In a business filled with men, most of them holding considerable amounts of power, Lyla Hansun was stranded on an island with no possible exit. She hated her marriage, hated her life style, and above all despised the fact that there was nothing at all she could do about it except remain alone and miserable.
It was entirely possible to just walk out of the apartment building and never come back, but she would never survive; Melvin knew Lyla had seen and heard a variety of family secrets, and therefore made sure she was being watched all hours of the day. Grim often functioned as a bodyguard, making sure she never exited her bedroom.
There was no one in the family that really paid any attention to her, and most of them didn’t even see her to begin with; they only heard the wailing she did in the night, drinking an entire bottle of wine in one setting. Because of her often hilarious drunken ranting, Lyla became some sort of joke within the family.
Her bedroom, much like Melvin’s office, was darkened and contained little color, a perfect fit for her constantly depressing disposition; the walls were tan with a brown carpet floor, and the only light source was from a lamp hanging on a door opposite of her bed, which was colored gray, low to the ground, and could only hold one person. To the right of the bed was a small table with a few novels covering the surface. To the left was a tiny refrigerator loaded with alcohol.
She was now leaning against a wall drinking directly from a cheap bottle of wine, gazing out of the small, tiny window located directly to the left of the bed. It only gave her a view of a handful of alleyways and fire escape balconies; hardly the sort of look any normal person would enjoy. But Lyla was glad simply to see a glimpse into the outside world.
The day was still alive, with the sun reaching the top of its daily arc as the lunch hour began to slowly dwindle down and workers began to drift back to their posts. The roaring of cars in the downtown area had decreased as the majority of the populace started to return to their jobs.
“Look at ‘em all” Lyla spoke to herself, one of her famous drunken outbursts brewing inside of her. “They got normal lives. They got husbands and wives tha’ support ‘em”. She looked around helplessly. “I jus’ got a big fat mafia dumbass”.
She looked into a small mirror that was on top of the fridge and studied the reflection she saw. She sighed, seeing once again just how much older she had become over the past twenty years. Lyla was, in fact, forty-five, two years younger than Melvin. Unlike most individuals of her age, the heavy burden of being essentially a hostage to a crime boss had rapidly affected her appearance, and one might mistake her as sixty.
Where there were once smooth cheeks were now wrinkles, and her hair had a slew of grays hinder underneath the black; it would drive her crazy at night as she conducted a futile mission to eliminate all of them. Her chest had begun to sag, and her abdomen was incredibly skinny and creased from lack of proper food or any large amounts of nourishment in general.
“Jus’ wastin’ away…” Lyla pointed at the mirror and laughed as though she was talking to someone else. “Ya gonna find yaself dead and under the ground at fifty-five!” She screamed, waving the bottle in the air.
A moment later, the door was cautiously opened, and a young black women dressed in a maid’s uniform appeared. In contrast to Lyla, she was strikingly beautiful, with soft features, light brown eyes, long black hair, and a gorgeous figure.
“Excuse me miss” she said quietly, fearful of any sudden punishment, “your husband asked me to come check-“
“He wants to check on me? Well then bring him in!” Lyla said, though she said it with little confidence and it sounded more like a question.
The maid entered the room, closing the door behind her, and sat on the bed, taking in a deep breath. She then turned to face Lyla and patted the spot next to her. Lyla looked at her questioningly and did not move.
“Sit down” the maid demanded, though there was a tone of warm friendliness hidden in her voice; she did actually care for the woman that stood before her.
Lyla obeyed, and stumbled into a sitting position, nearly falling back on the bed. She rose the bottle to take another drink, but the maid quickly snatched it from her and set it off on the bedside table, out of her reach. Lyla attempted to retrieve it, but she was once again stopped by her friend.
“He wants you to be quiet. So do I” she began, staring into Lyla’s eyes. “You know if you keep living like this he’ll just keep on beating you and beating you”.
Lyla gave off a shrill laugh. “Like me being quiet prevents him. Lemme tell ya, when that man gets angry… who do ya think… who do ya think he uses as his own punchin’ bag?”
The maid shook her head. “You screaming don’t fix anything. I don’t like seeing you all bloodied and bruised”. Lyla was turned away now, refusing to listen to her. “He’ll have me roughed up too y’know. He roughs me up whenever things get fucked around”.
“You’re a Goddamn maid, Ellen, it’s in your job description” Lyla sighed, waving her hand to dismiss the topic.
