smiled.

"Thank you," she said, taking the seat beside her friend.

"Something is going on today. The nurses are acting weird, and the Masters are here talking to the doctors," she indicated a small group of men in the far corner of the room watching the women as they entered and had breakfast together.

"I know I haven't been here as long as you, but that probably just happens from time to time. It makes sense that they would want to know who is going to go to the training facility eventually," Cat said carefully. If Nurse James had been right, she would be going there today.

"I know, but I haven't had anything done or taken a test in two days, so I am thinking I am the one going," she nodded. "I can't wait; living like a nun here has given me a case of the sads that I'm having trouble getting over."

"Seriously, this is you when you're sad?" Cat laughed.

"Well, no, not really, but I am seriously bored," she sagged. "I need sex, and if not that then a change, Jane. Don't you? You can't possibly like being bound up in this contraption every day."

"It's not much fun, so I hope you're right and we all get a change of scenery soon." Cat popped a strawberry into her mouth and chewed. Each of the women from their wing also agreed that they had a feeling something big was happening today. The murmured conversation was rife with speculation, some good and some bad, as Cat quietly ate her breakfast of yoghurt and muesli and a plate of fresh fruit. She'd barely finished the last bite when Nurse James came to escort her to see the doctor. She pulled a quick "I don't know" face at Nymph and let herself be led away.

"I thought I told you that the brace wasn't required today?" Nero addressed James as they entered his office.

"I must have missed that memo," he turned toward Cat with a smirk. "I'll remove it for you."

"I knew you like torturing me with this," Cat hissed under her breath.

"We still need to address your slouch, and if your head drops again you will find the brace is back," Nero lectured Cat. "This is a less intrusive lighter weight posture brace for your shoulders. You will wear it during your training until your posture improves." He held up what looked like a bunch of straps toward James once he had removed the metal and plastic brace that has kept her so rigidly straight for the last four days.

"You should be able to manage this yourself once you get used to it," James instructed as he helped her place the loops over her shoulders and straightened the elasticated straps that crisscrossed her back before pulling the wide band around her ribs and buckling it in place just below her breasts. "Very nice," he murmured, running his hands over the elasticated straps that ran down the sides of her breast and had the effect of pushing them together and out from her chest. He looked almost regretful as he helped her replace her casmisk.

"Thank you, James, you can go. And ensure Jane's belongings are sent to Mistress Hella's wing of the new building, please," Nero commanded, making James look up at him sharply. He knew very well what the implications of being sent to the new building meant, and while he had been tormenting Jane he hadn't considered that she would actually enjoy being tortured.

"Of course. Goodbye, Jane, and good luck on the next phase of your training," he smirked and left the room.

"Thank you for everything," Cat said with a sickly sweet smile, and waited until the door was closed before turning her attention back to Nero. "What was that look he just gave you?" she asked politely.

"The new building is purpose-built for practitioners of BDSM and all that the lifestyle may or may not entail. It is a facility built to test a girl's limits and whether she is able to use her safe words wisely or if, in fact, despite our rigorous assessment, is masochistic to the point of endangering themselves and their partners. Your friend, Nymph, is one such creature, and Matteo has concerns about how much you would endure for him before using a safe word. He has asked that your limits be tested by a woman rather than a man, so you will be sent to Mistress Hella, along with Nymph, who also has some issues to work out where a Mistress would be the best teacher," he explained in detail.

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