I had the same childhood as most girls do. Dolls, tea parties, fairy tale bedtime stories. And like most girls, my dad tucked me into bed at night and left me with a kiss on my forehead. He was a busy dad, always in and out of meetings and traveling for work, but he always made time to wish me goodnight.
“Daddy, tell me a story.” I called to him as he reached for the doorknob of my bedroom. He paused, shaking his head softly.
“I’m sorry, Lottie, but you know I have work.” He ruffled my hair, but I quickly grabbed his hand and pulled as hard as my eight year old arms could manage.
“Please, Daddy? One short story?” I pleaded, poking out my bottom lip. My father grumbled and for a moment, I thought he had become immune to my puppy-eyed face.
“Fine.” He chuckled, sitting on the edge of my bed. “Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little princes. She was sweet and caring, and generous and kind. Her father, the King, loved the little princess so much that he made a vow to always protect her. So, every time the King would have to leave for war, he would make sure the princess was guarded and safe from all of the monsters of the world. When the King would return home from his work in the kingdom, the little princess would greet him with big hugs and beautiful paintings that she had made just for him. The King knew that there was nothing more important than his princess, and he would keep his vow until his very last breath, even if it killed him.”
“That was a lovely story, Daddy.” I kissed his cheek and gave him a big hug like the princess in the story had for the King.
“Goodnight, little princess.” He whispered to me. When my father opened the door to leave my bedroom, I watched as he spoke to Brock and Cash, in hushed tones. I never listened in on my father’s conversations, I knew that he was as wise and just as a king, giving me no reason to worry.
“Goodnight, Brock,” I waved with a smile, “Goodnight, Cash.” My eyes began to droop and hover over unconsciousness. Dreams of the King and his little princess danced in my imagination.
“Goodnight, Ms. Violet.” They said in unison, shutting my door behind my father. I never knew how quite similarly my life paralleled to the little princess in the story, until I got older. But laying in my bed with a soft pink canopy overhead and two armed guards posted outside of my bedroom door at all times, I was living my version of normality. This is the way it had always been and always would be.
But I was not a princess; I was Violet Maddox.
And my father was not a king; he was Talon Maddox, leader of the largest Mob in New York City.