Confessions of a Wild ChildBy: Jackie Collins
How does a girl get through school stuck with the name Lucky Saint? How does a girl answer questions about her family when her mom was murdered and her dad was once an infamous criminal known as Gino the Ram?
Beats me. But if I have to, then I absolutely can do it. I’m a Santangelo after all. A freaking survivor of a major screwed-up childhood. A girl with a shining future.
Now here I am – a week before my fifteenth birthday – about to be packed off to L’Evier, which I’m informed is a very expensive private boarding school in Switzerland, so I’d better like it or else.
I am totally pissed. My brother, Dario, is totally pissed. The truth is we’re all we’ve got, and separating us is simply not fair. Dario is younger than me by eighteen months, and I’ve always felt that I should look after him.
I’m a tomboy.
Dario likes to paint and read.
I like to kick a football and shoot baskets.
Somehow our roles got reversed.
We live in a huge mausoleum – sorry – I mean house – in Bel Air, California. A house filled with maids and housekeepers and tutors and drivers and security guards. Kind of like a fancy prison compound, only our backyard features a man-made lake, a tennis court and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Yeah, my dad has a ton of money.
Yippee! Luxury. You think?
No way. I’m kind of a loner with very few friends, ’cause my life is not like theirs. My life is controlled by Daddy Dearest. Gino the Ram. Mister ‘Everything I say is right, and you’d better listen or else’.
It sucks. I am a prisoner of money and power. A prisoner of a father who is so paranoid that something bad will happen to me or Dario that he keeps us more or less locked up.
So I guess being sent off to boarding school isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe a modicum of freedom is lurking in my future.
However, I will miss Dario so much, and believe me I know he feels the same way.
We’re very different. I resemble Gino with my tangle of jet-black hair, olive skin, and intense dark eyes, whereas Dario inherited my mom’s calm blondness.
Yes. I do remember my mom. Beautiful Maria. Sunny and warm and kind. Sweet-smelling with the smile of an angel, and the softest skin in the world. She was the love of my father’s life, even though he’s had legions of girlfriends since her tragic death. I hate him for that, it’s so wrong.
I miss my mom so much, I think about her every day. The problem is that my memories are akin to a frightening dark nightmare because I am the one who discovered her naked body floating lifelessly on a lilo in the family swimming pool – the pool tinged pink with her blood.
I was five years old, and it’s an image that never leaves me.
I remember screaming hysterically, and people running outside to see what was going on. Then Nanny Camden picked me up and hustled me inside the house. After that everything is a blur.
I do remember the funeral. Such a sombre affair. Everyone crying. Dario clinging to Nanny Camden, while I clutched onto Gino’s hand and put on a brave face.
‘Don’t ever forget you’re a Santangelo,’ Gino informed me with a steely glare. ‘Never let ’em see you crumble. Got it?’
Yes, I got it. So I managed to stay stoic and dry-eyed, even though I was only five and quite devastated.
Ah yes, fond memories of a screwed-up childhood.
Now the limo sits outside the Bel Air house, idling in our fancy driveway ready to spirit me away to the airport.
Dario has on a sulky face – which does not take away from his hotness. My brother might only be thirteen, but he’s almost six feet tall, and once he gets some freedom, girls will be all over him.
It pisses Gino off that Dario doesn’t look like him. He always wanted a son – a mirror image of himself – instead he got me.
Ha-ha! I’m the son he never had.
Too bad, Daddy. Make the most of it.
Gino is sending me away to school because he’s under the impression I’m a wild one. Just because I occasionally manage to escape from the house and hang out in Westwood – driving one of the house cars without a licence – does not label me as wild. It’s not as if I do anything crazy, I simply wander around the area checking out what it would be like to be a normal teenager. And yeah, I have to admit that sometimes I do get to talk to a boy or two.