the godfather. connie corleone; connie/sonny (some micheal, if your squint) broken noses and weddings rings. r. 2400 words. you don't talk like that about my brother. no one does.
for martyr4mylove4u, you enabler, you.
i think i'm like tenesse williams,
i wait for the click.
The year she was sixteen was the first time Connie Corleone ever dated a smart boy. Her family didn't know about it. Not even Micheal.
He wore glasses and he wasn't very tall and she guesses, he was probably a bit nerdy but he was actually rather handsome under the heavy, dark frames or so she thought at the time, anyway. He took her to the movies a lot. They never held hands (he didn't like that sort of thing) but they kissed once, warm mouths pressed together in the dark, against the backseats and there was a sound of a roaring motorcycle on screen, the lights flashing against the lids shut tight and she pulled away -
"I like this part."
"You seen it before?"
"No. No, but the sound - this always the part where one of those boys comes on, you know? With the leather jacket and I, I didn't want to miss it."
He folded his arms across his chest.
"You like that kind of thing?"
"He looks like his nose is broken."
"Well, maybe I like that."
Tom (that was his name, her clever boy)-
Tom got his nose broken later that year by one of Connie's brothers.
(We won't say which one. You probably already know, don't you?)
It didn't make him any more attractive unfortunately.
She meets him one last time outside the school, leaning against stone walls and crawling ivy and fingers pulling up the side of her skirt to scratch at her leg. Connie had a lot of nervous habits, back in the day.
"I'm sorry he did that."
"He's a real bastard your brother."
"Don't call him that."
"He smashed my face in!"
She lit a cigarette, blew out furiously through trembling lips.
"Don't call him a bastard."
Tom shook his head.
"You're a weird lot."
She slapped him. It was quick and swinging and light and she didn't know how to put any weight behind it. She didn't even leave a mark, just sort of let her fingers bat against the space where his nose shifted off to the side, the tender twisted flesh and he flinched for a minute and his chin crumpled.
Then, he laughed.
She hated Tom a bit after that.
As a young girl, she liked to read romance novels. The thick paperback kind where the characters had long names and the spine arched achingly between her fingers and a hundred pages before the last all problems were resolved. She used to practice her swooning in front of the mirror. She'd stretch out the muscles of her face in a slow gasp and then hold her breath till she came close to fainting. Sonny caught her once and made fun of it for days, going into little fits of pretend dizziness whenever she stepped into the room.
She also liked reading crime novels.
Bang bang bang.
The bullets flew straight off the paper.
Mother didn't approve of those. She kept them under her bed.
Connie went to Catholic school.
She was never very good at learning things.
"You're my favorite daughter," Vito liked to say, benevolently with his eyebrows wrinkled forward, voice heavy and affectionate.
"I'm your only daughter," she wanted to say.
She never did. Connie saw early on the way love was measured in her family and she saw but did not understand.
This must be why she was never a good student but a good Corleone.
(For now, anyway.)
At night, her fingers are slick and warm, wet against her skin and she closes her eyes to the dark and she is thinking of the boy from the movie with his lip curled and his fist in someone else's face and then, then it is not him, not anymore, it is, it is -
She gasps. Her fingers withdraw.
Her brother Sonny gets married in the fall.
Connie wears white. It is usually considered spiteful but she is enough the darling at this point to get away with it.
There is lace along the bottom of her skirt. It spins in the air when she dances.
She only dances with the groom. She pretends, they all pretend that it's because no one else is good enough for the Don's daughter; in part that is true.
Connie loses her virginity the night of Sonny's wedding.
It's to a cousin, twice removed and from out of town. His tie is tied rather carelessly and he is drunk and she is morose. It's quick. She pulls on the strip of silk when he kisses her and his shirt comes undone. Her head feels like it's filled with wine; the whole encounter over in a matter of minutes. After, she will wonder why she held on to it for as long as she did but there will be no answer. There rarely ever is with questions like this.
This is why Connie stopped thinking about things too much. Connie stopped a long time ago.
Her brother's first mistress has dark hair and long eyelashes.
Connie narrows her eyes when she shakes hands. The woman smiles. It is sly and the full lips, the low cut dress -
This is how she knows. Sonnie's signs are never too difficult to pick up on.
His wife gives birth in the fall. His mistress is pregnant next spring.
"Sonny, Sonny, Sonny," she shakes her head, Connie does and she sits beside her brother and raises her chin with pride but she doesn't say a thing because that's not her place.
Their mother says -
"He was always a wild one."
And that is all.
The bastard is provided for. The family will see to that.
The years between school and marriage are difficult to fill.
The time crawls by, slowly and she sits at the table in her father's house watches the men file in and out, soft thud of footfall against the carpet and the bodies limp dragged over the floor, marking tracks of blood.
Connie sits by the window, taps her fingers across the table.
She was never very good at school.
Carlo acts like a gentleman in the early days. It's not like the courtships in her novels or like ones conducted in her house where the men are predatory and insistent and Carlo is only polite and holds open doors and coats and holds open a life that is far away and shiny, clean.
She is bored.
She'll admit that to herself later, when his fist rings in the air, she was bored.
They sit in the parlor with her parents.
He eats two slices of cake, wipes the filling off his chin with the back of his hand and grins.
"Such a nice boy," says her mother.
In the corner, Sonny frowns and his fists curl.