The maid, Ellen, blinked a few times, laughed off the anger gradually building inside of her, then shook her head. “That ain’t you talking. That’s just the alcohol. I don’t care if you take a sip every now and then… but you know, you know… chugging down bottles like this ain’t healthy, and it’ll make your life worse”.
Lyla stood up, groaned, then fell back on the bed, her drunkenness causing her to become incredibly weak and fatigued. She struggled to bring herself back up to face Ellen, but kept falling back on the covers. She grumbled again and gave up any endeavors to raise her figure. Instead, she sustained the conversation while lying down.
“Y’know how it feels… to be chained to a pig like him? There ain’t no hope for freedom… Yeah I can run, but I won’t get far… I jus’ can’t put up with this anymore, Ellen, it gets worse and worse every day…”
She began to weep. “My… my son, my own son… is dead… and that bastard doesn’t give a damn… it’s like someone just spilled some coffee on the floor… he cares so little, and I always forget just how little… and it always startles me whenever he acts so indifferently”.
“Harry was a good kid, ain’t no doubt about that. Can’t lie though, he pissed people off” Ellen said simply. Lyla looked at her incredulously, but Ellen held up a hand to silence her. “No one can get along with anybody in this family, people run in to each other every day”. She sighed, shaking her head. “Nothing poor Harry could do”.
Ellen looked Lyla over and took in the horrible sight; she was just wasting away every second of the day, drowning herself in pools of tears and alcohol. It was a sickening sight, and she was tired of always having to rush by her side to push the bottle away.
“You gotta make yourself straight. Alright? No more drinking, it’s time to get back into your senses. You’re a smart woman when you’re not lost in your drunken rage” Ellen spat. She stood up and began to leave the room.
Lyla was displeased by this statement. “Who are you to tell me… what I can and can’ot do… I’m the one in charge of my life and I’m gonna do with it as I see fit!” she screamed, now standing slightly erect.
“You’re the one ruining your life” Ellen said. She turned and left the room, closing the door slowly behind her, refusing to slam it and show her anger.
The alcohol laid waste to all of Lyla’s good characteristics, leaving her as a bitter, angry woman. She would wake up the next day and not even remember the argument she had with the only person out of the whole world. There would never be any regret, and there would never be any apology.
The only thing she knew to do was to keep drinking; it was the best thing she could ever feel, in here mind. As Ellen departed from the room, Lyla immediately leapt for the wine and took a large sip, sighing with relief as the liquid slid down her throat.
It was a terrible life, and while sober, she knew it. However, due to all of the stress in her life, she always ended up pushing away those that cared and ran back to the bottle, every day attempting to wipe away her problems with every beverage. It was an agonizingly slow suicide act, and she didn’t know how to stop.
Meanwhile, as Ellen exited, Melvin approached her from his office, looking at Lyla’s door as though he was making eye contact with her through the walls of her chamber. He had a tired expression on his face, and his normally tight suit and tie were loosened. Despite his appearance, he became all-business as he neared Ellen.
“Did you get her to quiet down” he said in a monotone voice.
Ellen simply shook her head. She feared the man that stood before her.
However, he seemed to have no energy inside of him to be annoyed. “She’ll drink herself to death one day. It’ll be her own Goddamn fault”. He face-palmed and continued down the hallway, saying “I won’t be crying when it happens”.
He stopped, then suddenly spun, grabbed Ellen’s shoulder, and shook her, a mad look replacing the previously exhausted demeanor.
“I have enough problems to deal with. I want her to shut the fuck up. The Payters are gunning for us and we cannot show any weaknesses, or we will be overtaken”. With that, he stormed away.
Ellen let out a breath she had been holding in; Melvin was known to have mood swings when troubling matters were at hand, but it had taken her by surprise. Though she could care less about the gentlemen, she still worried about him. If he began panicking, he could make rash decisions.
Being a lowly maid with little skill sets, Ellen depended on Melvin for the payment she received in order to support herself. It was more than usual for the typical cleaning lady, and with his resources, she could remain living a secretive life. She didn’t want to be out in the world. She had her reasons.
As she began to walk away to begin cleaning again, she heard Lyla beginning to wail once more, and just started to laugh. Unknown to anyone, she was stressed out of her mind, and with Lyla always screwing up, she was pushed over the edge by her antics and Melvin constantly bothering her to fix her.
As it turned out, she got the clean up all of the family’s mess; form the dust in Melvin’s office… to trying to stop the rampant dysfunction within the ranks.