The Naz & Roz Blog Series - Chapter Thirteen
Hey, loves! We are back to this blog series for Naz & Roz (and Penny, come on, it’s about her, too). All my love, do enjoy this.
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Naz and Roz Blog Series
Penny: Part Two
Four months later …
“Wait,” Penny muttered, stopping the DA from saying anything more about this deal they had settled out with her monster of a father and his horrible fucking lawyers. “Go back—so what you’re saying is that he’ll plead guilty to eighty-five counts of child pornography, right?”
“Yes,” the man across the table said.
Underneath, where no one could see, Roz’s hand squeezed tightly around Penny’s. An ache had settled deep in her heart, because despite the fact she actually hadn’t needed to see or speak to her father since this whole thing started … every time she had to talk about him, or he was brought into a conversation, she felt ill.
She didn’t want to think about him anymore.
He didn’t deserve a space in her mind.
So, why was he still there?
Penny couldn’t cut him out.
“The deal says each count with have time served consecutively, and not together,” the DA said, like Penny was a fucking idiot and needed it explained to her again. She heard it just fine the first fucking time. “With the maximum penalty for each charge, that could add up to over—”
“Just shut up,” Penny said.
The man gave her a look. “Excuse me?”
“Penny,” Roz said quietly beside her. “It’s okay … try to say what you’re feeling, and not just try to hurt someone else because we’re hurting, right?”
Why did Roz have to be like … that?
All the time, too.
“I think,” came the dark voice of Naz behind Penny where he leaned against the wall of the kitchen in their new—because a baby needed lots of space, apparently—home, “what Penny is not quite saying but wants to, is that it’s just the child porn charges, correct?”
“Yes, those are charges that will be impossible for them to win against.”
“And nothing for her.”
The man across the table stiffened. “Well—”
Naz didn’t allow the man to continue on with whatever in the fuck he planned to say before he added, “So, perhaps you could forgive Penny that you made a deal with the man who raped her, and sold her body for years, where in he will plead guilty to everything but what he did to her. Because you see, the only reason why you were able to get the child porn and charge him for that was because she came forward … she talked, again and again and again. You put her on tape, you made her relive trauma to stranger after stranger. You put her in front of therapist after therapist to see if she was lying. You promised justice would be served for her.”
“And in fact,” Naz continued, “what you did was use her to get what you could from him, and instead of getting her abuser on the stand to admit to what he did to her, she instead gets to feel like everything she did was not actually for her own benefit. So yeah, I think you could empathize with why she needs you to explain again why you made that choice. And without the attitude the second time around—go ahead, try it, Mr. Mahoney.”
The DA swallowed hard, and stared at the wood grain on the dining room table they currently sat at. Roz squeezed Penny’s hand again, and she was eternally grateful for the support that she found in this house. It was strange to her in the way that those weren’t at all the things she had been expecting when she came to live here with Naz and Roz.
Penny had become so used to being alone—to feeling numb to all and anything in her life—that now, it felt like she experienced too much when it came to her emotions, and she didn’t know the first damn thing to do with them.
She was getting better, though.
One step at a time.
It was terrifying.
“Trial would be long,” the DA murmured, “and drawn out. Media would be all over it—constantly. Penny would likely have to testify. No doubt in front of a packed courtroom, we’d be lucky if we were able to get a media ban approved by the judge, and certainly in full view of her father where he could stare at her while she retold detail after detail of his abuse. Which, again no doubt, would be for his pleasure, and certainly not for hers. So yes, I understand that on the surface, this deal doesn’t exactly seem like it is to Penny’s benefit—”
“Not one bit,” Penny replied sharply.
“But your other options will be far more traumatic. He will die in prison, and it might not be because he admitted to the things he did to you, but it will be because of the strength and courage you have shown time and time again to make sure he couldn’t do this to someone else.”
Penny let out a shaky breath.
Why didn’t that help?
Wordlessly, Penny stood from the table. Roz looked her way, a silent request for her to stay and finish this conversation reflecting back in the woman’s eyes, but Penny couldn’t. Right now, she just needed to be alone … or something.
Anything but this.
Roz always told her that was okay, too.
To be alone.
To need time.
It was okay, and she could take it.
As she headed out of the kitchen without as much as a look over her shoulder, Penny heard the DA say, “We don’t need her agreement on the deal for her to go through, but I did want to let her know personally.”
“Right,” Naz snapped back, “because it is never about the victim, only the victory.”
“Or do you just have a personal problem with law enforcement, Nazio Donati, because of your own circumstances?”
“Get the fuck out of my house.”
Penny heard the front door slam shut minutes later, but she was already at the back of the house, sitting in front of the baby grand piano that taunted her on a daily basis. For whatever reason, she hadn’t been able to play it since she arrived in New York. It followed them from the penthouse, to the large, three-level home in the suburbs.
Naz did, occasionally, even if wasn’t perfect.
Until right now. The urge thrummed deep, the notes taking shape in her mind the longer she stared at the glossy black smoothness of the piano legs.
Why when she shouldn’t care?
Why did it matter now?
Good girls play for Daddy, she heard him say in her head. Oh, you missed a key, what does that mean? And then, Smile at the camera when you do that, Penny, they like it.
“Fuck you, fuck you … fuck you,” Penny mumbled, rocking forward on the bench. “Just … fuck you.”
She pressed the heels of her palms to her burning eyes as she squeezed them shut, willing his voice out of her head, and for those memories to burn. Maybe that’s what she had been looking for here, for this to take away all of that, but it was never going to go away.
Those memories would never leave.
It would never not be.
Her fingers trembled as she placed them to the ivory, the tune that came out of the instrument echoing and haunting through the halls of the quiet house as it matched the sounds she made when she cried.
She cried so hard.
The melody was so unlike what she had been known to play before—much darker, and deafening. A tune that had goosebumps racing over her skin, and had her heart thumping hard against her ribcage.
It was pain.
Not pain she caused.
Not pain he made.
It didn’t come from a razor against her skin, and it didn’t hurt. It wasn’t brought on my wrongs done to her, even if memories helped to create the music. It didn’t leave scars behind, and it didn’t linger long enough to make her wish she wasn’t here at all.
It was pain put into music.
And it felt different like that.
Better like that.
For a long time, Penny had pushed music aside because it felt like a punishment. She had been put in front of a piano for her father’s desire, not because anyone thought she would be any good at it. Her talents had then been used to please others, before they turned it around on her so that when she misbehaved, they punished her with it, too.
By sending her away with the music.
And she hated them.
But this was none of that.
This was all her.