Sometimes, she pictures the geography of her brother's face at night and the nose is crooked and below it, his lips are grinning.
Sometimes, she pictures knocking her fist into it. Feeling the bone give way to her flesh.
Tom would call this kind of thing "Freudian". She never really liked Tom.
The week before her engagement, they drag him in.
He got himself punched in the face, her brother, a bar room brawl and they don't tell their mother, just take him up to his bed and Connie presses cold wipes to the cut skin and the heated, open flesh of his face and under her breath, she cures, "stupid boy" (her eyes are a little wet, wild with worry.)
"You just call me stupid?" he asks, cocks open an eye.
"What are you doing getting yourself pushed around like that?"
"Nobody pushes me around," he says, but it isn't heated, it is lazy and his voice drawls off at the ends.
She brushes fingers over his cheek.
"You're going to be all bruised in the pictures."
"I don't care."
"Fine brother, you are."
"What, you like Micheal better? Micheal probably won't even come."
"You think? Mikey's got better things to do."
"And you don't?"
He reaches up, touches her hand, her fingers form a web over his face. He covers it.
"Never, Connie. Never."
His eyes focus upwards.
He used to pat her on the head when she was a child. She didn't always like it.
She bit him once. There was no blood.
A week before her engagement someone punched him in the face.
His nose is still straight.
He watches her cook, one hand with the spoon and the other on her hip as she stirs something on the stove.
"You didn't have to start it, then."
She snaps her fingers in his face. "Lucy. You think I don't know? You think everybody doesn't know?"
"What do you want with Lucy?"
"Oh, I don't want anything with Lucy. It's you who wanted something with Lucy. I'm only asking why you have to start things on my wedding day."
Sonny opens his lips, blows smoke out. He shrugs.
"It was a day of good faith, Santino. And there you go and ruin it."
She picks up the hot dish and pushes past him to the dining room. The door opens to laughter and wine.
He is alone in the cold kitchen.
She and Carlo had waited till the honeymoon. A sick twist on the tradition, you could say. They were neither of them virgins.
He was heavy on top of her and the sex was long, quiet.
She didn't come.
Marriage suited her for the first few months. She and Carlo, they didn't go away anywhere, they didn't need to.
The fighting started a year in. They didn't stop being happy.
They just started being angry as well.
Once, they went out to dinner in the city. It was a good night.
She wore a red dress.
At the bar, clouded in heavy cigar smoke, Sonny was with a girl, a mistress and her hair was dark and her mouth was red and she laughed with her head tipped back and all Connie could see for the rest of the night was the row of white teeth, teeth bared like a weapon, teeth sunk into the crook of her brother's neck, teeth on his chest, teeth -
She blushes deep around the fork. Her husband looks, raises his eyebrows and frowns.
In the car, he asks -
"Why wouldn't I be okay?"
"Don't shout at me."
"I'm not shouting."
"Connie - "
"Leave me alone."
And he did at the time.
(He started the first of his affairs, a week after that night. But Connie didn't know about this. Not then.)
He brought a woman to their apartment once. Fucked her in their bed.
Connie had gone away for the weekend, to stay with her mother and when she came home, the sheets smelt like a whore.
"And what would you know what a whore smells like?"
"What do you care, how I know anything?" she rails, challenges.
She smelled it on Sonny once. She doesn't tell him that.
The doctor is there to tend her cuts. That is all.
"I tripped," she lies, the skin around her eyes is dark and blue. The bruise flushes over her face. She is a painting, she thinks and his fists are the brushes.
She asked her brother once, "you teach me how to throw a punch," and "why do you want to know?" he'd said, "why do you want to know?". She didn't have an answer so he never taught her, not properly. She regrets that now.
She snaps out, nods.
"I have some good news."
She cries till the tears sting her cuts. At home, she tosses a vase against the wall.
The traces of it are gone by the time Carlo gets home.
"You shouldn't have hit him," she tells Sonny, "I asked you not to."
"Sonny, I asked you not to."
"He shouldn't treat you like that."
"You said you wouldn't, Sonny."
"I said I wouldn't kill him," he reminds her, rolls back the cuffs of his sleeves and smiles at her over the top of his glass.
His fingers tighten and relax, puts the glass down.
"I don't like him touching you," he says.
There's a minute. You can hear his heavy, whiskeyed breath in the room. You can't hear hers.
Connie places a palm against the belly.
"He's my husband," she says and her brother flexes his fingers again.
He kisses her forehead and then he leaves.
(Her eyes drop shut.)
The bathroom floor is cool under her skin.
"I won't call him," she tells herself, "I won't."
She's a woman, a married woman, she doesn't need anyone to fix her messes, she doesn't need anyone at all, she is, she -
The telephone feels heavy. She thinks it will break her fingers.
Micheal comes back for the funeral. His face twists to the side, nose askew.
Connie bears her face in his shoulder and she laughs.
There are black dresses and tears and coffins carried out on nameless shoulders, and the crowd whispers, "it was a trick," "killed!" and "they're getting lax," and a thousand other things she does not hear.
Her husband touches her elbow. She flinches and bites the scream down.
She doesn't cry.
Her voice rises, softly -
"He died, for me, you know," she says conversationally, to the girl at her elbow, a young little thing, all elbows and knees and wide, wide eyes, "My brother, he - "
He died for me because -
The sentence goes unfinished. Her brother's body is lowered.